Archive for the ‘Google’ Category
I spent the week at MWC in Barcelona this past week. I made my way to a bunch of booths and companies. It was a huge show.
Here are some thoughts:
- Phone Operating Systems
- There were many new phones released at the show. LG announced 50 phones, Samsung had 22 more, Sony/Ericcson announced a new suite of walkman phones, and even Acer announced new phones. Which each new announcement, you saw that they are all using Windows Mobile. Windows mobile is EVERYWHERE. Regardless what you think about it, you can’t deny its traction in the marketplace. It seems again that Apple will be the better device but Windows will be on more.
- Windows Mobile is not a good OS for the phone. It’s bloated and has way too many menus but there aren’t alot of options. For this reason, i’m hopeful for Android. Even the new 6.5 still uses 8-bit graphics.
- There were barely any Android phones at the show and almost no coverage about it – if it’s the new phone of the future, you wouldn’t know it by this show. It seems that very few handset manufacturers are planning on using it. I was surprised
- Nobody wanted to say it, but the iPhone still kicks the crap out of almost every phone at the show. Only Blackberry is close. Nokia is getting there too.
- Microsoft - I went to their booth to check out Live, Windows Mobile 6.5 and My Phone:
- Microsoft Live – i aksked their expert to give me the demo and explain to me why i should care. He showed me MSN messenger, Hotmail, their photo tool and i kept asking, “why should i care?” and he could never give me an answer. There is nothing special here. I think this suite is a good metaphor for the company itself. Internet 1.0
- Windows 6.5 – It is an improvement over 6.1 but it’s still worse than iPhone. They tried hard to make it like the iPhone but worked just as hard to make it not exactly like it. Instead of a grid of applications, it’s a honeycomb layout. My big disappointment is that 6.5 isn’t released until mid 2009. That’s exactly 2 years after the iPhone launch and it’s still inferior. I don’t think they’ll ever get it together.
- The App Store – i was equally excited about this but the big problem is that this isn’t even scheduled to be ready untl late 2009. They didn’t even have screenshots of it. Even the MS rep joked that it was typical Microsoft vaporware.
- My Phone – this is the one thing that i liked from Miscrosoft. It sends all your information from your phone up to the cloud. You can access it online (numbers, calendar, messages). You can even search your text messages online. That’s cool. Of course it’s not tied into Live (see above) because that would make too much sense.
- they have an app for Blackberry and iPhone. The app has a “Pulse” which can connect to other social networks and list your friends’ status and activity. Very much like Plaxo Pulse – even the same name (although nobody in the Yahoo booth had heard of Plaxo). it’s pretty cool but nothing revolutionary.
- Remember the days when Yahoo was competing with Google? They are now so far behind that it’s not even funny – especially on mobile. Google has an mobile OS, location-aware apps, Maps on every device, and mobile sites for mail, docs, and tasks. Yahoo! on the other hand has a huge booth to announce that they now have an application that displays news, mail and RSS feeds. I’m not impressed.
- Some other companies i saw:
- ARM – this is a British company that makes processors. They compete with Intel but on small devices like cell phones and mp3 players. Among their typical devices, they also looking to get the chips into laptops. Not as a replacement processor but as an addition. The idea is that if you are only going to be surfing the web, you can switch to the ARM processor and get around 19 hours of power. Whoa
- Omnifone – this is a Rhapsody type service specifically for mobile phones. They have worldwide liceses from the labels and is working on all Sony/Ericcson phones. They claim to have a US service at the end of ’09. I was also amazed how uninformed they were about Rhapsody.
- TruPhone – a great skype-like app. It’s an app that that lets you make international calls from your phone over the internet to get low rates. It’s a good integration in that if you call someone’s TruPhone app, it rings your regular phone and if both people have the app, it’s completely free. It’s like Skype but made specifically for phones rather than desktops.
- Samsung. They have a Blue Earth phone which is a very cool environment friendly phone. It has solar panels on its back and is made out of recyleable materials. I was excited to see it but was pretty disappointed to find that it was only a prototype and they haven’t actually made any of these phones.
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- Mobile World Congress: What If the iPhone Didn’t Exist? (technologizer.com)
- App stores abound at Mobile World Congress (reviews.cnet.com)
- Going mobile in Barcelona (bbc.co.uk)
- Yahoo rolls up mobile products into single service (news.cnet.com)
- Microsoft readies smartphone assault on Apple (cnn.com)
I got quite inspired when reading this post by John Borthwick. First of all, the YouTube data really surprised me in that YouTube is now the 2nd largest search site online, bigger than Yahoo! at over 3 billion searches a month.
Second and more importantly, i started thinking about real-time search. Finding out what is happening right now on the web is really cool and going to becoming increasingly important and interesting. As real-time events happen such as earthquakes, sporting events, meetups, etc. we’ll want to search the web and find out what people are thinking. This is a fascinating new arena that comes with real-time messaging. We’ve always has AIM and Facebook‘s status messages, but we’ve never had a way to search through them and get a snapshot of what’s happening. Until now. Go to Twitter’s search at http://search.twitter.com and type in something and you’ll immediately see what people are thinking and doing on the web. It’s incredible
I’m still getting my head around what this means and how it’ll play out but i have to imagine that real time information will be quite valuable.
A new feature was released today from Google called Google Latitude. It’s allows you to post your location onto Google Maps and to see your friends’ locations. It’s done using GPS and other technologies (Gears, etc.) and works really well. Here are some thoughts i have on it
First, I like the way it looks and works. The interface is extremely simple. Entering in info is done inline and the interface is definitely not cluttered with too many bells and whistles. Adding and viewing friends is also braindead simple. Overall, it’s a snap to use
It’s a social app but it’s different than a social network. For instance it’s (a) only really useful for people you know, (b) more interesting for people you live close to, and (c) limited to only location information. It’s only a map. Again, very simple
Not everything is great though. One thing i don’t understand is why they force you to access it (on the web) through iGoogle. I have a homepage already and see no other reason to go to iGoogle. That’s annoying and i wish it had it’s own site like Google’s Calendar, Reader, Maps, Mail, etc. Also, I also wish it would use my profile from other Google products. It seems now that i have a different profile for Gmail, Calendar, Orkut, FriendConnect and Reader. Why can’t there be just one?
Since i’ve had a iPhone, i’ve become much more aware of the usefulness of my location. When this information is layered onto web services, those services can become much more useful. I like this new app because it shows that there’s a whole other layer (location) that is just starting to be explored. I can imagine many applications starting to layer in location and serve information based on this. Ad targeting, ticketing, messaging, groups all change when this is added.
- Google’s Latitude Adds Location-Sharing to Mobile Phones (radar.oreilly.com)
- Broadcast Your Location To Friends With Google Latitude (techcrunch.com)
- Ten Reasons why Google Latitude will succeed (thenextweb.com)
There’s a new book by Seth Godin called “Tribes” which talks about the startup culture and out-of-the-box thinkers. Two interesting parts of the book are the parts about followers and the parts about Leaders.
A good question exists talking about the difference between employees and followers. Employees show up each day and do their tasks whereas a follower is someone who is following a calling. Followers work because they believe not because they are told to do so. Great companies illustrate this. You can see people flocking to Facebook and Apple because those companies inspire. They don’t recruit but spread gospel. It’s interesting.
This relates directly to the talk about Leaders. The following characteristics were thrown out in the book:
- Leaders challenge the status quo.
- Leaders create a culture around their goal and involve others in that culture.
- Leaders have an extraordinary amount of curiosity about the world they’re trying to change.
- Leaders use charisma (in a variety of forms) to attract and motivate followers.
- Leaders communicate their vision of the future.
- Leaders commit to a vision and make decisions based on that commitment.
- Leaders connect their followers to one another.
Makes me think about how i interact with my coworkers and how i behave at work. Some people are better than others at finding a vision and staying focused on it. What do you think? Is this hard for you to do? Do you know some people who are particularly good at it?
I just read a great article by Clive Thompson called “Head for Detail” about Gordon Bell‘s latest experieement. Please just read the first 2 paragraphs. It’s about Gordon and how he is recording everything he’s doing (video, audio, emails, web, everything). He’s been doing it for the past 14 years and is able to bring up almost eveyrthing. Clive writes about Bell, saying:
He[Bell] had a tiny bug-eyed camera around his neck, and a small audio recorder at his elbow. As we chatted about various topics–Australian jazz musicians, his futuristic cell phone, the Seattle area’s gorgeous weather–Bell’s gear quietly logged my every gesture and all my blathering small talk, snapping a picture every 60 seconds. Back at his office, his computer had carefully archived every document related to me: all the email I’d sent him, copies of my articles he’d read, pages he’d surfed on my blog.
This really resonated with me as i am already trying to record my life. I have photos up on , i have my ideas going to my blog, i have my mundane thoughts going to Twitter, my videos going to YouTube, and my friend interactions recorded on Facebook. I’m already on the web but just in the totality that Bell is. Storage is getting cheaper and cheaper it’s gone from $233,000 for a gigabyte in 1980 to less than $1 today. Soon there will be enough storage in your cell phone for your entire life to be stored. I do this because i want to remember. I want my memories to be accesible all the time and reading the article made me realize how inefficent i’ve been in capturing them.
I really like articles like this becaues they make you think about where the world is going and wonder how human interactions and functions will change. It touches on how humans will change when we no longer have to remember stuff. I already don’t remember phone numbers beceuase of your cell phone. What if you don’t have to remember people’s names and interactions and you free you mind to be more creative. Just imagine – that’s what i’m doing now….
- In Defense of Friendships Formed With People We Meet Online
- 2009: Products I Can’t Live Without
- If You Liked This, Sure to Love That (Clive Thompson/New York Times)
I’ve been a big flickr fan for years. I take a lot of photos and that’s always been my favorite spot to put them. Flickr‘s been great at pioneering the 2.0 photo experience. They were the first to have a photostream view – not just albums. And they were the first to have tags which allow you to organize your photos in a better way. However, they haven’t done much lately. Sure, they added videos which is GREAT but that’s about it. The look hasn’t changed, there aren’t many new features and i feel that they are getting out developed by facebook’s photo experience and Google‘s Picasa. Sure those sites have different goals for their photo experience but at least they are moving forward. What’s Flickr done for me lately? Nothing.
Both Facebok and Picasa allow you to specifically name who is in each photo. Facebook does this by “tagging” a photo with a user and Picasa does this by analyzing the faces in the photos. Both are brain dead simple to use and are really slick. I’ve always used Flickr’s tags to do this with thier photos but i’d like to more specifically associate a photo with a user.
I also think that Flickr could make the “editing” of photo metadata easier. The order a picture shows up in your photostream is effectively the date you took it – but if you upload a photo much later, you have to go back and manually adjust the dates so it appears in the right spot. Flickr has always made title and description editing amazingly simply by keeping it in-line but adjusting the date and privacy of a photo still takes you to another page. Why can’t they make that easier? Same thing with setting a group of photos to a later date. This is too hard to do.
The bottom line is that i still love Flickr but i feel that it’s getting stagnant. i’m starting to think that Flickr has officially become a Yahoo company and not a nimble startup. And i don’t want to hitch my wagon to something that is in maintenance mode. I knew this day would come and i think the day might finally be here. I think i could say the same about delicious too. That site could have been much bigger than it is.
I’m wondering now – where should my photos go? What’s going to be be even better. I don’t like how Picasa is only albums but i do like how they are at least getting better and better. Is there a 3.0 photo experience that i can use?
- What Photo-Sharing Website Do You Use?
- Google’s Picasa Moves Onto Flickr’s Turf: Adds Ways To Explore Interesting Public Photos
- Google unveils newest Picassa
- Picasa for Macs Might Launch at Macworld 2009 [Picasa]
Image via CrunchBase
I’ve been pretty anti-microsoft for a while because it seems that they always miss the boat. However, they do have LOTS of cash (40+ billion) and a huge development force. Becauase of this i was surprised they didn’t get more press for the news they spit out last week. Four big things appeared out of last week’s Professional Developer Conference (PDC):
- They announced Azure, a set of cloud services that competes with Amazon’s S3. Another big player will really solidify the category.
- They showed off Windows 7 which is getting high good hype from the blogosphere.
- They showed off new Web-based versions of Microsoft Office that were really nice. They are really late here but if they can get up to parity with Zoho they could dominate
- They also released new Mac and Mobile versions of Mesh and further explained how that’ll enable new kinds of Internet-connected apps to be built.
All in all it was a HUGE week for Microsoft. I just don’t know why nobody noticed. It is because we’re all Mac fanboys and want them to fail (I know i do)? What do you think?
- every video of the PDC is here if you’re interested.
- Microsoft extends services via web
- SlideRocket AIR Presentation Application Moves into Public Beta
- Microsoft to Take Office to the Web (Now With Editing!)
A few weeks ago Google release a product called Chrome which is their own web browser. Only it is really so much more. At first it doesn’t look like much – and it isn’t, just yet. However it’s the direction Chrome is going and the intent behind the release that matters. Google doesn’t want a competitor to IE or Firefox, they want a new OS – a web OS that competes and beats Microsoft Windows.
Chris Messina who worked both a Mozilla and Flock – both browser companies – has a great post about how Chrome came to be and what it means (post is here). Chrome is the future of browsers. It’s one that embraces web applications and has Gears, an engine that enhances the internal code of apps to make them more powerful and quick.
On interesting piece of the post is pointing out WHO is working on Chrome. He paints Google as cohesive team of folks in the pennisula who are laser focused on delivering a next generation browser:
Google is a well-oiled, well-heeled machine. The Webkit team, as a rhizomatic offshoot from Apple, has a similar development pedigree and has consistently produced a high quality — now cross-platform — open source project, nary engaging in polemics or politics. They let the results speak for themselves. They keep their eyes on the ball.
Ultimately this has everything to do with people; with leadership, execution and vision.
When Mozilla lost Ben Goodger I think the damage went deeper than was known or understood. Then Blake Ross and Joe Hewitt went over to Facebook, where they’re probably in the bowels of the organization, doing stuff with FBML and the like, bringing Parakeet into existence (they’ve recently been joined by Mike Schroepfer, previously VP of Engineering at Mozilla). Brad Neuberg joined Google to take Dojo Offline forward in the Gears project (along with efforts from Dylan Schiemann and Alex Russell). And the list goes on.
A few more points he expands in the original and subsequent post:
- One unique feature of Chrome is that it auto-updates without any notifications (with obvious security issues). Chris writes: “if you’ve read the fine-print closely, you already know that this means that Chrome will be a self-updating, self-healing browser….. by using Chrome, you agree to allow Google to update the browser. That’s it: end of story. You want to turn it off? Disconnect from the web… in the process, rendering Chrome nothing more than, well, chrome (pun intended).”
- Another interesting point of note is that Google evolved the UI of the browser and “went ahead and combined the search box and the location field in Chrome and is now pushing the location bar as the starting place, as well as where to do your searching” This is interesting as it was a logical trend that no browser has yet picked up on
Not in terms of functionality or ease of use but check this out:
Yahoo dominates e-mail with 88.4 million users in the United States in August, according to comScore. That is far more than Microsoft’s Windows Live Hotmail at 45.2 million and AOL at 44.8 million, not to mention Gmail at 26.0 million.
When you look at how much time people spend reading their e-mail, Yahoo mail users spend the most time (286 minutes a month), Gmail users the least (82 minutes), with AOL and Microsoft in the middle (229 and 204 minutes, respectively).
Wow. As a Gmail-lover, i would have never thought that was the case. You read the whole article here.
It’s been a while since there’s been a major power play by someone in Silicon Valley. A big “take over the world” type of action. I think Google’s latest Chrome is that – reminiscent of the old days of Netscape, Sun and others who were all trying to take over the world.
- They are building a modern browser, Chrome, that resembles an operating system as much as a browser. It’s not that Google wants to build a better version of Internet Explorer or Firefox. They want to build a better environment for running web apps.
- They are building a mobile operating system, Android, that is also designed for running web apps in a mobile environment. I think in time, Google’s Android will be to the iPhone what Windows was to the Mac. The iPhone laid out many of the killer mobile device innovations, but its a closed device, a closed carrier relationship, and even a closed application store. Android will take all of those good ideas and put them on every device, with every carrier, and in partnership with every app developer.
- Google is all about the cloud. They have developed all of their apps in what goes for the cloud these days. They’ve build a great cloud computing platform in App Engine.