This picture exemplifies why I use Apple instead of Google for my mobile platform. It reminds me of a single point—Google is an ad company.

Apple is not. Apple is a lifestyle company. They obsess over how their products look and feel. They debate and stress and act snotty over the smallest detail, and take their pride and reputation far too seriously.

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Google is the Disruptor

October 30th, 2013 | Google

Star Trek DST Klingon disruptor variant

I just read a phenomenal article about Google.–googlewinseverything-part-1

You want to bring fiber to every home (Google Fiber)? Well, I’ll blanket the world with balloons (Project Loon) serving up WiFi to every square inch of the planet!

Larry’s campaign, if successful, will make Caesar, Napoleon, Columbus, the Wright Brothers, the Apollo 11 Mission, the Manhattan Project, and our Founding Fathers look limited in scope.

Strong words, but if you read the entire post you may agree with them. Here are some more:

Google’s founders have no interest in giving dividends or doing stock buybacks. They have control of the company and more money than can be spent in 1,000 lifetimes, so they are playing for legacy. 200 years from now, few will know that Google started as a search engine. They’ll probably think of it as the company that cured cancer, made the internet free for humanity and built self-driving cars.

No question that Google is a powerhouse, and I hope they keep trying to catch Elon.

I’m a bit impressed right now with that media experience I’m getting with Apple.

To be clear, it’s like 20% of what it should be, but damn, that’s pretty good.

AirPlay is way better than it sounds when someone describes it. When I sit at home and play music I play it to one of my monitors, to my AppleTV-connected TV, and to both of my B&O Beolit12 systems. Simultaneously.

And I can adjust the volume on each of them independently.

And AppleTV itself is just phenomenal. This is how I want to consume content. I can’t shake the feeling that this is what “cable” will soon look like. You subscribe to content–not to streams of various types of content that you may or may not like.

I have the HBO app. I have the whatever app. And those are what I use to get my content.

Even better than that would be complete abstraction, where I don’t even have those apps–I instead just subscribe to shows–and my provider sorts out where it came from. Dealing with those sorts of details is just silly.

But Apple is closer than anyone else, as far as I can tell. Many of the other services are interesting, but they lack permanence. They’re not backed by Apple, they’re not as consistent, and it bothers me knowing that they’re fighting for rights to content from a position that’s not even comparable to Apple.

Basically, you need serious gravity to be able to push around these content providers. And I can’t rely on services like Hulu to do that.

That brings me to Netflix. Holy crap Netflix.

I just got done watching all of their new show Orange is the New Black. Un. Believable.

I am looking forward to Apple releasing their actual TV. I want to go to my iPhone as my full remote. I want a bigger screen–better aesthetic, and all the AppleTV goodness.

The idea of a cable box and a seperate remote seems ridiculous. I want three things:

  1. Internet (my current setup is 100 up and 100 down from Webpass)
  2. An Apple television
  3. AppleTV for all my content
  4. My iPhone/iPad are my remote–for both the TV and for the content

Anything less than this is kiddie pool.

And yes, if Google can do this then I’m on board with them as well. But this seems less and less likely as time passes. They seem unable to understand that this game is about a unified, solid experience.

Anyway, I use Apple examples above because they’re likely to do it first, and best (they’re already kind of there), but if Google does it as well then all the better for us.

Plenty of people have Google+ accounts, but do many people actually use them for being social? Marketing Land reports that online brand management firm Gigya has released new data showing that Google’s social network only accounts for 2% of all social sharing across the web. The most embarrassing part for Google, though, is that LinkedIn is actually beating Google+ for shared content with a 3% share, meaning that Google+ users share even less than users of a website that is mostly used for business networking.

via Google+ 2% Marketshare.

The uncanny valley is a term for when human-like creations are almost realistic, but not quite, and it freaks people out.

This is the problem with Google+.

It was exactly like the opening scene in Gladwell’s Blink. I sign into Google+ and know instantly that it won’t be popular with most. And I don’t know why. Everything about it looks great. Tons of features. A nice layout. But something about it feels wrong. And many (evidently a lot) never come back.

Google needs to reverse their process where UI/UX is concerned. Start with something people will love using and add some features to that. Don’t start with a mountain of features and assume that they’ll attract people.

They won’t.

Google has also thrown its support behind the ChannelID open standard, which aims to secure the cookie on the device that certifies the user has signed in to a service.  The concept puts up a barrier for man in the browser attacks that attempt to sniff and steal cookies as they’re passed to the browser. This tighter connection between cookies and encryption keys as proposed in the standard and currently in place in the Chrome browser is another priority initiative for Google going forward.

“In essence, the browser self-provisions an anonymous public-private key pair for each web domain it needs to talk to via SSL. The web domain can use the consistent SSL public key Channel ID  presented by the client device to tie into cookies that it issues to the client device,” Sachs said. “But once the cookies are ‘tied’ in this manner, they are no longer reusable bearer tokens.  The web server will only accept them as part of a connection that has been digitally signed with the same ChannelID.  ChannelID significantly reduces the risk associated with leaked reusable bearer tokens.”

via Google Strong Authentication Strategy Eliminates Passwords | Threatpost.

Image from

Most who follow the tech industry know that Google and Facebook are in the throes of mutual combat, but few seem to see the strategic reason that Google is so deathly afraid of Facebook.

Google is Google, right? They’re invincible! Who could possibly threaten them in search, right? Well, that’s missing the point. Google’s problem is that better search just isn’t enough anymore.

Remember what they’re fighting for

Recall that an Internet company’s currency is its number of active users. As that goes up a company becomes more powerful, and as it goes down it feels it–especially if they left for a competitor.

Well, Google is doing just fine there–everyone uses it constantly. It’s basically Internet infrastructure at this point. But many of those same people also use Facebook, and the key is that they’re being used in different ways. The nature of that difference is what has Google panicking.

In short, people use Google to find something and then return to what they were doing online. It’s a tool to help you achieve your Internet goal. Facebook, on the other hand, IS what they’re doing online. It’s not a tool, it’s a destination.

So–and here’s the crux of it–what happens when you can search the Internet from Facebook? Think about that. It’s Google’s absolute nightmare scenario.

Facebook as the center of the Internet ecosystem

Google’s problem is that people get online to go to Facebook anyway. Their friends and family are the core of their life, so it’s natural that it would be the center of their digital life as well.

So, why not have a big search bar at the top of Facebook? Want to buy something? Looking to go to a movie? Want to know who to vote for? Need a recipe? Whatever you need you will be able to get from Facebook soon–but with a difference: Facebook’s results will be customized for you with up to date information about your social circle as a context layer on the results.

When you search for books, you may get Amazon results, but included will be a list of your friends who also read the book, or are currently reading it. Want to chat with them real quick about it? Well it turns out Facebook is good at that.

Now apply that to everything–from going to a movie where you can see Rotten Tomatoes scores vs. what your friends rated it, to picking a car, or deciding where to live. You basically won’t have to leave Facebook, and you won’t want to because when you do the results you get back will be sterile in comparison.

Google becomes a one-trick search pony

In this future (which Facebook is working tirelessly to make a reality) it becomes annoying to use Google because you have to leave Facebook and then come back to it. Google becomes a necessary aggravation–a standalone, one-off search utility that sits completely out of band from your regular Internet experience.

That scares Google, and it should. This is the exact reason they came up with and forced Google+ upon us with such ferocity: they’re trying to build their own version of a place where people go just to hang out, where all your friends are…where you never want to leave. They tried to build themselves a Facebook, and they failed.

One way to think about this is to say that Facebook has the social/Internet destination and needs some search technology to top it off, while Google has great search technology but lacks the actual place people would want to spend extended periods of time. Stated more directly, Google is more or less screwed as soon as Facebook can achieve even 70% of Google’s search quality within Facebook itself.

So the next time you see Facebook add some new kind of “social search” functionality, and someone asks, “What the heck are they doing with that thing?”, you’ll know the answer:

Facebook is working to make Google completely irrelevant.

It wasn’t an easy decision to leave Google. During my time there I became fairly passionate about the company. I keynoted four Google Developer Day events, two Google Test Automation Conferences and was a prolific contributor to the Google testing blog. Recruiters often asked me to help sell high priority candidates on the company. No one had to ask me twice to promote Google and no one was more surprised than me when I could no longer do so. In fact, my last three months working for Google was a whirlwind of desperation, trying in vain to get my passion back.

The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus.

via MSDN Blogs.

The iOS/Apple vs. Android/Google debate has been explored for years by thousands of people. We know the arguments and they’re rather boring at this point. Preference is preference, and if you like something and it works for you, that’s pretty much all that matters.

But there’s one point in the conversation that seems obvious once you hear it that most people don’t talk about: the point of primary economic purpose. Basically, there’s a fundamental difference between Apple and Google when it comes to incentives to produce a quality experience:

Apple’s main purpose is to provide the best possible user experience, while Google’s main purpose is to sell advertisements.

Now, to be clear, these are actually the companies’ second most important priority–the first for any company is always to make money.

But if your business model is to sell ads using any method possible–one of which being making a mobile platform–then I simply can’t embrace that philosophy to the same extent that I can a company who takes it as their mission in life to impress me with design and quality.

This is not a minor difference to me: it’s a crucial one. And because of that difference I choose to stick with Apple for now.

Famed inventor, entrepreneur, author, and futurist Ray Kurzweil announced this afternoon that he has been hired by search engine giant Google as a director of engineering focused on machine learning and language processing.

This should make the Bay Area Less Wrong meetups more interesting.

Posted via email from | posterous

Mike Demarais posted this to Twitter during the first few minutes that Google Fiber went live in his Kansas City home.

After months of fanfare and anticipation, gigabit home Internet service Google Fiber finally went live on Tuesday in Kansas City. The search giant is offering 1 Gbps speeds for just $70 per month—significantly faster and cheaper than what any traditional American ISPs are offering.

Suddenly I hate Kansas a little less. Considering moving, to be honest.

Posted via email from | posterous

You’ll notice a new simpler, cleaner design on the search results page — we’ve been working on ways to create a consistent search experience across the wide variety of devices and screen sizes people use today. We started with tablets last year, got it to mobile phones a few weeks ago, and are now rolling out to the desktop.

With the new design, there’s a bit more breathing room, and more focus on the answers you’re looking for, whether from web results or from a feature like the Knowledge Graph:

The same advanced tools you’re used to are still there when you need them. Just click on “Search tools” to filter or drill down on your results:

Interesting move.

Posted via email from | posterous

Google Now also introduces a new trick. It combines the constant stream of data a smartphone collects on its owner with clues about the person’s life that Google can sift from Web searches and e-mails to guess what he or she would ask it for next. This enables Google Now not only to meet a user’s needs but also, in some cases, to preëmpt them. Virtual index cards appear offering information it thinks you need to know at a particular time.

“That’s actually been a goal for us with Android from the beginning,” says Hugo Barra, director of product management for Android, when asked why Google has moved to position a souped-up version of search at the heart of Android. The desire to offer useful information without a person even asking “comes from Larry [Page, Google's cofounder],” adds Barra, “if you read the [2012] founders’ letter, he said that one of the company goals is to get out of the way of the user.”

It’s not even close.

Siri is actually still quite useful to me. Just like Maps in iOS 6 I don’t have much of a problem with either, but Siri doesn’t compare with Google Now.

To me, Siri is a gimmick and Google Now is a glimpse of the future of DPAs (Digital Personal Assistants).

I suppose that makes sense, given that Google is the king of search, but I’d like to see Apple doing much better here.

Posted via email from | posterous

Google is like a math prodigy that is unhappy because no matter what he tries he’s unable to write poetry or make people laugh.


More to the point, Google charges Apple for having Maps loaded onto that Apple hardware. And as I’ve noted before, this is a substantial sum: rather more than Google currently makes from Android for example.

The figures also suggest that Apple devices such as the iPhone, which use products such as its Maps as well as Google Search in its Safari browser, generated more than four times as much revenue for Google as its own handsets in the same period.

The more I think about the more I think Google is in a rather poor position.

Facebook is winning the war for users and images. Apple is winning the war of the user experience. And Microsoft is going to ROFLStomp them in the enterprise for mobile devices (as Apple has been for years).

Of course, Android will continue to branch out (soon it’ll be running on actual tree branches), but it will become the commodity OS, with Apple and Microsoft having the premier offerings unless they can do something about their quality and feel.

Posted via email from | posterous

Seth Weintraub, a blogger for 9 to 5 Google, who first wrote about the glasses project in December, and then discovered more information about them this month, also said the glasses would be Android-based and cited a source that described their look as that of a pair of Oakley Thumps.

They will also have a unique navigation system. “The navigation system currently used is a head tilting to scroll and click,” Mr. Weintraub wrote this month. “We are told it is very quick to learn and once the user is adept at navigation, it becomes second nature and almost indistinguishable to outside users.”

The glasses will have a low-resolution built-in camera that will be able to monitor the world in real time and overlay information about locations, surrounding buildings and friends who might be nearby, according to the Google employees. The glasses are not designed to be worn constantly — although Google expects some of the nerdiest users will wear them a lot — but will be more like smartphones, used when needed.

About time. Now where’s my flying car? Also, OMFG I’m getting these.

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