Tag Archives: google

Is Google+ just another Chrome?

I’ve been really frustrated with Google+ slowly consuming all the rest of Google services, because I find it so deficient compared to Twitter, and even Facebook. My long form content lives here, on my own server, in my own blog. Both Twitter and Facebook make it easy to also have that content live a life in their platform.

Google+… not so much. We’re more than 6 months after launch, and still no API besides scraping public posts. As such, I spend little time over there, and largely disdain the system, which doesn’t loose much, because there are so few people generating content there anyway. With the launch of their “Google+ your world” search yesterday, I was even more frustrated. G+, still with no API, is now infiltrating the search rankings. Grrrr.

But this morning, I read this, and it occurred to me, what if G+ is another Chrome. By that I mean a project that isn’t meant to be a market leader by itself, but one that’s meant to shape a market to keep it fluid. Twitter and Facebook have a pretty epic duopoly on content right now, and they are both working to make it harder to consume outside of their bubble. This summer they both quietly killed RSS feeds off. You can still consume via their API, but even in that front Twitter’s been waging a bit of a war on their API consumers, retaking the Mobile UI.

So maybe G+ was really a reaction to a trend Google was seeing, that the gated communities were throwing up more and more restrictions to making their content searchable in Google. Instead of bringing lawyers, bring technology. Make a competitor that is searchable, and get the gated communities to now really want to be included in the results. Make the market fluid again.

Maybe. I’m not sure I’ve even convinced my self of this. But it would explain some of the areas of focus in G+. It would also explain why public posts API is the only one they’ve released so far. At the end of the day, the social giant fight matters little to me, as long as I can syndicate into them, which is why the lack of G+ write API (and associated WordPress plugin) is my biggest concern. So while this softens my feelings on G+ a little, I really do wish they’d actually make the platform way more open. Then I might feel it was worth investing in content and discussions there. Until then, you can find my quick bits over on Twitter, and the long form ideas here, with Disqus, which makes it really easy to comment or converse outside the duopoly bubble.

Steve Yegge and the Google Platform issue

Steve Yegge is one of the most insightful people on the internet. I was really bummed when he stopped blogging, because his posts were always well thought out, funny, and really got to the heart of some key issues in software development.

Last night he posted publicly, by accident, Google’s current biggest issue, a complete lack of a platform. He’s really dead on.

I hope Google internalizes that post and does something about it.

Small Wins

Really interesting post about Google Wave from the inside. My favorite passage is this:

And this is the essential broader point–as a programmer you must have a series of wins, every single day. It is the Deus Ex Machina of hacker success. It is what makes you eager for the next feature, and the next after that. And a large team is poison to small wins. The nature of large teams is such that even when you do have wins, they come after long, tiresome and disproportionately many hurdles. And this takes all the wind out of them.

That matches up quite well with my experience. A series of small wins keeps the team momentum running strong. Nothing breeds success like success.

 

What’s Google doing: Castles and Moats

There was a really great piece this week on the freight train that is Android:

So here is the kicker. Android, as well as Chrome and Chrome OS for that matter, are not “products” in the classic business sense. They have no plan to become their own “economic castles.” Rather they are very expensive and very aggressive “moats,” funded by the height and magnitude of Google’s castle. Google’s aim is defensive not offensive. They are not trying to make a profit on Android or Chrome. They want to take any layer that lives between themselves and the consumer and make it free (or even less than free). Because these layers are basically software products with no variable costs, this is a very viable defensive strategy.

His final comment is spot on:

In Silicon Valley we like to make light of industries that are facing digital disruption such as newspapers, the record industry, and the movie industry, suggesting that their executives “just don’t get it.” Perhaps now we are witnessing the disruption of not just analog businesses, but also formerly interesting digital businesses as well.

 

Google Font API

One of my favorite new tools in doing websites is the new Google Font API. Using various hooks that exist in modern browsers, as well as really ancient versions of IE, Google is building a huge library of Open Licensed fonts. With a single css include, you can use any of these on your site, and be assured that the bulk of the internet will see what you see.

My current favorite of the new fonts is Cabin, which I’ve found works incredibly well on headers. There are now many dozen fonts in their API, and it is growing all the time.

In addition to using them on the web, you can download these fonts for local use. There is also a donate button when you download so you can give some money to the font creator, which will ensure more fonts under open licenses get released. I did this for the author of Cabin, as I love his eye for typography and want to see more of that out there.

With technology like this, HTML 5, brand new releases of Firefox and Internet Explore, the promise of the web a good as native, or even better than native, is really starting to take form. Very cool stuff.

Android 2.3, all about gaming

The Android 2.3 SDK dropped yesterday, and if you look through the api changes you can see the entire release is about gaming. There are new sensors, that are pretty much only good for gaming, new hardware buttons, and a pretty substantially openning up of what you can do from native (C/C++) code.

I think Google came to terms with the fact that Game developers are held to their ways, if they don’t have a compiler in their workflow they feel naked and exposed. If you can get on an OpenGL ES surface you can pretty much skip any java activities now. It actually makes me wonder if you could port stellarium whole sale to the platform, which may be something worth looking into.

For people that are less interested in gaming 2.3 was kind of a snooze. Strict mode looks interesting, where you can monitor yourself for aberrant behavior, but other than that nothing much juicy in there.

A is for Amazon

Now that google instant search has be released on the world I was curious what my internet alphabet is, so I typed each letter one at a time to see what came up.  Here are the results.

A is for Amazon

B is for Best Buy

C is for Craigslist

D is for Dictionary

E is for Ebay

F is for Facebook

G is for GMail

H is for Hotmail (really… is that still around?)

I is for Ikea

J is for Jet Blue

K is for Kolhs

L is for Lowes

M is for Mapquest

N is for Netflix

O is for Orbitz

P is for Pandora

Q is for Quotes

R is for REI

S is for Sears

T is for Target

U is for USPS

V is for Verizon

W is for Weather

X is for Xbox

Y is for Yahoo

Z is for Zillow

Results may vary per individual.  If you find something dramatically different, I’d be curious what it was.