Monthly Archives: February 2010

buzzz….

The battle lines are clearly drawn – Google is scared to death of Facebook. It makes sense – as more and more people spend time on it they need Google less and less, but as Google tries to strong arm everyone into submission FB is running around realizing that being an enabler is better than destroying everything in their path – ala Google.

Take FB Zero for instance:

This system is apparently called zero-rated pages, and allows operators to use a trimmed down version of a web application as a sort of teaser, driving the adoption of certain mobile services or apps, and more data usage revenue down the line.

Presumably, Facebook will offer Facebook Zero to carriers for free, since it helps them make the social network as ubiquitous on mobile phones as possible.

Wow. Helping carriers to drive adoption and bill more minutes. Carriers love that shit.

This is compares to the talk at the Mobile World where even the big guys like Vodafone are trying to gently tell Schmidt to back off:

In one sign of these growing fears, even Vittorio Colao, chief executive of Vodafone – nominally one of Google’s business partners – raised a red flag over the potential spread of its search dominance into the mobile world. Regulators should take a close look at Google’s massive market share in search, he said, “before it is too late”.

As I have said many times – Google is the next MSFT but maybe worse since their monopoly of the Internet might actually be stronger in comparison to MSFT’s monopoly of the desktop. What is silly is how Google goes around telling everyone they are good, helpful and trying to make life easier.

Right – and McDonald’s good for me:

Whatever the reality, botching the launch of the strategically important Buzz has intensified a feeling that has been growing as Google has sought to extend its reach: that it is deliberately using its dominance in one area to gain a stronger foothold in new markets, much as arch-rival Microsoft did before it.

For me it is the way they shove new features down your throat on top of other widely used products. Just like MSFT did with the OS.

http://counternotions.com/2010/02/15/buzzback/

The only other company that can fill this evolving void is Apple, but Apple is not interested in commodity businesses. Google sees a great opportunity and has decided to pursue it, mostly by imitating Microsoft’s leverage strategy: if you want free mail, you (also must) get social traffic (because we need your personal network data graph). You’re welcome, enjoy your Buzz!

This leverage strategy can indeed let Google harvest more social territory, at the expense of Facebook and Twitter…but only for a time. Eventually, what Microsoft is going through now is what will happen to Google, even if Google thinks it’s immune to Microsoftdom.

What is funny is buzz on its own would probably be dead in a few months but since they can attach it to Gmail it has a shot – not matter how badly designed:

In its urgency to offer a me-too product, Buzz confuses the read/unread email paradigm with real-time messaging stream like Twitter. It adds insult to injury by co-mingling various cognitive spheres like blogs, photos, videos, status, etc into thin soup delivered through an unceasing firehose. The final blow is the embarrassingly unfocused layout: the complete absence of visual hierarchy and progressive disclosure, overabundance of visual cues/links for action, and clumsiness in using white space to strip away meaningful information density.

I’m sure Google executives don’t think these are critical, as long as Buzz is free and can be leveraged through Google’s other widely used properties. If Buzz was a startup product, it would have died shortly. But when you expose it by default to 175 million users, who needs to worry about design and delighting users!

If this takes you back to the ’90s, to a place called Redmond, you’re not alone. Buzz wasn’t an accident. Get used to it.

To top it all off though is their arrogance. Google is so big, rich and feeling invincible that they tend to act like if you don’t like it then stuff it. Funny thing is some people did – their Gmail account anyway. I actually had a few friends email me to say that after the buzz fiasco they were dumping their Gmail account. Nice. Eric is not known for caring about what anyone thinks anyway – let alone his customers:

For a guy who threw a fit when personal details about where he lives and how much money he makes were revealed — using public information sources — by a CNET writer (which resulted in a ban on contact with the publication that was later lifted), this is a pretty laissez-faire response to the concerns of Google Buzz users. And Schmidt has made similar statements about privacy before. Hey Eric — would it be so hard to just say “We’re sorry?” You can say it now, or you can tell it to the FTC.

Google needs to get back to actually building cool things, making what they have better and realizing that no one cares for their arrogance and forced product adoption.

Thrilla in Manila!

4343125846_e8e61eb4ab_oI am in Manila this week cranking away and wondering how I might get invited back on TWIA. Might have to grovel soon…

Anyway. Lots going on.

First off is a developer event with Globe Labs tomorrow night. Looking forward to meeting people and seeing how I can help. While I was walking through Greenbelt this afternoon I saw this QIR sign for BB users of Globe. I meant to try it but I am not on Globe. Cool to see this type of stuff happening.

Thursday night I will be at roofcamp #6 – looks to be fun. Hope to meet lots of new folks there.

The rest of the week is chock full of meetings.

I have ran into Brian of aloo.ph finally. I was trying to figure out who was behind aloo.ph but it took Mohan over at e27 to make the connection for me. Six degrees of Mohan lately. We had lunch at Myron’s Place in Greenbelt 5. I must say it was a tasty steak and a nice place to chill.

Good call Brian!

Well that is it for now. Gotta get back to work.

Hope to see people at some of the events over the next few days.

cya

Conviction

One of the things I notice is many people in this world seem to be lacking any sort of conviction. See dictionary:

3 a : a strong persuasion or belief

Let me give you some examples. I was in Manila sometime back and ran into one of the guys who is supposedly part of the volunteer Firefox association – some sort of part-time FF evangelist. Cool. While showing me something on his computer I noticed he happened to be using Chrome. I was like dude – get a clue. Either use FF or don’t say you are a FF evangelist. Pretty simple stuff. This guy lacked any sort of conviction whatsoever. Pathetic.

I remember in the early days of my enterprise software career competing with MSFT and having to run around using a Windoze laptop – so we started using Mac, Linux, and even Solaris just to show that if we were going to preach about a world without MSFT then we better be able to practice what we preach.

Whatever. Stallman – you gotta love this guy. If this is not the most direct example of conviction I don’t know what is.

http://richard.stallman.usesthis.com/

As creator of GNU this guy seriously lives what he preaches:

I am using a Lemote Yeelong, a netbook with a Loongson chip and a 9-inch display. This is my only computer, and I use it all the time. I chose it because I can run it with 100% free software even at the BIOS level.

Stunning.

I love this:

I spend most of my time using Emacs. I run it on a text console, so that I don’t have to worry about accidentally touching the mouse-pad and moving the pointer, which would be a nuisance. I read and send mail with Emacs (mail is what I do most of the time).

I switch to the X console when I need to do something graphical, such as look at an image or a PDF file.

Most of the time I do not have an Internet connection. Once or twice or maybe three times a day I connect and transfer mail in and out. Before sending mail, I always review and revise the outgoing messages. That gives me a chance to catch mistakes and faux pas.

Loosely translated – I like to get work done rather than play around with twitter and FB.

Stallman rocks. Enuff said!

Kudos to Monster and Dynamic (Monster Thailand)

Usually when people write about products or product companies they are bitching. I have done it many times myself but for this post I will be offering up my gratitude for a job well done. About 4 months back I picked up some Dr. Dre Beats Headphones. They rock. Amazing bass, great noise canceling, comfortable, great gadgets (iPhone wire) and look cool. They also fold up nicely. About a month ago they cracked on me – right near where the hardware is for the slider mechanism. Clearly it is a defect or a design flaw since I am not the only one to have experienced this.

I went to the Monster website and I was NOT able to use the support form. Kept bombing on me – one little niggle I guess. Finally I got through and received an email saying I needed to contact the distributor in the country I purchased them. With this I do have a complaint though – what if you are traveling or on holiday – how would you get your headphones replaced? I do think Monster is a big enough company to deal with this issue and should address it. Meaning I should be able to get my Monster equipment replaced at any Monster deal. Globalization folks – get with the program.

Other than that all I have is praise.

I emailed the distributor in Bangkok, Thailand – Dynamic and they quickly replied saying I just needed to bring in the headphones with my receipt for a replacement. Problem was I could not find my receipt. I found my credit card statement and emailed that and explained where I had bought them since there are not many places in Thailand to buy them. The manager emailed me back to say no problem and to bring them in.

I did. Within 5 mins I was out the door with my brand new pair. I will note they are clearly the 2nd generation with a new ear cup design and the slider has been reworked. The plastic even feels different so it must mean they had problem with the 1st gen. Good for me – I got a new set and the new design. They sounds awesome!

Thanks to Monster and Dynamic for awesome customer service. Hard to come by these days!

Nokia will get attacked on all fronts!

http://gigaom.com/2010/02/02/are-emerging-markets-enough-to-fuel-nokias-ovi-store/

I noticed the photo was of a Monk in Bangkok so I assumed when the author is discussing emerging markets he is also talking about Thailand. Funny thing I was out phone shopping with a friend this past weekend in Bangkok and noticed how RIM is coming out of nowhere to suddenly be the popular phone in Thailand. Almost similar to the way BlackBerry is popular in Indonesia. The handsets are actually in an affordable range for middle-class Thais and they can be purchased used as well. What really cements the deal are pre-pay monthly data plans that are as low as 10USD a month. The all you can eat plan is actually under 20USD a month. Given all this I was not surprised to see all the hip Thais using a BB on the skytrain and it appears to quickly be creeping into the professional space.

This will be another front to fight for Nokia. iPhones are too expensive for most of the emerging markets space but you seem them all over. BB is all over Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and spreading its wings but the cheap Chinese knock-offs that you can buy for under 50USD are starting to make a dent. Android is a toy around SEA but will obviously grow when there are cheaper versions of handsets available.

All of this spells trouble for Nokia. Sure, they might sell millions of 20USD phones, but that is not a position of strength in my opinion. On the high-end they are getting crushed by Apple, RIM, and Google but it is mostly because the current crop of high-end Nokia phones are just plain terrible. The N900 looks cool but even if you had the money for one it is almost impossible to find one. I have been trying for weeks.

Making maps free and pushing on developers is a good move but it won’t stem the bleed. Nokia needs to get aggressive fast by pushing out some cool phones, coming up with a cooler developer program and partnering with more content players. Nokia has been in this predicament before but I think the competition is much stronger than ever.

Good luck Nokia – I still have my 40USD phone I keep for trashing around but none of your current models hold my interest much and now it looks like other consumers in the emerging markets are feeling the same way.