Tag Archives | Google

Phineas J. Whoopee, You’re Like Google

TIME’s James Poniewozik makes a point that seems obvious, how that I think of it: Tennessee Tuxedo, the semi-educational 1960s TV cartoon starring Don Adams as a penguin, featured elements that are uncannily reminiscent of Google and the iPad.


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The Slippery Slope of Android Differentiation

I know I’ve been piling on Android as of late, but I just can’t ignore comments from Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha. Speaking to the Verge at CES on Wednesday, Jha says that phone makers will continue to skin Google’s operating system with their own interfaces, making the possibility of a purer Android experience seem more remote than ever.

Motorola “has to make money” he says, and “the vast majority of the changes we make to the OS are to meet the requirements that carriers have”. Wait, haven’t we heard this before? On Monday, I wrote that Google no longer has any control over Android, ceding most of it to carriers and it seems, the manufacturer as well.

The problem is that there are just too many Android phones. That makes phones from different manufacturers awfully similar, which makes it hard for any one model to sell well based on sheer distinctiveness. So carriers layer their own user interface tweaks over Android in an attempt to be different.

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Which is It, Google? Is Android Open or Not?

Lately, it’s not often that I agree with MG Siegler. If you’ve read my work elsewhere, you know I’ve taken issue with some of his coverage of Apple.

But his post explaining his distaste for Android is probably the most cogent argument so far why the platform is falling so far short of its potential.

Android was built on a foundation of good intentions. The platform was supposed to usher in a new mobile era where the power was given to the user to make their device their own. No walled gardens, no censorship, no limits. Supporters of the platform heralded its “openness,” deriding Apple and others for their top-town controlled approach.

It sounded too good to be true, and it pretty much was. Carriers balked at giving up that control and quickly Android became just as tightly controlled as iOS or any other mobile platform. And this is directly a result of Google’s business decisions in the company’s quest for Android market domination.

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Google Makes a Mess With King Arthur Flour

[UPDATE: Google isn’t just eating crow about this, but is also punishing itself, by demoting Chrome in Google search results. According to a company statement:

We’ve investigated and are taking manual action to demote www.google.com/chrome and lower the site’s PageRank for a period of at least 60 days. We strive to enforce Google’s webmaster guidelines consistently in order to provide better search results for users. While Google did not authorize this campaign, and we can find no remaining violations of our webmaster guidelines, we believe Google should be held to a higher standard, so we have taken stricter action than we would against a typical site.

As I explain below, I think that the possibility of skewed search results was only one iffy aspect of this campaign, but it’s good to see Google hold itself accountable.]

Yesterday, Aaron Wall and Danny Sullivan reported on an odd Google marketing campaign–okay, a troubling one–that apparently involved Google paying bloggers to publish posts that embedded a Google video featuring Vermont flour maker King Arthur Flour. The effort got mentions of Chrome onto hundreds of blogs–albeit hasty, lame references in at least some cases–and also looked like it might have been designed to juice Chrome’s Google rankings.

Today, Google is disowning the campaign, which it says was conducted without its knowledge by a company with the apt name Unruly Media. Unruly says that it didn’t intend to affect search rankings. But even if it didn’t, the notion of Google products being promoted through subsidized blog posts–abysmal subsidized blog posts–is painfully cheesy.

(It reminds me of Ogilvy’s plans to pay bloggers to write about LG Electronics, which I wrote about recently.)

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The Clopen World of Android

Marketing Land’s Danny Sullivan has a nice summary of the state of Android–not really open, yet not closed, either: 
 

Imagine if when Windows 7 came out, it was only offered on only one particular Dell computer. It was also uncertain when or if other computers, including those made by Dell, would ever be able to upgrade to it. Welcome to the “clopen” world of Android. 

 
 Another choice quote:
 

 If Android 4 was a real ice cream sandwich, it might melt long before it was delivered to customers.


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This Dumb Year: The 52 Lamest Moments in Tech 2011

Americans, as Winston Churchill famously pointed out, can be counted on to do the right thing–after exhausting all other possibilities. It’s the same deal with tech companies. The wonders they bring us are many, varied, and never-ending, but they’ve always been accompanied by an equally rich assortment of misadventures and wrongheaded ideas. The successes and failures feed off each other, propelling the entire industry forward in herky-jerky, unpredictable fashion.

It may just be me, but I can’t remember many years as peculiar as 2o11 turned out to be for this business. Even demonstrably gifted and sensible people like Netflix’s Reed Hastings seemed to fall victim to a fever that made them do strange, ill-advised things. I hope that 2012 is a tad less weird, but 2011 has been fascinating to cover, and never, ever boring.

In hallowed Technologizer tradition, it’s time to recap the year in dumb. Celebrities, corporate intrigue, sex, violence–they’re all here. Gird yourself, people: Things are about to get really stupid.

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So Apparently Google+ Isn’t Dead

Apparently nobody really knows whether Google+ is dead or not. One day, we’re told its a “ghost town,” the next day somebody claims Google+ is here to stay. And back and forth and back and forth it goes…

Enter the latest installment in this argument: Google+ will surpass 400 million users by 2012. This comes from an independent analysis by Paul Allen, founder of Ancestry.com and the self-appointed “unofficial statistician” of the service. He says that growth of the service has really accelerated in recent weeks. This growth rate would put it not far behind Facebook in second place, with about half the users of its bigger competitor.

Mind you its taken Facebook seven years to get to that number. Google+ will get to about half that in just 18 months. That’s some growth! What’s driving this? It could be the popularity of Android. It’s easy to register for Google+ from Android devices, and cool features like automatic syncing of pictures with the service may be a draw.

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More Google+ Tweaks

Google has announced several significant improvements to Google+.

(The two I most want to see are both based on my particular needs. I’m looking forward to the feature that Google has announced which will let you transfer a Gmail-based Google+ identity over to one that uses Google Apps, so I can use my Technologizer Google Apps account for Google+ without losing my current Circles and friends. And I desperately want Google+–any version of Google+–to work better on an iPad. In fact, since I started using an iPad 2 most of the time, my G+ usages has dropped by about 95%. I just can’t make it work reliably.)

 

 


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Non-Predictions and Google’s Non-War on Small Business

Two pieces by me published elsewhere:

 


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