Now Playing Tracks

The Yo! that broke the camel’s heart.

Tomorrow my beloved note taking app Springpad is closing shop. This on the backdrop of hearing that the truly brilliant app Yo! has somehow seeded $1M in funding - makes my blood boil.  I honestly don’t know already whether the world has become completely superficial, or stupid.

And this is following a number of shallow technologies being bought at exorbitant prices, and deeper technologies being sold for peanuts (and I apologize in advance to all the Israeli companies among you - while it makes me proud from a national perspective - it makes me crazy on a professional level). 

The kicker obviously being Whatsapp’s LAUGHABLE and ridiculous purchase price of $19B. Yeah yeah userbase blah blah.  It’s a silly technology-less messaging app that any computer science graduate could write in just a couple more hours than Yo! (8 hours BTW, in case you’re wondering).

It seems these days if an application doesn’t have a mobile or social element to it, then it’s completely overlooked.

I’m constantly hearing about companies with deeply intelligent and complex technology closing down because of lack of funding.  Or M&A offers that are insulting for such brilliant and difficult R&D ventures.

I know I sound like a player hater, but I’m just NOT GETTING IT.

Part of me thinks it’s OUR FAULT.  That we’re communicating that this is what WE WANT, or that we think this is warranted.

$19 billion dollars.  An amount that could likely fund clean water and vaccinations in all of Africa combined for the next 5 years. 

But really $1 million dollars?

Yo, what’s wrong with us?

Google+ - 500 Million Strong…and Growing

I recently read that Google+, while perceived by many to be a failing enterprise, has actually passed the half a billion user mark.

I’m going to dive into why and how I think they got this right.

  • 1. Google Hangouts. No one can dispute that Google is a great company from a technology perspective. And I think at first the value of this tool wasn’t so apparent, and I will dive in further to other tools like Google Hangout in a post I’m putting together (such as Join.me & others). I believe the ease in which you can start a group conversion - public or private, even ad hoc with screen sharing & even recording - has actually been a real game changer for Google+ & adoption catalyst for many users. It has drawn many people in, and has given Google+ a real fresh value vs. its competitors. 
  • 2. Mobile Apps. Google did a phenomenal job of launching both the site & mobile apps simultaneously, which links back to my previous post of mobile apps to support desktop apps. But they didn’t stop there. They worked hard behind the scenes to constantly improve those apps, and I can honestly say that from a UX perspective, my Google+ apps are probably my favorite apps (Android & iPad) today. They’re beautiful & fully featured, and with the caliber of users, I often find myself catching up on news & such via Google+ even over Flipboard (which provides a similar UX to me). 
  • 3. Communities, Pages & More. Combining features from other successful social networks, and while this doesn’t demonstrate much originality, it does demonstrate Google’s desire to really provide its users with the maximum.  Taking the communities idea from Linkedin, and pages from Facebook, Google+ now enables companies to really leverage Google+ as a viable alternative to other tools.
  • 4. Controlled Sharing. With many social sites these days, there is a real concern about loss of control, and privacy.  I think from early on Google+ did a really good job of addressing this issue, especially when it comes to photos, and other sensitive material that it is often times quite difficult to understand how to limit visibility on with other sites.  The circles and the quick settings, enable people to feel confident that their posts are being viewed by the people they’d like to have see them.
  • 5. Seamless Integration & Instant Upload.  Google+ definitely learned its lesson from the whole Google Buzz debacle.  They learned that if people want to use your tool, they will, and you don’t have to shove it down their throat.  While leveraging their massive Gmail user base, they unintrusively provide a quick link in the corner, next to the rest of the quick links, for those interested in quick access.  Those who aren’t interested, can opt out.  Another perk is the instant upload that comes built-in with the mobile app.  Not sure if this is just for Android or all mobile devices, but this is probably one of my favorite features.  In contrast to DropBox, that provides a similar option, but doesn’t provide you with more space to take advantage of this perk, Google+ doesn’t limit your upload (or hasn’t yet for me at least - so I’m guessing the capacity is pretty large).

I’m happy to see that Google have learned lessons from past mistakes, and are taking the user experience to heart.  I think this tool definitely is a plus in their direction following previous flops such as Google Wave and Google Buzz (whose technology they definitely leveraged to make this tool a real success).

Android 4.0.4, eh?

If there’s something that really gets my blood boiling it’s seeing articles about Android 4.0.4 rolling out.

I think Jason Perlow couldn’t have put it better in his article - I’m sick to death of Android published in ZDNet yesterday.

He couldn’t have expressed my sentiments more exactly.  [Which I mentioned in a previous post of mine.]

How is it possible that 4.0.4 is rolling out for devices, when some devices haven’t even officially seen 4.0 yet?! Flagship devices at that!  

And the release of Android 5.0 (Jellybean) is looming over our heads, just a couple months away.

Updates have simply become a complete joke.

I’m guessing PLENTY of devices won’t even see ICS before Jellybean is rolled out.  

I have a Samsung Galaxy S II - the winner of Phone of the Year at the MWC - Samsung’s pride of 2011 - and the only taste of ICS I can currently have is by rooting and installing a Cyanogen 9 nightly build that isn’t even stable yet, and needs a few bug fixes.  Are you effing kidding me?

I thought it was due to the fact that I had a non-Nexus device (also mentioned in a previous post) - and per Perlow’s article, there isn’t much of an advantage there anymore either (he owns a Galaxy Nexus).

I’m looking into purchasing a tablet right now, and when I saw Android enthusiast Chris Soyars tweet this a couple of days ago - I knew that Android may be in a losing battle.

Being an Android enthusiast myself (not of the Jason Perlow and Chris Soyars caliber, of course), but love the openness, the flexibility and all of the rest of the Android specialties like widgets and more - but when you shell out $500 or more for a phone you expect to receive timely updates and upgrades.  I just feel so shafted right now.

I too have made the decision Jason made - and while I’m not currently planning on upgrading my phone (and am even quite relieved I ended up selling my HTC Sensation for the GSII), I will likely be purchasing an iPad 3 (despite considering the Asus Transformer Prime for a bit), because the Apple user experience is just infinitely better.  

It really saddens me, because I have had high hopes for Android.

A snippet from Jason Perlow’s article (really suggest reading it).

Back in October of last year, I wrote a impassioned response to James Kendrick’s piece “After iPhone 4S, Android Just Feels Wrong.”

In that article I cited many of the strengths of Android — the openness, the flexibility, the relative independence the user has from otherwise highly controlled ecosystems of its competitors. But I also addressed the flaws, ones I thought were eventually going to be ironed out with future OS releases and improved management of the Android ecosystem.

And at the time, I thought the strengths of Android vastly outweighed the flaws.

I’ve come to the conclusion that in an ideal world, the idea of an Android OS, application and manufacturer ecosystem that is perfectly managed would indeed make it the strongest of all the mobile OS offerings.

However, the reality is that we’re not living in an ideal world, and the flaws are seriously hampering qualitative advancements such as OS stability, overall platform standardization and maintenance, all of which ultimately have a negative impact on Android’s users and application developers.

Read Full Article »>

Milk Inc. Staff Snatched Up by Google. The plot thickens.

If previously, I was only somewhat interested in what Milk does, and why Google Ventures was interested enough to invest in them (which I just assumed was because of Kevin Rose - also the founder of Digg.com), well now that Google has apparently snatched them up I’m indeed intrigued. From their tweets I just figured they’re another mobile game. developer - and didn’t really think about it much more. But following this move, I can only guess based on the success of companies like Zynga and the choice to transition the Google Market to “Google Play”, this may be intimating something a bit deeper about where Google may be heading…

Staying tuned…

"@kevinrose: It’s official, I’m joining Google! More details here: https://t.co/fXJjZsVq

I couldn’t be more pleased to hear about the planned 7” Nexus Tab, more because of the perfect timing in MY life than anything else.

While I’ve come to the conclusion that I clearly need some kind of tablet device - since basically everything I do online these days I do on my mobile - and if I can’t do it on my mobile a) it seriously annoys me [note to Google+ devs - can’t update Google+ pages from mobile apps] and b) I’ll likely procrastinate on the non-mobile accessible task until I can spare the 35 minutes of doing whatever annoying task on my laptop [of which 30 minutes are wasted just on the startup and shutdown of Windows 7].

To this end, I have even considered an iPad 2 (inconceivable!) - when the price goes down, but bottom line is, I just don’t want to shell out more than $200 on a secondary or even tertiary device; making any higher end Android tablet on the market out of the question.

So literally, just yesterday, I decided on the B&N Tablet - but following my less than agreeable experience with a non-Nexus device, as much as I love the Galaxy S II’s capabilities - it leaves much to be desired from an update and bloatware perspective.

In unprecedented perfect timing - along comes the Nexus Tab announcement with an almost unbelievable price tag.

This is exactly what I’ve been waiting for - yes, I am the untapped market only Amazon and Barnes & Noble had the foresight to cater to.

And now Goliath Google.

To Tumblr, Love Pixel Union