Category Archives: Google

No, app developers aren’t “switching” from iPhone to Android

Learning to write link baiting headlines is a very good method of learning how to spot them. And I expect that the latest AdMob report on mobile application development will draw a few linkbaiting headlines, such as MobileMarketingWatch’s “AdMob: 70% Of iPhone Developers Switching To Android“.

It’s good link bait, but it’s simply not true. In fact, what the AdMob report [PDF] actually says is:

  • More than 70% of iPhone devs plan to develop for Android over the next 6 months
  • Close to half of Android devs (48%) plan to develop for iPhone in the next 6 months

So in other words, it’s not a question of “switching” to Android. As is entirely sensible, developers are looking to do cross-platform work. That’s why almost half of the Android developers surveyed plan on developing for iPhone, too.

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Why Google is doomed, redux

Tim Bray, on how he got hired by Google:

“The process started with Dan Morrill who led me to Mike Winton who led me through the notorious Google Interview Process. I think I talked to eleven people in the course of my day there, failing one logic puzzle but acing the what-does-a-browser-actually-do test. Then they made an offer and I accepted and here I am. By “here” I mean Vancouver; I’ll be working remotely.”

Think about that for a second: Tim Bray, a man who co-edited the XML and XML namespace specs, who is smart enough to have been Tim Berners-Lee’s appointee on to the W3C Technical Architecture Group, who co-chaired the Atompub Working Group of the IETF… had to do some logic puzzles to get a job at Google.

Either they were serious, and he could have failed the tests and not got the job, in which case they are stupid; or they made him jump through hoops for form’s sake, in which case they were wasting the time of a super-smart guy (as well as their own).

Words actually fail me.

(Photo by Rob Goodlatte)

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Is crapware invading Android?

One of the things that fascinates me about the way that the smartphone market is developing is whether it is following a similar path to the PC market. It’s easy to see the conflict between Apple and Google, for example, as a re-run of Apple versus Microsoft – and draw the conclusion that the end result will be similar.

I don’t think the analogy holds as strongly as some commentators believe, but there are some interesting areas where Android looks increasingly like Windows. One example of this a what some companies would call “value-added software”, which consumers often call “crapware”: additional software which customises the user experience or (in theory) adds additional “free” functionality to the supplied product.

On Android, this manifests itself as “user experiences” like HTC‘s SenseUI, but it’s not only manufacturers that want to play this game. Consider, too, the kinds of software added by networks like Vodafone:

“Vodafone has flagged up the forthcoming release of HTC’s Android-based smartphones Legend and Desire on its network next month.Legend will come with Vodafone’s 360 content and social networking portal pre-loaded.”

And this is just the start. The temptation for networks to “differentiate” themselves by skinning, amending and otherwise tampering with Android is going to be pretty intense – they’ve done much the same in the past with customised versions of non-smart phones, and they’ll do the same again with the “open” platform of Android.

Of course, the problem with this “value add” is that it rarely adds any value for the customer. The “problems” these kinds of add-ons are designed to solve are usually more to do with operator revenue than customer need.

Thus, Android is beginning its spiral into the world of crapware, software which serves no real purpose other than to give marketing people a “differentiator” which doesn’t really meet a customer need. And just as it has on the PC, the situation will get worse before it gets better – with the unfortunate issue that crapware is even harder to get rid of on a phone than it is on a computer.

(Image from louisvolant)

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Guess again

Another YouTube Revenue Guess: $1 Billion in 2011:

Since Google releases almost no information about YouTube’s financial performance, the best we can do is make educated guesses. Here’s another one: The word’s biggest video site will be generating more than $1.1 billion in revenue by 2011, and Google will keep about $700 million of that.That estimate comes from Citigroup’s C Mark Mahaney, who notes that the site continues to grow, and that it’s placing more ads on more videos. No news there.Mahaney is good enough to explain the logic behind his estimate, and it’s a fairly simple one: He takes MySpace’s revenue-to-page view ratio and applies to YouTube.

So he makes a guess about MySpace’s CPM (he notes it’s “estimated”), applies a guess that this *might* be similar for YouTube (ignoring the fact that a video site is not the same as a social network site), guesses that the mix between CPM and CPC ads is the same on both sites, and then guesses that comScore’s figures are correct. He then throws into the mix a complete guess on YouTube’s costs ($300 million sounds massively low)… and publishes this as “analysis”?

How much are CItigroup’s clients paying for this, exactly?

Good luck with making money from Android apps

Android App Store Is 57% Free Compared to Apple’s 25% – app stores – Gizmodo:

App store analytics firm Distimo recently released a bunch of juicy info about the major mobile app stores, and the results are pretty interesting. For one, Android has a much higher proportion of free apps.

Or, to put it another way, you’ve got even less chance of making money on Android than you have on iPhone.

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Sergey Brin on Google Buzz

Sergey Brin On His Six Months Using Google Buzz:

“Extracting signal from noise is one of our core competencies, it’s one of the key things we do in our web search product every day. And I think that now peoples’ personal communications are getting to be on a scale comparable to that of web search, so those technologies are becoming far more critical.”

And this is the bit that I don’t understand about Google Buzz: There are few actual tools to manage the flow of information you’re going to get from it. There’s no tagging of shared items to help filtering. You can’t filter out one type of content from someone you follow, so (for example) you can’t hide Twitters that you might already see in Twitter. And so on.

Overall, I’m fairly upbeat on Buzz as a long-term project. It’s easier to understand and use that the abomination that is Google Wave, and once the initial shouting has stopped, it’s a useful method of link-sharing to contacts. Viewed that way, rather than as some kind of Twitter/Facebook competitor, it’s a nice add-on to Gmail.

And, of course, it will help a lot when every other Buzz isn’t about Buzz.

(Photo of Sergey Brin by jdlasica)

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HTC Bravo head-to-head with Google Nexus One?

When I predicted that Google wouldn’t launch its own phone, one of the reasons I believed it was unlikely was that everything pointed to it being a rebadged HTC Bravo (otherwise known as the HTC Passion). While I was wrong about Google launching its own phone, I was right about the rebadge job – and it seems that it may be the Bravo, not the Nexus One, which is heading into the UK retail market.

The HTC Bravo, of course, will feature the company’s Sense UI, as featured on the HTC Hero (video below).

As I said prior to Nexus One’s launch, the one thing that Google can’t do is offer a phone which has “better” Android software on it, which means that its partners get to offer customised and in some cases better UIs. This is the problem that Google faces: Unlike Apple with its iPhone, it doesn’t own the hardware and software.

The rumours are that the HTC Bravo will launch in the UK on Orange with others to follow. Certainly, I’d expect more Bravo’s to be sold than Nexus Ones.

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Andy Ihnatko sums up the difference between iPad and Android

Otherwise, the release of the iPad marks a classic battle between two philosophies:

Is it better to have a device that is loaded with bullet-pointable features?

Or is it better to have a device that has a shorter list of specs … but which does everything right?

That’s not a loaded question. It’s the key difference between the Android and iPhone operating systems. It’ll also define the difference between a netbook and an iPad. The former looks great on paper. The Apple product looks great when you’re actually trying one out firsthand.

A nice summary from Andy.

Posted via web from Technovia Notebook

Translating Google

Jeff Jarvis fires off a couple of questions in an apartment in Davos to the Googlers. Here are Eric Schmidt’s answers, with some handy translations from Google-speak.

Schmidt:

Phones: Will they have a tablet? “You might want to tell me what the difference is between a large phone and a tablet,” Schmidt said.

Translation:

You bet. No way will we allow those fuckers in Cupertino to leverage Quattro Wireless into our turf. No fucking way.

Schmidt:

How will they make money on phones? “Not to worry,” Schmidt said. “We do not charge for Android because we can make money in other contexts.”

Translation:

We will leverage our massive monopoly in online advertising to cross-subsidise mobile handset development. By the time the DoJ notices what we’re doing, hopefully the competition will be dead and we’ll rule. There’s no way we’re giving Apple, Microsoft, or anyone else the chance to undermine our ad sales. I studied the Microsoft playbook, and it worked for them for 20 years. Why not for us?

Schmidt:

“In the last year, Chad managed to figure out a way to make money using partners and their video content on YouTube,”

Translation:

Chad’s going to charge for content and stick it behind a paywall. You can do that if you have premium content. That’s What Google Would Do, Jeff, we just forgot to tell you that bit before you wrote your book.

(Photo by World Economic Forum)

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Tumblr is Apple, Posterous is Google

Why Tumblr is kicking Posterous’s ass « PEG on Tech:

“The answer is as easy as it is counter-intuitive: Tumblr is a New York company and Posterous is a Silicon Valley company.

Or, to put it another way: Posterous is an engineered product, while Tumblr is a designed product.”

This perfectly encapsulates the difference between Apple and Google’s approach to design. At Google, product development is engineer-led, as you can see from the spartan search page, the crazy experiment that is Google Wave.

At Apple, product development is design led. Engineering is beautiful, but it serves the design rather than being pasted on top of the design.

I’m a massive fan of the approach to design and blogging that Tumblr takes. If I was starting to blog today, what I’d start with would look an awful lot more like Tumblr than WordPress.

(Incidentally, if you want to follow me on Tumblr, you can do so here. What I tend to post are shortcuts, small quotes, pictures… the kinds of things which don’t merit a full post here, but which I think are worth drawing attention to because they are interesting, or lovely.)

(Photo by laurenmarek)

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