Archive for the ‘version’ tag
Doc Searls captures something valuable on the occasion of his 40th birthday. No, he’s not 40. He’s 65. But when you’re lucky enough to reach that time, you discover a version of what you learned at 40, namely that you feel remarkably like that time long ago when you first started acting your age.
Namely that age is invisible until you look in the mirror, and even then if you look into the eyes. They see you the same way, full of hope and arrogance and doubt and everything all wrapped together. The eyes are the giveaway to 40, and 65, and 12 for that matter. All of which reminded me of something when I read about Microsoft in Vanity Fair.
The usual obvious stuff was there: Microsoft was the richest failure of the modern age, all dressed up with nowhere to go as Google and Apple and Amazon and whatnot sucked up all the juice and left nothing but rind for Redmond. But what wasn’t so obvious was the carefully constructed attack on the Windows company’s ability to compete. Stack ranking, it turns out, is a cancer eating away at Microsoft’s ability to save itself.
What happens when you pit executives against each other for promotions, bonuses, and what used to be called Bill-time, is that every action the company takes is predicated on preserving some version of the status quo. There’s plenty of that in the Redmond DNA, what with the wildly successful Windows, Office, and Server Tools groups, both status and quo. Steve Sinofsky saved Windows from the Longhorn/Vista debacle by shipping something that promised and delivered. Coming from the Office group and its success at wiping out both WordPerfect and Lotus productivity suites, Sinofsky is now the putative heir to the throne once Ballmer fades.
But the undercurrent of the Vanity Fair analysis is that the toxic anti-innovation culture of the company trumps even Bill Gates’ unlikely return to the throne. Unlike a salesforce.com where each passing day engenders innovation as a way of validating the subscription model, Microsoft is a victim of its own success at the hands of its most successful. According to the article, executives withhold just enough vital information to maintain their own position of unique value. Where social is a requirement in a system that lives on innovation, Microsoft is forced to go against the grain to share in realtime.
Even its brilliant head of communication Frank Shaw finds it oddly difficult to work his way out of the box they’re in. He debunks the article with big numbers and the promise of Xbox, Kinect, and by implication but not direct attribution the Surface Tablet. He doesn’t answer the logical followup, wondering how much more innovation there could have been if the culture hadn’t crushed so much of the opportunity in the first place.
Instead, Frank’s data points have the opposite effect of reinforcing the central thesis of the article. If the Vanity Fair author got the context of C# wrong and understated the company’s growth through the so-called Lost Decade, Shaw left unchallenged the central logic of the article and its implications moving forward. Even more tellingly, the very tone and audacity of the article, its mainstream non-tech audience, would never have occurred in the past. Microsoft presented such momentum, clout, and inevitability, along with serious ad dollars, to make such a negative attack very dangerous to the health of media companies.
With October looming large as the locus of a shipping Windows 8, Surface Tablet, and Windows Phone, there should be plenty of marketing dollars in the pipeline. Why aren’t the media companies afraid of rocking the boat? Probably because Microsoft needs them more than the other way around, what with new product coming from Apple, Google, Amazon, and possibly social players. And analysts have to be careful not to overestimate Microsoft impact in the marketplace should miscalculation come back to haunt them the way Ballmer’s predictions about the viability of the iPhone did him.
What does Microsoft see when it looks in the mirror? Surely the bluster from Ballmer comes from that same well of hope, arrogance, and doubt, the confidence that Windows and Office and the Server division will finance eventual success in the innovation race. But the legacy revenue is an albatross difficult to shake off, with its devastating impact on the new thinking required to understand the new realtime mobile world.
Windows 8 may well stem the mind share drain brought on by the iPad, but subtle clues suggest otherwise. When Bill Gates pushed tablets into the marketplace 10 years ago, OneNote, the one application that took advantage of the interface, was hamstrung by the failure to provide a free runtime. It’s ironic but not surprising that OneNote today is the only Office application shipping for the iPad. The implementation was not perfect, but the underlying innovation was on target. The economic imperative of the Microsoft tax prevented the synergy of hardware and software from being realized.
As I type these words on a Bluetooth keyboard propping up an iPad, my 11-year old daughter asks me what I’m writing about. Microsoft, I say, and cool, she says. She means, yeah, Dad, whatever. She hasn’t and doesn’t use “Microsoft”, but rather “Apple.” Actually she does use Microsoft, as in XBox, and Skype as in her main communications channel while playing Mindcraft. And Google to research “everything.”
And in another post, Doc Searls broaches the idea of using Wikipedia as a ubiquitous storage point for blog posts, a place we can feel confident of persisting as a result of its canonical and increasingly authoritative momentum. Google honors it at or near the top of searches, taking the “everything” of a 12 year old to its next logical conclusion, and in the process skipping right over Microsoft’s window into the next generation. My 18-year old daughter is reported to be actually using email to communicate with a workgroup in college, but Exchange and Outlook it’s not. Gmail and GTalk video are merging into Google + and Hangouts. Facetime is the competition; Microsoft is odd man out.
Young at heart. Experienced at mind. It’s at the intersection of passion and wisdom where innovation occurs. As Vanity Fair provoked, the numbers don’t lie but they may not tell the truth. No matter how cool the Surface may be, and cool it is even in my vernacular, what’s cooler is smaller as the Nexus 7 is, and enterprise-ready as iPhone/iPad is, and push notification as Android and iOS are. As each platform matures, they move toward the center where notifications live.
On the next Gillmor Gang, I ask the musical question, “Can we predict the success or failure of tech companies and their products?” Can we look at RIM in the context of the iPhone and iPad double whammy and predict failure? Yes we can. Can we look at the Nexus 7 and predict growing success for Google +? Yes we can. Can we see the DNA of Microsoft undermining great products, huge revenue, and a legacy of inevitability? No we can’t. But stacked ranking is another story, one Ballmer can’t afford to let linger.
There are tablets, and then there’s a gaming tablet. The Wikipad, an Android handheld that promised to be the first mobile device with a gamepad built specifically for the device, is set to launch later this year. Venturebeat recently sat down to talk with CEO James Bower and President of Sales Fraser Townley in a local design office in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Here’s an edited version of our interview. For details on the Wikipad’s specifications, see our report from late last month.
Venturebeat: What is Wikipad, and what is the history of the company?
James Bower: Last year we (Bower, Matt Joynes, and one more founder) started thinking about what type of consumer device could make a difference. What’s something that we could do that would really get good market acceptance as well as being a game changer?
We all started getting smartphones and tablets and we’re playing games and whatnot, and it just doesn’t quite have that experience as when you’re playing with a controller. The touch experience is okay, but it doesn’t quite get you there. So we thought what can we do to take the concepts of tablets and create a much better gaming experience.
VB: When did the company get started?
JB: We officially formed the company in September. But as a team, we’ve been thinking through concepts, I would say, since back in the spring of 2011.
VB: What was the team doing back then if it wasn’t a company?
JB: Matt [Joynes], who is the chairman of the company, previously bought and sold companies. He and I partnered up on this, and he was twiddling with some of the business planning of creating a consumer device. I was involved with the restructuring of a company called Master Image, which was acquired and restructured and moved to California. That company created stereoscopic 3D for cinema and screens for tablets and smartphones.
The market dabbled in [3D in mobile devices] for a little bit. We saw LG come out with its 3D version (the LG Optimus 3D) of a phone, and the Nintendo 3DS, but there hasn’t been a tremendous market push to adopt this from a tablet and smartphone perspective. In some cases, from my standpoint frustratingly so, anyone who loves stereo sees this as a huge potential market that hasn’t really been opened yet. We see this in the television market; most TVs support stereoscopic in some form, and we see a lot of the market shifting to that.
The fact is, there’s a lot of 3D content that is still coming out. What’s different when it comes to a personal device, when you don’t have the challenges of putting glasses on that becomes a socially inhibiting event — you know, you’re not going to sit with friends and put glasses on in your house. It’s a little bit awkward. When you remove that barrier and enable stereoscopic 3D, it starts to change.
VB: So the original idea was to have the Wikipad be a stereoscopic tablet, and as time went on the 3D got pushed out?
JB: Yes, but it’s more than that. It’s the nature of how fast we can get to market with the price points that we need to get with the market research we’ve done, you know, for the first version [of the Wikipad]. [3D] is in our DNA, if you will, and in our future plans.
VB: Why the name “Wikipad? What exactly does that mean?
JB: ‘Wiki’ actually means fast [in Hawaiian], and so we were thinking about what are we going to create here? We’re going to create a tablet that’s really fast, that’s really edgy for the gaming community, and ‘wiki’ is such a representative name of what we want to be, which is a fast pad. And it’s catchy. Sometimes there’s an educational tone associated with it, and if we come out with a tablet that people may think has educational benefits as well, we start to hit a brand that’s accepted across a lot of mediums.
VB: If I’m not mistaken, you’re currently partnered with NVIDIA, as well as Gaikai. Does that mean Sony as well now, since they purchased Gaikai?
JB: Gaikai has been a great relationship for us, but we’re under NDA with Gaikai and Sony. That’s about all I can say right now, but we know what’s going on and we’re still close to the situation, and the transaction is just in the completion stage as we speak. Stay tuned.
VB: What about Sony Mobile Certification, where Playstation titles can play on some Android devices, mostly from Sony and now some select HTC smartphones?
JB: Sorry, I can’t comment.
VB: Fair enough. So you’re working with NVIDIA as well. Why go with Tegra?
JB: For a number of reasons — a few secret ones that I can’t talk about, and a few that I can. When it comes to a brand of processor that is close to the hearts of gamers, NVIDIA has been there a long time. They have a very good, integral brand; they have a very good relationship to content, and content is key for us, as it relates to our product. So there are a lot of advantages to Tegra as it relates to gameplay. They’ve been working on a lot of things behind the scenes that they haven’t talked about regarding gameplay. They also were one of the front-runners in the development of stereoscopic 3D support, integrating their 3D vision capabilities into the Tegra processor as well. So it became much more of a turnkey easy solution for our future as we look at stereoscopic 3D.
VB: So you’ll be working with them for 3D support?
This week, Google pushed out the knowledge graph worldwide, adding a carousel feature in instant knowledge to the search box. Your Gmail emails can now show up in your search results, if you want. I showed an example of why you really can’t let Google handle canonical issues. Google gave advice on how to do A/B testing and not mess up your rankings. Google also gave advice on how to handle multilingual web sites. Google is testing a smartphone optimized icon in the search results. Google AdWords may have their own internal campaign building tool.s Google Translate added a nifty feature taken from Google Goggles. Google AdSense is discontinuing paying by check for many publishers. Google now lets you merge your Google+ Local page with your Google+ Business Page. You must check out the Google logos this week for the Olympics, they are a lot of fun. That was this past week at the Search Engine Roundtable.
For the original iTunes version, click here.
Search Topics of Discussion:
- Google Knowledge Graph: Worldwide, Carousel & Instant
- Gmail In Search Results Test Concerns Users
- Here Is Why You Need To Manage Your Canonicals Right
- Google: A/B Testing? Don’t Cloak, Use 302s & Use Rel Canonicals
- Google: Do Not Force Users To A Specific Language
- Google Smartphone Optimized Icon In Search Results
- Google’s Internal Campaign Builder Tool
- Google Translate Now Translates Pictures
- Google AdSense Discontinuing Payments By Check
- How To Merge Google+ Business Page With Google+ Local
- Google’s Hurdles & Curiosity Olympics
Just a week or so ago, video discovery startup Fanhattan rolled out a new version of its app that includes the ability to add a personalized watchlist, as well as a whole bunch of new content partners, including NBC, HBO, The CW, and Cinemax. Not content to stop there, Fanhattan has just added another big new partner: Amazon Prime.
The very newest version of the Fanhattan app allows users to search across Amazon Prime titles, so they can see movies on that service alongside Netflix, iTunes, and other iPad video apps. It didn’t take long for Amazon’s library to become part of Fanhattan’s index — it was just last week that the Amazon Prime app made its way to the iPad. Amazon launched its Prime Instant Video service, which offers up more than 18,000 titles of video content as part of users’ $79 Prime subscription, which also gives them free two-day shipping on many items.
The addition of Amazon Prime brings the total number of content partners up to 15, and not only increases the number of titles available through Fanhattan’s video discovery service, but also provides another place to watch them. Since Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes in particular have a fair amount of overlap in their libraries, the new content partner provides additional variety for those who prefer its app features, or who maybe don’t have a Netflix account, but do pay for Prime.
And for Amazon, being part of Fanhattan provides one more way for viewers to search through its titles and find something they might like. Fanhattan provides a search and discovery mechanism that provides recommendations based on other titles that they’ve liked, as well as social connections, highlighting movies and TV shows that their friends have also enjoyed. It also provides a watchlist, which will let users tag movies to save and watch later.
Pulse is a popular news reading application for Android and iOS, and it’s now come to the web. A release from the official Pulse blog shows the process that went through adapting Pulse for the web, and how the new layout takes advantage of your full browser and focuses on bringing the beautiful image-based news feed to the web so the experience relates to the mobile version. The Pulse web version is fully synced with your mobile version as well, so you can keep your interests aligned no matter where you are.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
It was just recently that Apple announced it was replacing Google Maps with a ‘homemade’ product in its iOS 6 product due in September.
Now The Verge reports that the YouTube app found in other version of iOS will not be there either this time around. It won’t be excluded but you’ll have to work a little to get it.
Apple obviously did away with Google Maps in iOS 6, but another of the web giant’s biggest properties won’t be available as a default option, either. 9to5Mac noticed that the latest beta version of iOS 6 no longer includes the long-standard YouTube app, and Apple just told us that its license to include YouTube in iOS had expired. If you’re a heavy YouTube user, fear not — Apple also confirmed that YouTube will work in Safari and also noted that Google is making a new YouTube app that will be available in the App Store.
It’s no secret that the two companies who once were at least cordial in their dealings are now becoming more and more separate as time goes by. It only makes sense since Google has that little thorn called Android in the side of Apple’s drive to own the mobile world. It can be argued that Apple is even cobbling together a search system of sorts.
Android has certainly made enough progress in recent years and trouble rumbling amongst carriers about the size of the subsidies they pay to Apple for the privilege of selling the iPhone are sore spots for the mobile leader. Sure there is talk about Android market share but the reality is that Android has always been playing catch up in usability when compared to Apple. Now with Jelly Bean on the horizon (which may get to double digits of Android devices having it if we give it 18 or so months (sarcasm is free today)) Google is getting closer so Apple may be saying that it is truly time to go their separate ways.
What do you think about about the native YouTube app being removed from iOS 6? Big deal? No big deal?
Four years after introducing iGoogle mobile, Google has officially discontinued the mobile version of iGoogle.
As many of you know…
Four years after introducing iGoogle mobile, Google has officially discontinued the mobile version of iGoogle.
As many of you know, Google will be discontinuing iGoogle completely in 2013 and users are not happy. iGoogle mobile was officially dropped on July 31st but I think it didn’t stop working until a few days ago and that is when users began complaining.
A Google Web Search Help thread has complaints that although the mobile version doesn’t work, you should be able to access the desktop version from your mobile device. Right now, it redirects you to the Google search mobile home page and gives you no way to access iGoogle.
Again, iGoogle desktop is shutting down November 1, 2013.
Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help.
Mac: The alpha version of Tweetbot has received a big update today that adds Tweetdeck-style column view, a new menu bar icon, and a few more smaller tweaks. More »