Googolopoly

16 04 2008

Saw this and chuckled…

The guys from Box.net came up with this clever game of googlopoly…

I assume that they priced each property on their market value in relation to google’s share….

If anything – very creative…even though this has nothing to do with Box.net….shouldn’t they be figuring out how to battle Google’s G Drive or how to beat out YouSendIt’s user base?

Just my $.02..

-SD

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GPhone vs. iPhone?

24 08 2007

A lot of this post will be based on a rumor proliferated by rediff news, a popular Indian news source, which claimed that Google will be releasing the new GPhone in 2 weeks.  They even provided a picture to go along with their claim which shows that Google has taken an iPhone approach in their user interface.

Now we have to ask the question who would realistically win in a battle of the GPhone versus the iPhone.  Granted the iPhone has already gotten a headstart and there has been no confirmation that Google is even coming out with a phone, although numerous sources indicate that Google has hired a plethora of people to work on this “secret” project.  But what’s with all the secrecy.  Steve Jobs was secret about the iPhone until his keynote when he indicated that it won’t be available for another 6 months or so.  As a result, it garnered a ton of people getting interest, companies began to develop apps, and the rest was history.

I had a chance to open an iPhone yesterday and sync it up and I must say, I was thoroughly impressed.  Apple and AT&T created such an amazing integration with the product, that you may begin to believe that cellular technology in America is actually getting pretty good.  Here are some of the key highlights:

  • Uses iTunes as a platform –  Apple was extremely smart in sticking to their core products.  They know that they have a ton of people using iTunes both on Windows/Mac consequently resulting in placing the entire integration on that platform.  I.E. you plug in your iPhone and activate your SIM card, sign up for a data plan, all on iTunes
  • SIM Cards come preinstalled – This was an interesting move in that they simply disable your current SIM card and start from scratch.  It solves any integration issues with new technology – i.e. if you had a razr 2G sim card and then transfer to a 3G phone.  A bit more expensive for AT&T but with the iPhone’s margin’s and royalty fees, I’m sure it’s not a big issue
  • Activation takes 3 minutes – Speed with activation is key.  One of the things I hate about lithium battery’s is that you have to charge it – you can’t use it out of the box.  The iPhone comes charged well with everything at your fingertips

So how can the GPhone compete?  What does Google have in it’s arsenal that makes it superior to the iPhone.  Well, if Google can come up with an OS is as visually appealing, easy to use, and cheaper it would be a better product.  Additionally, if it can utilize its user base with Gtalk, Gmail and finally get some traction on their office suite products, the GPhone could be ideal.  But the biggest factor would be if it can be compatible with any carrier.  The iPhone was revolutionary as a device, not as a phone in my opinion.  It did not change the way we use our phone or change the way America used cell phones.  If the GPhone can change the way cell phone technology works/handled, I can see this thing really taking off….

Even though this is for Microsoft…I thought this was funny:

Just my $.02…

-SD





Google Maps embeds like YouTube

21 08 2007

UPDATE: In an attempt to embed this code onto wordpress, I was unsuccessful. Usually most blogging software is able to accept an <iframe> tag onto their code but somehow it simply gives me an external link back to the page. I’ll keep working on it but for right now, YouTube’s simple URL embedding is much simpler.

Google launched a simple feature today to their successful Local product which enables bloggers to embed maps onto their site. For instance, if you want to mention how far one place is from the other, or what spots you visited this past weekend, you can do so using a google map. Just as YouTube videos got extremely popular by being easily embedded in blogging sites, maps hopes to do the same.

In my opinion, Google Maps has been the most successful non-search product that Google has come out with. I’ve definitely been the first one to say that they like throw products on the wall and see what sticks, but this one definitely stuck. With their implementation of Google streetview and now their embedded feature, their definitely headed in the right direction.

Just my $.02..

-SD





GApp finally launches

23 02 2007

A huge announcement was made today from the technology big horse, Google.  Though it has been in the works for the past couple of months, Google Apps as a packaged bundle launched today as a free trial until April 30th.  With the exception of powerpoint, every MS office product has a counterpart with Google.

So why is this a big deal?  Are we going to see just another standard Google product with much fanfare and very low response?  From a business perspective, the GApp proposition is very lucrative.  Being able to cut down your expenses on a per user level by almost $300 can be a huge saving.  However, for most larger companies right now, the infrastructure of an exchange server already exist.  I think for newer startups, GApp is a clever solution to cut down costs.  Additionally, colleges can implement a Google run system using the GMail and GCalendar application.  Northwestern, for instance, is planning on rolling out these changes in the fall of 2007.

We’ll see how this product does in the near future.

Just my $.02

–SD





Goooootube! – The Redefinition of an Entrepreneur

6 11 2006

Let me begin by apologizing for the lack of blogging during the last 2 months. After getting back to school away from the cubicle lifestyle, I found it difficult to keep up with the tech news and keep this site updated. Nonetheless, I plan on trying to update it more frequently because I’ve felt as though I’ve lost some touch with the tech news.

In the last two months, the tech industry has been active as usual. The biggest news, however, involves two of the powerhouse internet companies teaming together. Google recently acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion dollars. Though this may seem like a simple powerhouse buyout, the implications of something like this have significantly changed the landscapes of entrepreneurs and internet companies around the industry.

Why become an entrepreneur?

The goal of starting a company has changed since the 90’s. Entrepreneurs used to have the goal of starting a company, getting funded by a well known VC firm, and then going IPO and riding off into the sunset. These entrepreneurs would ultimately hit it big with one firm, then move onto another project or even start their own fund to promote other small ideas. The PayPal “mafia” as they are called are notorious for starting great companies like Yelp, YouTube and even LinkedIn.

But the question that we have to ask ourselves is the following: Has the goal of starting a company and treading your own path changed in the last five years? Companies these days seem to start up and have zero idea on how to make money through their sites (YouTube included). Their model is meant to gain significant amounts of traffic so that a larger company can ultimately buy them out.

At this point, we have to ask ourselves, do we consider that still entrepreneurial? Starting your own company and developing an idea is exceptional, but the main selling point for all of these companies is simply traffic. Grouper was bought by Sony for $66 million dollars, MySpace was bought by News Corp and a plethora of other companies are looking to make that quick buck. The bottom line is that the mold and motives of an entrepreneur has changed significantly since the 90’s.

Why is traffic so important?

Let’s take Google for example. What is their main motivation to buy a company like YouTube? Is it the potential impending law suits that may come of the large amount of copy written material on the site? Or is it the expensive bandwidth costs that they have to pay on a monthly basis (rumored around $1million). In Google’s eyes, they gain significant traffic to divert back to their home site “Google.com.” From Google.com, with the increased amount of traffic, they can start charging more for their advertisements so that their sponsored links can be sold for higher prices.

This model makes a lot of sense for Google. Higher traffic is the only way they can make more money since they are already so large. Their external services that they have tried to do have not been very successful. Nonetheless – this model will probably be adopted by companies like Yahoo, where an acquisition in facebook can significantly increase their traffic and ad pricing.

So now what?

This partnership will prove to be the building blocks for other companies and how they operate. It should be interesting to see when the phase of web 2.0 companies getting bought will slow down. The way things are going, however, it doesn’t seem like it will slow down anytime soon.

Just my $.02 (feels good to say that again)

–SD





Hey Google…we don’t need to hear about everything you do..

11 08 2006

Have you noticed recently how everything that Google ever does, however minute it may be, seems to be coming out in the press. Today – Google indicated that they’re making some revisions to their homepage as they’re adding a “video” link on the top. Now is that really necessary to hear about every small thing that Google does?

I understand that when Google has a large product or enters into a new business, it’s definitely worthy of some press. Their overall stature in the market and ability to shake up a market sector creates a stir in any company. Google Checkout, their new payment platform for buyers created a large wave among PayPal, as PayPal was the reigning e-commerce platform champions for the past 4-5 years. Issues like that are worthy of news – a simple integration change on their website is not.

Google Local for instance came out with saved address location last week which was also worthy of the press – something that Microsoft, Yahoo and most other maps had done a year ago. I understand that Google is a large player but every change they make is not going to shake up an industry.

Which brings me to my next point sparked by a fantastic article I read in business week regarding Google products. I love google and I love the way they have simplified the web – but their products do not gain as much traction as expected. The reason I liked this article was not because it was simply putting down Google, but because it actually took an accurate snapshot of what is going on in the market right now. It’s very simple to praise the companies that are doing very well – but to find fault in them is a much different ball game. Let’s look at some of their product which got an extremely large welcoming…but not too large following:

  • Google Spreadsheets – deemed to be the “excel killer” has yet to really get any traction – reasoning? I think when you’re using a spreadsheet you’re looking to make complicated calculations…the simplicity model just doesn’t work.
  • Google Writely – This is the word processor unit which came out recently – I think this has some functionality if integrated with blogger – a straight to webpage posting through the browser – without that however, it could be a nice way to alleviate the concerns of using word-pad.
  • Google Checkout – considered the PayPal Killer – this app has gotten some heads to turn because of its rebate offers – it has ways to go and the initial feedback is showing that there are many delays with the user experience. Announced today however, you can get a free t shirt if you make a $20 purchase or more using it
  • Google Video – YouTube seems to have taken this market – when it first came out, it really was big with the top 100 videos.
  • Google Talk – Stats recently came out that only 44,000 users use Gtalk on a consistent basis – MSN has almost 10 times that number

I guess what I’m getting at is when you step back and look at the Google products, they really haven’t done as well as the reception that they get. How will this affect their bottom line? Well we’ll have to see soon.

Just my $.02

–SD





Coming soon in technology…from the big guns

31 07 2006

I figure it’s about time to do some tech previews of the biggest and best tech companies out there. Earnings were announced and some where happy while others were very sad. This means, however, that the road ahead is extremely important. The back to school season and the holiday season are probably the two greatest times for consumer electronics and you know that after all of the competition this year, each company is going to put their best products out there. So let’s begin.

Microsoft

We all know by know that they have this product named Zune. I had blogged very early on that there were rumors that an iPod “killer” was on its way but it was simply that – a rumor. Steve Ballmer of Microsoft confirmed last week that the Microsoft product Zune is very real and is going to be a huge product in the market. A picture of this is shown below:

Here is my take on the Zune product. I think it’s going to be very difficult for Microsoft to initially gain a lot of traction in the market. I think the pricing that they set this at will really determine how many people will gain attention. Even the iPod took a long time to gain attention among the young demographic. I remember when I first got my iPod in June of 2003, I had to explain to people back then what an iPod does. Here are some other issues that the Zune player can face:

  • With so much traction in the market, Apple users are generally tentative to move not only to a different mp3 player, but also a different software. It is because of iTunes that the iPod has been so successful and transferring those songs to WMA format will be painstaking and time consuming
  • WiFi and mp3 enough of a value proposition? Without full scale wireless access, ultimately it can be a bit useless. I guarantee you that 2 iPod generations from now we will see a wifi ipod
  • There will always be competition in the marketplace – the key is how the dominant player will react. If Apple plays its cards right, we should see this just like Apple is in the PC market….ironic isnt it..

Expected Date: November 14th (according to MSFT sources)
Apple

Since we’re talking about Apple – we might as well see what’s on their roadmap. Apple usually comes out around this time (right before people begin to purchase their back to school accessories) and announces a huge new product. Last year it was the iPod Nano, two years ago it was the announcement of the click-wheel..etc…etc. So what about this year? What does Steve Jobs have up his sleeve? Well initial reports indicate that we’re going to see either one of two things. An advancement of the iPod nano (which wouldn’t be that cool), or an iPhone. The photos circulating around the internet are all fake and design oriented, but the idea is pretty close. I wonder if they are going to team up with Motorola at some point since they did with the SLVR and ROKR phones.

I doubt the iPhone will actually look like this but it seems like it would logically be a slider phone. The problem with phones, however, are that Apple right now is probably cutting some deal with a phone provider (Cingular most likely) to put it on the market. This means that you would have to purchase a phone plan in order to buy the phone which would make it difficult to sell at the Apple stores. Additionally, I must say that this will probably be a GSM phone (obv) but the slider functionality (which would make the most sense) would be interesting. Hopefully they announce it soon…

Expected date: Before School Starts (Late August – Early September)

Google

Honestly, these guys announce something new almost every week that it is really tough to figure out what they are going to do next. This summer we saw some very large products get launched and some more which are slated to be released soon. As the summer started, we saw Google Spreadsheets launch to a moderate audience (still in Beta). After that, Google Checkout launched and was coined as the “PayPal killer” which obviously didn’t happen. Just last week they launched google traffic which gives you real time updates of traffic which can be accessed through your phones as well (really cool btw – best google product I’ve seen yet). I really think that Google has become extremely dominant in one thing. Releasing a product frequently, getting relative traction in the market, and then ultimately finding it’s niche in the middle of the market. With the exception of search and arguably maps, google product have done okay. Gtalk was recently said to have 44,000 users….versus AIM which has over like 300,000.

So what’s next? Well today, they began to offer Google Writely, a word processing software which is able to be modified online and saved online. You can sign up for an account now…*I already did*

Expected Date: Google Writely in beta now…like every other one of their products..


Conclusions

There are a lot of cool products coming out and I’ll be blogging soon about some of the other companies and their roadmaps, including eBay, Yahoo and YouTube…

Just my $.02

–SD

Dell blowup count: 3 to date