counter on godaddy
post

Gmail, Don’t be a Yahoo!

In the 90’s I used to laugh at friends who all used Yahoo! as their personal email service. I did not understand how anyone could put up with the slow speeds of web-mail, and tried to convince them to install a decent email client, like Outlook, which is what most of them used in their corporate jobs.

Then things changed: Outlook grew into a bloated monster, it brought otherwise fairly speedy computers to a grinding halt and finding stuff in the archives of years of email became a gargantuan job. A new web-based email service came to rescue: Gmail was fast, well-organized, included productivity-boosters like labels and conversation-threading, and most importantly, you could not only search but also find old email in seconds! For this former Outlook-fan the switch was a no-brainer – in fact I ended up ditching almost all desktop software, moving online. (Gmail for mail and Zoho for most other tasks).

Life was good, I stayed productive and Gmail grew into a suite of productivity services by Google.  Too bad it’s breaking down – again…

post

Resistance is Futile: We Will Be Assimilated – by Google.

videob6d091fb9400.jpg

Two seemingly unrelated items:

Today Hitwise reported on how Google Maps is catching up on Mapquest, which once was the king of online mapping.

Perhaps more important than just the numbers is the source of traffic:  61% of Google Maps traffic comes from links placed in organic Google Search results.  Contrast that to Mapquest, where 8 out of 10 hits come from searches on the Mapquest brand itself.  Translation: Mapquest is only used by its already dwindling user base, while Google Maps gains steadily, since Google owns Search.  The writing is clearly on the wall.

The second story: Google Gmail Within Striking Distance Of Hotmail – reported Information Week a few days ago.  Wait, wasn’t Gmail supposed to be email for the geeks only, lagging behind the masses of Yahoo and Hotmail users?

Between September 2007 and September 2008, Gmail’s visitor total grew 39%, from 18.8 million to 26 million, ComScore figures indicate. Windows Live Hotmail during this period saw its visitor share decline 4%, from 46.2 million to 44.6 million.

If Google’s Gmail growth rate rises to, say, 46% over 2009, it could reach approximately 43 million unique U.S. visitors by the end of the year. And if Windows Live Hotmail continues to bleed visitors at a rate of, say, 3%, it will finish the year with around 42 million unique visitors per month.

So Gmail may overtake Hotmail by the end of this year, and if the trend continues, it might overtake Yahoo by the end of 2011, concludes Information Week.  Note, these are site visits, not account numbers, but account numbers include all the throw-away, long forgotten dormant accounts that both Yahoo and Hotmail has in abundance.  All these email systems being web-based, visitor stats are a better representation of actual usage.

The third story (yes, I promised two, but can’t stop now):  The Google Power Meter., currently being tested by Google employees.  These are smart devices you plug in all around the house, they will report back to the mothership and you get a nice dashboard aimed at helping you making the right energy choices.

I would certainly like to know just how “smart” they can be – any chance of bi-directional communication?  I can’t help but remember the mail campaign from PG&E, my utility company.  They are handing out $25 to anyone who allows them to install a smart thermostat free of charge.  The catch?  At times when consumption reaches peak levels, the utility company can remotely throttle back your air conditioner.  So now you see why I’m hesitant about these Google electricity meters.  Could they be switched from passive reporting to regulating one day?

The fourth story (gee, I really have to stop soon): An opinion piece on Bloomberg discusses how the health provisions slipped into the stimulus bill will effect every one of us in the US:

Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system. Having electronic medical records at your fingertips, easily transferred to a hospital, is beneficial. It will help avoid duplicate tests and errors.  But the bill goes further. One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions (442, 446).

Ouch. I’m all for electronic medical records, but I don’t want them to be turned into a Big Brother function.  And I don’t want a computer program to decide on my medical treatment.  But I’ve just complained about the Sorry State of Health 2.0: neither Google Health nor Microsoft HealthVault are up to the job yet.  I want them to get there, and I trust they will (at least one of them).  I don’t want them to run my health care, just help me and my providers manage it – but fear of potential misuse won’t stop my desire for progrees.

Do you see the trend here?  Google is unstoppable.  They want to manage all data, but our life is increasingly all about data and what we do with it.  The former Borg in Redmond is now a toothless veteran, slowly dwindling away – Google is the New Borg.  Resistance is futile.  We’re being assimilated.  And we like it.  Enjoy the video: (better quality if you click through)

Related posts:

(This post originally appeared @ CloudAve.  To stay abreast of Clod Computing, SaaS news and analysis, grab the CloudAve feed here.)

post

Oh, The Irony of Reporting on the Stock Market

Dow and S&P turns positive, reports Yahoo, via Reuters.  Yeah, right,  the ticker next to it proves it.smile_sad

post

Document Collaboration Just Got Easier

I often need to share a document with a few reviewers / contributors, and I hate sending attachments. Attachments are redundant, wasteful, and if you start marking up different copies of the same document, then emailing them around, you’re in for a major version-control nightmare.

The clean solution: share an online document. But which platform to use? I use Zoho applications, widely recognized to be the best. But until today, there’s been one obstacle to unlimited, open collaboration: users had to create a Zoho account first. Not that it was complicated (30 seconds?), but some people will stay away from apps requiring account registration as a principle.

The solution? Well, if you have any sort of online presence, chances are you already have an account either with Yahoo or Google. From now on you can use these credentials – yes, your Google / Yahoo account – to log in to Zoho applications. No more worrying whether the other party can access your shared documents.

The Zoho team points to a poll ran by Lifehacker last year. Obviously there are more Google than Zoho users. But look at the reason: most already have a Google account, and refuse to create another one for Zoho. Those who actually tried both system prefer Zoho by a 3:1 margin. So it clearly made sense for Zoho to remove the bottleneck and open up to their systems.

But I suspect this is just the beginning. TechCrunch France Editor Ouriel Ohayon and ZDNet’s Dennis Howlett raised the issue of mass importing one’s Google documents to Zoho. I think it would make sense, although I don’t necessarily like importing – it’s a one-time shot.

Why not just make all documents available to online users, no matter where they were created? You should be able to list your Google and Zoho documents, open them, edit them, and save to whichever format (and storage) you want to.

Either way I’m sure we’ll see more open access and collaboration coming soon. smile_regular

(Disclosure: I’m an Advisor to Zoho)

post

YahoOL

This is a shameless reprint of my post exactly two months ago:

Yahoo running to AOL to avoid assimilation by the (Micro-)Borg?  Hm… I don’t know which one is worse. (Actually, I do.)   The funny (actually, sad) thing is, most of my Best MicroHoo quotes apply to a Yahoo/AOL situation, you just have to replace Microsoft with AOLsmile_sad

Stowe Boyd:

Personally, I think the Microsoft and Yahoo matchup is like two tired swimmers who bump into each other and then wind up drowning each other in their scramble to survive. But Yahoo will be the first to go under in this embrace.

Fake Steve Jobs:

It’s like taking the two guys who finished second and third in a 100-yard dash and tying their legs together and asking for a rematch, believing that now they’ll run faster.

Imagine a circus act in which two enormous, clumsy, awkward elephants that don’t really like each other are supposed to mate while riding on skateboards.

Oh, well… a sad soap opera.  smile_omg

 

Related posts (a few of the many): Silicon Alley Insider, TechCrunchBoomTown, BloggingStocks, Technology news, Tech Beat, HipMojo.com, Deal Journal, Mark Evans, TECH.BLORGE.com, BuzzMachineMarketingVOX

post

MyBlogLog Blew Up Again

This was supposed to be a good day for MyBlogLog: they released a shiny new widget. Not that they announced it.. so let’s start the conspiracy theories:

  • they knew it didn’t work, so wanted to keep it secret
  • everyone still left in Yahoo is busy interviewing elsewhere
  • insert your ownsmile_wink

The reason I discovered the new widget was un unrelated (?) glitch: all of a sudden it does not know me. It’s not a cookie/browser issue, last time it happened was around the conversion to Yahoo logins, and they said it was account-related. (see Tired of Repeatedly Signing in to Mybloglog). Of course I started to search for similar problems and found a user talking about the new widget. Congrat’s, a well-kept secret!

OK, let’s install the new goodie. Oops, I hate the color choices and they won’t let me customize them…. oh, well.. go ahead anyway. Blog comes up blank. Again. Again. Hm… as it turns out, the MyBlogLog Widget can’t hold the new script. I’m not kidding, save it, come back and see it all blank.

There’s of course a simple solution: forget the plugin, just open up a new text widget and copy the script there. Voila! Here’s the new, shiny-yet-ugly widget.

Except it (widget and site) still does not remember who I am. And I refuse to login every single time.smile_angry

Update: Webgrrl can’t install it, either. Well, here’s your fix!

Update: the widget code is now fixed.

post

YahoOL?

Yahoo running  to AOL to avoid  assimilation by the (Micro-)Borg?  Hm… I don’t know which one is worse. (Actually, I do.)   The funny (actually, sad) thing is, most of my Best MicroHoo quotes apply to a Yahoo/AOL situation, you just have to replace Microsoft with AOLsmile_sad

Stowe Boyd:

Personally, I think the Microsoft and Yahoo matchup is like two tired swimmers who bump into each other and then wind up drowning each other in their scramble to survive. But Yahoo will be the first to go under in this embrace.

Fake Steve Jobs:

It’s like taking the two guys who finished second and third in a 100-yard dash and tying their legs together and asking for a rematch, believing that now they’ll run faster.

Imagine a circus act in which two enormous, clumsy, awkward elephants that don’t really like each other are supposed to mate while riding on skateboards.

Oh, well… a sad soap opera.  smile_omg

post

The Best MicroHoo Quotes

There’s hardly anything new to add to the MSFT/YHOO story, except two great quotes.

Stowe Boyd:

Personally, I think the Microsoft and Yahoo matchup is like two tired swimmers who bump into each other and then wind up drowning each other in their scramble to survive. But Yahoo will be the first to go under in this embrace.

Fake Steve Jobs:

It’s like taking the two guys who finished second and third in a 100-yard dash and tying their legs together and asking for a rematch, believing that now they’ll run faster.

Now, for the best part: this last one isn’t from FSJ, after all.. it’s from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer himself. (that is if you can believe anything a blog with Fake in the title sayssmile_omg)

Ballmer said he loved when his rivals merged, because whenever the also-rans in any market start teaming up they might as well be waving a white flag. Because it’s over. You’ve beaten them. You’ve driven them to despair. They haven’t been able to beat you on their own; there’s no way they’ll do it together. Then he told me that line about the hundred-yard dash.

Btw, this Fake Steve post is not exactly short of great metaphors. Here’s one describing the post-merger integration (you know, the stage where all mergers fail):

Imagine a circus act in which two enormous, clumsy, awkward elephants that don’t really like each other are supposed to mate while riding on skateboards.

and this one:

That giant buzzing sound you hear is the whirring of photocopiers in Redmond revving up and spitting out resumes.

It’s worth reading in full.

Update (2/4): Robert Scoble’s version: Put two turkeys together and you don’t get an eagle.

post

Breaking: MicroHoo!

After all the speculation, it finally happened: there’s a Microsoft (MSFT) offer on the table to acquire Yahoo (YHOO) for a mix of cash and stock valued at $44.6 Billion, which is about a 62%  premium to Yahoo’s current market valuation.  Well.. current as of yesterday, when it closed at $19.18 – right now, pre-market it trades at $30.80, almost at the offer price of $31. (I suspect some early buyers will regret that…)

Update: Here’s the “you’ve failed” part from Steven Ballmer’s letter to the Yahoo Board, fully quoted on ZDNet:

In February 2007, I received a letter from your Chairman indicating the view of the Yahoo! Board that “now is not the right time from the perspective of our shareholders to enter into discussions regarding an acquisition transaction.” According to that letter, the principal reason for this view was the Yahoo! Board’s confidence in the “potential upside” if management successfully executed on a reformulated strategy based on certain operational initiatives, such as Project Panama, and a significant organizational realignment. A year has gone by, and the competitive situation has not improved.

A few early posts, before the world wakes upsmile_yawn: Between the Lines, Irregular Enterprise, Search Engine Land, TechCrunch. Parislemon’s title (and pic) is telling: Join us – or die!.