Archive for the ‘google’ Category

The End of the iPhone Era

July 28, 2009

I can’t believe I fell for it.

Before I bought my iPhone, I considered the purchase long and hard. I knew full well what I was getting myself into. I could choose the iPhone and commit my soul to AT&T and Apple’s controlling nature for the next two years. “But the iPhone is so awesome!” I thought. It has a big touch screen, it has apps for everything including Facebook and YouTube. You can check your email, watch movies, listen to music, and browse the ‘real’ web.
I specifically remember telling myself, “Sure, Apple might reject apps and might be evil, but I want to give them the benefit of the doubt. I want to give them a chance. Maybe they won’t be evil.”
Up until now, everything was fine.
And then yesterday happened. Apple and AT&T denied the Google Voice app from the iPhone App Store.
I won’t get into the details about Google Voice or why it was denied entry. Sure, I can live without a native iPhone app for Google Voice. I guarantee that Google develops a nice web app for iPhone users as a consolation.
The point is, the app was perfectly legitimate. It was created using Apple’s own SDK. It doesn’t do anything that cannot be done already from google.com/voice (the app just made it easier and faster to use the service). But the overly-controlling Apple and AT&T rejected it. The most likely reason behind the rejection is that AT&T was afraid that Google Voice would steal some precious revenue from its (overpriced) SMS packages.
This is why openness will win the end–when you piss off your loyal fanbase, they turn on you forever. I will never buy an Apple product ever again. When my AT&T contract is over, I will immediately switch to a new carrier, and never give a single cent to AT&T again. When my friends come to me and ask me about my experience with either company, I will do my best to steer them clear of both Apple and AT&T. Apple and AT&T are evil.
It’s over. It was fun while it lasted.
PS: I think this Android phone is going to be my next phone:

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Google Pushes Chrome Browser With TV Commercials

May 8, 2009

Wow, Google is really pushing its browser, Google Chrome.  The Google blog just announced that they’ll be using TV commercials to further the cause.  Here’s a clip.

Google has already set up a YouTube channel for Google Chrome, with a collection of videos to explain what makes Google Chrome different from Internet Explorer and Firefox.
I’m excited to see Google pushing Chrome so hard.  In my opinion, Chrome is a better browser than Firefox (and obviously Internet Explorer as well).  I use it exclusively on every PC I use.  It’s blazingly fast.  If you haven’t tried it out yet, give it a whirl:
http://www.google.com/chrome

Why Safari On The iPhone Is Awesome

June 13, 2007

For a quick recap: Last Monday (June 11th) at WWDC 2007 (Worldwide Developer’s Conference), Apple announced that the iPhone will not have an SDK (Software Development Kit). This means that developers will not be able to write software that runs natively on the iPhone.

Apple announced that instead of an SDK, they’ve brought Safari to the iPhone. Safari is a Mac Web Browser (recently Safari was released for Windows). This means that developers WILL be able to write software that runs in a browser, that will in turn run on the iPhone.

This announcement was met with a plethora of boos, like this post from Gizmodo:
Fast And Furious: No iPhone SDK Means No Killer iPhone Apps

The Digg article referencing that Gizmodo post has several comments expressing the Digg crowd’s sentiment:

“Thank you Mr. Steve Jobs for helping me make my decision to buy a PS3.” [link]

“That ‘SDK’ for the iPhone is a slap in the face to developers.” [link]

[Steve Jobs] showed a lot of disrespect to all those people who came out there hoping to hear something exciting they could work on. He basically told a bunch developers waiting to build great apps to go build a html page. [link]

Steve Jobs should have listened to Ballmer. “DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS!” [link]

It’s clear that many people were expecting Apple to release an SDK like Microsoft does for the Windows Mobile platform.

Months ago, when I first heard that Apple would not release an SDK, I agreed with these quotes. I thought the iPhone would be a joke, that it would flop, and that it would be undeserving of being called a “smartphone.”

But after learning that the iPhone’s Safari will be able to run full-fledged Ajax applications, I’ve completely changed my mind.

Honestly, why is it such a bad move on Apple’s part? As a developer, I am much more willing to write a web application, which I have been doing for a living for the past two years, than learn another programming language so I can write applications that run ONLY on the iPhone. If you are a developer, which would you rather do? Perhaps Steve Jobs is thinking about “developers developers developers.”

Software can be written right now that would run on the iPhone at release. Dozens of existing web applications will run on the iPhone at release.

My only gripe with Apple’s decision here is this: I’ve always been reluctant to purchase a mobile data plan (they’re too expensive). If all my apps must be web apps, and I don’t have access to the web, it would seem that I’d be completely unable to run anything. So I’d be forced into a data plan.

But wait.

Didn’t Google JUST release a product that helps take web applications offline? Yes, Google Gears promises to do just that. Currently, Google Gears is available for Firefox and Internet Explorer. But if you look at the fine print:


You can see that Safari support is coming soon. 🙂

With Google Gears, it will be much easier to develop web applications that don’t require a constant internet connection. I think this will be an awesome partnership that helps broaden the possibilities for mobile applications (at least for those of us who might be without an unlimited data plan).

Just one example is Google Reader. I’ve always wanted to be able to use Google Reader on my mobile phone while offline. Then after reading some of my feeds, to be able to sync back up, marking as read the feeds I’d seen, starring the feeds I’d starred, and keeping unread the feeds I hadn’t yet seen.

With iPhone Safari + Google Gears, things like this don’t seem too far off.

Google + Apple + AT&T

May 23, 2007

The official Google Blog today has a story about a new phone from Cingular, the BlackBerry 8800. This phone has GPS, so when using Google Maps for Mobile, the map automatically centers around your current location, with a blue flashing dot “exactly where you are!”

That’s all really exciting, but does anyone else find it weird that The Official Google Blog is basically running an advertisement for Cingular (AT&T) that screams “Switch to Cingular!”

And what about Apple’s iPhone being available only for Cingular customers? Probably more blatant than Google, Apple is screaming, “Switch to Cingular!”

To me it’s awfully mysterious that these guys are pushing consumers to switch to a specific carrier. Do Google and/or Apple have any kind of partnership with Cingular?

Maybe it’s just that Cingular is the carrier that’s pushing the hardest to make these kinds of partnerships. Whatever the case, other carriers (T-Mobile, I’m looking at you) need to step it up or they’ll start seeing mass exodus.

The Fox is Eating Lunch!

March 20, 2007

The Google Personalized Homepage is becoming more personalized. Google released 6 themes with which you can skin the homepage. The available options are Beach, Bus Stop, City Scape, Sweet Dreams, Tea House, and Seasonal Scape:
The cool thing about these themes is that they change the scenery of your homepage depending on the time of day and the weather. You simply type in your zip code, and Google does all the rest.

I chose the Tea House them. As I write this post over my lunch break, the fox is eating lunch:

Kid Does Something Amazing, Google Listens

February 16, 2007

If you haven’t heard already, check this out. It’s an absolute craze right now.

In short, somebody has some kind of business idea and desperately wants to pitch it to Google. Fed up with the lack of response he’s received after using Google’s online business proposal form, he’s flown to Mountain View California uninvited and wishing for the best.

Not many people know what his idea is right now. But his site has been covered by Digg, and one digger has done some rooting around in the internet archives and found what he thinks might be the big idea.

Google’s Valentine’s Day Logo

February 14, 2007

Or should I say, Googe’s Valentine’s Day Logo?
Regardless, happy Valentine’s Day!

Google Maps for Mobile App

February 1, 2007

Google today released Google Maps for Mobile as a Windows Mobile standalone application, not a Java midlet. It has GPS support, which is very cool for those with a GPS-enabled phone.

So far, in addition to this release, Google has released Google Maps as a Java midlet, and a Gmail app as a Java midlet. All of Google’s other mobile offerings are in the form of mobile-friendly websites, such as Google Reader Mobile and Google News Mobile.

I hope Google’s mobile development keeps picking up. I still haven’t been able to find a mobile RSS reader that synchronizes well for offline reading support.

How to Add Google AJAX Search to Your Blogger Beta Blog

October 15, 2006

Do you use Blogger Beta? Do you want to use the coolest new search widget on your site to replace the conventional search? Well look no further! This post will explain how to do just that.

This method will style your search control to be absolutely positioned in the upper right of your site. There are three main steps:

  1. Get a Google Ajax Search API Key.
  2. Create the Search Control.
  3. Style your Search Control.

I will outline each of these steps in more detail below.

Step 1: Get a Google Ajax Search API Key
Click here to visit the Google Ajax Search API signup page. All you need to do is enter your web site’s URL in the box at the bottom, check the box saying that you’ve read and agree with the terms and conditions, and click the “Generate API Key” button. You will receive a key that looks something like this:


Do not close this page! In the next step, you will need the key that you just generated.

Step 2: Create the Search Control
When you are logged into Blogger Beta, go to your blog’s settings. You’ll see three tabs: Posting, Settings, and Template. Click Template. There are 4 subsections under Template: Page Elements, Fonts and Colors, Edit HTML, and Pick New Template. Click Edit HTML. You will see your blog’s template. Scroll almost to the bottom (see screenshot below for help) until you see

<body>
<div id='outer-wrapper'><div id='wrap2'>

Replace <body> with <body onload='OnLoad();'>.

Now add a new line after
<div id='outer-wrapper'><div id='wrap2'>

On that new line, paste this:
<div id='searchcontrol' />

This screenshot shows what it should look like after you’re finished, with the relevant parts circled in red.


Now scroll back to the very top of your template. At right about the 7th line of code in your template, you should see “<head>“. See screenshot below for help. Enter a new blank line after <head>, and then copy and paste the following:


<link href='http://www.google.com/uds/css/gsearch.css' rel='stylesheet' type='text/css'/>

<script src='http://www.google.com/uds/api?file=uds.js&v=1.0&key=YourKeyGoesHere' type='text/javascript'/>
<script language='Javascript' type='text/javascript'>

//<![CDATA[
function OnLoad() {
var searchControl = new GSearchControl();
var siteSearch = new GwebSearch();
siteSearch.setSiteRestriction("YourSiteGoesHere");
siteSearch.setUserDefinedLabel("YourLabelGoesHere");
searchControl.addSearcher(siteSearch);
searchControl.setLinkTarget( GSearch.LINK_TARGET_SELF );
searchControl.draw(document.getElementById("searchcontrol"));
}
//]]>
</script>

It should look like this when you’re finished with that part:

Now you’ll want to change a few things:

  • First and most importantly, replace YourKeyGoesHere with your API Key. This is where you’ll need to paste some of the code generated earlier (in step 1) when you signed up for the Google Ajax Search API Key.
  • Replace YourSiteGoesHere with the name of your website (don’t delete the quotes). I used cjmillisock.com
  • Lastly, replace YourLabelGoesHere with a label for your search results (again, leave the quotes in the code). I used CJMillisock.com and you can see the results in this screenshot.

Step 3: Style your search control.
You’re almost done! To position your search control in the upper right, scroll to where your template shows the style for your pages’ body (see screenshot below for help). Look for:

body {
background:$bgcolor;
margin:0;
color:$textcolor;

You’ll need to paste the following code into your template above the line “body {“:

#searchcontrol
{
position: absolute;
top: 5px;
right: 10px;
background: #FFF;
border-left: 1px solid #CCC;
border-bottom: 1px solid #CCC;
padding-left: 5px;
padding-bottom: 5px;
font: 10pt Verdana;
}

It should look like this when you’re done:


Finally, save your template. Click view blog and you should see the Google Ajax Search Control in the upper right! The search control will search only your site, and clicking a search result will open that page in the current window or tab. Now your website’s visitors won’t need to leave your page to search your site!

Should Google’s Competitors Merge?

August 13, 2006

Economist.com has written a pretty interesting article comparing Google to Napoleon. Microsoft, Yahoo!, and eBay, are a lot like Russia, Prussia, and Austria. Some say a merger between two of the smaller powers would help prevent Google from gaining more search market share. Others say it would simply expedite the smaller companies’ decline.

I don’t think a merger between Yahoo! and Microsoft would be too helpful. Yahoo! is an Internet portal; Microsoft has an Internet portal. Thus, Microsoft offers a much broader scope of products and services, and the two companies overlap on every service common to Internet portals: email, chat, news, music, search, etc. It seems that the best strategy between Yahoo! and Microsoft is to partner together. They’ve already announced plans to integrate their chat clients. Deals like these are in both companies’ best interest. The problem is, these small partnerships have minimal impact on Google.

Although I don’t think a merger between Yahoo! and Microsoft would help either company very much, I do think either company would benefit from a merger with eBay. There would be no overlapping of services. A merger of that size would be so huge though, it seems that nothing like that will happen until drastic measures essentially require it to happen. Maybe these drastic measures will be realized when Google hits 90% market share for search. Only time will tell.