Thursday, November 29, 2007

Want to know what Google Intranet looks like!!

Then read this article in Google Blogoscoped.

It tells you about all those tools that you would use in a Company Intranet like their home page, the employee tools, their development tools, etc.

Reading through the article gave me a feeling as if I got appointed in Google for a day :) (I can hear you saying.. "in your dreams")

So, if you get appointed in Google.. you already know where to look for information in their intranet :)))

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Congratulations to Vz Wireless customers in US !!

Verizon Wireless has announced "Any Apps, Any Device" option for its customers starting 2008.

Finally, the wireless industry in USA seems to be maturing. Here in India, you could use any handset that you have bought in a mobile phone store with any wireless service provider.

It really gives the customers the freedom of choice. She/He can choose between a huge array of phones from the cheapest one with call and SMS only option to the most advanced phone like Nokia N95.

I always used to pity the sad state of wireless customers in US, where they have to buy the phone as a part of the wireless package. The user has a very limited choice. But I guess folks in US are pretty much used to it and never really care about the choice-factor.

But believe me, it makes a great difference in having this freedom. People will come to realize and appreciate this freedom that Verizon Wireless is about to offer.

This really a great moment for Wireless industry in US and also to the millions of wireless customers.

Its a matter of time and soon At&t and others will follow.

Read this post on GigaOM to get more insight about this news.

Monday, November 26, 2007

How does Google benefit from Android?

This was the question my friend and office colleague was asking me when we were, in general, discussing about technology.

I explained to him that Android will speed up innovation on the mobile computing front thus ensuring that users have a better and more PC-like web browsing experience on their mobile devices. This ensures that more and more users will starting browsing the net from their phones and thus ensuring that more and more traffic is driven to one of Google's many services where they serve Ads and also not to forget that Google Ads are scattered all over the world wide web.

Basically, Google believes in increasing size of the pie rather than increasing size of the slice in the existing pie. Interesting quote isn't it :). Well, I read about this quote in this news article by Financial Post which questions Google's business model on going the open source way with OpenSocial and Android.

Though I told my friend about the above, I wanted to confirm again if this is how Google really was hoping to benefit out of Android platform. So I did a little bit of Google'ing and and came across this interview given by Eric Schmidt and Andy Rubin, Director of mobile platforms at Google (the brain behind Android)

This is what Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, has to say in his interview at PBS.

SPENCER MICHELS: Now you say you're almost giving this away, why?

ERIC SCHMIDT: We're giving Android away because we benefit when the Web is better. We benefit when more people are using the internet, especially on mobile devices. And we benefit because when more people use Google, more people use Google search and every once in a while those people will use our ads. So eventually we think an Android mobile user is pretty likely to use Google advertising and our studies indicate that mobile ads are going to be worth a lot more than the traditional ads that we sell.


ERIC SCHMIDT: The easiest example to think about is how personal your phone is. Everyone here, everyone in our audience has a mobile phone, very hard to get away from them. That phone is with them, it knows where they are. Imagine how we can use that information to provide a more targeted ad, if it were appropriate.

By the way, it is a very good interview and would recommend reading it if you want to know Google's plan for Android and mobile computing.

Google forming the Open Handset Alliance and defining a new mobile platform called Android once again proves my point that there is this race to establish a linux-based mobile operating system/platform (Oh yeah.. Android is based on Linux. On top of Linux, they have a Virtual Machine which offers APIs similar to Java VM but is supposed to be much more advanced than Java VM).

But with Google intelligently forming an alliance which includes telephone operators to handset manufacturers to chip manufacturers, they are better poised to take over the Mobile Operating System space much to the dislikes of giants like Symbian and Microsoft.

Google not just stops there. They even have a announced a $ 10 million prize money for users who develop useful and compelling applications using Android. This is to ensure that more and more developers get involved in this effort.

The advantage, I could perceive, from Android could be the following:

Handset Manufacturers: They would not have to pay hefty licensing fees to proprietary mobile operating systems like Symbian and Microsoft. So the cost of the handset goes down thus boosting the handset sales.

Developers: Because it is an open platform and almost everything is available for free, you can pretty much write any application you want. Imagination (of course the phone's capabilities) if your limit.

Consumers/End Users: Because handset prices go down, consumers can afford to easily buy them and they also get to install and use thousands of applications that were developed by the open source community.

Telephone Operators: They get to benefit because consumers start using these web-enabled/web-based applications on their Android phones and thus the data traffic is going to increase drastically. Operators are going to charge for this data traffic.

Of course, not to forget Google (and others).. they would be benefiting as well from Ads clicked by users on their mobile phones.

I am not sure how successful Android is going to be. But my gut feeling says that it will take off well. But, I believe, for the mobile web to pick up really well, the network speeds have to improve a lot. They sure will. Its just a matter of time.


For those read this post till this point, scratching your heads, wondering as to what Android was all about, please read below.

Google, earlier this month (Nov 5th, 2007) announced that it was forming the Open Handset Alliance which is going to drive the development of Android. Android is an open platform for mobile phones which consist of an operating system, a set of software modules for performing some of the common tasks on the phone (middleware, as we call it in software terminology) and a user interface. You also can download the software development kit (SDK) for developing your own applications that run on the Android platform.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Redefining books - E-Reader from Amazon

I read this news in Newsweek about this e-reader from Amazon called as "Kindle".

Kindle is a physical electronic device which of size of a book. It can store and display pages of books for you to read. That's why it is called a e-reader.

The beauty of this e-reader is that it can store thousands of books for you to read at your leisure. Not just that, you can subscribe to news papers and magazines and read them on this e-reader.

Kindle also has internet capabilities and lets you search the net and go through wikipedia and things like that.

Now, you must be thinking as to how good/pleasurable will it be to read a book on a device. But it seems that the device uses a technology called E-Ink which renders the text on the screen very similar and close to a printed paper. So it looks like printed paper and feels like printed paper. Below is a short description of E-Ink which I took from the Newsweek article.

This decade's major breakthrough has been the introduction of E Ink, whose creators came out of the MIT Media Lab. Working sort of like an Etch A Sketch, it forms letters by rearranging chemicals under the surface of the screen, making a page that looks a lot like a printed one. The first major implementation of E Ink was the $299 Sony Reader, launched in 2006 and heavily promoted. Sony won't divulge sales figures, but business director Bob Nell says the Reader has exceeded the company's expectations, and earlier this fall Sony introduced a sleeker second-generation model, the 505. (The Reader has no wireless—you must download on your computer and then move it to the device— and doesn't enable searching within a book.)
Oh yes.. Kindle is not the first device of its kind. Sony has done it before.

In my opinion, what matters is that the publishing industry should form an open standard format which can be then published on to e-reader's like Kindle (it may already be the case even now.. i don't know).

E-reader is something I have already thought of since many years. It will be the next great breakthrough. Think about it. School children don't have to carry so many books. And why would you want to give a cheap laptop to a child. Give them a e-reader like kindle which will contain all the book the kind ever needs. This will expand the kids knowledge.

I am definitely looking forward to buying this the next time I end up in US.

And hey.. there are two things I could realize from what Amazon is trying to do.

First, the world is moving towards convergence. Kindle with its internet capabilities is already a sort of handheld PDA. Now even other PDAs like iPhone could support such e-reader capabilities.

Second, now isn't it interesting to note that Amazon is also becoming a product company. Now this is what in my opinion I would term as "Business Convergence". The line between services and product companies is disappearing.

Btw, read the Newsweek article. Its a painfully long article but with lot of insight.

And also you can read the device's review at Engadget.