Posts

Showing posts from January, 2011

The iPadification of the Web

Image
This post was also published in VentureBeat.Design on the Web needs a reboot — and the iPad may provide the push publishers need to toggle the switch. But will smarter-looking online offerings save old media?

Creators of Web content have poured considerable effort into reinventing their websites as top-down, gorgeously designed experiences for Apple’s tablet and other mobile devices, in the hope that what they give away on the Web might turn into something their audience will pay for as an app.

That rethink is starting to reach into the desktop, ranging from the Huffington Post’s Glide App for Google’s Chrome Web Store to the Mac App Store version of Mashable, a popular tech blog.

You might ask why Mashable needs a Mac App Store version: Don’t users have Web browsers on their Macs? True. But the iPad has a browser, and a screen large enough to view websites comfortably. That hasn’t stopped iPad app developers.

The iPad has driven a new take on the content site — a streamlined, sexy versio…

With Schmidt out as CEO, Google can stop copying Microsoft

Image
This post was also published in VentureBeat.There’s much to praise in departing Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s tenure. But if the stagnation of recent years can be pinned on one fault, it’s this: Schmidt’s Microsoft obsession.

Sure, Microsoft gets lots of flack for attempting to knock off Google’s Web search with Bing. But the truth is that under Schmidt’s stewardship, Google has been obsessed with replicating Microsoft products. Windows, Internet Explorer, Office, Exchange, and .Net? Chrome OS, Chrome Browser, Google Apps, and Google App Engine.

Ironically, when Schmidt first joined Google, he told John Battelle that he was looking forward to not competing with Microsoft, after being battered by Microsoft during his stints as CTO of Sun and CEO of Novell.

Schmidt leaves Google a healthy company. It has completely dominated search as a money-making business, even though the search product definitely is in the midst of a much-needed retooling. But now that Schmidt is moving on — Ken Auletta in…

Google already knows its search sucks (and they’re fixing it)

Image
This post was also published in VentureBeat.It’s a popular notion these days Google has lost its “mojo” due to failed products like Google Wave, Google Buzz, and Google TV. But Google’s core business — Web search — has come under fire recently for being the ultimate in failed tech products.

I can only ask: What took you so long? I first blogged about Google’s increasingly terrible search results in October 2007. If you search for any topic that is monetizable, such as “iPod Connectivity” or “Futon Filling,” you will see pages and pages of search results selling products, and very few that actually answer the query. In contrast, if you search for something that isn’t monetizable, say “bridge construction,” it is like going 10 years back into a search time machine.

Search has been increasingly gamed by link and content farms year by year, and users have been frogs slowly getting boiled in water without realizing it. (Bing has similarly bad results, a testament to Microsoft’s quest to copy…

Amazon’s narcissistic app store

Image
This post was also published in VentureBeat.Why did Amazon launch an Android app store this week? Chalk it up to a case of Apple envy.

Thanks to the iPod, iPhone, and iTunes, Apple is now making an estimated $5 billion per year in digital content distribution. Amazon.com, caught by surprise, has been struggling to keep up in the fast-growing digital content market. It missed the boat with music. (Discount Kid Rock MP3s, anyone?). Amazon’s online-video service is caught in a netherworld between iTunes and Netflix. Even at its new lower price point, the Kindle will soon be eclipsed by the iPad and Android tablets; already, Apple forced Amazon to lower its exorbitant book distribution fees.

Despite these multiple failures, Amazon still wants to make a go of it. Everybody else has an app store, from Apple to Google to Nokia and even HP. Why shouldn’t the world’s biggest online store sell apps, too?

Give Jeff Bezos this much credit: He sees that everyone is vertically integrating from content…

Will 2011 be the year online video unravels the Internet?

Image
This post was also published in VentureBeat.The explosive growth of online video over the past couple of years has begun to unravel the way both businesses and consumers have used and paid for Internet access over the past decade. Although past Internet growth has been exponential, the deluge of video that is coming in the next decade has already forced a series of legal, regulatory, and business disputes that have set the stage for significant changes for the next decade of video on the Internet.

A lot of this has been talked about in the lofty intellectual framework of net neutrality, which advocates present as the principle that providers of Internet access should not discriminate between types or sources of traffic on their network. But what it really comes down to are a new set of business arrangements for who will pay to get the bits from point A to point B. A host of developments in the past year have set the stage for major battles over bandwidth in 2011.

In April, the US Court …