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Monday, February 7, 2011

Have you considered changing your beepbeep to the competitor's ?

Every now and then, one encounters a hidden promotion. The recent one I saw is CNN money's piece quoting a survey done among Verizon's android users.  Apparently the survey aimed at finding out how many of Verizon's subscribers who use Android based smartphones or Rimm's smartphones were considering moving to iPhone, as the Apple-gadget will soon become available to Verizon subscribes.
Somehow some necessary critical questions rise to mind. questions of the sort of -
  • how many iPhone users  in america are considering moving to other smartphones ?
  • how many people who own a gadget of a sort, consider changing it for the new shiny one the competitors have just brought to the market ?
  • how many considerations of consumers become real life actions ?
  • Who promoted this survey, with those leading questions

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Google: Microsoft are copycats

Google has officialy blamed Microsoft that it has been copying result-sets from Google's search engine, as an attempt to improve Bing's search capabilities. Microsoft has denied the accusations in a very peculiar manner. At times, boths sides appeared like angry tomcats growling at each other, or more accurately, like two teenagers flaming in some ancient usenet group. Seems like the majority of the blogosphere (at least that which I have time to read) seems to accept Google's version. And it is no wonder. Seems like Microsoft has written into the Bing Toolbar a very interesting algorithm. If a user reaches through any search engine, an interesting result set, with keywords Bing is not aware of, Bing Toolbar sends it home for analysis and addition to Bing's search database. As you can imagine, there has to be a rather dumb algorithm at home checking these result sets before adding them to the production search database of bing, or else, how could those funny traps google set in Bing's way have been taken in so easily ?

Three outcomes are -
1) One's respect for Microsoft's search engine group managers has to be reduced .
Not because of this ingenious technical imrovement. On the contrary there. It is an excellent way to improve one's search engine, and I'm not entirely sure it is a complete copycat act as each bit of information copied from google, is copied by a single private computer. It is more like each user, in his own free time, dedicated to the mission of improving bing, is registering there any search result he reached in google, that is still unknown to bing.
What is shocking here is the fact that it appears as if people at Microsoft didn't prepare for the day of discovery. Any person with his sound mind could have told them - "guys, this is a brilliant way to close the gap, quickly, and bring our search database up-to-mark with google in no time. But if word gets out, it won't look good. Lets prepare to the PR war upfront".
And yet, it seems, no one at Microsoft thought about it.
Not only were they caught with the hand in the cookie jar, but they had no plausible explanation, while any one with a little imagination could have offered dozens of explanation for this new data hunting method.
Worse than that - it seems like they didn't think Google might set this trap for them. Otherwise, they could have easily add an intertwining which verifies that search results are legitimate. It would have slowed bing's pace at closing the data gap, but would have made life so much harder for google in showing the world Microsoft's way of competing...

2) One's respect for Microsoft's competitiveness, at least at the search engines arena, is restored. They are willing to take some very nasty means, in order to stay in the game. Bill Gates might not be an active manager anymore, but his spirit of never give up and use what you can, is still there after years it appeared to have been forgotten.

3) The saddest of them all - seems like there is virtual pollution even by the search engines themselves, those angels of order in a world overfilled with data. All of a sudden, very meaningless strings have become legitimate search terms.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

tweet with the internet offline: speak 2 tweet

In an impressive endeavor pro freedom demonstrators in egypt, google and tweeter produced a tweet-without-the-internet solution. Sadly, it relies on accessibility to international phones... but these, apparantly are harder to shutdown nowadays. hopefully. Regardless, it is nice to see the information revolution responding to the needs of its child revolutions.

facebook comments

Cnet reports that Facebook is launching a third-party commenting system in a matter of weeks.
This step is not surprising, and is in line with predictions about Facebook's wishes of becoming the web's infrastructure supplier, with the added bonus of dominating or at least channelling all related information through its social network. I have already expressed my doubts about this strategy, because of the clear limits players who wish to play as both infrastructure and content giants must face, and because of the problems most people's concepts of privacy will create for facebook in the coming years.
As a devout skeptic I always seek opportunities to prove myself wrong. No doubt Facebook comments is the best test-case for the key question: is the concept of privacy changing ? according to many commentators on the Cnet report, it isn't. According to the gentlemen Zuckerberg and Schmidt  it is (the latter, at least temporarily). The acceptance of Facebook comments will help us all decide who is wrong.

On the risks of having a website: a possible attempt of virtual piracy

Plenty of Fish, the famous dating site whose tale has made many frustrated entrepreneurs jealous, has been hacked in what appears to be - at least according to the founder of Plenty of Fish - a modern robbery attempt.Worth taking a look.If not for the story, then for the many responses, which illustrate a seemingly evolving PR disaster.

[Update: sadly, the post in Plenty of Fish was taken down, with all the responses and talkbacks...]

and the top smartphone platform in Q4 2010 is....

Android has finally made it. It is reported to be the top selling smartphone platform in Q4 2010. Seems like it is time to bid symbian farewell... but it isn't just Nokia who is losing. check out the way all competitors are losing ground. Only Google's smartphone o.s has gained ground in the 2009/Q4-2010Q4 comparison. Even Apple's iPhone has lost a little ground!