March 29th, 2013 by Evoba
When Google first came onto the scene, it’s mission statement boiled down to something like “We want to organize the World’s information.” But it looks like their goals have slightly shifted–they recently announced that they’ll be pilot testing a shopping service which promises to deliver your orders the very same day the order is placed.
Google Shopping Express allows users to search for what they need (just like any other shopping site), select a delivery window, and get it delivered the same day.
This seems like an interesting service, but nothing new (Amazon has been providing a similar service in the Seattle metro area); however, with Google’s track-record on delivering search results, it will be interesting to see if customers will end up getting cans of Spam that they never ordered.
March 14th, 2013 by Evoba
The pop-up notice users saw when they logged into Google Reader over the past couple of days.
Google, as part of their spring cleaning, is discontinuing several services. One of the services on the chopping block is causing particular angst among its users–Google Reader.
Google Reader is an RSS feed reader which allows users to aggregate news stories an articles in one location, making it easier for consumption. As is the M.O. with Google, the discontinuation of the service was announced in a blog post, where one of the bullet points read:
“We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.”
There are many “discussions” going on across the web, and everyone is scrambling to figure out if there is a suitable alternative to Google Reader.
February 20th, 2013 by Evoba
Slowly but surely Marissa Mayer’s (the CEO of Yahoo!) changes are starting to show up on the public-facing side of Yahoo!. First came the Yahoo! Mail interface redesign, and now comes a new home page.
Today, Mayers posted a blog entry introducing the new Yahoo! home page. She referred to the origins of the portal saying:
Yahoo! first began as Jerry and Dave’s Guide to the World Wide Web, a directory of links created to help organize the Internet during its very early days. That simple directory evolved through the years into the Yahoo! we know today — a starting point for your daily habits. Whether checking the latest news, sports scores, or just searching, Yahoo! has always been about bringing you the very best of the web. And, today, we’re introducing a new, more modern experience to do just that.
The new home page will help personalize the experience for users by incorporating social elements from Facebook, in fact users will be able to log in with a Facebook ID in addition to their Yahoo! username. The new home page has also optimized to work on mobile platforms.
The new home page will being rolling out over the next few days for U.S. users.
January 21st, 2013 by Evoba
One of the most iconic video games companies of all time has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Atari, Atari Interactive and two other companies owned by Atari SA, the French parent company of Atari, filed a petition for Chapter 11 protection with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
The filing is designed to lay the groundwork for Atari’s US operations to emerge from bankruptcy protection as an independent company. Atari U.S. said in a statement that the new company is seeking to secure independent capital in order to continue to continue operation and growth.
As a pioneer of video games, specifically video game consoles, Atari began its adventures in 1972, and soon became well known for its gaming consoles as well as video games (e.g., Asteroids, Centipede). As competition increased, and the likes of Nintendo and Sony entered the market, Atari left the console market to concentrate on game development for a variety of platforms, including those of its former rivals, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo.
It’s always sad to see such pioneering companies fall on hard times, but hopefully this process will help Atari emerge stronger and more successful in the long term.
January 10th, 2013 by Evoba
Amazon is known for offering disruptive services and products, it’s one of the main reasons why they are successful. The most recent such offering is called “AutoRip”. AutoRip automatically ads a 256Kbps copy of the tracks from any purchased from Amazon onto the customer’s Cloud Player account, which is part of Amazon’s suite of cloud services. Also, if you’ve purchased any CDs from Amazon as far back as 1998, you may want to check your Cloud Player account since you may already have digital copies of those CDs on there.
For the uninitiated, the Amazon Cloud Player is a music service which allows users to stream music, stored on the Amazon cloud, through almost any device connected to the Internet.
This Amazon video explains it a bit more elegantly than any attempt made here.
Before you start jumping up-and-down, not every album will work with this service, only those marked “AutoRip” will. This is presumably due to agreements between Amazon and record labels. The initial batch of AutoRip eligible CDs will include 50,000 albums from major record labels.
In the ongoing competition with Apple’s iTunes service, Amazon continues to offer interesting services which challenge Apple’s dominance in the market; however, until Amazon comes up with a service that is as easy-to-use as iTunes, and along with that a software-solution to manage tracks both locally and on the cloud, it will have to be satisfied with its runner-up status.
January 9th, 2013 by Evoba
That’s the rumor circulating on technology blogs today. Based on Bloomberg source, a new cheaper iPhone could sell for between $99 and $149.
The story published by Bloomberg cites an unnamed source familiar with Apple’s plans for a less expensive version of their highly successful iPhone line. The new iPhone would be available late this year at the earliest.
The source also told Bloomberg that Apple has already been in talks with (at least) one U.S. wireless carrier about carrying the new iPhone. The phone in question has been in development since early 2011, and is mainly designed to penetrate the market in developing countries.
A cheaper iPhone rumors have crept up on us before, but this time around it seems more likely that Apple may indeed release such a device, since last year it introduced a smaller and less expensive iPad, the iPad Mini, which retails for $329, as opposed to its latest iPad (with Retina Display) which has a base price of $499.
If Apple can introduce a smartphone (even if it is with limited capabilities) at a $99 price-point, it will be a huge challenge to its arch rival Samsung, since popular Samsung smartphones are just as costly as iPhones. This could be an interesting year for both consumers and the rivalry between Apple and Samsung, and we may even see Motorola join the rumble with a Google branded phone, which will certainly make things popcorn-worthy.
January 8th, 2013 by Evoba
Eric Schmidt & the former Governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, arrived in North Korea on January 7th, on what is being dubbed as a humanitarian trip by Gov. Richardson.
The four-day humanitarian mission to North Korea was discouraged by the U.S. State Department. The State Department highlighted the fact that North Korea is subject to U.S. economic sanctions, and that the timing of the trip was unfortunate. Recent missile launches by North Korea were cited the main reasons for the State Department’s opposition to the visit.
Richardson, who is no stranger to traveling to less than hospitable destinations, has said that Schmidt is traveling as a private citizen, and is interested to learn firsthand about economic issues as well as the use of social media in the country.
“I invited Eric. He is going as a private citizen; this is not a Google trip. He’s interested in foreign policy, he’s a friend of mine, and I felt that it was important that there be a broader perspective of our visit.” (CBS)
Schmidt is a strong supporter of Internet availability and openness, and is expected to make some sort of donation to that end during the trip. Richardson’s main reason for the trip is to inquire about a U.S. citizen who is being held by the North Korean government.
February 7th, 2012 by Evoba
Charles Dickens Google Doodle
It’s fun to fire up the computer (or in my case today, a smartphone) and be greeted by a new Google doodle. Today’s doodle celebrates the birthday of Charles Dickens. But there is a slightly different way in which Google has linked today’s logo—instead of pointing it to the main search results page, Google has decided to serve results from Google Books. This is a very subtle, yet effective way for them to introduce one of their lesser-known services to the general public. It does make you think why they didn’t do this sooner.
Google has also posted a blog entry on their Google Books blog ‘Inside Google Books’ that takes a behind-the-scenes look at the development of the Charles Dickens doodle.
This doodle is a rather close tie-in with one of their products, which leads one to believe that this was thought out, and not just on a whim. With its unobtrusive nature, we are likely to see more such tie-ins with future Google doodles.
September 23rd, 2011 by Evoba
The price of being Google – or any corporation that grows to the point of dominating a single market – is the inevitable antitrust probe. On September 21, 2011, Eric Schmidt, Google’s former chief executive and current executive chairman was given the task of reassuring members on the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee that Google is not attempting to illegally abuse its power.
According to the Washington Post:
The broad antitrust argument against Google goes like this: The company’s dominant share of the search market means that it has unparalleled influence over what users find and don’t find on the Internet. As Google has branched into products beyond its main search engine, including mapping, travel and shopping, companies have accused Google of giving its own content better placement in its search results. Critics say this hurts not only smaller companies but also consumers, who don’t get the best results.
Google’s goal is to give people using their search engine the answer as quickly as possible. Google claims no malicious intent toward its competitors though the company seems to have admitted to pushing its own results higher, and as a consequence, pushed other sites down. Competition, however, worries that users will miss them completely by not being in the top spots.
Senator Richard Blumenthal offered the following analogy as a reason the search engine giant is being looked at so closely by the U.S. and Europe: “You run the racetrack. You own the racetrack. For a long time, you didn’t have any horses. Now you have horses . . . and your horses seem to be winning.”
Schmidt remained cool despite accusations by Senator Mike Lee that Google “cooked” results by consistently showing up third for Google Shopping inquiries. His response was quick and to the point, “Senator, may I simply say that I can assure you we’ve not cooked anything.”
Whether or not Schmidt’s assurances will assuage fears and concerns is something that’s still up in the air. However, Google’s continued acquisition of companies beyond its core search business coupled with its dominance of that area is most likely not helping its case.