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Showing posts from 2005

Email, Search, News

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That is what most surfers spend time on, in that order. And Google leads Yahoo by a wide margin in search, 46 to 23 per cent. Yahoo still leads on email, but then Gmail is still in beta, and you can't get an account just like that, you have to be invited in by someone who already has one. Both compete on news, although I think Yahoo leads, but I personally prefer Google, although I also use Yahoo heavily. I could not imagine doing my political work without the help of Google News.

As for search, I have always preferred Google. Search is central to the whole idea of the internet itself, and Google is one company organized around search. That is what makes them the premier internet company.

If I were Google, I would closely integrate the top three services. So I sign into my Gmail account and stay signed in while I do other things on or near my computer, and it should feel like I have access to the main Google search page and the Google News page at the same time. And when I am on the…

Memo To Bill Gates

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A memo from Gates has been leaked where he says Microsoft is "at risk" from Google. I figured I would respond, so here is me composing a memo to that other Bill from the 1990s.

Mr. Software Architect.

Part of your problem is simply ageing. There was IBM, and then Microsoft came along, and Microsoft eclipsed IBM itself in market capitalization. You might be IBM, and Google might be Microsoft. Empires come and go. So at some level, just make peace.

I am a huge fan of your foundation though. I wish you were 10 times richer, I am so impressed with your work for health care in the poor countries. And of course you are a terribly smart, creative guy. I am easily a fan.



At some point I think a company like Microsoft should just plough in all that extra cash into becoming a venture capitalist firm, or at least growing a wing in that direction, I think. It is young scientists and the entrepreneurs who come up with the cuttinge edge ideas, or at least in most cases.

I think your problem is…

xMax

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WiFi was wireless but not broadband, and not large area. Broadband over power lines was broadband but not wireless. WiMax was both: wireless and broadband. And today I read about xMax. It is wireless broadband without the WiMax hassles, it seems like. It looks like power to the people to the power of x. This is delightful. This is real good news. The basic thrust is towards wireless broadband. For a city in a wireless broadband soup, cellphones should become free. Cellphones that are ad-based. This is a brave, new world.
XMax aims to spark low-power wireless revolutionGlobe and Mail, CanadaxMax ™ Demonstration Sets Higher Bar for Broadband ClickPress (press release), United Arab EmiratesCould xMax change the world of broadband?ZDNetUK, UKxMax sparks low power wireless revolution Techworld.com, UKXMax in pictures ZDNet UK, UKxMax - is it real? Techworld.com, UKxMax's First Long-Range Field Test A Success LinuxElectrons, TXXG Technology conducts first public demonstration of xMAX MRT…

Free Wireless Broadband, Reenergized Microsoft

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Google begins limited test of Wi-Fi serviceReuters...... "....the company was considering building a U.S. broadband network capable of targeting specific advertising to users based on the location of their Wi-Fi..."Microsoft Corp. reorganizes to compete better with Google, YahooCanadian Business I had been thinking municipality provided wireless broadband. But Google has trumped me on that one. It has come up with an even better idea. Google provided nationwide wireless broadband. All the user have to do is download a Google toolbar onto their laptops in return. If that were to materialize, Google would grow even more like it were a hot startup. Kudos.

Bill Gates complained during the whole anti-trust legal fiasco that instead of competing with him on products, his competitors were taking him to court. Now he does not have to say that no more. Google is competition. Big G should be happy.



I think he had the option in 1995 to take the lead when a school of thought emerged withi…

Google's To Do List Keeps Growing

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This New York Times article echoes my blog entry from months back. (Google: Poised To Be The Number One Software Company In The World) That whole IBM to Microsoft to Google succession chain. I think it is inevitable. Empires rise and fall, and that is okay, as long as the tide keeps rising for the average consumer boat.

"Google has already added free e-mail, mapping, news aggregation and digital-photo management to its offerings, bringing it into competition in each case with two or more rivals."

Just look at some of the items on their laundry list:
Instant messaging.Services for mobile phone users.Online payment.Internet based phone system.Browser.Software to compete with Microsoft Office.
That last one caught my attention. I hope they do not make the mistake of competing with Microsoft in that segment offline. If they do, they will be beat. They should offer an "Office" that is totally online and builds on their, well, Blogger. If they take it online, they win. Mess…

China, India And The World

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I mean I was born in India. This pertains to me. People who live on a dollar a day are people in my personal circle. I know quite a few of them: some of them have nicknames for me, from my homevillage.

BusinessWeek has come up with a fabulous story cluster around the big topics of the economic resurgence of the two Asian giants. But perspective has to be maintained. Look at the per capita income. The PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) for 2004 for China is $5,600. For India it is $3,100. Fro Nepal it is $1,500. I had to throw Nepal in because, well, I grew up in Nepal.

The same figure for the US is $40,100.

My point being it will be a while before India and China jump over to the $50,000 range.

But the GDP figures, adjusted for Purchasing Power Parity, are US $11.75 trillion, China $7.262 trillion and India $3.319 trillion. At that level the differences are less stark.

The 19th century was Britain's, the 20th was America's, this one is Asia's. Cisco's Scheinman: "We came to…

In Defense Of Google Digitizing Books

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It would be flat out wrong to get in the way of technological breakthroughs that bring the cost of books down. And make their reaches wider. It is just that a way has to be found to ensure the authors do make money in the process.

I think Google should consider becoming a publisher itself. So you publish your book on Google property. Revenue is generated through ads. You and Google split the money made. For the reader it is free books. For the author there is money.



The library concept hit the snag. Because the money part was not handled well. On the other hand, if it is okay to read a book at some library for free, why is it not okay to read that same book in digital format?

The publishing industry feels the threat, and rightly so. Because of the web, the barrier to entry to getting published is literally zero. As to whether or not you get read is another thing. As to whether or not you make money is another thing.

I think this free for consumer revenue through ads model would work also …

Google's Corporate Transparency

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It's all right there, online. Too bad they don't have this one webpage that links to all the stuff. Instead there are separate starting points.



They did not have an easy start either. Earnly stage investors were not easy coming by.

Their corporate culture to me is as fascinating as their technology. The two feed on each other.

These people, they are just starting out. They are growing to grow, grow, grow. They invent challenges for themselves. They realize their competition is with themselves.

"Despite the dotcom fever of the day, they had little interest in building a company of their own around the technology they had developed."

Google And Languages

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And I am not talking Visual Basic and C++ here. I am talking Bengali and Maithili. "The goal is to make the Internet language-independent." Wow. That would be cool, real cool. Google's on it. It also is in news that it will offer something in the PayPal category. Cool. Well, folks, what about MathML! "At the UN, it doesn't matter whether you speak only French and the orator is waxing eloquent in Chinese. The Web will be the same way." Wow.



Vonage And WiMax

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Marry Vonage to WiMax, and what do you get? Internet-based cellphones? That would be a dream come true. TowerStream seems to be gearing to take the leap: "has a range of up to 30 miles and can deliver broadband at a theoretical maximum of 75 megabits per second." But so far it is just marrying broadband to phone. The mobile thing does not seem to be in the works. I guess before it happens we will have to see the emergence of citywide WiMax.
Yahoo is going to compete with Google to provide ads for small blogs. I hope that means Google is going to pay out a larger proportion of what they charge advertisers.
There's web services, and then there is open source web services: that's a twist.




Social Networking: Where The Internet Comes Down From The Clouds

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I think social networking the internet way is even younger than the internet, and has more places to go, many more. The metaphor that comes to my mind is that of a tornedo touchdown. The internet is the tornedo. When you use it for social networking purposes, it is a touchdown. The results can be positively "devastating."



Look at MeetUp.com. I have some history with this site. My early enthuse for Dean got me to the site. And I got hooked. Dean moved on, I stayed on. So imagine my utter surprise when I bumped into the CEO of MeetUp, mid-westerner Scott, close to my age, who has since invited me to his office, not long after I moved into the city. I met this guy at a MeetUp. To me it was like I ended up at some party where I met a Hollywood star, something akin to it. And he is so self-effacing in presence. I guess he is one of those never-lose-your-cool, big-picture visionaries. I mean, what did I expect him or someone like him to be? Obnoxious? Look, I got the big idea! The …

Wi-Mesh

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I just bumped into the word. A search for the term on Google News brought forth only seven results.

Wi-Mesh extends the reach of Wi-Fi. So the expansion is coming from both ends.

In The News
Wi-Mesh Moves Toward IEEE Standard TechNewsWorld, CA "You have to take the right steps in the right order, and a standard for WiMax should come first."Wi-Mesh to compete with WiMaxTechWhackWi-Mesh standardisation process beginsVNUNet.comthe Wi-Mesh Alliance made up of Nortel, Philips and others, and SEEMesh (Simple, Efficient and Extensible Mesh) backed by Intel, Nokia and Motorola.
Nortel Pushes Wi-Mesh StandardNewsFactor NetworkWi-Mesh Alliance Presents Proposal for IEEE 802.11s Converge Network DigestIntel expects WiMax to become a broadband standard by 2006
http://www.wi-mesh.org



Superfast Cable Broadband And The Rest Of The Daily Soup

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A jump from the current 2 MB to 100 MB as early as next year is highly desirable. There is no way to go but up. Personally I would like to follow World Cup Soccer games online. For one, I don't own a television set. Two, I don't want to own a television set. There is this double whammy of speeds going up and the prices going down. Connectivity prices need to go the hardware and the software route: down, down, down. The competition sizzles up. There is DSL (1.5-3), cable (4-16) and fiber (30). When you cut prices, you gain market share, like DSL companies have shown; when you raise speeds, there is a similar effect. Municipalities geting into the fiber network business is another pop up. Why wait for the market to seep it in! This Louisiana victory goes against the current of other defeats where the big companies bullied the small and not so small towns.
A 10 year old Pakistani is in news for getting Microsoft certified. She got to meet Bill Gates, an experience she describes as…

Into the Nitty Gritty Of WiMax

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The whole point of the internet has been to open things up but, paradoxically, the way people have so far accessed that same internet has been a closed system. WiMax promises to bring openness to the access point itself.

The whole idea of old companies getting washed away, and new companies coming to occupy center stage, old industries disappearing and new ones emerging, old markets evaporating off and new markets getting created, old jobs getting lost and new ones created, that whole churn is an essential vitality of the market mechanism. Change is inevitable, change is desirable. As to what change, and how much, it is ultimately for the customer to decide in a marketplace that is not otherwise distorted. Daring entrepreneurs and dedicated public servants in political offices have the option to forge new partnerships to make sure the consumer is made supreme and stays supreme. There is that futuristic, visionary crown that every cutting edge company wears, and in that zone it is more …

The WiMax Appeal

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The WiMax appeal is that it is broadband, and it is wireless, and it can be "spread" over a large area like that of a city, and hence is the only take-you-online-fast technology that can be the internet parallel of what we have in the form of roads for our cars. At the WiMax level, broadband internet can be passed on to the municipality.

It is a young technology, sure. There are all sorts of naysayers. There will be fits and starts, but ultimately it will prevail. Because the vision is so clear: wireless broadband over a large area. The component bits and pieces will be ongoing work. Refinements will be made. But there is no doubting the basic thrust of it all.



Curiously the biggest challenge is not that the technology might not emerge or might not live up to the "hype," but that entreched, rival, old technologies and their corporate patrons might play dirty. The tussle is political. If the market mechanism is driven by consumers, as it should, WiMax will prevail nev…