A product manager's thoughts on the connected future.
At the time of his death, Jobs had come to loathe Google, which he felt was copying features of the iPhone while withholding a key feature of Google Maps that allows smartphones to dictate turn-by-turn directions aloud. Jobs also discussed pulling Google search from the iPhone, but figured that customers would reject that move, according to two former Apple executives.
We knew that Jobs wanted to go thermonuclear on Google, but Stone provides some insight on just how far he was prepared to go to nix their services completely from the iPhone.
Hot on the heels of Google’s red hot social network Google+, Microsoft has also decided to dip it’s toes with a new product trendily named so.cl.
The first question I asked myself when I read the news was - why?
Microsoft already has a strategic alignment with Facebook to do battle against the forces of Google. They have made a good chunk of change based on Facebook’s IPO. It would make sense to foster this relationship with a strong partner rather than go at it alone with the quiet launch of so.cl.
Speaking of Google, even with their strong online clout with heavily used products like Search, Maps and Gmail, they are finding it difficult to get a foothold into non-geek markets. If you didn’t realise, my opening quip was in sarcasm. A quick browse over there would reveal that it’s a network made up exclusively of social media evangelists and software engineers.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my Xbox and I’m lusting after a Lumia 900. But Microsoft’s own social network just doesn’t feel right, especially with the subpar product they have revealed. It’s just not ok to launch half-heartedly in an already crowded market with well established players, not to mention upstarts like Pinterest. No mobile app is also a big question mark on how serious Microsoft really is with this project.
Microsoft, like Google, obviously understands the importance of socially infusing your products. They recently added social recommendations to Bing search results. This seemed like a great move as they use various social networks as a source, in comparison to Google Search which detrimentally emphasizes Google+ results, fueling strong criticism.
Perhaps if Microsoft had a strong product at launch it could make some sense. However so.cl seems confusing at best, and infuriating at worst - with your search query being posted straight to your profile.
In context, the following tweet could be seen as an insult to the WNBA.
Microsoft vs. Google in social. This is like watching a WNBA game: techmeme.com/120520/p8#a120…— Spencer Chen (@spencerchen) May 20, 2012
Google’s AdMob is pushing the ability to serve interactive video to Android apps, which is a similiar format to what it currently runs on the iPhone.
The advantage for AdMob is that they are able serve into many mobile platforms, as opposed to Apple’s iAD which only serve ads into iPhones - therefore limiting advertiser’s reach. Apple is rumoured to be developing iAds for video too, with the growing video advertising market it can’t be ignored.
The ad network will dynamically identify screen resolution, size, and network connection speed to serve users the best ad for each device. And Android developers have more interactive options when including ads in their applications. The new ad units themselves can be placed when an app opens or within an app.
Source - Techcrunch
Sony has launched their Internet TV and they are a very interesting set of devices. Powered by Google TV, they range in price from US$599 to US$1399 and models include 24, 32, 40 and 46-inch screens. The remote control is a massive, two-handed affair with more buttons than an airlines cockpit, but Sony says that it’s a great way to control the Internet TV.
I’m still not sure about what to think about Google TV. It’s a very interesting product, but it may prove to be a difficult concept for the mainstream market to understand.
Read more about it at Engadget
Besides working on search, mapping software and a mobile operating system, Google has also been surprisingly dipping it’s toes into a field of robotics: Artificially intelligent cars that drive themselves.
Recently at the start-up tech expo Techcrunch Disrupt, Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt made this seemingly throwaway comment, but now makes a lot more sense:
It’s a bug that cars were invented before computers, your car should drive itself. It just makes sense.
Today, Google made a blog post officially stating that they are working on these autonomous cars - a fleet of Toyota Prius’ equipped with an array of cameras, radars and lasers to guide them on the road, ofcourse coupled with Google Maps for direction.
Google has been testing these cars on public roads for years, and they’ve clocked in over 140,000 miles. However don’t be too optimistic about seeing self-driving cars on the market any time soon, with the loftiest expectations from Google putting the tech at least 8 years away from market.
The New York Times saw one of these in action:
A Prius equipped with a variety of sensors and following a route programmed into the GPS navigation system nimbly accelerated in the entrance lane and merged into fast-moving traffic on Highway 101, the freeway through Silicon Valley.
It drove at the speed limit, which it knew because the limit for every road is included in its database, and left the freeway several exits later. The device atop the car produced a detailed map of the environment.
The car then drove in city traffic through Mountain View, stopping for lights and stop signs, as well as making announcements like “approaching a crosswalk” (to warn the human at the wheel) or “turn ahead” in a pleasant female voice.