Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Earlier TechCrunch reported of Google registering a slew of .com domain names related to music and clouds.  These domain names included GoogleBass.com, GoogleAlto.com, GoogleSoprano and GoogleTenor.com along with GoogleNebula.com, GoogleThunder.com and GoogleLightning.com. These domains were registered around the 1st week of April.

In another more recent development, Google has acquired PushLife a Toronto based mobile startup company for $25 M. The PushLife platform enables you to port your iTunes and Windows Media player libraries to non-Apple phones like Android and Blackberryand also lets you manage wallpapers, music, videos, ringtones and other media on your cell phone.

Clearly Google has made up its mind to move beyond search. In another development; YouTube, Google’s popular video platform announced on Friday that it is getting in live stream services (something similar to UStream). This will be available via YouTube.com/live.

So is Google ready to barge in to the media world with full force? I think yes with

  1. A popular video platform supporting live events.
  2. A Google TV appliance
  3. An extremely successful advertisement business
  4. A successful mobile OS

With just a music service to fill in the void, Google would have all that one would need to dominate the media over the Internet.

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A few days back, Rajesh Jain, MD, Netcore Solutions Pvt. Ltd. based in Mumbai, started a discussion on Facebook on “Mass Market Internet” talking about on the options we have for getting the millions of potential users on Internet who today either don’t have a medium to access Internet or a promising application to attract their loyalty. I wrote to him about my thoughts and below is the portion of email that I wrote to him:-

Internet Users:
Talking about Internet users, from my perspective there can be two broad category of Internet users.
 
The first ones are those people who make a consicous effort to connect themselves to the Internet and use applications delivered via the web. These are the users who are the only types of Internet users existing in India today. However the second category, which form the majority, will be those users who will be consumers of applications delivered via the web, but they may or may not realize about their connectivity to the web. From my perspective they are still Internet users as they still consume applications via the web. For them its like a service through cellphone, if you have the network you can make a call, if you have the connection you can access the application. The second category of users are the users who are illiterate or lack computer knowledge. But from this vast majority a sizeable number of them do use cellphones. For these users educating them of computers is a lengthy and expensive process, probably more expensive than setting up the Internet access infrastructure in place. For these users, a computer keyboard is more complicated to use rather than the keyboard of a cellphone or the remote control of a TV.
To get the numbers of Internet users in India to a higher point, it is important that the second category of users come online and start consuming applications regardless they know about it or not.

Medium of access:
Internet penetration not only in remote places or villages, but in small and medium towns in India is still a bottle neck. In these places, the dial-up is still the primary medium of access. Also in some of the places, the telephone exchanges have very limited capacity and the lines are prone to noise and interference. In such places, better Internet experience can be achieved through satellite Internet. At least better than dial up.

Access Device:
Television and the cellphones are the devices which have the most penetration in our country and these two are the devices, which are capable of delivering applications via Internet.
 
 
Type of Application:
From my perspective, interactive and entertainment applications will be the primary driving factor for Internet usage. Today, social networking sites are the most visited websites as they let you interact with other users in a variety of way. Even though video hosting is expensive, there are many sites which provide access to entertainment videos as there is a tremendous demand for it.
 
So what would be the type of applications.

Example 1. Consider a house or community which has a satellite television and Internet delivered via satellite (the connection can be a DTH connection). Apart from the standard channels, the user can tune into Netflix Internet TV by just click of a remote.
 
Example 2. Emails has been used via Internet since a long time now, consider a service which lets users send small emails as text messages to cellphone. So I can send an email to <mydadnumber>@provider.com which actually goes to an application on the email server which in turn splits the email (if needed) and sends it as an SMS to the end user, when the end user replies (keeping the subject intact) his reply is converted back in to an email and delivered in to the inbox of the original sender.

Microsoft’s new decision engine is now out in the wild and like many others I took the opportunity to try out the most talked about search engine (oh rather decision engine) these days.

I started off with trying my search in the shopping category as it was the one most talked about. I searched for “iphone”. The first two page results that I got was all about “iphone accessories” rather the “iphone” itself. Well usually I don’t I go looking for something beyond first two pages of a search result if the first two pages doesn’t satisfy what I am looking for and I think that’s usually the case with most of us. But then I thought what if Microsoft somehow already knew that I already have an iphone, after it is their “knows it all” engine. Freaky!!!. So I changed my search, instead of “iphone”, I tried, “itouch”, got just the accessories. How about “ipod touch” or “ipod touch 16 GB”. Alas never got the results I was looking for!

After 15 mins of trying to find “iphone” or “ipod touch” I gave up and started looking at the cash back offers on the iphone accessories and guess what they weren’t cheap. I had bought a iphone screen guard and body cover with arm band from a local store for 7$, but Bing cash back results just for the arm band was 18$. Obviously you had a 2-3% cash back as promised by Bing. You see they don’t lie to you. They just charge you more and then just give you back a tiny portion of the extra amount they snatched from you.

Alright, I decided that from now on I would still prefer going to the individual websites or stick with Google for my online shopping needs and gave up on the much hyped shopping category. I moved on to the regular techie search, that I always do on Google. The results from Bing as compared to Google was not that great. The results were just from some well known API documentation web pages, but that is something a developer never searches for. Those API links are usually in his bookmarks. What he/she searches for is answers to the problems they face.

However, apart from dislikes, there were actually a few things that I liked about Bing. The first one is the flashy and cool user interface and the second one was their result presentation for images and videos. The news segment was pretty much updated. A search on the Air France disaster showed me the latest news article was posted 53 mins ago while on Google news the latest news article was posted 9 hours ago.

The left hand dynamic categorization is pretty cool and classifies the search result. Say for a keyword on “Air France”, the generated categories were, News, Reservations, Flights, Jobs, Schedule etc.

Well from what I have seen so far, I won’t completely rule out Bing as my search option at the moment and would prefer to give it some more time analyze the user’s search behavioral patterns and improve its results. However one thing is for sure, Google is definitely here to stay for long.