How Google Deals with Some Negativity

August 19, 2014

Google is attempting to swat away yet another pesky legal matter, this time in U.S. federal court over their Android licensing practices. Why won’t this unpleasantness just go away? Yahoo News shares, “Google Seeks to Dismiss U.S. Antitrust Lawsuit Over Android.” Writer Dan Levine reports:

“Two smartphone customers filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Google Inc. in May, arguing that the way Google licenses Android to smartphone companies like Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is unfair to Google’s competitors for search and other mobile services….

“Plaintiff lawyers had argued that Google forces phone manufacturers to set its own search engine as the default on Android phones. Google knows consumers will not go through the trouble of changing those default settings, the lawsuit said, putting competitors at an unfair disadvantage given Android’s global market share.

“‘Google badly wants default search engine status because it results in more paid search-related advertisements,’ the lawsuit said, ‘which are the source of most of its billions and billions of dollars in annual profits.’”

Well, naturally. The question is whether the tactics are legal. Google responded to charges in a court filing, claiming their actions are completely above board. They go so far as to insist their practices foster healthy, legal competition. They do point to customers’ ability to install a different search engine. They also point out that Android-using manufacturers aren’t required to accept Google apps, and that they can even preload competing apps. Ah, bloatware—so much for putting the customer first.

Cynthia Murrell, August 19, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

A Less Small Thing: Forking Android

August 5, 2014

A few years ago, I was in China. I marveled at the multi-SIM phones. I fiddled with a half dozen models and bought an unlocked GSM phone running Android 2.3. The clerk in the store told me that there would be Android phones without Google. At the time, I was thinking about the fragmentation of Android. In hindsight, I think the clerk in Xian knew a heck of a lot more about the future of Android without Google than I understood. The Chinese manufacturers liked Android but not the Google ball and chain “official Android” required of licensees. Android without Google seems to be a less small thing.

I read “Google Under Threat as Forked Android Devices Rise to 20% of Smartphone Shipments.”The article points out that Android has a market share of 85 percent. The article points out that market share is one thing. Revenue is another. With Web search from traditional computers losing its pride of place, mobile search is a bigger and bigger deal. Unfortunately the money generated by mobile clicks is not the gusher that 2004 style search was. To compensate, Google has been monetizing its silicon heart out. You can read one person’s view of Google search in “Dear Google, I Am Writing an Open Letter from the Search Wilderness.”

I am sure Google will dismiss the NextWeb’s story. I am not so sure. As NextWeb observes, “The company faces a growing issue: The rise of non Google Android.” The real test will be the steps Google takes to pump up the top line and control costs at a time when complaints about Google search are becoming more interesting and compelling.

Stephen E Arnold, August 5, 2014

Software-Cluster Promises Better Mobile Services

July 31, 2014

A German software company popped into the aggregator with a press release entitled “Software-Cluster Designing Platforms For Innovative Internet Services” from ConWeaver. The release details how Software-Cluster is working on a platform to provide its customers with better connectively to mobile services. The information is very vague, but Software-Cluster’s Website yields a bit more one what the company actually does.

The page “Software-Cluster Enables Platforms For Innovative Internet Services” (translated via Google Translate) explains that Software-Cluster is currently focused on ending the communication issues users face when they are using multiple apps.

“For a variety of individual services such complex applications may arise. The platform allows the management of Internet-based services, makes these comparable and combines retrievable and usable. The user receives an appropriate solution to his problem of these services tailored that can be billed according to usage. The platform offers a range of standard-based services for the metering, monitoring and billing of the services offered on the platform can use the provider of services on the platform. To this end, the platform uses a service repository in which the services are stored and about the to which may be measured, as well as tools for service discovery and service selection and billing for the services used.”

The platform will be offered as an SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and is made with three specific markets in mind: handling logistics processes, trading energy quotas, and resolving mobility challenges.

Seamless integration between cloud and mobile apps? Yeah, there is a market for that.

Whitney Grace, July 31, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Swiftype

July 22, 2014

Each search software company has their own blend on improving search and increasing accuracy. Swiftype uses the slogan “the easiest way to add great search to your Web site” and while its search software may fulfill that statement, it is something other search companies claim as well. The questions then, are it true and what makes Swiftype different from its competition? The latter is easier to answer than the former. Instead of focusing on one section of the search market, Swiftype provides solutions for a variety of Web sites including WordPress, startups, knowledge bases, mobile, publishers, ecommerce, and even open source.

“Swiftype is a hosted software service that eliminates the need to create your own search software from scratch, making it possible for any website owner or mobile app developer to add great search to their product. Features include powerful relevance algorithms, customizable search result ordering, fast auto complete with typo protection, real-time analytics and more. Exceptionally simple to integrate into your existing software, but also remarkably flexible, Swiftype can be extensively customized to match the specific needs of your business.”

The support for the Web site variety is in Swiftype’s favor, but the company also offers real-time analytics and developer support. Search is still in its infancy for mobile devices, but Swiftype has dedicated an entire area that optimizes search for apps on different smartphone brands and mobile Web browsers. Swiftype already supports a hefty client list: Twitch, Twilio, TechCrunch, and Shopify. Swiftype is proving to be a big player in search. Maybe they’ll be blazing new trails and leave its competition behind.

Whitney Grace, July 22, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Vurbs Contextual Search Engine

June 3, 2014

The Internet search model we are all accustomed to is simple: a keyword search retrieves a page full of links. More relevant links are supposedly toward the top of the list. But it seems that the paradigm may be shifting. Vurb is launching a new way to look at search, and it is discussed in the story, “Vurb’s Contextual Search Engine Blows Away Those Stupid Lists Of Links.”

The article sums it up:

“Search is outdated. Google steers you to right section of the library, but doesn’t answer your question or compile that answer with others to help you make a decision. Luckily, today Vurb is launching its reinvention of search results in the form of a web and mobile contextual search engine. Rather than forcing you to do multiple searches in different tabs, Vurb collects all the relevant info on one page and preserves your path in a saveable, sharable stream.”

Mobile and desktop, Vurb organizes search results across web apps and packages them in a pleasing visual manner. But the jury is still out on whether or not it can drill down far enough to find meaningful answers to questions. And while services like Vurb can push the envelope on what users demand out of traditional search, it is not yet time for the up-and-comers to unseat the giants.

Emily Rae Aldridge, June 03, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Microsoft Yanks Azure Hosting

May 29, 2014

SharePoint mobile apps hosting on Azure was widely touted what seems like just a few short months ago. However, news recently broke that SharePoint is yanking the solution off of the platform. The details are covered in the PCWorld story, “Microsoft Yanks Azure Auto-Hosted SharePoint Apps Service.”

The article begins:

“Microsoft is pulling the plug on a new model of deplying and hosting apps for SharePoint that relied on the company’s Azure platform. The goal of the AutoHosted Apps Preview program was to offer SharePoint developers a ‘friction free’ experience for provisioning their apps by tapping Azure resources, but the service fell short of expectations because, in Microsoft’s words, it ‘lacked some critical capabilities.’”

Stephen E. Arnold is a longtime leader in search and often turns his attention to SharePoint glitches and concerns. Users are often looking for tips and tricks to help make SharePoint more effective and accessible, and on ArnoldIT.com he offers those too. So stay tuned to Arnold’s SharePoint feed for more about the Azure change and all the latest SharePoint news.

Emily Rae Aldridge, May 29, 2014

The Rise of Internet Ad Revenue Continues

May 16, 2014

The article titled US Internet Ad Revenue Surpasses Broadcast on SFGate announced the tipping point for TV and print advertising has arrived. This may not come as a huge surprise to Generations X and Y who have watched with increasing annoyance as ads increased on internet videos across the board. Gone are the days when a Hulu-aired episode had just one commercial, or a Youtube video began right away, rather than pausing for an ad. The article states,

“For the first time, U.S. Internet advertising revenue has surpassed that of broadcast television thanks to sharp growth in mobile and digital video ads.

That’s according to a report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, which said Thursday that Internet advertising revenue rose 17 percent to a record $42.8 billion in 2013. Broadcast TV ad revenue, in comparison, was $40.1 billion in 2013.

Mobile advertising revenue more than doubled to $7.1 billion from $3.4 billion in 2012…”

The article credits the alteration to companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook and their augmented attendance to mobile ads. The survey was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The article does not comment on the future of Internet advertising revenue, but it is easy to imagine that the numbers will only continue to rise.

Chelsea Kerwin, May 16, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

SharePoint Mobility Functionality Depends on Third Party Solutions

May 15, 2014

By now readers are probably tired of hearing about SharePoint and its evolving mobile capabilities. But the truth is, a lot is written about SharePoint and mobile because it is what users are looking for next in the platform. Business 2 Community gives another spin on the topic in their article, “Third-Party Apps Mend SharePoint’s Mobility Pains.”

The article refers to a survey that was conducted among SharePoint users:

“Seismic, an enterprise mobile content management solution, conducted a survey of the 2014 SharePoint Conference global attendees. The findings revealed that 30 percent of business professionals believe better mobile capabilities will drive the adoption of SharePoint. While SharePoint users are accessing the content management system via computers, smartphones and tablets, they’re continuing to experience pain points with mobile.”

The article then goes on to list the common complaints about SharePoint’s mobile capabilities, or lack thereof. And once again, third party solutions are being pointed out as the relief in this situation. Stephen E. Arnold also covers SharePoint news on his Web site, ArnoldIT.com. He has also found that customization and mobile capabilities drive SharePoint adoption and satisfaction, but until SharePoint embeds better abilities, users will continue to turn to third party solutions.

Emily Rae Aldridge, May 15, 2014

Watson and Shopping: No Service, Just an Assertion

April 26, 2014

I read “Make IBM’s Watson Your Personal Shopping Assistant.” IBM wants to leapfrog www.pricewatch.com, www.amazon.com, and the aging www.mysimon.com, among other shopping services.

Now quite a few people have embraced Amazon’s flawed, yet popular, recommendations service. I am trying to remember when I first noticed this somewhat annoying feature of the digital WalMart. I cannot recall. I am reminded of the weaknesses of the system each time I log in and see recommendations to my wife’s book selections. Undoubtedly she and I are not following Amazon’s best practices. My wife is pretty familiar with my user name and password, Amazon, and the ease with which she can order products (dog vitamins), novels (wonky mysteries infused with herring), and oddments I know won’t plug into my computer systems; for example, something for a faux soft drink machine.

My view is that for some folks, an Amazon habit is going (note the present progressive)  difficult to modify. Even though Amazon is struggling to deliver profit joy, the Amazon online shopping thing has quite a following.

Well, just in the nick of time–is it years too late?—IBM says it will apply the billion dollar baby to meet my shopping needs. Oh, yeah. Here’s what I learned from the write up:

IBM is partnering with Fluid, a digital commerce company, to create a one-on-one experience with Watson’s capabilities. For example, let’s say you’re looking for the perfect gift for your significant other. Tell Watson about the likes and dislikes of your loved one and let the computer score through piles of data, and eventually pick out a product (or group of products) with those details in mind. Or let’s say you’re going on a hike in the Himalayas and need the right gear for your trip: once you tell Watson what you need, the computer does the research and picks out all the right equipment for you.

I suppose this means that Amazon’s reviews are about to be staring at Watson’s tail lights. The article doesn’t pay much attention to Amazon or lesser services that pepper Google results pages with offers of prices, reviews, and suggestions for the procrastinating Mother’s Day shopper.

I read:

IBM is working on an app for XPS that will work on desktops, tablets and smartphones. It will be able to ask the same sort of questions you’d expect from a salesperson in a physical store, but without the hard-sell techniques and with a lot more personalization.

I think my grade school teachers called this the present progressive. I translated this to “it may sound now but nothing is showing up right now.”

Several observations:

First, is IBM or a “partner” going to design, build, debug, deliver, and support this magic carpet shopping service? On one hand, it looks like Watson’s brain trust in Manhattan is on the job. Then it struck me that an outfit called Fluid will have to lift that barrel and tote that bale. My hunch is that IBM will watch from the veranda of the hotel overlooking the laborers unloading the good ship Watson.

Second, I keep reminding myself that IBM has yet to provide a demonstration of Watson that makes it possible for me to compare throughput, precision, and recall with the search systems to which I have access. Talk, it appears, is much easier than making and selling a product.

Third, what about that Amazon thing? The Bezos-A-Rama is busy creating yet another digital monopoly. In addition, that big store offers recommendations along with one click shopping, reviews, a so so search system, and fawning Wall Street believers.

To me it looks as if IBM, on the other hand, is doing what IBM does best: Working its public relations firms extra hard. I hear the faint sound of Tennessee Ernie Ford singing,

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store

Mr. Ford’s backup singers are IBM’s sales and marketing team after a tough day of talking about what Watson will someday soon be. Hard work is moving 16 tons of marketing.

Stephen E Arnold, April 26, 2014

SharePoint Opens Itself Up to Mobile Challenges Debate

April 16, 2014

Microsoft’s feelings have not been spared in the discussion of how late SharePoint was in coming to the mobile game. It seems as if they are digging themselves an ever-deepening hole. CMS Wire covers the latest news in their article, “Huddle Cofounder on SharePoint’s Mobile Challenges.”

The article begins:

“If Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella thought he was doing iPad users a favor by offering them Office support, all he accomplished was opening up a great big can of worms called collaboration, prompting some to argue that SharePoint has had its day. And while changes to Office don’t equate changes to SharePoint, the iPad launch spurred on a broader discussion amongst critics of the faults with SharePoint’s mobile collaboration capabilities.”

Stephen E. Arnold is a longtime leader in search and covers the latest search and enterprise news on his Web site, ArnoldIT.com. A lot of his recent SharePoint coverage has focused on mobile, but most of what SharePoint offers is mere catch-up compared to what users are expecting from consumer level technologies.

Emily Rae Aldridge, April 16, 2014

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