RSS isn't dead yet

Just because Google reader got shutdown yesterday doesnt mean rss is dead with google reader. Rss isn’t dead yet. Read that linked article and you will definitely be better person who understands web truly.

Just to tease you

I think that the presence or absence of an RSS feed (whether I actually use it or not) is a good litmus test for how a service treats my data.

Google Admits WebM infringes h.264 Patents

Google Admits WebM infringes h.264 Patents

This might seem a harsh from Marco about google, but trust me it is just the truth.

Open” has very little to do with anything they do. What they’re really doing most of the time is trying to gain control of the web for themselves and their products. If they really cared about being so “open”, they’d open up a nontrivial part of their business that hasn’t already been commoditized, like their searching or advertising algorithms.

As usual, “open” is just lip service. And it works. It works damn well.

One can’t agree more with that statement.. They want to have the web under the control. Google created chromium (opensource), but how many of us get to use chromium as it is.The chromium site gives a download link to chrome and not the chromium, atleast for windows users its google chrome that they can get their hands on instantly and not chromium. So why is chromium so hard to download from the chromium site? Is there any stable build of chromium available? No.The reason is very simple, they want us to use the google branded version, so that they can keep tabs on the web and most importantly US. Why is Gmail still free? Why chrome OS, when there is open source linux? Why do they need to create Google+ rather than partner with Facebook for social search.

I can go on on ranting, but you get the point. Its very simple they want to own as much of the web as possible, keep everything under their control and they don’t care how they do it. They will do it by hook or crook. Well that stinks.

Google, Plus – My Thoughts

Yet another attempt by Google on breaking into the social networking domain after a failure with Orkut and Buzz. After almost 5 days using Google plus, I can say that this time they have managed to stand by the expectations people have on a company like Google. Plus one is indeed a plus one site to be on for now. Plus is  Facebook with a pinch of geeky Google. The key differentiators from Face Book being the following 1. Group people into a list/ circles and each circle is private from the other. i.e What you share with circle A(friends) is not visible with circle B(colleagues) until you explicitly say so. 2. You get to follow pretty much anybody who has a plus profile, which is cool. It saves time for popular people like Scobleizer, Guy Kawasaki, Vic Gundotra, etc. Eg:- All those who want to follow Scoble (In 6 days he already has 11k people following on Plus)  can’t friend him on Facebook, if they did his profile would go for a toss, and nothing on his wall would remain personal. So he needs to create a Facebook page and keep updating that for his followers, But here on Google plus its simple, They let everyone follow every one, and with a couple of clicks you decide who see what updates. This way it seems like a middle ground between Twitter and Facebook. 3. Sparks is a stream of links to articles/videos from Google search based on your interest. So you are always engaged with latest information of your interest. This seems more a filler now, till people start getting active. Since I don’t have a lot of updates flowing in real time, I also keep checking sparks of my interest to see if some new stuff has happened in my area of interest. This way they are keeping me on Plus for some more time before I get bored and move to check Facebook :). This might seem pretty simple and might not get an attraction that much, but it has a huge value to Google moving ahead. Imagine a couple of years down the lane when Plus has a couple of million users, at least a third of those people will drive traffic to websites from these sparks and it would give the edge back to Google from Facebook as the number 1 traffic generator. 4. Huddle is a mobile feature where people can send text to one another like chat messages, where group texting as well is possible. I haven’t been able to play around with this feature, given I am on an Iphone in India. The introductory video looks interesting none the less. 5. Video and voice chat called Hangouts for groups is the most compelling feature of Plus.. This is just crazy. Imagine a Video chat with 10 people for free. BTW I like the way it highlights the person who is talking is really cool. Most of my stream ( i.e equivalent to the News feed in FB) is with very little real time data, vastly due to the reason that the amount of active friends I have on FaceBook is way more than what I have now on Google Plus. What is best about Google Plus is the privacy seems to be implemented to perfection so far. The settings provide ample options for one to decide who see what of the data you share. The iPhone still doesn’t have a native app like android, but the web app on safari works perfect and is well implemented. The UI animations are cool and feels like you are on desktop rather than on the web b. Over all Google plus seems to be a bit geeky as of now at least thats how it look like with all the geeky guys getting invites.  Hope the geekiness won’t last really long else, it won’t help Google keep up in the social wars. So do I think it will beat Facebook and become the best social network. I don’t think so. It has a potential and it has a long way to go, and i don’t think Facebook will just  sit tight and watch.  We definitely will benefit with Google having a check on Facebook  and Vice versa. It will take ages for a lot of grandpa’s and Grandma’s to Sign-up to Plus and very hardly will they signup if at all, given they already are on Facebook. Its just a good beginning for Google So far, it all depends on how they pan out.  I just hope they allow all my friends to signup before i get bored looking at a stream that hardly flows.

Is Google search getting compromised

Over the past few weeks I have been wondering (not loudly until now) if Google’s  search results were getting manipulated. So much of trust on Google that I was convincing myself it was just my whim. Now it looks like a lot of experts & geeks  like Jeff Atwood, Anil Dash and Marco are echoing the same thoughts.   After reading these blogs its apparent that Google’s search is getting compromised considerably.

Duck-going-down--34412My majority of the searches are usually for some drivers or reference guides  about installation or troubleshooting some installation or about apple and their products. I can easily say that the driver downloads or the reference guides over the past few months were mostly to spam sites with useless downloads and only keywords. My luck for such searches with other search sites also are rarely useful  which leaves me sadly with Google. I believe at least I would find something in the fifth or sixth page.

Definitely it is Google’s overwhelming monopoly on search that is getting exploited. I am no geek here to explain how and why Google’s screwing up, please head over to the blogs linked to get a better idea of it. Vaguely Google’s algorithms are getting cheated by a lot of cheap SEO experts, and ultimately users like us end up looking at some hundreds of worthless ads with the same search words written over and over again.

I am still hopeful that Google would do something about this to fix it . From the comments on Jeff’s blog by Matt looks like Google is already aware about this and is working on improving search quality. Not sure how they are going to fix this, because they  themselves taught all these guy’s to fool around with their algorithms in the name of  SEO.  To me it seems like Google has to reinvent the wheel again, till then we need to shuffle our search engines often, after all that’s what I am doing right now.

Feedly-Why its way better than Google Reader

Google reader hasn’t been under much light these days, and I have to tell you, I just see the same screen day after day and it just feels so damn boring.  To cut down the boredom I tried the desktop client FeedDemon for quite some time before I got back to Feedly.  The last time when i tried Feedly 2 years back when i used Firefox with the extension. Feedly then was in its initial days with a very minimal features. Feedly was good but since i had just started using feed readers i was quite happy with Google Reader.  I’ve been using Feedly for some time now and this is what i think it’s good at.

For those who aren’t aware of what Feedly is. Briefly Feedly is a Feed reader addon (extension), which synchronizes with your Google reader to give you a better feed reading experience.

When compared with Google Reader, Feedly gives the feel of reading a Magazine, which is so much better than the Google Reader’s layout. When I mean Magazine, yeah it looks colorful with all those Images from your feeds with a gist of the post next to it. Besides that you get to view your posts in one of the many predefined page layouts like Latest or Popular or Quick glance to get a quick index of your feeds with unread counts.  Wanna look up something you read recently for a link, there’s the handy history section which allows you to see all the recent items you have read.

Feedly Page

Social Integration is the best part of Feedly. Besides Twitter and Facebook they do have quite a good number of Social sites like Tumblr, Posterous,Ping.fm, Evernote and Instapaper integrated right into it. That’s more than enough social integration for me personally. and the sharing is pretty seamless with out any hassles.

The other interesting feature is that your twitter time line is shown in a column on the right to keep you abreast with your social conversations. The cool part of the twitter integration is that the karma section throws a quick stat of the number of clicks or retweet’s of the articles you shared. Tracking a response of your tweets seems so much fun; probably this is what they mean by measuring influence using social media. The layout is precise that twitter is not distractive, and gives you the right balance between your feeds and the twitter streamline.

Feedly in all has put user experience as their priority and have worked on the features in a focused manner.  Feedly does all that Google reader does and a lot more, only in a better way. The only down side of Feedly is that it requires you to have a Google Reader account. Feedly so far is the best feed reader that i would recommend for everyday use. Check Feedly for yourself. Here are the links for the addons for the respective browsers FireFox, Chrome and Safari. There are mobile versions of Feedly for Iphone, Ipad and Android, check their home page from your phone for a download.  BTW Feedly for Safari is still in its initial stages, Not that there are issues, just thought you should know.

Facebook- On a conquest for the web

Started at harvard six years ago by Mark Zuckerberg and his team Facebook has come to  quite a long distance to be what it is now. Its been nearly a month since the first time Facebook  surpassed Google with the most number of US visits.  There’s already statistics that Facebook  has almost 40% of the entire social media traffic. To add to that Facebook boasts a humongous 400 million plus user base and its still increasing at a rapid rate and its just 2010. Facebook now stands at a very crucial stage and my god they do  have ambitious plans. Facebook has enough user base that it can start crawling the web, page by page using its users as crawlers like how Google crawls the web using a googlebot.  Thats how i perceive the new Like feature (or social plugins) they launched at the Facebook F8 Summit. Its difficult to imagine  the web with Facebook written all over it. May be down the lane Facebook alone will be the gateway to the web, in the sense u look at sites which facebook suggests, you buy stuff using Facebook account, you go places in real world which Facebook suggests.Almost all your decisions would influenced by Facebook. There would be literally no anonymity on the web, all your activities would be tracked down to your Facebook profile. Facebook’s ambitions are really big and fragile.  Scoble has a detailed post (must read post) about the media reactions  and how the changes would influence the web. Google already felt the threat from Facebook and did launch buzz in spree and made a mess of it.  Guess Google needs to try harder. The kind of volume which Facebook  is growing into  is too big and critical. Facebook already has enough data about us  that influence our daily life considerably. I just wish and  hope they don’t misuse  the freedom and power and lose our trust. I wonder if Facebook become’s the next Google  in terms of the traffic stats  and revenues they would generate, then what kind of  company would emerge to challenge Facebook.  What kind of interaction would mankind look forward from the web.  What could be the Next Big thing on the WEB. Do you have any clue?

Google and Adobe take on the Open Web and Apple tooo…

A surprising move by Google came across yesterday when Google announced that they would be integrating Adobe’s Flash Platform into the Chromium open source project and Google’s Chrome browser.  This is a move that will be remembered for Google letting down its support for the Open Web. Almost all of Google’s latest products like Google Wave, Google Buzz etc use a lot of the HTML5 functionalities, and they have been a prime reason why Google has been pushing for the HTML5 standards. year now. Despite their interests  and initiatives in the Open Web they have started working with Adobe to integrate it into Google Chrome OS  and the Chrome Browser. This move by Google and Adobe won’t definitely kill the HTML5 standardization across the Web, but will definitely prolong the adoption of HTML5. A month ago when Apple launched its Ipad and made a clear statement of not implementing Adobe Flash for the Ipad just like they did for Iphone, Adobe was cornered to a great extent, but some how they have found a partner in Google which wants to take on Apple’s dictatorship with their devices.  With the Flash support for Android recently and now the Chrome OS and Chromium Browser,  Adobe is all set to take a dominance into the Mobile Web too. Android is second only to Iphone Platform on the Mobile Web usage statistics, and they are really inching forward to be the next market leader. Its a twin advantage for Google, with the Flash support on Chrome. One they get to retain their ad revenues as Google ads require a lot of Flash related content for tracking some type of ads. The prime reason why Google is in a deal with Adobe is to get enough time for them to develop some tracking mechanisms using Open Standards. The second win situation for them is when Android and other mobile devices using Chromium OS start dominating the mobile Web (with the help of Adobe’s Flash), Google will be in command to deny Apple the market leadership and of course Google will get on decide what we see :). The Web scene is getting interesting day after day and all i wish is for a better Web where users are in control and not companies like Google or Adobe or Apple. What do you think is good for us and the Web?