Tag Archives: Google
I’ve been pondering the merits of Google+ recently, especially in light of the fact that Facebook has made some changes to their interface recently. Note that I said, “changes” and not any improvements. In fact, I think what they have done is more than a nuisance more than anything and serves to suggest that maybe Google+ is a viable alternative social network.
But enough about Facebook. One of the key elements that I have always found intriguing about Google+ is the fact that the idea of Hangouts is something that Facebook is unable to compete with right now. Indeed, the new Google+ Hangout Check will even indicate for you if anyone is actually hanging out.
Maybe I don’t have enough Hangout-centric people in my Circles, but it seems to me that the whole concept has petered out. Although I must say, the Hangout Check extension is actually quite useful because when you are not focused on Google+ you can still have an idea if there are people you want to chat with face to face.
Is Google Hangouts a linchpin of Google+ and the overall Chrome space? It’s too soon to tell. Something suggests to me that many people are still a bit uncomfortable with the idea of videoconferencing with friends, despite the fact that many companies already use some form of it for long distances meetings as well as for hiring people remotely.
Once people do use Hangouts and find that they are not uncomfortable or perhaps embarrassed in any way, however, when they use it maybe there will be potential. But there is going to be that hurdle that needs to be overcome, and it won’t be that easy.
via Chrome Story
Google + is one of the fastest growing websites ever. It’s been experiencing a dynamic explosion of growth ever since it opened just a few weeks ago- even though it’s not yet out of its beta stages. A few folks are cautioning us to take a closer look at the growth- and to delve into just how Google +’s demographic is organized- at least in the states.
Web metrics firm comScore has released an analysis both Google +’s growth and its demographics, covering the time from June 29 to July 24. We already know that Google + has over 25 million unique members- so we’ll ignore that. What we’re interested in is the demographic information- what browser, what country, what gender, and what age group Google’s + current userbase hails from.
From comScore’s data, it becomes clear that the highest number of unique visits comes from the United States, at a hefty 6,443,541 users. India, Canada, and the UK rank second, third, and fourth respectively. Given that the United States represents the largest chunk of the Google + userbase, it’s understandable that comScore chose to focus on America for their demographics information.
What they found is…rather telling, to say the least. Evidently, the American user base of Google + is predominantly male, with men making up 63% of unique profiles on Google’s new platform. Consequently, visitors aged 18-34 make up 58% of Google + in the States. Far more interesting is what browser the majority of Google +’s current US crowd is using.
59% of all visits to Google + are on Google’s Chrome browser. Of course, given the excellent range of Google +-related add ons that have been surfacing on the Chrome Web Store since launch, it’s only natural that people’d want to visit on Chrome, isn’t it? After all, the browser in its current state almost seems custom-tailored to mesh well with G +.
According to Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry of Business Insider, the currently dominant demographic of Google + consists of the “young, male, early-adopter type,” most of whom are using Chrome, a browser that Gobry labels as “pretty early-adoptery.”
Gobry moves on to caution that he’s not actually trying to undermine Google +’s recent success- he simply wants to put it into perspective. The fact that most of the American Google + userbase mainly consists of early adopters (which has nothing to do with the fact that the service has been invite only since its inception, I’m sure) “doesn’t mean that Google + isn’t going to be huge. Plenty of services started with hip, early-adopter types and then broke into the mainstream. But that moderates the narrative of an all-conquering Google + on an unstoppable march.”
Me, I’d argue that demographic is…fairly irrelevant in this case(particularly in light of Gobry’s admission). Google +’s explosive growth is still downright impressive; in spite of the fact that most Google + users are apparently the ‘early adopter type. Honestly? The fact that a service which is still in beta has managed to call so many people to its banner in such a short time is downright incredible. Yes, Google + is still missing a few things as far as being a fully capable alternative to Facebook- games and in-platform apps are the first thing that come to mind here. Thing is, those are most definitely in the works.
And when they finally arrive, I can more or less guarantee that Google + is going to become a lot more mainstream than it already is- and the ‘early adopter’ users will simply be the folks who remember the beta days.
It’s no surprise that as Google’s social networking site gets more and more popular, more and more developers are taking notice of it. As a result, there seem to be more Chrome apps and extensions centered around G + with each passing day. Apps designed to bring the Google + experience into the larger environment of Chrome. Apps designed to improve upon what you can do with G+, and how you can do it. I’ve already shown you Six extensions guaranteed to make the G+ experience better (well, five…Sorry about that, by the way), and even then, I only scratched the surface. There’s much more to come- and with new apps and extensions releasing every day, you can bet money that there’ll always be some new feature or function for Google’s runaway social networking website.
Here, for your browsing pleasure, are five more applications and extensions that’ll make a brilliant experience even better.
Some of you might have heard talk of a Google + App for Chrome that’ll somehow let you access the site, shunting the whole invite process, and ignoring the various workarounds available for it. Most notably, the app was mentioned in this blog post. According to the post, you can download the app, use it to access Google’s site and then sign in with your Google Account to sign up for Google +. That sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it? It also sounds too good to be true, right?
That’s because it is.
The Chrome application in question is one of two identical apps, neither of them official. All they do is provide a link to plus.google.com. That’s it. I’m not sure why there are two of them, or why anyone thought to provide an app that does pretty much the same thing dragging a URL onto the quickbar would accomplish- it all seems a little strange to me. What’s strange is that, apparently, the method described on Tech18(Install the app, use it to access the site, log in) actually worked for some people. That was back at the beginning of the month, though- I doubt it’ll work now.
If you folks are really desperate to try out Google +, here’s a workaround that actually, well…works. I’ve managed to get about ten of my friends onto the service with it. I’m pretty certain, given the amount of press surrounding this workaround, that Google’s already aware of it, too. They’re probably leaving it up so that anyone who does manage to get into the service gains some small degree of pride at ‘outsmarting’ the search giant. And a lot of you probably think I’m paranoid for believing that.
Fact is, the alternative truth is that Google’s uncharacteristically clueless about a rather large hole in the coding of their latest pet project. Which do you think is more likely?
Well, looks like Google’s doing well. Recently, Google CEO Larry Page announced Google’s second quarter earnings, as well as some usage statistics. Fans of Google will be happy to know that pretty much every one of the primary platforms is booming. Let’s take a belated look at what Larry shared with us, shall we?
Google’s earnings have gone up 32% from last year, netting Google around $9.03 billion dollars in gross revenue, with 6.23 of that being generated from Google-owned sites. Though Page asserted that search and advertising are still Google’s core businesses, products like Chrome, Youtube, and Google + are part of a long term goal and should generate “huge new business” for the company, which is quickly moving from a search-engine giant to a multimedia empire. Think that’s a hyperbolic statement? Take a look at some of the other stats Page has released.
True to Paul Allen’s prediction, Larry announced on the earnings call that Google+ had broken the ten million user mark, with one billion items shared each day, and Google’s +1 button being clicked up to 2.3 billion times a day. And just think- if Mr. Allen was right about Google + having ten million users on Thursday, might he also be right in predicting that it’s ballooned to over twenty million by now?
Chances are good that he is.
Android now has 550,000 devices activated each day, with one hundred sixty million devices(and over four hundred unique models) worldwide. Something tells me Apple might be getting a bit nervous about this one.
And here’s the news you’ve all been waiting for. As of Thursday, Chrome has one hundred sixty million users- and they’re still going strong. Unless Microsoft or Mozilla manages to pull out some incredible feature that leaves Chrome in the dust, something tells me that it might just be the dominant browser on the market in a few years time.
And I see absolutely nothing wrong with that.
via All Geek
Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystem gave it a reputation as the world’s largest Open Source company. Yeah, that didn’t last- Oracle quickly demonstrated that it had absolutely no love for anything open source, killing or distancing itself from a wide range of its old (or acquired) projects. And let’s not even touch what they’ve done with Java- their lawsuit against Google honestly seems like a blatant cash grab from my end, and given that Java’s supposedly open source code…yeah. I’m not exactly certain what it is they’re hoping to accomplish with that.
Oracle’s blunders aren’t the topic of this article. Not exactly.
Recently, Swapnil Bhartiya of Muktware posted a very interesting article detailing how Google has very likely replaced Oracle as the master of open source on the internet. Bhartiya cited several reasons why they believed this to be the case:
* Google develops ChromeOS, an open source cloud-based operating system built on top of Gentoo Linux.
* Google has open sourced the components – WebM and WebP – which can become the foundation of image and video on the Internet (yes a lot of work is yet to be done).
* Google just open sourced WebRTC.
* Not to forget, Google also runs the world’s largest hacking/developers event for the promotion of open source — Google Summer of Code.
Despite, its core technologies being proprietary, Google has done more than enough for the Free Software community, it has always paid heed to the call of community and did what was needed — open sourced VP8 when the Free Software Foundation made a call to release the technology as a free software technology.
Now, I’m noticing a few problems with this analysis. While Android does have a very large, thriving open source community, Google has on several occasions demonstrated they don’t necessarily bear that community any love (Netflix, anyone?). Then again, all of the other items on the list certainly do paint Google as something of a champion where open source software is concerned- though I’m noticing that the list seems to be missing one very vital, very important item: Chromium. Nowhere has Google demonstrated its capability at open coding more than with The Chromium Project. See, as you folks know, while Chrome is certainly developed with Linux as a base, it’s not exactly available to the general public. Hence why Google started up Chromium- giving tech geeks everywhere an entire cloud-based operating system to tinker with to their hearts content.
Google, the King of Open Source. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? In any case, they’ve certainly done more for the movement than many others- including software giants Microsoft and Apple, two of their chief competitors in the industry.
Google + is pretty awesome, isn’t it? But you know what makes it more awesome? Some of the addons for Chrome that have been circulating about the internet since its release a mere two weeks ago. Developers have been hard at work putting together applications and extensions to expand and improve upon the Google + experience. The prospects are most definitely looking good. Given that I’ve already shared ten addons with all of you; you’re probably wondering how much more there could possibly be.
Fact is? As Google + evolves and expands, there are going to be more and more applications and extensions designed to improve upon the Google + experience. So…there’ll probably be much, much more to come. Look forward to it. After all, if this is the sort of stuff the devs are making for us now, imagine what we’ll be seeing a few months down the line?
Anyway, here’s a few more applications and extensions I’d recommend if you’re looking to get a bit more ‘oomph’ out of Google +.
I’m sure we all know that Google’s new social networking venture had been experiencing some rather explosive growth lately, but this….this is really something else. According to an analysis conducted today by Paul Allen of Ancestry.com, Google +’s userbase is slated to hit the ten million mark by tomorrow. What’s more, he expects that number to double by the weekend. While that doesn’t really scratch Facebook’s userbase- which is well over two hundred million- it’s still pretty damned significant, particularly since the service is technically still in beta with restricted invites. One thing’s for sure, if Google +’s exponential growth continues as it evidently has, well…let’s just say we’ll be able to see the sweat on Facebook’s brow.
Now, I’m not trying to deny that Google + is popular as all hell. Nor am I trying to downplay the service. Quite the contrary, I love it. It’s just that ten million users in a week and a half seems a bit high, wouldn’t you say? Let’s take a look at how Mr. Allen came to his conclusion- that should clear this up, one way or the other. According to the study Allen posted on Google +;
My model is simple. I start with US Census Bureau data about surname popularity in the U.S., and compare it to the number of Google+ users with each surname. I split the U.S. users from the non-U.S. users. By using a sample of 100-200 surnames, I am able to accurately estimate the total percentage of the U.S. population that has signed up for Google+. Then I use that number and a calculated ratio of U.S. to non-U.S. users to generate my worldwide estimates…my project is like that – a low-budget sampling. I have randomly selected 100 uncommon U.S. surnames and I am tracking the number of Google+ users with those names – updating my counts every 2-3 days. I am assuming that the growth in G+ users with those surnames is similar to the growth in G+ users with the other 150,000 or so surnames in the U.S. If I had resources to include 500 or 1,000 surnames in my sample, then I believe my model would be more accurate.
Final Thoughts- The Results
So…basically, he conducted a low-budget Google + census. Now, I’m no statistician, but his method seems pretty sound to me. Granted, it’s not going to be one hundred percent accurate- nor did he claim perfect accuracy- but the way he estimated the number of users on Google + is basically identical to the method by which a lot of studies and surveys find their results- random samplings; since it would be damn near impossible to interview or examine every single individual. Even if such a thing were possible, it would likely take such a long time that the data would no longer be valid or current by the time the study was completed.
Hopefully Google releases official usage statistics soon- though we’re probably going to have to wait until the official launch for that one. I suspect that by the time Google does release their own set of statistics, the number of G + users will have expanded to well beyond ten million.
Update: Uh, Wow. So apparently Paul was pretty much right on the mark. His estimates have been confirmed by Google CEO Larry Page. Nice.
I’ve gotta say, Google + is pretty awesome. Google’s privacy foibles aside; I’m loving it, and I’m immensely looking forward to when it finally launches. Just the same though…no matter how good something is, there are always improvements you can make to it. No, I’m not talking about changes to the platform itself- Google’s not yet released the developer’s kit, to my knowledge. I’m instead referring to improvements upon the experience, by integration of Google’s newest social networking platform with its excellent web browser, Google Chrome. And not just simple integration, either.
I’m talking about a lot more.
See, even though G+ has only been out for about two weeks now, a number of hardworking independent developers and designers have already released a number of extensions that not only bring the Google + experience closer to Google Chrome, but improve upon that experience in some rather excellent ways. If you’re using Google + with the Chrome browser, these addons are inarguably all worth a look. Now, those of you not using Chrome don’t have to feel left out, either- there are a number of addons like Greasemonkey, Stylish, and Greasekit that’ll let you run these extensions even if you don’t want to bother taking a few minutes to download and install Chrome. Anyway, let’s have a look, shall we?
So….uh. If you’ve been wanting to get on board of Google +, but can’t bear the thought of leaving your Facebook account behind…believe it or not, there’s actually a Chrome tool that’ll let you not only add a new tab to your Google bar entitled “Facebook;” It’ll also let you view your Facebook news feed in your Google + stream. Yikes. Now, I’m not really certain how long an extension like this is going to function for, myself- I’m guessing Facebook’s probably already looking for a way to shut it down. The extension’s developed by a group known as Crossrider, who’ve put together an app that allows developers to easily create cross-platform browser extensions. It’s still in beta, but at a cursory glance, it seems like a rather excellent idea; and one which will save crossplatform developers a hell of a lot of time.
Anyway, back to the software. Given what we know about Crossrider, it kind of makes sense that they might create a piece of software like “Google + Facebook.” After all, if they’ve already allowed developers to overcome the lines between different platforms, why not do the same for users? The question is whether or not they’ll develop a Chrome plugin that lets the connection go the other way, as well. Seems unlikely, but you never know.
Crossriders’ Google + Facbook is just the latest in a line of free Chrome tools and apps that seem custom-tailored to spit in Zuckerberg’s face. Suffice it to say, the media frenzy over Google + has made on thing very, very clear: Facebook might be the most prominent social networking website in the world, but it’s also among the most hated. The fact that “Google + is like Facebook, but isn’t Facebook” is evidently enough to get some people on board is rather telling in itself, wouldn’t you say? Grab a copy of Google + Facebook for yourself here.
Update: Hold off on installing this one for now, folks. Fellow on Reddit by the name of RogueDarkJedi looked through the code, and his conclusions were…distressing, to say the least. Turns out, Google+Facebook could potentially be malware. Assuming the developer response he received for his original post is legit…let’s just say it doesn’t look good. I’m going to do a bit more research on the matter- I’ll keep you folks posted. For the time being, it would be best to err on the side of caution.
Well, we were warned this was coming.
Google has begun culling accounts from its Google +. First to the chopping block were businesses and publications, who found their Google + corporate accounts shunted off the site. According to Google, they’re trying to keep Google + as a service for individuals only, at the current juncture. Okay. That’s fair, I suppose. They’re just emphasizing the ‘social’ aspect of social networking. It’s rather difficult to interact on a meaningful level with an entire corporation or website, isn’t it? And even if a business or publication is booted, there are still individuals within said organizations that still have accounts, in any case.
What’s causing far more of a stir is the fact that Google’s also taking out accounts that don’t contain personal information- for example, people who prefer not to give out details of their personal lives. Want to be known by a handle or avatar on Google +? Google would rather you didn’t.
There’s been a lot of buzz about Google’s new “Google +” service lately. But what exactly is Google +? Moreover, how does it work? Some of you might say it’s basically a Google-designed version of Facebook-and while it’s true that Google + most certainly is a social networking site,simply dismissing it as a Facebook clone is, well…not exactly correct. There’s a bit more to it than that.
And it’s not just Facebook that Google+ is looking to conquer.
This isn’t the first time Google’s tried its hand at social media. That knowledge alone could potentially turn a few folks away from Plus: Google’s previous attempts were utter failures, and failed to even make a dent in Facebook’s user base. Thing is, Google didn’t really do social networking right in any of those cases. Buzz didn’t offer users anything unique or new that differentiated it from Twitter and facebook, and came prepackaged with a boring, drab interface to boot. As if that wasn’t enough, at launch, there was a massive outcry about how Buzz constituted a gross invasion of privacy; allegations which eventually lead to a full investigation against Google. Orkut, while it enjoyed success in countries such as Brazil and India, failed to grab anyone in the North American or European markets- difficulties with sharing, concerns about security and a lack of entertainment styled apps ensured that it had no chance against the social networking colossi of Facebook and Twitter. Except that it’s still the most popular platform in Brazil, for some reason.
And let’s not even bother discussing Google Wave.
Google learns from its mistakes, though. Back in May they openly admitted they totally botched the whole social media scene back when they were first getting into it; at the same time posting a job opening for a social media guru. Basically, they wanted someone to show them the error of their ways, and help them make right their past mistakes. Not something you see often in the business world- companies don’t really like to openly admit that they’ve messed up. Bad PR, and all that.
So what did Google do wrong with its previous social networking platforms? Their mistakes were many and myriad, but chief among them? They tried to replace Gmail. Rather than attempting to integrate buzz with their already existing services, they required users to create a separate account for Buzz. But they’re approaching everything from a different angle now. Rather than bullheadedly trying to crap out a new, isolated platform, they went for complete, seamless integration with their already established apps and platforms. Gmail, Google Docs, Google Maps…it’s all there, and now there’s a social networking interface to boot.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Google +.
Launched on June 28, 2011, the software’s still in the beta stage- only a select few individuals (and the folks who’ve managed to score invites from those individuals- myself among them) have access to the platform at the current juncture, while Google irons out all the bugs. Word is, Google’s planning on launching the platform on or before July 31-at the very least, those of you who desperately desire to get involved and make yourself a profile won’t have to wait much longer. Now, history lessons aside, you still want to know why exactly Google + is something to be excited about, right? You’re looking for an explanation of what differentiates it from every other social networking website out there.
Let’s have a look, shall we?