Notes from the the Web

As per yesterday’s post, I am attempting to live outside desktop applications.


  • Signed up for Google Apps for Your Domain. As I am entering a “micro-business”, I really don’t want to set up all the infrastructure. I hope Documents, Spreadsheets and soon GoogleSharepoint (formerly known as JotSpot) will flow into these custom apps soon.
  • VoIP. Interesting thing to research: SIP etc. It’s all too hard. I’d like to have a business phone number, voicemail, mobile phone redirection etc – without adding a new Telstra phoneline. Seems more difficult than it should at the moment.
  • Wireless 802.11n: these virtual machine virtual drives are huge, and 802.11g isn’t fast enough to exchange them to/from the server.
  • A Google Contact List. I’d like my contacts somewhere safe in Google. Maybe even a small business CRM, too. Maybe Google should just buy Stikkit
  • Google Calendar on mobile. At the moment, mobile access is via SMS only (if you are in the US). Just like the excellent Gmail mobile interface, I should be able to see my calendar online.

Now ABC News is reporting that Doctors use Google to diagnose patients. Every time I go to the doctor, he tells me not to consult the internet for medical advice.

Google within using Custom Search Engine

I’ve always wanted a search engine for just the sites I’ve tagged in

With Google Custom Search Engine, I’ve added my subscriptions page to the Included Sites. You could probably do the same thing with Google Marker from your subscriptions.

Yes, a smarter way of setting this up could be a dynamically generated page containing just links from your tags.

The simple connection method seems to work.

The New Nickel-Tube: Google and YouTube

So Google purchased YouTube. US$1.65B in shares, paper-work money or an entry in an SEC filing.

In cold-hard numbers: YouTube has a reported 100 million viewers per day; based on the purchase price, each view equates to US$0.0452 over a year. Or, another way to look at it: as long as Google “earns” US5c for each pair of eyeballs for a few minutes, within a year it is financially ahead.

Considering the current cost of both text-advertising and TV advertising; and the oncoming onslaught from competitors such as Microsoft and Yahoo!, US5c per view seems rather attractive.

Opportunity cost of not owning YouTube: a competitor would have purchased it, first. Fox had already purchased the young Myspace eyeballs; and Microsoft is serious about the online world and has all those XBoxen, Vistas, Zunes to capture other eyeballs. YouTube was obviously on the block for sale, and each viewer is valued at US$0.0452. US$1.65B is not too much compared to a competitor getting the brand. YouTube maybe the “text breakout” and single product weakness that dogged Google in recent months. (Robert Scoble has a perspective on this, too)

Looking into my crystal tube: Google’s Video Future: It is all about about the advertising. Potential changes to Google Adsense:

  • Text links inside an ad (transparent text on bottom); through to top+tail video or sound bytes
  • Throw more smart maths at technology to recognise the content inside video and then attach appropriate a like advertisement
  • The original publisher of youtubes (another verb coming on, here?) self-categorises, so advertisements could similarly be targeted.
  • For youtubes posted on blogs or other non-Google web sites; understanding the context would permit smarter targeted Adsense ads

Instead of crawling the internet, Google is becoming the internet. This is rather a scarily thought that crossed my mind when reading this Wired article (The Information Factories) on their new data center in Washington state, US. Ultimately, it may have been cheaper to buy YouTube than create a backing-store to hold indexed video and sound.

So next: watch Apple and Google. Not sale or purchase, just closer ties. Apple needs the content, Google needs the hardware. Microsoft is the common competitor.

First Writely Blog Post

Having recently used Google Spreadsheets , and the better featured EditGrid : I thought it best to give Google’s Writely a spin.
As a sidenote, I am continually impressed with EditGrid. The external Web data tool permits automated foreign exchange rate and stock market updating. Every minute or so, there is a flashing in your spreadsheet as the data; including Australian Stocks, are updated. Excellent for managing a portfolio online.
Back to Writely: this post is written in Writely: normally I use Mars as my blog editor; and this whole “do it in the cloud” is all pretty new to me.
The data from each of these applications: EditGrid, Writely, Google Spreadsheets: all live in their own clouds, and interchanging data is copy and paste from window to window. I also have to restart Firefox every couple of days as the memory use grows to 1.5Gb. And no, I have disabled all Firefox 2.0 extensions.
My wish is that data lived in the cloud, too. Applications could push/pull data in a standard way from the cloud. We are heading in that direction. Flickr is the almost the universal static image storer; Youtube the video storage “place”. Will an online virutal-file manager that references all these formats, no matter the source, be the next ultra-cool Web 2.0 application?
It looks like Google is starting to grok: integration is key.

The HTML from Writely is bad. Lots of br’s; certainly not XHTML compliant.

Microsoft on design; but more than slicing and dicing Photoshop. The big kahuna/picture. More than what it looks initially too.

I am an avid watcher of Google’s EngEd videos (eg: Grid-based Integrated Bioinformatics Systems for High Throughput), and Microsoft’s Channel9 videos (eg: Model driven development in Dynamics AX); these provide a visual perspective on from people who are involved in stuff you may not ever need to know about. But learning is good.

Now waiting for Channel 11 that goes up to 11.

Google Inside your Business

Google and Intuit have announced a major partnership. Along with the Google Maps changes this week where an organisation can advertise at a location – the world of web applications and deeper connection between the desktop and information – is at hand.

It would be extremely unlikely in the near-term that a web-based accounting application for small businesses would fly – as financial information is the holy-of-holies for business. One can just imagine the privacy watchers having a field day arguing against sensitive numbers being scattered through the tubes.

In my mind, being more connected with this information aids the flow of business. The less paperwork in the world is a good thing. But my mind is a not a safe place for ideas such as this.

Back onto Intuit: recently, Australian retailers such as OfficeWorks and City Software have been advertising Quicken for AU$0.00 (after $99 cash back). Everyone in marketing knows that there is never a 100% redemption on these cash back offers; but still the numbers seemed “odd” to me – didn’t add up to being beneficial to Intuit at all. If the redemption rate drifted above 70% (that is, 70% of purchasers sent in their Intuit coupon, the each unit sold would cost more than they received in revenue in direct costs)

There are secondary revenue opportunities: post-sales support agreements and the ability to direct-mail market future upgrades to the users who have redeemed their cash-back.

With the Google announcement, it all falls into place: the revenue is either from support agreements you would purchase to help you determine whether something is an asset or a expense. The second revenue source is online, in-your-face, in context advertising.

Accountants and bookkeepers the world over are now going to see multiple advertisements whilst sending out the day’s invoices.

As the world of pure-in browser applications moves to richer client applications, the new revenue stream open to smaller developers is enticing.

Getting marketing people into the application as an advertising “platform” is the challenge. Interesting world.

Geotagging: Three Dimensions off our Virtual Future

Nick Hodge,, Geotagged: spent the greater part of today geotagging my images stored in Flickr. Geotagging is the addition of spacial or geographical metadata (that is: latitude and longitude) to my uploaded images. The four cameras I’ve used do not have GPS, so this geotagging caper is a manual post-processing effort.

The resolution of the Yahoo! Map Images for Sydney and London are excellent, the maps suck (unless you are in the US!). Even Tokyo’s map was strangely low resolution. At the time of writing, 600,000 images have a geotag according to Flickr. Microsoft’s Local Live and Google’s Google Maps are way better.

Why invest the time?

Somewhere, someday, someone is going to use this data to find out where someone was on a certain day. Or, some smart software is going to create an interesting view of our world.
Time has been a part of the EXIF camera data for many years. These two dimensions are excellent for locating on a simple 2D map, but do not give enough “resolution” to be for our Virtual Future. Apart from the height, the target, tilt and heading would provide more data: Imagine a Second Life in a fully imaged, geotagged, Microsoft PhotoSynth’d world. With the data out there in the cloud, we can live out our life in the virtualized clouds.
A most pleasant reason is to revisit your travels. Re-orienting yourself, remembering the streets of London without the 28+ hour flight. Fun. Reliving the past, virtually. The future will be more out there and immersive.