The Google Glass creepy feature

Interesting read The Google Glass feature no one is talking about.

Just think: if a million Google Glasses go out into the world and start storing audio and video of the world around them, the scope of Google search suddenly gets much, much bigger, and that search index will include you.

Google Glass is one step above and beyond personal espionage: your face captured and archived, your voice, including the things you say when nobody watches, stored forever without you knowing, matched with your full name, as you specified it in Google+ or on your Android phone… Definitely this is the conversation the tech community should have.

Internet has more and more borders

Today I wanted to check the availability of Google’s Nexus 4 and here is what I saw:

which begs the question: why would someone think I live in a place I visit? My country is, maybe, where I want something physical to be delivered, you morons.  Stop filtering online content based on my bloody IP! My IP is not a geographic thing! And stupidly enough, Google should know where “my country” is since I told them in my account where I live.

Why are we allowing Internet to become a place with stupid borders?

Mozilla Foundation drops Thunderbird

I’m sad to read that finally Mozilla Foundation realized that Thunderbird is a lemon: Mitchell Baker announced on her blog that “continued innovation of Thunderbird is not a priority” so its evolution will stop and putting the project in ‘maintenance mode’. The Foundation will only provide for security fixes starting from November 2012 and leaving the future evolution of this free software email client to ‘the community’.

As I wrote on G+, I never liked Thunderbird. There is no email client today that I like: they’re all based on very old concepts developed at the time when people had to deal with few messages per week. The only innovation I’ve seen in email came from Google’s Gmail, with the convenient conversation view and with the great integration of chat and addressbook with Circles. Gmail is not the email client I use: I never bought into that sort of convenience. I always wished that somebody would develop a new, modern, email client for my desktop.

With Thunderbird at its sunset and GNOME Evolution its only viable substitute, I’m starting to despair. I have some hopes on Geary, Yorba Foundation’s new email client.

Reason #15 to switch to Google+

Reading 20 Reasons to Switch to Google+ [INFOGRAPHIC]. I almost choked on my coffee when I reached reason #15: better ads! It says:

Google+ will be launching ads soon. Given Google’s experience with Adwords & statistics, expect them to be better targeted.

Wow! Do people out there use social networks to watch ads? Seriously, folks. It’s one thing when you’re searching for something, having a relevant ad served in your face can be a good thing. That’s what makes Google rich. But when I’m reading an article on the NYTimes or chatting with my friends, advertising is just background noise that I learned to filter, both unconsciously and consciously with AdBlock. That’s why I never believed that Facebook can make lots of money selling ads inside Facebook (it has a shot selling targeted ads outside of its wall, through OpenGraph and the like) and that’s why Twitter is having such hard time finding a revenue stream (because serving ads that are relevant to people that are looking for what’s new and relevant for them is very hard).

Patents, Google and people that don’t get it

John Gruber rants about Google ranting about patents and especially the campaign to attack Android based on the absurd US patent system. If it wasn’t Google asking for a reform of the patent system probably Gruber wouldn’t ask these questions:

So if Google had acquired the rights to these patents, that would have been OK. But when others acquired them, it’s a “hostile, organized campaign”. It’s OK for Google to undermine Microsoft’s for-pay OS licensing business by giving Android away for free, but it’s not OK for Microsoft to undermine Google’s attempts to give away for free an OS that violates patents belonging to Microsoft?

Yes, exactly. Because those patents are absurd 99% absurd and the rest 1% is irrelevant. John: the US patent system is broken. I  know that Google saying it may sound like they just don’t want to pay but the truth is that Google is not the only one highlighting the level of absurd reached. I suggest you to start by reading this.

Gmail Man vs MS Office 365 vs You

Microsoft released a series of videos featuring Gmailman, a nosy mailman that reads your email in order to send you advertising. It would  be funny, if it was a video done by EFF or FreedomBox promoting privacy enhanced alternatives. Instead, it’s Microsoft promoting its ‘cloud’ based product, which is equally bad for its users although for different reasons.

Gmail’s business is about learning who you are, who you correspond with, what you talk about, where you hang out and more in order to sell you to advertisers. Microsoft is in the business of selling you access to their precious golden bits and heavenly bandwidth, tighten your data to them so you will keep paying them because you’ll never be able to take them and leave. Two equally flawed business models.

The Incredible Run of Google+

Since an image is worth 1000 words, here is a graph done by Leon Håland analyzing the growth of Google+. It took only 24 days for Google+ to reach 20 million users, while it took over three years to reach that number for Facebook and Twitter. Considering that the service is still open only by invitation and that brands or news organisations are not yet invited, this sounds like a huge achievement.

I think that this success is partially due to the fact that society is now used to the concept of a ‘social network’, we know what to do with the facebooks, the twitters and similar things. Another reason for this fast achievement maybe that Google already has lots of active profiles, via Gmail and Android. Or maybe, it’s because Google+ just works and proof of this may be that people are starting to receive breaking news from it, faster than Twitter.

To propel the next phase of growth, Google seems to be courting celebrities, the way Twitter does. I wonder how the pitch is because I can’t really imagine any non-techie using Google+ at the moment. Compared to the simplicity of the first Twitter interface Plus seems too intimidating. Can you imagine Hugo Chavez governing Venezuela via Google+ instead of Twitter?

What is the most important reason for you to use Google+? What made you jump using it?

Article first published as The Incredible Run of Google+ on Technorati.

Google+ can be a social backbone if federated

The most important sentence of @edd  Google+ is the social backbone is:

[Google is] a company for whom exclusive ownership of the social graph isn’t essential to their business

That’s the crucial point I made before that would enable Google+ to work in a federation, like email.

Imagine having the possibility to run your own Plus-like service and still be able to comment on your brother’s pictures, hosted on his own server. Google is the only company that can do this and still profit from it.

How Google Can Win the Social Network War

First there was Orkut, FriendFeed, MySpace. Then Facebook came and took 750 million people behind its wall as they eagerly connected with school friends, shared baby photos and played Farmville.

Now Google Plus, the coolest kid in the block, has arrived. Facebook and Google seem to be competing to build the best single website where billions of users go to keep in touch with their friends and family, get the news and more. But it doesn’t have to be this way: Google Plus can be part of a federation of social sites.

Google Plus is a good product that has already reached 10 million users with innovative features like Circles and Hangouts. Google plans to add API soon, so that outside developers can add even more features to it. Facebook, however, is not standing still: Mark Zuckerberg will keep adding features, improving the design and pushing the expansion of its great walled garden beyond 1 billion users. And the competition will continue, until the race is about who builds the biggest single garden.

There is one thing I believe Google can do to win this race now: change the rules of the competition. Google should make Google Plus the (biggest?) part of a federation of Plus-like sites. Imagine hosting providers like 1and1 or Rackspace offering Plus sites alongside their email and web hosting. I could run my own plus.maffulli.net and use that as a private space to communicate with my extended family around the world. The local church, the schools, all could run their own Plus and the participants in those group could still add people to circles across different domains, like you can send email regardless of where the recipient has her account. Google Plus is email on steroids and the Circles are the next generation of the addressbook.

Facebook is good at building walls: the site is designed to attract users inside, convince them with subtle tricks to leave their precious personal data on the site — then they sell that information to the highest bidder to serve ads.

Google, on the other hand, is good at crawling data across distributed sources and extracting information from it. By fostering the creation of thousands or millions of Plus-like sites, all linked together, Google can pull the rug out from under Facebook and end the competition.

Google has all the knowledge on how to make money out of such federated structure: email is a federation, the World Wide Web itself can be read as a federation. Google’s core competence is how to extract information from distributed data and use that to present valuable advertising to distributed services. Instead of billions of users on one site, think of tens of billions of Google Plus sites, most of them showing AdSense.

Do us a favor, Google: end the race, kill Facebook or Tulalip before it even starts and any other service that tries to build silos to contain users. Enable a federation on Google Plus and keep on innovating.

Article first published as How Google Can Win the Social Network War on Technorati.