13th August 2020
John Gruber, on his theory about Google being bored with Android:
Remember my theory that Google has grown bored with Android and doesn’t really care about it? That’s me talking about phones, which, in general, Google does care about insofar as they know that billions of people spend hours per day every day using them. With wearables Google never even cared in the first place, except for making goofy demo concepts like Google Glass. The customers who bought Wear OS devices care about them; the company that designed them clearly does not. If they cared, how could it be that you can’t listen to Google’s music platform on Google’s wearable platform?
He goes on to mention that it’s actually bad for the Apple ecosystem, since there’s no real competition. And even as someone who has stopped wearing an Apple Watch, I still agree that there is no real other worthy alternative.
I don’t think it’s just smartwatch market where Apple seems to be miles ahead of the competition as well. You just need to have a think about what the real options are for a tablet computer. Nothing else even comes close to iPad.
Furthermore, I think the problem is even bigger than just the smartwatch and tablet market. Because when you think about smartphones, there’s only two major players. Which means there’s no real need for innovation anymore, all you need to do is match and/or slightly out do the other player. I really want a third player to join the smartphone game, and have a real go at it. But then again, I can see why they wouldn’t. Apple and Google have both got massive head starts, and ecosystems already exist for both platforms. Sure, Android is bigger than just Google, and there are loads of companies creating their own Android phone. But that still doesn’t provide any real competition.
12th December 2018
Recently, Jamie Zoch (@Yofie) questioned whether search engine DuckDuckGo had acquired the Duck.com domain name from Google.
Search giant Google acquired the Duck.com domain name in 2010 with the acquisition of On2, a video codec company.
Today, DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg confirmed to me that the Duck.com domain name had been transferred to DuckDuckGo’s possession.
Maybe they paid them for the domain, or maybe this was Google doing something nice? Who knows.
Via Hacker News.
9th October 2018
Something no one imagined would be happening in 2018, people are talking about Google+.
As part of “Project Strobe”, Google have been going over third-party develop access to Google accounts and Android device data:
Over the years we’ve received feedback that people want to better understand how to control the data they choose to share with apps on Google+. So as part of Project Strobe, one of our first priorities was to closely review all the APIs associated with Google+.
This review crystallized what we’ve known for a while: that while our engineering teams have put a lot of effort and dedication into building Google+ over the years, it has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption, and has seen limited user interaction with apps. The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.
From this investigation, they found a bug in one of the Google+ People APIs:
Users can grant access to their Profile data, and the public Profile information of their friends, to Google+ apps, via the API.
Basically, the API allowed third-party developers to a lot of your, and your friends information. Including things marked as private.
This sounds pretty bad. And if this was regarding Facebook or Twitter, there would be quite a level of outrage. However, this is Google+, the platform that no one uses.
Which is why I find this statement quite funny:
We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any Profile data was misused.
So no one took notice of the security flaws, because no one actually used the platform. Including developers.
But because of these security flaws, and the really low usage numbers. Google have decided to start the process of shutting down the platform.
The review did highlight the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers’ expectations. Given these challenges and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we decided to sunset the consumer version of Google+.
To give people a full opportunity to transition, we will implement this wind-down over a 10-month period, slated for completion by the end of next August. Over the coming months, we will provide consumers with additional information, including ways they can download and migrate their data.
My first thought is, when do we see Google’s next idea of a social network? It’s always funny to see what they think can actually complete with the already established platforms.
24th July 2018
…if you want the best Google software, iOS is really the place to be.
That sounds crazy, and maybe for some people it is, but as someone who relies heavily on Google’s software in both my personal and professional life, iOS has been a great platform for getting everything done that I need to do. Not only that, but a shocking amount of Google apps are updated first on iOS or are totally exclusive to iOS for months before going to Android. And with new apps like Files and updates to Siri intents, Google’s apps can interact more closely with iOS than they could in earlier versions of iOS.
I can’t say I’m well versed in the Android ecosystem, but I am aware of it. I pay attention to Google I/O announcements, and of course, there’s an Android developer at work so I have at least some perspective.
The only, or at least the biggest issue I can determine, is the obvious levels of fragmentation. This used to be the argument of app design, and quality, where iPhones used to be just the one size, and Android already had loads of variety.
The fragmentation I think causes these problems is the multiple Android vendors and mobile networks, that introduce needless bottlenecks to the whole platform. Whether it’s a small update that will get ignored by certain manufacturers or a major release which will take extra time for a company like Samsung (just picking one at random) to add their software on top, before shipping it to consumers. I just don’t think the wide varieties of Android phones combine to make a stable ecosystem.
That’s a whole lot different with iOS though because there’s less device variety, a higher percentage of users are on the latest version of the OS, and the App Store is a widely known success. I think this is why Google do so well. Because they can leave the foundation work to Apple, and that leaves them with just the software. And I can admit they can make pretty good software.
14th May 2018
Matt Birchler throwing a few punches at the state of Wear OS:
Google may not have said a word about Wear OS in either their keynote or technical state of the union, but they did hold a single session on the platform on the first day of the conference.