Google is facing a lot of threats to its future relevancy lately. First, Apple claims to have “not yet approved” its Google Voice app which allows cheap international or free calls to Canada, free SMS texting, and phone intelligence. Secondly, Google’s competitor, Yahoo, partners with Microsoft to use their Bing search engine. Thirdly, Facebook is still growing and becoming a social desktop with rumored micro payments and online check out in the works.
Successful technology companies are the ones that control the platform. The platform allows 3rd parties to extend features by using the APIs. An example is the widely successful iTunes App Store. This allows the company controlling the platform to grow exponentially with scale and thus profit with others effort. This is another reason why Google wants to be the operating system for both mobile phones (Android), laptop computers (Chrome OS), and browser (Chrome browser).
Google’s core business is search and advertising. What do you do, however, when the ISP serving the user injects their own ads instead of defaulting to your engine? Well, most recently, I noticed this when searching using Safari but instead of the usual Google Search page, I get Comcast with Yahoo results!
Is this a threat to Google? Absolutely! Is this legal? Not sure. But by the time this matter goes through the courts. Google may have lost so much revenue that it doesn’t matter if Google wins by law. Remember the fate of Netscape browser after Microsoft included their own browser in their Windows releases? Microsoft got fined a huge amount. However, by the time it was over, Netscape was gone (well, actually sold to AOL) but is no longer relevent.
Domain High Jacking By Comcast
Much has been made of the Yahoo/Bing union. Say what you want about why Yahoo needed to do it and how Microsoft is benefiting from the added eyeballs, yada-yada-yada. Here’s a really simple graphical example of how far behind Yahoo is relative to Google and Bing.
Here’s a simple query I entered into Google.
Note that, even though Google didn’t find anything relevant search-wise, it very kindly pointed me to the UPS website’s tracking functionality. Here’s the same query in Bing.
Again, note the link to UPS. And Yahoo? Here’s Yahoo’s result.
Fail fail fail. If Yahoo can’t keep up, they need to get out.
It’s never really been about too much information – the challege has always been how to manage and organize the volume of information. First, there was RSS (Real Simple Syndication) which essentially aggregates new posts from different websites into a central portal so that you don’t have to manually check your favorite sites. Think of RSS as an email Inbox, but for websites. The RSS feed can display a summary or the entire post depending on how the originating website configure it It may also contain Google Ads embedded in the post. What?! Did you think you were going to just strip away content from a website and have them lose advertising dollars?
I use RSS for quality content rich websites.
My favorites are
On the other hand, I also use Twitter to follow people of interest as well as other sites. Twitter “tweets” are much more brief as they are limited to 140 characters. Many websites have both RSS and Twitter profiles essentially doing the same thing which is to broadcast news to their subscribers (RSS) or followers (Twitter). Furthermore, you can also subscribe to a Twitter profile so the tweets show up as RSS feeds as well. What a marriage!
However, there are some key differences between RSS and Twitter. RSS feeds allow richer content such as pictures, movies, full articles in the feed. Twitter limits the article a great deal. When you receive a Twitter feed, sometimes you have no idea what shortened URL you are clicking. This can present a serious security risks such as phishing sites and direct virus downloads.
Twitter’s most fascinating feature is really its Search. You can search for celebrities and follow them directly without intervention of old media such as magazines, TV, or radio disrupting the message. You can see what is a Trending Topic and have that topic bookmarked to see what people beyond your Facebook friends are talking about. Remember the jokes of Chuck Norris Twitter trend a few weeks ago? It lasted for a surprising 2 days. People tweeted their own Chuck Norris jokes.
- When Bruce Banner gets angry, he turns into the Hulk. When the Hulk gets angry, he turns into Chuck Norris
- Chuck Norris once uppercuted a horse. Now we have giraffes.
- Chuck Norris doesn’t bowl strikes. He knocks one pin down and the others fall in disbelief!
Twitter is also very easy to use since the features are so limited. An RSS feed can be quite cumbersome to setup unless your blog already supports it. RSS has search as well but it is typically limited to the websites you subscribe to. Twitter also allows you to engage and send a direct message to your friends or followers directly. RSS is more of a 1 way communication. You can still email the author (if their email is published).
So what do you use? Twitter or RSS or both (greedy aren’t you)?
Follow GadgetMETER on Twitter at @Gadgetmeter. You can also follow my personal Twitter profile at @QuangLy.
You may also want to read my blog post on The True Power of Twitter.
We are excited to let you know that we have finally implemented Google Custom Search to provide you with a better user experience. It took us a few tries but we happily made it!
You won’t see much difference in the user interface but our search results are now indexed by Google rather than WordPress (the wonderful blog platform we use).
Give it a shot and let us know what you think!
To see how to you can incorporate Google Custom Search on your site, visit http://www.zparacha.com/how-to-incorporate-google-custom-search-engine-with-adsense-into-your-wordpress-blog. They did a great job explaining it.
Your folks at GadgetMETER