Thursday, May 12, 2005

Google ponders Blogger, Gmail integration | InfoWorld | News | 2005-05-11 | By Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service

Google ponders Blogger, Gmail integration | InfoWorld | News | 2005-05-11 | By Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service: "Google ponders Blogger, Gmail integration
Company also considering enterprise version of Blogger

By Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service
May 11, 2005

Google is contemplating various improvements to its popular Blogger Web logging service, including native image uploading and deeper integration with the company's Gmail Web-mail service, according to a Google (Profile, Products, Articles) executive."

Is this another step towards the "GOOGLE GRID" and "EPIC" or simply better integration of offerings for an improved user experience? Will Microsoft view this as an elevation in threat level as Google builds a more complete integrated user-experience a la the MSFT Office Suite? Just how long will GOOG wait to introduce a completely web based set of productivity tools? Is GOOG becoming a bigger badder version of big brother or simply the world's most forward thinking and altruistic corporation?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Dual-Mode VOIP Handsets Could Take Off

Dual-Mode VOIP Handsets Could Take Off: "May 9, 2005
Dual-Mode VOIP Handsets Could Take Off
discuss Discuss this now (2 posts)
It's a long way off, but dual-mode phones combining Wi-Fi and cellular technologies could make a huge splash by the end of the decade.

According to a new study from ABI Research, annual global sales of 'dual-mode' mobile phones -- which can connect to either a conventional cellular service or a Wi-Fi network -- are likely to exceed 100 million in 2009.

Such dual-mode handsets have been virtually unknown to consumers until now, and have not penetrated the enterprise space to any degree either.

According to ABI Research senior analyst Philip Solis, some of the giants of global telecommunications -- notably British Telecom and Korea Telecom -- plan to offer dual-mode services by the end of 2005.

'The advantages of dual mode handsets and services, when they arrive, can be summed up in two words: seamless and economical,' he said. Though the full spectrum of capabilities won't appear in the first generation of products, when these services are mature you will be able to start a phone call at home (where your phone connects to your residential Wi-Fi network and then to your broadband Voice over IP phone service), continue it in your car (where the phone switches to your cellular provider's network), and wind it up at work, where the phone once more switches to your organization's 802.11 LAN, and VoIP. Through all this, the handset would sense the available signals and switch automatically from one network mode to another, keeping you connected and saving you (and your company) money.'"

Now this is what I've been talking about! IMO, with the rapid adoption of VoIP in general and the per minute reduction in cost (towards zero) these numbers are low. Particularly if handset sales begin to have an even more critical impact on the bottom line for providers, dual standard phones would give them a quick way to boost revenues.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

FlynnMobile : Cell Phone Recycle - News, Innovation, Software, Ringtones � Blog Archive � Mobile Search Tools

FlynnMobile : Cell Phone Recycle - News, Innovation, Software, Ringtones � Blog Archive � Mobile Search Tools: "Mobile Search Tools

Mobile search tools are beginning to be released onto the net. Although hard to find still and in their promordial infant stages, mobile search for the 2 inch screens do exist.

Search Engine Watch’s (SEW) Gary Price has the round-up of mobile search tools online and available today.

* Google Mobile Local
* Google SMS
* 4info - SMS search services
* Synfonic - Also offers SMS search services
* Vazu - Allows you to copy & paste text and send it as a SMS search
* YP - Offers yellow pages and white pages look up. Also, you can reverse phone and address look up, including neighbor lookup
* Yahoo Mobile
* MSN Mobile
* AOL Mobile
* Infospace Mobile"

I just came across this great list of mobile search tools by Gary Price of Search Engine Watch...I'll be doing more research, and possibly authoring a piece on SEO for Mobile Search in the near future. Stay Tuned. Drop me a note and I'll let you know where and when anything might run

Monday, May 09, 2005

Globetechnology: The Good God Google

Globetechnology: The Good God Google"Google Grid"

By MATHIEU BALEZ

Tuesday, April 19, 2005 Updated at 8:58 AM EDT

Special to Globe and Mail Update

Front Lines is a guest viewpoint section offering perspectives on current issues and events from people working on the front lines of Canada's technology industry. Mathieu Balez is vice-president and co-founder of Syllogix Inc., a management science consultancy based in Montreal and should know better than to think he can plagiarize anything that appears on the web...someone...like me...is going to notice

Google Inc., Silicon Valley's latest garage-to-riches story, is metamorphosing before our collective eyes into the single most important company on the planet, if it hasn't claimed that title already.

And if you haven't been following its (near) weekly parade of new Web-based software tools, then it's time you took notice: The Internet ... nay, the entire computing experience ... nay, the fundamental way in which we access and interact with information, is soon to become radically different.

Whether it be under Google's benevolent technological hegemony or within its sinister monopolistic grasp, however, remains somewhat unclear....
You can read the full piece by clicking the link above, but the summary is that Google is positioning themselves to be far more than search, and mail, etc.

Google's self-proclaimed mission is simple, almost child-like, to paraphrase. "To organize all the world's information." Sweeping it is however in vision, and if the company succeeds in achieving this noble quest, all of humankind will reap the rewards for years to come (if not, more speculatively, until the end of days, given the potential immortality of digital bits). Imagine the entire history of human thought and experience indexed, catalogued, and not only made eternal, but proffered to society with the tools needed to decipher and access it in the most intuitive and efficient ways possible — now that's something to shoot for.

But how to get from here to there?

clip more discussion about Google and the web...

Yet the extraction of meaning from the existing Web is but one facet of the much larger goal. After all, Google never said it would limit its information-organization expedition to only the World Wide Web.

So where are they going? The best way to divine the path ahead is by examining some of the more important technologies Google has recently released, and the acquisitions it has made.

The company has released two desktop tools: one for searching and organizing images, the other to search for files of all kinds. This points to Google's increasing interest in gaining some kind of presence (if not entire ownership) over the desktop, at least in the short term.

It has purchased a satellite imagery company (Keyhole), added local search functionality to the standard Web search, and created Google Maps — a jazzy new Web-based application that allows you to interactively use maps to get directions and find places (like a slicker, more intuitive version of MapQuest). This signals Google's intent to leverage geographical data to increase the revenue-generating potential of AdWords. Months (maybe weeks) from now Google will combine Maps with Keyhole and Local Search to provide a truly amazing (if not a little scary) way to locate destinations and be presented with relevant ads.

It has purchased Blogger, a popular Web logging service, and created Orkut, a social-networking site that allows users to link networks of friends. This points to Google's interest in knowing more about who its users are. The sterility and static nature of the Web search experience has thus far frustrated Google by not providing a great sense of who its user are and what they like, in an individualized way. (Conversely, its publication of the Zeitgeist bears witness to their knowledge of societal interests in a broader sense.)

To make further inroads into the average user's mind, the company recently released a personalized version of Google search whereby you can customize how you'd like search results delivered, based on your varied interests. Soon Google may know everything about you, and exploit that information to help merchants sell you pertinent goods - through AdWords of course.

It has created Google News — a Web-based software application that automatically gathers and presents breaking current-events, from a wide array of media outlets. If Google views this as more than just a nifty idea, this could place it on a collision course with the entire mass-media superstructure.

The company created Google Scholar, a tool to quickly search databases of academic journals, and approached some leading colleges with offers to scan and index all their public domain tomes. This highlights Google's progress in its quest to provide instant access to all recorded human knowledge, but raises questions about the future of bricks and mortar libraries and, more widely, about the library model itself and the role Google will play in such a future. (Surely not relevant ads in library books?)

It has released a free, Web-based email service called GMail, arguably the first real salvo fired across its competitor's bows, showcasing its ability to change the rules of the game. By offering 1 gigabyte of free storage, an innovative interface and integration with its trademark search, this software is more than simply a good piece of technology, but hints strongly at a new network-centric application paradigm that Google may unveil more widely, to try and unseat its chief rival, Microsoft (more on this later).

The company is increasing the ease with which web-programmers can access its services. Google recently released a new application programming interface (API) so that developers could interact directly with AdSense, and will surely continue to open up such interfaces. By doing so, Google aims to become the de facto standard method of conducting all manners of business on the Web.

There Google's service called Froogle which helps consumers find, rank and compare on-line product purchases. How long before Google is leveraging this information against the personal information it's gathered on your shopping preferences and then cross-referencing this to its database of advertisers? Not long.

This whirlwind of hot new tech is but a sampling of the stuff Google has brought public in recent months. Even more interesting are some of the rumors swirling about upcoming technologies Google has under wraps. If anything, some prognostication will make evident the bald genius and uncompromising aptitude with which Google might pursue its goals.

First of all, Google has been noted to be purchasing large quantities of 'dark' fibre-optic capacity, on the cheap (much excess capacity was laid during those heady days of irrational exuberance) to increase its proprietary network bandwidth. To what end? Some of the most far-out rumors say that Google is developing a Skype-esque software that will allow high-quality voice communications over the Internet, costing virtually nothing to the consumer. If Google is making a play into the telecom arena, it would be a relatively late-comer in an arena that is widely populated.

Granted, having its own network capacity would allow the company to offer quality-of-service guarantees that some of its competitors could not, but there may be more here than meets the eye. Imagine for a moment what it might do with all those flashing bits lighting up its optical cables. What if the company recorded, and kept on its servers, a record of every telephone conversation ever made? (Ignore, for the nonce, the plethora of privacy concerns that jump out of the page). Now imagine it had technology that made those digitally-recorded voice calls completely searchable, as you would today search a past MSN Messenger conversation. What we're talking about here is the eventual creation of a perfect digital record of your entire memory, at your fingertips and searchable, all emblazoned with the Google logo and, certainly, some pertinent and unobtrusive advertisement. Scary? Maybe a little.

It is also most likely developing a Google-branded version of Firefox — the up-and-coming Web-browser. There is no dearth of well-supported evidence on the Web pointing to this fact. Having its own browser out there grants Google the opportunity to package all of its services in one tidy delivery channel. It also further encroaches upon Microsoft's territory.

Most significantly however, it will be the opening move on the chessboard of next-generation desktop computing. I believe Google is vying to dethrone Microsoft as the potentate of PC dominance by pulling the rug out from underneath its feet, by changing the very rules of the operating system game itself. Not unlike its e-mail and mapping software, which are entirely Web-based, Google will release an operating system that will be completely networked and centralized on its servers. You will literally no longer need any software running on your local computer (except the Google Web-browser of course, and a network connection). The computing experience will involve booting your computer, logging into the net, and having access to all your programs (and most of your data) which will reside happily in the ether — all protected and secure, we will be assured, by the good god Google.

Google will realize the vision originally put forth by Sun Microsystems (which failed to really give it any meaning) — The Network is the Computer. The reason this model is so powerful is that it greatly simplifies software distribution — when there's a problem or an upgrade, only one copy of the software must be patched and everyone benefits from the update. Users will likely benefit from a more stable computing experience (if we ignore, for the moment, network congestion issues), since the OS will be configured and optimized for high-performance on massively parallel servers.

This paradigm also does away with software piracy, since any paid applications would now become subscription-based and thus impossible to hack (barring password theft). This means a huge opportunity for most software companies and a huge downer for the warez community.

It may also spell a sunshiney future for open source software, which Google smiles upon (its servers are powered by Linux). Recall that in its rapid rise to prominence, Google has amassed one of the largest networks of hardware on the planet. Leap forward a few years, when processing power and network bandwidth are essentially infinite, and you have the perfect pre-conditions for a completely virtualized operating system and application server environment.

Why does Google want to be there? Because it leaves Microsoft out in the cold. Microsoft has structured its company around Windows — its flagship operating system that is necessarily PC-centric. To do away with the need for local software (and thus a local OS to manage its orchestration), Google would catch the Seattle giant flat-footed and hopelessly behind. Sure Microsoft has been touting its .NET application model for some time, but that model still relies heavily on the user running a local copy of Windows. Google, by one-upping Microsoft in the internet programming game, would now control the medium by which software is distributed and sold, and no doubt leverage it to dish relevant and unobtrusive advertisements.

Now, Microsoft may very well be playing this smart and developing its own network-based OS as a pre-emptive move, but that would be undermining its core Windows product and be incongruent with the company's historical 'wait-and-see' copycat approach. Unfortunately, I think this is one instance in which being slow to respond might cost Bill Gates & co. the farm.

So it's 2010. Google owns the telecom market. They've become the primary media source. They own the virtual desktop market. Where else could they be? Home entertainment of course.

Again, more copy clipped but the point is simple. This has all been said before. you can see the original thought-provoking montage here: "EPIC: A FUTURE HISTORY OF MEDIA" Even though he has some novel thoughts and has put his statements together eloquently enough, it seems only fitting that credit should be given where it's due. Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson gave their thoughts to the world under the Creative Commons license. The least we can do is acknowledge their original work.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

| Breaking News | AT&T Exec Offers Top 10 Predictions

CRN | Breaking News | AT&T Exec Offers Top 10 Predictions: "AT&T Exec Offers Top 10 Predictions
by Dan Neel, CRN
8:12 PM EDT Tue. May. 03, 2005

Borrowing a trick from The Late Show's David Letterman, Hossein Eslambolchi, CTO and CIO of AT&T, delivered a visionary keynote at Interop in Las Vegas in the form of a Top 10 List.

Working without the format's characteristic drum roll, Eslambolchi -- who is also president of AT&T Global Networking Technology Services and AT&T Labs -- read his Top 10 predictions for networked communications in descending order."

Somewhat surprising for the lack of surprises. Although, I would have expected at least some passing comment related to the migration of voice to IP networks, I suppose that this is included in his mind as part of his tenth point.

No mention of marketing or advertising driving search, or adoption of new web standards for ASP (read the post on AJAX for the rise of next generation ASP) and the fact that he didn't specifically address the rise in utilization of ubiquitous smart-devices (PDA/Phone Hybrids) that are going to be the real enablers in "pervasive computing".

Azulstar Launches 'World's First' Metro-Wide Wi-Fi VoIP service (this is what I've been talking about)

Azulstar Launches 'World's First' Metro-Wide Wi-Fi VoIP service : TomsNetworking :: "Wireless News: Azulstar Launches 'World's First' Metro-Wide Wi-Fi VoIP service
Posted by Tim [ 2005-05-04 12:24:25 ] Send this story to a friend Printer friendly page

VoIP

Azulstar Networks today announced the launch of what it says is the world's first metro-wide Voice over Wi-Fi telephone service in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

The network uses around 200 Meru APs connected via a Proxim 'pre-WiMAX backbone' to Azulstar's network operations center (NOC). Azulstar partner Ecuity Networks provides call transport and termination from the Internet onto the traditional phone network and vice versa. The service is based entirely around the SIP protocol and uses both G.711 and G.729 Codecs for voice compression.

The Azulstar service is available to residential, business and mobile telephone users and customers can select from a variety of fixed and mobile handsets, choose a local phone number or keep their existing number. Features included with all calling plans include caller ID, call forwarding, voice mail over e-mail, multi-party calling, call waiting and Web based call control manager.

Pricing for residential fixed/mobile phone service has been set at $29.95/line for unlimited calling within the USA Canada.

The Azulstar Business phone services adds 4-digit inter company calling, a fax line and a Soft-PBX, which eliminates PBX hardware and provides a suite of centralized call control. Azulstar expects typical small business to save between 40-60% off of their current bill and in most cases can leverage existing hardware. Later this year, Azulstar plans to add seamless roaming in and out of cellular CDMA and GSM networks."

The other day I wrote a few words about the future of telecommunications and why the incumbent voice carriers should be terrified. There's nothing like a disruptive technology shift to disintermediate the major providers from their primary sources of revenue. And while I'm not claiming that a few city-wide Wi-Fi deployments that run VoIP over their networks is about to rock the boats at Spring, Verizon, or Cingular, these little pin-pricks had better wake the sleeping giants or they might be hemorrhaging revenue before they have a plan to stop the bleeding.

Azulstar's announcement is interesting in that it basically defines the service that I've been predicting. A key difference, however is that this is not a true hybrid. It's more like a cordless phone on steroids with super cheap pricing. They do say they have plans for interconnectivity between cellular (GSM/CDMA) and Wi-Fi (802.11 b, g and n) but there are some technology hurdles and probably some pretty significant business ones as well before that happens. It would be interesting to know if adoption rates take off AND if they get good customer retention and satisfaction.
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