Year of Social

The season is changing and here, in Boulder, Colorado, it means colder nights and shorter days. It’s time for animals to wrap up their food gathering operations and finish working on cozy homes for the all too familiar winter.


This hibernation is also coming to a very important aspect of my life. Last year, at about the same time, I dumped Facebook in favor of Twitter. I had been inactive on the micro blog since long and returned to it, only to discover so many new and amazing connections and services. I found people worth talking to and got help where I needed it. I also posted a lot on this blog here, taking it through many iterations, themes and (free) hosting providers. Now I’ve moved it to a paid provider – NearlyFreeSpeech in order to maintain a better uptime ratio.

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I have practically no use of Google+. My common friends are sticking with Facebook and twitter, my tech follow ups happen mostly on twitter and rss feeds and I’ve not joined a single hangout ever. Instead, a lot of strangers keep adding me to their lists.

I am not saying GP isn’t growing. It certainly has good numbers on its side. But somehow, it all doesn’t make any sense to me.

Hopefully, in the future, I’ll see more on GP, else I’ll just let it stagnate.

Google Chrome for iOS – A great big benefit

Google launched their Chrome browser for iOS (iPhone and iPad) yesterday. Within minutes of the launch, the Internet was full of news of how laggy and useless the browser was because of the many restrictions on third party browsers by Apple. One blogger even went on to show with HTML5 rendering tests that Chrome was twice as slow as mobile Safari.

Great, so you found bugs in an app that’s just been released. I found a feature. I was doing some research last night about WordPress. I left the tabs open in my laptop’s Chrome browser and slept off. Today, while standing at the bus stop waiting for transportation, I whipped out my iPhone and opened Chrome. Under the “Other devices” section, I quickly found the tab that is open on my computer and continued my research. Simple as that.

I know that the browser has its faults but not because of something Google did. In fact, Google fulfilled a long running request – to bring the Chrome browser to iOS. It is Apple’s heavy restrictions that do not allow Chrome to function so well.

After Apple’s shifting away from Google Maps in iOS 6, there’s not much goodwill left in the companies *in my opinion* (in case you’re about to refute, I know Google pays millions to Apple to be the default search in Safari). I say Google et al should sue Apple for monopoly over the iOS browser as Netscape vs Microsoft was.

Why Google+ will fail

I hate to be a harbinger of bad tides, but here are a few reasons why google+ will fail. I don’t write much nowadays so I’ll keep it short –

  1. Too much to do
    All websites ever successful started with just an idea. Google’s humble beginning was a page with a search box and a button. Twitter started with just one stream of tweets pouring in. Facebook started out as a place where you yourself share your profiles and likes and dislikes. So, when a mash-up of ideas comes along, people not only compare it to all other services, but also feel confused at what’s happening. I still remember introducing Facebook to my brother Nipun and he telling me that it’s darn confusing to use. Yesterday when I gave him a tour of Google+ the first thing he pointed out was that it’s just twitter on google! I tried to explain that there are other features too like group video chat etc but he just pointed me to an article about facebook teaming up with skype (he’s not tech-unsavvy, just waits for me to give him the latest news). Granted, facebook will probably flounder with video chat just like they do with everything else, but considering how people are well settled into facebook and google plus will still remain in beta (oops, they call it field testing!!!) for a long time to come, facebook can quickly gain lost ground since people know skype’s the best!!!
  2. Too much integration
    It seems that ever since I’ve gained access to google plus (5 of my friends added me to circles and I was in), Google+ is everywhere. From my google reader page, to my iOS mobile gmail login and from my emails ( I got a flood of google+ notifications) to my custom mail client ( I use mailplane for Mac, so shoot me!!). Google wants google+ to be everywhere I go. I don’t want that. I want to be able to shut it down and get rid of it when I want. I can do that with facebook, with twitter and I even did it long ago with good old orkut ( yes I too was on that boat once). But can I do it with google+? No. Bad idea. It has become so pervasive that I opened my google account settings and there it was, a dedicated google+ settings page. All this integration now seems to drive me away from google et al. I don’t wanna do that!!!
  3. Change is everywhere.
    Mashable says that in the google+ wave, google has plans of renaming picasa and blogger to google photos and google blogs ( thank god they didn’t touch YouTube!). When you login to gmail, the top right has a link to show you gmail’s new look. One of my apps recently updated itself since they say google has changed the way gmail’s handling of third party apps has changed. Ok, there’s change everywhere. But so much so fast? Google is but one entity to me. It gives me mail, search, blogs and images. But it’s just one entity. Even if all the above changes are not due to one single team, this is definitely a classic case of left arm not knowing that the right arm is updating the code. My whole plethora of google offerings is changing
    Within the next month or so and not all of it will be good. Most importantly, from a PR standpoint it’ll all be blamed to google+ since that’s the major new thing that google came up with. And with the integration that I pointed out above, google+ just doesn’t feel right.

I like Google. They make great products. But in an effort to gain whatever market they’ve lost to facebook and twitter and skype, they just made a mashup that even mashable would not approve of!!! It remains to see if I’m right.