Google: Everything from Cradle to Grave?


As most people who know me know, I don't own a smart nor feature cell phone. I do have some "mobile" devices in the family though including two B and N Nook HD+ tablets (one running stock B and N firmware and the other CyanogenMod), a Amazon Kindle Fire HD, and a 1st gen iPad. Just so you know, the iPad was given to my younger son as a gift by a friend of ours who bought a newer iPad.

Some might also know that I'm not a big fan of Google. When they were just starting out and were an underdog, sure... they were great... but the years have passed and now Google is the king of so many things... and they are first an advertising company... because that's where about 80% of their revenue comes from... and they are gathering so much information in so many different areas about so many people... I just find it scary. That isn't to say that I'm paranoid or am a privacy freak. To the contrary... hey I have my address, phone number and email address in the footer of every page on this here website, right? Anyway, I was on Google+ for a while but decided to delete my account... and have been trying to ween myself from as much Google as possible. I use Duck Duck Go for my searches, I avoid using Google online services... but yes I do have a gmail account (I don't use much). I have a YouTube account and as a result a Google+ profile was created for me but I don't use it... although I do occasionally get "notifications" from people who want to add me to a circle or something... ARGH! I do use Google Voice to talk to my parents long distance on my land line.

Anyway... while I'm not that big of a Google fan, I do try to keep up on what they are doing. I would feel more comfortable if Google was broken up into a handful of independent companies... rather than them doing everything. As you probably know, Google has an annual developer conference called Google I/O and this year it was last week and lasted two days. There was a lot of stuff covered but who really has about 3 hours to watch the keynote? Here's a good summary video for those who want the core distilled for them. For some reason the video omits the virtual reality stuff and Google Cardboard... but I'm sure there will be more on that later.

I guess it is now later because here is a video showing some Google Cardboard V/R info.

But wait, there's more. Isn't there always more? Here's a video that does a good job showing Google Wear.


Opinion: Google Chrome is the new Platform?

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Kevin Tofel wrote an article for GigaOm entitled, How Google plans to rule the computing world through Chrome. That article seems to have gotten quite a bit of attention but when I last looked, there weren't too many comments... and I tried to comment... but even in two different browsers, I couldn't get the comment submission to work properly so I decided to post it here. What follows is my response to his article:

Google added an app store in Chrome some time ago... how many versions ago of Chrome was that? There was a little buzz shortly after it came out with players like the New York Times pitching their Chrome App... which works fine in Firefox too, btw. Then time passed. During that time, yes, Chrome Browser has gained more market share... but so far as I can tell, the Chrome App store, which is mostly just a fancier way to deal with bookmarks, really hasn't taken off.

Is there an opportunity for Chrome Apps to become more popular? Sure... if they can fill a niche and work well. Does that mean everyone will want to do everything in their browser... or via a browser-based although-works-fine-offline technology? Probably not. People are creatures of habit. Yes, they can change habits as well as add new habits but they aren't going to scrap everything they have just because there are more icons in a Google App Launcher thingie. It just ain't going to happen. Just moving the icon selector GUI from the Chrome browser window to an OS panel / dock is not going to be any revolution.

So many people seem to think that what they like has to win out over everything else... but that rarely ever happens. I think Google Chrome and Chrome/web-based Apps will pick up some market share and will do quite well... but it will be just another player in a crowded arena that is constantly getting broader with more choices... not less.

The zero admin functionality you speak of is nice and all but how will it not be laid to waste by similar security problems that have started to plague Android? If and when Chrome Apps become popular, then malware creators will also target it... and unless Google somehow does a better job with Chrome than they have done with Android, it has the potential to be a mess that completely negates zero admin... but at least it'll be cross platform malware now. Thanks!

In the end what empowers more people is quality free libre and open source software, not better marketed commercial apps.

Video: WebM matures with VP9 codec

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Google has finally started talking publicly about the upcoming VP9 video codec that will be integrated into the FLOSS and patent unencumbered webm video container format. I'm a big webm fan and I have found the existing VP8 codec to be pretty darn good. webm with VP8 is way better than Ogg Theora (which is pretty good) but not quite as good as H.264. Google plans on changing that with VP9. Supposedly VP9 will be able to be 1/2 to 1/3 smaller than H.264 and provide as good or better quality. That is exciting.

Here is a video detailing VP9 and showing some samples from the recent Google I/0 2013 event:

I hope that shows up as webm in your browser but if not, use youtube-dl.

Video: Death of the Desktop

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I found this video fascinating (although the editing is a bit erratic) so I decided to share it. I personally do not see the personal desktop (hardware nor software) dying any time soon.

There is a lot of passion in the discussion and as a result some passionate words are used that some might find offensive... so be prepared.

What do you think?

Even more speculation on Google Chrome OS

Argh, there have been about a zillion articles and blog posting declaring the future of computing and a coming "OS War" between Microsoft and Google. Paaalease. Although I myself am writing yet another piece of content related to Google Chrome OS, I feel compelled to do so because the vast majority of everything I've seen so far has simply been rubbish... and I don't often call things rubbish.

What is Google Chrome OS?

On the public face, so far Google Chrome OS is nothing more than vaporware mentioned in a blog posting by two Google middle management.

It appears it will be just enough operating system to get a web browser to run so one can do all of their online stuff... you know... using Google's Browser and Google's online services. Don't worry, you can use any software that is written using web standards but obviously the Google services and APIs to those services will be heavily favored.

It will be based on the Linux kernel but from the few brief paragraphs of the Google blog posting it appears to be just enough userspace stuff to run the web browser and any add-on support applications for online multi-media.

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