Tag: Google

  • Delete Facebook and Google

    Two sites to link to whenever someone starts talking about deleting their Facebook account, or quitting Google. Talk is cheap, you know. I wish I could get out of both rackets, but it’s not possible because of work. I will, however, move my email from Google soon, possibly to HEY when they support custom domains.

  • Dropping the tech giants

    Dropping the tech giants

    No, I’m not doing that. I stopped using Google once, but they ensnared me again. I’m weak, I know. Anyway, this semi-interactive column at the New York Times has been making the rounds, and I find it interesting. It asks the question which of the tech giants you’d stop using first.

    Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, are not just the largest technology companies in the world. As I’ve argued repeatedly in my column, they are also becoming the most powerful companies of any kind, essentially inescapable for any consumer or business that wants to participate in the modern world. But which of the Frightful Five is most unavoidable?

    I’d drop them in the following order.

    First, Microsoft. There’s not much they make that I can’t live without, but gaming would be difficult since I have a pretty extensive Steam library and the SteamOS is far from ready for prime time. I’d shed a tear and move on though, that’s what the Switch is for after all.

    Second, Facebook. It’s no secret I find this to be an abhorrent company with questionable motives. That said, I find myself struggling to drop Instagram, and a lot of communication is happening on Facebook itself, and through Messenger. Still, all of that is replaceable to me. Still not panicking.

    Third, Alphabet, which is Google’s parent company. This one would mean I’d have to go back to Fastmail for email as well as cut all the other Google Apps services. But you know what? While that would be a pain, the alternatives are getting there. Outside of email, I think all of Google’s services can be replaced with equally useful tools. In fact, had I done my Fastmail experiment today I probably would’ve been happy without Google still. They do quality services, but the ever watchful eye is as frightening as Facebook’s. And DuckDuckGo is a proper search engine too.

    Fourth, Amazon. Prime isn’t really a thing in Sweden so this one might hurt more for some of you. I’d miss Kindle, my Oasis is my primary reading device, but there are plenty of alternatives. I’d also miss Comixology, where I read graphic novels. Much like the column I’m viewing this as a consumer, so Amazon Web Services (and Microsoft’s Azure, for that matter) are still free to use through the companies that rely on them. Quitting Amazon would hurt.

    Finally, Apple. It’s not just that I’m invested in their ecosystem or that they make the best phones and tablets, no, it’s trust. Apple is the only one of the big five tech companies that appear to be fighting for me, and my privacy. Now if that would change things might be different, but hopefully they’ll continue to stand for the little guy.

  • Facebook Instant Articles are flailing

    I wanted to write “failing”, but I see too many of those blasted things whenever I’m on Facebook that it just wouldn’t be true. Anyway, from a Digiday story on the matter:

    Many publishers are deeply unhappy with the monetization on these pages, with major partners like The New York Times throwing in the towel and many others cutting back the amount of content pushed to the IA platform.

    It goes on like that. Now if someone would please kill off Google’s AMP so that we could have a shot at an open web, wouldn’t that be nice?

  • Android Auto wants too much for Porsche

    Porsche picks Apple CarPlay over Google’s Android alternative, for not so surprising reasons. The Verge:

    The publication says that Android Auto tracks variables including vehicle speed, throttle position, fluid temperatures, and engine revs, information that is collated and then sent back to Google. Apple’s CarPlay, on the other hand, only checks with the car’s powertrain control module to ensure that the vehicle is moving. Porsche was apparently unwilling to enter a deal that would send reams of information back to Google — partly, Motor Trend says, because the manufacturer thinks those details make its high-end autos special, and partly because Google itself is in the midst of building its own car.

  • ABC WTF?

    Speaking of Google being wholly owned by Alphabet, and the new company’s domain abc.xyz, you might want to check out abc.wtf

  • Google is now owned by Alphabet

    Google is still Google, it’s just owned by Alphabet now. Former Google CEO, now Alphabet CEO, Larry Page tries to explain, on the Alphabet site at abc.xyz:

    What is Alphabet? Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which, of course, is Google. This newer Google is a bit slimmed down, with the companies that are pretty far afield of our main internet products contained in Alphabet instead. What do we mean by far afield? Good examples are our health efforts: Life Sciences (that works on the glucose-sensing contact lens), and Calico (focused on longevity). Fundamentally, we believe this allows us more management scale, as we can run things independently that aren’t very related.

    Alphabet is the umbrella company. Sundar Pichai is the new Google CEO, a Google that is supposed to be a bit slimmer. All these things are probably good for everyone involved.

  • Fastmail came through

    Fastmail came through

    In early 2013, I wrote a (surprisingly popular) piece called Fastmail failed, because they did, they really did. The post details my experience with Fastmail, which I wanted to use to replace Google Apps. In the end, I had to go back to Google Apps.

    I’m back with Fastmail, and have been for quite some time. I even moved the Odd Alice email hosting to a Fastmail business setup last year. I’ve been meaning to write about this, but for some reason I haven’t. Email isn’t very exciting, I guess. Every now and then I get an email about Fastmail, so I guess I should set the record straight.


  • Slut på ursäkter, gammelwebben

    Om du, eller företaget/institutionen du jobbar för, har avvaktat med att släppa en responsiv webbplats så är det slut på ursäkter. Gammelwebben kommer försvinna ur användarnas medvetanden, för de kommer inte hittas. Google har nämligen börjat rekommendera mobilvänliga webbplatser, som utlovat, och eftersom en så stor del av trafiken kommer från sökmotorn så är det förstås viktigt. Om Googles blogginlägg är lite för tungrott för dig så skriver även Internetworld om saken.

    Jag antar att det är nu jag påpekar att Odd Alice bara gör responsiva webbar? Fast det visste du förstås redan.

  • You really should use DuckDuckGo

    Casey Liss on using DuckDuckGo instead of Google for web search, summing it up nicely here, including the solution for those who haven’t learned how to search properly:

    If I’m doing a search in DuckDuckGo and I’m not satisfied with the results, I just prefix !g to the search query, and I get the Google results I’m used to.

    As an added benefit, DuckDuckGo does as much as possible to prevent your data from leaking to advertisers via Google. Instead of sending you to www.google.com, you’re sent to encrypted.google.com. This has several benefits, most notably, preventing advertisers (and destination sites) from seeing what you’ve searched for.

    I agree. I’ve been using DuckDuckGo for web searches, mobile and on desktop, for years. It feels good not giving all that information so readily to Google and their advertisers. There’s enough of that going around on the web as it is.

  • Roundups of 2014

    I started to collect snippets for yearly lists, for a linkdump post. Best of Twitter, you on Facebook, Tumblr’s year in review, year in music on Spotify – that sort of thing. But looking through these I realized that they’re utterly boring. Even the YouTube rewind video is, while well made and full of things to recognize, nothing worth giving extra thought. So while I’ve linked all of those things above, a way less comprehensive piece of linkage than I had in mind, I really can’t urge you to click any of those links if you’re just going to click one thing today. That says a lot, and it reminds me that not all things are worth linking, nor spending time on.

    As a side-note, are you fed up with the gift guides yet? I certainly am, and I’ve stayed clear of most of them anyway. This is such a weird time during the year, when weak content suddenly gets the spotlight.

    Finally, there is one yearly thing I think is worth checking out, saved for last obviously. I might not be Google’s biggest fan, but their global and national lists of what people have been searching for during the year are interesting. These have been the big issues in 2014, and that’s worth a link.

  • Good enough

    Benedict Evans:

    I, and the kind of people who spend time thinking about these issues, tend to assume that, well, maps and calendars and email and so on are very important, because we use them all day, and that the tight integration of Google services is a good reason to buy an Android phone and their absence would make it unsalable.

    But most people do not have that kind of job. One thing that always bothers me about a certain kind of product demo is the moment when the product magically tells you that your flight is late or the gate has changed. But most people don’t fly enough ever to have this problem – that’s not actually a real, mass market use case.

    Thoughtful piece, and an astute observation. Thing is, a lot of these feature that we make a big deal of, as, if not tech-savvy so at least tech-interested users, are barely icing on the cake for most people. Take the Apple Maps debacle back on iOS 7. Not only was it completely blown out of proportion in the tech press (if we can call it that), it was also such a small thing in the larger scope of things, and yet we whined about it. Some people are still whining about Apple Maps, despite the fact that it’s been good enough for a (relatively) long time now, so called power-user or not.

    Want to blow a tech-head’s mind? Tell them that Gmail isn’t the largest webmail service. It’s not because it’s not better than most, if not all, of the competition. It’s because the other alternatives, no matter if it’s Hotmail-come-Outlook.com, or Yahoo Mail, or Fastmail, or whatever, are all good enough for most people. That’s it, plain and simple.

  • Google's mobile friendly search

    Google will highlight what they believe to be mobile friendly web pages in mobile search.

    Starting today, to make it easier for people to find the information that they’re looking for, we’re adding a “mobile-friendly” label to our mobile search results.

    Details here, but just about any responsive site should be fine. This is a good thing for the web, and I hope other search engines will follow.

  • Google and Microsoft just made the iPad a better choice

    Vlad Savov, writing for The Verge, argues that the disappointing Nexus 9 and Microsoft making Office free for iOS has made the iPad an even better choice today than it was a few days ago. It’s both true and silly, if you ask me, but the piece makes a valid point. I especially enjoyed this paragraph:

    The iPad still doesn’t have a clearly defined reason for its existence. Apple never bothered to give it one, focusing instead on the engineering and trusting that users will figure out ways to adapt it to their lives. As Apple design chief Jony Ive puts it, “I don’t have to change myself to fit the product; it fits me.” Time has proven this philosophy correct, as the iPad has risen above its physical limitations and secured itself a niche in hundreds of millions of homes.

  • Sundar Pichai now controls the important Google projects

    Google’s Larry Page is handing over the keys to, well, not the kingdom, but a whole lot of strategic fiefdoms, to Sundar Pichai. Recode’s got the scoop.

    The highly respected Pichai will now have purview over research, search, maps, Google+, commerce and ad products and infrastructure. And he will continue to keep his existing responsibility for Android, Chrome and Google Apps. The six executives in charge of newly added product areas, all of whom previously reported directly to Page, will now report to Pichai.

    The move seems born of Page’s concern — which is not new — that Google will become less innovative as it ages. In a memo to staff, he noted that the changes will create less of a bottleneck and also help him focus his attention on existing and new products. That said, he’ll continue to directly manage business and operations, including access and energy (a new unit run by Craig Barratt), Nest, Calico, Google X, corporate development, legal, finance and business (including ad sales).

    Pichai is behind Chrome’s rise, and manages Android too. Given the success, and the good reputation he’s got, this move seems like a good one.

  • On Medium And Its Likes

    Medium’s open for all, just sign in with your Twitter account and you can use Ev William’s latest publishing platform. It’s good, very good in fact, and focused on content rather than anything else. Content first, as it is and were. I want to like Medium, and I do on many levels.

    The Medium editor is, in many ways, outstanding
    The Medium editor is, in many ways, outstanding

    But Medium’s a bad idea for you. It’s a locked canister for your content, a window to the web that might just as well be gone in a year. I don’t doubt that, should Medium go south, there’ll be export options, and the open source community will make sure that you can import your content to other platforms, but all your links will be dead, even if your content isn’t.

    That’s not all. When you put your words on Medium, when you move your blog to Google+ or Facebook, then you’re effectively building their brands respectively, limiting and sidelining yourself. Tumblr, Blogger and WordPress.com have all solved this problem. You can connect your own domain to these services, and thus should you wish (or be forced) to move your content elsewhere you’ll be able to move it all.

    With Medium, not so much, not at its present state.

    Don’t ever rely solely on a service where you can’t move your content, and keep your domain and links, to another platform. In other words, putting your well-thought words of wisdom on Medium, Google+ or Facebook is a bad idea.

    Unless you don’t give a shit about what you do, and what you publish online, of course. Then by all means, go for it. And by all means use Medium, it’s the best alternative out there, of the bad ones that is.