(You're reading all posts by Mike Elgan) Mike Elgan is a Silicon Valley-based columnist who writes about technology and culture. His work appears in a variety of publications, including Computerworld, Datamation, PC World, InfoWorld, MacWorld, ITWorld, CIO, the San Francisco Chronicle. Subscribe to Mike's e-mail newsletter, Mike's List, and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Digg and elsewhere by visiting http://elgan.com.
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A brand-new subscription news site called The Information published a story this week saying Google would launch a product within the next seven months called Nexus TV.
I believe and hope the story is true. Because I’m rooting for Google in the TV space. Here’s why.
What makes Google think users want canned messages? Google filed a patent application, published November 19, for algorithmically driven auto-reply.
As you might expect, the messages aren’t really “canned” in the way that an email vacation auto-reply might be. It’s actually quite Googlish.
Here’s what Google is up to, and why you might actually love this technology.
Google announced this week Google Play Newsstand, an app for reading non-book content (magazines, newspapers, blogs and more) on an Android phone or tablet.
Google Play Newsstand is an alternative to Flipboard. But Google gives us no strong reason to choose that alternative.
Here are the three things Google needs to change in order to turn Google Play Newsstand from also-ran to awesome sauce.
Why does Google call it “Google Now”? Wouldn’t “Google Occasionally” or “Google Never” be more accurate?
Google Now is clearly designed to be used “now,” or all the time, or at any time. The “now” suggests that when something of interest happens, you learn about it “now.”
Trouble is, Google doesn’t present the service in a way that makes it useful as a real-time notification system.
Here comes wearable computing, and Android and the Googleverse have a huge head start. But will the Android devices lose the lead because they fail to target the women’s market?
This isn’t a review of the Nexux 5. Rather, it’s a review of Google’s new strategy of integration as displayed in the KitKat-running Nexus 5.
You’ll find a gazillion reviews on the Nexus 5 over the next month, some detailing every feature and function. In general, these reviews will tell you that the Nexus 5 is a great phone with a great form-factor and exterior design, incredible screen, good battery life and excellent general performance. They’ll also point out that nothing even comes close to the Nexus 5’s value for money ($349 unlocked). And Nexus5/KitKat has little surprises (such as LTE tethering, even on AT&T).
I’m here not to add yet another review to the mix, but to zero in on what really matters: How Googley is this phone, exactly?
The short answer is: pretty Googley but not Googley enough.
To the extent that Nexus 5 succeeds (is better than other phones), it succeeds with integration. To the extent that Nexus 5 fails, it fails to integrate.
Here’s what I’m talking about.
One of the great things about Google is that their goal is to get people to use the Internet more. And the only way to do that is to make the Internet better.
A better Internet that I use more is my goal, too — and yours. So there’s an alignment of interests with Google that makes them a user-friendly company, generally speaking.
Google wants people to use the Internet so badly that they are actually digging trenches and laying fiber citywide in multiple cities. They pay the wireless bills for some users in the third world (as long as they’re using Google services). And that’s ultimately why they sell Chromebooks and give away Android.
It’s all about getting people to exchange more bits with the Internet.
However, there’s another project Google could do that would literally enable hundreds of millions of people to “use the Internet more.”
Google is in the smartphone business, obviously. But are they in it to win it, or just f**king around?
Sometimes I wonder.
Google is obviously a visionary company with incredible technology and the capacity to build some of the greatest stuff out there.
In fact, Google already has created all the elements of a monster, iPhone-killing super-phone. Yet some invisible, internal company flaw seems to be stopping the company from putting all those elements into an actual phone.
The iPhone-killing elements are scattered all over different phones that Google sells, and some of the elements aren’t in the phones at all.
As a result, Google’s fans are faced with an artificial choice between this feature or that feature — or just giving up and buying either a non-Google Android phone or an iPhone for a more compelling mobile experience.
What’s stopping Google from integrating all its best stuff into a single phone that would thrill everybody and dominate the market?
Is it Microsoft-style company politics, where internal power struggles among VPs and product managers create a hyperpluralism that paralyzes the company?
I don’t know. But what I do know is that Google could completely transform the market by simply using what it’s already got.
Here are the four actions Google needs to take to use what it’s got to create the ultimate iPhone killer super-phone.
Everybody is outraged — OUTRAGED! — that Google will soon start using their names and faces in advertising.
The pundits are screaming bloody murder over the move, suggesting that Google is now as bad as Facebook. The more constructive critics are scrambling to give instructions for opting out.
But all this gnashing of teeth and ripping of hair over Google’s new social ad policy is misguided, in my opinion. I’ll tell you why Google’s new “shared endorsements” is probably a good thing, but also how it could turn out to suck.
But first, let me tell you what this is really all about and why “shared endorsements” is probably a good thing.
I love Google Glass, and wear mine almost every day. But Glass could never succeed as a consumer product as is. It’s funky and clunky, fragile and — worst of all — socially unacceptable.
Here are my suggestions the Google Glass team for how to fix all these problems and make Google Glass the killer consumer product of the decade.