Google Nexus Q and Nexus 7 • Google Search Improvements • SoMoLo—Local Biggest • Amazon Competes with Its Merchants • Top 100 Sites All Track • Apple v. Samsung Tablet Injunction • Disruption: Paintball, Dance and Violin
Google I/O Conference Product Announcements:
The Nexus Q is a stylish $300 black sphere that can wirelessly stream audio and video from the Google Play service throughout your house. It also incorporates an amplifier to drive a pair of speakers. The entire upper dome serves as the volume control. Your Android phone or tablet functions as its remote control. In contrast to other Google consumer hardware, it was developed entirely in-house and is manufactured in the U.S. The teardown looks pretty cool.
The new 7 inch tablet starts at $199, runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, features a quad-core processor and has a front facing camera. Here’s a hands-on video
The Android Market was renamed to Google Play earlier this year. Along with the new product announcements, Google expanded its media offerings, adding movie, TV and magazine purchasing to the existing app, movie rental, music and book products.
Search Engine Land, the preeminent search technology blog, reports on some “fairly radical” changes to the Google search experience, targeted primarily at mobile:
- Improved search UI, incorporating the Google Knowledge Graph
- Spoken voice results
- “Google Now” contextual search results that give you information without formal prompting
Fast Company has more information about “Google Now”
In SoMoLo, Local is the Biggest
SoMoLo refers to the internet innovation nexus of social, mobile and local. This article argues that local will be the biggest and most lucrative member of the triad as evidenced by the success of companies like Zillow, OpenTable, Yelp and AirBnB that generate their revenue from local sources.
Amazon Competing with Its Marketplace Merchants
Firms that use Amazon Marketplace to sell their products report cases where Amazon has itself started stocking and selling their most popular products.
The Top 100 Websites are All Tracking their Users
Berkeley Law School’s Web Privacy Census finds that all 100 of the top websites are tracking their users and some of them are using techniques like HTML5 local storage to get around cookie limitations. Reading the article critically, I noticed that it is uncritically quoting lawyers’ rhetorical advocacy-driven assertions rather than attempting to present an unbiased view of the subject. For example, in one quote a lawyer cites the controversy generated by the Wall Street Journal article on Orbitz’s targeting Mac users with higher class (e.g., 4-5 Star instead of 2-3 Star) hotels. The lawyer calls this “price discrimination.” That is not what it is. It is targeted marketing. It’s analogous to an auto salesman beginning his sales pitch by showing a Lexus luxury car to an affluent-looking customer on the premise that such a customer will want a luxury vehicle. The same salesman might first show a Toyota to a less affluent-looking customer. This may or may not be a good sales strategy but it’s not price discrimination. If the lawyer were making her same assertion within my analogy, her claim would be that the salesman is quoting different prices to different customers for the same car.
The gist of the article is that laws and policies need to be created to deal with internet privacy. That may be true, but it will be unfortunate if the outcome is biased by hysterical rhetoric rather than based on the best verifiable facts.
Apple Wins U.S. Injunction Against Samsung
The Apple versus Samsung fight that has been playing out across the world escalated significantly with Apple winning an injunction to stop sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab tablet in the U.S. Samsung was found to have infringed on Apple’s iPad design patent. On the one hand, I find this just a bit ridiculous. No one is going to mistake a Galaxy Tab for an iPad, and some of the aspects of the patent, like having a thin border and flat surfaces, seem kind of obvious. On the other hand, as Microsoft demonstrated with the unveiling of its new Surface tablets last week, there is room for innovation and doing things differently. I highly doubt Apple could make a case that the Microsoft design infringes.
Just one More: Tech Disruption—Paintball, Dance and Violin
Lindsey Stirling is a talented young musician who improbably combines dance and violin in her performances. Devin Graham is a young videographer who wanted to build a career creating action-adventure videos. Their story illustrates how technology has disrupted the arts and entertainment industry by enabling low cost video production, distribution and promotion.