Google Buys Simplify Media To Power Music Syncing For New iTunes Competitor

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, Google

Google just announced that it bought Simplify Media, a startup that offers software that lets you share your iTunes music across platforms, including the web.
The software lets you share your photos and music using programs like iTunes, iPhoto and Windows Media player. According to the startup’s site Simplify Media “connects people directly with their content, without the hassles of synching or uploading all their files. Simplify users can also share their personal media with family and close friends in a private, secure group.”
It appears that that deal may have taken place in March, when the company announced a “new direction” on its blog, discontinuing its software to users and removing its iPhone app from Apple’s App store.
Google VP Vic Gundotra said that Simplify’s technology will be used to offer a desktop app that will give you access to all of your (DRM-free) media on your Android devices remotely, using Google’s new iTunes competitor on the web.

Google Reportedly Prepping Android-Based iPad Challenger

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Anddroid, Apple Inc, Google, iPad

In a report on forthcoming challengers looking to rival Apple’s iPad, The New York Times notes that Google is reportedly preparing to launch its own Android-based entrant into the field as Nokia, HP and Microsoft also move forward on their own plans for devices in the emerging industry segment.
Eric E. Schmidt, chief executive of Google, told friends at a recent party in Los Angeles about the new device, which would exclusively run the Android operating system. People with direct knowledge of the project — who did not want to be named because they said they were unauthorized to speak publicly about the device — said the company had been experimenting in “stealth mode” with a few publishers to explore delivery of books, magazines and other content on a tablet.
After reportedly holding back to see what Apple would do with the iPad, competitors such as HP and others have been hard at work developing their own answers to Apple’s challenge.
The rivalry between Apple and Google has become increasingly personal as the two companies have begun to compete in a growing number of areas. Google’s Android operating system has been a fast-growing alternative to the iPhone in the smartphone market, with Apple signaling that it is taking the threat seriously by filing a patent infringement lawsuit against handset maker HTC in what has been seen as an indirect assault on Google’s smartphone offerings.
While an unsurprising development given Google’s and Apple’s increasing overlap, a Google tablet would offer yet another area of direct competition between the two companies and likely escalate tensions even further.

Google’s Big New Cloud Play: Should Microsoft Be Afraid?

Posted by: flirtations  /  Category: Applications, Google, Microsoft, Technology

Late last week, Google (GOOG) made another aggressive move to stay ahead of Microsoft (MSFT) in the online productivity tools space by acquiring DocVerse, a startup founded by two former Microsoft employees, known for tools that let users collaborate on Microsoft Office files on the Web.
Google nabbed the three-year-old, San Francisco-based DocVerse for $25 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. What Google gets in return is the technology to make Microsoft Office operate more like Google Docs.
DocVerse provides a 1MB plug-in to Office 2007 that allows users to edit and share Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents online and in real-time with all the features of the Office client versions intact.
Ironically, the acquisition gives Google the authority to let users access full-featured Office files in a Web-based environment before Microsoft does.
Google plans to add the DocVerse functionality to Google Apps for free, but it has not announced when that will take place. Yet one thing’s for sure: Google is giving Microsoft no breathing room in the race to bring cloud-based productivity tools to businesses. Just yesterday, Google unveiled an online store called Google Apps Marketplace, where enterprises can buy cloud-based applications designed to work with Google’s own apps.
A Body Blow to Microsoft
It’s worth noting that Microsoft already provides the same kind of online-collaboration capabilities as Docverse via its free Office Live Workspace service. But this is an offering that Microsoft has barely marketed, likely because with the upcoming Office 2010, arriving in June (May 12 for businesses), Microsoft will include Office Web Apps. These are free, stripped-down online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. If users want the full features of Office 2010 they will still have to buy the full Office 2010 desktop suite.
While Microsoft still has an undeniable lead in the productivity tool space, especially at enterprises, the latest moves by Google turn up the heat. Just as Steve Ballmer anounced Microsoft’s “all in” commitment to cloud computing last week, Google comes along and integrates online collaboration with Office docs through its own established cloud-based productivity suite and opens up a apps store for businesses.
“I’d say this [Google's Docverse buy] was a body blow to Microsoft,” says veteran industry analyst Roger Kay. “Microsoft has to respond as best it can, whether shipping Office 2010 earlier or pushing Office Web Apps more, or both.”
Chasing Google’s Web Apps
Office still remains Microsoft’s main cash cow, along with Windows. It generates 90 percent of the revenue for Microsoft’s business division. However, the Office suite faces a variety of growing threats, not only from Google Apps, but also from IBM (IBM) with LotusLive iNotes and Oracle (ORCL) with its newly announced “Cloud Office.”
“Google is always trying to outflank Microsoft,” Kay says. “There are a lot of benefits to a client-based collaborative system that synchs periodically via the cloud. Having it as an Office plug-in through Google Apps is pretty sweet.”
The Real Problem: Google Incompatibility with Office
Nevertheless, there is a flip side to Google’s purchase of DocVerse: It is an acknowledgement by Google that Office is the king of productivity apps and that incompatibility between Office and Google Docs has been a weakness.
Does DocVerse solve this weakness? No, writes PCWorld columnist David Coursey.
DocVerse is essentially an Office add-on that stores files in Google’s cloud, writes Coursey. This may help convince Office users to try Google Apps, but it doesn’t address the bigger problem of feature and file format incompatibility with Office.
“Limited compatibility with Microsoft Office is a major reason why many Google Apps free and paid customers prefer to use the e-mail and calendar features, but not the word processor, spreadsheet and presentation modules of Google Docs,” writes Coursey.
Still Early Going for Google Apps
For the time being Office still dominates at large enterprises. A November survey of 2,000 IT decision-makers by research firm Forrester revealed that 80 percent of companies surveyed support some version of Microsoft Office, and 78 percent have no plans for implementing an alternative to Microsoft Office.
This could change as Google continues to tighten its focus on online collaboration tools for businesses, says Forrester analyst Sheri McLeish. But, she emphasizes, it’s still early going for Google Apps.
“Yes, businesses are experimenting with Google Apps, but Google is still trying to sort out its apps and enterprise solution sets.”
McLeish adds it’s hard for most companies to make the business case to switch tools when users are comfortable and familiar with Office. “Google realizes this,” she says, “which is why it is resorting to acquiring a company that basically helps people work online with Office formatted documents.”
Clearly Google’s long-term goal is to chip away at Microsoft’s Office desktop suite dominance, but the DocVerse acquisition doesn’t move the ball too far down the field, says McLeish.
“I see this as a complement to Office apps, not a replacement technology,” she says

AdWords and iPhone apps: lessons learned

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: App Store, Applications, Google, Internet, iPhone

Found this incredible article on the internet:
via WeAreUproar
We built Gratuitous in order to learn about developing and selling iPhone applications. We’re always looking for ways to improve our visibility in the App Store. Recently, though, we’ve been looking for ways to increase our visibility from outside the App Store into the App Store.
AdWords to the rescue! Right? Maybe not. AdWords didn’t work out for Gratuitous, so we quickly changed course and moved on. But I’d like to share our findings with you
Keyword Pricing
We didn’t know anything about AdWords when we started, so we kicked it off with default settings. We typed up our ad title and body, and hit “go.” The default setting in AdWords is to optimize for impressions (how many times an ad is displayed) by automatically bidding on clicks. For our keywords (iphone tip calculator), the bid went to $2-3 per click. While that may not be bad for a lot of products, it doesn’t make sense for an iPhone app that sells for $1-2. Even if you were able to get the cost per click down to $0.50 – $1, remember that an ad click doesn’t guarantee a purchase – far from it.
So, we switched over to manual pricing. We figured if we could get some clicks for $0.10 – $0.15, then they might be worth it. At that price, we didn’t see enough ad impressions to be worth our time. When bidding high we saw 3 clicks for 10,000 impressions. At 10 cents, the impressions went down to just a few per day. There is no way we’re going to see enough clicks to make that worth our while. If you’re selling a $10 app, then AdWords might be worth looking at.
Copyright and “Limited” Distribution
When we first submitted our ad, it went into review by the AdWords team because it included the word “iPhone.” It’s kind of hard to sell an iPhone app without saying “iPhone,” so we trusted that Google would see that our use of the term “iPhone” was an instance of fair use. After a few days, our ad was approved, but was marked as “Approved (limited).” Limited, to Google, means US-only. That was good enough for us, so we left it as is. If you need ad distribution outside the U.S. you can email Apple and ask them to approve your use in AdWords. Email lwidup@apple.com with your AdWords account number and a nice, friendly note.
Moving on
It’s pretty obvious that AdWords isn’t going to work out for Gratuitous, but apps are only part of our business. “Apps for your life. Consulting for your business.” Instead of advertising Gratuitous, we’re now trying AdWords as a way to generate leads for our consulting service. This is agile business. We tried something, quickly evaluated the results, and adjusted strategy decisively.
I resisted the temptation to spend a bunch of time becoming an expert in AdWords and going in 100%. There may be a way to make AdWords increase Gratuitous sales a bit, but it’s not worth our time. It’s clear that AdWords will not sell thousands of dollars worth of Gratuitous, so the experiment is concluded and we move on and adjust strategy. As a small business owner, I knew I needed to be quick and just test the waters. You’re going to do a lot of new things as a small business owner. Having a good sense for what to spend time on and what to do “just good enough” will be very valuable.

The birth of Google Buzz

Posted by: flirtations  /  Category: Facebook, Google Buzz, Internet, Social Networking, Technology

February 18th, 2010
Facebook is growing faster and faster. It is not just a social network. It has become one of the largest Internet companies, posing a threat to the giants – Google, MSFT and Yahoo. And they understand that. They understand that online communication more and more centers on the activity stream or feed. They understand that the social graph might become the most valuable data asset. They understand that they are behind.
Buzz – The end user perspective
Google made a bold move to begin building its market share in the stream arena. They announced Google Buzz is now an integral part of Gmail. So what exactly is Google Buzz? Well, it is not much different than the Facebook newsfeed stream. You share thoughts, links, photos etc. either with everybody or only with friends, and those people in turn can respond to your posts. Google has also created a public profile where all your public posts, together with some personal details you wish to share, are open to anyone.
Buzz – The website perspective
While Google is building its consumer product, Facebook is focused more and more on their relationship with other websites. The Facebook Connect service is their invention to further cement their position with end users. People are now able to login to websites, like ABC.com, using their Facebook account. The sites, in return, can enable users to post to the Facebook newsfeed from their sites in a more efficient way, which drives lots of traffic back to the originating sites. Everybody wins, so everybody integrates Facebook Connect into their site.
Each Facebook Connect implementation contributes to the Facebook database. For example – if a website related to buying cars has implemented Facebook Connect and a user has connected on that site using their Facebook account, Facebook will know that this user may be in the market for buying a car. The data implications go far beyond this example, but that would require a separate blog post.
The bottom line is that Google has this data front to deal with as well. They need to be deeply implemented within websites the same way Facebook Connect is integrated there. Google is already providing an authentication API so theoretically sites can use them to sign-in users, but until there was Buzz, the main value proposition was missing. Sites integrate Facebook Connect because they want it to generate traffic. They want to easily post to the user’s news feed. With the Buzz service focused around the news feed, Google will be able to provide this real value to sites as well.
Google will likely soon release its Buzz API as a direct competitor to Facebook Connect, and sites shouldn’t ignore it.

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