Archive for the ‘Google’ Category

Is Microsoft Driving Innovation

December 1, 2006

It looks like everyone is talking about the topic I started discussing last week.

Robert Scoble and Dave Winer have a discussion on the topic over at the WSJ.

Gizmodo has the matchup of Google Mobile Maps and Windows Live Maps.

And a lot more people are beginning discussions around the water cooler and in the blogosphere on the same topic…so what is it that you as a user expect out of these large companies?

Google, Microsoft, IBM, etc all are large companies that make an impact on the world at large. Are these companies continuing to fill a large hole that needs to stay filled?  I certainly think so, maintaining leadership in web technologies, desktop operating systems, and large scale applications are these companies primary businesses and everything else is just extra…

The hole hasn’t changed in shape, these companies are simply trying harder to be the leader in filling more then one hole. That is a good goal, but is copying each other’s small trials the best way to go? Will Microsoft’s QnA be shutdown now that Google has realized their version of Yahoo Answers wasn’t performing? There will be a time when the hole changes shape, small groups of people are working on these kinds of innovation all over the world, when and where is another conversation though.

Google Spreadsheets

November 28, 2006

During the course of one of my classes I ended up working with a student who was unable to use a reliable spreadsheet application at home. This means that their only option to complete any spreadsheet work would be to come into the computer lab and use Microsoft Office on those computers. Of course with the snow and usual pain in the butt that goes along with coming into the computer lab, this is kind of a crappy option. So why doesn’t he have a spreadsheet application?

Well why wouldn’t anyone have a spreadsheet application accessible to them at home in these modern times? To be honest, I didn’t ask, I felt as though I was intruding a little too much with that question. Everyone should have access to these tools. Maybe installing StarOffice is not allowed in the home (I wouldn’t let my kids install it on my personaly computer), maybe Microsoft Office is too expensive even with the student discount… what is a student, or anyone to do in these circumstances? They have somehow made the effort to obtain a computer and it already has a licensed operating system on it (that is the easy part). But what about the basic applications to make these things work?

Well to my suprise the neat thing Google has been talking about was a great fit. A lot of people have been talking about it and to be honest it is better then Microsoft‘s “test drive” (a.k.a Not easy to use and completely FREE). The second half of that statement really gets me pissed off, Microsoft copies a lot of things from Google, but they are able to somehow miss the essence of what is being offered (similar to zune vs. ipod), just easy to use best of breed technology. Yes I would rather use excel online with it’s specialized functions for accounting and other operations, but I may not be able to afford it……is pirating the only option?

So what are some of the cool features that I am talking about for Google Spreadsheets?

Go check it out, go to Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Login or get an account (includes IM, email, calendar, etc), create a spreadsheet and check out these features that make collaboration a reality…..

  • On the left hand side of the screen under the Google logo there is a “file” button, when you click the button you can select the “export” >> then export the single spreadsheet as a .csv or .html, you can also export the entire workbook as a .ods, .pdf, or .xls (.xls is highly compatible with people who may want to edit the file so is a good idea to use for collaboration), .pdf is great for publishing to wide variety of sources.

  • On the right hand side of the screen under the “Sign Out” link and under the “Save & Close” button, there is a tab titled “Collaborate”, this tab allows you to add collaborators (people who can edit the spreadsheet) and viewers (people who can simply view the spreadsheet). In the screen shot below I have myself listed as a collaborator and my wife as a viewer.

  • Once you have collaborators and viewers invited, these people can view and collaborate on spreadsheet numbers, formulas, formatting, etc, etc

If you want to stay up to date, subscribe to the Google Docs & Spreadsheets Blog!!

I want to be like….

November 21, 2006

If I were a Windows Live PM the word “Google” would finish the sentence….

I have often thought it ridiculous the way that the windows live folks endlessly chase every feature that Google can come up with. You would think that they would stop chasing and start innovating….but no, not in this battle, I have seen interviews were Mr Gates cringed at the thought of Google beating him to the web 2.0, there is clearly no end in his mind to the games (yes games, I’ll build any feature you build Sergey, only I will do it worse)…

I know that everyone hasn’t picked up on it yet so I’ll briefly recap:



LiveMail/Gmail (btw gmail had livemail’s current feature set first)

Live Toolbar/Google Toolbar

Live Academic search/Google academic search

Office Live/Google Office

And now….

Microsoft has beaten Google to the punch with Windows Live SMS Search….or is this another poor copycat feature? Well they certainly got it down to the nitty gritty details, even at launch there is no T-Mobile Support (um, Ozzie, you are next to T-Mobile too, you can drive over and talk it out).

For a company like Microsoft where innovation and creativity are such drivers for internal PMs, I would really expect a little more thought being put into these things. At some point Google will get smart enough and build some hype around a doomed feature with the sole purpose of getting Bill to spend too much money on it (then again, I think some of these features are already down that path). Why not ship Vista on time, or create a truly mobile computing platform (webOS), or go save the world (well ok, Bill is already working on that one). The point is though that I am less then impressed with Microsoft’s lack of creativity and ignorance of the whole picture. There are a lot of clever people who are not Google out there (bluedot, zillow, ImageKind) that have neat features that are working to change the way we interact with each other and the web. It’s kind of a shame that Microsoft can’t see the picture and get back in the game (not so say they won’t…they still have lots of money and huge profit centers to rely on).

Gmail Mobile is Sexy

November 3, 2006

But it doesn’t work with T-MOBILE USA!!! It kind of reminds me of something Microsoft would do…. Brag about a new feature, get lots of coverage, tout the wonders, and then make it work for everyone. Now don’t get me wrong…My Google Mobile Maps application is cool even if the traffic is not updated properly. My Google Mobile Chat is cool (it follows me EVERYWHERE I go). I would love to have Google Mobile Gmail too….It’s a great way to control the synchronization from Google’s standpoint.

Of course if they would ditch the Microsoft like control and open up gmail to LEMONADE or OMA-DS things would be much better and easier to get device support on….then Google could work on porting Google Mobile maps to the Windows Mobile platform.

Google Transit

September 29, 2006

This is really cool, Google Transit added a few more cities to their collection (including Seattle)!!

I have been waiting for this for a while as it is sometimes difficult to plan a complex bus ride…. but not anylonger.

For example, if someone were to work at Microsoft and decide to quite and go work for Google, they could now plan their bus trip for their last day….