Google’s mismanagement of the Android Market

Jon Lech Johansen’s blog

Earlier this week, CNET ran an article critical of the permission model of the Android Market. Google’s response to the criticism was that “each Android app must get users’ permission to access sensitive information”. While this is technically true, one should not need a PhD in Computer Science to use a smartphone.

How is a consumer supposed to know exactly what the permission “act as an account authenticator” means? The CNET opinion piece “Is Google far too much in love with engineering?” is quite relevant here.

Google does far too little curation of the Android Market, and it shows. Unlike Apple’s App Store, the Android Market has few high quality apps. A study by Larva Labs (the developers of the excellent Slidescreen app) estimates that Apple has paid out 50 times more money to developers than Google has.

While the Android Market is available in 46 countries, developers can only offer paid apps in 13 countries (for instance, Canada has only had access to paid apps since March 2010). In addition, the price for foreign apps is not displayed in the user’s local currency and developers do not have the option of customizing pricing by country. To make matters worse, you can’t pay for foreign apps using your Amex card or carrier billing. There’s also no support for in-app payments and changelogs (to communicate app changes)…

Opponents of immigration law call for boycott of Arizona Iced Tea – but it is brewed in New York!

NY Daily News – BY Helen Kennedy

Opponents of Arizona‘s new anti-immigrant law are calling for a boycott of the state’s products – including the popular Arizona Iced Tea.

The problem: Arizona Iced Tea is actually brewed in New York. Online, misguided tea fans vowed to switch to Lipton or Snapple.

“Dear Arizona: If you don’t change your immigration policy, I will have to stop drinking your enjoyable brand of iced tea,” Twittered Jody Beth in Los Angeles. “It is the drink of fascists,” wrote Travis Nichols in Chicago.

The company did not return messages asking if they planned to set the public straight. Founded in Brooklyn in 1992, the firm was based in Queens before moving into a new $35 million headquarters in Nassau County last year.

The new state law allows cops to demand citizenship papers from anyone they think looks illegal. Actual Arizona firms facing a boycott: Cold Stone Creamery, U-Haul and Best Western.

Microsoft’s Windows 8 goals revealed

Fast-boot slate, cloud services

The Register – By Gavin Clarke

Microsoft’s successor to Windows 7 is taking shape – and that shape looks suspiciously like an iPad supplementing a diet of media with online services.

A set of Microsoft slides, apparently leaked online here and expanded here, have mapped out the company’s design and feature goals for Windows 8.


Among those goals: Windows 8 works on a slate form factor in addition to the regular laptop and “all-in-one” PC, with Windows 8 complementing this new form factor by providing instant power on – or at least near instant.

Windows 8 slates will support touch and use facial recognition to pull up the users’ profile – presumably application settings, documents and services.

Microsoft’ wants Windows 8 to feed users cloud services and let them down load applications from a planned Windows 8 Store. So far, Microsoft’s only been talking about marketplaces in relation to Windows Mobile and Zune service.

Among the other goals for Windows 8 are a “reset button” for use if – or more likely when – your PC begins to mysteriously slow down and performance begins to drag like a dog. Windows 8 will let you reset and retain your data.

The Windows 8 customer will re-install applications by visiting Microsoft’s Windows Store.

The reset button is a sign Microsoft is aware performance is of paramount importance to consumers and enthusiast – two target customer groups Microsoft has highlighted in its slides as its target users. It also suggests Microsoft feels it cannot stop the performance of Windows on PCs degrading over time, so it wants to give users an easy fix…

Is ‘Google Me’ Ready to Challenge Facebook?

Fox News – By Jeremy A. Kaplan

Some 140 characters have the Internet wondering: Is Google planning a competitor for Facebook?

Thanks to a brief post by the well-connected founder of the Digg tech news site, rumors are swirling that a “Google Me” service is in the works — possibly something that will compete with the runaway freight train of social networking.

Digg’s Kevin Rose wrote 14 words late Saturday night: “Huge rumor: Google to launch Facebook competitor very soon “Google Me,” very credible source.” Rose is well known, however, for spreading rumors — especially surrounding Apple products and services.

But he’s also known for getting it right.

A Facebook spokesman refused to comment on the speculation, and Google was equally reluctant to discuss the rumors. But despite the scarce details, there’s every reason to believe the rumors, experts say. For one thing, Google already has most of the components required for a social-networking site: The Google Profiles function lets you create a personal page with your info, while Google Buzz lets you create brief status updates, just like those on Facebook or Twitter. And Latitude lets you share location info with your friends.

“Latitude has 3 million users reportedly (per Google), but Buzz may be all but dead,” cautioned Greg Sterling, a contributing editor of Google-watcher Search Engine Land. But “a merger of Latitude and Buzz would be interesting and potentially useful,” he noted.

Then there’s the quirky Google Wave, an online communication and collaboration tool that arguably replicates some of what Facebook does. But those are all disjointed features, noted editor in chief Lance Ulanoff, and they lack the market share and momentum of Facebook.

“Google Buzz has not made the mark Google hoped it would,” he told, “and Wave is exciting, but still far too esoteric for most people. In other words, Google has yet to get it right on the social-interaction side. I expect it will keep trying — because it can — until it does.”

Real or not, experts are skeptical that any such service could topple Facebook, which currently has more than 450 million users and expects to pass 500 shortly. According to market-research firm Hitwise, social networking sites garner increasingly more visits than search engines today. In May, 14.5% of all website traffic was to social networking sites and forums, while search engines accounted for slightly more than 10%…

Related Links:

Fox News: Cities Discovering an Arizona Boycott May Do More Harm Than Good

Reuters: Supreme Court to hear Arizona immigration law challenge

Uncle Jimbo: Google bomb in the Obama administration

Alltop: iPhone 4 vs HTC Evo