Google Buzz. Sting!

Google Buzz has debuted with a lot of buzz itself. A few privacy concerns have popped up that Google has addressed here, and here.  Google Buzz has an advantage: A huge head start of users via Gmail. I envision Buzz  being a social aggregator nearing the awesomeness of what Friendfeed was before Facebook acquired them is. Currently it’s no where near real time which they will improve upon. Google has made Buzz a core product integrating it to its mobile site, Reader,  Gmail and even circumventing Latitude for a mobile location service.

It’s young, and has plenty of room to grow. But it’s already ages ahead of where Twitter and Facebook debuted. I think you’ll find yourself using it more and more as time goes on.

Apple’s War on Innovation

For those who know me, you know that I would give my first born child to Google. So what happens when my beloved iPhone creator Apple rejects something Google makes? I get sad and depressed like Mommy and Daddy are fighting. Recently it was announced that all Google Voice related apps on the iPhone App Store were removed for “duplicating functionality already on the iPhone.”Google Voice

Google Voice is a service that allows you to keep one number and forward it to any phone you own. Google gives you one number for life, for free. Tons of features come with it, it’s essentially your own personal call center. You can block callers, screen calls, and set times for which phones ring. There’s tons more that I’m not mentioning. It’s absolutely amazing and it’s something that the Telcos should have come up with years ago. But they didn’t. Now Google’s got it and there isn’t even a competitor for this type of service, let alone one for free.

Google recently opened the flood gates for Google Voice to the public and has been sending invites like crazy. This must have what triggered the events that recently passed. Two apps were already available in the App Store – GV Mobile and VoiceCentral. They’ve been around since May. They were paid apps developed by third party developers. The main reason people want these apps is to be able to show their Google Voice number on outgoing calls, and to review all history on their Google Voice account. These apps also integrated with your iPhone address book. But these apps were pulled this week, and then Google admitted that Apple denied their official app that was submitted six weeks ago. Again, the apps were pulled for “duplicating functionality already on the iPhone.” You may want to re-read that. And come on, how many notes apps are in the App Store?

There are several reasons why this is and should be upsetting to iPhone users.

First, Apple is now aggressively blocking an incredibly useful app. Something that is new, that no one else has. Their acceptance to date has been pretty inconsistent. They’ve hindered functionality of apps like Google Latitude, and Skype. But this was a flat out block, and a retroactive one at that. The apps that were already in the store were APPROVED for months, then retroactively denied. People paid money for them, and now if they need to clear their iPhone, they won’t be available.

Second, Google has already released this app to all Blackberry phones, including those on the AT&T network. So AT&T already has this app functioning on another device on their network. Some have suggested that AT&T is not ready for the growth of the iPhone userbase, even though they’ve dropped the price of the phone down to a mere $99 to gain… more iPhone users.

Third, most people are placing the blame entirely on AT&T. AT&T is scared of Google Voice, even though to use the service… you have to have a wireless phone number to use it wirelessly. It’s not a VOIP app. I will be using my AT&T minutes to make calls on my iPhone. You can also text from Google Voice, which is maybe what they are afraid of. But most people are going to keep their texting plans too (because $30 a month is a reasonable price). So if AT&T thinks they are going to lose money on it, they are wrong. They will lose money by for blocking it, as a lot of people will move to the Android platform which has a much more open acceptance for applications developed for it.

Fourth, and last. Apple has been so inconsistent with its approval of apps that developers may not want to take a chance on any kind of application that “duplicates functionality already on the iPhone” or improves upon it. Why spend money and time developing an application if you have no certainty on whether that app will show up a month or two later? Apple and AT&T are blocking true innovation on an already innovative phone. Why not improve it and foster even greater unimaginable uses for the phone?

I am greatly upset with this new trend Apple is setting, and as a consumer I should be allowed to put whatever I want on my phone as long as it doesn’t interrupt with AT&T’s network. Android and the Blackberry will have time to catch up to the iPhone if this continues. Even if you aren’t a Google Voice user, you should still remain concerned. Hopefully these are just growing pains that we can laugh at in a year.

iPhone = Connected

I love my iPhone. It has really been the best decision I’ve made in a while. I haven’t been able to be at home as often, and thus, felt like I was drifting away from the interwebs. Well no longer.

iPhone

With my iPhone, I am able to sync my contacts to my Gmail Contacts, and sync my calendar to Google Calendar over the air. The iPhone doesn’t support this functionality natively unfortunately. I use a service called NuevaSync which has been pretty reliable and totally free. When I make an update to a contact on my phone, it’s instantly in my Gmail Contacts both for accessibility and for backup. Same for Google Calendar.

I use Gmail through the iPhone mail app using IMAP. It works flawlessly, and the email application on the iPhone is so integrated with everything else.

The Google Reader webapp is very nice is almost like using it from my PC. It’s easier to keep up with 100+ blogs daily.  It’s nice because anything I read on it marks read on Google Reader, and with Safari I’m never limited in my browsing experience. I have yet to see a mobile browser as awesome as Safari on the iPhone. I tried a Samsung Instinct once for internet. It was horrible.

Twitterfon for the iPhone is well programmed too and is my preferred way of reading tweets, next to Twitterfox. Both are programmed by the same guy, which I just found out recently.

Text messaging and just the plain ole phone are even better on the iPhone in my opinion. I love the conversation view for texts.

I also have Remember The Milk for my iPhone which helps remember what I need to do. It doesn’t matter if I don’t do it, I still know what I need to do.

I could go on and on, but I’ll save that for another post. So, have you thought about an iPhone? What do you like or not like about it? (besides cost, and carrier). I’m interested to find out.

Google Streetview Turns 1

Google Maps feature Streetview has turned one year old today.  To celebrate they added 37 new areas and expanded coverage for 15 areas.

  • MA: Springfield
  • NY: Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse
  • NJ: Newark
  • VA: Virginia Beach
  • NC: Charlotte, Winston-Salem
  • SC: Columbia, Greenville
  • GA: Atlanta
  • FL: Boca Raton, Cape Coral, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Sarasota, West Palm Beach
  • AL: Huntsville
  • MS: Jackson
  • TN: Knoxville
  • KY: Lexington, Louisville
  • OH: Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo
  • MI: Ann Arbor
  • MO: St. Louis
  • KS: Topeka
  • NE: Lincoln
  • OK: Oklahoma City, Tulsa
  • NV: Reno
  • CA: Bakersfield, Fresno, Sacramento, Stockton

The best part for me is they added several Ohio cities, including Columbus and its suburbs.

And as an added bonus they got a photo of my Dad’s ass…. just in time for Father’s Day. I don’t think their face blurring technology will fix that. He’s not going to be pleased when I show him.


View Larger Map

The coverage of Ohio is impressive.

You can read more about the update at the Google Lat Long Blog.

Google Earth 4.3

Google is releasing an update to Google Earth today. The update will feature (but not limited to):

Google Earth 4.3Realtime Sunlight

New navigational controls

Streetview in Google Earth

Google Sky Loads Quicker

If you haven’t familarized yourself with Google Earth recently, it’s time to get reaquainted.


Also, the picture to the left contains all actual data. The clouds and sunlight were in realtime when viewing. How is that not cool?

Facebook is the new Google?

This is the general opinion in the media: Facebook is the new Google. I’m not quite sure if I agree with this. The company is valuated at 14 billion dollars. Do they generate that much revenue? And how is the Facebook of today different than the MySpace of yesteryear, or the Friendster from years ago.

You may now discuss.