The future of Google vs. Microsoft - and why M$ could be a dangerous bet...

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Facebook sides with M$ to fend off Google advances...

saloob's picture

The recent activity is all coming together to providing a smart picture of alliances.

M$ purchased Skype for a measly $8 BILLION! We explained the reason for this in a previous write-up - simply that their mobile platform was flailing - and all carriers scrambled for Android or iPhone - leaving M$ with nothing much to do except play by themselves. So, they buy up Skype and take on the carriers at their own game - trying to remove the last oldest core function of the mobile phone - VOICE CALLS.

Skype has an impressive user base - that works on most platforms. Nobody is really interested in M$ Mobile OS as it is expensive licensing and cumbersome to develop for when Android is there and works good enough. This will not stop M$ of course - so they have to go at it hard. They also partnered with Nokia by quietly slipping in an ex-M$ employee who now is the CEO of Nokia. Any iPhone/Android competiting mobile platform needing funding? Any mobile OS needing devices?

OK, so now Facebook comes in - obviously seeing Google as an endless threat. So, what DOESN'T Facebook have that Google does have? Business solutions and services. Simple - and no way Facebook will try to make it - not a core competency by any measurement and would be real hard to compete. Who else has them? M$, of course. It makes sense for them to partner up. If you look at Facebook, you will see Bing search here and there - which may seem part of the wallpaper for the average user, but this is no simple addition. M$ would have paid HUGE money for that privilege.

Now, bring on Skype. Skype added the Facebook page within the app on Windows desktop versions. Now, they will be further integrating - Skype video, voice and chat directly within facebook.

So, now with this advancing Partnership, we will see a lot more activity between FB and M$ going forward - and further integrations. Of course, FB is stronger in the personal, consumer space - that is its core area. It is working on providing targeted ads for businesses to access FB users - that is about the extent of their business offerings. 

Any ideas about this of the top of our heads?

Why doesn't FB provide free email accounts? M$ does with Hotmail/Live - so maybe that tight partnership keeps these two spaces in their seats. You do the email - we do the social network - and they may integrate all over the place - but don't do what we do - and we won't do what you do...maybe this is their spoken or un-spoken agreement. 

What will Google do about this? Our feeling is that Gmail is better placed as both a business and consumer solution - so they have advantage there to integrate and up-sell other services such as VOIP, Chat, Video, Ads, Search, etc. Google Search is also still the best.

Will Google bother with Social Networking more seriously than they had done till now? Simply put - they have to! Once M$ gets involved - either as their own service or as they do here partnering with FB - it just presents a competetive force that must be recognised and dealt with. Google may be search - but it requires Ad revenue - and any Ad revenue shifting from Google to FB or anywhere else represents problems for Google and their shareholders. 

One important point of all this search and ad business is this;

  1. Businesses pay to put up ads to help get exposure for their products and services
  2. Businesses sell their products to Consumers and other Businesses.
  3. Consumers and Businesses buy products more online now than ever before
    1. Businesses buy products and services to further sell onto Businesses and Consumers
      1. ALWAYS at the end of the chain will be the Consumer.
  4. Consumers and Businesses use Search engines to find things they are interested in or need
  5. Which Search Engine to use?
    1. The better the search engine, the better the results, the more it will be used, the more Businesses will advertise on it.
    2. The more exposed users are to a particular search engine, the more likely it is they will use it and grow accustomed to continue using it - especially if it is integrated into their daily activities. (FB, Email, Chat, VOICE, etc)

The key point here is, at the end of the day, after all B-B, B-B-B-B, transactions, there will ALWAYS be a final B-C transaction. Even if you throw in Government, such as B-G, it is finally for the Citizen - which is really just a Consumer of Government services. So - owning the consumer space allows one to crawl all the way back up the chain to all the other B-B activities...

Is there any point in doing Social Networking when FB exists? Can anything be done differently that has enough value to not only attract the interest of consumers or even businesses - but also keep them there and away from FB? If it is accepted that a lot of what goes on in FB is kind of mundane and maybe just friendly communications - except for the political usage - then we figure that there is a LOT more that can be offered that is substantially more substantial!

There is one key for you - substantial value - or providing a service or features or content that is made of substance...What is substance? Ask yourself or anyone around you what is substance is to them. Is there any meat on the bone that you can chew into? Is there something that really matters or really make a difference?

What must FB do from now? They need to add some meat to their game. They have a few years in the service as it is - a friendly communication/networking platform. But to reach higher, the service has to mean more to the citizens of the world and impact their lives more.

Why is FB more interesting than just email or chat? It is the connections between people and the VISUALS involved. They kind of internalise the emailing within their messaging system - with email notifications coming to the user with a link back into FB to read more and reply. So, in essence, the users friends become their contacts - as you would have in Google, Yahoo! or Hotmail/Live Contacts. The connection part means that each friend in FB will have a bunch of their own friends and so the network grows. Seeing activity of your own friends and their friends becomes an interesting factor of human nature. Curiosity. Interest. Assurance. Re-assurance. Knowledge. Various facets of our human nature come into play - and in FB it is all nice, warm and cosy.

What would happen if someone created the alter-ego of FB? Like Hatebook? Well, this site exists! They hate this and that - kind of every day hates. http://www.hatebook.com/ - it is surprising it is not a Social Networking site that shows all your non-friends. Not that we think that is a good or positive idea. If you really do hate someone, you may be a better, stronger person to just forget them and go on with your life than living in anger and hatred, right? But, our point is the human nature angle. The opposite feelings of what FB provides does exist in our human nature and many people every day express it in their words, activities or non-activities - as the case may be. Looking for opportunities, it is often a good idea to look at things from a different angle.

So, for VISUALS - seeing all your friends' photos next to their name, along with various other related photos, etc., increases the interest level and ease with which to acquaint with, understand, be appealed or attracted to - or turn away from. Again, it may not be life-changing stuff, but humans are not all about work only. People work to make money so they can play. Now with FB and M$ integrating Skype into the FB web-based experience, they will be adding an additional visual experience for the Social Network.

Google+ spices up Social Networking with visual tricks..

saloob's picture

 We wrote in our previous comment that we expected more substance with regards to Social Networking to see it grow forward. After some initial playing with Google+ we see the following;

  • The concept of circles of relationships makes sense in some metaphysically inexplicable way
  • The visually interactive action of placing your contacts into your specially designed circles adds some form of substance to managing your relationships - maybe it is just a bit more interesting that the basic text and disappearing nature that is with Facebook. The ability to add the contact to multiple circles makes sense - as sometimes our contacts fit into multiple groups/categories/circles in our daily lives.
  • When signing up after the exclusive-feeling, "invite only", "limited testing stage" joining process, it asks if you wish to connect your Picasa web album to your Google+ account. This ties in exactly how we imagined and wrote in another article with regards to Picasa and your contacts. The exclusive invite actually comes about when you add someone to a circle - as Google will send them an auto-email saying you have been added and please check it out - and there - you are in..
  • One interesting thing we noticed was that we couldn't use an email that is managed by Google Apps. This has two important effects;
    • It leaves them to up-sell a business version of the service to Google Apps users
    • It allows them to focus on (and see how well they do in approaching) the "Consumer" market only - and thereby creep into Facebook user space

So, what can be done with your "Circles"?

  • You can see the circle's stream - which is simply postings on the "wall" as we expect to see in Facebook - photos, video, links, etc., - the usual fair - nothing special yet.
  • Click "Home" and see what people in your Google+ network are posting - similar to Facebook. (Notice that there is very little Intellectual Property that can be protected in what Facebook does)
  • Hangouts - is simply video in the browser - capability to stream live video from your webcam via a plug-in provided by Vidyo - we assume is a company or technology bought by Google. This integrates with Google Voice and Chat software. This is clearly to counter the Skype/M$/Facebook bundle. Click to start a Hang-out and invite people from your circles. Haven't tested much, but wondering how many video streams can be handled at once - which we assume will be up to 10 as any more will crash the PC/browser..
  • Set up Sparks - which are simply sparks of interest - that is a way of receiving collections of news and content based on categories that interest you. There are a bunch prepared, such as Android, which gives you immediate news articles to read.This is also an excellent area to slip in targeted ads.
  • Share Photos - such as those contained in Picasa which are automatically integrated. Google+ provides some visual tricks (using either HTML5 or Java script). This works well for the average users and doesn't seem to be over-board. Circles of your contacts that you are in can see your shared photos. The visibility status will be the same as set in Picasa and can be changed to show or not to your circles.
  • Mobility - via Android Market - add a Google+ app to start synchronising your photos and videos - instantly. Enable/Disable..This fits into the Picasa strategy to collect content and faces to match to your contacts and build up facially recognised connections. If you click on the photos on your phone, you can choose which ones to share. It shows them by day - latest at top to oldest going down. Simple touch to tick the share box - click share, choose the circle, and up she goes as a post to the stream of that Circle (all or selected ones)..and to your own wall..
  • You can see who has added you to their Circles - and they can see that you have added them...maybe an interesting way to see who cares...or not..

What could be the benefits of using Google+ over Facebook?

  • The technology behind it - is far superior to Facebook. It will be super fast. No web service can beat Google for its integrations, speed, reliability and smooth experience. Facebook will absolutely get its a%rse kicked in this area. Google+ can leverage every other piece of existing technology and services within the Google platform - seemlessly.
  • Google's Picasa facial recognition technology built into Picasa (and the Google platform technology running in the background) will start to exhibit some interesting functionality in Google+ when you start to instantly upload photos and video - that will run through the Google machine and start creating zillions of facially-recognised connections across all Google+ users' contacts and content. 
Google+ didn't create any Facebook integrations to directly shift/extract users. Maybe the legal team thought it might give rise to some issue - or maybe they wanted to try Google+ on its own terms, as its own independent Social Networking service and see how it goes before getting too hard ball. Maybe they just do not want to recognise Facebook's existence at all and are hoping it may fade away with their entrance...Although you can import from Yahoo! or Hotmail..
 
In the end, is Google+ offering something substantial and substantially more than Facebook?
 
Yes - and - No. After playing with Google+, we can see there is something different going on - and the visual representation of one's relationships into growing circles is a bit more interesting than just flat text. The integrations with the rest of the Google platform opens the User's exposure to more content and seemless functionality - although this content and functionality for the most part have been seen and used already - yet still powerful in their own right, nonetheless. The Sparks of interest news feeds adds something substantial in terms of real news content that interests people. Although similar content can be found in Google news, their aim is to have you in Google+ more often as a place to connect and communicate and bring the content closer to you as an interested human - with friends and contacts - not just a news consumer.

However, we are still left feeling like there should be something more down the road that we can really get our teeth into - but first let's see how well the networks build out and how smooth the communication shoots out via video, chat, streams, photos and so on.

For Google+ - it is still early days, yet.

For Facebook, Google+ gives it a push towards a glimpse of how things can be done slightly different in their game.

For Social Networking, it is entering a time of growth from Primary School to High School, where it might have to mature into University/College very shortly and may thereafter merge into something like LinkedIn...

But, just because existing users are growing, maturing, becoming more "tech savvy" and acquiring more skills with regards to the internet and computers in general - it doesn't mean all NEW users are like that. In fact, what about everyone else out there? There are many different age groups that are defined by our usual social make-up - such as;

  • Ages 0-5 - Kindergarten
  • Ages 6-12 - Primary School
  • Ages 13-15 - Junior High School
  • Ages 16-17 - Senior High School or School leavers - Tech School, Trainees, Apprenticeships, Internships, other entering work-force
  • Ages 18-22 - University/College, 16-17 School leavers with training completed entering the work-force full-time
  • Ages 23 onwards - New Grads entering the work-force - including all other existing workers from above groups - leaving behind the usual "Schooling" system and entering the full-time work-force society.

We believe that Internet and Social Networking service(s) users will get younger each year - to the point where it would not be unusual for Primary School or even Kindergarten kids to be using it. With touch-screen tablets, instant content - such as photos and so on - it is very possible.

In saying the above, the Social Networking service maybe could be something that may mature internally with amazing technology, but externally could be suitable for all ages - capturing their whole lives from birth to death - where parents will manage and control the initial years - for their children.

Skinning? Colourful, fun skins for the young kid users; rowdy and fun skins for the young teenager; rockin' skins for the older teen; cool (motorbikes, cars, planes) and maturing skins for the worker/university students; mature or simple skins for the maturing worker users. This may be simple visuals, but with cultural aspects interwoven, it can have impact and endear the users.

Why not offer an account for your soon-to-be-born child and let the parents manage it for them until they can take it over responsibly themselves when they become 6, 10, 12, 15 or whatever? Add some pictures and/or video of the ultra-sound? Show Mummy's big tummy. And so on...if it will all be in the cloud anyway - then we may as well do it from the start in a structured, planned manner. We are sure people are doing this already in their own ways...

Let's see how it all plays out...

 

For the mass market, what is left for MS Windows without Office?

saloob's picture

For the mass market, what is left for MS Windows without Office?

IE is a loner, yet still high in usage due to Windows coverage. Most services out there grudgingly provide extra tweaks to meet its extra-ordinary requirements. So, Firefox, Chrome and Safari will get much more play-time as the needs for the Windows OS reduces.

MS Office still holds the high ground when it comes to office productivity, but that will change as the following happens - and this represents the final leg of the end of MS dominance in our computing lives:

1) More activity is enclosed and driven by web apps - and less by Excel, Word and PowerPoint. Excel is handy - but terrible for any company's information management - there often being multiple versions of documents with functions made by many different people and not re-usable - which amounts to people in the same organisation re-writing the same code that is spread out in many different individual and, oftentimes, forever lost folders. This is extremely inefficient and simply must be avoided.

2) Increasing capabilities and the number of media types available that can deliver rich messages, such as web-apps developed in Flash and HTML5. They remove the need for Word and PowerPoint - as they can do the same and more - and are accessible right there in the browser - no need to kick off a heavy, memory-consuming application. Once upon a time, you wanted to embed sound and video into a PowerPoint. Now you just mash it all up in web-apps which any child can do. Google is at the forefront of this - especially with the easy integration of YouTube - which nearly every company uses to deliver product, service and training content.

3) MS knows this - but they are happy to continue to sell extremely expensive software while the resellers/partners are still buying it up. Important to note that System Integrators used to make their money selling the Software (and the Hardware for the Software) and fees for the integration. They are now shifting to setting up Cloud versions of what they used to set up in their Customer's domain. Keep in mind that MS is, at the exact same time (now!), delivering competing services on their own Cloud platform - preparing for the inevitable time when they will cannibalise their own Partners' customers. There is no other way if they are to properly compete - because none of the other major players are relying on the desktop (except to leverage the browser) and whose greatest chance to compete at all is to do the opposite asap. So, if you thought a few years ago that Android wouldn't smack the living hell out of Apple and all the sleeping Carriers around the world, then stay asleep. Like the zombies who thought Apple's iPhone wouldn't make it. Didn't they (Docomo!) scramble to Android in a hurry! [url=http://www.saloob.com/Future-of-Mobility-the-3-Bs]Read here for more about this...[/url]

4) Google's Chrome browser is taking over Firefox and will likely become the number one browser in use. They also deploy the Chrome OS "netbook" to trap the user in the browser environment and breed a new way of looking at the "PC" - not as a Desktop - but as a window to the Internet and all you need the Desktop for is to kick off the browser and let the users consume all the services in the browser.

5) Amazingly, there are many people out there who still don't get the Cloud - they simply can't accept or fathom that what many visionaries were talking about for the last 10-20 years is now becoming the reality. Even MS SharePoint is a pure web play for document management. Sayonara to those old NT Servers rotting away in your expensive and legacy server room. It doesn't have to reside in your office LAN any more. MS Exchange is the same. Some people like to use Outlook, but there really is no need for that if you use Google-powered email or MSX via the web. Calendar is integrated also - and synchronised perfectly to your mobile devices - iPhone or Android. ERP systems - same - they take care of nearly all the business requirements (MS Dynamics or Openbravo, JD Edwards, Oracle Business Portal, etc., etc.) - and all powered by the web. Not to mentioned Google, Amazon, Salesforce.com, Yahoo!, eBay, Rakuten, etc., are not running on Windows servers...but on Linux mostly.

6) The mass users are really basic users - meaning - they really only need the core, simple tools - such as Office productivity and the web. In fact, you will find general staff ONLY using web-based apps and some basic features of Office. So where does that leave us with the need for Windows desktops? We would guess that an average 20-30% of people in the workforce absolutely do not need it. There will be another 30-40% who use it because they have no choice - and their upper management are sheepishly following the crowd and still do not get it. There is maybe 10-20% who are hard core users and do need the local power of a PC with some serious apps - like graphics designing, legacy Windows clients and Windows Development Studio (for Windows Clients and Web development) do. Note that many designers generally move to a Mac environment which dilutes the high performance needs on Windows even further.

7) Financial institutions are now edging more towards outsourcing their infrastructure - from email (yes, Cloud-based MSX) to Grid Computing. BASEL III, better security with lower risk, tighter liquidity (ie serious cost-cutting) and greater competition makes this a no-brainer trend going forward. And, eventually even the algorithyms will be crunching over Linux servers.

8) The above points are really focusing on Business, but think a bit about the consumer (best friend of many businesses). Nearly 1 billion users on Facebook - playing web-based games (that used to be on PCs), writing messages (that used to be on Outlook Express) and uploading (directly from mobile (android/iPhone) devices) and sharing photos (that used to be locked away on their PCs). The writing is on the web!

So what does this mean for DaaS (Desktop as a Service)?

* If a browser is all that is needed, then a thin client will become the browser.
* The browser will be Chrome, Firefox or Safari
* The browser will run on a simple linux or Android-based OS
* Files will be stored mostly in the cloud
* Applications will run in the cloud

So, it may take a couple more years and lot of pain, mergers, failures, awakenings, but the future DaaS will be a browser-based one.
The Google platform is one big DaaS - with many integrated SaaS.
Microsoft is trying to replicate this.
Amazon provides their web-store service and AWS (servers and storage) - and is moving more towards PaaS - bundling apps with their servers and storage.

There will be many detractors who will say the latency and security is an issue and VM-based DaaS will still have value - and they will do for a couple years.

* Being able to offer SaaS and other web applications within VM-based DaaS can keep the transit of data to just within the data center. This does seem to hold benefits if accessing the DaaS is faster than accessing the web apps directly over a VPN or direct line. Maybe even moreso if you have many web apps open and accessed from the local data center. But as is usually the case, many of the web apps used come from all over the world - so this may not hold true.
* Another argument may be that it is more secure to access web apps from within a DaaS. The only problem with this is that the user still has to access the DaaS over the same "secure" connection - whether it be a direct line or VPN.

What will eventually be the decider is the perceived added speed and security against the extra cost of providing it. Is it really worth the extra cost to run the already available web apps from within VM-based DaaS as opposed to simply accessing them from the thin client? Keeping in mind that one of the main reasons we are moving to the cloud in the first place is to reduce costs and become more efficient...

Food for thought - we welcome any comments and arguments either way...

The two words Bill Gates doesn't want you to hear...

saloob's picture

Here is exactly what we are talking about - in a well-structured video presentation.

Thanks to John Ingram-Marriott* http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10606964&locale=en_US&trk=tyah

They spooked the Microsoft founder into an early retirement. Now they're going to bring down his empire and make a handful of well-positioned investors countless millions.

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Berkeley Explains Exactly Why It Chose Google Over Microsoft..

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The Productivity Suite project was one of the projects undertaken in Berkeley under Operational Excellence (OE). The requirements were to meet key objectives of OE including:

  • Service improvement
  • Project and operating cost
  • Speed of deployment
  • Architectural alignment
  • Accessibility
  • Storage of data in the United States, and
  • Privacy and security issues

They carried out a very reasonable analysis to build the Business Case that lead them to their decision. They have provided a matrix to explain the key factors: http://technology.berkeley.edu/productivity-suite/google/matrix.html

Here is their Press Release: http://technology.berkeley.edu/productivity-suite/google/index.html

They provide a KB (Knowledge Base) with some student's FAQ on this migration: https://kb.berkeley.edu/jivekb/kbcategory.jspa?categoryID=102

Spanish bank, BBVA, adopts Google technology

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At last, Google has hit its golden kick-off into the Finance Industry - getting their first bank on board.

Who will scramble? Everyone - because it shows that not only is it possible, but inevitable - and many other banks will be wondering why they are paying so much extra for MS solutions.

With Basel III requirements coming on now - banks' liquidity will be tighter and every doller will count.  They are already thinking (lagging) about going to the cloud. Well, they have to be cautious, but with so many high paid rocket scientists and mathmeticians on board, it is still pretty surprising it has teken so long.

Good on the Spanish - go forth and conquer!!

The competition in banking just got that little bit more exciting! How about the Cloud players? The gates are opening - and public and private clouds are going to be the next move for all of the finance industry. They will choose their Cloud partners based on:

  • Price
  • Security
  • Existing business relations
  • Low Latency
  • Features - especially office productivity

A company in Japan, KVH, is gearing up to provide private and public clouds for the Finance industry claiming leading low latency and competitive pricing.

http://www.kvh.co.jp/#%21contents/service/cloud

Here are the key points for BBVA:

  • The largest global agreement to adopt Google Apps for Business, Google’s web-based suite of collaboration and communication products for enterprises.
  • 110,000 BBVA employees will use Google Apps to increase productivity and drive innovation
  • The migration will be completed by the end of 2012 as a part of the financial institution's strategy on technological innovation

Read the Press Release on their site: http://press.bbva.com/latest-contents/press-releases/spain/bbva-banks-on-the-google-cloud%289882-22-101-c-92220%29.html

MS offers Free Azure Trials

saloob's picture

For all those out there wishing to re-sell MS Software - you might want to not only think again - but think the opposite.

MS is providing free trials on their Azure Cloud.

Check out all levels of offerings for:

  • Web-sites - Windows-based web-sites? What is the advantage?
  • SaaS - Again, what is the advantage - AND - you will be competing with MS' own SaaS offerings
  • Enterprise - good luck competing with MS' own Enterprise SaaS offerings
  • Mobile - MS Mobile? Is it worth the time and effort for access to only 3% of the mobile market?

http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/free-trial/

So, it is clear from this offering - and MS general two-prongue approach - the head-in-the-sand suckers will keep paying into the MS coffers, and MS will happily keep taking that cash and continue to build out their competing services - competing with you..

Good luck!

The Search Engine War continues...Bing and Google on top...

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Search market share numbers show Bing continued to gain, while its partner Yahoo lost market share. Google was up compared to January and year over year.

The following are some numbers for February:

  • Google: 66.4 percent (vs. 65.4 percent a year ago)
  • Bing:  15.3 percent (vs. 13.6 percent a year ago)
  • Yahoo: 13.8 percent (vs. 16.1 percent a year ago)
  • Ask: 3 percent (vs. 3.2 percent a year ago)
  • AOL: 1.5 percent (vs. 1.7 percent a year ago)

The combined search alliance share is now 29.1 percent, essentially flat and where it has been for many months. However Yahoo’s decline since last year at this time has been significant.

Read more here:

http://searchengineland.com/bing-and-google-gain-market-share-while-yahoo-drops-114140