June 21, 2011
Facebook’s music plans involve Spotify, others, revealed Om Malik, thus setting the tone for this week’s conversation about online music.
Last week’s conversation was more about Spotify itself, with $100M in new funding giving a bump to the long-running rumor that the US launch really is near. A deal with Facebook was often mentioned (although sometimes with a note that Facebook was probably not interested in teaming up).
I have more curiosity than enthusiasm about Spotify’s arrival, music on Facebook, and the intersection of the two. I miss Lala, which was acquired by Apple back in 2009, and haven’t enjoyed any other service nearly as much since. Amazon, Apple, and Google have of course each launched a music locker, each with different features above and beyond the basic locker. None of them gives me the control that Lala did.
I’ll try Spotify when it launches, but I fear that its US launch will come too late, and in the shadow of Facebook.
June 7, 2011
Three years ago, I received a review copy of Groundswell, the book about “social technologies” by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. I was very impressed by it, as my review post shows.
The other new chapter is on Twitter, which has grown to be as big as a (fail) whale in the three years since the Groundswell hardback. In some ways, the addition of a chapter on a particular tool goes against a strength of the book. To quote myself: “the authors resist the temptation to provide a lot of detail about specific tools… the tools will change.”
Perhaps the addition of a Twitter chapter is an implicit prediction that Twitter is here to stay, at least for a few years. If so, then the absence of a chapter on Facebook is interesting…
May 26, 2011
ProjectSlice aims to help you organize your online shopping by analyzing your inbox, as Leena at TechCrunch puts it. I’m on the waitlist for the beta.
I’ve started using the Yahoo mail app, which has found a recent purchase from Amazon and the recentish purchase of an iPad from Apple. I can’t think of anything recent that the Yahoo app has missed. I was surprised that its request for an OpenID was out in the open. I’m pleasantly surprised that it didn’t insist on a Facebook or Twitter id.
Some other purchases go through my ChangingWay email (andrew@). I’ll have to wait for the beta to see how well it integrates mailboxes. It’ll be interesting to see how it handles requests to sign up for ProjectSlice from people who are already using the Yahoo app. Seamlessly, I hope, but we’ll see.
ProjectSlice has received quite a lot of coverage already (e.g., GigaOm, RWW). That’s not surprising, given that those who blog about tech are likely to do a lot of their shopping online. The $9M in funding probably doesn’t hurt, either.
May 12, 2011
So, Facebook “hired Burson-Marsteller, a top public-relations firm, to pitch anti-Google stories to newspapers, urging them to investigate claims that Google was invading people’s privacy.” I am rather late to the party in using that quote from Dan Lyons at the Daily Beast.
But I can’t resist jumping on this rather lovely insight into how low Facebook will stoop. And I can’t resist adding further quotes, this time from Michael Arrington’s account of the story:
- “it’s not an exaggeration to say they’re changing the world’s notions on what privacy is.” They are Facebook. I hope that they are not changing the world’s notion of privacy. But they are certainly demonstrating how much of it people are willing to trade for being part of a large online herd.
- “secretly paying a PR firm to pitch bloggers on stories going after Google, even offering to help write those stories and then get them published elsewhere, is not just offensive, dishonest and cowardly. It’s also really, really dumb.” Yes, and that’s the feel-good aspect of the story: the stupidity of Facebook.
- “Google is probably engaging in some somewhat borderline behavior by scraping Facebook content… But many people argue… that the key data, the social graph, really should belong to the users, not Facebook.” Yes it should. But Facebook users should by now understand that they are the product, not the customer.
- “Does anyone not see the irony of having to sign in via Facebook to leave a comment on this Techcrunch article?” That’s the first comment on Michael’s article (as of right now), and several other comments make a similar point. If TechCrunch knows Facebook to be dishonest, cowardly, and dumb, why is it inflicting Facebook’s comment system on the TC community?
March 29, 2011
Amazon Cloud Drive is your hard drive in the cloud. You can use it, along with Amazon Cloud Player, as a music locker.
There’s coverage all over the place. NPR is mainly positive, but points out that there are legal challenges to music lockers. TechCrunch describes Amazon’s offering as fierce competition for existing music locker services, given the space it offers and its integration with Amazon’s MP3 store.
At Mashable, Ben Parr actually used the service before posting about it. Good for him! His first impressions are more positive than mine. To Ben, “it became apparent that Amazon wasn’t launching some half-baked product.” To me, it seemed strange that deleting just one MP3 file caused Amazon Cloud Drive to think that I had no files left, even though I was using some of my space allowance.
I’m confident that Amazon will fix the early bugs quickly, and otherwise improve its cloud drive and player. As an example of an improvement, how about looking at my prior Amazon MP3 purchases, and offering to shift them into my locker without having to locate them on my computer and then upload them?
This music locker service combines several of Amazon’s strengths: cloud management, MP3 store, brand name, etc. You get 5 GB of storage for free. To add another 20 GB, you only need to buy one MP3 album. MP3 purchases are automatically added to your locker, and do not count against your storage quota.
Now, let’s see what Apple, Google, and others come back with…
March 21, 2011
The big tech/business story of the week is the AT&T/T-Mobile deal: AT&T wants to buy T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom, and Telekom wants to sell, given the $39 billion price tag. One of the things I mean by “big” is “lots of coverage.”
If I had to pick two pieces of required reading, the first would be Om’s account of who loses in this deal. “It’s hard to find winners, apart from AT&T and T-Mobile shareholders.” I can’t see that consumers will win from a deal that reduces the number of mobile phone competitors in the USA to two (or three, if you’re Sprint, or a lawyer for AT&T).
The second piece of required reading was the agreement on my T-Mobile G1 phone, to see when the agreement expires. It expires in August this year. I expect the regulatory scrutiny to last beyond then. I’m not sure what I’ll do for a phone after August…
March 20, 2011
John Battelle (via Toni) seems to think along the same lines, and to have been prodded to commit his thoughts to paper, or at least to presentation and to pixels. Here’s his slide comparing core values of Web 2.0 from way back in 2004/5 with today’s web and with today’s apps.
When it comes to apps’ popularity, the bottom line is rich user experience. Apps’ UX lead is “so compelling we may be willing to give up all the other principles of Web 2 just to have a great experience.” Who’s this we? Well, it may include me once I get my iPad 2… but I doubt it.
March 11, 2011
After years of being annoyed by Apple, I find myself at the online store, with an iPad 2 and a smart cover in my shopping cart. Since you ask: 16GB with Wi-Fi, black, engraved; orange.
You might also be asking what I’ve found annoying about Apple. There are three main things: smug, overpriced, closed. The first of those is still there, and is unlikely to go away any time soon.
As for overpriced, $500 doesn’t seem like a lot to pay for such a cool tablet. And there’s free shipping! And free engraving! (At least, right now there is.) And think of the hundreds of dollars I’d be saving by getting the Wi-Fi version, which doesn’t involve a contract with a phone company!
So why haven’t I ordered the thing already? Partly because $500 is still a lot of money, and I can’t claim that I really need an iPad.
Then there’s the closed thing. That’s troubling enough to deserve its own post – or at least, to cause some more soul-searching before I finally rationalize my decision to actually place the order.
February 8, 2011
Kid care took me away from the TV, and hence the Super Bowl, at the end of the first half. That means I missed what seems to have been an excellent second half. On the bright side, it means that I was spared the BEP’s halftime show.
As for the ads, consensus seems to be that they came in second place, behind the game and ahead of the BEP. I’d seen the Darth Vader VW ad before the game, thought it was great, and even enjoyed seeing it again.
Then there was that other ad that got a strong reaction: the Tibetan Groupon ad. It struck me as clumsy more than anything else. I think that reasonable people (e.g., Marshall at RWW) may differ on this.
For the most part, the ads simply weren’t interesting. I’m glad that the game was.