Droid? $1831. Having the latest gadgets? Priceful.

The Droid, the new smartphone from Motogoozon, will cost $1831. Motogoozon is of course the combination of Motorola, Google, and Verizon.

The cost would be $1931, were it not for a $100 rebate: what a relief that it’s so much lower than $2K.

1831 = (299 – 100) + 24 x (39 + 29). As usual with smartphones and other fancyphones in the USA, most of the cost is in the monthly payments, rather than upfront.

I could cite many sources for this, but I’ll go with John Biggs’ post on Crunchgear. There is much rejoicing in Crunchland about the Droid.

Personally, I’m happy to see the Droid hype. It increases the chances of an Android app boom. On the other hand, there are no guarantees that new and interesting Android advances will run on my G1.

Singing Lala About Google Music

The speculation about the impending music-related announcement from Google seems to be boiling down to this: Full-Song Streams, Not a Full Music Service, as part of search results when the search is music-related. The link in the previous sentence is from GigaOm. Elsewhere, Crunchy Mike noted that this is a huge win for LaLa and iLike, Google, partners in the streaming.

I find this post-worthy, not because it’s a huge leap for Google-kind, or because the world needs another music service. It isn’t, and it doesn’t. Let me backpedal on the latter a little: maybe the world does need another music service, one that isn’t fragmented and restricted by nation.

The main reason I like (no pun intended) this is because it’s good for Lala. I want Lala to prosper, or at least stay in business, because I have a bunch of web songs, which I can stream whenever I like as long as Lala lives. So long live Lala, I service I like, and will continue to like while it survives to serve my web songs.

As you may have gathered, I have some concerns about Lala’s chances of survival. Those chances increase with the Google partnership. They would also increase were Lala to be acquired. I wonder if the commitment to serve web songs indefinitely is a barrier to purchase. I don’t think that it would be a significant barrier were Google the purchaser of Lala…

Things That Aren't (Just) Search

So, what isn’t (just) search? The last week or two has given us great insight into this question.

  • Yahoo is not a search company. Good call by CEO Carol Bartz. I’m glad to see that the stock has gone up: I bought some a few months ago, on the basis that things couldn’t get much worse without provoking a takeover.
  • Wolfram Alpha is not a search engine. It’s “a computational knowledge engine,” and so can do some things better than Google or other search engines.
  • Bing is, according to one of its URLs and to the video currently there, a decision engine. I agree with Erick at TechCrunch that Bing isn’t the best name. It makes me think of the singer, and of the song “I’m dreaming of a blue screen of death“.

For the record, I’m not a search engine either. I am married with children.

The Power of Search

Performing two Google searches from a desktop computer can generate about the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea, reported the Sunday Times. There’s no need to tell you which Times, since the quantification is so very English.

Many kettles could have been boiled with the heat and other energy used in the reaction to the article. Om asked: Why Pick On Google? How Green Are We The People? and provides evidence that Google strives harder for efficiency than do most of us. From Google itself comes further context.

a Google search uses just about the same amount of energy that your body burns in ten seconds… the average car driven for one kilometer (0.6 miles for those of in the U.S.) produces as many greenhouse gases as a thousand Google searches.

So the “cup of tea” quantification is as misleading as it is English. I was going to close with the environmental impact of the pot of coffee I’ve just made, but that would probably have involved Google searches…

Chrome Lost Its Shine?

Google’s Chrome browser launched a month ago: Svetlana (Profy) posted on the one-month anniversary, and Om followed up.

Svetlana presents numbers showing a falloff in Chrome use after the impressive early adoption rate. My own use reflects this: Chrome was my main browser for the week or two after its release, then I went back to Firefox. I fired up Chrome to write this post, though.

Her explanation reminded me of my own first impressions of Chrome: “Chrome is a rare Google product where “beta” actually means work in progress” is “this is an early beta, and hence a real beta” one month on.

I expect Chrome to gain shine, and regain share, as more months elapse.

Google Chromes Its Web

Umair Haque offers advice on How to Chrome Your Industry. He salutes Google’s open-source Chrome browser.

Chrome isn’t about building and strengthening core competencies, but edge competencies: competencies shared with others. The more Chrome – remember, it’s open source – is hacked, remixed, and tweaked, into still better browsers, engines, and plug-ins, the less Google itself has to invest to explode the utility of the entire www itself for everyone.

I agree with every word in that quote. I even agree with Umair that other firms (his examples include Ford, Unilever, and Wal-Mart) might do well to follow in Google’s Chrome footsteps with cooperative, market-creating activities.

But there is a vital point missing from the analogy between Google and these other firms. It’s not clear how any of them are as well placed as Google to benefit from such activities. Pretty much all the markets and other conversations on the web – even those that have yet to start – are complements to Google’s ad business.

This is not to deny the importance of the edge competences emphasized in Umair’s post. It is to add that they are particularly important as complements to Google’s core competence in web advertising.

Complements of the OmniGoogle

Nick Carr gives an excellent explanation of Google’s ever-broadening range of activities.

The way Google makes money is straightforward: It brokers and publishes advertisements through digital media…

For Google, literally everything that happens on the Internet is a complement to its main business. The more things that people and companies do online, the more ads they see and the more money Google makes. In addition, as Internet activity increases, Google collects more data on consumers’ needs and behavior and can tailor its ads more precisely, strengthening its competitive advantage and further increasing its income. As more and more products and services are delivered digitally over computer networks — entertainment, news, software programs, financial transactions — Google’s range of complements expands into ever more industry sectors. That’s why cute little Google has morphed into The Omnigoogle.

Chris Anderson quotes rather more extensively than I have, but still recommends that you read Nick’s whole post. I’d go further and recommend the comments as well.

Google Chrome First Impressions

Many of us who are highish on the web adoption curve have downloaded, installed, and tried Chrome, the new browser from Google. Some of those further along the curve won’t try Chrome until it runs on Linux (or perhaps OSX). Here are some of my first impressions.

  • I don’t like the name Chrome. It suggests unnecessary, ornamental pseudo-features. I’d even prefer GBrowser.
  • The comic book by Scott McCloud is great. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better introduction to a product.
  • The browser is, by all accounts, fast. It seems that way to me. But in saying that, I’m comparing bare Chrome and extended Firefox. By bare I mean that the early beta of Chrome doesn’t allow extensions.
  • Yes, this is an early beta, and hence a real beta.
  • The design is very tab-centric, in terms of user interface and of architecture. I like that.
  • The lack of a “home page” button seems very strange. Apart from that, I like the sparse look of Chrome.
  • Chrome is open source software. To be specific, it’s under the BSD. So other browsers can incorporate Chrome code.
  • Following from that, it seems to me that Chrome is intended by the Google top brass to keep the browser market competitive, and hence to improve the experience of the web, rather than to kill any other browser or platform. But I’m not saying that Google would shed tears were Chrome to hurt Microsoft’s browser or operating system offerings.
  • I’m impressed by how well-kept the GBrowser secret was. I wonder if an impending leak was the reason for the release before Chrome had some key “openness” features, such as extensions and Linux support.
  • So much has been written about Chrome already that I decided not to link to any of it. That’s a reflection on the quantity, rather than the quality, or what I’ve read elsewhere.

Shiny New Chrome on Old Windows?

So, using Firefox 3.0, I tried to install Google’s Chrome browser. I was told that I needed to install Windows XP Service Pack 2 first. I admit that I should have done this a while ago on this seldom-used desktop.

So, off I went to download SP2. I was told that, in order to download it, I would need to use Internet Explorer (or allow automatic updates). So off I went to Windows Update. But to use that site, I have to be using a current version of Internet Explorer. Yes, that does seem like a joke to me, but apparently Microsoft mean it.

So off I went to Internet Explorer Get It Now. You’re probably ahead of me here. IE7 and IE8beta each require… SP2.

I think I’ll wait to get my hands on the newish laptop downstairs before kicking the Chrome tires.