Tag Archives: google

OpenOffice 3.0 Beta launched

OpenOffice 3 Beta

OpenOffice, the free opensource office suite, released OpenOffice 3.0 Beta yesterday. This latest release now runs on Mac OS X without requiring X11 to be running as well. And there are versions for Windows and Linux obviously.

There are a host of new features like ODF Support, Office 2007/8 import/export and support for up to 1024 columns on the spreadsheet app to name but a few.

With the killer combination of Google Docs (Google’s great hosted office app), OpenOffice and OOo2GD (an app to synch between OpenOffice and Google Docs), the justification for spending any amount of money on Office software has just disappeared!

There is also a large number of extensions available for OpenOffice. Everything from template packs, through to report builders and Wiki writers!

Download it, try it out. If you are worried that it will be a big change in UI from Microsoft Office – wait until you see the Office 2007 UI!!! And did I mention OpenOffice is free?

Enterprise wikis reviewed update

Things move fast in the Web 2.0 world! Only a couple of weeks back I wrote a review of Enterprise Wiki software in which I mentioned PBWiki and Socialtext amongst others.

I like Socialtext and would have recommended it had PBWiki not just shipped its new interface. The PBWiki interface is friendlier and easier to get around for non-techies so I went for that.

Now today I see two posts mentioning that a new version of SocialText is en route which will make SocialText a much more compelling enterprise app.

Socialtext is adding Socialtext Dashboard and Socialtext People. From Michael Arrington’s post:

SocialText Dashboard, pictured above, is a Netvibes-like customizable home page. Users can add SocialText widgets that show information from the company’s wiki – total edits, a list of workspaces, change summaries, etc. Other widgets are for productivity, like a calendar, or just for fun, like a YouTube widget.

All Dashboard widgets are Google Widget compatible, which means that, subject to security settings, they can also be added to sites like iGoogle. But more importantly, all iGoogle widgets can also be added to the Dashboard page. So you can, for example, pull Gmail directly into your SocialText Dashboard.

While in Socialtext People, users can create profiles and add “friends” within the organization. You can monitor the activity stream of mutual friends as well, which includes outside services such as Twitter. And as Rafe Needleman points out in his post:

You can tag yourself “M&A” if you’re in business development. Others can tag you, too. Then, if you’re looking for someone with a particular skill or hobby, you just search on tags. Tags are easier to update, and because of that you’re more likely to see good information in individuals’ tag clouds, compared to a bunch of form fields that no one wants to bother with. Of course, tag clouds and folksonomies are also less rigorous than straight data fields, but you know what they say: They make it up in volume.

So, if you haven’t rushed out after my last post and dived into PBWiki, you might want to think again about SocialText. It just keeps getting better and better.

iPhone and iPod Touch leading to huge increase in mobile web browsing

Two stories being reported today point to how Apple got it right with the iPhone/iPod Touch.

In the first story, coming out of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, EE Times is reporting that:

A blue-ribbon panel of human behavior and technology experts at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain agreed that the best recent advance in the mobile telecommunications user space came not from a mobile telecom company but from Apple Inc. — the iPhone.

Anup Murarka, director of technical marketing for Adobe, cited a study showing that 77 percent of iPhone purchasers described themselves as “very satisfied” with their user experience

Going even further than that, AppleInsider today published a story about how Google said it has seen

50 times more search requests coming from Apple iPhones than any other mobile handset — a revelation so astonishing that the company originally suspected it had made an error culling its own data

So despite the fact that the iPhone is only on sale in 4 countries and is significantly outsold by Nokia et al handsets, the vast majority to Google from mobile devides is from the iPhone.

Why is this? Because Apple made it easy to do. Not only that, they made it a fun experience (turn the device, the page reformats to the new orientation, two finger zoom, etc.).

The iPhone/iPod Touch user experience is so far ahead of anything the competition (Symbian, Windows Mobile) are producing that it will take them several years to catch up. If, in the meantime, Apple can add features like Bluetooth, and 3G and sign deals with more mobile operators they have a strong chance of becoming the dominant handset manufacturer as well as the dominant mp3 player.

OpenSocial signs up MySpace and SixApart too!

I mentioned earlier in the week that Google was about to launch OpenSocial, a Social Network API platform. Since then Mike Arrington in TechCrunch is reporting that not only is it happenning but MySpace, Bebo and SixApart are on board too!

The OpenSocial site is now live and confirmed participants so far are:

Engage.com, Friendster, hi5, Hyves, imeem, LinkedIn, Ning, Oracle, orkut, Plaxo, Salesforce.com, Six Apart, Tianji, Viadeo, and XING

Why OpenSocial?

The web is more interesting when you can build apps that easily interact with your friends and colleagues. But with the trend towards more social applications also comes a growing list of site-specific APIs that developers must learn.

OpenSocial provides a common set of APIs for social applications across multiple websites. With standard JavaScript and HTML, developers can create apps that access a social network’s friends and update feeds.

Many sites, one API

Whither FaceBook, the current social network colossus in this? They and Microsoft (their recent investor) have got to be wondering how to meet this challenge to their dominant position. Probably the best approach would be to jump in too – that way they have all the advantages of the open platform without the development costs. Google are saying it is an open platform and they wouldn’t see that one coming!

The chances are though that they won’t jump on board and there will be two social network standards, Google’s OpenSocial standard and FaceBook’s.

Microsoft buys 1.6% of FaceBook for $240m

The New York Times is reporting this morning that Microsoft has bought a 1.6% stake in Facebook for $240m, this values the company at $15bn.

This values Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s 23 year old founder at $3bn and Accel Partners, the venture capital firm that invested $12.7 million in May 2005 now owns 11 percent of Facebook stock worth a cool $1.65 billion.

The deal must be a huge relief for Microsoft after the stories circulating yesterday that Google were about to beat them to the post (pun intended!) in buying a piece of Facebook.

This is a dream deal for Facebook as they yield only 1.6% of the company and still manage to scoop $240m.

What is in it for Microsoft? Well, on the one hand, as the New York Times reports:

As part of the deal, Microsoft will sell the banner ads appearing on Facebook outside of the United States, splitting the revenue with it. Last year, Microsoft struck a deal with Facebook to run banner ads on the site in the United States through 2011.

but, probably equally importantly, Microsoft has stymied Google’s plans to own advertising rights on Facebook.

Is Facebook really worth $15bn? Who knows. A company is worth as much as a buyer is willing to pay for it. Today, for whatever reason it is worth $15bn to Microsoft. Who knows what it will be worth next week.

A sad day for Internet freedoms in China

If this were any other country you wouldn’t believe it but the Great Firewall of China has started re-directing traffic from the three major search engines (Yahoo!, Live.com and Google) to the Chinese owned search engine Baidu.com!

Other sites such as YouTube.com and Google’s BlogSearch are reportedly also being re-directed.

China has previously blocked sites like WordPress.com but this is the first report of it re-directing to a Chinese competitor.

I’ll bet the guys in Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft who bent over backwards to facilitate the Chinese governments censorship of Chinese Internet traffic (even to the point of Yahoo!’s handing over evidence which imprisoned a Chinese reporter for 10 years) are feeling pretty dumb now. If they don’t, they should.

This end result for people living in China is that their choice of search engine has now disappeared and the Chinese government only has to worry about controlling the results one search engine displays. A sad day for Internet freedoms in China.

Of course, it will also hit the income stream for Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! but given that they lay down with the Chinese government, I have a real hard time feeling sorry for them.

UPDATE – conflicting reports are emerging about this story, some are reporting that the story is untrue however, search engine expert Danny Sullivan has received confirmation from Google that there are problems with some of their services in China.

First Gphones shipping?

Rumour has it that the first 50,000 Gphones will ship from Taiwanese handset-maker HTC‘s manufacturing facility before the end of the year.

While 50,000 may seem like a modest number,

“These initial phones are not going to be for sale,” Benjamin Schachter, one of the [UBS] analysts who worked on the report, said in a phone call earlier today. “These are going to be available for developers only to understand how the software works.”

There’s all kinds of speculation about the Gphone and the business model which will come with it. Some are postulating that it will be free but will display ads.

There’s no news yet on if/when it will come to Europe.

The mobile space is a no-brainer for Google though. Of the 6.billion people on the planet, only 1 billion have easy Internet access. Google’s long-term intention is to use these phones as a cheap way to Internet enable billions more people.

Google launch video ads (kinda)

Good friend Marshall Kirkpatrick broke the news yesterday that Google were going to start offering video ads to people publishing ads using Google’s Adsense program. I use Adsense to publish the few ads that are on this site.

Adsense video ads

The official announcement on the Adsense blog contains a non-functioning video (not a good start) and the following caveats:

Video units will be live in AdSense accounts later today (10/9). Currently this feature is open only to publishers located in the United States with English-language websites.

How well this works will depend very much on the targeting, I suspect. Video ads for cool new gadgets would do far better on this site than video ads for, say, Shiseido’s latest age re-perfect, vitamin enhanced, moisturiser.

I’ll have to consider, if I roll this out, where to place it in the page’s design.

Congrats to the guys in Jaiku

I see Jaiku were bought by Google yesterday. What is Jaiku? Jaiku is what Twitter would be if it worked reliably and had neat functionality. I’m delighted for them.

If you don’t currently have a Jaiku account then you may be out of luck because in the notification email sent out by Jaiku last night they said:

In order to focus on innovation instead of scaling, we have decided to close new user sign-ups for now. But fear not! All our Jaiku services will stay running the way you are used to and you will continue to be able to invite your friends to Jaiku.

I’m not sure what happens to people who are invited in this period, do they go into a holding pattern, or are they left in but the amount of invites is limited. The faq is no help there.

This is great play by Google who are demonstrating that they have their finger on the pulse. I can’t wait to see what other announcements they are going to make in this space – Robert Scoble is hinting at big news in the Orkut arena in early November.

Jyri Engstrom, Jaiku’s founder gave a great talk at Reboot and I tried to get him to come to speak at the it@cork conference this November. Unfortunately he was busy (now I can see why!). Maybe next year Jyri!

WordPress 2.3 upgrade breaks RSS feed

Sean McNamara alerted me via the comments on this blog that my RSS feed was broken (thanks a million Sean). I sorted that out this morning so it should be good again and Google Reader is certainly having no problem seeing my posts now.

So what happened? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure (!) but I think it had more to do with my FeedBurner account than WordPress, per se.

The sequence of events was along the lines of

Then I saw Sean’s comment. Uh oh! I went over to Google Reader and sure enough no posts for the last couple of days were present, d’oh!

I checked back my FeedBurner Plugin config and while all seemed ok, when I checked the “create a FeedBurner feed for …” link, it looks like that the updated plugin created a new feed for the blog.

This meant I had to head over to the FeedBurner site and set up the new feed from scratch – a considerable annoyance. All my stats on my old feed are no longer associated with the new one.

Strictly, this wasn’t a WordPress issue, more of a left-field issue associated with upgrading the FeedBurner plugin. However, the lack of support by WordPress for older plugins is the only reason I upgraded – triggering the loss of my RSS feed.