For Brewer, containers are all about creating a world where developers can just build software, where they don’t have to think about the infrastructure needed to run that software. This, he says, is how cloud computing will continue to evolve. Developers will worry less about the thousands of machines needed to run their application and more about the design of the application itself. “The container is more of an application-level view of what you’re doing, versus a machine-level view,” he says, “and it’s pretty clear that the application view is more natural and will win in the longterm.”http://www.wired.com/2014/06/eric-brewer-google-docker/
Some have recently criticized Apple for not being Googly enough, arguing that Google is making big, bold bets like self-driving cars, while Apple sticks to its narrow focus on consumer electronics. This is a mostly silly argument: Apple is only Apple because of this focus, and there’s no real reason for two different companies to behave the same, anyway.http://qz.com/217406/the-apple-doesnt-get-the-cloud-era-is-officially-over/
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s preliminary statement of policy about autonomous vehicles is gung ho, to put it mildly.
"Although this Statement focuses on the enormous safety potential of these new technologies, they offer an even wider range of possible benefits. Vehicle control systems that automatically accelerate and brake with the flow of traffic can conserve fuel more efficiently than the average driver. By eliminating a large number of vehicle crashes, highly effective crash avoidance technologies can reduce fuel consumption by also eliminating the traffic congestion that crashes cause every day on our roads. Reductions in fuel consumption, of course, yield corresponding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. To the extent vehicles can communicate with each other and with the highway infrastructure, the potential for safer and more efficient driving will be increased even more. Drivers—or vehicles themselves—will be able to make more intelligent route selections based on weather and traffic data received by the vehicle in real time. Mobility for those with a range of disabilities will be greatly enhanced if the basic driving functions can be safely performed by the vehicle itself, opening new windows for millions of people."www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/rulemaking/pdf/automated_vehicles_policy.pdf?c=ffd8be50-cc28-44ab-bb2a-5b0a48516802
These app constellations are possibly the only sustainable answer to solving the distribution conundrum in mobile – how do I get around the app store leaderboard traffic jam? If you own a leading constellation, you can use your apps and your relationship with the users of those apps to promote and distribute new apps that you either build or buy. This promotion is “in situ” right on the mobile phone where the consumer’s attention is increasingly placed. I see this as yet another “rich get richer” dynamic in the mobile ecosystem.
It is interesting to contrast all of this to what happened in the last downloadable software phase in tech – PCs and PC Software. In that world, Microsoft’s Windows OS became totally dominant and led to a dominant application monopoly (Outlook, Excel, Word, Powerpoint, etc). In native mobile, we have a duopoly with iOS and Android and what looks like at least six App Constellations (Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo!, Dropbox). There may be some other important constellations emerging. I would love some suggestions of other ones in the comments (Foursquare?).App Constellations – AVC
Google’s vision of the future involves overlaying the real world seen through its specs with information from its search engine and other services. Facebook’s is of people totally immersing themselves in virtual worlds where they will be able do everything from taking virtual classes together to communicating with distant friends as if they were standing in the same room. The two firms may not see exactly eye-to-eye on how this will all play out, but neither can be accused of being shortsighted.Facebook buys Oculus VR: Game of goggles | The Economist
During the ‘apps versus HTML’ argument of a year to two ago, someone said that the issue is not what coding language you use but how you get an icon onto the user’s home screen and whether indeed they want your icon on their home screen. The conversation more or less crystallised around the position that apps are for the head of the tail and the web is for the rest. But Android Wear is not the web or an app. Neither is Google Now, and neither is the Healthbook I just described.
Now, suppose you hesitate outside a restaurant and look at your phone, and iBeacon has already activated a Yelp review card on your phone or watch, or Google Now has put a scraped review up, or Facebook tells you 10 of your friends liked it? Is that the web? Or apps? How do you do SEO for that? What’s the acquisition channel? Some of that might be HTML, but you’ll never see a URL.
It seems to me that the key question this year is that now that the platform war is over, and Apple and Google won, what happens on top of those platforms? How do Apple and Google but also a bunch of other companies drive interaction models forward? I’ve said quite often that on mobile the internet is in a pre-Pagerank phase, lacking the ‘one good’ discovery mechanism that the desktop web had, but it’s also in a pre-Netscape phase, lacking one interaction model in the way that the web dominated the desktop internet for the last 20 years. Of course that doesn’t mean there’ll be one, but right now everything is wide open.
This thought, incidentally, is one of the things that prompted this tweet.Cards, code and wearables — Benedict Evans
The Android device will target emerging markets and won’t promote some of the key features typically seen on Google’s Android platform, including the Google Play app store, the report said. Instead, think of this as an Android version of Nokia’s low-cost Asha brand.Report: Nokia to Launch Android-Based Smartphone in February
This isn’t a surprise. Mr. Page and Google are known for bold moves and crazy ideas that tend to not seem so crazy after some time. A few years ago, I thought Google’s self-driving cars were ridiculous. I now believe Google will become a big player in the auto industry, which is already trying to catch up and replicate what Google has built.
But it is worth reflecting on the type of game Mr. Page is playing. He isn’t constrained by how the company is structured or traditional cycles of product development. One of the reasons the DeepMind team was keen to sell is they were looking for a partners to fund their research until it was ready, without having to rush out a product, according to three people who know the team well. Google, which undoubtedly funds more research than many research institutions, was the perfect fit.
But nor is it necessarily a good thing for Google be be seen as invulnerable. There might be no “Google death knell counter”. There might not be a “Google is doomed” trope. If an executive from Google quits or is fired there is no investor panic. If a product is withdrawn there is no mourning. There are no journalists pursuing Pulitzer prizes by describing some seamy underside of Google. But there are no overt displays of affection either. Google is seen, on balance, as benevolent and hopeful. The discussion on business robustness is simply missing.
I suspect the absence of scrutiny comes from Google being seen as an analogy of the Internet itself. We don’t question the survival of the Internet so we don’t question the survival of Google — its backbone, its index, and its pervasive ads which, somehow, keep the lights on. We believe Google is infrastructure. We don’t dwell on whether electric grids are vulnerable, or supplies of fuel, or the weather(!)
Too complex, too pervasive. These are systems, not things. And people are not designed to contemplate systems. We leave that to experts, or better yet, computers.www.asymco.com
On a conference call with Wall Street analysts, Google CFO Patrick Pichette urged analysts to look at Google’s business more holistically. “Rather than to speak about mobile and only mobile, it’s really about living with the user,” said Pichette. “And once you think through living with the user, supporting our users across all their day, whether it would be on a TV, whether it would be on a mobile phone, whether it would be on the desktop, whether it would be with Google Glass wearables, that’s really the aim that we’re actually shooting for.”Google Is Making Itself a Lot Leaner and Meaner | TIME.com
There was a point in time where talking about share of smartphone sales was a meaningful and important metric. That time has passed. It’s rather like talking about Toyota’s share of sales of Japanese cars in the USA: it tells you something, and was very useful in the past, but not any more.
There are lots of issues and questions about Apple’s future, and lots of different things going on in those charts, including a clear decline in the growth of sales. But ‘smartphone share’ is not a helpful way to think about those questions.Smartphone market share is not a metric — Benedict Evans
Android continues to be the most popular mobile platform, with its share of smartphone sales climbing in every major market in Q4 2013, now accounting for 69.5% of all sales across 12 key markets versus 23.7% for number-two Apple, according to figures out today from Kantar Worldpanel, a market research subsidiary of WPP. But the story is shifting when it comes to looking at what the engine is behind that growth.
Samsung, the handset maker that has led the charge for Google’s OS, is “now coming under real pressure in most regions” as it faces stronger competition from local players in markets like China. There, Xiaomi led in sales for the last 12 weeks of 2013, and other Chinese handset makers like Huawei also continued to gain ground. It’s still Android, but delivered in different, more locally focused packaging.Kantar: Android Accounted 70% Of Smartphone Sales In Q4, But Samsung Is Now “Under Real Pressure” | TechCrunch
Google now has a division with a remarkable consumer hardware track record. Nest and Fadell now have the financial resources to work faster. Money doesn’t solve scaling problems, but the actual solutions to scaling problems always cost money. Google’s Nest acquisition has very little to do with selling thermostats and smoke detectors in particular. Instead, it’s about Google having the ability to do consumer hardware right, in general.Daring Fireball: On Google’s Acquisition of Nest