Monthly Archives: May 2008

Chris Nuttall

Dell netbookWhile Mac addicts have Steve Jobs and a new iPhone to look forward to at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco on June 9, PC fans can salivate over hundreds of new products to be unveiled at Computex in Taiwan next week.

“Computex is kind of the world’s number-one hardware geek fest,” Sean Maloney, Intel executive vice president, told me before flying off for his opening keynote speech at the show. 

Chris Nuttall

Barack ObamaGoogle may be among the top ten donors to Barack Obama’s presidential election campaign, but it has received around 10 times its contribution back from the Illinois senator in advertising on its properties in the first quarter.

Federal Election Commission data compiled by ClickZ‘s interactive marketing research network shows the Obama campaign spent $2.94m between January and March on Google ads. 

Richard Waters

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Apple’s iPhone developers must be basking in the reflected glory right about now.

Google showed off its rival Android mobile user interface at its annual developer conference in San Francisco today. A flick of the finger scrolls between pages on the mobile browser or drags items around the screen – just like the iPhone. To enlarge elements on a web page to make them easier to view, Google introduces a small magnification pane that can be dragged around by touch. All very nice – though the interface lacked the classic simplicity of the iPhone and there was no talk of when Android-powered handsets will actually hit the market. 

Richard Waters

max-levchin.jpg“This is the perfect time to start a company.”

At least that is what Max Levchin had to say when I dropped by to see him in Slide‘s SoMa office last week. But isn’t creating an internet company at the tail-end of the last start-up boom a disastrous idea? 

Richard Waters

black-box.jpgGoogle understands that it has a big transparency problem. That much is clear from a blog posting today by Udi Manber, the engineer in charge of its search quality. The problem is, there is very little the company can do about it.

The problem stems from the “black box” nature of its search ranking algorithms. No one knows why some websites come out higher than others in response to certain queries, and the methodology is always changing. That creates headaches for anyone who relies to any significant degree on traffic from Google (i.e., just about every business on the Web.) 

Chris Nuttall

Netflix player by RokuNetflix has taken a second step towards weaning its customers off the red-envelope delivery of their DVDs with its introduction of the Netflix Player by Roku.

The first step was its “instant watching” capability over a PC introduced in January last year. Subscribers could watch an hour’s worth of online video for every dollar they paid in their monthly subscription for at-home DVDs. 

Chris Nuttall

Wii Fit launchNintendo has another hit on its hands judging by the sold-out signs on Amazon.com and Walmart.com for its Wii Balance Board accessory, released in the US on Monday.

The company’s big launch event for the $90 board, which resembles a set of bathroom scales, was a demonstration in New York’s Central Park where passers-by including businessmen (pictured) were invited to try a workout with the included Wii Fit software

Richard Waters

fireworks.jpgThere was a distinct lack of fireworks at the ”factory tour” that Google put on today to show off its search prowess. More than anything else, what came across (and what always comes across when Google engineers take the stage) is that making search work really well is difficult.

Most of the time was taken up with incremental improvements in two of the most promising areas: local search and “universal” search. These are not new, but they have the potential to greatly enhance the relevance and range of material returned by regular Web searches. 

Chris Nuttall

FirefoxTabbed browsing, introduced in Mozilla’s original Firefox in 2004, has changed the surfing habits of a generation of users and the “Awesome Bar”, a feature in Firefox 3, could do the same.

Mozilla signalled it was close to a June launch for Version 3.0 on Monday, with the posting of Release Candidate 1, and Mike Schroepfer, head of engineering, and Mike Beltzner, director of user experience, gave us a demo of all the new features last week. 

Richard Waters

marissa-mayer.jpgDown at the Googleplex in Mountain View this morning to hear Google’s Marissa Mayer (pictured) talk about the state of search.

You have to feel for Bill Gates and Kevin Johnson, the man with the unenviable job of trying to prove that Microsoft can at least play on the same field as Google. Gates is scheduled to present Microsoft’s latest advances in search this Wednesday at an event that the company has been touting heavily. Johnson, in an email to employees yesterday, promised big news: