Posts Tagged ‘Google

Another Jacob Brunson

Posted in Life, Technicalon Jul 24, 2015

Just found out that there is another Jacob Brunson out there.  And he codes in python.  And searching for “Jacob Brunson” in Google shows his web site first.  It is like my identity has been stolen.

I am Jacob Brunson, and now I have to put on my search engine optimization hat for a while.

However, Bing still shows my web page as number 1.  I might have to switch my default search engine for a while.  Google is obviously flawed.

Recently Google released Google Keep, which is suppose to be some sort of note-taking system.  I think I might need a note-taking system, but since I’m a little wary about using Google after they shut down Google Reader, I want to evaluate several note taking systems.  But before I start looking at any of them, I wanted to define my judgement criteria:

  • Platforms: must be able to use from a web browser and from Android.
  • Data export: can I get my notes back out of the system
  • Bookmarks: A lot of what I like to save for reading later are articles that I find online
  • Media types: What kinds of things can I keep?
  • Cost: Must be free
  • Organization: I need to be able to quickly find things, either through organization or searching
  • User Experience: How easy is it to use it?  Does it perform well?
  • Support: How likely am I to be still using it in 10 years?
  • APIs: Other than using their apps, are there other ways to put things into it?

There may be other things as well. Since I’ve never looked at any before, I’m not sure what I should be looking at.

Among the systems I’ll be reviewing: Google Keep, Evernote, Springpad, I’ll be looking at alternatives like keeping text documents in Dropbox.

As I make discoveries, I’ll note them in the comments.

In this year’s spring cleaning, Google was bold enough to kill off Google Reader, a product that they had been supporting for over 7 years.  Considering Google’s lack of restraint in discontinuing even popular products, the list of Google services that may get cut next suddenly gets bigger:

Google Offers tries to play in an over-saturated market of daily deal sites.  Google may decide to stop offering Offers directly, and role that functionality into Google Shopping.

Google Checkout plays better in some use cases than in others.  Google may decide to refine the scope of Wallet/Checkout, perhaps restricting its use as a third party checkout system, where Paypal maintains a stronghold.

Google Finance hasn’t seen a significant update in many years.  Being a non-essential componenet to the Google portfolio, Finance may find itself in the same situation of Reader with decreased usage and lack of profitability.

Google Toolbar for IE will likely see decreased usage because of IE 10 and Windows 8.  Most Google fans will probably just use Google Chrome instead, leaving little motivation for Google to continue supporting Toolbar.

Google Picasa is an oddity.  It doesn’t appear to fit well into any of Google’s main strategies.  It is also one of Google’s few remaining desktop installed software offering.  I don’t think Google will kill Picasa, but they may decide to sell it off to someone else.

Google Talk for Windows may go away as Google pushes people to use chat in Gmail, Google+, or mobile apps. Talk may service spring cleanings depending on how it plays into the Google Apps for Businesses strategy.

Google Voice allows you to have a single phone number that connects to all your phones.  But with many people ditching land lines in favor of their (Android) phone, Google Voice is looking more and more obsolete.

Orkut probably still has quite the following in various geographies, but it seems odd that Google would want to continue two competing social platforms.

Google Alerts is a minor feature that isn’t very well used, so I could see it going away in favor of other Google efforts.

Google News is a lot like Google Reader, in that it aggregates articles from all sorts of other sites, and doesn’t contain any advertising.  With more people being alerted to news from their social media sites, and with news providers requiring paid subscriptions for online access, discontinuing Google News would be about as bold as discontinuing Google reader.

Data liberation with Google+

Posted in Technicalon Jul 19, 2011

One of the problems with Facebook is that after years of writing posts and comments, uploading photos, and creating lots of content, is that all of the content stays with Facebook.  Facebook controls exactly how you can access everything you’ve created for Facebook.  This isn’t true with Google+.  At any point, you can liberate your Google+ data, downloading it to your computer, to do whatever you want with it.  This is what it looks like:

A few thoughts on Google Buzz

Posted in Technicalon Feb 15, 2010

Google Buzz is a new offering from Google comparable to Twitter or the Facebook Wall feature.  People can share a short thought or message with those people on their contacts list in Google Gmail.  Here are a few thoughts I have on Google Buzz:

  • Integration with Gmail is both very great and very bad.  I like only having to stop at once place to check both my email and read through some recent buzzes.   On a larger scale, however, this restricts buzzing to only those who have Gmail accounts.  Most people who don’t currently use Gmail won’t want to sign up for a Gmail account just so they can buzz.
  • Location resolution in the mobile buzz app quite accurately describes where you are.  That may be fine if you are buzzing about your experience at a particular store or business, but sometimes I would like to share my location more generally so that I can communicate to people that I’m in Fort Collins, but without telling them my exact location.
  • Commenting and liking are great features that allow my buzzes to be more social and invites more discussion.
  • Better APIs need to be shared so that developers can allow third-party applications to help a user buzz.  I hear this is coming, but it should have been available from day one.

It will be interesting to see Buzz evolve over time, but hopefully we won’t ever see any “Which movie character are you?” or “Be my Farmville Friend” buzzes that have plagued Facebook.

Last June, Google and Yahoo announced a partnership where Yahoo would use Google Advertising on its site to increase revenue.  Yahoo would raise some much needed cash from the more effective advertising, while Google publishes its ads on a very large site.  Currently Yahoo uses its own advertising framework which is less effective.

However, today we learn that the deal is going bust because too many government regulators and advertisors had concerns that this agreement would give Google too much of an advertising monopoly. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted in Technicalon Apr 22, 2008

A while ago, I found myself needing to upload many document files into Google Docs. I saw that Google had a new API for doing such, so I decided to write a quick little app for the Mac to do just that. Just drag and drop documents onto the icon, and away their uploaded.

I had never written any sort of real Mac application, so I just kind of glued something together out of Python, applescript, and a couple of helper apps. I threw the source up at Google Project Hosting, which has been good, because otherwise I would have been supporting the thousands of downloads.

Recently, my little droplet app became more famous. It was featured on as a featured Mac Download. My favorite line from their post was, “Gdocsuploader is still new and a bit unpolished.” I think it should be considered more than just a bit unpolished. They should have said, “this thing might work, and is about as unpolished as lava rock.”

There have been a multitude of other posts about my little project:

Thanks to everyone who wrote something nice about it.