Tag Archive | "though-it-may"

An Old Eric Schmidt Interview Reveals Google’s End-Game For Search And Competition

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GoogleMonopoly

Google was cleared of anti-competitive accusations yesterday by the Federal Trade Commission, but a long-forgotten interview with Chairman Eric Schmidt reveals that the search giant may be on an inevitable road to monopoly anyways.

Microsoft and critics allege that when Google prominently displays its own predicted best answers above all search results, it unfairly favors its own services above other niche search engines, like travel and shopping websites. But, as Schmidt told Charlie Rose in 2005, Google searches do yield one perfect result:

When you use Google, do you get more than one answer? Of course you do. Well, that’s a bug. We have more bugs per second in the world. We should be able to give you the right answer just once. We should know what you meant. You should look for information. We should get it exactly right and we should give it to you in your language and we should never be wrong. That’s our challenge.

In other words, Google’s hyper-perfectionist ambitions are unlikely to leave much room for competitors. Today, the perfect search isn’t possible and highlighting good results doesn’t exclude competitors. Indeed, the FTC agreed, saying that favoring its own search results “could be plausibly justified as innovations that improved Google’s product and the experience of its users. It therefore has chosen to close the investigation.”

The rapid pace of computing genius is forcing us to test long-debated notions of the truth, choice, and the value of diversity. As consumers offload more decisions to computers, or as computers come to know more about us than we know about ourselves, the value of competition is diminished. This is not unique to Google, though it may be the lucky winner of a new form of monopoly by virtue of being first.

Read more in my Washington Post piece here and see a clip of the interview below:

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Samsung Launches A Lightly Tweaked, LTE-Capable Galaxy Note 10.1 In Its Native Korea

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galnote101

Flawed though it may have been, I was a quite a fan of Samsung’s S Pen-friendly Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet — even with flashy new devices like the Note 2 on the market, I still think the whole concept just works best on a bigger screen. Samsung seems to be rather fond of the thing too, as it has just officially launched an LTE-capable version of the tab in its native Korea with a global launch slated for later in the year.

Access to LTE data speeds will be good enough for some, but the changelog doesn’t end there. The revamped Note 10.1 will also ship running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (fear not current Note 10.1 owners — your time will soon come) along with oft-touted features like the ability to draw quick commands and hover the S Pen over the screen for a quick view of calendar entries and folder contents.

Really though, one of the biggest draws of the support for Voice over LTE, which (as you’d imagine) in short routes your voice calls more efficiently over an LTE data network instead of falling back to a 3G GSM or CDMA network. As neat as the move is, the chances of the feature popping up in the forthcoming U.S. variant are pretty slim— the only carrier that currently supports Voice over LTE around these parts is MetroPCS (though that could all change now that a T-Mobile buyout is on the table). Given its lead in LTE network growth, it shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that Verizon Wireless is working on it too, but the carrier has had some trouble making things work properly — the service was originally set to debut this year but is now slated to rollout in late 2013.



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Google Nexus 4 And Nexus 10 Go On Sale In The U.S. Online Play Store

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google-nexus-4

Google has just put its new Nexus 4 smartphone, 3G Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablet up for sale at the Google Play web store. The phone retails for $299 for the 8GB version, and $349 for the 16GB variety, and the Nexus 10 goes for $399 or $499 depending on capacity. If you want either, you’d better hurry and order – the U.K. Google Play store sold out in a matter of minutes when the new Nexus hardware went on sale there earlier today.

The Google Nexus 4 is an LG-manufactured device, which boasts a number of top-tier specs, including a 4.7-inch diagonal screen with 1280

Samsung’s ATIV Smart PC And Asus’ VivoTab RT To Launch On AT&T In Time For The Holidays

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ativivo

Holy cow AT&T, another announcement? While most of the other national wireless carriers have opted to save some news for later on, AT&T keeps pushing out releases like it’s going out of style.

Anyway, in addition to heavily pushing Nokia’s Windows Phone 8 handsets, the carrier has also announced that it will carry a pair of Windows 8 tablets — the Asus VivoTab RT and Samsung’s ATIV Smart PC — in time for the holiday rush.

Samsung’s ATIV Smart PC is the more familiar of the two since the Korean company made a point of showing it off at its big London press event earlier this year, but here’s a quick recap in case you missed Samsung’s spectacle. The ATIV sports a 11.6-inch HD display, while a 1.5GHz Intel Clover Trail processor and 64GB of internal storage help keep things ticking along. Interestingly, AT&T doesn’t specify whether or not the ATIV is set up for LTE, though it does play the availability of a keyboard-toting docking system to please those productivity fiends among you.

That said, AT&T is quick to crown Asus’ VivoTab the “first quad-core Windows RT 4G LTE tablet,” and it’s (perhaps obviously) the less hefty of the two. Smaller though it may be, the VivoTab (ugh, really?) runs with a more standard 10.1-inch Super IPS display, only 32 GB of storage, and one of NVIDIA’s quad-core Tegra 3 chipsets.

As usual, there’s no word yet on pricing, but AT&T stopped subsidizing its tablets back in August so don’t expect to be able to sign a contract and walk out with the cheap tablet. AT&T is playing the availability card close to its chest as well, but the smart money is on seeing them sooner rather than later.



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Imgur Partners With Brisk And “Scumbag Steve” For Meme-ified Ads

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brisk_imgur

Imgur has built a massive audience for the sometimes amusing, sometimes adorable images and memes that it hosts. Now it faces another challenge: Making money.

With 2 billion monthly page views, advertising seems like an obvious business plan. The problem, says CEO Alan Schaaf, is that “the Imgur audience has always hated ads.” So yes, the company runs a banner ad on each page, but the audience probably sees it as a necessary evil. They probably won’t be happy with a second ad, Schaaf says, so a different approach was needed.

That was the impetus for a new ad that’s running today, prepared by creative agency Mekanism for Brisk iced tea. Instead of just running another ad, Mekanism and Brisk created an image that borrows from the Scumbag Steve meme. It looks pretty similar to other Scumbag Steve images, with a photo of Steve accompanied by a dick-ish message — except this time, the message is promoting Brisk (you can see the ad above). Mekanism even got approval from the “real” Scumbag Steve (i.e., Blake Boston, the guy in the photo) to use the picture.

This is going to be Imgur’s first experiment with a new Promoted Image ad unit, where the Brisk ad will be featured in Imgur’s image gallery. The hope is to run campaigns that don’t feel like ads to the Imgur community, but rather just other pieces of content. And even though it may look like a whipped together image, Mekanism Brendan Gahan’s says the look and message was carefully considered, going through round after round of revisions.

The edginess of user-generated content sites can sometimes scare brand advertisers away, but Chris Oates, who manages the Brisk brand for owner PepsiCo, says this kind of ad made sense, since meme-style content seems to resonate with Brisk fans. Schaff admits that there’s some controversial or offensive content on the site, but he says Imgur works hard to make sure that the images featured in the gallery are advertiser-friendly.

“Most viral content is not offensive content, it’s not pornography,” he says. “It’s really good, quality content.”

Brisk plans to follow the Scumbag Steve ad with another ad, with a new meme, in a few weeks.



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Foursquare And Skype Coming To Playstation Vita

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ps-vita-004-19441

During a press conference at the Gamescom gaming conference in Cologne, Sony announced a few new features for their new handheld console, the Vita (watch our hands-on at E3 here). Among them were support for Foursquare and Skype. The references were made while talking about the 3G capabilities of the $300 model, but it wasn’t implied that a 3G connection would be required.

More powerful than most phones and sporting a large, bright touchscreen and dual cameras, the Vita should be able to handle these services perfectly well. There was no demonstration and no screenshots, though, so the UI is still a mystery.

It’s also unclear whether it will integrate with the Vita’s other, more system-wide social tools. Sony has a system-wide voice chat and friends list, and Twitter is already integrated to some extent, but these new services may also reach into games. Becoming the mayor of an in-game location could become a new source of points for check-in addicts.

In addition to these announcements, it was confirmed that all Vita games will be downloadable. It’s reassuring in a way, but it seems likely that users are going to run out of space, considering these are true AAA games, likely clocking in at a few gigs each — and solid-state storage fast enough to load assets isn’t cheap. But an unconditional promise of downloadability is a smart one to make, it’s very “next-gen.”

The Vita will be hitting the US market some time in early 2012, though it may be possible to import one from Japan for the holidays — if you’re filthy rich.




Company:
SKYPE
Launch Date:
1/8/2003
Funding:
$68.8M

Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice and video calls and chats over the Internet. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free,…

Learn more



Company:
FOURSQUARE
Launch Date:
11/3/2009
Funding:
$71.4M

Foursquare is a geographical location based social network that incorporates gaming elements.

Users share their location with friends by “checking in” via a smartphone app or by text message….

Learn more



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Apple May Be Planning A Holiday Release For Next iPad

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Some rumors are swirling, quite unsubstantiated, that Apple may be breaking its own yearly release cycle by pushing for a holiday release for the next iPad. Traditionally, of course, Apple has its products on more or less yearly cycles, spreading the fun out over several events or sometimes furtively updating specs in the night. It’s worked well for them, because though it may be grueling for their engineers, it’s a known variable for them and the customers. It’s been a sort of assumption that the iPad would be subject to this same scheduled update, but that never sat well with me, especially after the introduction of the iPhone 4.

So these rumors come as no surprise; if I had “a person with proven knowledge,” I would have cited them with such a rumor months ago, whether they said so or not. It makes sense for a number of reasons.

Continue reading this article…



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Ping Pong Battle: Because All iPad Games Should Involve Backflips

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Since the iPad made its debut, we’ve seen a handful of apps that let you link multiple Apple iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches using Bluetooth to play extra engaging (and spectacularly expensive) games. The most famous example of this is Scrabble, which lets you use your iPhone as a letter tray and your iPad as the main game board. Now we’ve come across an upcoming iPad/iPhone game called Ping Pong Battle that lets you use your iPhone as a virtual ping pong paddle and your iPad as a tabletop — and it’s aiming to make gameplay a bit more physical. In fact, the teaser video, which we’ve embedded below, shows one player doing a backflip as he does some kind of supercharged ping pong combo move.

When we first saw the video we were skeptical — it looks like it would be nearly impossible to tell where and when you’re supposed to be swinging your iPhone. Sure, for a fleeting moment you can see what direction the ball is going as it “passes through” the iPad’s screen, but using that to figure out the ball’s position in space as it virtually flies toward you doesn’t look feasible. As it turns out, the gameplay doesn’t actually rely on visually keeping track of the ball at all. Instead, everything is based on sound and timing.

When it’s your turn to hit the ball, your iPhone makes a ‘woosh’ sound, which tells you when to swing the device. You’ll never have to do any lunges or backflips to save a ball at the last second, but there is some benefit to using your iPhone to ‘slice’ the virtual ball and do other ‘special moves’ — they change the timing of when your opponent will hear their ‘woosh’ sound, so you may be able to throw them off.

So what’s the point of the iPad in all this? The game’s developers say that it helps add to the realism by letting you hear and briefly see the ball (it also shows the score). It also allows for gamers to use the device’s ‘video out’ feature to project their virtual ping pong tables onto a wall or the floor, which they say could help it go viral as users turn their matches into public spectacles. A future version will let you substitute the iPad for a third iPhone.

When it’s released in the next week or two (depending on Apple’s approval process), Ping Pong Battle will sell for $4.99, though it may have a special intro price. The game was developed by PepperGum Games in a partnership with marketing firm Lime Marketing. For more details, check out the app’s Facebook page.

if you like the sound of Wii-like iPhone games, you may also be interested in SGN’s series of ‘i’ games, including iGolf and iBowl.



Article courtesy of TechCrunch

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