Wednesday, January 11, 2006


google: i'm feeling lackluster

A while back I published an article asking if google had jumped the shark. While no one is throwing them overboard quite yet, a post to threadwatch points out how much Google has been struggling to launch features that show off that old Google sparkle. From base, to Google Pack, to (more notably) the "we sell videos too" Google Video Store, has Google lost their magic amulet?

From ZDNet Google Video Review:
The Web site adheres to the Google philosophy of less-is-more but lacks any slick design elements that would signal the existence of sexy content such as, say, movies. And, rather than still images from videos to click on for a sample clip, many thumbnail images and preview boxes feature only plain screens with the name of the show--or a blank black box.
From PC Mag Is Google's Tech Heading Downhill? article:
With each one of the negative reviews, many surfacing on Tuesday, is the notion that Google Video isn't just a one-time miss. Rather, critics say, it's one of a growing number of recent failures suggesting that Google's usual Midas Touch is missing in action, and that should worry Google as well as its investors and those who rely on its products at home or work.

Naturally, not everyone agrees. Bill writes in with a well thought out response to my jump shark article explaining why I'm full of it. Here is an excerpt:

In one sentence you say Google is monopolizing and competing against everyone. Which is it? If they are monopolizing then there really isn't any competition. So what industry do they monopolize? And if they are competing then to suggest they are dead in the water is patently false as well. They are a business, a fairly young and suprisingly successful business. Their job is to expand market share and make money for their stockholders.

In the end I suspect that Google's problem is that they are a real company now and so they have to compete with what other real companies are doing and they have to figure out how to hold customers and create income. The problem is that, as Microsoft has repeatedly shown, this position doesn't facilitate innovation. Google is still one of the brightest companies around, but they're starting to loose their feeling lucky goodwill from the Internet community at large. This has resulted in a slowly growing amount of the scoffing media attention that Microsoft and News Corp have enjoyed for years. And with cool new 1998 products like a Google eBook Store on the horizon, it is about time.

Monday, January 09, 2006


fresh ideas: eight very original blogs

innovative - being or producing something like nothing done or experienced or created before; "stylistically innovative works"; "innovative members of the artistic community"; "a mind so innovational, so original" (TheFreeDictionary)

Over the past few months I've stumbled upon a number of blogs that have stuck out to me with their originality. Their subject matter ranges pretty widely, but they all show the power of a good idea, a slightly quirky approach, and a dedicated author. I hope you can draw as much inspiration from them as I do.

  1. Cooking For Engineers
    Food, geeks, tools, what else is there? Simple idea that works like the SlashDot of cooking blogs.

  2. Stuff On My Cat
    More fun than a bunch of stuff on your cat. Wait, it is a bunch of stuff on your cat. A very simple idea on the surface that has been able to build a profoundly faithful following among a special breed cat lovers.

  3. News Hounds
    Pretty simple. Hatred for Fox News packaged into a daily blog of all the things evil about Fox News.

  4. Overheard in the Office
    Office humor blog. Users send in the odd things they overhear co-workers saying (or say themselves, or wish they'd said, or whatever). Very amusing.

  5. Blog Contest Site
    Stay up to date with contests around the Internet by watching this site. Who doesn't love contests?

  6. College-Startup
    Should you start a business while going to college? This sites thinks so and has the daily posts to prove it.

  7. Prank A Day
    Who doesn't want to pull a new prank every day? Pranks are mostly simple and useually legal and clean, even if they may be somewhat inadvisable.

  8. Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog
    So guns are used in self defense all the time, but who pays attention? This blog does, and keeps a record to.

So what do all these blogs have in common? They take a smart, subject oriented approach to their content. There are thousands of "my daily life" and "today's google rumor"blogs out there, but blogs that effectively focus on one subject area and provide lots of relevant content to their readers are exceptionally rare. These blogs show that all it takes is a good idea that resonates with the public and a little bit of effort to become that de facto source for anything from pranks to pictures of stuff on cats.

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