Tag Archive: Google

AdBlock Plus to Allow Ads

In a strange turn-about, AdBlock Plus will now allow “acceptable ads.”  Why?

Starting with Adblock Plus 2.0 you can allow some of the advertising that is considered not annoying. By doing this you support websites that rely on advertising but choose to do it in a non-intrusive way. And you give these websites an advantage over their competition which encourages other websites to use non-intrusive advertising as well. In the long term the web will become a better place for everybody, not only Adblock Plus users. Without this feature we run the danger that increasing Adblock Plus usage will make small websites unsustainable.

It’s an interesting idea.  It allows users to support their favorite sites, without having to deal with obnoxious advertisements.  This also encourages sites to only choose these acceptable or not-obnoxious ads.

(hat tip: Linear Fix)


Facebook may have won the social media battle, but what’s the prize?  Bob Cringely predicts a finite shelf-life for Facebook.

[W]hile Facebook is certainly a huge social, cultural, and business phenomenon, I just don’t see it being around for very long.

Facebook is a huge success. You can’t argue with 750 million users and growing. And I don’t see Google+ making a big dent in that.  .  .  .

Each era of computing seems to run for about a decade of total dominance by a given platform.  .  .  .

I give Facebook seven years or until 2014 to peak.

Does this feel wrong to you?  Listen to your gut and I think you’ll agree with me even if we don’t exactly know why.

I’m inclined to agree with him on some level, but I think it’s more of the finite shelf life of the “walled garden.”  Eric Raymond discusses an alternate universe of no Internet as a “world of walled gardens:”

Welcome to a world of walled gardens. Your digital universe is a collection of competing fiefdoms run by CompuServe, AOL, Genie, and later entrants that came into the fray as demand rose, many of them run by big media companies. Each network has its own protocols, its own addressing conventions, and its own rigidly proprietary access software. You get the services they choose to offer and that’s it – there’s no end-to-end, no access to the bitstream.

You can only do the equivalent of email and instant-messaging with people on the same provider you are using. Inter-provider gateways are buggy and often nonexistent – some providers think they add attractiveness to potential customers, others think they can shoulder smaller networks aside by making them relatively inaccessible.

Facebook, like old AOL, lets you leave, and has some interoperability with its instant messaging platforms, but it’s effectively closed.  The Facebook e-mail system is closed to Facebook, and its IM is not entirely open either.  It has an API to allow other software to work with it, but it controls the ecosystem.

Facebook is smart and will probably learn lessons from AOL’s failures, but its hard to see what it can do beyond a certain point.  I think I agree with Bob Cringely, even if I don’t know why.

Could Google’s ChromeOS be its push into the enterprise?  Carlo Daffara’s analysis indicates as such.  Chrome is well positioned to be a “thinner client” operating system.

Unlike traditional computers, much of the data and computing is done on Google’s servers, but unlike thin clients, “ChromeOS is designed to execute web applications, where the computational cost of the presentation and interaction layer is on the client; this means that the cost per user for providing the service is one order of magnitude lower than bitmap-based remotization approaches.”

A practical, comparatively inexpensive client with minimal maintenance costs would appeal to the enterprise customer.

Attached are the term paper and the presentation slides for Sustainable Energy at Rutgers.

Sustainable Energy Paper


Symbian Closes Its Source Code

Nokia seemed to be making the right move when it opened the source code to the Symbian operating system, which runs on a large number of cell phones and handheld devices.  So when they announced that they were closing their code, the natural question was: Why?

Nokia never reaped the benefits that they wanted from their Open Source strategy.  Nokia was hoping that by opening up the code, other hardware manufacturers and the user community would do the heavy lifting of porting the software to new hardware.

But to get other people to contribute their work, you need an advantage for them as well. What can this advantage be? For Eclipse, most of the companies developing their own integrated development environment (IDE) found it economically sensible to drop their own work and contribute to Eclipse instead. It allowed them to quickly reduce their maintenance and development costs while increasing their quality as well. The Symbian foundation should have done the same thing, but apparently missed the mark, despite having a large number of partners and members. Why?

The reason is time and focus. The Eclipse foundation had, for quite some time, basically used only IBM resources to provide support and development. In a similar way, it took WebKit (which is not quite a foundation, but follows the same basic model) more than two years before it started receiving substantial contributions[.]

(Carlo Daffara)

Also compare Symbian’s Open Source history to that of Mozilla.  After Netscape launched the Mozilla foundation it took years of effort for the critical mass to arise.  Evidently, Nokia had no interest in putting in this same level of effort.

Additionally, Symbian had a disadvantage when compared to some of these other projects. Android is open, mobile, relatively easy to port to new hardware, and increasingly ubiquitous.  Large hardware manufacturers have dumped Symbian in favor of Android.  Google understood the importance of the Open Source community and embraced it.

Recently, Facebook opened up its server design.

Both Google and Facebook as competitors in the same industry: advertising.

Strictly speaking, they don’t compete in the hardware arena.

Google’s actions indicate that it believes that its hardware designs give it an advantage in the processing and delivery of advertising.  Keeping these designs a trade secret is to its advantage.  (It is worth noting that they do share some details of its designs.)

In contrast, Facebook believes that using an Open Source philosophy for its hardware gives it an advantage.  Facebook will now be able to receive input from outside designers and take advantage of economies of scale as their designs are produced for more customers.

Jon Stoke’s analysis at Ars Technica is correct in that Facebook “doesn’t have to beat Google to win. Rather, the move will be a success if it only serves to shrink some of Google’s relative advantage. Anything that lets Facebook become more competitive by eliminating some of Google’s advantage in delivering ads cheaply will be a success.”

Ultimately Google and Facebook are both acting as rational profit-seekers, though they have chosen different strategies.

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