Archive for Google

Mar
11

Internet and Attention Spans

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I read a lot. In fact, in any given day I would say I spend a great deal reading, which is probably why my work days are so long. And its not just reading I do a lot of active reading, I markup text, write notes, etc.

I’ve been told that I should skim in order to condense my work day, but the reason why I read and not skim is that when someone asks me what do I think about the sudden drops of service in several major cloud offerings and what it means for the future of cloud hosting, I can offer a well thought reply.

Last summer in the Atlantic, Nicholas Carr wrote an article called “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” It is quite an interesting read. Essentially it comes down to what we read also affects how we read it.

He talked about how the constant scanning of articles and when he is drawing a blank on something instead of trying to remember it, he simply Googles it allowing his memory “muscles” to atrophy.

In an interview, Sergey Brin said, “if you had all the world’s information directly attached to your brain, or an artificial brain that was smarter than your brain, you’d be better off.” Which is why Brin and Page along with the rest of Google is working on creating AI.

My question is this, as I bounce from subject to subject (something I have always done anyway) with my new artificial brain, will I get stopped by Adwords?

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Feb
25

Gmail Takes a Dive

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As anyone who regularly uses Google’s Gmail service probably now knows, Gmail suffered a 4 hour outage yesterday. Now it goes without saying that it is by no means easy to maintain email communications for the estimated 113 million worldwide Gmail users – but this is Google we’re talking about. Among the first to realize there was an outage and then message it to their customers was UK hosting company 34SP.com. Here you can read their original blog post entitled, Gmail Outage.

Immediately Twitter began to fire on all cylinders as tweets began to fly complaining of the outage and looking for answers. So what exactly did happen? What brought the most successful modern messaging and information company to their knees?

Human error.

According to the Official Google Blog on the Gmail Outage, ”there was a routine maintenance event in one of our European data centers. This typically causes no disruption because accounts are simply served out of another data center. Unexpected side effects of some new code that tries to keep data geographically close to its owner caused another data center in Europe to become overloaded, and that caused cascading problems from one data center to another. It took us about an hour to get it all back under control.” The official comments were communicated by Acacio Cruz, Gmail’s Site Reliability Manager.

So they uploaded some code without properly testing it first in an isolated environment and it busted the whole thing. Too bad they couldn’t just ‘roll it back’. It would have saved a ton of bad publicity.

There has been speculation online that the outage may have been caused by a DDos attack. This seems unlikely though given Google’s official explanation.

Mr. Cruz – who is responsible for the reliability of Gmail did add one more thing: ”We know how painful an outage like this is – we run Google on Gmail, so outages like this affect us the same way they affect you. We always investigate the root causes of rare outages like this one, so we can prevent similar problems in the future.”

Categories : In the News
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According to Net Applications, rivals Firefox and Safari continue to eat at Microsoft IE’s market share. Microsoft lost another 1.6% points in December giving Internet Explorer a total decline of 10.4% since December of 2007. Mozilla’s Firefox in contrast gained 4.5% in 2008 and Apple’s Safari ends the year with 7.93% of browser market share.

Researchers believe Internet Explorer is losing market shares based on the declining popularity of their older browser, IE6. Although IE7 also lost market share, it only lost six-tenths of a percentage point. IE8 will be unveiled soon as Microsoft states that it is “just around the corner.” Microsoft is betting that IE8 will halt the decrease in market share.

Google’s Chrome browser was off to a shaky start early in the fourth quarter of 2008 but has increased its revenue share to 1.04%. This represents a 20% gain from November.

Net Applications cites other reasons for Microsoft IE’s decline. Statistics show that holiday months such as November and December have been traditionally bad years for Internet Explorer as more Internet users use their home computers. Home and off-work computers (such as cyber-cafes) boast a higher percentage of non-Microsoft browsers, while corporate computers favor Internet Explorer. “The December holiday season strongly favored residential over business usage,” the company said on its Web site. “This in turn increases the relative usage share of Mac, Firefox, Safari and other products that have relatively high residential usage. All December usage statistics should be read in that context.”

Categories : In the News
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The latest browser which has been introduced to a general Internet audience is the browser named Chrome by Google. It was released to much hype right around the first of September 2008. You can read the original Official Google Blog post here. Keeping in mind that its competitors have been refining their business models and products for (in some cases) over a decade, it seemed like a good time to revisit the product and take a peek at relative market share.

So here are a few different sources and their findings on Chrome’s relative market share:

w3schools.com is a website resource site which has published its browser usage statistics for the past 5 years. You can view the complete statistics here. Coming in as the fourth most popular browser – Chrome commands a 3% share at the site.

Marketshare is a company that specializes in global market share statistics for browsers, search engines, and operating systems. The company has compiled browser statistics since the launch of Chrome and pegs the current adoption rate at slightly less than 1%. You can view the complete page of Chrome statistics here.

A recent article at the Macworld Magazine website pegs the percentage of Internet Explorer users across the Internet at 81.36%. The article uses a figure of just .62% penetration for the Chrome browser in the United States, with a .92% usage rate in Canada.

CNET’s Stephen Shankland recently penned an article entitled, ‘How Widely Used is Chrome? More Than I Expected‘ which tracks the usage of Chrome at CNET.com as it has grown from just 1% of site visitors in September to a fairly respectable (after just 2 months) 3.6% in October.

So the numbers range from less than 1% to 3.6% at CNET. What are the numbers looking like for web hosting companies specifically? UK website hosting company 34sp.com was generous enough to share some recent analytics data for this analysis. For the month of November 2008, the site visitor usage for Chrome at 34sp.com was 3.27% – at the higher end of our usage spectrum. For comparison, I obtained analytics data from another anonymous hosting company for comparison. The comparison hosting firm yielded a 2.7% penetration rate for Chrome – still at the higher end of the scale. Both of the hosting company statistics were generated via Google Analytics.

So while overall market share for the Google Chrome browser is still small, it is growing after just 2 months. Additionally, more technical users (presumably CNET and hosting company related) appear to be adopting the browser at higher overall rates. One piece of anecdotal evidence: I was visiting a hosting company a few days ago, and the CEO was using the Chrome browser exclusively.

This content was written by Derek Vaughan exclusively for WebHostBlog.com.

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Nov
06

Yahoo Pleads for MSN Buyout

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Regulators said no to the Google/Yahoo advertising deal. Yahoo now finds itself in a difficult position. If the ad merger had gone through, Yahoo would have plenty of extra money to be able to move forward with their business plans, however with the loss of that cash and the decline in the economy Yahoo finds itself in a bad position.

So much so that they are now trying to get MSN to put their buyout offer back on the table. Well as the saying goes there has never been a better time to buy. Yahoo’s shares are just under the $14 mark and Yahoo is in a vulnerable position.

According to the Nielsen NetRatings in August, Google owns 60.0% of the search engine traffic, Yahoo 18.1%, and MSN 10.7%. Last time I said this wouldn’t go through because of government involvement but now that I look at the numbers with fresh eyes, I am more inclined to believe this will go through just fine. 28.8%, though not too pretty for the handful of search engine portals that share 11.2% between them, it is viable enough to not be considered harmful for the market.

Although personally, I would not like to see Yahoo under Microsoft, I think it would be a pretty good deal for both. History in the search engine marketplace has shown that neither company has what it takes to take down Google or even hold a candle to them.

So What’s next?

Microsoft has the luxury of waiting. They can sit on this for a bit and see how far Yahoo’s value drops, the more it drops the more desperate Yahoo gets. I think that if Microsoft doesn’t make a move by the end of the month they will probably wait for next year late January/February.

So keep your eyes posted on this. My curiosity actually hopes they do buy them out just to see what will happen in the search engine arena. Will Microhoo find ways to increase their market share? Will Google find a means to beat down the two headed beast? Will coffee prices plunge? Stay tuned! Until next time, happy hosting.

Categories : In the News
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