It was a big week last week with Google revealing a bunch of details about ChromeOS. Honestly, though, it took my excitement level over the OS from a 9 to about a 2. I use Google Docs offline, along with a bunch of other web apps, and I can tell you that it just doesn’t work quite as well as it needs to. Maybe Google will fix this up, but in the end it seems it would just be so much easier to have a lightweight desktop space with the ability to run lightweight localized applications that synced with their online counterparts. In fact, I bet it would be significantly easier than trying to get offline web apps to work properly.
Anyhow, this week we have how to preview ChromeOS for yourself, The Register on the Google Gulags, and more…
- Start the week with ClickZ and their report that Twitter is planning Premium accounts. The ever awesomely named Biz Stone (sure, and my name is Brock Steel) announced that they were planning to charge for enhanced accounts that will let businesses track their twitter traffic with enhanced analytics and extra features.
- Rant time! It is no secret that The Register dislikes Google (their current promo story is “Google Chrome OS: Do we need another monoculture?”), but it had an initially promising story last week on what happens when you get penalized in Google. While the article tells some nice stories about companies that have been hit by it, their rhetoric gets awfully heavy handed. I find it particularly humorous that they make such a big deal over Google’s algorithmic changes to remove affiliate marketers, and the sources they cite are almost universally questionable (gambling.com? creditcardexpert.co.uk?), not to mention that most of the examples come from 2007, while Google was trying to clean itself up after it had gotten so loaded with affiliate marketers, gambling sites, and get rich quick scams that users were complaining.The final nail in this one, for me at least, came on page 4-5, when they start playing with the semantics of “objective” and “opinion” based on the Google legalese of results being opinion, along with their VP of Search Quality stating that the algorithmic results were better than subjective opinions of an individual (which they take as implying that Google results are objective). Google is not objective. Instead Google uses algorithmic quallity assessments to weed out pages that most people would find “less desirable” to view, in order to make a personalized ranking of what it thinks is what you want. In fact, one could not use the word objective with anything that Google does, since Google personalizes searches towards a user, in essence making every single search biased towards the interests of the user. Duh.
That said, “bias” has a double meaning that The Register is abusing. There is bias to how ranking and importance are interpreted, but the reasoning behind it isn’t some internal scheming—as The Register seems to continually hint at. Rather, Google is continually biasing and customizing results to deliver results that it thinks you want. This is why they removed all references to objectivity.
- Struggling designer working on getting sometime simple online? Smashing has 6 coding solutions for designers and developers. Basically this is just a list of the cool tricks you see on various designers web pages, and how to do them.
- The tech world was taken by storm last week as Google released more information about the fabled ChromeOS. Planning be released next year, it’s literally just the Chrome browser with enough calls to make the OS boot into it. Limiting, to be perfectly honest, but with some potential. Lifehacker has a link to all of the tools required for you to setup a virtual machine and check ChromeOS out for yourself. Try it out and let us know what you think.
- Slightly old, but no less relevant is e-nor’s The Cost of Misinformation. This post takes a look at Omnitures “The Cost of Free”, and points out how a lot of Omniture’s points, shall we say, presented a biased framing of the situation. Well duh, Omniture is competing with them after all.
- Econsultancy thinks that testing online should not be optional. I question this sentiment sometimes (one only needs to look at any “Can I haz Cheezburger” to see where heavily tested art gets us), but then I doubt econsultancy is suggesting that we should be testing everything outside of the world of business.
- Grokdotcom.com (god I hate that URL) wants you to take your unique value proposition to the next level. More importantly it talks about extending your UVP beyond copy, a step that many companies forget.
- We haven’t talked a lot about mobile recently (I fear I lose focus easily) but Boxesandarrows has, specifically talking about four key principles of mobile user experience design. My only complaint is that he doesn’t talk about on the go use, which I consider to be the major flaw of current mobile interface designs.
- Clickz has a cool, and rather long, article on Salon.com’s reinvention, and the efforts they’re taking to try to make money online after 15 years of problems.
- Web Apatosaurus AOL has rebranded. It’s now Aol, or “owuhl”. Apparently their branders weren’t paying enough attention to their Kea case study to realize that the reason turning “Kiwi Expat Association” to Kea worked so well was because not only does “Kea” sound good, but it’s the name of the prolific New Zealand parrot. Or maybe AOL is aiming at buying out Hootsuite and becoming known as “owl”.