Henrik Carlsson's Blog

More facts on usage of iOS vs Android

Here’s another report of iOS vs Android use. According to Mobile Marketing Watch iOS represents two thirds of the mobile traffic that hits Google Search.

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”The perils of possession without utilization”

Horace Dediu makes a chart of ”Possession vs. Utilization for Android and iPhone”.

This data seems to support the hypothesis that Android users are disproportionately less willing to spend money (note that the data does not say that users don’t have money, but simply that they are not spending it).

Which is why my current idea for a smartphone app will be realized as an iOS app, not an Android one. (Click through to the original post to se the actual charts.)

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More Google+, a response to Emil

A while back my friend Emil responded to my post on Google+. I should have answered it right away, but lots of stuff got it the way (mostly work). Here is what Emil wrote.

Men det går alldeles utmärkt att köra google+ utan javascript! Och för den delen tror jag du hade tyckt om Google+!

Update: Okej lite för snabb med att skjuta där, var från höften. Viss funktionalitet försvinner ju faktiskt. Men en del saker fungerar ändå.

For the non-Swedish speaking audience of this blog, what he says is that some things in Google+ still works, even without JavaScript. I’ll admit (as I did in my original post) that I haven’t really tested Google+ myself, that all of the writing was based solely on what I’d read about it. He also says that I’d probably like Google+.

Emil’s got a point. I really should have tried Google+ before coming down hard on it. I also might like it, if I tried. There is absolutely no ideological statement behind me not using Google+. (The same is true for me not using Facebook.) It’s just a lack of interest in immersing myself in yet another community/social network.

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Google buys Motorola

This really seems to be Google’s day on this blog. So far one part criticism and one part praise. I guess this post will be both.

Today Google bought Motorola. They claim that it is to strengthen Android as a platform against the ”anti-competitive” moves to buy patent portfolios by Apple and Microsoft. (Never mind that according to Microsoft, Google was invited to join in on the joint venture that bought one of the patent portfolios that Google’s been wining about.) Apparently other Android using phone makers praise this move.

A few things comes to my mind:

  1. It’s not unlikely that Google is trying to, so to speak, control the entire experience. Especially people that likes/loves/worships iPhones criticize Android for platform fragmentation and for lack of a unified user experience. This gives them an opportunity to seriously lead by example, to make a ”true” Android Experience.

    Sure, Google has sold two Android phones under it’s own brand before, but none of them seemed to have been wholeheartedly done. I guess it will be different now.

    I’m not saying that this is a bad thing, absolutely not. For phone users it’s likely a great thing. A sort of ”gold standard” Android phone likely means happier customers. It also means more competition for Apple, which for me as a heavy Apple product user is even more great. Competition means Apple got to try harder and make even better products. And who knows, maybe they produce a phone that even makes me switch to team Android.

  2. This will likely lead to a lot more revenue for the Motorola-Google, compared to Motorola’s revenue. Time and again the iPhone keeps being the by far most profitable phone (yes phone, not smart phone, it beats all mobile phones) even though it’s market share is far from the biggest. One big reason for that (and for Apple’s huge revenues in other parts of the tech industry as well) is likely Apple’s way of wanting to own and control ”the whole experience”.

  3. Other Android vendors will likely not be so happy in the long run. If Google in fact starts making phones that are marketed as the true, intended Android experience, the other vendors are going to have quite a challenge competing.

    If this is not the case, then I don’t really see what Google gains from this move. Sure they get a bigger patent portfolio, but Google doesn’t like patents, since it hinders ”openness”. Defending against something you don’t like by acquiring a lot on your own doesn’t really sound like an honest thing. You wouldn’t oppose nukes by manufacturing your own, would you?

    If Google really wants to make a stand against patents (which I would applaud greatly, by the way) a good way of doing so would be to use its money and power to make some serious lobbying against software patents.

  4. We recently explained how companies including Microsoft and Apple are banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android.

    Google’s executives really, really got to stop playing the role of some kind of victim!

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The real openness of Google+

In the spirit of ”give credit where credit is due” and as a follow up to this mornings rant about Google+ and what’s not opened about is, here is some praise to Google for what is in fact open.

According to the SitePoint podcast #120 Google+ has a feature called ”Data liberation” (or something like) that allows you to export everything on your profile in more or less open formats. That’s seriously awesome!

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The closed nature of Google+

I’ve never used Google+. This article is solely based on me reading other sources.

The word ”open” is often used by Google, and even more often by Google’s proponents, as an argument for why Google and their products are better than others (especially better than Apple, but occasionally Microsoft). In my opinion though that has always been about business strategy and marketing, not ideology (and that’s fine). Google is a company that wants to make money and there is nothing wrong with that. This is not going to be an Apple fanboy’s assault on Google. It’s going to be reflecting on the not so open world of Google+ and a concerned look at some of the not-so-great-in-fact-really-bad things about Google+ and it’s lack of ”openness”.

The semantics

The HTML of Google+ is an absolute nightmare. It’s <div> in <div> in <div> in <div> (repeat indefinitely). And the class names makes no semantic sense what so ever. On episode #32 of Build and Analyze Marco Arment speculates that this could be because the code itself is actually written in a higher level language and compiled into the HTML that makes up the page. That may be the case, but it’s still a complete disregard of everything that the Web Standards-people and the Microformats community (and others) have fought for over the years.

Semantics and well-structured HTML that validates can easily become a religion. Breaking these dogmas is not a problem for the sake of it. It’s a problem because it partially locks down the content on Google+ and makes it harder for parsers and crawlers to do something meaningful with it. Instapaper for instance had to have a completely specialized parsing algorithm written for it (again Build and Analyze #32). One of the main purposes of the new elements in HTML5 was to give developers simpler tool to mark up content in a way that makes sense semantically. Google has previously made a big deal about HTML5 so why not follow its semantics as well?

URL from hell

The urls for peoples pages on Google+ is horrible. People are identified by a long string of digits, not by a username or anything that’s easily rememberable. In practice this means that the most popular way to find people’s Google+ sites is likely to use Google Search to find them. Thereby Google, who makes its money from advertising, gets yet another chance to show you its ads.

With a bit of a tin-foil hat-mind this could be seen as a slightly anticompetitive move, but there are other search engines too, right?

Everything is a JavaScript

Every single part of the content of a Google+ page is generated with javascript. This is unfortunately not something unique; Twitter does it, I think Facebook does it etc. However, just because you are in good company does not mean you’re doing the right thing. Here’s some reasons why javascript-generated content is bad:

End game

I want to once again state that this is not an Apple Fanboy’s rant against a threat to the all mighty fruit, it’s a web developer who’s concerned about some of the directions being taken by one of the largest web companies in the world, and one that explicitly uses the word open time after time to tout its own greatness.

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Firefox 5 is out! That’s great, I guess

So Firefox 5 is here. That’s great, I guess, but what’s new? Even on Mozilla’s own What’s new page for Firefox 5 there isn’t much. When I visit is during the writing of this post all I can see is that it’s apparently easy to customize Firefox with add-ons and plugins, but that’s hardly news.

The release notes lists a few minor features and the biggest one seems to be support for CSS Animations.That’s great, I guess, but why does that warrant a bump from version 4 to version 5.

Firefox used to be very slow when it came to releases. (It’s still very slow when it comes to actual usage.) This new fast release pace is probably to compete with Google Chrome, which has a very aggressive release cycle and fast iteration. I like fast progress, but I don’t like the devaluation of version numbers. If a small amount of features warrants a full version number jump then the users will quickly tire of updating.

The big difference in my opinion between Firefox and Chrome releases is that all tough they both nowadays want to bump version often, it irritates me a lot more when Firefox does it. The reason for this is that Chrome updates is absolutely silent. Nothing informs me that an update is available, it just installs. Once it installs nothing informs me that there has been an update, it just works slightly better than before. This is far less obtrusive and don’t have the same devaluating effect.

So great news Firefox, I guess, but a bump to 4.1 instead of 5 would have felt a lot more motivated. (The worst is that I recall reading/hearing something about Microsoft adopting the same aggressive versioning.)

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Google +Circles: share what matters, with the people who matter most (and with Google).

Apparently Google is about to launch a full scale attack on Facebook with their own social media community. I’m not a Facebook user so I don’t know whether there are any aspects of it that Google obviously would do better. However I can guess that they will have one thing in common, and that’s one of the mail reasons I don’t use Facebook.

The user is not the customer, the user is the product. I always prefer to be the customer.

Here a link to a video and an about page for Google+.

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