If you haven’t heard, Google made changes to their search algorithm recently that apparently led to some pretty significant changes to search results. Interestingly, it appears to have had a positive effect on my presence – fuda.me now appears at the top of the Google search listing for my name (whereas previously, it was on page 2). This is a great thing for me, of course, but it isn’t without its downside.
Whilst it means I will hopefully see more hits to the site and blog from people who are intentionally seeking me out, over the past few days I’ve seen the number of “comments” submitted for approval on my blog posts sky-rocket. I say “comment”, because 100% of them have been spam with links to random places online, or sites like Facebook or YouTube.
It is times like these I’m glad WordPress gives me the option to approve posts when a user first comments on the site – thankfully it means I can prevent the spam from rearing its ugly head. Still, it’s just more proof that every benefit brings with it a cost, although in this case I’m happy with the net outcome.
I just saw an article on TechCrunch that pointed to a (seeingly well-rehearsed) Keynote delivered by Vic Gundotra, VP at Google, that argued why Android is going to be so important for the mobile world. He sold it well, I have to admit, but it got me thinking a little more about how most of use the Internet and connected devices, and what sort of implications his ‘ideal future’ may have for us.
I find it interesting that he talks about the device that would lead to a 1984 type situation. I think he misses something vital – that the device is ultimately only a gateway to the world as we know it now. There’s something to keep in mind here – Apple may (with the iPhone ecosystem) dictate what we can and can’t do with our mobile devices in terms of the Apps we can install and the functionality we can tap into as developers, and yes, you could argue this is draconian, particularly given the App store approval processes and other thing.
However, when you access the Internet, what do you and millions of others probably do when you’re looking for something? I’d say most people hit Google. And what determines the results that appear when you search the Internet? The Google search algorithm. So, ultimately, who has the power to dictate what information you are most likely to see when you use the Internet? Google. And with that information, and the information you give them through services such as Gmail and everything else Google build and encourage people to use, they can tweak that algorithm to present you with what they want you to see.
Android on every phone may make the device and applications you can use on it “free and open”, but it also gives them even more information about you and how you use the Internet. And, in this world, information is power. Just think – if we all had Android on our phones, and we all used Google to search the Internet, imagine the power the men at the top of Google would have over you. What if they decided that ‘not being evil’ wasn’t any fun anymore?
So it’s been ages since I’ve blogged (at least here – I’m a little more active on Twitter, but even then it’s been slow of late), but figured I’d throw a few comments out about my first impressions of Google Wave.
In a nutshell, it seems to me as if Wave is Google’s version of what email should have been, had the web been the web it is now when email was invented. It allows you to collaborate either synchronously or asynchronously with any number of people – I guess it’s a sort of social networking meets chat meets email meets blogging kind of space. I think it’s got real potential for changing the way we communicate, but before we get too excited about it, consider what we do now and how it might change the way we use other apps.
For example, replace Twitter followers with people in a Wave, and you’ve got the ability to not only micro blog (without the character limit), but also convert your micro blogs into conversation threads – something Twitter doesn’t really do well (though there are a number of Twitter apps that help with that).
I’ll wait until I’ve got a few more colleagues and friends using Wave before I make my judgement, but overall I think it’s the kind of thing I could grow to like using. I’ve always used email for communication – even now at work due to so many other techs being blocked (I can’t use Wave at work!) – so the ability to take the advantages of real-time communication and sharing and combine it with something that for most people should feel as simple as email is a real bonus.