From the Blog

Mar
29
Posted by Jake DiMare at 3:01 am
Google Glass

I hope these make my mustache look good

So excited…I was notified this evening that I’ve been selected for the Google Glass explorer program. This is some serious Willy Wonka golden ticket action for me. It feels like I won the lottery. The #ifihadaglass contest was to share in a tweet or on Google+ what I, as an individual, would do with my Google Glass. Today they sent out notices to the 8000 selected entries.

If you are not yet familiar with what Google Glass is, here’s a good place to start: http://www.google.com/glass/start/

When I entered the contest this was my tweet:

Two hours ago I got this response:

 

 

I can’t even think straight enough to write this post I’m so excited…

Instagram LogoI finally got the opportunity to download Instagram for Android over the weekend and I have to say…I haven’t fallen more deeply in love with a mobile application since I discovered Space Cat for Android. The Instagram roll-out has been flawless, the integration tight, and the functionality leaves me with absolutely no questions about why iPhone fan boys (and girls) have been raving about it for months. My only complaint for Instagram is: What took you so long?

Seriously though, if you haven’t checked this app out yet, I strongly recommend it. You’ll be wondering why you barely ever used your standard phone camera in no time. In addition to offering all sorts of filters to dress up otherwise standard smart phone photography, the social aspects of the experience are instantly addictive and imminently usable.

The other thing I like about Instagram is the simplicity. Everything about the interface screams to me that the design and build team decided to create a better social sharing experience for mobile photos…And nothing else. This is a really smart strategy for a mobile-only play and I hope they stick by their approach as the application matures.

Check out some examples of my new mastery of photography and/or visit http://blog.instagram.com/:

Recipes

Kitties

Beta

 

 

Feb
11
Posted by Jake DiMare at 10:26 am

I have recently begun to feel disillusioned with the news media in the United States. I believe they spend a lot of time reporting on stories people don’t seem to care about while at the same time complaining that the news industry is falling apart and it is all the internet’s fault. I’d like to write an editorial propagating conspiracy theories about why the media seems to exist for the sole purpose of  generating fear by pushing headlines about non-issues like ‘The Swine Flu’ and car recalls. However, instead I will try to make a facts based observation of what is misaligned in today’s news…February 11th 2010…To propagate the theory that there are things the news media could do to improve their situation. Consider the following facts gathered between 9 and 9:30 AM today:

Here are the ten most popular topics in the United States today according to Google trends:

1. washington snow
2. valentines day ideas
3. schools closed
4. olympic games
5. my name is khan
6. iran nuclear
7. greece debt crisis
8. google buzz
9. eu summit
10. alec baldwin hospital

Here are the top ten things people in the USA are searching for on Google:

1. state of delaware state of emergency
2. wfaa school closings
3. alec baldwin hospital
4. debi nova
5. vickie stringer
6. candi holyfield
7. iran news
8. josh turner
9. sat scores
10. mothman

Finally, here are the top ten trending topics of conversation on Twitter, worldwide:

1. #nowplaying
2. #ohjustlikeme
3. #awkwardsituation
4. #petpeeve
5. MNIK
6. Dallas
7. iPad
8. iranelection
9. Stop Twitting
10. Taylor Lautner

I believe this information paints a pretty accurate picture of what people are interested in. Certainly Google and Twitter are not used by the entire world, but they are definitely used by a massive and diverse subset of the global population.  Now consider what’s going on with CNN as of 9:30AM today:

  • The #1 Story on CNN’s RSS feed for the US news:    The Toyota recall.
  • The number of stories on CNN’s global homepage about the Toyota recall:  3!

Notice nobody is talking about or searching for information on the Toyota recall in the previous three sets of information?  Furthermore, more than half the things people are discussing and searching for today are NOT mentioned anywhere in the news. Do I believe the media has a responsibility to report news…Which by its very nature might be something the general public is not yet aware of…and therefore could not be discussing? Absolutely. But I also believe that a story should be reported on for an amount of time which is proportionate to the public’s interest and relative to the importance of the story.

I would like to point out I don’t accept the argument that CNN must decide what stories to lead with based on what people are clicking. This is because I have learned, after ten years of building web sites and assisting clients with decisions on information architecture, if you put something on the home page it will get clicked. The statistical difference between the number of clicks something on the homepage of a site and something on a subordinate page get are universally staggering.

The interesting thing is as I write this I am starting to feel a little sympathetic towards the people who decide what to report on. If there is one thing I have found to be a growing challenge in recent history it is figuring out how to cut through the massive amounts of information available. That and the overwhelming number of ways there are able to communicate with one another. As we all dove into Google Buzz yesterday my close friend Eric Johnson pointed out: “Why do I need another place to update my status”? (Which, by the way, is a source of news! )

So my questions for you are…

1. Should there be a relevance between what the news media is reporting on and what people express  interest in?

2. Do the users of Google and  Twitter represent a large enough and diverse enough subset of the population to consider their dialog a relevant leading indicator of general interest?

3. What other indicators could we consider to indicate the importance of information?

Interesting to note, there is a new online news media outlet called Global Post who’s headlines are much more aligned with world interests. They also sell a subscription based product where the subscribers literally decide what their global network of journalists report on. I think I’ll quit my bitching and sign up.

Feb
10
Posted by Jake DiMare at 9:44 am

In following with their standard tradition Google sneaked right up and dropped an interesting new feature onto the Gmail platform yesterday. Google Buzz is a new tool within Gmail that pretty much mimics the functionality of Twitter and then some. Those that were invited to beta Google Wave will probably notice a couple similarities. For instance, with Buzz the user can broadcast pictures and videos right in an update. Buzz is also able to link into our content on Twitter, Flickr, Youtube and Picaso for dramatically simple sharing.

To be honest, it makes me wonder if Wave was actually a beta for Buzz all along. If so, this approach allowed Google to test the system, gather feedback and make revisions without tipping their hand on their actual long term plans. This actually makes a lot of sense to me…I, like many of my friends, could never get into adding Wave to my rotation of sites to communicate with. Frankly, I was surprised to think Google believed there was a chance average users would.

The new Google Buzz interface

The new Google Buzz interface

Like the recent Facebook interface update, Google Buzz is rolling out slowly. I was last to see Facebook’s changes but I got Buzzed first thing today. I promised some friends who are out in the cold I would post a screen shot to my blog (press CTRL + to zoom in):

At the end of the day this is all about bandwidth. Not the kind that measures your connection speed…the kind that measures your attention. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, etc, etc, etc, are in a battle for your attention online because like the television industry eyeballs pointed at the screen = revenue in the internet economy. The only question from a shareholder’s point of view is who can capture more eyeballs?

What do you think so far? Is this the next flash in the pan in the never ending battle for our online attention or will Buzz turn into a legitimate contender in the social space?

Feb
04
Posted by Jake DiMare at 9:12 am

According to people familiar with the investigation officials at the NSA have been working with Google to investigate cyber-attacks.  The NSA’s general counsel drafted what’s known as a cooperative research and development agreement to work with Google. Hmm…before I go any further, let me say I am a patriot and one of Google’s biggest fan.

The world’s largest search engine working with the world’s largest spy agency may not seem like anything to be concerned about…That is unless you wrote a book report on George Orwell’s famous novel 1984 (Written in 1948). And you consider that current trends are to move all of our computing ‘into the cloud’…which may as well be Newspeak for into Big Brother‘s pocket. Google is a front runner for cloud based computing with gmail, google docs, google apps, etc.

Fortunately, my life is about as vanilla as they come. I am not terribly concerned because I doubt Google or the NSA gives a rat’s ass what I am doing at any given moment. But, I do believe in privacy…and I do believe it is important to take appropriate measures in a free democratic society to ensure we don’t end up in a place like the one described in Orwell’s novel.

What do you think?