Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Apple is a master of perception management

Apple is predominantly a marketing and retailing company. Though it does some software and design work, it outsources its manufacturing to third party manufacturers. It certainly isn't an integrated manufacturer in the same sense as Samsung. It is all about immense media clout; thanks to its immense advertising & PR machine with a humongous budget. This media clout over a period of 30 years has resulted in an army of irrational fan following who would buy every product that comes out of Apple and defend all devious acts of the company. It's amazing that the largest company by market value, despite having highly questionable/monopolistic restrictions with regard to the App store and its iOS platform, attracts no adverse attention by the media and the FTC. The kind of media coverage that Apple gets is incredible!

What Apple does exceedingly well is to create myths. As Eric Raymond has pointed out in the past, “Mac was a slick repackaging of design ideas from an engineering tradition that long predated Jobs (in this case, going back to the pioneering Xerox PARC WIMP interfaces of the early 1970s). Which would be fine, except that Jobs created a myth that arrogated that innovation to himself and threw the actual pioneers down the memory hole.”

Raymond goes on to state “nearly a quarter-century later Jobs would repeat the same game with the iPhone. The people who did the actual innovating in smartphones – notably Danger with their pioneering Hiptop – got thrown down the memory hole by Jobs’s mythmaking (though in this case some of its principals would later achieve a kind of revenge by designing Android)” , which was founded in 2003 by Andy Rubin and eventually got acquired by Google in 2005.

The problem with Apple and its fans is that they tend to be in complete denial of all other innovations that came before and along side Apple's products. They tend to appropriate all such developments to Apple while deprecating others, which is but a myth.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Google new terms are similar to other major companies

With the updated terms Google is treating an account holder as the same individual accross all its properties just like Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon. Like them, Google is enabling sharing of users' data across various applications/properties of Google to give a consistent user experience. Google's new privacy policy/terms have now come to the level of Microsoft whose privacy statement states: "information collected through one Microsoft service may be combined with information obtained through other Microsoft services." Other major internet based companies also have similar policies. So why is Google being targetted singularly?

The changes are obviously intended to improve user experience across Google products. Another obvious consequence of this change is relevant ads across all of Google properties.

Algorithmic usage tracking is a common industry practice. Most internet based firms/websites use tracking software. If you are an Amazon user, you would have surely noticed targetted ads to buy various products from Amazon purely on the basis of your browsing behaviour. By the way, on the internet, every click (that results in a http request) gets registered on multiple servers and is likely being used by the respective service providers. Google is only being transparent about its changes in terms of service.

The tail piece: Since, the changes took effect my search experience has notceably improved. For instance, I was looking for information on ways of installing Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) on my intel x86 PC and then I found the most relevant results as the first link on the search result page (even though they came from an obscure blogger). Thanks to the search engine, I was able to install Android on my USB drive and run it on my PC.