Monday, May 19, 2008

web advertising is Google's Achilles heel

I feel web advertising is Google's Achilles heel. How effective is an advertisement?
People don't really know. That is how Google profits. I have some nascent ideas (half baked).
If anyone is interested, we can collaborate. If my guess is correct and it proves to be Google's Achilles heel, then it has the potential to bring Google crashing down - but none of us would want such a horrible thing to happen - right? ;)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

juwo as a framework for other applications

juwo is misunderstood and much maligned - probably because of its non-intuitive and poorly designed user interface. Yet, it is powerful in concept and potential uses.

Recently, the prestigious and highly competitive Android Developer Contest concluded. Out of 1788 applications, 50 were picked as the winners (the list is here). juwo lost badly - in fact, it was likely disqualified at the outset because I never received my scores.
However I was amazed to see at least 3 winning apps that juwo could pretty much, do all that they could.

  • Breadcrumbz - navigation using pictures. This can be a juwo with each block, containing a photo or a voice note, and text.

  • Cooking Capsules - cooking instructions with a video. Again, this can be a juwo with each block as the step of a recipe. Even better than the original application, you can skip to the important parts of the video and replay.

  • TuneWiki - lyrics stream on the screen as music plays. Here is a juwo demo of American Idol. The lyrics could be - one verse for each block.

These winning applications show that juwo can be used directly or serve as a framework for other applications to build custom interfaces for their specific needs, on top of.

Think... multimedia lists.

juwo can be used for serious applications to benefit society. For the developing world - quicker diagnosis of diseases, better utilization of health care resources - doctors, midwives in rural areas. This is both for the developing world, and rural under served areas in the USA. (I shall release details of this after juwo is available on the actual handsets).

It is discouraging that few can see its potential.

Monday, May 5, 2008

To Google: please make your Android strategy win-win, not win-lose.

To Google - Dan Morill, Rick Miner, Google Android Advocates and Brin(?) - please make your Android strategy win-win, not win-lose.

In the history of software, no company has had 1788 applications for its pre-alpha platform in such a short time. This was propelled, largely by the work of the Android developer community.

Please recognize that most of the 1788 entrants (including myself) did so at personal and family sacrifice. Most of us were not paid a salary to do this. Any hopes of competing and winning will now be tempered by the results and a realization of the intense competition and the long odds.

Only one person can hope to win a prize in a contest, but this was different from other contests in two striking ways.

  1. if this were a desktop contest, we could be turning our apps into business startups right now. With Android, it will likely be 2 years before the common man on the street can afford an Android phone at sub $100 prices (per the Wireless week article).
  2. if this were an Ajax/Flash/J2EE contest, we could be picked up by a good number of local employers, who already use such skills. Contrast this to Android...
In other words, for Android, the payback for most of us, is not clear. It is win-lose.

Suppose there were no applications for Android except the usual boring suite of Google Maps, Mail, Search etc. Then Google would have to hire developers or outsource development to companies to create new mobile applications, or buy up mobile companies. It would have been very expensive for Google. At a minimum, would have cost hundreds of millions of dollars; instead, it is now a free win for them.

For Google, it is currently Win-Win for:

/........ \
OHA - Consumer

The Android developer is not in this picture. If they feel that they are being used and
exploited, then they will walk away. Sure, Android can still win, but it will be costly and

So please modify your triangle into a square and make it win-win for all of us.

Google - developers
| .............. |
OHA - Consumer

A few ways:

1) Allow hosting of projects with an Android component at, even if they are
closed source. Presently only open source is allowed.

2) Marketing. Free use of Google Adwords for our android applications for (say) six months.

3) Subsidize handsets to the developer community. They should be at the same price as a
mid-level GSM handset. e.g. $50.