I have decided to do a weekly wrap-up of the previous week’s top bits of tech news, annotated bibliography style, with a link, a brief summary of the discussion, and my take on the news. This is largely culled from taking a look at my 500+ feeds in Fever‘s Hot section for the past week.
This week, Google’s announcement-ware dominated all of my feeds, managing to push any mention of Michael Jackson’s funeral fully off of Fever’s Hot listings.
- Google announced Google Chrome OS, a stripped down Linux-based operating system that will largely be based upon Google’s Chrome web browser. Nearly every technology blogger on the planet threw all reason out the window and began to gush about how Google was going to destroy Microsoft Windows. I didn’t—and don’t—share this view. Google Chrome OS is ostensibly aimed at the netbook market and challenges Google’s other mobile OS, Android, more than it has any chance of challenging Windows. The majority of average users only ever think of Google as a search engine (a frighteningly large number of these people actually think of Google as the internet), and thanks to the commercials for the T-Mobile G1, some consumers may think of Google as the search engine that also does a cool cellphone. Mac OS X has a much higher chance of unseating Windows than Google ChromeOS, but it won’t because Apple is a hardware company before it is a software company. Google ChromeOS will never gain marketshare, and I also think Google is on the verge of running into multiple anti-trust investigations that Microsoft has been weathering for years. In my opinion, the news of Google ChromeOS that so dominated discussion this week will prove to be non-news over time and little more than part of Google’s ever-increasing hype-machine of “announcement-ware” that hasn’t been released yet that started with Google Wave.
- Google also announced that its image search now finally offers searches for Creative Commons images, which is sort of a lie, since the search actually cannot specifically search for Creative Commons images, but rather searches for all different types of free licenses. The functionality is also clunky and hid away behind the Advanced Search settings without any clear indication that it is for Creative Commons search. Of course, everyone was so Google-happy after the Google ChromeOS announcement this week that this punt on Google’s part received more attention than it really deserved. At least it wasn’t just more announcement-ware.
- Microsoft Internet Explorer lost 11.4 percent browser market-share to Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. Notice that Chrome is last in that list. Also, Internet Explorer is still by far the dominant browser with Firefox running in second place. What’s odd about this entire report if you look carefully at the graphic that TechCrunch used to report it, is that the graph looks more doom and gloom than the reality of the situation at first glance, because that top line, which is IE 7, dips dramatically. It looks like Firefox is nipping at its heels until you look at the line just under Firefox which is IE 6 and then you see the little mountain that pops up at the right of the graph that is IE 8 rising up dramatically (and most likely replacing some of the marketshare lost by IE 6 and 7). Microsoft still holds sway over 54.5% of the browser market with Firefox trailing next at 27.6%. Chrome, the browser that would supposedly rise to become an OS to challenge Microsoft, according to this week’s #1 story, hovers around a laughably low 1% of market share. The big question about both these numbers, however, is: how many people are running multiple browsers? My guess is that a large percentage of those Firefox numbers come from people who are also forced to run Internet Explorer for one reason or another, so while marketshare may be slipping percentage-wise, overall, all browsers could be experiencing growth.
- First, rumors appeared claiming that Nokia was working on a Google Android-based phone, then Nokia vehemently denies these rumors, stating that it is staunchly a Symbian-shop. I think the Gaurdian report was bunk.
- More rumors that Apple will be releasing iPod’s with cameras capable of recording video also popped up this week. While this is feasible, I think the most likely way this will play out is that Apple will release iPods with cameras in them that can take still pictures, but will charge some $10 upgrade cost to enable video recording, much in the way Apple charges an upgrade cost for system OS for iPod touches that is free for iPhone owners. It just doesn’t make sense for them to be selling iPods that can record video by default alongside the $99 picture-only iPhone and the iPhone 3GS. Right now, Apple wants people to buy the iPhone 3GS if they want to shoot video. Why water down that market?
- In another bit of PR for Google this week, the search giant announced that Google Apps finally emerged from Beta. Does this mean that any of the services magically improved this week and became much more stable? No. This is nothing more than a switch from a “cover-our-ass” marketing strategy to a “let’s present a strong unified product front” marketing strategy. And it went nicely along with Google’s week of insane PR. Not only can Google direct traffic wherever it wants with its search engine, it can also get every tech writer on the planet to write about it with a few well-packaged machine-gun-style announcements. Once the government starts noticing this trend, the investigations and anti-trust lawsuits are going to start rolling in for Google.
- Speaking of self-aggrandizing, wind-blowing PR that lacks any real force, function, or use, especially on a site that’s supposedly covering tech news, Michael Arrington posted a bit of such on TechCrunch reminding all tech-startups that they should make sure they pitch to TechCrunch so that TechCrunch continues to be relevant and have posts. Of course, I already ranted a bit about this last weekend, so I won’t bother repeating myself.