Google File System: Much To Do About Nothing

Google had a much-hyped announcement tonight that, frankly, I’m missing the point of. Techcrunch covered it. Scoble Qik’d it live. I was one of numerous who took the bait out of curiosity and watched the announcement live until Scoble turned off his camera, or something.

honestly, folks, I don’t see what the point is. The product manager for this new service began the party by talking about how Google App Engine (Link dead until launch time) would be “easy to use and easy to scale”. The presentation then showed a very nervous developer trying to write up a simple Hello World script in Python.

Ok, here’s my problem. For the growing number of non-technical entrepreneurs, python is neither easy to use and the demonstration does not demonstrate easy to scale. At some point, the presenter stated that anyone could build applications using Google’s infrastructure that could be as big as Google’s own apps.

Forgive my cynicism.

This, my friends, is an Amazon S3 “me too”. There is not innovation here. There is nothing ground breaking here. It is yet another case of Google deciding that it can do things better than everyone else but with the exception of Search, Gmail and Google Adsense (the latter being questionable these days), I wonder how many of Google’s initiatives are really all that groundbreaking.

Then there’s the question of privacy. Google’s ever present incursion into deeper parts of lives should make every privacy nut cringe, and turn those who are not privacy nuts into privacy nuts. With the adoption of OpenSocial and now providing a platform for application development, Google’s hand continue to delve deeper into our deeply guarded private lives.

I’m skeptical here folks. From what I’ve seen, nothing is easy to get into here. Companies are not necessarily better off for using this infrastructure. The concept of threaded processes and optimized platforms for optimized content goes out the window with an S3 or a Google App Engine. And… The privacy concerns are very real.

Hold the phone. Let’s see what happens here.

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Facebook se enfrenta a OpenSocial

Facebook ha decidido ofrecer su plataforma de programación al resto de los networks sociales, picándole adelante a Google y su esperado OpenSocial.

Google OpenSocial surgió como una respuesta a la Plataforma Facebook, ofreciéndole al resto de los networks sociales la oportunidad de crear aplicaciones que pudieran inter-operar entre los distintos sitios. Pero OpenSocial todavía no está listo y aún falta mucho por definir sobre su funcionamiento.

Facebook responde ahora con PlatformArchitecture, permitiéndole a cualquier website aprovechar el lenguaje de programación de Facebook. De este modo, cualquier website podrá ofrecer a sus usuarios gran cantidad de aplicaciones que ya existen para Facebook.

Estas iniciativas permiten que usuarios de networks sociales utilicen servicios ofrecidos por otros websites (iLike, por ejemplo) y que compartan experiencias con miembros de su mismo network social (Zombie, Acuario, etc).

Lo que falta es una herramienta que permita a los usuarios de un network social interactuar con los usuarios de otro network social. OpenID, OAuth y XFN son tres iniciativas encaminadas a lograr esto, pero que necesitan ser simplificadas (¿con deNerd-a-tex?) para poder ser entendidas y utilizadas por el grueso de la población.

Si te interesa saber más sobre estas tres iniciativas, déjanos un comentario aquí en la página y desarrollaremos el tema en una columna futura.

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Ask Takes Your Privacy Seriously

There was an old story I was told as a kid about boiling a frog to death. As the story goes, you can’t boil a frog to death by dropping him in a pot of boiling water. But put him in cool water and bring the water to a boil, and he won’t know the difference. Eventually, the water will get so hot that the frog will die happily in the water.

In today’s age of the internet and privacy concerns, the proverbial frog is us and we are getting more forgiving and giving regarding our personal lives. We are voyeurs online, sharing photos on Flickr, making friends on MySpace, buying stuff online and finding it “cool” to see those purchases show up in Facebook.

Perhaps the most dangerous of all precedents is what our friends at the search giants are doing. Desktop Search clients documenting everything on your computer – to make finding data easier. All our mail and other data in one place – but easily given to the government without subpoena. Personalized search based on personal trends – but those trends must be extrapolated from stored data regarding your behavior.

Fortunately, there is one search engine who recognizes the dangerous precedents set my the search giants and have taken steps to remedy the problem. At least on their end. It’s unclear if this move will serve to push more users to Ask.com, but it can’t hurt.

Users have the ability to turn AskEraser on at the cost of personalizing Ask.com. Hey, does Ask really need the data they use to personalize it for you anyway?

So in a world where our privacy is going farther away, Ask is taking a sane approach and making sure that we have the choice in the matter.

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