Google launches Reseller Program

Google has launched a program for technology solution providers to sell Google Apps.

Authorized resellers will be able to sell, customize and support Google Apps Premier Edition for customers, creating new revenue opportunities for partners and easier access to Google’s cloud services.

The Google Apps reseller program is now open for applications from interested parties.

Potential resellers will be evaluated based on relevant experience and credit worthiness.

Applications are encouraged from companies with a strong SaaS orientation and a business model built around providing value-added services and solutions.

Authorised resellers will be able to begin selling Apps by the end of March. Continue reading

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YouTube adds “retail links” to online stores

YouTube on Tuesday added links to online stores in a move crafted to pump more money from the hot video-sharing website Google bought nearly two years ago in a 1.65 billion dollar stock deal, according to media reports Wednesday.

“They spent a ton of money on this thing and it is natural they want to make a return,” analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group in Silicon Valley said.

Google has bided its time working on ways to “monetize” YouTube without alienating notoriously transient Internet users that could easily switch to Hulu, Daily Motion or other rivals in the online video-sharing arena.

“Click-to-buy” links are being discretely placed in control panels below YouTube videos to invite people to visit online shops iTunes or Amazon.com to buy music, books, films or other material related to snippets watched.

“This is just the beginning of building a broad, viable e-commerce platform for users and partners on YouTube,” said a message on the website.

“Our vision is to help partners across all industries offer useful and relevant products to a large, yet targeted audience, and generate additional revenue from their content on YouTube beyond the advertising we serve against their videos.”

Links to online stores are making a U.S. debut on videos of EMI Music artists and of the Spore computer game recently released by Electronic Arts.

Cuil Trots Out Dark Horse Search Contender

On the surface, the new search engine Cuil appears to be the anti-Google — it’s got a black background and greets visitors with an unequivocal promise of privacy. But if Cuil expects to overtake Google, it’s probably in for a tough fight. Google is about much more than search these days, and its whole system is designed to keep users inside its family of products.

A startup search engine launched Monday, Cuil (pronounced “cool”), hopes to prove that its search technology is cooler than that of the reigning king of search, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) .

Cuil’s creators — former Google search architect Anna Patterson; her husband Tom Costello, a former researcher and developer at Stanford University and IBM (NYSE: IBM) ; and Russell Power, another former Google executive — claim they have pioneered a new take on the search game, combining the largest index of Web pages — 120 billion — with a content-based relevance methodology.

Search results, organized by ideas, are consequently more meaningful, the company said.

Taking on Google, however, requires more than just a nifty new search engine, said Gene Alvarez, a research vice president at Gartner (NYSE: IT) . Since its launch, Google has expanded its brand to encompass a variety of Web services. Consumers turn to Google for much more than its search engine.

So, while something like Cuil may whittle away at their search market, displacing Google will be an uphill battle.

Cuil Enough?

With a home page sporting a black background and a guarantee of complete user privacy, Cuil appears to be styling itself as the anti-Google. Unlike Google, which keeps an anonymous record of each search conducted by its users, Cuil’s technology relies on a different search methodology, according to its creators.

Rather than returning results ranked by the number of inbound and outbound links of Web pages, as Google does, Cuil’s technology mines data for content-based searches. Results therefore are based on the content of each page, not the popularity of a particular site. It makes Cuil’s search method more efficient and allows the company to not need to collect personal data on searches, it said.

In another contrast, instead of a list of links with brief descriptions, Cuil’s results are laid out in columns, much like a magazine, and separated by subject, which also allows for additional searches by concept or category.

The company has not disclosed its business model, and Cuil representatives did not respond to TechNewsWorld’s request for comment.

Searching for More
Any company seeking to knock Google from its perch atop the search engine world will have to fight long and hard to make it happen. Challengers must answer to Google’s many ancillary Web services as well as its spider web-like ecosystem of business partners.

“Google at this point has not only captured the consumer with its search engine, but its other applications have helped make people comfortable with Google. Whether it’s the add-ons to the browser or using Gmail or Google Apps or the social software, Google’s expanded footprint helps Google fight off these types of attempts,” Alvarez told TechNewsWorld.

For Cuil to be successful, it needs to be able to draw to its site consumers who in the course of an average day have multiple touches with any given Google product. Google’s installed search toolbars, Gmail, Google Docs and other applications all keep users coming back to Google.

“All of that is stuff Cuil is going up against. They have to do one of two [things]: Exceed the quadruple threat, which is quite a challenge in itself, or be able to provide a clearly differentiated search experience from Google,” explained Tom Austin, a Gartner fellow and chief of research in software.

“From a quick look at the site, I didn’t see anything that jumped out at me other than that they changed the white background to black to show it as an opposite to Google. I saw some functionality that looks similar to Ask.com’s attempt to bring in a Web 2.0 rich Internet experience,” he said.

Ask.com’s revamped search efforts — with peeks at Web pages and other added features — were not enough to draw a significant portion of Google’s installed base.

Challenges Ahead
The challenge Cuil faces is much greater than developing a better search engine, Austin said.

“Once upon a time, Google was about search. Today, Google is this extremely large business model that is search-based but is ad revenue-driven and includes hundreds of thousands of other companies in its ecosystem. Anybody who wants to beat Google in search has got to displace the entire business model and business ecosystem Google has built,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“The chance of that happening in the next five years is diminishingly small,” he added.

“If you’re a startup, you’re not competing with Google. You’re competing with all the SEO firms, all the hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs who are buying Google Adwords and Google’s ability to sell this vast network of available pages on which to advertise,” he explained.

Cuil has to be ready to wage a long and hard battle, much the way Toyota has over the past 50 years with General Motors, Austin noted.

“How many people took on General Motors and won? It’s taken Toyota 50 years, and they are still not No. 1. Anyone taking on Google or Microsoft or any market leader must be prepared for a long fight. And it’s not going to be by directly attacking the strength of the machine, either,” he said.

Internet addresses going to exhaust by 2011

According to a prediction by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), it is reported that more than 85 per cent of the available addresses on the internet have been allocated and the remaining will run out by 2011. Thus internet world may face this doomsday inn exactly 1,273 day.

The web addresses I am talking about refer to the numerical Internet protocol (IP) addresses that denote individual devices connected to the Internet. They are unique to every system and are basic for all online communications, from e-mail and web pages to voice chat and streaming video.

Whenever you type the web address of any website, the browser actually search the IP address for that site from a big telephone book, commonly called a “Domain Name Server” (DNS). Say if you type www.google.com your browser will ask DNS the IP address for it and in return 216.239.39.99 will be sent by DNS to your browser. Your browser then heads off to Google’s website using the IP address as a map.

This doomsday can lead to a slower internet speeds and new connections and services (such as Internet phone calling) will either be expensive or simply impossible to obtain. The solution to the shortage is to upgrade to a new address protocol.

The Internet protocols are prepared by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), a large open international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers working for the smooth operation of the Internet. The current IP address scheme, called Internet Protocol Version 4 (Ipv4), was introduced in 1981. At that time there were hardly 500 computers connected to the Internet. The address makers at that time allowed for four billion addresses, thinking they would last forever. But they have been nearly gobbled up in just under 30 years!

But no worries…..as the IETF are already prepared for the doomsday. A replacement system, called IPv6, had been devised as a solution more than a decade ago, providing enough addresses for billions upon billions of devices as well as improving Internet phone and video calls, and possibly even helping to end e-mail spam.

But still the problem doesn’t end with it. It was reported that the new system is not really compatible with the Internet of today. Taking the same example of Google, if it wants to support the new system IPv6, a whole new IPv6 web service will be needed to build, complete with new domain names, servers and bandwidth. The costs run into billions.

The OECD was quoted “immediate costs are associated with deployment of IPv6, whereas many benefits are long-term and depend on a critical mass adopting it”.

You can have a look at the countdown clock for the doomsday at penrose.uk6x.com.

Google ‘UK’s top consumer brand’

Internet search engine Google has become the UK’s top brand for the first time, according to a consumer survey.

It moved up two places from last year’s poll, beating Microsoft into second place and Mercedes Benz into third.

Google also topped a poll of “superbrands” as judged by professionals earlier this year.

No supermarkets made it into the top 100 superbrands in the survey of 2,200 consumers. It is thought confidence may have been hit by rising food costs.

Among leading supermarkets, Asda dropped 253 places, Tesco 230 and Sainsbury’s 194 places compared to the 2007 survey.

But premium food brands performed better and Marks & Spencer was voted into the top 20.

Stephen Cheliotis, chairman of the Superbrands Council which commissioned the research, said: “Lifestyle brands, particularly those in the technology sector, have considerably more sway with the public than everyday staples such as the supermarkets, which now seem further than ever from the affections of the British people.

“As the spectre of rising food costs continues, they are likely to come under further scrutiny.

“The results are also a further sign that Google is continuing its dominance in the UK. It is clear that Google is the brand that people value at work and in their personal lives.”

The Superbrands Council is a group of marketing, advertising and media experts.

Members compiled a list of more than 1,000 brands according to quality, reliability and distinctiveness and this was then passed on for consumers to rate.

Google and Microsoft feel the economic gloom

Google and Microsoft appear to be feeling the pinch, with both technology behemoths falling short of profit expectations amid the continuing economic gloom.

The internet search engine operator admitted economic weakness in the US and Europe was having an impact, while lower-than-expected business sales weighed heavily on the software giant.

Shares in both companies declined sharply after hours in New York, with Google’s equities down as much as 10pc in extended trading while Microsoft’s shares were off by as much as 4pc.

Quarterly results released by the companies last night suggest the technology sector has not been immune from the wider economic woes.

However Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, reporting a second-quarter profit about 2pc below expectations at $1.25bn, said that the company was “very, very well” positioned for an economic slowdown.

Hal Varian, the internet firm’s chief economist, added that “we have a little bit of the Wal-Mart effect going on as times get tough” and cash-strapped consumers began to move online in the hope of finding a bargain.

Google saw a 1pc fall in the number of US users “clicking through” to advertisements on its site in the second quarter compared with the first, and although the figure was 19pc higher than a year ago, that compared with 30pc growth on the same basis in the fourth quarter of last year.

Microsoft’s chief financial officer Chris Liddell said the company was facing a “tough environment”, also labelling the online advertising market as “tough”.

The software company lowered its forecasts for 2009 and reported a fourth-quarter pre-tax profit of $4.3bn, up 41pc, on sales of $15.84bn, up 18pc.

Meanwhile technology services company IBM beat expectations, reporting a second quarter profit up 22pc to $2.77bn as the business strengthens its focus outside the US.

A cartoonlike way to chat from Google

Google, known for its plain-Jane approach to Web design, has come up with something much wackier.

On Tuesday the company introduced Lively, an online tool that allows people to embody a cartoonish online avatar and have text-based conversations with friends and other Internet users in virtual chat rooms. The rooms can be added to any blog or Web site.

Google unveiled the new product in a post on its official blog – its characteristically understated way of introducing new features to the world. It can be reached at www.lively.com, but it is officially part of Google Labs, an area of the company’s site where it showcases projects that remain in the beta, or experimental, phase.

Lively and similar products from other companies have the potential to change the way people interact over the Web. Online chat rooms are two-dimensional – they include text, and sometimes voice and video.

Lively tries to make that conversation three-dimensional, more interactive and more fun. As if they were playing a game, users choose from a selection of unrealistically handsome or Disneyesque avatars.

They can also create their own chat rooms, which can be posted to a blog or social network profile as easily as a YouTube video.

Up to 20 people can occupy a room and chat with one another. (Text appears as cartoon-style bubbles atop the avatars.) Users can design their own virtual environments, hanging on the walls videos from YouTube and photos from Picasa, Google’s photo service, as if they were pieces of art.

Inside Google, the product was headed by Niniane Wang, an engineering manager. Students at the University of Arizona have been testing Lively for several months.

Wang wrote in the blog post that she developed Lively as a “20 percent project,” referring to Google’s philosophy that employees should spend one day a week working on projects outside of their day-to-day responsibilities.

Her spare time could cause some problems for companies with similar ideas. Second Life, the virtual world run by Linden Labs of San Francisco, is known for its much larger virtual world, where hundreds of thousands of users can enter at the same time. But it is accessible through a separate program, not a Web browser. (Lively, which works only on Windows computers for now, requires the downloading of a bit of add-on software.)

Mark Kingdon, chief executive of Linden Labs, said Second Life’s value was not just in 3-D chat but also in more elaborate environments where people can work, play, teach, and buy and sell virtual products.

“Users are highly motivated to create and transact in Second Life to the tune of almost a million dollars a day in user-to-user transactions,” Kingdon said.

Vivaty, a virtual-world start-up in Menlo Park, California, backed by the blue-chip venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, opened its virtual doors on Tuesday. Vivaty’s product is a similar 3-D chat room that runs on Facebook and through AOL Instant Messenger.

In one version now available on Facebook, users can create a virtual dorm room and decorate it with furniture from Target.

Keith McCurdy, Vivaty’s chief executive and a former executive at the game giant Electronic Arts, said Google’s entry was a validation of the concept. He said that Vivaty could get more traction by putting its virtual worlds on every Web site – even those controlled by Google’s rivals.

“We are not beholden to any one camp or approach,” McCurdy said. “We are trying to create an open system where lots of people have branded virtual scenes.”

Google’s success is not assured, of course. Other test products it has introduced have languished, like Product Search, originally known as Froogle

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