I did a double take recently after listening to Microsoft CFO Chris Liddell acknowledge that his company was ready to lose even more money in online services in the near term, if that's what it takes to catch Google. During the company's earnings call last week, Liddell indicated that Microsoft is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into its online advertising business, an investment he allowed would be "a drag" on the rest of the company.
Updated July 24 to fix London walking map
There are some online mapping news tidbits on Tuesday.
First, Google has expanded its walking directions feature from a test for a limited number of users to a public beta covering everywhere that driving directions are available, according to the Google LatLong blog.
For directions that are 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) or less the walking directions option will appear. "We'll try to find you a route that's direct, flat, and uses pedestrian pathways when we know about them," the blog posting says.
You can use Google's … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman doesn't typically bash Google in the press.
While Google CEO Eric Schmidt has publicly ridiculed Viacom for filing a $1 billion copyright claim against Google and YouTube, Dauman is usually more reserved.
But at a small press gathering Monday night in San Francisco, Dauman discussed some of the events that led up to the lawsuit and what he sees as wrong with Google's handling of the entertainment industry. (I wasn't taking direct notes, so I'll paraphrase most of what he said.)
First, Dauman noted that one of the first meetings he … Read more
Here's why I'm a Gmail convert: for the first time since I started using e-mail nearly 20 years ago, I can keep my in-box tidy.
A month ago, I switched my personal e-mail from Yahoo Mail, with which I've been generally happy. What attracted me to Gmail was a number of specific Gmail features, but what I've come to appreciate is the big picture: a new way to look at the task of e-mail.
The old paradigm follows the metaphor of a paper-pushing office job with an in-box, trash can, and filing cabinet.
Gmail brings that paper pushing into the computer age. Most messages I care about are already organized with labels automatically as they arrive. I still must read and reply if necessary, but after that I just plop messages into a giant archive with no pesky manual filing. They can be retrieved easily via search or labels.
The result: my Gmail in-box has 14 messages in it, and I've had no trouble thus far keeping it in that neighborhood. I wouldn't say it's life-changing, but it's an improvement.
Here's one measure of its user interface success: several times a day, I miss Gmail features absent from my work e-mail, which uses Microsoft Outlook connected to an Exchange server. That Gmail accomplishment is notable given that its interface uses a relatively primitive Web-based foundation, while Outlook gets all the computing horsepower and interface richness of a Windows PC.
Google's philosophy with Gmail is to aim for the needs of power users. That might sound like foolishly overlooking the much larger mainstream market. But I think it's smart, because given the increasing importance of Internet communications, an ordinary user tomorrow will face the same challenges as a power user today.
Despite my overall satisfaction, though, the advantages I found in Gmail made its deficiencies all the more glaring. And the transition from Yahoo was extremely unpleasant. Here are some details for those of you thinking of taking the plunge.
The three Gmail features that wooed me Three Gmail features got me to make the move, and all three proved just as desirable as I anticipated.
The first feature is labels. Yahoo Mail, like Outlook, Thunderbird, Eudora, and every other e-mail client I've used, requires me to sort keeper e-mail into folders. Many times, though, I've been bothered by folders' fundamental organizational limit: you can put a message in only one folder. So with a message from my old roommate about his new camera, do I put that into the folder for him or the one for photography? And a year later, when I want to retrieve it, where should I look?
With Gmail, you can have multiple labels on a particular e-mail--one for both "family" and "wife," for example, not to mention "money," "travel," "tech support," and various other categories I use often. By color-coding labels, various categories are easily found in my in-box, and clicking a label shows all mails that use it.
Yahoo Mail made major progress around this problem by finally fixing its previously ineffectual search ability, but I still like labels a lot better.
Update at 7:00 a.m. July 19: Typo fixed in the senator's last name.
Illinois Sen. Everett Dirksen is remembered for the quip, "A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you're talking real money." (Truth be told, it's unclear whether those were his exact words, but he's got that tagline for posterity.)
I was thinking of the former senator after listening to Microsoft's chief financial officer explain to analysts why the company intends to continue to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into a business which still isn't producing much … Read more
Investors punished Google for the less-than-stellar second quarter results it reported on Thursday, sending the share price down about 10 percent to $482 in Friday trading. So what went wrong?
No one thing was responsible, but a few factors combined to make a 35 percent growth in net income to $1.25 billion look like bad news.
Interest income First, the company missed expectations: net income, excluding various items, was $4.63 per share, short of the $4.74 expected by analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, and that's usually enough to send the stock down in after-hours trading.
But … Read more
Google's Father, Father and Holy Ghost each released some some very interesting words about advertising yesterday.
Which makes me wonder what the private conversations of the Blessed Trinity must be like.
Mr. Schmidt declared that his Holy Grail was to find the right formula- I think he meant to say formoolah- for delivering ads to YouTube.
Should the ads crawl along the bottom of the video area? Should the run silkily across the screen before the video begins?
Or should they crawl onto your desktop and keep playing until you click a button to declare that yes, you got … Read more
Russian Internet site Rambler Media has agreed to sell its advertising unit, ZAO Begun, to Google, and to use Google's technology for search and advertisements.
Rambler currently owns 50.1 percent of Begun, but will buy the remaining 49.9 percent from Bannatyne and then sell the entirety to Google for $140 million in cash, the company said Friday. Of that total, $69.9 million will go to Bannatyne, the company said. Rambler expects to end up with about $50 million from the deal, which it will use for investments and potential acquisitions.
The move marks an expansion of … Read more
As I listened to financial analysts grumble about how Microsoft continues to pour its hard-earned software profits back into its online services effort, I couldn't help but think that maybe Microsoft is on to something.
Wouldn't newspaper industry analysts have had the same grumbles if the Gannetts and Knight Ridders of the world had poured a huge chunk of their profits into online ventures a decade ago at a time when their ad revenues were still enjoying healthy growth? And wouldn't they now say such a move, if well done, would have been brilliant?
Newspapers have traditionally … Read more
Google CEO Eric Schmidt has spoken more than once this year about monetizing YouTube, but he showed some signs of patience on Thursday for finding a new, good way to sell ads on the video-sharing site. And when Google gets the mechanism right, Schmidt said he expects to hit the mother lode.
"There will be new monetization forms. That is what we are seeking. That is the holy grail," he said on a conference call after Google reported disappointing second-quarter earnings. "When we find it, it (monetization) is likely to be very large because of the scope … Read more