Category Archives: General


history of the google logo

originally brin and page wanted to indicate that they were away at the anarchic anti-corporate burning man festival and so used the stick man icon to let people know they were away, just in case the servers went down.

as much as anything, i would be interested to know what kind of influence burning man has had on the tech industry. for me, it was one of those examples where the indiginous counter ideology was offering up the best critique of the american empire. and maybe google doesn’t have the fixation on monetization that cynics claim. sure, they haven’t done badly, but i see that as google having a more wily understanding of the human condition.

why google would enter the ‘fox’s den

i’ve joined the small stampede migrating from IE to firefox (yes, i sought expediency over morality and so use a PC). for me the quest was one of looking for a simpler safer browser in the aftermath of destroying work’s network with a virus. maybe many others have moved for similar reasons, but the time seems to be coming when many are switching without knowing it – because some of their more IT literate associates appear to be doing the same.

in this way, the rise of firefox is not dissimilar to the path traced by the mighty google. they both share a background of being refreshingly untainted by commercialism. pure unbridled technological willpower.

firefox are relying on word of mouth rather than an expensive advertising campaign to drive the product forward. and not just any mouths – they’ve picked the gatekeepers as their advocates. the technorati – the guys who have wrapped themselves up in their technology. the same folk that google first honed in on. hold that thought.

an associate recently asked me why i use Firefox (i’m some kind of pseudo/gray member of the technorati). apart from the tabs feature, the only other persuasive feature (well, beyond the security) is the numerous tools that have sprung up around it. so although the firefox you pull off their site looks and feels a lot like IE, it can be extended in plenty of directions. like the developer tools that let you turn off javascript or css and see what the page looks like. like the little user agent switcher that lets you enter a site disguised as a google spider and take a look at what the spider sees. or the search box that lets you directly query engines such as amazon, ebay, epicurious.

so firefox is looking at the browser in a whole new way. the browser is just a platform, like a web operating system, that is flexible enough to allow applications to be piled on top of it. what does this mean for site owners? well, rather than just thinking about features for your website, why not look for tools that could hook your audience too. then tie those tools up with the website and chances are they’ll think of you first because your sitting on their browser toolbar.

and who could already have their sights on the new firefox phenomenon? the wily google created a few ripples through the search community at the end of january by employing Ben Goodger, lead software engineer for the firefox Web browser. what does the defection mean?

there is talk of google developing its own browser. made more plausible by microsoft’s recent entrance into the search technology game. you attacked our market, so now we’re targetting yours. but is there room for a third player? also it’s far easier to change website than it is to change browser, and for all firefox’s successes, it still represents less than 10% of the browser market – the rest of it still held by microsoft.

what other possibililities? unlike many of my peers, i wouldn’t rule out google swallowing up firefox, much as it did pyra labs, the creators of blogger. although why it should go to the expense of gaining key personnel before the buyout isn’t clear.

however, a google-firefox partnership could work out better for both. some kind of google face plate that sits on top of firefox. an advanced search dashboard for those who want it. a fruitful partnership by brands that share a common cultural ethos. allowing extension developers to concentrate their energies on the single firefox browser.

what’s for sure is that two markets with lofty (partial) monopolies are set to see a period of flux over the coming months. the effects on google of microsoft search are yet to be seen and firefox will continue to erode IE and microsoft search is going to try its hardest to niggle google. but these two battles will become more closely aligned over the next few months.

xenophilic spread

can translation be extended to the point where it becomes localisation? can pegs be added to an abacus to the point where it becomes a supercomputer? some things aren’t easily extendible.

seo is a form of marketing. and as such you have to understand the market your going into. the beginning of an seo campaign begins by looking into search terms. fine in english – implicit normative judgements are made on the chosen words and associated terms naturally spring out. unfortunately that refinement is more tricky in foreign campaigns. all you get are a list of meaningless words. a translator will pick the ones they recognise but do they have the familiarity with that language’s search patterns? not to the degree an online marketer would have. and that’s before you get to the intricate stage of fitting terms to pages.

for that reason translation will always be the younger poorer sibling to localisation. if you are looking abroad, make sure you know your market before you launch in.

they don’t see seo

seo is the afterthought. why don’t they notice that putting it at the beginning before they start has a lot of advantages. it’s because it’s not done. or hasn’t been done before. marketing just isn’t that used to knowing so much about its audience.

old-school editorial processing is meant to be the answer. but why not test everything? find out what people respond to. distill your business plan down to a few terms and then find out if that is what people want on the net. use the ov tool. try google adwords campaigns. and then structure a site around this and start to build. don’t build and then think they’ll come ’cause you’ll have to fight for them. find them first and build around them. wrap them up in the experience. they’ll tell others. you’ll be in a space that few others have reached. yet.

Reverse engineering – latest mobile phone developments

welcome the latest jap phone – the S phone. no more the tired old technology driven race for more flashy bells and whistles.

now we have the anti-gadget. a consumable that has the normal gadget driven freaks salivating at the complete lack of features. a mobile phone without a screen with all the functionality of a dial phone. that is all you can do. you will either have to memorise or have your address book at hand when you want to call those tedious mobile numbers.

where will it end? the PC that doesn’t have a screen but rollers you feed paper into?