Two years ago next month, Google bought five percent of AOL for a billion dollars. Yeah, you might have forgotten that, but it was a really big deal at the time. While Google’s main motivation was to keep being the search technology for fifth-place AOL Search, there was a lot of talk on both sides about the two companies working together. The big get, mentioned right in the press release: Google Talk and AOL Instant Messenger integration.
What the hell happened? It’s been two years, and the two products have made less effort to work together than the U.S. Congress. Granted, development on Google Talk has gone dark, with a second version of the product either not in development or massively delayed, and AOL’s rising star software division suffered massive multiple layoffs that have decimated their ability to ship good products and hold talented engineers, but interaction between the protocols could have been done quickly if someone had made it a priority.
As we do every once in a while, we’re hearing more leaks about supposed GTalk/AIM integration, this time in the form of leaked screenshots of a future Gmail build. If Gmail Chat gets AIM integration, that would be great news, but if it gets it and Google Talk doesn’t, it might be time to declare development of Talk a dead project. All the new Google Talk features seem to be happening in other projects, while the desktop client lies fallow.
One think I loved about Quake and other shooters was hitting the tilde (~) key and bringing up the console and learning all the cool things you could make the game do by messing with it, inputting commands. Turns out the developers of the new Bloglines have included in it a console, too, and you can do a few things.
To bring up the console, hit the tilde key on your keyboard. It should be to the left of the “1″ key. You don’t actually need to hit tilde, leaving out the shift key and hitting “`” will also do.
You will see this message first, followed by a command line:
Type “help echo” and hit Enter to see a list of commands. Currently, it will return this:
# help echo
type help command_name for specific help
Any command listed there can be further explained by typing help, then the name of the command. Obviously, “help echo” you just did, but “help set” shows you some parameters you can change. Currently, it gives you this:
# help set
set hotkey action key
set theme theme_name
set text text_color
set background background_color
You can set certain action keys, different themes, different text colors and different background colors. you can use the show command to see what of those are available to you to set. Type “help show” and get this:
# help show
Problem is, the show command is disabled, so you’ll have to guess at the “set” commands. “set text” works, but it changes the text color of the console itself. For example, type “set text blue” and it will change the console text to blue. You can keep changing it, then switch to black to make it normal again.
You can also use “set background” to change the background color of the console. The console is much more readable with a black background and white text, so do that. Type first “set text white”, then “set background black”.
Trying to set a theme with “set theme” will fail unless you know a theme name, and I haven’t been able to find any. Another command that works is “clear”, which clears console output.
While I discovered the console last week and didn’t have enough time to play around with it, credit goes to TechOpus for discovering the “help” command that really got the ball rolling. If you can find any other commands comment below or use the contact form and we can further crack this thing open together.
You Gotta love the Webware 100 Awards. With ten winners per category, every multi-billion-dollar corporation can win multiple times, often in every category! Gee, it’s just like the Oscars!
Here’s what Google won:
Google Reader won in the Browsing category, Gmail won in the Communications category, Google won in the Data category, YouTube won in the Media category, GOOG-411 won in the Mobile category*, Gmail Mobile won in the Mobile category, Google Maps Mobile won in the Mobile category, Google AdWords/AdSense won in the Productivity and Commerce category, Google Calendar won in the Productivity and Commerce category, Google Docs won in the Productivity and Commerce category, Blogger, won in the Publishing category, Feedburner in the Publishing category, Google Analytics won in the Publishing category, and Google Maps won in the reference category.
My Yahoo - Browsing; Yahoo Mail - Communication, Yahoo Messenger - Communications; Yahoo Search - Data; Flickr - Media; Yahoo Video - Media; Yahoo OneSearch - Mobile; Yahoo Maps - Reference.
Internet Explorer - Browsing; Windows Live Hotmail - Communications; Windows Live Messenger - Communications; Windows Live Search - Data; TellMe - Mobile; Microsoft Office Live - Productivity and Commerce; Silverlight - Publishing; Microsoft Virtual Earch - Reference.
Everyone else makes an appearance, and in most categories, every major player is a winner. I love award shows where everyone wins. It’s like those Little Leagues where everyone gets a trophy and no one learns to be an adult.
(via The Google Analytics Blog)
* - cough, bullshit, cough. It’s a brand new service, and unless it feeds the homeless, it deserves nothing yet. Category filler.
Nielsen announced today that it has changed the main way it measures the popularity of websites, measuring time spent on a website more than page views. The change in methodology puts Google in fifth place among time spent, even though it has the most unique visitors, while AOL is the top dog on the internet.
I’ve taken the chart and remixed it to show you how things are different between time spent and unique visitors:
If you combine YouTube and Google’s numbers and the Microsoft and MSN numbers, Google has a huge lead, and even with the combined numbers only gets fourth place. Microsoft’s combined numbers don’t move it up, but it does halve the distance between it and Yahoo.
Apparently, Google gets 67.15 minutes per user, while AOL gets an astounding 272.92 minutes per user. YouTube, despite having all those videos (which you’d think would keep people around), only gets 43.57 minutes per user.
Where do you want to work most? Me, I want to work in a candy factory. As long as they have good dental.
20.58% of all questioned listed Google in their top 5, compared with 10.78% for Apple, 7.82% for Microsoft, 4.8% for Yahoo (#22), 4.71% for IBM (#23), 4.24% for Amazon (#26), 2.96% for eBay (#42), 2.37% for Dell (#53), 2.13% for HP (#59), 2.05% for Time Warner (#63), and 1.78% for the CIA (#74). Glad to see a good number of the top 10 are soul-sucking investment companies.
(via MacNN > Findory)
Cynthia Brumfled at IP Democracy writes about Time Warner’s quarterly earnings report, focusing on the AOL division. While AOL’s overall revenues declined by $398 million (from $1.957 billion to $1.458) as the subscriber base collapses in on itself, its advertising revenue increased 40%, or $157 million, to $549 million. As a result, while total AOL revenues fell, profits rose 27% to $542 million. That, to me, means AOL is transitioning well from its old subscription revenue to new advertising revenue, and that they will ultimately make it out of this tough phase intact, and a healthy company.
If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you’ll know that an overpass in Oakland was destroyedon Sunday in a little bit of fiery carnage (that made for some good television). You’ll also be pleased to know that Google Maps, as well as Yahoo Maps and AOL’s Mapquest, updated their driving directions to not send you into the disaster site, mostly within about 48 hours. According the AP, Yahoo was first, at 39 hours, followed by Google Monday night, and Mapquest not until Tuesday night.
Of course, being the AP, they can’t resist blowing things out of proportion:
If you went to Google, Yahoo, AOL or another mapping site to plot a route from San Francisco to Oakland in the hours after an oil tanker exploded, they would have sent you driving over a collapsed overpass engulfed in flames.
Really? Is that what would happen? Did emergency officials not close the road, or put out the fire, just sitting back and hoping no one was relying on a map? Be serious, people.
As I touched on when the AOL guy mentioned it at an SES New York panel earlier today, AOL has launched the AOL Marketplace, where AOL will sell Google ads on AOL properties. Since Google provides the ads for AOL Search, this allows AOL to sell ads on its own properties within the Google system, giving them two streams to maximize the ad sales on their sites, and make up whenever Google doesn’t provide enough.
Also, it allows advertisers to buy ads on the AOL portion of the Google ad network, targeting AOL’s users, and not Google’s entire giant base. As the AOL rep pointed out, AOL’s users are of a very high quality, being likely to buy and thus more valuable, so advertising purely on AOL properties, or adding extra AOL-only advertising on top of a Google ad campaign, can be a pretty good idea.
In other search ad news, the state of Utah has decided it is going to police copyrights on the internet, demanding all keyword advertisers consult Utah’s database of copyrighted terms and not use any competitor’s terms. Forgetting about that such actions are almost certainly legal and protected by the First Amendment, the idea that Utah can legislate over the entire internet is kind of comical, and it is stupid of that state’s legislature to think that this is ever going to work.
It’s official, we are definitely in the middle of a massive multi-industry war on the level of the RIAA/filesharing and other major technology wars of recent memory. Today, the war entered its third major stage, with many of the opposition joining forces to announce a YouTube competitor, coming this summer.
Pre-war ops: Various companies and startups enter the video sharing arena. YouTube (2/15/2005), Revver (11/2005), Break(1/2006), Blip (5/2005), Metacafe (7/2003) and many others form, hoping to gain the user base to eventually make money. Google Video (4/13/2005), MySpace Video (1/23/2006), MSN Soapbox (10/2006), and other major companies try to gain a foothold into the emerging market, and other small players get bought up by large companies trying to gain a share of the pie, including iFilm (acquired by MTV 10/15/2005) and Vimeo (acquired by IAC 8/2006).
Catalysts: December 17, 2005: Saturday Night Live presents Lazy Sunday. Spurred by the popularity of the video, which NBCU later demands be removed, YouTube gains many new users and media attention. YouTube has hit the mainstream, and has never looked back.
Stage I - The Alliance: November 13, 2006: Google annexes YouTube. Mere hours after both Google’s own Google Video and YouTube signed treaties with major music companies, Google trades $1.65 billion in stock for control of YouTube’s mindshare and army of loyal users.
Stage II - First Strike: February 2, 2007: Viacom demands Google remove over 100,000 videos, and March 13, 2007, Viacom sued Google for one billion dollars, striking at the popular YouTube, which is rapidly becoming a significant competitor for its audience. Viacom’s lawsuit, if successful, would open the door for similar lawsuits by every video copyright holder on Earth, burying YouTube and bankrupting the service. It is a battle YouTube cannot afford to lose.
Stage III - The Coalition: March 22, 2007 (today): NBC/Universal (NBC, General Electric) and News Corporation (FOX, MySpace), two of the largest forces in television, announce a competitor to YouTube. The service, a joint effort of the two, will launch this summer, will pool content from TV shows on NBC and FOX networks.
This mega-coalition, NBC/U-NewsCorp/FOX/MySpace-MSN-Yahoo-AOL, represents a huge threat to Google/YouTube. They have the media clout, advertising partners, web traffic, and money to beat back YouTube, which has not (and thus far cannot) developed the revenue streams for Google to use in this combat. While Microsoft and Yahoo have not found a way to beat Google at search, the keys to the internet, they can use YouTube to bleed Google dry, and thus making this a win-win for every single internet company that joins the fight.
The fact is, you may like Google, but Google is bad news for every large internet corporation. It is too large, too scary, too capable of being a threat in other companies backyards. Google has one hit, but in it holds the keys to creating future ones, by designing or buying companies and taking over verticals. It is in the best interest of every Microsoft/Yahoo/AOL/IAC/MySpace on the internet that Google just go away. Superpowers make competition difficult, while a splintered market is great for all to compete in.
Can Google win this one? Can Google outspend its rivals? Can Google someone not have to spend away all its cash on a defense? Was YouTube Google’s biggest mistake? We’ll see.
I can’t wait for Stage IV. My guess: YouTube wins a deal with the only remaining network, ABC. Google CEO Eric Schmidt uses his position on Apple’s board to leverage negotiations with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, a Disney board member, to put Disney/ABC content on YouTube. Possible future moves: An iTunes collaboration for Google, and a settlement with Viacom that saves Google from a dangerous legal precedent.
I am so sick of the news on this blog being, on average, a week old. Its my fault. I let these tabs build and build and build, and I don’t have time to write because I’m too busy amassing tabs, and when I finally do write something, it’s a week old. Dammit! I am so not doing this anymore. I hate missing news, but it is beyond stupid to have late and irellevant news because you don’t want to miss anything.
And because of that, here’s everything I’ve got, leading up to just about today:
Google acquired video game advertising company AdScape, which everyone knew was coming. They are competing with Microsoft’s acquisition, Massive, which is far more massive and successful. Google will likely use an automated system and have the same success they had with dMarc, which is to say, none at all.
Google AdSense is doing Pay-Per-Action ads, that pay out when the user clicking the ad actually does something, like buy something or fill out a form. The ads come with a rotating product format, and even embeddable text links, so you can write about a product and link to it as an ad, just like an Amazon affiliate link.
Arrington’s right when he says Google has crossed a line here. We’ll have to see if they’ve crossed the wrong line. Hopefully, unlike the Google referral ads, Google will never make this available to all AdSense publishers, instead holding it for trustworthy publishers.
Yahoo has released a new version of Yahoo Widgets, the former Konfabulator. New features include a Widget Dock, auto-updating widgets, hidden widgets, 40% improved performance/memory usage, a FLickr widget, and lots of stuff for widget developers.
comScore has released their search engine market share numbers for December 2006, and it shows Google continuing to claim more searches as their competition struggles. For 12/06, Google reached 47.3%, a new all-time high, while Yahoo reversed three months of decline to gain .3% and claim 28.5% of the market. At current rates, Google will own 50% of the search market by April.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Windows Live fell for the seventh consecutive month to 10.5%, and you can bet if Microsoft’s search engine falls into single digits, down almost six points in two years, there will be hell to pay in Redmond. Ask.com lost for the second straigh month to 4.9%, erasing any gains the company had made this year, while AOL gained .1% to 5.5%, and remains at nearly half the market share it had 28 months ago.
I compiled the graphic above from comScore press releases and news reports. If someone can get me more complete comScore numbers, it would be a huge help.
Over a year ago, Google paid a billion dollars for a chunk of AOL, and probably the most exciting part of the deal was the announcement that Google Talk and AOL Instant Messenger would probable eventually connect to each other. Finally, after 13 months of silence, Googler (and former AIM developer) Justin Uberti has sorta maybe confirmed that Google is still working on it, or at least that the official statement (”We are working actively on integrating AIM access in Google Talk.”) still applies.
On the AOL side (connecting AIM to Google Talk), he’s not sure if AOL’s new management will make it enough of a priority, but notes AOL has a project in the works to allow Jabber clients (Google Talk is one) to access the AIM network, logged in under AIM screen names. It appears that AOL users should not wait up for AOL to add Google Talk access, but Google could (and might already be) do some cool stuff.
The best situation: Google Talk connects to the AIM network, letting Google Talk users add AIM users to their buddy list and chat with them. Google Talk also lets you log in simultaneously with your AIM screen name, getting your regular AIM buddy list and screen name. The idea: You log in under both names, at the same time, getting the AIM buddy list and not losing your old screen name, but slowly moving more over to the Google Talk network, since it lets you login both ways.
(via Ionut Alex)
Comscore released their stats for November, showing Google slightly edging out Yahoo for second place, 475.5 million visitors to 475.2 million (out of a total internet population of 736 million). Microsoft continued to hold first place, with 501.7 million visitors. This accounting combines all websites owned or maintained by the various companies, except YouTube, which is still counted seperately. Since YouTube has 107.9 million visitors, when its visitors are added to Google’s, Google may catch up to Microsoft, or even beat it, depending on how many of YouTube’s visitors are uniquely different from Google’s.
All the major stats services have weighed in on market share in the search industry, and Google is (predictably) still holding onto a huge lead. Problem is, no one can agree how huge that lead is. Take a look at the basic rundown chart, courtesy of Search Engine Watch:
What’s responsible for the differences? Well, some of it is philosophy. NetRatings counts Ask only as Ask.com, not other Ask properties (like Excite, iWon, MyWay.com and My Web Search), which is why their numbers are smaller. HitWise appears to be giving almost all of AOL’s market share to Google (since Google powers AOL.com), giving AOL almost no presence.
Still, that doesn’t account for all the difference. If, somehow, someone caught up to Google, and we were relying on these numbers, we’d be (to use a comic book phrase) spit out of luck. On the same day we’d see three different articles:
SurprisingCompetitor.com Dethrones Google
SurprisingCompetitor.com and Google Neck-and-Neck
Google Extends Lead Over SurprisingCompetitor.com
Who the hell are we supposed to believe? Someone please give me a reason to pick one over the other (I’m a fan of Hitwise, since they have the best blog, but that’s neither here nor there), so we can just declare a winner.
The one thing to watch: According to comScore and HitWise (and NetRatings, if they counted everything), Ask.com pulled ahead of AOL in September, taking fourth place. Nice!
Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney says that, based on Comscore Data, Google will be the number one trafficked website by late next year. Comscore’s top 4 currently (September numbers) stand at:
Yahoo - 130 million unique visitors
Time Warner - 120 million
Microsoft - 118 million
Google - 110 million
The reason Google will soon top the list? 22% growth from the previous year. Of course, this does not appear to take into account the fact that Google now has YouTube, itself a top ten website, and that Orkut.com is showing surprisingly strong growth lately. According to Alexa, Google now has three top ten sites, besting any other competitor.
These graphs show google.com vs. yahoo, msn.com, live.com and youtube.com, and the second replaces youtube.com with orkut.com:
Now, Alexa numbers are as accurate as prewar assessments of Iraq, but they do give you the idea: Google has three winners in their stable, that combined top Microsoft’s two big sites (MSN and Live), as well as Yahoo’s #1. I’d like to see the Comscore numbers adding YouTube to Google.
(via Seeking Alpha > Found on Findory)
UPDATE: A VC has some great Comscore numbers and charts. It’s very interesting how different the US and worldwide numbers are. It looks like properties get popular in the US, then, if they last, they eventually get popular worldwide and have huge staying power after that point. As a result, while the US top ten has some recent additions, the international is topped by the big three, followed by a major gap, and then way down, some old guard (Time Warner, Amazon, eBay) and some sites that have just been around a while (Apple, Adobe, Lycos), plus Wikipedia.
Fortune magazine claims that Yahoo has made attempts to buy AOL from Time Warner. Uh, why? I don’t get it. Yes, AOL has a small but decent share of the search market. Yes, AOL has old subscribers giving them free money. Yes, AOL has a software division that is doing an incredible job no one is noticing. Yes, AOL has a giant IM customer base. However, AOL is also worth about $13 billion, an aquisition that would eat up over a third of Yahoo’s market cap. Yahoo would be killing the company, giving away much of it to Time Warner, and watch as AOL doesn’t save their future.
Could it happen? Could they be that stupid? Yahoo needs something new to satisfy Wall Street while it continues trying to win long-term areas like search and email. Yahoo can make a lot of progress in a lot of areas over the next few years, but it needs a decent-sized hit to distract Wall Street, which is brain-dead when you put “long-term” and “internet stock” in the same thought. AOL is not new business, nor easilly solvable. There’s nothing there that would be worth $13 billion to Yahoo, no way they could ever earn back that investment.
Yahoo needs to put its money towards buying every interesting little up-and-comer on the net, building a diverse “farm system” that will leave Google with no one to acquire. One big hit will justify all the investment. A strategy like that would have bought YouTube and Facebook when they would have been cheap, and will buy the next YouTube when it is still young. Yahoo: Spend smarter, not harder.
(via Jon Ogg)