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The Microhoo! deal is all about network effects

Posted in Analysis, Business, Economics, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo on February 4th, 2008 by leodirac – Comments Off on The Microhoo! deal is all about network effects

Although most corporate mergers fail (often due to mis-aligned incentives on the part of the deal-makers) there is a solid economic foundation for the proposed Microsoft + Yahoo! merger. Most of their assets will work no better combined than separate. But the merged Microhoo ad network would be significantly more valuable than the sum of two ad networks alone. Why bigger is better for online advertisers The reason lies in network effects of the online search + advertising industry. Imagine you’re an ad buyer which is to say you have a service you want consumers to find online. Unless you’re…

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Three weeks inside Google

Posted in Business, Ego, Geek, Google on November 16th, 2007 by leodirac – 1 Comment

Sorry for going dark for a little while there. As expected, starting a new job while taking a full load of classes at school has been challenging. Also unsurprisingly, the Google job is very engaging. I’ll describe a bit of what it’s like on the inside and also how this affects the kinds of things I write about here. I spent my first week in Mountain View at the Googleplex. My entering class of “Nooglers” were subjected to inane videos and boring HR discussions. But a couple hours into it we powered up our laptops and within 15 minutes I’d…

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I’m working for Google

Posted in Ego, Google, Personal Growth on October 29th, 2007 by leodirac – 2 Comments

I caved. I took a job with Google as a Product Manager. I start today. I’m down in Mountain View all week to have kool-aid forcibly injected intravenously. Make note of this day and see if you can sense a shift in tone of my posts as time continues. We’ll see when I start thinking and posting about Google in first person. This change is important to you my dear readers for a couple of other reasons. Most significantly is around intellectual property. Google’s IP policy for its employees can be effectively summarized as “All your base are belong to…

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Microsoft buys tiny stake in Facebook: Game on!

Posted in Analysis, Business, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo on October 25th, 2007 by leodirac – 7 Comments

After months of rumors about companies trying to buy Facebook, yesterday a deal was announced. In a sense the deal is quite small because Facebook sold just a 1.6% equity stake to Microsoft. But by paying $240 million, the deal values Facebook at about $15 billion! What’s going on here? This surely can’t be based on rational economics, can it? Let’s analyze how these deals should be valued and take a few steps back through recent internet acquisition history for context. In trying to keep this post focused, I wrote a separate article about why mergers and acquisitions rarely work….

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Google Calendars now partly Gears enabled

Posted in Geek, Google on October 18th, 2007 by leodirac – 2 Comments

I logged onto Google Calendar this evening, and it asked me if I wanted to allow Google gears to access this website. Wow! This is gonna be great. I’m actually not all that excited about offline access, which is valuable but increasingly less important as time goes on. I’m very excited about the faster UI we’ll get from not having to send packets round-trip to Mountain View to make any content changes. I haven’t seen anything work differently yet. But that’s really the way it should be. The Google Reader implementation of gears where you need to explicitly tell it…

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Web UI Platforms through Javascript sandboxes

Posted in Democratization of Information, Facebook, Geek, Google, Microsoft, Tech Industry, User Experience on October 8th, 2007 by leodirac – Comments Off on Web UI Platforms through Javascript sandboxes

I see a trend of how we’re approaching Tim O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 ideal in a way that he didn’t really identify. But I think the trend is important, and growing, although still in its infancy. The trend is towards richer web APIs that enable people to build value on top of existing websites. I’ll give some history on how we got here, and talk about the current trend-leaders that I see: Facebook and Google Maps. I’ll also explain why I think Microsoft is in the best position to build the required enabling technology. Original Web 1.0 Universal access to massive…

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Can’t Gmail just POP my Inbox?

Posted in Google, Infoglut, User Experience on October 4th, 2007 by leodirac – Comments Off on Can’t Gmail just POP my Inbox?

I access my gmail accounts through POP3 from my phone. The problem with doing this is that all messages get exposed through POP, even the ones that are filtered out of the inbox. This means that my phone which has much lower HCI bandwidth gets cluttered with all this list-mail that is less useful to me. I’ve configured gmail to filter this stuff out to be lower priority I’m using the web interfaces, but when I’m using a POP client, this filtering is lost. What I’d really like is the ability to configure the POP3 access with a checkbox saying…

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Gmail Slowing Down: Why and how to fix it

Posted in Computer Science, Geek, Google, User Experience on September 20th, 2007 by leodirac – Comments Off on Gmail Slowing Down: Why and how to fix it

Gmail feels like it is slowing down to me. Maybe my standards are going up. Or maybe gmail’s user base has grown to the point where the servers to run it cost real money to Google, and they’ve throttled the computing resources to an “acceptable level of performance.” But it bothers me when I hit the “archive” button and I have to wait half a second for the UI to respond. Sometimes even a couple of seconds. Why does it take so long? Just to get that line off my inbox screen? The answer lies in computer science. Gmail is…

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Why Google Gears matters in an always-connected broadband world

Posted in Analysis, Gadgets, Geek, Google, Tech Industry, User Experience on September 19th, 2007 by leodirac – 1 Comment

An obvious trend in this industry is towards more pervasive internet access with bandwidth steadily increasing. The build-outs of WiMax networks, 3G cellular networks and metropolitan WiFi efforts promise to offer broadband-class connectivity to all major cities in the US within the next couple of years. Suburbs and extended metorpolitan areas will quickly follow. Even airplanes should have reasonable net access before too long — Virgin America will have it next year. In this environment it’s tempting to design products that assume customers will always be well connected. It is certainly easier to build compelling services to users that have…

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Solving RSS Infoglut through Social Filtering

Posted in Analysis, Democratization of Information, Facebook, Google, Infoglut, Social Computing, User Experience on September 12th, 2007 by leodirac – Comments Off on Solving RSS Infoglut through Social Filtering

This morning Scoble linked to a leaked video out of google describing some new features to be added to Google Reader. I don’t like re-reporting other-people’s news here, but I can’t leave this one sit because it strikes so close to home for me. The ideas they describe sound exactly like what I’ve been thinking the world needs out of a feed reader — features to manage infoglut using the social network. What I’ve been thinking about building in my copious spare time is a web-based feed-reader that assumes you over-subscribe to feeds. That is, it expects you to “subscribe”…

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