Episode 162 of The SitePoint Podcast is now available! This week the panel is made up of 3 of our 4 our regular hosts, Patrick O’Keefe (@ifroggy), Kevin Dees (@kevindees) and Stephan Segraves (@ssegraves).
Listen in Your Browser
Play this episode directly in your browser — just click the orange “play” button below:
Download this Episode
You can download this episode as a standalone MP3 file. Here’s the link:
- SitePoint Podcast #162: Taking Google For A Drive (MP3, 44:50, 43.0MB)
Subscribe to the Podcast
The panel discuss Adobe launching a host of Cloud services to go with CS 6 and also kicks off a new website dedicated to the open web. We also take a moment to remember web design pioneer Hillman Curtis and talk about the future of advertising on the Web.
Here are the main topics covered in this episode:
- ComScore: Samsung Widens Lead As Top Mobile Brand In U.S., Android 51% Of All Smartphones | TechCrunch via Mobile Marketshare on Revenews.com
- Foursquare Launches New “History” Page
- Silent Browser Upgrades | David Walsh
- Official Google Blog: Google+ Hangouts On Air: broadcast your conversation to the world
- Google Drive
Browse the full list of links referenced in the show at http://delicious.com/sitepointpodcast/162.
- Patrick: BlameSociety Videos
- Stephan: Reviews In Depth | Why Everyone Should Learn to Program
- Kevin: 20 Inspiring Examples of Big Backgrounds in Web Design | Inspiration
Patrick: Hello and welcome to another edition of the SitePoint Podcast. This is Patrick O’Keefe and I’m joined today by my usual co-hosts Kevin Dees and Stephan Segraves; hey guys, how’s it going?
Kevin: Howdy, howdy.
Patrick: As you may notice we are without our other usual fourth co-host, he usually introduces the show, Louis Simoneau, he’s off with important business-like errands to attend to, or something along those lines, and we’ll be holding the fort down today in his absence. So I guess let’s go ahead and jump into the stories.
I’ll take the first story today, on TechCrunch there was a story by Ingrid Lunden that caught my eye, it is about mobile hardware and operating system market share for the three months ending in March, this is according to ComScore and I found this story through Revenues. So the story has essentially three main numbers, like I said, hardware, software and then also usage through mobile, like use a downloaded app, use the browser, etcetera. So here are some of the numbers: for hardware you have Samsung in the lead with 26% of the market, that is a gain of .7% from the three months ending in December, in other words the previous three-month period. LG second with 19.3% with a small loss, Apple is third at 14% with a 1.6% gain, then you have Motorola fourth and HTC 5th, Motorola with 12.8% of the market and HTC with 6.0%, and that represents small losses for both of those brands.
As far as our branding systems go, Google remains in the lead by a healthy margin with 51% of the market, that is a 3.7% change, and then you have Apple at 30.7%, a gain for them as well of just over a percentage point. And then you have a big loss from Blackberry from Research in Motion moving down to 12.3%, losing 3.7 percentage points. Microsoft is in at 3.9, a loss for them, and then Symbian, finally, maintains its ground at 1.4%.
I don’t know, I guess Symbian is what I have, right? I don’t know what’s in this small, little, cheap pay-as-you-go phone.
Kevin: So, looking at these numbers for the platform specifically, not the hardware but the platform side, it comes to my attention that when you think about like jQuery plugins and CSS tricks and all this stuff, it’s like people tend to move towards the iPhone, and yet Android has continued, or Google, has continued to be the platform of choice, and I understand why, people like the iPhone in development for the reason that it’s fairly consistent across their browser space, whereas Android you have different screen sizes per phone, and all this other stuff that really makes it hard to develop for. But, I think it is worth drawing attention towards.
Stephan: Along those lines, why is the environment so much different then, because you see a lot of development for iPhone apps and very little for Android apps, and not very little in the sense that no one’s developing anything, but because you don’t really hear a lot about Android apps, right, the Instagram app was a big deal. But I think it comes down to Android users aren’t necessarily willing to pay for apps, right.
Patrick: There have been a bunch of different articles suggesting just that, and the numbers bear it out that Apple customers, Apple users, IOS mobile users are just more likely to pay for apps, they’re in Apple’s ecosystem. Whereas the Android is — the Android platform is a little more, well, it’s more open, but I mean I guess the downside of that some would say that it’s more disjointed; you know, there are different versions, there are different app market places, you know I’m a Kindle user, Kindle Fire, it’s Android, you know it’s not the current version, it’s the version that Amazon took and made to fit their tablet, and they have their own app marketplace that sells both to the Android platform, in the latest version, but also with a particular focus on the Kindle Fire. And I download a number of apps, and I downloaded probably hundreds of apps by this point, eh, I would say over a hundred, to be conservative, and I’ve paid for — I want to say I’ve paid for about 30 apps or so, most of which were on sale or half off or some kind of discount is what prompted me and pushed me to buy them then, you get a lot of the free app of the day and other free apps, but yeah, I don’t know, it’s an interesting dilemma, but as a developer it feels like it’s silly to ignore Android.
Kevin: Right, I would agree with you there. I mean and I guess it’s sort of the point I’m trying to make, but more than that, you know I was focusing a little more towards the Web, the Web side of thing, because that’s what I deal with on a daily basis.
Kevin: And that part of it is with the iPhone your screen size is always going to be the same, right, and I think that’s really — I’m harping on this because it is kind of a big deal in that when you create an iPhone app you have a set number of pixels, I believe it’s 320 pixels for the low resolution, and 640, this is Portrait mode I believe, yeah, Portrait mode that you would be in, and so like with Android I mean the array is just massive. And so I’m mostly referring to things like jQuery mobile and that kind of stuff, which do support Android platforms and that kind of thing, but it’s just interesting for me to like look at these numbers and then see the reflection in like when you see the community talking, right, it’s mostly about the iPhone, you rarely see anything about Android when it comes to Web stuff.
I think that’s a little bit of sort of the culture of the web design community, right, because everybody that makes websites needs to have ‘The Mac’, you know, you can’t use Windows, kind of thing.
Patrick: You can’t be like Patrick.
Kevin: But it’s true, though, right?
Kevin: You do have that little bit of this hatred towards anything other than Apple because in design, right, you want it to be beautiful and to be honest a lot of Windows stuff isn’t just breathtaking.
Patrick: Right. Or at least they have that reputation that continues to follow them.
Kevin: Right. And I think it’s good to look at the numbers and see numbers like this to kind of bring you back to reality because you can get lost in this Apple world.
Patrick: And they also said that they are — was data on the mobile content usage, and there are six categories; send a text message to a phone, that number stays steady, 74.3% of Smart Phone and non-Smart Phone, hello, users sent a text to another phone, 50% used downloaded apps, that’s a 2.4 percentage point change, 49.3% used a browser, that’s a gain also of almost two percentage point, 36.1% access a social networking site or blog, which is just a weird categorization to me; you access a social networking site, or any blog, 36.1%, a gain, played games 32.6%, listened to music on a mobile phone 25.3%, both of those gains of 1.2 and 1.5. So all actions gained moreorless, but still only less than 50% of the Smart Phone and non-Smart Phone of mobile users age 13 and up in the U.S. used a web browser, so not even 50%.
Is that surprising? Is that meaningful in any way?
Kevin: Yeah, I think like when you look at these numbers I mean it’s growing, right, and I think that’s the key to pull out of this is that mobile is continuing to grow as statistics have shown, and it will only continue to do that in the future. And the reason that this even pulls at it even more is these are competitor brands and things like that that we’re talking about, right, so it is a saturated space in that companies are taking it seriously and not just because there’s money in it but because there’s like — there’s brand awareness in it as well because so many people are using it, I mean Microsoft jumped in the game, right.
Patrick: Right. And you know technically speaking back in November I actually accessed the web browser on my cheap pay-as-you-go phone because someone actually — Chris Cochran, Christopher Cochran who works for webdevestudios.com, which is the company of Brad Williams who was one of the original four hosts on the SitePoint Podcast here, he had developed a website and it was spitting out what mobile browser you were on and adjusting for that, and so he’s like will it even recognize this? So we pulled it up and sure enough it recognized it; I forget as what, and it took some time, but I did get to Chris’ website, so –
Kevin: That’s awesome.
Patrick: I do have a browser.
Kevin: Did he reimburse you for the data usage?
Patrick: (Laughs) no, he didn’t. I don’t know what it cost me, probably — I don’t know, it probably cost me, hmm, I don’t know, fifty cents or something like that.
Kevin: To load a web page?
Patrick: (Laughs) well spent.
Kevin: That’s a soda out of the soda machine, Patrick.
Stephan: I think this breakdown of mobile content usage it would be interesting if they broke it down even more and said which platforms did what more.
Patrick: Right, that’s a good point.
Stephan: I think that would be cool to see like if — are Android users using downloaded apps more than web browser stuff? And I think that may give us more of a look at how people are actually using the phones and whether we should be developing more and more web apps for Android than say regular native apps. It’s just interesting to me; I think maybe this all brings us back to developing just responsive web applications that aren’t specific to a platform, right, I don’t know.
Kevin: Yeah, definitely. Especially like when you think about the development of just the desktop platform, right, where a lot of stuff you do would be in apps, but since bandwidth has become increasing like web apps aren’t that uncommon and they’ve become quite popular when you think about 37 Signals and companies like that that are built on it, Twitter, social networks, you know.
Kevin: And that goes into the Smart Phone industry as well, right. So now with 4G LTE, I believe that’s correct, right; I don’t have LTE here or 4G or anything like that.
Patrick: Right, sounds right.
Kevin: But that’s high, high speed Internet right there, and with that kind of capability there’s no reason, like you were saying, Stephan, that we can’t come to a place where web apps take over the mobile space above built-in apps, and I’m not saying that that’s actually 100% true because, you know, the phone makers are pushing their marketplaces on the phone, and it’s so easy to buy an app, you know.
Stephan: Yeah, yeah, but I think you’re absolutely right, there are certain things now that are easier to do on the phone, and you can make it cross-platform available to everyone without having to distribute the application, right, the websites, the distribution point. So I think the possibilities there are great, and I hope to see more companies push a web application via the actual web interface and not necessarily through an application, a native application.
Patrick: On a related note, I just saw a story on The Next Web that was reported today, they are recording May 7th, by Anna Heim, it says that Twitter has updated its mobile web version, mobile.twitter.com, and according to their announcement the purpose of the update was to improve the Twitter experience for users who access the platform from feature phone, low bandwidth networks and older browser, so there you go. It’s a market they want to tap into.
Stephan: Cool. Speaking of web apps and phone apps, Foursquare today launched a new history page so you can search all of your past check-ins, this is being reported on The Next Web, the writer is Drew Olanoff, and he’s just reporting on the feature, and you can search, it shows a map of all your check-ins, and it basically lets you access all your old history data on Foursquare. A pretty neat little feature, I’ve played with it a little bit, it doesn’t look like you can actually share it with anybody, which is kind of a feature to me; I don’t know if I want everybody stalking my history.
Patrick: Yeah, I was curious about that myself, is that something that you can enable or disable, or is it just something that’s out there for the public?
Stephan: I don’t see an option to do it, but what’s odd when I go look at my history I can see old comments on my check-ins and the friends that were at the same locations of those check-ins, so that’s kind of cool.
Patrick: Yeah, I’m looking actually — we must be friends so I’m just going to see. No, we’re not friends, what the heck?
Stephan: Man, Patrick!
Patrick: Stephan, man, add me now.
Kevin: Tsk, tsk.
Patrick: Foursquare.com/ifroggy, I have nine total check-ins, so with my non-Smart Phone, or is it called a feature phone, is that kind of the cool name for it, feature phone? I don’t really check-in, so, I check in from a browser whenever I check-in; last time I did so was last — I guess that’s October, the Westin Bonaventure Suites and Hotel in Los Angeles. I don’t know why that’s funny, but, yeah, that’s the last time I checked in, it was October, or September, I’m sorry, September 2011.
Kevin: So, Patrick, you’re looking for –
Patrick: I’m looking at my history now.
Stephan: What’s cool about all this, to me at least, is that now a simple check-in allows me to build a map of my travels and things, rather than me having to write something down or take a note in my phone or, you know, I’m kind of anal retentive about all this kind of stuff, just remembering where I was and things, so this is useful to me and it gives me another reason to use Foursquare even if I make it private.
Patrick: Right. And I looked at your profile, I can see the last five history and that’s all.
Stephan: Yeah, which is cool, I’m glad, I don’t want you going and stalking my last year’s check-ins; if I want to share that information with you I will.
Kevin: So if you show up at a Starbucks at five o’clock in the morning you’ll always run into Patrick, right, according to this history.
Patrick: Yeah, you’ll run into me if I’m sleepwalking.
Kevin: (Laughs) yeah, it’s an interesting story, it reminds me of Google’s Latitude that they put out a while back where you could track your location and kind of your most common places of interest.
Stephan: Yeah, it’s neat, it’s neat, so it’s a step in the right direction, I’m sure people won’t like it or they’ll have some complaint about it, but I think it’s a good step.
Kevin: Alright, so I have a story on silent browser upgrades, since Mozilla has released version 12 of their browser it’s now silent upgrading time. And so this has kind of created a little bit of a stir in the web community, but it’s kind of a new thing but not really since Chrome has been doing it for quite a while, but it’s new for Mozilla and Internet Explorer plans to trail them on this, so it’s becoming the trend of the Web now, for desktop browser specifically here, in that the browsers want their latest version on your computer as soon as possible, and I can’t say I disagree with that.
So this article kind of goes through step-by-step parts of the reasons why it’s a good thing for this to happen, and I like the story in short because it is short, and because it covers some of the practical things and thoughts behind browser silently upgrading themselves. Some of the points I like are the Internet Explorer example that it has which basically says that because of Internet Explorer 6 sitting stagnant for so long there’s no way to get that upgraded to Internet Explorer 8 even if you’re on XP because you can’t silently upgrade, and so if they had had that everyone, you know, we would have gotten rid of this Internet Explorer 6 issue a lot sooner.
And so things like user agent sniffing is gone now in replace of feature detection, things like that that you can do, and that UA detection isn’t as good because like if the browser’s upgrading itself then you have to update your script, and so the best way to really detect what version is through the feature detection. And there are other things, he points out some things, but those two points I think are the biggest for me which is the Internet Explorer.
And also, thirdly, he makes his first point which is you have to see past your expertise, right, because we’re all kind of webbies, but the normal person they just say well I just click on the blue E and it takes me to the Internet, right, that’s the Internet, the blue E, like they don’t even know that it’s Internet Explorer, and so like that even furthers the point of, you know what, these people aren’t gonna upgrade their browsers because they don’t even know what it is to begin with, like unless there’s a popup on their screen, which people are already wary of, right, because of viruses, especially if you’re a Windows user, you know, it’s like it’s just one of those things where it’s like it’s about time, it’s a breath of fresh air in my opinion.
Patrick: I mean the tricky thing here, and of course the kind of other side of this is that, you know, talking about Microsoft, Google, some might think of them as Big Brother in a way, you know, pushing things down at their leisure into your computer, right, and I guess there are cases where — this isn’t something we want to see proliferate into every application, right, this isn’t something we want, we don’t necessarily want silent upgrades in every piece of software that we have installed on our machine.
Patrick: Web browsers are kind of a special case just because they are used to access the wild, wild, Web, right, the wilderness that could be full of who knows; not only do you have the nefarious things like viruses or malware, and they may exploit an outdated browser, but then you have certainly for our audience, the developer concerns, having as much of a consistent experience as possible for a majority of your visitors regardless of the browser that they are using. And so ensure that you need people to be using similar standards and adhering to similar practices where the browsers will read a certain piece of code the same way, whether the wide variance that exists between say Internet Explorer 6 and even Internet Explorer 10 or Firefox or Chrome. You know, but there is that concern there, and like I said, this isn’t something you want to see in everything, is it?
Kevin: No, not at all, to be honest there’s not much you can do to get around the malicious type of software that they’re just gonna do this anyways, right, I mean they put themselves on your computer just by visiting a website, you don’t even have to click a button sometimes.
Kevin: And so there are things that the browsers are doing like, for example, Firefox allows you to stop the automatic updates if you want to, so, you know, for example in the comments there’s one fellow here who uses a CMS but he can’t get it to work on many browsers except for Firefox 3, so what does he do, he turns those off and he’s okay.
You know something I thought was very interesting is I was using Firefox one day and then all of a sudden it just updated without me asking it to, and so I don’t know what happened there.
Patrick: You’re like, oh, Firefox you sly devil.
Kevin: Yeah. So like it would have been interesting to have had like a box to select or something, like maybe I did check it and I just didn’t realize it, sort of like Windows XP had before where you would get automatic updates with I believe service pack 2.
Patrick: Yeah, and it’s true what you say about popups, because I can say I use my computer and every time I see a popup to upgrade something oftentimes it is Adobe, something Adobe, Adobe Air or –
Patrick: Flash, right, even Acrobat; and sometimes there’s a prompt for Java, to upgrade to the latest version of Java, since I have those notifications on, and then you have a few other things here and there, I use a program called Malware Bites, and once in a while that’ll prompt me for a new version. But then I go use the computer that my family has that they use, and that’s my brother and my parents, and they’ll just ignore those popups forever (laughs), they will not touch those things until I get there and see the pile-up of, well, everything needs to be updated outside of Windows because Windows will restart, you know, will say we’re gonna do this, you have four hours if you want, but we really need to do this.
And so, yeah, I mean it’s funny how that is the case. So it’s a tricky era that we live in where we’re concerned about so many different areas of privacy and control, certainly Facebook is constantly in the news regarding those issues, you have legislation, SOPA, PIPA, SYSA, SYSPA, and anything else that ends with an A. And then you have those issues and people are going to have concern about their privacy, and yet, they want to allow some of these major companies that are parties to these legislations, sometimes pro, sometimes against, but just to install things onto the computer. And, on the other hand, you have people like my family who won’t upgrade anything and might be vulnerable, so I don’t know what the — I guess it is we have to go down this road, and if any company abuses it, and I don’t think any reasonable company will, but there’s always that chance that there’s that one person who does something, you know, it’s gonna be a major news story, and then we’re gonna have CNN talking about, well, Mozilla, Google, they were pushing updates to your computer without your permission, find out more at 11:00.
Kevin: Yeah, and they were stealing your data and all your documents and finding out what you wrote to your ex-wife, kind of thing.
Patrick: Right, because it’s an issue that once it’s in the mainstream it’s much like the legislation really, a lot of people will talk about it but very few people will understand it. And that’s exactly the kind of issue that that would be, you know, the news will grab onto it as a headline and it is newsworthy, and if I a company does abuse it, it deserves to be put out there. But then you create this fear, and 99%, similar to what Mr. Wall says in this blog post, 99% of users don’t care what browsers they’re using, well, that’s the same 99% that won’t understand this issue if it goes wrong.
But I don’t know, I don’t see any other way, so actually I’m interested to see the browsers kind of widely adopting this practice, and I have to say I like the logo on this blog; have you put your mouse over it?
Kevin: I have not, let me try, ooh.
Patrick: Put your mouse over that thing.
Kevin: Oh my gosh, that’s kind of rockin’ right there, literally.
Patrick: It’s kind of like a vinyl record. It’s like “wiki wiki wiki”.
Kevin: I’m a DJ on this website; check it out, what’s up. Yeah, I think it’s an interesting story and one to watch for, you know, because part of this also is with the silent update thing, right, what happens when, for example, like silent updates maybe for Internet Explorer 8 versus 9, like you can’t get Internet Explorer 9 on Windows XP. Now there’s good reason for that, but you know situations like that where it’s more than just them trying to update your computer, it’s like a physical limitation of the device you have, and like the conflicts that that creates.
Patrick: Yeah, and I was just looking at operating system percentages for the visitors on one of the communities that I manage, and someone asked other members what they were using, and so I posted the, first of all, the operating system itself, and then they wanted a breakdown of Microsoft and the Windows Operating Systems, and I have 57.54% on 7, 28.60% on XP, 13.3% on Vista, and then small percentages beneath that; Windows server 2003 was .37% and then it kind of went down, and we had one visit from Windows ME, this year.
So, yeah, I mean you have 28.60% of Windows visitors, which represent a majority, and those people won’t be able to get those newer versions of IE, and you still have to, you know, there’s still a sizable part of the website. So even with automatic upgrades eventually if they don’t upgrade the operating system it seems like the upgrades will come to an end.
So, speaking of Google, we have a post here from the Google official blog announcing that Google+ Hangouts on Air is now available worldwide, and previously this was a feature that was in Beta. Basically it allows you to put a live broadcast out there on the Web in Google+ and on your YouTube channel, if you so desire, hangouts have been around for a while, of course, they are kind of one of the Google+ killer features, if you will, get together with a group of people that you know and talk and have a nice video chat; I’ve actually done that with you Kevin.
Kevin: Yes, and we also did Turntable that day I believe.
Patrick: Yeah, we actually were on, we just kind of shut down the Internet, we broke the tubes. So, yeah, we were on Google Hangouts and playing around with turntable.fm listening to music as well, so that was fun and I’ve done a few hangouts, I did one actually for Dell in I believe it was February on Community Manager Appreciation Day they did a community manager kind of one-hour event where we did some presentations for ten minutes each, and I participated in that, and Dell has done a bunch of stuff on their Google+ page. But so the Google Hangouts on Air take you to a different level allowing you to be live to the world. And if you have a popular YouTube channel that’s another way to engage with your audience, to have a live stream and to have people actually participating with you and talking with you as you’re doing it, and there’s a million different uses for that, obviously, but the thing that struck me about this is there are entire companies that are built to satisfy this need, UStream comes to mind immediately, there’s one that we use for my other podcast, Copyright 2.0 show called SPRAYcast.
And they have other features, right, you can display questions on the video player, they record the videos, which Google is doing with Google Hangouts on Air, and you can have two people on the screen at one time, you can have four people on at one time on the same kind of screen looking at all four people, there are a lot of different things that you can do with it; Google+ Hangouts allows you to have people on the screen but only one person gets the main camera. Those are really small differences, and to me if you can be on YouTube live, no offense to UStream or anyone else, but why would you want to be on UStream live? Is that a fair thought or what do you think about competition in that kind of live streaming space now that Google is essentially saying we are definitely in?
Stephan: So my question is when do we do a live stream of the show on this and try it out.
Patrick: I don’t know. I was thinking about that.
Stephan: We should give a test drive; if we’re gonna talk about it we should at least try it out.
Patrick: Right, well, you know, I haven’t done Google Hangouts on Air, and that’s an interesting point, and if you’re listening to this and you’d be interested in us doing this show live leave a comment at sitepoint.com/podcast on this episode and let us know if that’s something that you’d like to watch. But, yeah, that’d be fun, but yeah, I mean I don’t know, it’s interesting, I’m planning on doing more video stuff this summer, and I think there’s a great opportunity there for a lot of popular YouTubers to kind of take their channel to another level rather than having to, you know, previously it was kind of weird, you have this kind of divide, right, and I think some might argue that YouTube and Google were kind of slow to it, but maybe they were just waiting for the right time, right, the right network, the right bandwidth to kick this feature out, because it does take a lot of bandwidth, and so you had this divide of services that host video, like YouTube, Blip.tv, and so on, and then you have services that hosted live video, you know, you weren’t uploading videos to them, that live video was all that they do, and we did live SitePoint podcasts at WordCamp Raleigh two years in a row and used UStream in both cases to stream that show out, but you know if we were to do it now I don’t see a reason why we wouldn’t use Google+ instead since they are essentially matching the video hosting, the great functionality they have at YouTube, you know all the little things they do whether it be captioning or links in videos or all the great user features with the functionality that these other dedicated startups already had.
Stephan: I think one key thing that will increase the YouTube usage, or increase this feature usage, is I think a lot of people were hesitant to go to websites called blip.tv or UStream, or whatever, without knowing what it was and understanding what a live stream was, and they’ll be much more willing to click on something that says YouTube, watch the YouTube video.
Stephan: I think that that’s a big selling point for people, it’s known, it’s in their brains, they’ve used it before and so they’re comfortable. I think that the other services will struggle to fight that with YouTube and with Google.
Kevin: Yeah, it’s hard to create that trust that Google has created with its users over the years, in sites like Blip and that kind of thing, and so you’re exactly right, Stephan, right?
Stephan: I hope so (laughter).
Patrick: You’re all just so right, but here’s the thing, that’s a good point, it’s brand equity, right, it’s brand capital they’ve built up by being in business for so long and having a generally good reputation, and that’s something that Google brings to any industry, right, when they jump in Smart Phones this is Google Smart Phone, this is Google Android, even though it’s branded as Android and it’s open source and there’s that — I would say that comfortable division that they create to make people feel comfortable with engaging with that operating system, but it’s Google, and you know when Google jumps in a new industry or a new platform they instantly have that, and that’s true right across the board, and that includes Google Drive which just recently launched. I mean you have established players who are both super well known companies and not so well known companies, you can think of Amazon as one of the really well known ones with their Cloud drive servers, and then you have a lot of Cloud storage services that are out there, Dropbox is pretty well known, but like I used the example of my family earlier, they don’t know Dropbox, you know my parents don’t know what Dropbox is, but they know Google, they do know what Google is, so even in that case Google Drive has that sort of leg up.
Have you guys had any opportunity to look at Google Drive?
Kevin: So I signed up for the service but I have not used it yet, so now instead of Google Documents whenever I go in the browser it says Drive, and that’s about the extent I have used Google Drive.
Patrick: A re-branding.
Kevin: Right. So like it would be fun to try out, but to be honest I’m using Dropbox and I’m happy, and I think this is a good thing to talk about here, because not just about Google Drive but also for Dropbox, right, because Dropbox is fulfilling my needs and I’m very happy with Dropbox, so my incentive to even look at Google Drive like is zero because I’m completely, I’m 100% satisfied with Dropbox, Dropbox does everything that it says it will, and so I have absolutely no need maybe outside of price to look at somewhere else.
Patrick: That’s the reason I always give people when they say why do you still use that web browser, and they did that when I used IE for many years, why are you still using that instead of Firefox? Well, because I have no reason. And I went over to Firefox and people are like why aren’t you on Chrome? Well, I have no reason, and I’m still on Firefox, but that’s an interesting point. So I haven’t really used Google Drive either, but their feature page makes it pretty clear what they are doing, it’s not just a stored service, like you said, it ties into Google Docs seamlessly, and it incorporates Google’s very powerful search technology, so that’s a benefit to be able to search those archive files. You can view things in the browser, they say you can view and open over 30 file types right in your browser, including HD video, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, even if you don’t have the program installed on your computer, that’s interesting. And Google Drive also interacts with a number of different apps and has a very powerful sharing interface where you can share files with just the right files that you want to put them out there with, and there’s some discussion element to files and collaborative documents that might remind some, I don’t know, it looks a little like Google Wave to me, though I haven’t really played around with it too much, that might be an erroneous statement, and also Google Drive tracks the changes that you made to your file, so when you hit a save button a newer version was saved, and that was already true for Google Documents and it seems like it might also be true for files that you put up, but I don’t know if that’s the case or not, but that would be interesting if that was an actual feature. But Google Drive has been talked about for a long time, and it’s interesting to see them finally get it out the door.
Do you use — you know you mentioned Dropbox, do you use anything beyond that for Cloud storage or do you backup to the Cloud, Stephan?
Stephan: I use Amazon.
Patrick: Cloud Drive.
Stephan: The Cloud Drive, yeah, to backup some stuff, and I use a service called Crash Plan.
Patrick: Okay, Crash Plan, my brother has that also; I got him hooked up on that when he went to college.
Stephan: Yeah, it’s a good service. The coolest thing I saw on here, on this Google Drive features list, was the photo storage and the search by, it can recognize objects. So that technology right there is unbelievable, so if you upload a picture of a mountain and it’s Everest, and you do a search and it can tell that it’s Everest, that’s amazing.
Kevin: That’s a little too personal for me (laughter). Hey, look, it’s Kevin in 12 of these photos, don’t you know that guy? Like Google you shouldn’t know my face, that scares me (laughter).
Patrick: The thing is it’s gonna be real scary when they notice just parts of your body, like you search Kevin’s arm, oh, Kevin’s arm appeared in 27 photos (laughter), how many photos are Kevin’s fingerprints visible in, oh, 3,627, oh, we won’t do anything with that information.
Stephan: Did you mean to look for the arrest record of Kevin.
Kevin: Wow. No, ‘did you mean’ in Google Docs (laughter)
Patrick: That’s very funny.
Stephan: So I think that’s really cool, and I think one of the scary parts for me and the reason I’m kind of hesitant to try this out is does it index your drive and where does that information go? And I can’t find anything on all that information yet, I’ve been looking through the privacy while we’ve been on the call by privacy features, but I haven’t seen anything, so if anyone knows out there, any of the listeners, I would love to know what you found regarding what they do with the indexed data on your computer.
Patrick: Kevin, I asked Stephan if he used any similar services, he mentioned Crash Plan and then Amazon Cloud Drive, what about yourself?
Kevin: Well, since we’re advertising for people, I use Carbonite, and I use Dropbox, and then I use Google Docs, and then I will soon be using the Adobe Cloud, Creative Cloud.
Patrick: I just don’t have the bandwidth to use Carbonite and Back Blaze and Crash Plan; I mean it would take decades to get my stuff up.
Kevin: You just leave it running overnight.
Patrick: Yeah, I know, overnight for a few decades and we’ll be there, you know literally I’m not kidding.
Stephan: Yeah, I mean I’m sitting on about a terabyte of data, and I send it to and offsite hard drive, like I don’t use their actual Cloud storage, I just use their service, so it goes to a friend’s computer, which I’m sure he loves when I like upload a bunch of photos, I’m sure his bandwidth really takes a beating (laughs), but I used to have it at my work, I used to have a hard drive sitting at work and I just left it plugged in.
Kevin: What’s to be said, I don’t mean to extend this conversation, but what’s to be said for things like photos and music? When you think about like the iTunes Cloud or Apple Cloud, whatever, the iCloud I guess it’s called.
Patrick: A lot of Clouds.
Kevin: Amazon mp3 player and their instant video, do you not think that this is where people are going to store their valuables? Like why put this equity in something that you really can’t protect, and why not put it in the hands of someone that can, even if you don’t physically own a copy, like that’s what I’ve started doing, like all of my music is in Amazon Cloud, so like I don’t need to backup my music, I don’t really backup much of anything other than my documents folder because everything that’s important to me is backed up online within site services, not necessarily on site drives.
Patrick: This is interesting because on the Copyright 2.0 show, the other podcast that I host, the mega upload cases is a big story we talk about every week the different updates and developments, and one of the things that came up recently was people wanting access to the files that were on the service, people who used it as a backup service, as a file locker for their files and their documents. And it’s an interesting question of exactly what you are entitled to legally and what’s fair for you to be entitled to, right, I mean if you sign up with Crash Plan are you entitled to those files forever, are you entitled to the access for those files for how long, I mean companies go out of business as we know, they have financial trouble, they file for Chapter 11, etcetera. So obviously best practices you get some notice of that happening, but if the service is run poorly, as may have been the case with Mega Upload, then what happens when they get seized or they get shut down. Me personally I always think you should have something other than the Cloud service for your important documents, I mean that’s just my thinking about it, and the terms of service for any of these services will probably back that up in saying what you are entitled to and what you’re not entitled to. So there’s this danger and, you know, Brad and Stephan we used to joke with Kevin about the Cloud and how I wouldn’t use Open ID and I wouldn’t trust Cloud Services 100% with all my data, but that’s true for me here as well; I’d love to have it as kind of a backup backup, but putting all your eggs into that basket it’s not without it’s risks. And truth be told, Amazon and Google aren’t probably going anywhere, but still the same principle applies.
Kevin: But with those services you can still download what you have on them to your computer at a moment’s notice.
Patrick: Right, but if they get seized tomorrow by the government I mean it’s gonna be too late.
Kevin: I would say my laptop has as much chance of being seized by not just the government but by somebody that walks by me in the coffee shop and wants to just snatch my computer away, right.
Patrick: Right. But at the same time there’s a difference between Google and Amazon and Crash Plan and Back Blaze and then Mega Upload and Rapid Share, right, there’s difference, Google and Amazon may have a stronger legal team, right, and they may be doing things a little more appropriately, but then if you’re using these other services that don’t have the same resources or might not be run the same way, you know, it’s just always important to be aware of what you’re getting into and who you’re placing all those files in with.
Kevin: We trust banks, right, we trust banks with our money and our, you know, where we deposit at.
Stephan: Yeah, for $100,000.00, $250,000.00, yeah.
Patrick: Right. Part of the reason that we trust banks is because they’re backed by the FDIC up to $100,000.00 or $250,000.00, and there’s that insurance plan; that doesn’t exist with Cloud Hosting, you know, and probably won’t.
Stephan: I guess I’m a little different, I think it depends on what your workflow is, right, or what your use case is; I don’t backup my music, I have a hard drive with the music on it, if it goes out then so be it, I honestly don’t have that much music, and now with web services — and this comes back to — we’re coming full circle back to where we were at the beginning of the show, right, I have an app, it’s called Pandora, I can play random music that I want to listen to, I can use RDIO, I could use Spotify, I could use any of these services that are out there to play music without actually having my hard drive. To me what’s important to backup is my personal stuff, my photographs, my personal documents, and that’s about it really, that’s the only thing I need to backup and make sure it’s anywhere. But my photographs library is huge, so for me it’s different than what you guys are using it for or not using it for, and I think for everyone it’s going to be the same way and what’s important to them and how they want to back that stuff up and how they want to ensure they have that information when they need it. Just my two cents.
Kevin: Yeah, I agree with you and Patrick, I mean you both used the same keyword which was ‘important’, right, it’s all defining what’s important to that person; if it’s really, really important you’re going to want a physical copy of it, I mean that’s just the brass tacks I guess.
Stephan: Yeah, absolutely.
Patrick: And Google Drive, if you’re interested, the pricing is as follows: you can get five gigabyte of Google Drive free, and then on top of that they say 10 gigabyte of Gmail and one gigabyte of Picasa, and then for $2.49 a month you can go 25 gigabytes for drive and Picasa, and Gmail is upgraded to 25 gigabytes. For $4.99 a month you go to 100 gigabytes, that’s 100 gigabytes for Drive and Picasa, and once again your Gmail is upgraded to 25 gigabytes, and beyond that 200 gigabytes up until 16 terabytes you can upgrade your plan, and that ranges from $9.99 a month up to $799.99 a month for a 16 terabytes, so, yes, Google has plans for everyone.
Kevin: That sounds a little creepy, Patrick, “Google has plans for everyone,” mwuhahaha (evil laugh).
Patrick: And their data.
Kevin: Yes, and everything you own.
Patrick: Alright, so with that said I think we’ve come to the end of our story segment, and let’s do host spotlights. Kevin, why don’t you go first.
Kevin: So my spotlight comes from webdesignledger.com, it’s 20 inspiring examples of big backgrounds in web design, and it’s just really a fun post of pretty inspiring, of course, website screenshots and links to those sites, so check it out, it’s pretty cool. I mean some of this stuff is pretty neat, but I mean it’s all big background, so.
big background, so.
Patrick: Cool, yeah, you can see kind of a consistent theme, there’s a lot of visual obviously, but not as much text, right, the text is kind of sparse, selective with how the text and what the copy on the page contains.
Kevin: Hmm-mm. It feels very much like an ad in a magazine with navigation.
Patrick: Cool. Stephan what do you have?
Stephan: I have a blog post by a man named Dan Haggard, he writes for a website called Reviews in Depth, and his post is called Why Everyone Should Learn to Program. And Mr. Haggard works at a university, he’s an administrator, and it’s just a nice, long blog post on him writing an application and then showing this application to one of his co-workers and getting them excited to program. And he just kind of talks and touches on a few things that I think resonate with people who aren’t programmers. My wife is a math major and I shared this with her and she really enjoyed it because I think it kind of made sense to her, you know, we use a lot of interfaces in our day-to-day lives, the stove you use to cook your dinner, the knife you use to cut your food, the car, the anything, and this kind of touches on how that can be translated into programming and how it’s just an interface for getting things done.
So, it’s one of those articles that you can use to show someone who’s kind of skeptical on you writing an application, and have them read this and I think they’ll get it a little bit better.
Patrick: Very cool. I myself am not a programmer but I sometimes wish I was.
And my spotlight is a web video series called Beer and Board Games, it’s by Blame Society Films, and you can find them at youtube.com/blamesocietyfilms. Basically it is — Blame Society Films is led by Max Sloane and Aaron Yonda, maybe more popularly known as the guys behind Chad Vader, which is a popular web video series, but they’ve done a bunch of other series as well, and one of my favorites is Beer and Board Games, I watch it regularly with my brother Sean, and they tackle board games popular and obscure. They’ve done Risk, they’ve done Sex Maniacs, the card game (laughs), so, you know, there are a lot of crazy board games out there, and the shows are just hilarious, they’re kind of — you know, they’re not three minute YouTube videos, they’re usually about 10 minutes or so, but just great humor, very hilarious and there’s a lot of fun stuff on there channel as well.
Stephan: I’ll have to find the Settlers of Catan one; I need to watch that one.
Patrick: They haven’t done that one yet, have they? I’ve never even played that game, I have heard of it.
Stephan: (Laughs) it’s a good game.
Kevin: Have you heard of Carcassonne?
Patrick: Uh, no.
Kevin: Ah, man, what’s wrong with you?
Patrick: I guess if I come to where you guys are located one day then we can play those games.
Kevin: We shall.
Patrick: Before we go around the table I’d like to shout out a listener of the show, Chris Trynkiewicz, who is a very literal listener, always commenting on my Google+ posts about the show, so Chris thank you for listening, we really appreciate it. Chris actually left me a really long comment about something we should talk about on the show, but I didn’t have enough time to review it before we recorded. So thanks again, Chris, and thank you to everyone that listens to the show.
Let’s go ahead and go around the table.
Patrick: And I am Patrick O’Keefe of the iFroggy Network, I blog at managingcommunities.com; find me on Twitter @ifroggy, i-f-r-o-g-g-y.
You can follow our usual co-host, Louis Simoneau, @rssaddict, and SitePoint @sitepointdotcom, that’s sitepoint d-o-t-c-o-m. You can check out the podcast at sitepoint.com/podcast and leave comments on this show or any show, and also subscribe to receive every show automatically. Email us at email@example.com with your comments and your questions, we’d love to give you our thoughts or read them out on the show.
The SitePoint podcast is produced by Karn Broad, thank you for listening and we’ll see you next week.
Theme music by Mike Mella.
Thanks for listening! Feel free to let us know how we’re doing, or to continue the discussion, using the comments field below.