SitePoint Podcast #30: Google Infects IE

Matthew Magain
Tweet

Episode 30 of The SitePoint Podcast is now available. This week your hosts are Patrick O’Keefe (@ifroggy), Stephan Segraves (@ssegraves), and Brad Williams (@williamsba).

Listen in your Browser

Play this episode directly in your browser! Just click the orange “play” button below:

Download this Episode

You can also download this episode as a standalone MP3 file. Here’s the link:

Subscribe to the Podcast

The SitePoint Podcast is on iTunes! Add the SitePoint Podcast to your iTunes player. Or, if you don’t use iTunes, you can subscribe to the feed directly.

Episode Summary

Here are the topics covered in this episode:

Ma.gnolia Returns

Microsoft WebsiteSpark

Opera Mini Hits 30 Million Users

Google Sidewiki

Google Chrome Frame

Host Spotlights:

Theme music by Mike Mella.

Show Transcript

October 2, 2009, Ma.gnolia returns, Google Sidewiki opens for comments, and Google Chrome Frame attempts to modernize IE6. This is the SitePoint Podcast #30: Google Infects IE.

Patrick: Hello, and welcome again to the SitePoint podcast. This is Patrick O’Keefe filling in for our usual lead host, Kevin Yank, who is on vacation, hopefully having safe natural fun. I’m joined today by my usual co-hosts, Stephan Segraves and Brad Williams. This is our first show without Kevin as lead host, I think, as a group. Right guys?

Stephan: That it is.

Brad: He wasn’t the lead host for, the first couple, I think, but it’s been a while.

Patrick: I think we were testing it out. It has been a while. This is a purely US-based show today; there is no Australian influence, so we’ll see how it works but I’m sure we’ll survive. Without any further discussion, let’s get into the stories.

Our first story is an update. In episode 8, we discussed the — I guess you would call it — the catastrophe that happened to Ma.gnolia, which was a popular social bookmarking service. They lost their data and this led to a lot of discussion on our show over multiple episodes about data safety and how to back up your data and the importance of doing so.

Well, Ma.gnolia is back now. They’ve relaunched their service. This comes in a blog post from Larry Halff, who is the founder of the company, he founded it about four years ago. And he says that “With Ma.gnolia’s relaunch comes lessons learned and changes and among the most obvious and important is that it is no longer a doors-wide-open public service. I’m currently inviting old Ma.gnolia members to return, along with others who might be interested. Soon, those Ma.gnolia members will be able to send out their own invitations.”

He also writes “this version of Ma.gnolia is tested versioned, nightly database backups to AWS S3 and those are all an integral part and working part of the relaunch of Ma.gnolia.”

Now, among the hosts, Stephan was the only one who was a Ma.gnolia user. So what’s your take on this Stephan? Have you got back into the service yet?

Stephan: No, I haven’t been invited back, so I’ll have to give it a few more days before I pass judgment. Hopefully I get invited back. I’m a delicious user now, and I was a delicious when I used Ma.gnolia, and I was just testing the two out and that’s when Ma.gnolia died.

Patrick: Talk about bad timing.

Stephan: It sounds like an interesting product. He’s going more on the lines of connecting with people and stuff, and I think that’s a good idea. So we’ll see.

Brad: I wish I had a few more details on what exactly has changed because they’re not … I mean it really just says it’s kind of more member-focused sharing of links but there is not a lot of details of what exactly has changed or what’s different from the way Ma.gnolia used to work.

Stephan: Yeah, I don’t know. There is an interview on Crunchgear. Larry Halff mentions that he wants to make it more like what you see on Facebook where people archive stories … not really archive stories but share stories. He sees delicious as an archiving tool to just hold things you want to remember and he likes the idea of more of the Facebook way of doing things.

Patrick: I don’t know if that’s really different from delicious.

Stephan: Yeah, I don’t know either. But the thing is, is I really don’t share links on delicious. I do share links on Facebook. I use delicious as a bookmarking tool.

Patrick: So you need something like delici-book.

Stephan: delici-book, exactly. I like that.

Brad: It kind of raises an interesting question and how can you actually trust a company that’s shut down and then a few months later has come back and said hey, we’re back, come join again. I don’t know how much stock I would put into that.

Stephan: Do you use delicious, Brad?

Brad: I do, yeah, I like delicious.

Stephan: Like if delicious died tomorrow and they didn’t have any of my bookmarks, I probably would never use them again.

Brad: Yeah, I mean, it’s like giving a two weeks’ notice at a job, and then right before you leave saying you know what, never mind — I’m gonna stay. And then even if they allow you to stay, you’re kind of like always that guy that tried to leave and didn’t, or changed his mind, or whatever it is … you’re probably always going to be labeled as the person who tried to quit. Maybe they’ll overcome that, maybe they won’t, but it’s definitely too early to tell.

Patrick: Yeah, and as we talked about it, I mean it’s a reminder to backup your data. There are services out there that allow you to backup your social networking screen, like LifestreamBackup.com, you can back up your Twitter and your Gmail and Flickr and delicious and Facebook and everything. So it’s just a reminder, and I think he took the right approach in the blog post. I think it was a humble post and obviously, the biggest thing about Ma.gnolia is: “Are you guys gonna die again?” He said it’s backed up. So we’ll see.

Brad: Next up, Microsoft just announced a new service called WebsiteSpark, which might sound familiar. We actually discussed BizSpark, which is another program under this whole Spark platform that Microsoft has really been pushing lately.

WebsiteSpark is a program that any web site development or design company can join and it’s for smaller companies, not larger corporations. So you still have to have 10 or less employees or members at your organization. But essentially, you can join up for free and once you’re accepted, you have access to a lot of the Microsoft developer programs, like Visual Studio 2008 Professional, Expression Engine 2 or 3, Windows Web Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 … these are some pretty expensive apps and programs that Microsoft will essentially give you for free once you’ve been accepted and again, it’s for smaller companies that are really just kind of either getting into the scene or have been around for a little while.

Some of the requirements to join, like I said, you have to have 10 or less members and exactly as Microsoft states, that you have to be a professional services firm whose primary business is providing web development and design services for its clients. So as long as you kind of fit into that bucket, you can apply and once you get accepted, you have access to download these great programs and use them legally.

So it’s a pretty cool program, you should definitely check it out.

Patrick: Yes, I mean, you get three licenses to Expression Studio 2008, Expression Studio, Expression Web, Windows Web Server, SQL Server and dot net panel – some of those I have no idea what they are but, I mean, free is not a bad thing. At the end of the day, of course, Microsoft is looking for buy in and looking for you to stick around and once you reach a certain level but, you know, free is never a bad thing, right?

Brad: Yeah, and actually because we talk about BizSpark. I’m not sure what episode it was but earlier in the year. And if you remember BizSpark is for startups whereas this is for web design companies. And then there’s also a third Spark program called DreamSpark which is for students. I actually found some stats. I guess on a 10-month period since launching BizSpark, they had 28,000 companies enrolled. So, you know, you can see that this has been pretty widely adopted. A lot of people are getting involved and joining up and using these Microsoft programs. So they’re definitely extending their reach out there and trying to hit some of the smaller companies.

Brad: Actually reading through some of the finer print in their requirements … one of the stipulations, it says to be eligible to continue in the program, a company must deploy a new public and internet-accessible web site developed using program software within six months from program enrollment and report it to their web site portal.

There are not a whole lot of specifics on what that web site has to do or what technologies it needs to be developed in. I mean, I’m assuming Microsoft assumes that you’re going to use .NET, but it doesn’t specifically state that. So it would be funny to see if anyone actually developed, say, a PHP web site using Visual Studio as their primary editor and then submitted that, if Microsoft would accept that or not. So it does prove that you have to actually what you’re using this for. So within six months, if you don’t have anything to show, no web sites, you can say that you’ve used their programs to build, you might get kicked out of the program. So just keep that in mind.

Patrick: So next, we’re speaking about the Mobile Web. Opera Mini has topped 30 million users according to a report at TechCrunch by Erick Schonfeld. He asked the question, is it the world’s most popular browser? Opera says that nearly 32 million people used their browser in August of this year. That’s 147% increase over the year before. Page view wise, they’re up 235% annually. That means that each person is loading 436 pages a month on their cell phones or 14 a day. A year ago, it was 10 a day.

Opera has claimed to be the world’s most popular mobile browser but Schonfeld analyzes the numbers provided by StatCounter.com. and they do show that Opera has a 26% share of the mobile browser market share worldwide but iPhone has 21.8% and the iPod Touch has 9.7%. If you put those two together, Apple’s market share tops 31%. And now on top of that, he mentions that, of course, the iPhone and iPod Touch aren’t really browsers, they’re devices, and what should really be compared is Opera versus WebKit. And if you added the WebKit’s market share up, it would be even higher. What do you think, Brad?

Brad: It’s definitely some interesting data. I’ve read about Opera Mini. I’ve seen it mentioned as being a great browser but unfortunately, I have an iPhone so I’m stuck on Safari. So, it would be nice to kind of be able to install some alternative browsers on my phone and try them out. Actually, about a year ago, I had a Blackjack and I had Opera installed on my Windows Mobile but I really didn’t use web browsing too much back then.

I’m surprised by these numbers. I wouldn’t have expected Opera to be that high up for mobile browsing. I would have expected iPhone to dominate the market and looking at these StatCounter stats, and we’ll definitely put the link in the show notes, it’s kind of surprising that with some of these stats and what market share they have on mobile browsing. I mean, even the PSP has like 1.75%, which, who knew? I guess you’ve really got to think about this when you’re designing mobile web sites that people are using all sorts of different things, but Opera is obviously popular.

Patrick: Yeah, I mean looking at the list, you have Opera at the top with 26.4% and then you have the iPhone, Nokia takes about 20%. The iPod Touch, Blackberry is right there with the Touch. There’s a lot of devices. It’s definitely a little more spread out than the desktop browser market share.

Stephan: Is the Wii using (Opera) mobile, or does it use the full-blown browser?

Patrick: I thought about that too but it’s not on this list so I guess they don’t count it. I’m sure it’s going to count as the full-blown browser since you’re looking at it on your TV, and the Wii console isn’t inherently mobile.

Brad: But you know, even if Opera is #2 behind iPhone and Safari, I mean, still they’re #2, which is a great feat. I mean what’s Opera’s market share in a normal browser? Like a couple of percent? So I mean, I think it’s a great feat and it speaks highly of what they’ve been able to do there.

Stephan: And it’s a good mobile browser, I like it. I don’t have it but every time I see people using it, I’m like “that’s nice.” I use Mobile Safari on the iPhone but I do like the way it looks. If I had a Blackberry or something, I’d probably use it.

Patrick: Google this week has force fed social media on the world. This is according to Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer. Google launched Google Sidewiki. Basically, Falls writes, “Anyone who downloads a browser toolbar for Firefox or for Internet Explorer,” but not Chrome yet, it’s on the way. Even though this is a product from Google, they don’t really have a Chrome plugin for it just yet, but what it does is it allows people to add comments and notes to a sidebar, a frame if you will, to the left of any web site. This includes certainly, your web site and this is done without any sort of opt in or opt out, anyone can simply visit a site and add a note to it.

Falls, rightfully points out that one of the things Google does best is that they serve up relevant advertisement so it’s not without some foundation to think that Google could monetize these comments in the future and place ads on this sidebar that’s on your web site and your competitors could advertise there as well. Again, he calls this ‘force feeding’ and links to the Google Sidewiki video its called “Introducing Sidewiki” and we’re going to have a link to this in the show notes certainly.

Basically the video says that Sidewiki could help people to find expert insights on important issues, helpful tips as you browse, back information for more history, or added perspective on new technology. This paints kind of a rosy picture of the product. But on the other hand, those of us who manage forums or have a blog know that comments are not always in that realm. Oftentimes, we get insults or spam or some sort of other unsavory behavior that’s posted on our web site that we like to remove but this Sidewiki is not something we will have control over. There is an element to report the comment but again, it’s not something that you, as a web site owner control. Of course, not everyone is going to download this extension; some people won’t, and even less will add comments but Jason says that at the end of the day, in this space, in this small set of the population, you’ll need more brand fans than brand detractors.

What do we think?

Brad: I’m on the fence between “really scary” and “really cool.” Like you said, it could really go either way. As history has thought us, anytime there is a way to have a public Wiki where anyone can add comments, there’s going to be bad stuff along with the good stuff. You would hope that most comments are going to be good but you never quite know, especially from say like an ecommerce standpoint, if you have a web store, your public opinion on the internet is a big part of your business. So if a couple of people go around saying that you have an awful store or awful customer service, that can really affect you. If it’s right on your web site, that’s really going to affect you because they’re going to see it right when they’re looking at whatever that product is they’re getting ready to purchase. And if the top post on there says, “This web store is awful” then you might have just lost a customer because of what somebody else wrote.

On the flipside, I do think its kind of a cool idea at the same time because then you can write legitimate entries about a web site right on it where other people are going to see it in real time rather than just maybe a review on some third-party web site.

I think it’s so early that it’s really hard to see how well it’s going to be adopted. I think the major factor here is how many people are going to use this. If it’s all just internet tech geeks, then I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Now, if this becomes something that our parents start using, then it might be something to look at a little closer.

Stephan: I don’t know, I see it turning into the massive online version of news-web-site-comment. I just see it turning into people just arguing on a web site everywhere you go. I really have no interest in looking at it. I don’t read the comments when I go to a news web site. I don’t care. I’m there for something else. I kind of see it as a distraction from the main point. If you’re running a blog and you have a comments section, then people should just comment there and not on some Wiki page that Google puts out.

Patrick: I kind of sympathize more or I fit more with the scary side of this because I think on some level, this kind of strikes me as irresponsible and just in the moderation of it. Consider YouTube comments — they’ve become a joke. The YouTube comment is basically a euphemism for nasty comment, it’s just the way it is right now because people receive this comments in their videos that are so off the wall and so crazy that the comments, kind of like Digg comments, have adopted that sort of persona. Do you really want to Google moderating comments that are on your web site? It’s cool when it’s on YouTube, because they own YouTube, but then when you extend that to other web sites along the web, I don’t know if that’s something that you really want.

One of the things that has to be kept in mind with this is it’s not even limited to having the toolbar necessarily or having a plugin installed. Someone can give you a link it can be linked to where the frame will automatically popup even if you don’t have the toolbar and you’ll be able to see a comment on there just like it is. I can definitely see people falling in the “scary” category and maybe in those, people will be shouted they’re not transparent or whatever but I can definitely sympathize with that.

Brad: I was looking at a few sites that actually had comments, or Wiki entries, and below it had a little clip saying “Was this helpful: Yes or No?” I guess it will be interesting to see as there is some cutoff like if it get 3 Nos or 10 Nos or … is there is some cut off where it drops off or is it there forever? What’s the moderation, or is there any for this?

Patrick: Jason, in the post, said that it’s purely community-based — basically what you said, is it helpful or not and also, supposedly there is a report mechanism for it for the comment as well and then, of course, it’s in Google’s hands. But beyond that, I mean, no, it’s moderated kind of like comments in other Google web sites, I think.

Brad: Yeah, I mean one nice thing about this, and it’s kind of just about every service that Google is releasing now, is that it releases with an API, a fully functional API, that you can build tools around, which I think is really cool because, right away, I could build an app that could basically scour all of my site URL’s and check for any kind of Wiki entries. So rather than going through all of my pages and seeing if anyone’s written anything about it, I can just make a quick script that does it for me with their API which I think is really cool. So at least they’re giving everyone the tools they need to start thinking about this and getting ready for it because people are going to start using it. It’s a Google product. Google can get the word out. So, definitely, start thinking about it.

Patrick: One other thing that really jumped out at me about this is, like I said, there have been other services like this but I can’t really recall that there were many … or I can’t recall one but there might have been one where it was in frames. I know you can add comments onto a page or add sticky notes or something that other people can see from different bookmarking services and so on, but let’s relate it back to a popular topic on this show the, Digg Bar. How far off is this frame from that if Google goes ahead and puts ads on this? If it’s a page frame that pops up automatically with a link that’s shared; I mean, how different is that from a Digg short link if you can get a Google Sidewiki link to a site and have that automatically pop up to the left and then if there are ads, I mean, you consider the lawsuits, the lawsuits that have been executed in the past and how those have worked out. I wouldn’t be shocked if this ended up being a legal issue should they put advertisements on it, and even if they don’t, through maybe the liability of the comments I guess you could say there’d be some unhappy businesses but especially if they put ads on it, I don’t see a huge difference between this and the Digg Bar.

Brad: I wouldn’t worry too much. I mean, Google is not allowed to be evil, right?

Patrick: Well, I don’t know if it’s evil or not, nothing wrong with money, but …

Brad: Yeah, there’s definitely a growing trend in doing things, like this like you said, and it is a little bit scary but I think, again, it’s so new. It’ll be interesting to see where it’s at in four, six months from now to see how many people are actually using it. You know it would be nice if they hooked this into Alerts so you could actually be alerted if somebody leaves a Wiki post on your web site rather than build a script into it.

Stephan: One more thing to interrupt my day.

Patrick:I don’t know. I mean, if I could subscribe to it, I guess that’s okay, but I just don’t like the idea of it and people in the comments on the blog post at Social Media Explorer basically are saying “What about foreign people who get banned?” I mean, that’s like an automatic given that they’re going to show up in this area and start leaving comments and it’s just an annoyance, it’s one more thing.

Brad: And with comments and forums, you have that level of moderation, you’re right, with this, you don’t. It’s completely out of your hands. So hopefully, there’s some way that you could report bad posts or really explicit posts or whatever it may be. I can easily go to all my competitors and put something horrible on there but, I mean, is there a way they’re going to be able to remove it? Who knows? Not that I would do that.

Patrick: Well, speaking of Google doing good, some web developers are happy with the release of Google Chrome Frame and it’s designed as an add-on for Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8 that allows IE to take advantage of what Google calls recent JavaScript performance improvements in the emergence of HTML5 enabled web applications to do things that could previously only be done by desktop software. This is at the Chromium blog, and Chromium is the open source project behind Google Chrome.

Basically, it’s built as an enhancement really aimed at developers who can’t afford to ignore IE because most people use some version of IE, they admit, so they end up spending lots of time implementing work around or limiting the functionality of their apps.

I’m not really a developer, so let’s kick this over to the developers for some thoughts.

Brad: This is awesome, in my opinion. I mean it’s not as awesome in the IE 7 and 8 arena. It is cool. But for IE 6, I mean, this is a huge, huge announcement. The fact that you can install a simple plugin, and a site administrator … because a lot of the users using IE 6 aren’t home users. There are still some, obviously, but a lot of them are in the corporate world where they can’t upgrade because they have certain applications that will only work in IE 6. This gives them an option because they can install this plug-in. It will not affect the apps they’re using in IE 6 but they can view sites that require HTML5 and still get them to work just like they would in Chrome.

I actually installed this on the IE 6 browser earlier today and was running some tests on it and it’s great. It definitely speeds up how IE 6 runs. I took IE 6 and ran it through the Acid3 Test, I did it once with Chrome Frame off, and I got a 4 out of a 100. I did it after I enabled Google Chrome Frame and I got a 100 out of a 100. So just seeing that Acid3 Test passing inside IE 6 is something I never thought would happen.

This is a great idea, hats off to the whole team at Google that worked on this. I’m sure to Microsoft it felt like a slap in the face but this is really what IE 6 needs. It needs kind of an alternative without forcing them to upgrade or to switch browsers. They need some way to view these sites and this is it.

Patrick: And from looking at how it works and how it can work, I mean you’re prompted to install it. It kind of feels like, from reading the documentation just a little bit, it’s kind of like when you didn’t have Flash and you get prompted to install the Flash player. It seems like it might be that kind of setup and if it’s that easy, then I mean, you can see it being widely adopted.

Brad: Yeah, it really is. I mean, you go to it, you click Install, you have to click OK once I think, just to grant permission to do the install and it took about a minute and that was it and then it was done. That was on older machine too, so it would probably be quicker on a much newer machine, but you can turn it on from within your own web site … so if I wanted to force a user to run in Google Chrome Frame if they are in IE6, I can drop one line of code into head of my web site – and that essentially will, if Google Chrome Frame is effective, it will force it to render your web site using that. So you can use all the HTML5 components that you like, which is great.

Then you can also, I believe using JavaScript, if they don’t have Google Frame installed, you can detect that and you can ask them if they would like to install it. So now, all of us as webmasters and web developers, we can actually kind of help spread Google Chrome Frame in the IE world and ask the users if they like to install the plugin. Once they install it, refresh your site, and everything will look great.

Patrick: You mentioned that Microsoft may have taken in a slap in the face and, sure enough, they came out shortly after it was released with the Microsoft spokesperson telling Ars Technica that “With IE8, we made significant advancements and updates to make the browser safer for our customers. Given the security issues with plugins in general and Google Chrome in particular, Google Chrome Frame running as a plugin has doubled the attach area for malware and malicious scripts. This is not a risk we would recommend our friends and families take.”

Emil Protalinski at Ars Technica gives Microsoft, I guess you could say, a nod to the plugin and add-on security issue because sometimes plugins and add-ons can be security problems certainly, but dismisses the idea of IE plus Chrome equaling double the potential for damage to a browser, meaning that would be open to both Google Chrome and IE because it wouldn’t degrade the security options that IE8 already has in place. Again, it’s not just for IE8 or IE7. It’s also for IE6, which obviously is, much less secure. Google responded to that claim and they basically said, “No, Microsoft, that’s not the case.” They said that using this Google Chrome Frame brings Google Chrome security features to IE users and it provides strong fishing and malware protection, which doesn’t exist in IE6 and robust sandboxing technology and defences from emerging online threats that are available in days, rather than months (that’s a little subtle slap there you could say).

Both IE7 and IE8 have a sandbox defence-type of feature called Protected Mode, but it only works when the browsers are run in Vista or Windows 7, and the Google Chrome Frame plugin provides protection for malicious code on Windows XP as well. Microsoft also claimed that Google Frame broke the privacy model, and users weren’t able to use IE’s privacy features, a spokesperson told Techworld.com. Google shout right back again, saying that it was designed with security in mind — again, a little slap here” “While we encourage users to use a more modern and standards-compliant browser, such as Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Chrome rather than a plugin; for those who don’t, Google Chrome Frame is designed to provide better performance, strong security features, and more choice across all versions of Internet Explorer.” The company – that’s Google – is reviewing bugs filed with the Chrome Team by Microsoft developers to address any privacy feature-related issues.

Is security something you’re concerned about when you use this?

Brad: I’m not. Anyone listening to the show knows that I use Chrome pretty much all day long – that’s my primary browser. I’m no more worried about security with this plug-in than I am using Chrome as my primary browser. I think it just adds that extra layer of security. Obviously, it makes less sense on something like, say, IE8 versus IE6 where obviously there’s a huge gap and what changes have happened, but I mean, I don’t really think security is too much of an issue.

Obviously, Microsoft had to say something about why people shouldn’t use this, and I think security was the most obvious one for them to attack Google with. They can’t just sit by and not actually make a statement about it.

But one of the other major benefits of using Chrome Frame is the speed, and actually, Computerworld ran some benchmark tests with Chrome Frame installed in IE8 and found out that IE8 runs 9.6 times faster with Chrome Frame running rather than without, which boggles my mind. So basically, even if you install this on IE8, you can install it just for the sake of the fact that you’re going to speed up your web browsing almost ten times by using Chrome’s WebKit renderer and their JavaScript engine.

So between security and speed and HTML5, I mean it’s really a no brainer in my opinion especially if you’re running 6. If you’re doing 7 and 8, feel free to do it if you want. But if you’re running 6, definitely install Google Chrome Frame right away. If you’re a webmaster and web developer, definitely get that meta tag in your head to force users, to render your site in Chrome Frame if it’s installed.

Patrick: I was thinking about this issue and when the browser makers compete, they’re generally competing to make a better browser, often make a better browser than IE because that who leads in market share and even IE, of course, is focused on making a better browser than everyone else especially now. So I guess my question is this seems to be a case of making another browser better. So why is Google doing this when we talked about “do no evil,” why is Google making IE8 better, which will presumably keep people in IE8. I mean, it’s a make-nice with developers, I guess you could say. I mean it doesn’t change the user strength to make it look like Chrome is visiting the page does it?

What is Google’s motivation here?

Stephan: It gets the Google name out there, for sure. That seems like a motivation to me. If you’re still driving people and saying “We make Chrome, but we also make this,” it’s still getting the Google name in front of people, which is a good thing.

Brad: Yeah, I mean it definitely gets the name out there. I also read in one of the articles researching this topic that one of the reasons behind it might have been with Google Wave that’s coming out soon (within the next couple of days, I believe), that it would not function in IE. It needs certain parts of HTML5 to function in its entirety. And so by getting this plugin into IE, it’s going to open up that many more people who can use Google Wave. Whether it’s true or not, may or may not be, but it holds true for YouTube … any other site that Google owns that they are going to start migrating in some HTML5 elements, would not function properly without this. I think that might be part of their motivation as well.

Patrick: So if you’ve used Google Chrome Frame, let us know what you think in the comments on this podcast blog entry on sitepoint.com/podcast.

It’s time for our group podcast regular: the host spotlight. Brad, why don’t you go first:

Brad: My spotlight is actually on iPhone app and it’s by the popular web service Dropbox. They just got their iPhone app approved. I believe they submitted it weeks ago but, you know, Apple likes to take their time and review everything thoroughly. So they finally got approved, and it’s in the App Store.

For those of you not familiar, Dropbox is quite simply kind of file sharing; it makes a mapped drive on your computer which you can drag files into and then you can share those files easily with other Dropbox members. So you can drag a file into a folder and it will pop up on your buddy’s desktop instantly.

Some of the cool features that it includes through the iPhone, you can actually open up all your files that are within Dropbox and then from within those files, you can easily send a link to those files to any of your contacts or through email. If it’s a secure file, Dropbox will make a temporary URL that will expire after a certain amount of time and send them a direct link to it.

It’s a great easy way to kind of share files. I highly recommend Dropbox if you’re not currently using it and if you have an iPhone, definitely go download the Dropbox iPhone app, which is free.

Stephan: My spotlight is this: I was reading this article in the New York Times about how foreign airlines are ahead of the US on cell phone use in flight. I just kind of want to put that out there and just see what you guys think. I fly a lot and, to me, I really don’t want cell phone use on an airplane. I don’t want the guy talking on his phone next to me. Some people really want this and some of the interviews that they did with people in the New York Times article in Dubai, in the Middle East and in Europe, these people use their cell phones a lot on airplanes, especially to text message.

I think that if this is going to become something that happens in the United States, they’re going to have to change the roaming rules and the data plans because I was just out of the country and the roaming charge was $19 for a megabyte or something. I’m not willing to pay that. In other countries, it’s much cheaper.

I just wanted to get your thoughts and if you have guys have comments out there in the audience, leave them on the podcast page; I’m interested to hear what y’all think.

Patrick: Are we going to have to have the pilots watch that violent anti-texting PSA that’s been floating around?

Stephan: The British one.

Patrick: I think you go by the complaints, if you launch it and then people complain like crazy, then I guess it won’t work.

Stephan: And the thing is like WiFi is the big thing right now on US flights and everybody wants that but we don’t have cell phone connectivity and everyone is saying we should have that first and I’m kind of like – I like being disconnected when I’m on a plane. That’s the beauty of it.

Patrick: My host spotlight, I’m going to call “Batman Asks Wal-Mart To Open Up More Lanes.”” The video is actually called Break An Arm, Blow Up A Head and Batman? It’s from Film Riot, which is on Revision3.com (there will be in a link in the show notes, of course). Basically, it’s a short clip where Batman is asking Wal-Mart to open up more lanes. There is not much to it beyond that. I just found it really funny. Found it on Digg.

Check it out and hopefully, have a laugh.

Why don’t we pass it around the table, guys, and tell everybody where they can find us.

Brad: I’m Brad Williams from webdevstudios.com and you can find me on Twitter, @williamsba.

Stephan: I’m Stephan Segraves from Houston, Texas, and you can find me on Twitter at @ssegraves.

Patrick: And I am Patrick O’Keefe for the iFroggy network. You can find me on Twitter as @iFroggy.

You can follow our usual lead host, Kevin Yank at @sentience, and you can follow SitePoint at @sitepointdotccom. Visit us at sitepoint.com/podcast to leave comments on this show and to subscribe to receive every show automatically. Email us at podcast@sitepoint.com with your questions, and we’d love to read them on the show and give you our advice.

The SitePoint Podcast is produced by Carl Longnecker. Thank you for listening, and we’ll see you next time.

Thanks for listening! Feel free to let us know how we’re doing, or to continue the discussion, using the comments field below.

Free book: Jump Start HTML5 Basics

Grab a free copy of one our latest ebooks! Packed with hints and tips on HTML5's most powerful new features.

  • WebKarnage

    Hi Guys, Thanks for another very good podcast. Kevin who?? ( :P )

    I was interested to hear the Opera Mobile stats, and the point about the Wii running that is interesting. It is a mobile standard browser given it’s level of Flash support etc. so I’d be interested to know how many are using it, and how it’s specs relate to desktop and mobile options.

    I wouldn’t add this Google Wiki thing to my site. I think I share Patrick’s reservations of it. I don’t think Google’s way quite often, so I doubt it would be moderated in a way I would given the control.

    Google Chrome Frame seems like an awesome idea, I just hope it gets into people’s computers. I don’t think IE 8 security issue is that bad, as IE 8 is less in need of the frame. IE 6 will only benefit from this. I just can’t see a downside, but Microsoft will ignore the IE 6 issue, and have a pop where it thinks it can, as this really is a excellent slap from Google!

    Google’s motivation is better results for their up and coming cloud apps without a doubt. Google Wave was the obvious thing to mention as Brad did, but I think there’s more to it in the future. Heavy javascript sites are not just really bad in IE 6 and IE 7 , but they are quite bad in IE 8 too.

    Thanks again,
    Karn.

  • Anonymous

    Another excellent podcast. However, is this the first one in which the outro music is playing in the background while the participants are discussing their recommendations? It’s quite annoying, especially for people with hearing difficulties. Could that practice be discontinued in the future?

  • http://www.sitepoint.com ShayneTilley

    Nice way to step up Patrick and another great cast guys well done!

  • http://www.ifroggy.com iFroggy

    Thank you for the kind words, WebKarnage, Anonymous and Shayne. Much appreciated.

    WebKarnage, Kevin was definitely missed. :) The scary thing about Google Sidewiki, to some, is that you don’t have a choice. If people want to post comments on your site’s “Sidewiki,” there’s nothing you can do about it.

    Anonymous, I appreciate your feedback as I’m sure the other hosts will. It’s definitely a matter of taste and your thoughts will be kept in mind.

    Thanks,

    Patrick

  • Russell Leggett

    When you were discussing Chrome Frame, I thought it was funny that you were a little stumped about Google’s motivation. I don’t this is about name recognition. It is all about html5. You mentioned this a little in reference to Google Wave and possibly other products, but that is really just the tip of the iceberg.
    I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist or anything, but let’s take a step back. There is a lot of movement in the web application and RIA space. Google wants html5 to succeed over proprietary offerings. They have even said that “what is good for the web is good for Google”. That is what they said about Chrome when it first came out even. Even if people continue to use other browsers, they hope that by open sourcing their technology, they can help other browsers get better.

    But this isn’t about altruism. It really is in the best interest of Google. They are synonymous with the internet, and if every piece of software could move to the web, they couldn’t be happier. Making the open web standards more capable allows for this to happen, and they want to accelerate it as much as possible. They started this process a few years ago with Gears, and they’re stepping it up with Chrome Frame. The Chrome OS will of course be the crown jewel. If you haven’t started worrying about Google being the next Microsoft yet, you should start now. (I’m not trying to spread FUD here. I actually think what Google is doing is great, I just think its important to see it for what it is.)

  • Snapey

    Great show with some interesting news.
    Regarding Sidewiki, the sooner this gets killed off the better…
    If I design a site for a client, and they are not aware of side-wiki, I can forsee the day when, annoyed, they call me to ask what this content is at the side of the page and how they get rid of it, and how come I have not done anything about it?

    There seems to be some assumption that Google will be able to filter spam and trollism (is there such a word). Do we think its possible to spot comments like “Yes, sure this product is good, but not as good as Superthingy MK2″. Who is going to buy a product until they have checked out what Superthingy MK2 is (googling it of course)?

    I can also see Google introducing a webmaster tool to block sidewiki and it becoming yet another task for every developer to turn it off, with a comment in Sidewiki “The owner of this site has decided to prevent Sidewiki comments”.

    Thats the Bad. On the otherhand, I think Google Frame is inspired. I’ll be adding the tag into my sites. I don’t think I’ll be prompting users to install it because most of them won’t be able to. At this stage, most IE6 users are those stuck in large organisations with standardised desktop builds. My hope is that the IT teams spot the opportunity and rollout the BHO for the users. It will make no difference to their legacy applications, but be a big performance and aesthetic boost for non-corporate content.

  • http://www.ifroggy.com iFroggy

    Great comment, Snapey.

    Thanks for your comment, as well, Mr. Leggett. Everyone has their own theories, I’m sure. :)

    Thanks,

    Patrick

  • molona

    Regarding the use of telephone or cellular phones in aeroplanes… I agree that wifi the really important thing. I don’t think that I would like to have someone talking on the phone by my side when I flying (although I would understand if it was some kind of important business, and I would be really annoyed if the conversation was non-sense). The thing is that I would like to be able to choose if I want to check my e-mail or do something while flying. And to do that, I would need internet connection which means that I would need to use some kind of data mobile card to do so… so I guess I agree that it is good that airlines are starting to allow the use of mobile connections/phones

  • http://badice.com/ Hartmann

    molona,

    A lot of airlines in the U.S. and in Europe are offering WiFi in-flight, giving you the opportunity to check your e-mail without needing a data card for your cellular provider.

  • Dakota G

    I don’t think that anyone should really be afraid of adverts on the Google SideWiki. To be honest, it would violate the terms of use of thousands of major websites.

    Excerpted from YouTube’s Terms of use:

    You agree not to use the Website, including the YouTube Embeddable Player for any commercial use, without the prior written authorization of YouTube. Prohibited commercial uses include any of the following actions taken without YouTube’s express approval: -sale of access to the Website or its related services (such as the Embeddable Player) on another website. -use of the Website or its related services (such as the Embeddable Player), for the primary purpose of gaining advertising or subscription revenue.

    Putting advertisements in the side wiki would be a blatant violation of these rules, and most likely, the rules of plenty of other sites.

  • http://www.magain.com/ Matthew Magain

    Putting advertisements in the side wiki would be a blatant violation of these rules

    YouTube probably isn’t the best example, given it’s a service owned by Google, but you may have a point Dakota G.

  • http://www.ifroggy.com iFroggy

    Thanks for the comment, Dakota G.

    There are two kind of advertisements here. The first kind was the one I meant during the show, which is Google monetizing it. The second one would be spam comments, etc., which is what I think you meant, Dakota G.

    That said, that quoted excerpt from YouTube’s terms of service doesn’t seem to really have applicability to this situation as it mainly speaks to people trying to sell access to YouTube.

    Thanks,

    Patrick