Slowdown Looms Large On Bloomberg?

When major publications resort to link-baiting tactics in search of increasing pageviews, then it is a sign that things are not too well. How else can you explain a recent article on the well-respected publication that slowdown looms large on Google when in fact such a thing didn’t exist much even when recession was in town?

Here are some quotes from the recent piece and justification for why Bloomberg isn’t doing well

“it has been leapfrogged by social network Facebook Inc. as the most popular U.S. Web site.”

It has been argued over the past week how misleading the conclusion from Hitwise’s study is. Hitwise claims Facebook has overtaken just the search engine part of Google. Not Gmail. Not Picasa. Not the several hundred properties that Facebook owns. Secondly, the average revenue per user on Google search is much higher than the casual Farmviller on Facebook. More reason why Hitwise’s study means nothing.

“Google’s sales increased 9 percent last year after almost doubling in 2005.”

Even the most cynical of analysts would agree that companies cannot continue their dream run growth percentages once they have grown big. Secondly, a 9% growth for a company that makes money via advertising in a recession is pretty impressive.

Facebook’s gains at Google’s expense weren’t lost on Levi Strauss & Co. The closely held maker of blue jeans and Dockers pants is advertising on Facebook this year for the first time, while its budget for search, Google’s mainstay, is staying about the same as last year,

It’s surprising Levi Strauss didn’t do it earlier. Do we have numbers on the people who search for blue jeans before making a purchase online?

Google’s ventures in mobile, video and display ads have failed to match the success of search

This might be the wrong time to call upon Youtube as a failure since we have just about started hearing that the world’s largest video sharing website could in fact turn profitable starting this year. Also, in mobile,  Google’s Android OS is seen as potentially the likely successor to the success of the iPhone and the Android marketplace is projected to overtake the App Store by the next year.

Here is the complete Bloomberg article. What do you make of it? Does it look like an article borne out of genuine concern? You decide!

Nissan Leaf Electric Car US Orders Begin April 20

Those of you looking to buy Nissan’s new electric car, the Nissan Leaf may book your orders starting April 20. The car will come at a cost of $32,780 before subsidies.

As always with electric cars, there are however a lot of government sponsored incentives to expect. There is a tax credit of up to $7,500 from the government. Also, there are additional subsidies to expect from the individual state governments.

Mark Perry, the director of product planning at Nissan North America said,

“This is the price we had in mind all along. We wanted to bring out a car so that it’s affordable and priced for the mass market. So with an effective price of $25,000 (after rebates and credits), you are right in the center of the U.S. car market. In some regions, the effective price will be down around $20,000.”

[via Nissan USA]

TiVo Premiere XL To Bring Facebook And Twitter Feeds To TV

Popular DVR company TiVo launched its new TiVo Premier and TiVo Premiere XL boxes yesterday that will bring a whole lot of new features to your television. Prominently, the integration between web and TV content is even higher with these new products.

However, one of the important introductions yet to be made on TiVo Premiere is its integration to Facebook and Twitter. In a recent interview with ZDNet, TiVo’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Development & Strategy Naveen Chopra indicated that integration with these social networking websites will be the next in line for the company’s strategy. TiVo has already partnered with FrameChannel in this regard. Talking of the partnership, Chopra says,

“It’s a company that allows us to provide some new interactive and social media functionality on the TV set, most notably to people’s Twitter and Facebook feeds. It’s a great example of how people will use Facebook on the television set differently than they’d use it on the PC. we haven’t announced [the date], but we update fairly frequently. What is available now is Pandora, which means you can set it up on your TV in the living room, sit back and listen to music Pandora has chosen for you.”

Social networkers rejoice

[via ZDNet]

Asus Tablet PC Launch In June

A month after hinting at an upcoming Eee Book, Asus Chairman Jonney Shih has once again set the rumor mills in action. However, this time, he was more explicit.

In a recent interview to Forbes, Shih revealed that his company will be launching “at least two” tablet PCs in the next few months. When is the launch going to be? We do not know. But as speculated earlier, it could happen in June during the Computex trade show.

Shih’s revelation could also mean the Eee Pad and Eee Book could actually be two different products and not the same device as earlier speculated.

What do you think?

[via Forbes]

Tweaked iPhone Puts Less Strain On AT&T

Till a few months back, voices of dissent against AT&T’s clogged network were so deafening that it was speculated that Apple may move away from exclusivity with the launch of the iPad. However that was not to be and though there are now speculations over a second Verizon powered iPhone launching in the market soon, complaints over AT&T are no longer as vociferous as they once were.

The reason is evidently the improved network. A study conducted last month concluded that the AT&T network had improved by close to 84% in the past one year. However, it is not just the additional capacity that did the trick. One of the important reasons behind the improved network, it is said, is AT&T’s “crash course” to Apple on the way the iPhone needed to be tweaked in order to put less strain on the network.

In a report on this, the WSJ writes

“Apple rejiggered how its phones communicate with AT&T’s towers. As a result, the phones now put less of a load on the network for such simple tasks as finding the closest tower or checking for available text messages.”

Ok, so it was Apple that had been the network killer all the while!

[via Apple Insider]

Adobe Flash On Google Chrome OS

My enemy’s enemy is my best friend. After Apple and Google have been competing against each other on several fronts, Mountain View has befriended Adobe, the company that Apple loves to hate to offer its much maligned multimedia platform by default on its Chrome browser without the necessity of any plugin. Rumors are that this will extend to Google Chrome OS when that launches.

Technically, this will not matter much considering that Adobe Flash is pre-installed on most desktops and laptops today (except for the Apple makes). However, this announcement is sure to bring the limelight back on Apple’s criticism of the Adobe Flash platform in the past which has been speculated to be over Cupertino’s need to keep its multimedia platform closed.

[via ZDNet]

iPhone 4G Features Leaked?

Did the tech specs of the next generation iPhone just get leaked? I am not sure, but I hope these are true. Here are some tech specs that is speculated to come with the iPhone 4G aka iPhone HD

Resolution : 960 x 640 pixels
CPU : In-house A4 (like the iPad)
A second front facing camera
iPhone OS 4.0
End of exclusivity and a new Verizon based model

While the specs are definitely interesting, it is worth a note that a better display on iPhone could actually cannibalize the sale of iPad. That is however, only if the iPad fails to carve out a niche for itself in this period. This is one gamble, Apple could be taking.

[via Daring Fireball]

Google To Slow Down Android Development

Google has been working at such a frenetic pace on its operating system that it has started to hurt rather than help. Most Android users have been hit by the need to delay purchases anticipating a better upgrade, so much so that manufacturers are seeing slower than anticipated sale for their devices.

While shifting the upgrades to the market rather than pushing it through the carriers seems to be a logical move, we are also hearing that Google has been contemplating a move to break the pace of upgrades. This move apparently though is not just forced from a business perspective. We also hear that it is because the platform itself shall be reaching a maturity stage by the time Froyo and GingerBread launch.

With this, Google will be focusing more on the API and components part of Android rather than the operating system itself. I think it is a very clever move to make customers, partners and the company happy. What do you think?

[via Engadget]

Android Market Based Version Upgrade Coming Soon

Fragmentation of the Android OS is a serious problem. There are currently four different versions of Android OS : 1.5, 1.6, 2.0, 2.1 running on mobile phone systems currently. What it means is that with work on the core OS happening much faster than what of the handset makers can handle, the situation is only likely to worsen from here.

But if sources are right, Google may be shifting the onus on airing the updates from the carriers to the Market. Like what has been happening with the Maps, Google is reported to be contemplating a shift to the Market for users to download new upgrades to the OS. This change is likely to start with the upcoming Android version Froyo and then be tried through GingerBread.

Engadget writes,

“Some core elements of Android — input methods, for instance — should get this treatment. This way, just because Google rolls out an awesome new browser doesn’t mean you need to wait for HTC, Samsung, or whomever made your phone to roll it into a firmware update, and for your carrier to approve it — almost all of the juicy user-facing stuff will happen through the Market.”

[via Engadget]

Bang : Microsoft’s Original Choice Of Name For Its Search Engine

Google is noun, google is verb. So, when Microsoft was contemplating a name for its refurbished search engine, the company was very particular that the name will eventually be used as a verb, very much on the lines of Google.

So, when the company rounded upon Bing and Bang as two possible choices, they eventually opted Bing over Bang simply because the latter as a verb did not just sound right.  David Webster, the chief marketing strategist at Microsoft tells us that saying someone “banged Obama’s dog” did not sound right.

He adds that ‘Bing’ is “the sound of found

What do you think? Wouldn’t ‘bang’ as a verb caught on more virally than Bing?

[via Alley Insider]