Archive for the 'Google' Category

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Pulp Fiction Wave

via Sixtus

Wave for Dummies

Play with me in the Waves: alexander.kluge@googlewave.com

Surfing the Wave

Google Wave

The last two weeks I had the chance to play around with Google Wave. Since Google Wave was announced I was very curious. Wave seemed to be the next big step for an integrated communication application.

When I first looked at IBMs Activity Explorer more than 3 years ago I was very enthusiastic about the new approach of communication and collaboration. Very good idea to have synchronous and asynchronous communication in one place, add documents and notes and work with others on presentations and project plans. But when I started to work with Activity Explorer I realized it is not easy to cope with this new kind of integrated desktop. It was a lot of information in one place at the same time. And as IBM released it, it was slow and more a kind of prototype for building the Eclipse based Notes 8 client. Unfortunatly the degree of integration of chat, email, documents, etc. in Notes 8 is still not what I expected after working with the prototype years ago. Still you live in your inbox, Activity Explorer and Sametime live somewhere in the sidebar. Yes, I know, there are lots of context right mouse click menus, there is persistent chats and much more – but still things feel not as integrated as I expected it to be.

Now, with Google Wave, you have everything in one place. And you have it real-time. No matter if you are in a chat, work on a document or hold a meeting – everything what you do is real-time. Your co-workers see what you are doing right now in that specific document (you can turn it off if you want). You can take synchronous chats offline, switch to e-mail in asynchronous mode, re-open the chat again, add other co-workers and so on.

Another new way of working with documents is the possibility to reply anywhere in that document. You can start conversation like it would be a comment right at a specific point in the text. Makes it much easier do start conversations about a document or email without the endless „reply-to-all-with-history“ threads.

With those features Google Wave for me is the first tool I worked with which really integrates synchronous and asynchronous communication. And there is a lot more in Google Wave. It is very simple to ad Gadgets or Robots to your Wave desktop and share stuff with your co-workers. I am not a programmer, so I am not the one who tests the API and writes code. But from what I can see there is a huge potential that Google Wave becomes a platform for collaborative applications on top of that new concept.

Finally I have to admit that I needed my time to get the message. First look at Google Wave caused confusion, and because it is Beta, it caused some crashes too. Safari did not really want to work with Wave, but Firefox did well. Sometimes using Google Wave slowed down my MacBook too much I had to close the browser app. And I really would like to test that stuff not in the closed sandbox environment. Lets see when they put it out in the wild.

I am very impressed, and looking at the collaborative solutions outside that I have seen and worked with the last 15 years, my guess is Google Wave will set new standards.

Socialnomics

Dieses Video bewirbt ein Buch von Eric Qualman, und die Zahlen sind – auch wenn man einige Vergleiche schon kennt – sehr beeindruckend. Da ich gerade gestern wieder die Diskussion hatte, was der ganze Blog, Twitter, Facebook Quatsch eigentlich soll, gibts dieses Video als kurze Aufklärung.

(drüber gestolpert beim Herrn Bond)

Explosives

googlewaveexplosive

„This wave is experiencing some slight turbulence, and may explode. If you don’t wanna explode, please re-open the wave.“

Improved Google Contact Sync in Snow Leopard

Last month I complained about contact sync between Google and my Mac address book. Finally I purchased a license of Spanning Sync which works pretty fine for me. Now there is a new feature in the zero feature release of Mac OS X aka Snow Leopard:

In May 2008, we told you how iPhone and iPod touch users could sync their Gmail contacts with Address Book in Mac OS X 10.5. Now with Mac OS X 10.6, syncing Gmail contacts is also available to users who do not have an iPhone or iPod touch. If your Mac is running Snow Leopard, you can turn on contact sync in the Address Book preferences.

The syncing is better, too: in Mac OS X 10.6, only contacts in Gmail’s „My Contacts“ group are synced, rather than all of Gmail’s contact suggestions. And photos are now transferred as well, since sometimes you just need to put a face to a name.

more ->

Will order Snow Leopard for my Macs now.

Was bin ich froh…

… dass ich nicht auf dieses Telefon gewartet habe. Mein Gott ist das häßlich – und offenbar seit über zwei Jahren wider besseres Wissen unverändert. Da lebe ich doch lieber mit den kleinen Unzulänglichkeiten des schönen iPhones.





Google hat Humor

Dabei könnte es doch heute unser aller letzter Tag sein.

Update: Wir leben noch. Has the large hadron collider destroyed the world yet?

From my Inbox

I received a few emails regarding my post on Google Apps and my sceptical view on Microsoft Exchange AND Lotus Notes. One of my friends from Denmark just asked:

„hey alex, what happend? you are a Notes-guy, man! Are you leaving? will you work for Google? Are you about to leave our community? give me a call…“

Dear Christian,
1. Just wrote what I think and what I want to share with others.
2. Yes, and still I am.
3. Yes.
4. No.
5. No.
6. I will.

Googlephobie

Beim Spreeblick brennen die Sicherungen durch:

Wenn also Chrome nicht „böser“ ist als andere Browser … woher dann dieser Aufschrei? Wieso werden die Verschwörungstheorien massiv verlinkt und laut kommentiert, während sachlichere Herangehensweisen beinahe unbeachtet bleiben? Wieso wird man, wenn man Chrome innovative Details bestätigt (jeder Tab im eigenen Prozess, BSD-Lizenz …), als Dummkopf beschimpft? Warum werden viele, viele Blog-Posts, die mittlerweile als Blödsinn widerlegt sind, nicht mit einem Hinweis, einem Update versehen?

Die Antwort ist leicht: Weil Sachlichkeit keine K(l)icks bringt. Weil wir alle BILD sind, auf der Suche nach der Sensation, dem Skandal, der einfachen Erklärung, dem klaren Feind- und damit Weltbild.

Ja weiß denn Johnny nicht auch, dass Google die böse Datenkrake ist? Arbeitet er heimlich für Google? Man sagt, er sei schon mal im Googleplex gesichtet worden. Hat er vielleicht doch heimlich Adsense eingebunden? Wird er jetzt zu 5. Kolonne von Sergey Brin und Larry Page? Strebt Johnny ebenso wie Google nach der Weltherrschaft?

Heute weiß doch jedes Kind Gut und Böse zu unterscheiden – und dass Google sicher einen Pakt mit dem Teufel eingegangen ist, nachdem es ihm zu langweilig mit Bill Gates wurde.

Some thoughts on Google Apps

So this used to happen a few years ago from time to time: a customer meeting with me and some other vendors. Somehow the discussion starts about Lotus Notes vs. Microsoft Exchange. The good and the evil. Platform dependency vs. freedom of choice. Mail-only client vs. platform for applications. Performance, backup, pricing, yada yada yada. But these kind of discussion seemed to stop a few years ago.

Today I had a kind of déjà vu experience. Me and my beloved competitor discussing about the question „why not migrating all that Notes stuff to Exchange?“. The customer is a small 50 user services company and uses Notes mainly for mail and calendaring. They want to have some Quickr style web based teamrooms, so it was obvious they raised that question. But this time it ended up at an interesting point: Why not use Google Apps instead of Notes or Exchange?

I know a few companies actually evaluating Google Apps. Most comments I get are like „looks very promising“. And I can understand it. As expected we covered the usual questions, and we received some unusual answers from the boss:

Some random vendor: Do you really trust Google when they hold all you e-mail data?
Boss: I trust you too. Why not trust Google?

V: But you know they can read everything?
B: My admin probably can read everything, too.

V: But your admin is your employee since years, you know him personally and you trust him!
B: Do I?

V: So what about reliability and availability? Look at the news about Googles outage a few weeks ago!
B: So you want to tell me that my server is more available in average?

V: No, I know, we had that disk crash last week, yes, but if you would have ordered our clustering offer, that crash would not have been any problem for you.
B: So what was exactly the price for „clustering“ our servers, I mean: hardware, software and your service?
V: Grmpf…

Our talk was not exactly like this, I took this to extremes. And yes, I know how a professional sales guy should act in that situation – this was fortunately a discussion between business men and friends.

But I have that feeling we are much closer at the point where messaging and collaboration components become a commodity than large software vendors are able and willing to admit. I read the discussion about Google Apps and SaaS at Ed Brills blog and we put some irony on it when the Domino servers were down in Westford.

My point is: I really don’t know anymore if I should advise my customers – especially in the SOHO and SMB market – to build and maintain their own operating and data center. Why should a small company with 50 employees run four to six servers in a room, which he could use for another employee for example? It costs money for space, for energy, for services. Yes, we as a service company sell the hardware, we do the services, we install and customize the software. But what they basically need is mail, calendaring, maybe teamrooms, document management, adress management, activities, CRM. Yes, they could do this with Lotus Notes/Quickr/Sametime/Connections or Microsoft Exchange/Sharepoint/etc. All theses services run on different servers, which are based on different technologies, and nobody from their own staff members ever wants to install a Websphere server to have Lotus Connections up and running. Good for us, you would say. No. They would never pay for that. And – to stay with my todays discussion – no SOHO company can afford a Domino licence which allows clustering – and two servers just for a reliable mail solution.

So why not just setup Google Apps? I know so many companies using salesforce.com, and they are happy. If you can get CRM as SaaS, why not messaging and collaboration? Google is nearly enterprise ready from my perspective, and I am not only talking with SOHO and SMB companies – I hear it from large accounts 5000+ too. I don’t see any other vendor in that space, even not IBM with its hesitant Bluehouse attempt. So this all makes me think. It is provocative, I know.

Correct me if I am wrong.

YAB

Google Chrome Book

Yet Another Browser. Today Google will release the first beta of its own browser, Google Chrome.

And I thought browser war was over.

Google Docs Offline Support

Google Docs now allows you to view and edit your documents offline, without an internet connection. To do all of this, Google Docs uses Google Gears, an open source browser extension that adds offline functionality directly to the browser.

Good news. Google Docs becomes more and more usefull for me.

Google Talk with AOL IM Integration

Since I did some IM clean up a few years ago I only used Skype for chat and presence awarness in my private life. I killed MSN, AOL, Yahoo. In my business life my IM tool remains Lotus Sametime and is becoming more and more important with telephony integration.

Google Talk becomes more and more important since I started using Gmail years ago. Since a few days Gmail offers the option to sign in to your AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) account to chat with your AIM buddies from Gmail. I tried to remember my old password, signed in and voila: Some of my old contacts are back. So maybe I will be available in that network again. As we start to roll out the Lotus Sametime Gateway in our company I will be available there too.

BTW: AIM in Gmail is not a Google Talk and AIM federation; it’s the ability to sign in to your AIM messaging account from Gmail. Gmail uses Open AIM to provide this feature.

Kluge Google Site

Yesterday I realized a new option in my Google Hosted Apps:

Google Sites is the easiest way to make information accessible to people who need quick, up-to-date access. People can work together on a Site to add file attachments, information from other Google applications (like Google Docs, Google Calendar, YouTube and Picasa), and new free-form content. Creating a site together is as easy as editing a document, and you always control who has access, whether it’s just yourself, your team, or your whole organization. You can even publish Sites to the world. The Google Sites web application is accessible from any internet connected computer.

As always. Very simple to setup and to use. Here is a public Kluge Google Site. If you like, play with it 😉

Update: Check out these example sites: Company intranet, Team project, Employee profile, Classroom

Google Universe

When I read today about Google adding new features to Google Moon I tried to access Google Mars. And voila. It worked. Did not know about that. Other planets of our solar system like Saturn, Venus or Neptun are still not covered by Google – but this is of course a matter of time.

One feature of the earth version is missing: directions. Could be funny what Google suggests when you want to get from your hometown to Mons Dieter.

KMail goes mobile

KMail goes mobile. KMail, the Google powered webmail for kluge.de, provides now a Blackberry client 😉

Navigate to m.google.com/a from the browser on your BlackBerry and download the free application. It has the same mail interface you use on your computer’s browser. Your account stays synchronized whether you access it from your computer or from your BlackBerry. And its really fast.

KMail launched today

Finally I made the move. KMail is now powered by GMail. There was no problem moving the MX-Record, setup was easy, and calendar and chat appeared somehow a few days after setup as promised.

Unfortunatly there is no easy way to migrate the old GMail accounts to KMail. So first I set up the new accounts and turned on mail forwarding to the old GMail adresses. After a few days I turned off my hosted spam filter solution and made KMail my main inbox. Spam filtering is really good and I had no false positives so far. Since I receive a lot of spam on this email address, that was one major concern of mine. So I will live now without any additional filter solution.

Hopefully I can rely on this solution. GMail is still in beta, but it seems GMail has grown up now – in Australia you do not longer need an invitation to sign up.

For KMail you still need an invitation 😉

GMail for kluge.de

gmail for your domain

I just received my confirmation for a test drive with GMail for your domain. Easy setup, clear UI as always with GMail and othe Google products. Everything is there what you expect from GMail – and you get over 2 GB disk space for each account. This means if I add 25 users GMail gives me 50 GB of diskspace for free. Well, for now. Looking at the admin panel my account type was listed as „Free“, so this might change.

What I miss is the calendar feature, but all accounts are chat enabled.

Next big step would be to change all my kluge.de accounts to GMail. Yes, I know, its beta, but all my kluge.de accounts are redirected to GMail accounts since a long time.

So the big question is: How can I migrate an old GMail account to my new hosted GMail account?

Google World Domination

This has been around in blogs for a while, but it is definetly worth publishing again. I am a user of Google, gmail, blogger.com – a little bit scary.