Advertising and Driving

Scoble is driving cross country, looking at the advertising and posting stuff to his blog, all at the same time. Being connected while your on the move sure sounds like a fair improvement over re-tuning into TripleJ every 2 hours. He got me thinking, how long is it going to be until we start seeing the online advertising crowd moving into roadside advertising. It’s not going to be long, as soon as Google (that’s short for web advertising industry) can figure out who is driving and when, and reduce the cost of realtime customizable ads. I’m sure we will see it.

Geeks like Robert are going to make this possible for them, because everytime his Cell phone hit’s Google, I’m sure they can tell about where he is on the road home. Being able to aggregate even some of this information, is where the money in free municipal wifi is.

Sooner or later, that parking lot that is Silicon Valley will just be a huge targeted advertising space.

Hosted GMail Review

Months ago I submitted my email address requesting an invitation to the hosted GMail beta. Hoping to move the email for my domain and the few users I have over to google mail’s hosting. Around the same time, I forwarded my work and personal email to my GMail account and it has been the nexus of all my communication for some time.

Previously, I have had my email hosted at Dreamhost and the people I was hosting the email for were using Squirrelmail, I wasn’t particularly happy with this solution however it was simple and never required me to worry about administering anything. I have also had a Jabber server set up there for quite a while but it was a nuisance to add users and setting up the client is a bit troublesome.

So when I received my invitation for the hosted GMail, I jumped at the chance. Not only would this take the email storage requirements away from my server it would also allow the user accounts to be tied automatically into Jabber accounts, and have a web based IM client all ready to go.

I quickly flew over to Dreamhost, followed the instructions (which may I add were tailored to Dreamhost) to change my MX record to Google and enabled some users. This all went very smoothly, although I would have appreciated the ability to send email to old email accounts with the system generated password. Customizing the logon page is there, though it doesn’t seem very flexible, only being able to edit the logo, the colour of the boxes and the support information.

Using the actual mail client is pretty much identical to the normal GMail, I’m not sure the version is exactly the same though, as the back button breaks it, taking me out to the “Loading…” page. The other problem I’m having is my computer always taking me back to my old GMail inbox, I have to navigate to http://mail.google.com/hosted/wakeless.net or I can’t view my mailbox. These 2 bugs are extremely annoying but I’m sure in due time they will be fixed. I would hope that in the future I will be able to give it my own domain name for the web interface to use.

Setting up the individual users is simple enough with being able to submit a comma delimited file or to add them one by one. However it isn’t possible to import mailboxes. I would like to be able to upload an existing users mbox file or specify my existing GMail account and have my email imported. I was actually quite surprised when I didn’t see this capability and I really think it is necessary if Google wants to have businesses move onto the system.

It is clear that this will be a great application for Google to take some small business market share by providing them with hosted Gmail and calendar accounts, making the company desktops searchable with google desktop and completely removing the need for a Small Business Server. My company has been looking for a solution to supply to our customers and when and if Google takes this out of Beta and starts an affiliate program, I think it will really take off.

Having the built-in Jabber server may well give Jabber and instant messaging in businesses the kick-start it needs. Currently it is a real hassle to setup a IM server, maintain it and link it in to an existing IM network. This does it all for free and with a little bit more love given to the administration section, this could be a real killer app.

Some other features I believe will really help Google work there way into the business sector are shared mailboxes and public folders. These include allowing administrators to be able to view mailboxes of users if they need to. The other major requirement I forsee being implemented is Email retention policies, companies are requiring copies of email to be kept more and more and certainly may have issues with Google not properly deleting email when they think it has been deleted.

Google Talk, Dreamhost and Jabber

This is awesome, Google Talk has enabled XMPP Federation meaning that I can set up a Jabber server, and have it linked in to the Google Talk network. I can see some awesome benefits of this, not least of all the decentralizing of the instant messengers.

Companies will be able to run their own servers and control the communication past the firewall. People like me will be able to set up a server to serve their friends with more features that the old (lock-in) instant messenger networks won’t support, and best of all it’s open.

Apple, Google, Intel and Video

Google has announced that they are using Intel’s new viiv technology with their Video offering. The blogs are abuzz with Engadget, Gizmodo and Ars Technica featuring news of it and speculating that they are taking on Apple. I can’t help but think that Apple has been in on it, or doesn’t have a problem with it due to the fact they are moving to Intel processors and will be getting the option to use the same viiv platform.

I realise it’s completely against what Apple has been pushing towards (being a Media Company) but they do have partnerships with the big media and it may well give them new distribution channels and partners.