Popular

People do vanity searches. Its part of the dark underbelly of the Internet.

So, this evening I was checking my site’s traffic/stats and I noticed a decent amount of traffic to the old site. So for a goof, I did a “vanity search”…you know, searching on your own name…just to see where I ranked and to kind of get a sense of why people may be visiting my site.

Well, it appears that I am now the most popular Stephen Clark on the Internet At least, that’s what Google and Yahoo say.

Being ranked on this lofty perch brings immense responsibility and I can only hope to live up to the expectations of all those “stephen clark” searchers. It also means that there’s only one place to go, and that is down. Yeah, the next Stephen Clark will come along with his new CSS driven, standards compliant site, and knock me off my perch.

But until that happens, I’ll guess I’ll enjoy my new spot on top of the Googleplex.

No Need For MS Office

Is it getting hot out in Redmond? Is the collar feeling a little tight? OK, so lets not get too carried away…Microsoft is still an immense power in the business, computer and software worlds and they are not going anywhere. In fact, I fully expect them to observe the market, make adjustments, and then come roaring forward to protect their core software businesses including MS Office (exactly what they did with Netscape).

But it is immensely interesting to observe the online marketplace these days and all the amazing web based products and innovation, taking dead aim at Microsoft’s cash cow desktop applications. And I know this is nothing new, as several of these apps have been out in the marketplace for a while now, and they have been written about often.

The item that motivated me to write this post is Gilffy, which is a neat browser based version of MS Visio. So in addition to this, you have Google’s Spreadsheet, Calendar and Gmail, all of Yahoo’s similar services, 30Boxes (Calendar), Writely (and all the other Web based word processing apps), Basecamp from 37 Signals, and Thumbstacks, and Eric Meyer’s S5 slideshow apps, to name a few. You are all set. No need to buy a $500 piece of software in a box full of air.

The only concern is that by using all these web based apps, all your information would be housed on someone else’s server/computer. But most to all of the aforementioned apps give you the ability to download local copies, so that should not be a big issue.

Its quite an interesting time to be a consumer and to be in Redmond. :-) I’ll be interested to see Google and Yahoo’s next steps.

Google Idol

Now this is pretty funny. Google Idol is running head to head competitions of people’s videos that are submitted to Google Video. Somehow, two girls singing Aretha Franklin are crushing The Back Dormitory Boys widely publicized and very funny “As Long As You Love Me” lipsync by a margin of 3 to 1.

Google Talk

Google delivered a new IM client today called Google Talk. Maybe its a good think I left AOL and the IM world. I mean, I’d definitely be up for the challenge, but Google is becoming quite a formiddable foe in the online world. There were some interesting articles in the NY Times this morning discussing how Google is becoming “very Microsoft”.

Question: – Is anyone out there on Google Talk?!? Let me know as I want to try it out!!

Clutter on Google

In a very interesting move, Google is now indicating if you are logged in when you are on their homepage (see red box in image above). This is a very interesting move in that it is taking them one deep step closer to “portal” land. But I think what is more interesting is how their homepage is, relatively speaking (of course), getting more cluttered now that there are several new services they are exposing on the homepage.

For the longest time, they have stayed true to their original simple design, and that has been a key factor in their growth. However, with all the new services they are launching and testing out via Google Labs for example, I think they may be challenged to keep the homepage uncluttered and focused on search while still giving equal exposure to new products such as Gmail, Google Maps and others. As the homepage stands now, I think its getting messy and looking a little amature-ish.

What is more interresting is when you look at the overall market that includes Yahoo, AOL, and now Google. Yahoo has always been the leader in the market and they have evolved from just an Web based service to one that includes several software applications that extend the Yahoo experience to the desktop. AOL started as a software application on the desktop that extended to the Internet. Now, they are going to focus more on Internet/Web based services while still offering the desktop software applications (AOL Client, AIM, etc.). And now Google is doing the same thing, with desktop applications such as Desktop Search, Gmail Notifier, etc. It seems that all of these online services are meeting at the desktop in a war to control how users access different services. And I have not even mentioned Microsoft, who still own the desktop but have been awful quiet recently.

It will be interesting to see how they evolve the homepage to bring forward the new features they are launching without detracting from their core Search product.

Update: In another interesting move, Google introduced a personalized homepage which pretty much signifies that they have jumped into the portal pool with both feet.

Google Maps

Google continues to expand the services it offers and is rapidly becoming more than just a search engine. Granted, every product that Google releases is driven by search but they definitely encroaching onto the world of the portal. Case in point is Google Maps which is actually a pretty impressive yet simple maps product. One really cool feature is that when the location you are looking for has been generated, you are able to “grab” the map and move it around similar to how you can do that for Adobe PDF documents. That is very helpful when you want to get a sense of the surroundings of where you are looking for. It eliminates the supremely annoying functionality on Mapquest, Yahoo Maps of having to click the N/E/S/W arrows to move around the map.

GMail

I have been using the new GMail product from Google recently. I was able to get a test account from our fine friends at Blogger. I have to say that it is quite an interesting concept in that they give you oodles of disc space to store all your email so you never have to delete any of it. I think it will serve me well as a place to keep and archive interesting newsletters that I may want to refer to in the future. And maybe I will begin to use it as my back up email account at some point. It has some really neat features including a good deal of shortcuts which make using the application very easy. Check it out if can get your hands on a Beta account.