Apple Boosts Piracy Thru iCloud
Apple pulled their automated online storage solution, iCloud, out of beta today. It allows users to effortlessly gain safe storage for all their files. Like Dropbox, iCloud seamlessly backs up and restores your important pictures, video, documents, email, and music. It apparently is being reported as some sort of replacement for iTunes. Let’s chalk that flawed idea up to the godawful media hype around anything Apple. More likely, iCloud will be the behind the scenes method by which users store all iTunes content (similar to Amazon’s Cloud Drive), but it won’t outright replace iTunes. Hell, at this point, iTunes is a really horrible yet popular gold standard for media management. People have convinced themselves to enjoy the torturous exercise in bloatware that iTunes has become. Like Acrobat, really.
Anyway, there is one seemingly innocuous feature that blew me away. If you have existing mp3 files, you can upload those to iCloud under the auspice of backing up your files. In order to prevent users from driving iCloud’s server and bandwidth resources into the ground, iCloud performs some sort of comparison — perhaps bit matching or ID3 tag parsing — to see if that song already exists in iCloud’s database of music files (which is really just the iTunes catalog). If it matches something in there, the file is not uploaded. Instead, a DRM-free 256 kbps AAC original is copied from iCloud’s servers and added to your iCloud folder.
The end result is that if you have 20 gigs of low bitrate dodgy, crackle-prone pirated music, iCloud is going to replace that with high quality retail files. And it is all going to be automated and free. Yikes! Apple better rethink this, otherwise the RIAA is going to be circling it’s greed-based wagon train around Steve Jobs’ skinny butt and extracting a pound of flesh that the Turtlenecked Scarecrow can’t spare.
Google’s Chrome OS means a whole lot of … Nothing
Google announced their vaporware operating system Chrome OS. We do know that most of the apps and resource-intensive computing will be offloaded to the cloud. Beyond that small scrap of data, nobody knows anything and, more importantly, nobody has seen anything. Yet the pundits are already signing the death certificates of both Microsoft Windows (standard target) and the iPhone (mmm … yeah). These are the same experts (New York Times, jkontherun, TechCrunch, GigaOM, etc.) that keep telling us that Facebook is going to level Google. So the timeline that I’m getting is:
- Facebook becomes the search engine of choice, forcing Google to make money elsewhere
- Google becomes the operating system manufacturer for netbooks and smartphones
- Somehow Google then makes the jump to becoming the OS of choice for all computers (can’t wait to edit HD video in the cloud)
- Microsoft’s market share approaches zero and, in a desperate bid to make the payroll, they become an ebay power seller auctioning off vintage CDs of Windows 95, MS Works, and Microsoft BOB
- Bonus: Chrome OS somehow knocks off the whole closed-architecture iPhone OS platform and everybody buys those wildly unsuccessful Android phones
- Google is back on top and all things are again right in the tech food chain
The Windows death knell has been ringing for about 15 years now. Some Windows-killer is announced every six months. And what happens? Nothing. Big, bloated, unsexy Windows persists. About 18 months ago, the same characters from above let us know that Vista would to send Microsoft to the soup kitchen. Creative thinking had placed Windows itself as the ultimate Windows-killer. Hara-kiri. Didn’t happen.
I’m quite excited to see Chrome OS and play with it a bit. However, it’s unlikely to alter the tech landscape very much. Either way, this is solid marketing by Google’s PR department. It even got my lazy butt blogging about it.
It’s April 2009 and most websites don’t support phone browsing very well. So you ask, “should mine”?
For now the answer is still “depends”. The first question you need to ask is who’s your audience?
To clarify what I’m talking about, here are two versions of the Facebook landing page. The one designed for the phone (left) lets you log in with no scrolling and is sans heavy images. The one on the right is being shown on a phone but was designed to display on a PC monitor which is why the user is forced to scroll around just to log in.
If you’re Facebook, where the age demographic skews well below the national average and the balance sheet bling screems louder than three schoolgirls on a roller coaster, designing for the phone is an obvious choice.
But maybe you’re an ecommerce site selling Jitterbug cell phones to the AARP crowd. Then the correct anyswer would be - – - that’s right, “no”. The jitterbug doesn’t support a browser and even if it did, the over 55 crowd isn’t hanging out at the mall updating their LinkedIn profiles on their cells.
But things aren’t always so obvious. Another tech savvy daddy chose not to create an iPhone version of their site. They’re that iconic company in Cupertino, California who owns apple.com. One thing’s for sure – it’s not due to lack of bling or any technical niavity that they skipped a customized phone version.
There’s a lot to consider when weighing the options. Do you need a phony website? Ask us. We’ll help you determine what’s right for your situation.