Jeff Hunsberger took a long look at the state of instant messaging across various platforms. It’s a nice overview of things, but the article lacks some history and ignores the 800-pound chat gorilla in the room:
Apple’s iMessage was the warning shot that things were changing. Some embraced it and didn’t look back. Some didn’t know they were embracing it — for them it was just a matter of having a blue text bubble versus a green one. Others saw it as a way to get out from under the thumb of greedy cellular carriers who charged outrageous prices for text messages.
I’d argue that while Apple was certainly bigger than BlackBerry at the time iMessage (or Messages) was announced, it was originally BlackBerry neé RIM that hit back at greedy cell carriers.
Back when the BlackBerry was the smartphone to get, you couldn’t pry people away from their BBM. In fact, it wasn’t until Apple released iMessage for iOS when BBM holdouts took a good, hard look at the state of their precious messaging platform.
We laugh at BlackBerry’s position in the market now, but for a long time it was the definitive smartphone messaging service for millions of users across the world.
Then there’s this piece that made me sit back and go, “Huh?” (emphasis mine)
There are a lot of choices out there. I’m only going to list the good ones. I am not going to waste time on things that are platform-dependent. I am also not going to waste time on the “text message replacement” apps like What’s App, HeyTell or Kik because making a friend pay a dollar to talk to you seems like a bad idea. I’m definitely not wasting my time on anything with the word “Facebook” in the title.
I know we all get skittish around any mention of Facebook, but Hunsberger devoted paragraphs to Google’s Hangouts and had no problem discussing the creepy aspects.
The fact is Facebook Messenger is probably the best text-based chat solution on any platform. It’s fast, consistent, available almost everywhere, and works incredibly well even on the mobile Web. The phone apps lack video capabilities, but there is voice messaging and the desktop version has video chat functionality. It’s only a matter of time before the mobile applications get video, as well.
By willfully ignoring Facebook Messenger, Hunsberger is proving his thesis by process of elimination:
There is no clear winner here. As I mentioned before, the user is the real loser because the pitched battle for users and a lock-in model serve to create a wide range of favorites with each user deciding on what is their most important feature and then trying to convince all of their friends that their solution is the best.
If Hunsberger had come out and said, “I closed my Facebook account, so I can’t comment on the status of its messaging service,” I would’ve let it slide, but there’s no explanation given. All that’s implied is “Facebook is icky/evil, so for the purposes of this article it doesn’t exist.”
I understand why some people may not trust Facebook - I don’t even trust Facebook - but I know a great service when I see one, and the best cross-platform messaging service I’ve seen is Facebook Messenger.
ᔥ The Huffington Post:
…and among the titles, which included well-known works such as Anna Karenina, War and Peace and Huckleberry Finn, are many titles that most modern readers might not know.
Almost all of the ones mentioned in The Huffington Post piece are available for free via Google Books or Project Gutenberg.
In Part 1 of our Google I/O roundup, we’re joined by Peter Teoh to discuss Google Play Music All Access, Google Play game services, Google+, and…honestly, we’ve forgotten half the things we talked about. It was a long night and an even longer keynote.
“You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”
Larry Page gave a Q&A session at the end of yesterday’s I/O keynote, and during it he said the following:
“You need to have interoperation… We struggle with people like Microsoft. The Web is advancing too slowly. I’d like to see more open standards.”
Sounds nice, except as software developer Laurent Eschenauer points out:
- Google+ has no open RSS output, hence no PuSH support, no write API, in fact it has absolutely nothing open
- Google Reader is scrapped, along with RSS support within Chrome
- WebDav for Google Calendar is dropped in favor of their proprietary API
- XMPP is dropped, while 3 years ago it was at the core of their Wave efforts
In addition, Google Glass - which is built on the Android platform - doesn’t share the same level of perceived openness as its phone and tablet-based counterparts:
One thing many developers may not have realized before Google published these documents is that the API is essentially an old-school RESTful service. The only way to interact with Glass is through the cloud. The only apps you can build – at least for now – are web-based, and despite the fact that Glass runs Android, you can’t run any services directly on the hardware.
Stephen Hackett ends his latest piece with a sentiment that sums up my feelings on how Google is treating open standards and, by extension, its users:
Is Google evil? No. Do they send mixed messages to the world? Yes, but so does almost every other company.
Google’s really not all that different from anyone else, but they have painted a bigger target on their back than most.
I’d have more respect for Google if Larry Page got out onstage and said, “We’re locking things down more to provide a better overall experience to our users” instead of trotting out tired and routinely debunked tropes about “openness” and “standards”.
Apple pulled the same thing with FaceTime when it was announced, with Jobs claiming he eventually wanted FaceTime to become an open standard. It still hasn’t happened and probably never will. At least with iMessage, you know what you’re getting: locked into Apple’s ecosystem. It’s the same with BlackBerry Messenger and Google’s Hangouts.
Google is still pretending it’s a graduate thesis with grand visions for open computing, when in reality it’s just like every other company looking out for the bottom line. Again, not a problem, but the empty promises have to go.