Google Archives — Page 5 of 8


Since Harvard Forum II, we have been engaged in a low-key conversation about the liberating potential for ICTs, especially networks. For understandable reasons, the pace has picked up in recent times, especially in relation to the use of the kill switch by cornered tyrants. Now here’s a piece that is relevant to the discussion about the companies responsible for the networks we debate on and debate about: But three years later, the effort known as the Global Network Initiative has failed to attract any corporate members beyond the original three, limiting its impact and raising questions about its potential as a viable force for change. At the same time, the recent Middle East uprisings have highlighted the crucial role technology can play in the world’s most closed societies, which leaders of the initiative say makes their efforts even more important. “Recent events really show that the issues of freedom of expression and privacy are relevant to companies across the board in the technology sector,” said Susan Morgan, executive director of the initiative.

Another intra-Asia undersea cable

Posted on February 2, 2011  /  0 Comments

Connecting Asian countries is no longer the carriers’ headache; ensuring seamless connectivity is. In the recent past we have witnessed the emergence of Asia America Gateway and Google’s Unity followed by Southeast Asia Japan cable cables. Series of undersea earthquakes have been damaging the cables and disrupting the intra-Asian as well as inter-Asian voice and data connectivity. Now the Asian carriers have teamed up to roll-out another submarine cable called Asia Submarine-cable Express (ASE). It will bypass the earthquake-prone Taiwanese coast.
As the owner of a G1, I can afford a little smirk about the ascendancy of Android. But really, the bigger story from the perspective of the people at the BOP who are our prime constituency, is the Gartner prediction that this is the cross-over year for those accessing the Internet through mobiles, though of course, one has to interrogate the basis of the prediction. Google’s operating system for cellphones has overtaken Nokia’s Symbian system as the market leader, ending the Finnish company’s long reign, a British research firm said Monday. In the three months through December, manufacturers shipped 33.3 million cellphones running Android, Google’s free, open-source cellphone operating system, up from just 4.

Growing pains in developing apps

Posted on October 25, 2010  /  0 Comments

LIRNEasia has been supporting app stores because we believe this is the solution that reduces transaction costs and mobilizes decentralized innovation. But as the NYT story today shows, it’s not an easy path for developers: Because Google makes its software available free to a range of phone manufacturers, there are dozens of different Android-compatible devices on the market, each with different screen sizes, memory capacities, processor speeds and graphics capabilities. An app that works beautifully on, say, a Motorola Droid might suffer from glitches on a phone made by HTC. IPhone developers, meanwhile, need to worry about only a few devices: iPhones, iPods and iPads.
We have been saying for sometime that telecom operators urgently needed to think beyond their core voice business. Mobile, beyond voice, is what we wrote about incessantly in the past two years. Here’s more reason: Google entered a new business beyond Internet search on Wednesday with a service within Gmail to make phone calls over the Web to landlines or cellphones. The service will thrust Google into direct competition with Skype, the Internet telephone company, and with telecommunications providers. It could also make Google a more ubiquitous part of people’s social interactions by uniting the service for phone calls with e-mail, text messages and video chats.

Net neutrality on the ropes?

Posted on August 5, 2010  /  8 Comments

It took us a long time to adopt a position on net neutrality, but finally we did, based on the lessons for policy we drew from the Budget Telecom Network Model (BTNM). We concluded that it was not appropriate for countries that relied on BTNM and the high volumes of use and extraordinarily low prices associated with it. Now it appears that two of the main protagonists of the fight over net neutrality in the US are crafting a compromise that will in effect end the debate. Google and Verizon, two leading players in Internet service and content, are nearing an agreement that could allow Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay for the privilege. The charges could be paid by companies, like YouTube, owned by Google, for example, to Verizon, one of the nation’s leading Internet service providers, to ensure that its content received priority as it made its way to consumers.

Wireless health

Posted on April 10, 2010  /  3 Comments

I was seeing a doctor in Washington DC and had to explain to him what allergy medicine I was on. This was an unplanned visit and I did not have the prescriptions. So I showed him the package. He pulled out his i-phone and googled the brand name (I thought), instead of walking over to the computer just outside. Few weeks later, I was at a relative’s place, the kind of place where you still have to go to the garden to get a decent signal (much improved from when I was DGT when one had to stand in a precise location in the middle of a paddy field).
An Italian judge has held three Google executives responsible for the content of a site picked up and made accessible through Google. This is a threat to us all. 20 hrs of video are uploaded on to Google every hour, so if this ruling stands, Google will have to employ increasingly large numbers of people to monitor web content. Or screen out most web content. Most bloggers have the same problem.
Google has announced that it will be rolling out superfast broadband as demonstration projects. “Google, indeed, appears to be playing a chess game,” said David B. Yoffie, a professor at the Harvard Business School. “If they can create an even mildly credible commitment to offer superfast broadband to the home, it could strike fear in the hearts of cable and telcos, stimulating an arms race of investment — just as they did in the auction for spectrum a few years ago.” In a post on its corporate blog, Google said it planned to build and test a high-speed fiber optic broadband network capable of allowing people to surf the Web at a gigabit a second, or about 100 times the speed of many broadband connections.

Living without Google

Posted on January 17, 2010  /  1 Comments

The censors among us (they do not live only in China) need to pay attention to the consequences of their actions and how it can alienate the next generation. “How am I going to live without Google?” asked Wang Yuanyuan, a 29-year-old businessman, as he left a convenience store in Beijing’s business district. China’s Communist leaders have long tried to balance their desire for a thriving Internet and the economic growth it promotes with their demands for political control. The alarm over Google among Beijing’s younger, better-educated and more Internet savvy citizens — China’s future elite — shows how wobbly that balancing act can be.
Will the shift to mobile as the primary interface to the Internet, dethrone search engines such as Google, that generate their revenues from advertising? An interesting discussion in NYT. As people increasingly rely on powerful mobile phones instead of PCs to access the Web, their surfing habits are bound to change. What’s more, online advertising could lose its role as the Web’s primary economic engine, putting Google’s leadership role into question. “The new paradigm is mobile computing and mobility,” said David B.

g-phone v i-phone

Posted on December 15, 2009  /  0 Comments

Competition in the handset market cannot but accelerate the process of mobiles becoming the primary interfaces to the Internet. Google plans to begin selling its own smartphone early next year, company employees say, a move that could challenge Apple’s leadership in one of the fastest-growing and most important technologies in decades. Google’s new touch-screen Android phone, which it began giving to many employees to test last week, could also shake up the fundamentals of the cellphone market in the United States, where most phones work only on the networks of the wireless carriers that sold them. Full story
The world is awash in telecenter pilots.  I thought all the lessons that could be learned, have been learned.  Apparently not.  Google is bankrolling another pilot in Kenya, including a USD 700/month broadband bill.  So, for sustainability we’d need around 700 users spending a tad more than USD 2 per visit?

Does a websearch kill a tree?

Posted on January 14, 2009  /  3 Comments

According to this research finding, Google is warming the planet by giving us fast websearches. Performing two Google searches from a desktop computer can generate about the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea, according to new research. While millions of people tap into Google without considering the environment, a typical search generates about 7g of CO2 Boiling a kettle generates about 15g. “Google operates huge data centres around the world that consume a great deal of power,” said Alex Wissner-Gross, a Harvard University physicist whose research on the environmental impact of computing is due out soon. “A Google search has a definite environmental impact.
A research report entitled, ‘Internet Presence as Knowledge Capacity: The Case of Research in Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Reform’, authored by Sujata Gamage and Rohan Samarajiva has been published in the Information Technologies and International Development (ITID) journal (Spring 2008). The full report is available online; an abstract follows: Abstract: Knowledge is an important driver of development. As the production and dissemination of knowledge become increasingly mediated by the Internet, the Internet presence and connectivity of researchers are becoming more valid than the conventionally used publication- and citation-based indicators. This article presents a methodology that includes the use of the Google Scholar search engine to locate knowledgeable individuals in Asia in a policy-relevant field, paying particular attention to locating researchers in developing countries or in nonacademic settings in Asia. Internet presence is not a guarantee of quality.
Supreme Court today (Nov 01, 2008) ordered the suspension of three environmental levies imposed recently, reported Lanka Dissent. Accordingly, the levies imposed on telecommunication towers, CFC bulbs of more than 40 Watts as well as the levy imposed on vehicles in the Western Province were directed to be suspended. Should we open a bottle of Champaign? May be not. It was not LIRNEasia that took Environment Ministry to courts.