It’s kind of a sobering thought that mobile communications, the cornerstone of the modern world in both developed and developing regions, pivots around software that is of dubious quality, poorly understood, entirely proprietary, and wholly insecure by design.
Thom Holwerda writes about the second operating system hiding in every mobile phone.
Comscore, whose accuracy is generally between a Lotto Quick Pick and a drunken dart throw, says Google Maps usage has fallen since Apple Maps came on the scene. The Guardian has a good overview: How Google lost when everyone thought it had won.
We shouldn’t be surprised that in the absence of choice, people take the path of least resistance. What’s missing in these discussions is how it’s criminal Apple gets away with not allowing alternative defaults for maps, browsers, calendars, and any number of other areas, which means every time you click a link or address in the OS it opens Safari or Apple Maps, in my opinion inferior apps. Some developers get away with this by having settings to set Chrome or Google Maps as your default, like Tripit just added, but this is implemented in a hacky, per-application way, and every app puts their setting in a different place if they support it at all.
If Microsoft did this a decade ago we’d call for the DoJ to reopen their investigation. Apple has the best phone, best tablet, and in many ways the best operating system — we should not give them a pass for this blatantly self-interested and user-hostile stance. Defaults matter.
The story around badBIOS, the mysterious Mac and PC malware that jumps airgaps, is fascinating and surprising. The capabilities of sophisticated attackers right now vastly outstrip the defenses of any computer user or company. The news that the NSA had broken into the networks of Google and Yahoo, unfortunately, wasn’t surprising given Google’s move to encrypt traffic between datacenters early in September.
After a good while (I can’t search my Twitter stream) on Chrome I’m switching back to Firefox as my primary browser, and actually uninstalled Chrome. Why? I was getting the “Oh snap” failure page all the time, even on Google’s own Youtube! The only support I was pointed to was this page, and when I followed the instructions there when I restarted Chrome everything was gone. The sentence “copy the relevant files from the “Backup User Data” folder to your new “User Data” folder.” is useless when you consider the folder has 50+ files to sort through and I wasn’t sure which one was causing my previous problems. So back to Firefox, and thanks to Xmarks all of my stuff is there. I’m also using this persona which is pretty sweet. The feature I missed most on Chrome was lame: the ability to click and hold a folder then release on a bookmark I wanted to open. On Chrome you have to click twice. It bugged me. Now back on Firefox I feel like the browser has a large head.
Google is taking a new approach to China. This is a big deal, they’re basically implying the Chinese government has been hacking Google accounts to compromise human rights advocates. Interesting the note at the end where they say these decisions and investigations were entirely in the US, it’s almost like they’re trying to protect their employees there.
40% still use old Google Analytics script. Don’t forget to update to the newest Google Analytics script call. (And drop in WordPress.com Stats while you’re in there to get something quick and author-centric.)
If Google is going to be at the center of our digital and online lives, they need to get a lot better about their support organization and how they handle account issues. Check out this story by Mark Ghosh for an example of what happens when things go wrong. What if you woke up tomorrow and your Gmail, Orkut, Docs, Reader, Google Checkout account was gone?