Sunday, July 17, 2011

The web is what you make of it

Over the past few weeks, I've noticed this Google Chrome ad on several channels:

I love this ad because of its simplicity and message: "the web is what you make of it". This is so true - internet and sharing/networking sites have made it so easy to pursue your passions and even make money of it. I know some people who started blogging on topics of their interest. Slowly, their blogs became popular and they were eventually approached by publishers to write book(s). So, if you have a passion, the web gives you enough opportunities to pursue it. But there is a flip side to the viral nature of internet - if you publish something that people find ridiculous, the results could be catastrophic. A case in point, Rebecca Black, the US teenager whose video became one of the most watched videos on Youtube but not for the right reasons.

So, the next time you publish something on internet, be careful.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Google+ - Impressive debut

I got a Google+ invite last week and immediately started exploring it. The first thing I noticed (and loved) is the concept of Circles - a way to organize your contacts list. It is so intuitive - you drag and drop a contact to any of the predefined circles (Family, Friends, Acquaintance or Following) or create new circles.
When you want to share anything, you just have to choose the circles that you want to share it with. Google+ also saves your default share settings thus avoiding the hassle of choosing circles every time you want to share something.

So far I have found Google+ to be quite interesting and easy to use. Haven't spent a lot of time on it since there are very few friends on this network right now. But with more people joining Google+ each day, the usage will only increase.

The key question is how Google+ will fare in the long run. With 750 Million users, Facebook has the world's biggest social network and it is not easy for a user to migrate to another social network with existing contacts and data that has already been shared. Also, I am not sure if a user will share hist posts/pictures on both networks as it will be too time consuming. The big advantage Google+ has is its potential integration with other Google products - gmail, google search, google maps, picasa etc. This should allow users to share from within a google product and without having to log onto Google+.

The one Google+ feature that I haven't explored is Hangout - its group video chat feature. Immediately after the launch of Google+, Facebook announced an  integration with Skype (Microsoft owns Skype and also has 1.6 percent stake in Facebook with its USD 240 Mn investment in 2007) to launch a video chat feature. This goes to show how competitive this space is going to be with  Microsoft + Skype competing with Google.
I wonder if Apple will make a move into this space ;)

Here are 2 related interesting articles:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

E-commerce in India: Pleasant surprise with online book order

I was pleasantly surprised last week when I ordered Behind the Cloud : the untold story of how went from idea to billion-dollar company - and revolutionized an industry from Flipkart. I placed the order at 6:45 pm on Thursday evening. At 11pm, I received a confirmation email that book had been shipped, and at 4 pm the next day, I received the book. This took me by surprise - a book ordered online (no delivery charges, no special instructions) was delivered to me within 24 hours. The fact that this happened in India which is not exactly known for speedy delivery of goods makes it all the more impressive.
However, a closer look at the wrapping on the delivery package told me something - the book was delivered to me from a warehouse/store which was located just 4 kms from the delivery address. That explained the incredibly low delivery time.. I guess I got lucky. I'll keep an eye on the delivery time the next time I place an order on Flipkart.

This story apart, credit does go to Flipkart and other similar sites for improving the online shopping experience in India. e-tailing is a current rage in India and there are dozens of sites competing in this space. This intense competition means companies are trying hard to differentiate and offering sweet deals to customers. As a customer, I am not complaining :)