Twittergate 2009/07/17

twitter_logo_header The eventual summary on Techcrunch of the hacked Twitter documents released earlier this week is an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the fastest growing company on the web.

Interestingly, while potential Google and Microsoft relationships are discussed in detail, and granted the protracted Facebook acquisition talks are now behind them, I generally got the sense that the team is side-lining their most immediate opportunity: to outright own the public (search-able) social networking space that Facebook is still lacking.

We know Facebook is working to fill this (now obvious) void as fast as they can, but it will be slow and difficult to implement. Despite this, at least from the available evidence, there’s not much to indicate that the Twitter team is equally focused on building out their own social graph fully enough to really compete in this space. Twitter is a unique service, granted, and Google and much of the media may be right to separate the “micro-blogging” space from traditional social networking, but it’s clear from these documents that all this is still very much up in the air.

Arrington lists “Identity Crisis” among his subheadings, and there’s definitely a strong element of that, perhaps understandably, since none of this information was ever intended for public release.

But I will say this: Twitter is not in any position to compete with Google directly, Google indexes information, Twitter indexes tweets. Any strategy along those lines is deluded. While clearly (in their own vernacular) “trending” right now, they will eventually need to be fully indexed by Google to stand any change of reaching their user and traffic targets. They need to just accept that.

But in terms of Facebook, and even more so, Microsoft - they’re right to be wary of any partnerships and default to full-on competition mode.

As a side note, it will be interesting to see what this rouses out of Google in terms of password recovery and other security issues related to Google Apps and accounts.

Edit Chrome Most Visited Blacklist 2009/07/14

The latest Google Chrome build in the Ubuntu repos seems more buggy than the previous versions - but good to see the frequent updates at least.

Anyway, I accidentally removed a most visited link/thumbnail from the homepage and then realized, that since the interface update is incomplete, there’s no way to restore it through the GUI (you have one chance with the undo link, but that’s it).

If this happens to you, you can directly edit the preferences file in your home folder:


Find this this entry - and edit as needed:

"most_visited_blacklist": {

If you have any “blacklisted” links - there will be lines in here you can delete to restore them to the most visited list on the new tab page.

You’ll also see this at the bottom of the file:

"session": {
    "restore_on_startup": 4,
    "urls_to_restore_on_startup": [ "about:linux-splash" ]

But edit or not, unlike the last build, this one seems to be hard-coded to display the dev warning on startup.

One more Chrome OS post 2009/07/11

Now I’m not a great blogger, granted, but I am a long time follower and fan of a preeminent Google watch blog, Google Operating System.

But really, if the name of your blog is Google Operating System - and your stated mission:

An unofficial blog that watches Google’s attempts to move your operating system online.

And then, after more than five years of dutiful reporting, after all the speculation, it’s not April 1st, and Google announces that they are, in fact, actually releasing an operating system…

…and this is the post?

This is level-headed, well-researched, and downright understated - it’s journalism - he even points out, and quite right, that Good OS has been gearing up to release an almost identical product called Cloud (there was some buzz about this quite a while ago, though it seems to have been aptly named, still vaporware for now).

But really, all l I can say is good work, Alex, it’s just srange to watch the rest of the tech media go crazy while someone familiar with Google’s history can so calmly explain the new product.

Am I excited? Of course. I’d bet you are too.

But, is this the end all, come all, end of Microsoft, end of the desktop as we know it?

Not really (or not yet at least).

Google Chrome OS is a bootable browser, the web is the OS 2009/07/10


I hadn’t weighed in on this at all, and not that this will make any difference, but at least I can put some links out.

There seems to be a lot of confusion circulating about Chrome OS being developed as some new Google-polished linux distro - see Wired: No one wants Linux netbooks as one example.

The title of my post basically says what needs saying - but just to clarify: Google Chrome OS is NOT going to be like any other desktop operating system, be it Windows, Mac, or Linux that you might be familiar with.

There will only be one conventional application installed, the browser. In short, the web is the OS.

How does that work? Well, for a complete answer, it might be a good idea to watch this year’s Google I/O keynote - Arrington did, and he’s on board - and reporting on this better than anyone.

Basically, Google’s long term strategy (as it always has been) is to continue to push the limits of the web as a platform, driving adoption of HTML5 and other open standards, until eventually no other (local/proprietary) platform is required for any of the activities you might associate with desktop computing, including games.

If you watched that, now you’re getting the idea - new elements in the HTML5 specification like canvas, video and web workers will give developers the tools to create web applications with pixel level control and resource allocation previously locked up in plugins, or constrained to the desktop.

So what will Chrome OS actually be? Well, at the very least, it could essentially just be a bootable version of the Chrome browser (the kernel boots, the browser launches, and you’re online - that would be it). Now, just for this, Google would have to do a ton of work behind the scenes with hardware makers and the linux community to get enough driver and device support for this to be ready for the mass market.

At most, it could offer some suite of file management, search and other native applications that will run Google-style in the browser ala Google Desktop. The “GDrive”, of course, is expected to make it’s long awaited debut.

The interface for all that is going to be some kind of search. If I had to guess, some new variant of the iGoogle home page - or if we’re lucky, it might be some kind of new search interface that we’ve never seen before.

So can you really completely manage your digital life, work (and hard drive!) with search alone (and maybe some labels)?

Well, we shall see. Having followed all the crazy Google OS rumors over the years, it’s nice to know I’ll finally get the chance to find out.