The infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) market has exploded in recent years. Google stepped into the fold of IaaS providers, somewhat under the radar. The Google Cloud Platform is a group of cloud computing tools for developers to build and host web applications.
It started with services such as the Google App Engine and quickly evolved to include many other tools and services. While the Google Cloud Platform was initially met with criticism of its lack of support for some key programming languages, it has added new features and support that make it a contender in the space.
Here’s what you need to know about the Google Cloud Platform.
Google recently shifted its pricing model to include sustained-use discounts and per-minute billing. Billings starts with a 10-minute minimum and bills per minute for the following time. Sustained-use discounts begin after a particular instance is used for more than 25% of a month. Users receive a discount for each incremental minute used after they reach the 25% mark.
2. Cloud Debugger
The Cloud Debugger gives developers the option to assess and debug code in production. Developers can set a watchpoint on a line of code, and any time a server request hits that line of code, they will get all of the variables and parameters of that code. According to Google blog post, there is no overhead to run it and “when a watchpoint is hit very little noticeable performance impact is seen by your users.”
3. Cloud Trace
Cloud Trace lets you quickly figure out what is causing a performance bottleneck and fix it. The base value add is that it shows you how much time your product is spending processing certain requests. Users can also get a report that compares performances across releases.
4. Cloud Save
The Cloud Save API was announced at the 2014 Google I/O developers conference by Greg DeMichillie, the director of product management on the Google Cloud Platform. Cloud Save is a feature that lets you “save and retrieve per user information.” It also allows cloud-stored data to be synchronized across devices.
The Cloud Platform offers two hosting options: the App Engine, which is their Platform-as-a-Service and Compute Engine as an Infrastructure-as-a-Service. In the standard App Engine hosting environment, Google manages all of the components outside of your application code.
The Cloud Platform also offers managed VM environments that blend the auto-management of App Engine, with the flexibility of Compute Engine VMs.The managed VM environment also gives users the ability to add third-party frameworks and libraries to their applications.
Google Cloud Platform networking tools and services are all based on Andromeda, Google’s network virtualization stack. Having access to the full stack allows Google to create end-to-end solutions without compromising functionality based on available insertion points or existing software.
According to a Google blog post, “Andromeda is a Software Defined Networking (SDN)-based substrate for our network virtualization efforts. It is the orchestration point for provisioning, configuring, and managing virtual networks and in-network packet processing.”
Containers are especially useful in a PaaS situation because they assist in speeding deployment and scaling apps. For those looking for container management in regards to virtualization on the Cloud Platform, Google offers its open source container scheduler known as Kubernetes. Think of it as a Container-as-a-Service solution, providing management for Docker containers.
8. Big Data
The Google Cloud Platform offers a full big data solution, but there are two unique tools for big data processing and analysis on Google Cloud Platform. First, BigQuery allows users to run SQL-like queries on terabytes of data. Plus, you can load your data in bulk directly from your Google Cloud Storage.
The second tool is Google Cloud Dataflow. Also announced at I/O, Google Cloud Dataflow allows you to create, monitor, and glean insights from a data processing pipeline. It evolved from Google’s MapReduce.
Google does routine testing and regularly send patches, but it also sets all virtual machines to live migrate away from maintenance as it is being performed.
“Compute Engine automatically migrates your running instance. The migration process will impact guest performance to some degree but your instance remains online throughout the migration process. The exact guest performance impact and duration depend on many factors, but it is expected most applications and workloads will not notice,” the Google developer website said.
VMs can also be set to shut down cleanly and reopen away from the maintenance event.
10. Load balancing
In June, Google announced the Cloud Platform HTTP Load Balancing to balance the traffic of multiple compute instances across different geographic regions.
“It uses network proximity and backend capacity information to optimize the path between your users and your instances, and improves latency by connecting users to the closest Cloud Platform location. If your instances in one region are under heavy load or become unreachable, HTTP load balancing intelligently directs new requests to your available instances in a nearby region,” a Google blog post said.
Taken from TechRepublic
Skype ID: lina_deveikyte
Marketing Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development
The iPhone 6 is here. The world is excited. But should you be? For now we’re just going to look at the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 compared to the old model.
The 2014 iPhone is here, and Apple has made some pretty big departures this year, including changing the shape of the phone.
Angular is out, the sharp-ish edges of the iPhone 5S replaced by much curvier lines. The iPhone 6 is also a fair bit slimmer than the old model at 6.8mm to the iPhone 5S’s 7.6mm.
Of course, the iPhone 6 is also a fair bit bigger than the 5S thanks to its larger screen. To help out, the power button has moved to the side from the top, making it easier to reach.
Although there are optimisations, the basic construction of the phones hasn’t changed a huge deal. Both the iPhone 5S and 6 have aluminium backs and toughened glass fronts.
They also share the same TouchID sensor.
The one big hardware extra this year is NFC, which lets you make wireless payments with an iPhone 6. iPhone 5Ss do not have NFC.
The big display news for this year is that the iPhone 6 has a much larger screen than the iPhone 5S. You get bumped up from four inches to 4.7.
In Android terms that’s still a pretty small display, but if you want more you can now upgrade to the iPhone 6 Plus, which has a 5.5-inch display.
The display architecture has slimmed down a bit in this 2014 generation, but the core technology remains the same. Both phone have IPS LCD screens, as used in iPhones for years. We’re pretty glad this is the case – iPhone displays generally look fantastic.
To compensate for the added screen inches (well 0.7 inch), Apple has increased resolution in the iPhone 6 display. Where you get 1136 x 640 pixels in the iPhone 5S, the iPhone 6 gets you 1,334 x 750.
It’s 38 per cent more pixels, but how much sharper is it? No sharper at all, in fact. Both phones have, rounding-up, 326ppi displays.
Of course, a larger display with the same sharpness is always going to be a bit more satisfying for browsing, gaming – most things in fact.
Apple has not changed a great deal in the camera of the iPhone 6. It still has an 8-megapixel sensor, still has an f/2.2 lens and sensor pixels 1.5 microns a piece in size. This is what the iPhone 5S has.
While Apple claims the sensor is new, we don’t expect to see any radical changes in image quality beyond what is provided by processing.
However, there is a new feature – phase detection autofocus. This is used in the Galaxy S5 and many top-end dedicated cameras to provide faster focusing, and it should perform the same trick here.
Both phones have Apple’s TrueTone flash, which uses two different LED to colours to avoid washing-out people’s faces.
The front FaceTime camera seems to have been given more of an overhaul in the iPhone 6, though. It apparently lets in 81 per cent more light for better shots, and has more selfie-centric features. These include one-shot HDR and a burst mode. Selfie. Tastic.
CPU and RAM
The iPhone 6 introduces a new generation of processor called the Apple A8, taking over from the Apple A7 of the iPhone 5S.
It’s not a world-changing upgrade, but it does seem to supply the goods. Apple has changed the system architecture from 28nm to 20nm – meaning it uses absolutely tiny transistors – to make the new CPU more efficient. That should also mean it’s able to run cooler.
Apple claims the Apple A8 provides 20 per cent more CPU power and 50 per cent more GPU power. Some of that improvement is gobbled-up by the increase in resolution in real-life terms, but we should see a few nicer visual effects in a handful of games in the iPhone 6.
We’re still waiting on some more in-depth figures on the Apple A8 CPU, but it’s a solid generational upgrade.
As we expected, Apple has chosen to make the iPhone 6 slimmer rather than significantly adding to the battery life.
Even the official figures show that stamina should be roughly the same as it is in the iPhone 5S. You’ll get 11 hours of video playback in the iPhone 6, to 10 in the iPhone 5S.
By Android standards, that’s good, but not great. The best phones from Sony and LG manage numbers will into the teens in our own testing.
For the past few years iPhones have been stuck offering 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions. Only the iPad has offered a 128GB option. That all changes this year.
You can get a 128GB iPhone 6. It’ll cost a bit, naturally, but is perfect for those who want to dump a lot of music or video on their phones.
There’s no 32GB version this year, though. You have to pick between 16GB, 64GB and 128GB models.
The iPhone 6 is quite a departure in some core ways, but it’s also pretty conservative in others. Apple has not significantly improved the camera hardware, and while the screen has gotten bigger, display quality is unlikely to improve all that much. There isn’t an objective reason, at this stage, to upgrade from an iPhone 5S. Perhaps the trickier question is whether you should upgrade to the iPhone 6 Plus instead?
Source – Trusted Reviews
Skype ID: kristinakozlova
Marketing Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development
Android is the world’s most popular mobile platform and has millions of users. The open source nature of Google’s OS gives the possibility to find a lot of fantastic applications for Android. And, of course, most people try to find some useful apps which are free of charge. So you can download them, try them out, and uninstall them if they’re not to your fancy – you’ve nothing to lose!
So here are the top 15 best new free Android applications for your tablet or smartphone.
1. Line Whoscall
With Line Whoscall, the user can instantly identify the source of calls and text messages even if the caller’s number is not in his\her contact list. Line Whoscall also helps block specific numbers.
The QuizUp app is a game, based on trivial pursuit, where a player can choose from over 400 topics, ranging from TV shows and books to sports and music, and can compete against other players in a particular topic that consists of seven multiple choice questions.
3. Link Bubble
Link Bubble is a free app for the Android which lets the user have a faster browsing experience specially when opening links from other apps.
When you open links from apps the Link Bubble will let you stay on your current page while the app is trying to load the link in the background and then displays it when it is ready, this way, you can still do some things on your current page while you wait for the other link to load.
Timehop is an application that collects old photos and posts from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Foursquare, and dropbox photos and replays past.
Coursera is an awesome online service that allows users to tune-in to some great courses from more than 80 top universities and organizations free of charge. It provides free knowledge to anyone interested into expanding his/her horizons.
6. Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff
Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff is a free-to-play, city-building game in which a player must rebuild the town of Quahog from the ground up. Along the way, there are plenty of weird and wacky missions featuring the main characters from the popular FOX show.
IFTTT (If This, Then That) lets users mash up different services into “recipes” that can do things like automatically download new Facebook photos you’re tagged in to Dropbox, send starred emails to Evernote, or call you in response to a text message so you can escape a bad date. But connecting it to a device extends the possibilities even further.
8. Chrome Remote Desktop (Google)
Chrome Remote Desktop app allows for remote access to Mac or PC from Android device, whether smartphone or tablet. The new app is an extension of Google’s previously launched Chrome Remote Desktop screen-sharing service, which allows to share desktop’s screen with other Chrome browser or Chromebook users.
9. Sunrise Calendar
Sunrise is a free calendar made for Google Calendar and iCloud. Connect with user’s G account and the app will automatically import all the data you’ve entered into its own attractive format. Add and edit events via the app and they’ll sync up with anywhere you use your Google calendar.
10. Yahoo News Digest
Yahoo News Digest provides a definitive summary of all the important, need-to-know news. Digests are delivered twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening. All the top stories are summarized and presented with the key information that you need to stay on top of what’s happening.
It’s available in four editions: the US, UK, Canada and ‘rest of the world’.
11. Ginger Page & Grammar Keyboard
Ginger Page is a comprehensive English writing application that provides all the tools needed to compose high-quality English text everywhere one might write. This is accomplished by providing live rephrasing and proofreading capabilities and also offering quick access to important complementary writing tools like contextual synonyms, translations and definitions.
12. Aviate [Yahoo]
Yahoo Aviate is called “the intelligent homescreen that simplifies your phone.” With the app, you’ll be able to get information you need at the exact moment that it’s useful. It shows weather and news apps throughout the morning, productivity apps while you’re at work and music apps while you’re driving. It has a clean, simple layout, with organized apps that cater to the user, displaying information based on what it knows you’re up to.
13. Path Talk
Path Talk is a new app from Path which replaces SMS and Facebook with Path Talk to message friends, family, and groups for free. Messages you send in Path Talk are automatically erased from servers 24 hours after you send them, so you can now be yourself in conversations.
Path Talk can automatically tell your friends when you’re in transit, in the neighborhood, or even low on battery so your availability is always understood—removing the headache of misunderstandings in conversation.
EverythingMe‘s contextual launcher aims to customize your Android home screen so that you get exactly what you need every time you switch on your phone. The system is pretty simple — look at the apps you have installed, when and for how long you use them and then tailor a homescreen layout to show what it thinks you want before you do.
MyRoll is an intelligent mobile gallery app that displays all your best photos as ‘moments’, automatically organizing your snaps based on its analysis of each photo’s make-up. In a nutshell, it prioritizes shots that are in-focus, contain smiling faces, bright colors, and so on.
What new Android applications do you like? Have you already tried to use those mentioned above? Welcome to share your thoughts and experience.
Skype ID: kate.kviatkovskaya
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development
Posted August 11, 2014on:
Sitecore’s CMS flexibility, scalability and security make it an enterprise favorite, powering more than 32,000 websites around the world from financial powerhouses like American Express to some of the largest international sporting tournaments like Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Let’s try to find out why Sitecore is so popular nowadays especially among companies which have got high traffic sites.
What is Sitecore and why it is a choice for so many companies and businesses?
From the start, Sitecore’s architecture is able to meet every unique business need with speed, flexibility and dependability. The large variety of organizations are using Sitecore’s CMS solutions – companies (more than 3,000 of the world’s leading brands such as Experian, Toshiba, Canon, Nestlé, American Express, Carnival Cruise Lines, easyJet, Heineken, and Microsoft), schools, and government agencies all over the world in every vertical sector are leveraging from Sitecore CMS to create business advantage and online success.
Sitecore is one of the leading enterprise-level content management systems built on ASP.NET, enabling web content editors and marketers to have full control over all aspects of their website from social integration and blog posts to advanced personalization, e-commerce and more. Launched in 2001, Sitecore has used the .NET platform from the beginning of the language itself, and has been growing in popularity over the last few years. Nowadays Sitecore is a quite popular CMS in the U.S.A. and Western Europe.
Sitecore CMS brings the power of personalization and conversation management right in the hands of your marketers and business users. The CMS incorporates a powerful desktop interface that is controlled by a fully-customizable role-based system. This desktop is very similar in look and feel to a Windows desktop, which makes it easy for users new to Sitecore to pick up and learn the system. Developers will find Sitecore’s powerful technology platform and open API architecture provides them the flexibility and scalability they need.
10 main reasons why companies should use Sitecore CMS
Some of the top features of Sitecore CMS include solutions that offer better insight to website user behavior as well as tools to increase site visitors:
1) Insight to Website Traffic Conversion;
2) Targeted Content Based on User Behavior;
3) Repurpose Content for Different Devices;
4) Easily Integrate with Third Party Tools;
5) Improved Search Engine Optimization (SEO);
6) Fast Integration with Microsoft Technology;
7) Highly Scalable;
8) Intuitive and User-Friendly Design;
9) Optimize Web Experience with Multivariate Testing;
10) Web 2.0 and Social Media Integration.
.NET-based CMSs: Sitecore, SharePoint, Umbraco – how to choose the right one for your business?
Comparing Sitecore and SharePoint
Firstly, let’s look at SharePoint and Sitecore, as it is often asked about the possibility of using Sitecore for an intranet or SharePoint for a public-facing website. While the idea of using one technology solution to solve both problems sounds promising, there are many things you should consider before limiting yourself.
Here are some thoughts in which cases you should choose Sitecore CMS for your projects and in when it is better to stick to SharePoint (these points are based on experts’ views as well as on Altabel’s own experience):
- it is better to use Sitecore for a platform to customize the web user experience based on non-authenticated users;
- choose Sitecore for a marketing driven platform;
- for an external content focus, choose Sitecore;
- choose SharePoint for an IT driven platform;
- it makes sense to choose SharePoint for a collaboration platform;
- for an internal content focus with enterprise level security requirements, choose SharePoint.
Following the beaten path, many companies continue using SharePoint for creating public facing sites – they are well familiar with it and have already invested a lot of time, money, and knowledge in SharePoint. But actually it should be kept in mind that SharePoint was not developed for such sites so it’s worth adopting another CMS to develop them. There are some advantages Sitecore offers over SharePoint as a CMS for a public facing website:
- Sitecore allows high flexibility for content editors and a logical hierarchical structure;
- SharePoint is very limited to List Viewsfor content entry;
- Sitecore’s Web Forms for Marketers makes building forms and triggering goals simple;
- Frontend development for SharePoint is restricted and requires a lot of customized work, Sitecore on the other hand, is free of restrictions and able to do anything you want;
- Sitecore offers fantastic technical support;
- Sitecore offers easy multilingual configuration;
- A/B testing is included with Sitecore, a must for a modern website. SharePoint does not come with any kind of A/B testing;
- Sitecore’s DMS (Digital Marketing Suite) – SharePoint has nothing like this. Any website that has marketing in mind can greatly benefit from this tool included with Sitecore;
- Sitecore is developer-friendly – Development in Sitecore is much easier and requires a lot less specific knowledge. More developers are able to produce a better solution, faster, cheaper;
- Sitecore has a clear line between data and presentation making content easier to manage.
The bottom line is simple: If you’re looking to build a public internet site on the Microsoft platform, SharePoint makes sense if you meet a certain set of criteria. But Sitecore provides an extremely compelling alternative that, from a business owner’s perspective, offers superior tools for engaging with the customer.
Comparing Sitecore and Umbraco
Sitecore CMS and Umbraco CMS are two leading content management systems based upon Microsoft’s ASP.NET framework. Their flexibility, functionality, integration capabilities and ease of use is why many have chosen to focus their technical expertise on these systems.
Let’s have a look at the similarities between Sitecore CMS and Umbraco CMS:
- Easy integration with Microsoft Office;
- Endless expansion possibilities;
- Easy-to use User Interfaces (UI);
- Design layouts are separated from the content;
- Due to the large open-source Umbraco community and the expert development teams within the Sitecore network both CMS platforms are constantly evolving at a rapid pace;
- Easily scalable and customizable through modules (Sitecore) or packages (Umbraco);
- Can be integrated with your internal systems like ERP and CRM;
- Comprehensive documentation and online help & guidance.
And now let’s get acquainted with the differences between these two CMS:
- Sitecore is an enterprise solution whereas Umbraco is suited to small-medium sized businesses;
- Sitecore is a license-based product. This means a license fee is paid to acquire it. Licensing options can be chosen, taking in consideration a number of factors, making it possible to use Sitecore in a variety of projects: from small non-profits, with websites running on a single server, to big corporations with millions of visits per day;
- Umbraco is an open-source product, meaning there is no license fee;
- In both North America and Europe, you can easily find an existing Sitecore customer. This is very helpful to further increase adoption as it means that new customers have some experience they can tap into. In addition, Sitecore has many government references where Umbraco has almost none;
- Sitecore 7.1/7.2 has advanced feature set;
- Sitecore is an established global player; much more so than Umbraco. Sitecore is in particular strong in the important and highly competitive US and UK markets.
Our opinion is that if you do a proper CMS vendor evaluation, you will probably find that the license cost is only a fraction of the overall project costs. Your criteria should really be to look at which system will meet your requirements most efficiently.
If you are looking for a .NET-based CMS, all these products will work – but right now, at Altabel we would lean toward Sitecore when looking for a pure CMS that provides fast development time, stable platform and ease of use for non-technical content creators.
Of course, each organization is different, and it makes sense to check out the products and run them through your technology selection process to determine which is best for you.
Hope you have found the article interesting and helpful for you.
Also it would be nice to hear your opinion and practical experience. What CMSs do you use and for what kind of projects? What is your favorite CMS and why?
Thank you for your attention and looking forward to your comments.
It’s impossible to deny the amazing rise of Chrome OS. This Linux-based platform was the ideal solution at the ideal time. The cloud proved itself not only a viable option but, in many cases, the most optimal option. The puzzle was simple to solve:
Create a cost-effective platform that blended seamlessly with the cloud.
Linux? Are you listening? Now is your chance. All of the pieces are there, you just have grab the golden ring before Microsoft does.
One of the main reasons why Chrome OS has succeeded is Google. Google not only has the cash to spend on the development of such a product, it also has the momentum of brand behind it (and the “Google” brand no less). Even without this, Linux could follow in the footsteps of Google and create their own cloud-based OS.
The answer to that is also simple: Because Linux needs (in one form or another) a major win in the desktop arena. It now has the streed cred (thanks to Android and Chrome OS — both of which are built on a Linux kernel), so all it needs is to deliver something… anything… to build on the momentum. I think that thing could be a cloud-based platform. These platforms have already proven their worth, and people are buying them up. Since cheap (read “free”) has been one of the many calling cards for Linux, it’s a perfect fit.
I’ve installed Linux on a Chromebook (Bodhi Linux on an Acer C720). The marriage of a full-blown Linux distribution and the Chromebook was fantastic. You could hop onto your Google account and work magic — or to one-up Chrome OS, you could work on the many local apps. That’s where a cloud-based Linux device could help solidify both the cloud ecosystem and the Linux platform… the best of both worlds.
To this end, three things need to happen:
- Canonical needs to re-focus on the desktop (or in this case, a cloud-based iteration)
- A hardware vendor needs to step up and take a chance on this platform idea
- Open Xchange needs to work with the distribution to create a seamless experience between the platform and the cloud system
It’s a lot to ask, especially on Canonical’s end (with them focusing so much effort on the Ubuntu Phone and Mir). But with their goal of convergence, getting Ubuntu Linux cloudbook-ready shouldn’t be a problem. As for Open Xchange, I would imagine them welcoming this opportunity. At the moment, the OX App suite is a quality product living its life in obscurity. A Linux-based “cloudbook” (please do not call it a Linbook) could change that. The hardware side of things is simple, because it’s already been proved that Linux will run on nearly every one of the available Chromebooks (and it should, since Chrome OS uses the Linux kernel).
I say all of this as an avid Chromebook user. I find the minimal platform a refreshing change that’s both incredibly easy to use and efficiently helps me get my work done with minimal distraction. There are times, however, I would love to have a few local apps (like The Gimp, for example). With a Linux cloudbook, this would not only be possible, it would be easy. In fact, you would find plenty of apps that could be installed and run locally (without sucking up too much local storage space).
The cloudbook could very well be the thing that vaults Linux into the hands of the average user, without having to stake its claim on Chrome OS or Android. And with the Linux cloudbook in the hands of users, the door for the Ubuntu Phone will have been opened and ready to walk through. Convergence made possible and easy.
The desktop, the cloudbook, the phone.
Is the cloudbook a path that Linux should follow — or would the overwhelming shadow of Google keep it neatly tucked away from the average consumer and success? Let us know your thoughts in the discussion thread below.
Taken from TechRepublic
In the last year, Google has stampeded toward the enterprise. With advancements in Chromebooks and Chromeboxes, improved security, and incentive pricing; it’s obvious that Google is working hard to build out its portfolio of enterprise customers.
Another product that Google has been making more accessible to its business customers is its Cloud Platform. While Google has added value with new features, it is still uncertain whether or not it will be able to compete in a market dominated by Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure.
The Google Cloud Platform is Google’s infrastructure-as-a-service where users can host and build scalable web applications. The Cloud Platform is technically a group of tools that cover the gamut of what most people need to build a business online. Currently, these are the tools that make up the Cloud Platform:
- Google App Engine
- Google Compute Engine
- Google Cloud Storage
- Google Cloud Datastore
- Google Cloud SQL
- Google BigQuery
- Google Cloud Endpoints
- Google Cloud DNS
Brian Goldfarb, head of marketing for the Google Cloud Platform, said that Google is working to leverage its “history and investments” in data centers and data processing technology to bring what they have learned to the public. The most exciting part for Goldfarb is the breadth of possibilities that the infrastructure provides for businesses.
“The beauty of being an infrastructure provider is that the use cases are, essentially, limitless,” Goldfarb said.
At the 2014 Google I/O developer conference keynote, Urs Hölzle and Greg DeMichillie announced a few more developer tools for Cloud Platform users. Google Cloud Dataflow is a way to create data pipelines that succeeds MapReduce. They also introduced a few minor tools such as Cloud Save, Cloud Debugger, and Cloud Trace.
According to James Staten, an analyst at Forrester, Google has been building its cloud offerings out for a while, but it has struggled to differentiate its products from its competitors.
“They continue to unveil some interesting things for developers, particularly those that are doing big data, which seems to be their only major differentiation as a cloud platform right now. So, they’re building on that,” Staten said.
When it comes to the numbers that Forrester has on cloud platform users, Google isn’t at the bottom of the list, but they are no where near the top five because of its lack of differentiation.
According to Goldfarb, however, Google differentiates itself in three key ways:
1. Price and performance. Google offers automatic discounting and unique aspects in its business model for the Cloud Platform.
2. Technical capability. “We are a cloud first company,” Goldfarb said. He notes that Google builds tools for their engineers to work on cloud production, which then get translated to the public-facing products.
3. Innovation. Customers will be the first to receive what Goldfarb calls “unique competitive advantages,” new technical features as soon as they are created by Google. For example, when speaking of the new Cloud Dataflow he said, “There is nothing like it in the world.”
Still, one of the primary issues is that the Google Cloud Platform wasn’t initially geared to accommodate bigger enterprises.
As a platform-as-a-service, it primarily appealed to startups as it only supported Python and didn’t have as robust an offering as needed by bigger companies. According to Staten, enterprises code not only in Python, but in PHP, Ruby, and Java as well; and if you only support one of those, it’s not very appealing.
Of course, Google has grown to accommodate other languages, and the appeal has gone up slightly; but, Staten said that Google still only has the basics. He said the real value for cloud platforms today is the ecosystem surrounding the infrastructure, and Google doesn’t yet have the ecosystem around the the Cloud Platform that it needs to be competitive.
“The battle is no longer around base infrasture-as-a-service,” Staten said. “It’s not about how many data centers you have, how fast those compute instances are and so forth. It’s all a battleground now around the services that are available above and beyond that platform and, more importantly, the ecosystem around those services.”
This is part of the reason why enterprise customers go to AWS or Azure. They go to those platforms because their peers are using it. They can draw on the experiences of their colleagues and peers for advice and best practices. Staten also notes that there are tons of available partners that many enterprises already know, and are already comfortable with. Some businesses are simply more comfortable working with companies such as Amazon, IBM, RackSpace, and Microsoft.
Still, some companies do trust their cloud offerings to Google. While its portfolio may not include as many Fortune 500 companies as some of its competitors, Google still boasts the likes of Khan Academy, Rovio, Gigya, Pulse, and Snapchat.
“Our fundamental goal with partners in the ecosystem is to empower them,” Goldfarb said.
Goldfarb noted that working with its partner ecosystem and engaging the open source community are some of Google’s highest priorities. He also believes that the heavy focus on open source is also a differentiator for Google among it competitors.
The first step, Staten said, is for Google to make a play around it’s existing products. For an ecosystem to grow and flourish, Google will need to give potential Cloud Platform customers a reason to use their other products.
“Right now if I want to build Android applications, or I want to extend the Google applications, or I want to take advantage of any Google technologies, there’s not a compelling reason for me to do that on their Cloud Platform,” he said. “In fact, it’s going to be easier, and more effective, for me to do that on Amazon or any of the other cloud platforms that are out there.”
Conversely, Google also needs to focus on getting companies that are using its other products to use the Cloud Platform as well. Google needs a sticky value proposition if they want a strong enterprise appeal. Staten mentioned that this could play out as a suite offering or something similar.
It’s not that Google has a poor reputation among business customers. The bigger issue is that most of these incumbent enterprise partners have built a deeper trust among the enterprise by working with them for so long. In order to further build trust, Google will need to take a serious look at its ad-heavy revenue model.
Staten said, “the enterprise hates advertising. So, they’re very much on the antithesis of the Google historical model.” Which means that Google will have to change its approach to accommodate more enterprise customers, so that it’s known as more than just an advertising company. That could even serve to help diversity Google’s revenue model.
Google has done a good job, so far, with much of its pricing and aggressiveness going after deals, but there are some things it can do to better its interactions with the enterprise.
“The biggest thing for Google is understanding that having a relationship with an enterprise is way different than having a relationship with a consumer,” Staten said.
What Staten believes is that Google doesn’t sell like an enterprise sales organization. Enterprise customers don’t want to operate within a consumer-style sales model. Business customers value things like a specific, named sales rep that they can easily contact.
Enterprise customer also tend to be more apt to go where they can get customized support. They need customer support that doesn’t involve getting in line behind thousand of consumers with the same questions, and they, rightfully, expect the potential for custom SLAs. But, according to Goldfarb, Google recognizes the difference between enterprise and consumer customers.
“We’ve done a lot of the last 12 months to build out or enterprise sales and services support,” Goldfarb said.
Regarding enterprise customers of the Cloud Platform, Google offers a technical account management team with the potential for business customers to get connected to a specific, named sales representative. Goldfarb also mentioned a 24/7 multi-language support system and a team of more than 1,000 people dedicated to handling enterprise accounts.
According to Staten, Google certainly can compete with AWS and Azure, but they have some catching up to do if they want to be truly competitive.
“I think they are making some progress, but they probably are not making it as fast as they think they need to in this market,” Staten said. “What they have to do is balance catching up with Amazon, with differentiating their offering. That balance is tricky, and it’s not entirely obvious where that balance is.”
What do you think? Do you think the Google Cloud Platform can compete with products like AWS and Azure? Do you think Google is doing enough to accommodate enterprise customers?
There has been a lot of talk about the dirge sounding for the Firefox browser. With a marked nosedive in market share (roughly 15%), the one-time king of the browse war has now fallen into third place (behind Internet Explorer and Chrome). As most pundits are scratching their heads, I’m fairly certain that there’s a clear reason for this change:
The 15% market share applies only to desktop browsers. Once you move to mobile… all bets are off. But why? What has shifted to cause Firefox to drop so sharply? Is it a bad product? Honestly, to the majority of users (I’m talking “average user” here), a browser is a browser is a browser. The biggest difference to the average user is the use of “Favorites” over “Bookmarks.” Since most users wouldn’t even know Firefox from Internet Explorer, how could this change have happened?
Again, I say… Google.
Actually, I should be more specific and say Chrome — or even better, Chrome OS and Android.
From November 2013 to the end of the year, a reported 21% of all laptops sold were Chromebooks. Worldwide, Android takes nearly 81% of the mobile market share. That’s a LOT of Google-based browsers out there. I don’t think it’s a huge leap of logic to assume a vast percentage of those users would have been, otherwise, using Firefox.
Let me present myself a case in point. For the longest time, I was a devout Firefox user. But then I discovered a few of the Chrome apps/extensions (such as Tweetdeck) and added Chrome to my Linux desktop. Then I adopted a Chromebook as a laptop. Since I really only do two things on a laptop (write and browse), it made perfect sense. Add to this the fact that my smartphone platform has been Android for what seems like forever, plus the mobile version of Firefox is dreadful, and you have the makings for a typical migration from Firefox to Chrome.
Let’s be honest — as long as the browser gets the job done, it doesn’t matter which browser you use.
- Unless you’re on a Chromebook
- Or on Android
- Or you depend on Google Apps
You can see the pattern here, right? It’s like third-party politics in the United States. Many people don’t vote for third parties because it takes away votes from the party they once championed. In this case — every person using Chrome is one less person using Firefox. Why?
Caution: generalization coming…
Most people who use Internet Explorer simply don’t know that the product they’re using is inferior to every other product of its kind (either that or they depend on a site that was written ONLY for IE). So, there’s little to no chance they’ll jump ship to either Firefox or Chrome.
So, what is Mozilla to do? Well, they’re busy focusing on the Firefox OS, which is akin to Ubuntu focusing on the Ubuntu Phone — it’s detracting from what they’ve always done really well in exchange for jumping into a ring with two of the heaviest hitters in the history of the game — Android and iOS.
And then there’s that advertising deal with Google that’s about to expire. The majority of Mozilla’s income is from that deal, and Google has less reason to continue on with that search agreement. Google no longer needs the advertising real estate from a browser suffering from a possible slow death. Should Google pull this, Mozilla will have to pull off a miracle to stay in the fight.
However, there’s good news. You can’t forget that Firefox is an open-source browser. That means, even if Firefox were to die, another batch of forks would appear. So, even if Google Chrome were to knock Firefox out of the ring, more contenders will appear to take up the gloves. But even a horde of forks are not likely to pull Firefox from the slow Chrome burn. Google isn’t going anywhere but up. As Chromebooks and Android continue to take over the mobile planet (and users become less tethered to their desks), Firefox will continue to suffer.
Firefox is still a quality product. But like Internet Explorer, it’s facing a foe that’s stronger, faster, and more agile. That new opponent is poised to take over nearly everything it touches. Fortunately (for users, not the competition), that new foe offers a stellar product on every platform (Linux, Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, Android, and iOS). Chrome is the only browser on the planet that can make that claim (as Chrome is the only browser that will run on Chrome OS) – a claim that’s becoming ever more important in a world gone mad for mobile.
I don’t have a prediction for Firefox. Will it die? Will it become an “arm” of Google? Will it get a second wind and, thus, a second life? No one really knows at this point. If I had to make a guess, I’d say both Firefox and IE will fall to Chrome. The difference is that IE is embedded into the psyche of many users, so it won’t suffer as much as Firefox.
The gloves are off and Chrome is set to rumble. How do you think this fight will end? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.