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Archive for the ‘Google’ Category

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?

Lina Deveikyte

Lina Deveikyte
Lina.Deveikyte@altabel.com 
Skype ID: lina_deveikyte
Marketing Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

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:

Google.

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.

Kristina Kozlova

Kristina Kozlova
Kristina.Kozlova@altabel.com
Skype ID: kristinakozlova
Marketing Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development 

The IT sector is flourishing. If you’ve used a computer for at least a couple of times in the last few years, you’ve probably noticed this. I’ve noticed it myself even more after a business trip to Stockholm where I was lucky to attend some conferences and learnt more about Swedish IT industry tendencies. These tendencies reflect our life in general. Life changes rapidly with new technologies bursting into it. And when it comes to programming languages, we get a chance to see very different trendy styles. Programming languages which were popular some years ago are not useful today. And no one can exactly predict which programming language will be popular in future. That’s why a programmer who wants to stay in developer fields has to adopt the right programming language from time to time.

As the Swedish software maker Erik Starck pointed out, “programming is about managing complexities”. And it’s really so. An understanding of at least one programming language makes an impressive addition to any CV nowadays.

It is also very difficult to get the exact number of users for any programming language. Many of us use multiple programming languages. The more experience you have, the more programming languages you use. The more programs you write or work with, the chances of using more languages rise. The larger the company, the more languages you’re likely to use.

There are a number of ways to measure the popularity of a programming language, for example, based on the number of: 1) new applications written in the language; 2) existing applications written in the language; 3) developers that use the language primarily; 4) developers that use the language ever; 5) web searches; 6) available jobs that require skills in the language; 7) developers’ favorites, etc.

My survey attempts to rank which programming languages are most popular in Sweden, each using a different measure. So, they are the following:

1) Python

Python is an object-oriented programming language which allows developers to work quickly while integrating their systems more efficiently and effectively. Designed by Guido van Rossum in 1991, Python is one of the most easy to use programming languages.

Python is characterized by its use of indentation for readability, and its encouragement for elegant code by making developers do similar things in similar ways.

Top Employers: Amazon, Dell, Google, eBay, Instagram, Yahoo

2) Java

Java is a class-based, object-oriented programming language founded by Sun Microsystems in 1995. Java is one of the most in-demand programming languages today for many reasons. First of all, it is a well-organized language with a strong library of reusable software components. Secondly, programs written in Java can run on many different computer architectures and operating systems because of the use of the JVM (Java virtual machine).

Top Employers: Amazon, Deloitte, Sun, eBay, Symantec Corporation, Cisco Systems, Samsung

3) C++

C++ is a compiled, multi-paradigm language written as an update to C in 1979 by Bjarne Stroustrup.

Due to its high-level compatibility and object-orientation, C++ is used for developing a wide-range of applications and games which makes it a popular and sought after programming language by the employers.

Top Employers: Intel, the Math Works, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Amazon, Mozilla, Adobe, Volvo

4) Ruby

Ruby is an open source, dynamic programming language designed by Yukihiro Matsumoto in 1995 with a key focus on productivity and simplicity .It is one of the most object-oriented languages in the world.

Ruby is a mix of elegant syntax which is easy to read and write and hence it has attracted many organizations and developers.

Top Employers: Spokes, VMware, Accenture, Cap Gemini, Siemens, BBC, NASA

5) JavaScript

JavaScript is an object-oriented scripting language founded in 1995 by Netscape.

Being a client-side language, it runs in the web browser on the client-side with a simplified set of commands, easier code and no need for compilation.  JavaScript is simple to learn and it is used in millions of web pages to authenticate forms, detect browsers and improve design.

Top Employers: Microsoft, Sales Force, IBM, Yahoo, Dell

6) C#

C# is a compiled, object-oriented language developed by Microsoft.

It is highly used on Windows platform and labelled as the premium language for Microsoft .NET framework. C# is known for strong typing, procedural and functional programming discipline which is the reason it has acquired so much popularity.

Top Employers: Microsoft, HP, Digi-Key Corporation, Allscripts, Intel

Those are the top 6 programming languages which are in great demand among Swedish developers.

And one more thing: remember that opinions are like noses, everyone has one and they all smell ;) If you disagree, please feel free to email me or write your own opinions in the comments.

Katerina Kviatkovskaya

Katerina Kviatkovskaya
Kate.Kviatkovskaya@altabel.com
Skype ID: kate.kviatkovskaya
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

My previous article was dedicated to promotion of the applications on the AppStore but in this one I would like to focus on the Android application promotion. So you are welcome to read my article and to find some useful tips in these regards.:)

It is known fact that nowadays Android becomes more and more popular and there are a lot of individual apps uploaded to the Google Play every day. Thank is why it is also crucially important to take all the possible variants to promote your application and make it worth to be downloaded. Below I’m sharing some of the working tips which you can utilize and create a buzz about your latest app developed by you.

- First of all you before you submit your Android app to the market, you should not to forget that the application has to be fully complete and should have a good interface. It is not a good idea of submitting a partial app. Submitting a partial app will lower your users ratings and will blow your plan permanently. Also it is known that google’s play market algorithm will take your app higher if the users rate well in the initial stage. That’s one of the tricks to improve your download count.

- App stores: Submitting your app to several app stores is an easy free way to make the application more visible. The first stop should be made on Google Play. You could submit it to GetJar and Amazon Android Market places as well. But I would like to note that Google Market + Amazon take a revenue share of money you make from either selling your app or from any in app purchases (IAP) that are made through their billing solutions which is the trade-off for exposure. Getjar only accepts free apps and allows you to implement your own billing solutions if you use IAP.

- Get an eye-catching icon: Make sure that you have an attractive and eye-catching app icon that best represents and sells your application to the user. Poor icons blows you app to the bottom and will indicate an unfinished or poorly made app. Optimize and beautify your icons.

- Launch the free “Lite” version of the application. The free apps gets the user base and then it will tend the user in buying add-ons or the full version if he likes it. Or you can simply launch a free app with ad and promote an add free with some advance feature in your premium version. You can also consider launching your app for free for first 2 weeks to increase the user base and later on you can upgrade the price.

- Promoting through reviews: before someone would like to download your application you should take care of its promotion. So the best method to market your app from my experience is through content and reviews. You can have reviews in the form of small description about your app, ratings of the apps, review date. This will help people to know about your android app.

- Video marketing: The video marketing is important tool for internet advertising. We can explain the features of our apps by creating videos. The videos can be placed on various websites to attract the audience. This can serve as great tool for promotion of android apps. So you can make a couple of YouTube videos showing how the app would look like and how people can use it. Also try to make the video using a better clarity and understanding which is also worth sharing.

-Use of Social media, Forums & Blog posting: We can use various social websites such as FaceBook, twitter, linked-In, You-tube for promotion of android apps. We can participate in the forums & blog posting for the marketing of the android apps. It will help to share the information about your apps. You may also sent emails to any bloggers for review of your app, make sure that you also send them your video link. This will help a blogger to understand your product better and will help them to write better app reviews.

These are some ways to promote an Android application that just came to my mindJ. Please feel free to add any variants you’ve had a chance to try and they worked well for you and what is more important that they were effective.

Natalia Kononchuk

Natalia Kononchuk
Natalia.Kononchuk@altabel.com
Skype ID: natalia_kononchuk
Senior Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Google is pregnant again?

Perhaps you have heard this statement. Also you could hear that the “baby” has been created to substitute Java… and number of similar statements… But What is NOOP?!
Some people are reporting it to be Google new language, which is not quite technically correct. Noop is being developed by a group of independent developers as a side project, a few of which happen to work at Google.
Noop is built on the Java Virtual Machine and is syntactically similar to Java. What it adds, though, is dependency injection and testability functionality built directly into the language…

What is the status of NOOP?

Development on the language is still at an early phase, but many hope that they release something to the public in the near future. There is no binary to download, although, the source code is available from their online repository.

Why this language?

The experience shows that developers often create code that’s hard to test and maintain, without realizing this. On a large software project, this can create problems later on for the whole team. While analyzing this problem, it was found that the root cause in many cases was language features – like globally visible state, misused subclassing, obligatory and redundant boilerplate, and API’s that are easily misused. The language seeks to apply the wealth of lessons of language development over the past 20 years and optimize on cleanliness, testability, ease-of-modification, and readability.

Also we should consider the following factors why to choose/try this language:
1) Dependency Injection changed the way we write software. Spring overtook EJB’s in thoughtful enterprises, and Guice and PicoContainer are an important part of many well-written applications today.

2) Automated testing, especially Unit Testing, is also a crucial part of building reliable software that you can feel confident about supporting and changing over its lifetime. Any decent software shop should be writing some tests, the best ones are test-driven and have good code coverage.

3) Immutability and minimal variable scope are encouraged by making final/const behavior the default and providing easy access to a functional style. Testability is encouraged by providing Dependency Injection at the language level and a compact constructor injection syntax.

In conclusion I would like to notice that this language experiment attempts to blend the best lessons of languages old and new and syntactically encourages what we believe to be good coding practices. However only time will tell whether it will last or merely be another fad language which the programming world is littered with. In any case this language might be worth taking a look at… ;-)

Thank you for your attention and you are welcome with your comments!

Best regards,
Elvira Golyak
Altabel Group – professional software development

There are many opinions about Google’s new privacy policy among bloggers, journalists and friends. After studying all of them I have some questions left: Is Google’s new strategy of replacing separate policies for each application with one shorter policy — one which allows them to share our data across all those applications with no way to opt out short of pulling out of Google’s ecosystem completely — simply a matter of adding user (and vendor) convenience, or a gross violation of our privacy? And if the latter, is it so egregious that those of us who are invested in that ecosystem should consider pulling out?

This last option — which is currently the only one available to those who truly object to Google’s new policy — could be very difficult, especially for Android users. And most especially for those who have recently invested in Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus Smartphone, which is pretty much useless outside of the Google net verse.
I must admit, the idea of being completely unable to opt out of specific privacy issues has me very troubled. My immediate reaction is to read Google’s policies, check out some of the more knowledgeable commentators on the subject, and if I find that I do agree with those privacy activists who believe that Google has stepped too far over the line, to join those hoping to pressure the company to alter its new policy.

Google’s new Privacy Policy will go into effect on March 1, 2012. It specifies what information Google collects, how it uses that information, the control users have over their information, accessing and updating personal information, and which information Google will share. The only applications that will not be part of this policy are Chrome and Chrome OS, Books and Wallet.

Google Terms of Service, which will also go into effect on March 1, 2012, includes the clause “Google’s privacy policies explain how we treat your personal data and protect your privacy when you use our Services. By using our Services, you agree that Google can use such data in accordance with our privacy policies.” There is a general explanation of Google’s policies and principles. The latter states explicitly, “If you continue to use Google services after March 1, you’ll be doing so under the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.”

Google’s applications and products have become an important resource for a large number of people. Their new policy has just been announced, and has over a month to be put into effect. Things can go several ways at this point: Google could simply stick to its guns and hope that the resulting fallout will only be a bit of bad publicity and a relatively few lost users. But if enough Google users become uneasy, Google could back off (the way Facebook has several times over the last few years), at least in it’s “all or nothing” opt-out policy. It will be interesting to watch.

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Microsoft might have sold hundreds of millions of Windows 7 licenses, and Apple might be managing to persuade tens of millions of people to buy iOS-powered devices every quarter, but the real winner when it comes to operating systems in 2011 as been Android, Google’s mobile operating system.

Based on the Linux kernel, Android is a wildly successful platform. By November of this year some 200 million Android powered devices were in use. If that sounds impressive, consider that this number is growing by some 550,000 daily (or 3.85 million a week, 16.5 million a month). Also, last quarter Apple sold 17 million iPhones and 11 million iPads over the three month period.

Despite Google not charging handset makers a dime for Android, the mobile platform is a huge money spinner for the company. Android pulled in some $2.5 billion for Google during its last financial year (all from ads), and this number is set to double during this financial year. As the number of Android devices out in the wild increase (and the number of eyeballs looking at the ads increase), then this figure will keep on growing.

Then there are the 10 billion app downloads. That’s a staggering number, and at the equivalent point in the Apple App Store’s life cycle, it had only managed around half this number of download. What’s more impressive is realizing that Google only broke the 3 billion mark back in March of this year, so that’s 7 billion in around 8 months (it took Google 20 months to hit the billion download mark in July 2010).
There may be issues that Google need to address when it comes to Android, but we can’t allow this to take away from the successes achieved by the mobile platform. Apple might be grabbing the limelight with iOS and the iDevices it is installed on, but Android is the platform for the masses.
Android is, without a doubt, the most successful Linux distro out there. And it’s only going to go from strength to strength come 2012.

Reed more at http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hardware/2011-the-year-of-the-android-os/17021

Kind Regards,
Natalia Kononchuk
Natalia.kononchuk@altabel.com
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development