what google brillo means for healthcare IT

today google announced brillo, their IoT operating system based on android and it’s matching communicating protocol. brillo will be  live later this year and so will weave, the communication protocol. google is now making moves to join apple and microsoft, a timely move.

brillo and weave will work well on light weight devices, like cameras, door locks, etc. essentially home devices. in the growing market of health related devices and monitors, this announcement means another stride in that direction, in the shape of affordable scales, wearables, remote monitoring, telehealth and other means to collect specific and relevant information from patients where they are.

with small computers scaling up, a low memory foot print we should expect a wave of innovation when it comes to healthcare related products.

Google music – with hopes for innovation

Google’s new advent move into the world of streaming music is exciting. Well, not quite yet… but the idea of some innovation around music delivery (and maybe discovery) can POTENTIALLY be exciting.

What are we looking at here? As most things go – we are looking at Apple delivering over 1M songs per day (do the math) directly into iPod/iPhone etc. Apple also just relieves Ping, their brand new, let’s live inside iTunes social networks that spirals around music (great niche if you ask me).

What can google do that’s creative, innovative and will convince people to use their service and BUY music (at some form) from them? First, is a platform that is built for android based phones where you can interact with your media (discover, stream, share and sync). Second is pricing. Beating Apple’s pricing is tricky and I am not convinced it will be done – there is a better battle ground on platforms. over 200K android based phones are being activated every single day – more than enough for Google to capture a nice market share. Couple this with the advent of Google TV where you will be able to stream your music from droid to the TV, snyc em all over the net, and you have a really tight, head-to-head competition between Google and Apple that will benefit us all.

How can Google make this service better? One answer lies across the pond where a company named Spotify is making big moves and capturing the imagination and pockets of the audience. Spotify is a brilliant combination between iTunes and Pandora. With Spotify you can the choose any song you want to play and it will stream right to the Spotify player. Pretty neat right? With Pandora you can create a playlist based on a song, which will, eventually, be played down the play list. Spotify is instant gratification without the need to pay.

It is says that Spotify has been trying to make a move into the US, but had hit some walls, and/or is working diligently to negotiate the terms and fees and bla bla… long-short, no iphone based spotify nor desktop in the US as of yet.

I hope to hear great news from Goolge in regards to this up and coming service. One way to make it kick ass is add a new layer of interactivity. Think of what MTV did back in the 80s when they added the video to the music. Companies like Lucid Technologies, with their product KOI are doing the same thing, allowing musicians to interact with the songs as musicians and not only listeners.

Why Apple TV and Ping will fail

Major snore from Apple in my opinion. I think that the event itself, and the fact it was streamed to Mac machines and Safari browsers only is THE reason why Apple had failed and will continue to fail (in my eyes) with the latest announcements. I am talking about a close eco system and spoon fed experience.

Apple failed with the TV expenditure. Steve did not show us numbers, but clearly it was a failure. The big changes were sizing, pricing of shows and streaming, as opposed to storing. Is that what the users really want? To a certain degree, yes. Users do not want to worry about storage, they want to pay less for a device and for content. Apple did deliver on this, but it will not be enough, I believe, to be a killer device like the iPhone, and take over the living room with a storm. WHY? Because of the closed eco system and spoon fed experience.

Apple did a great job in educating the users and providing a great user experience across the board. I argue that user experience is what Apple is really selling and why people are using it. Coupled with the motivation to challenge and innovate, and you have a winning strategy.

This does not and will not work for the TV because only Apple fanboys will forget everything they know, and start a fresh with Apple TV, and forget all they know and do with their many years of habit. The TV is one area where users do not want to get the Apple filter applied to. Users don’t mind it with their iPod shuffle. They don’t mind it with their Mac OSX based machines, and to a certain degree they agree to it with their iPhone (mainly because Android did not step up it’s UX game to be considered a worthy competitor. yet).

Apple will gain a small market share and will have to come up with something much better than that to capture the imagination of the bigger market. I believe that can be done by turning the Apple TV into a real entertainment center to compete head to head with the Sony PlayStation and the Nintendo Wii as a console, introducing the iOS appStore for the TV. That can be killer. But even that is not enough. An Apple TV can only be better than, let’s say, a Mac Mini hooked up to a TV, if it is open. By open I mean I can do whatever I want to do, as opposed to whatever Jobs wants me to do (buy his content that he chose for me).

Examples for this behavior are ample and sad. Apple removed Camera+ from the AppStore recently because TapX3 released a hack which allows you to fire up the camera from the volume button. Apple initially declined the feature, claiming it will confuse people. So Apple is stepping up to the plate as our parents (more like a big brother), deciding what is confusing for us. Clearly, releasing the shutter speed in an ergonomic way may confuse us. I feel over estimated, and I do not think it is for Apple to decide for me what’s confusing and what’s not.

Apple’s attempt at social media is probably the most interesting news to date from that event. A social network around music, which is mutually exclusive from Facebook. Did I snore yet again? While I do believe this is a GREAT idea and a fantastic opportunity for Apple to increase sales on iTunes – the segregation is peculiar. Even worse – who wants to live inside iTunes? Though revolutionary, iTunes is hate by many. Looks and feels old and clunky. Navigating through your music sucks and discovery with genius is, well, boring…

Apple’s notion that people will have iTunes open to see what their friends are listening to is optimistic at best. Not web based, not facebook integration. Only one hope – it integrates with iTunes on your mobile device. I cannot imagine myself opening up iTunes when I want to listen to some music, and getting up to speed with what’s going on with my music buddies.

Apple can definitely relax a little. Let go of the grip and think of a more open way to provide users what they do best. Or not. My personal opinion is that they will not do that, and continue to thrive with a small market share that pays hefty sums to be a part of the cult.

apple’s tow stepping should make you happy

man what a couple of weeks we had in the tech world… since the day the ipad was launched, up until the unveiling of the iphone OS 4G, through the new and impressive CS5 by adobe, the plethora of slate devices about hit the market at low prices, with windows 7 going mobile and android making it to tv sets… man.. what a couple of weeks we had in the tech world. not to mention barcelona’s victory over arsenal with 4 goals by messi… 🙂

did i forget something? let me think for a second… anything else ground breaking that is worth talking (besides the 100 pages one car write about all listed above?)…. mmmm…. ah yes!! iAd. the new ad delivery service by apple.

seems like apple is right there at vertical integration, from processor to content – full control with an iron fist.

apple was able to piss off way to many people and companies in the last couple of weeks. here is a quick list in case you had missed it:

– iphone OS 4G will not allow cross-compiling apps. this is a big middle finger to both adobe and microsoft and a huge disappointment for their massive developer community. every developer and their sister were dreaming of loading up their flash app in cs5, clicking a few buttons and submitting their app to the appStore. apple says no-no-no.

i can’t really blame apple here.. honestly… flash is as closed a system as the iphone. adobe control and monetize that market for years. now that apple is turning a cold shoulder adobe is pissed? flash can kill the appStore, with infinite amount of games and utilities. the number of developers for flash is significantly larger than cocoa touch…

so what should adobe do? simple. push flash on other platform like windows7 and android. maybe think about developing their own device (i am not sure it is a good idea). everyone wants to take a piece of the pie when it comes to the emerging market of app stores. heck, that market is projected to grow exponentially the next 5 years and top 20 billion downloads in 2012.. who does not want a slice of the pie?

apple is being apple. closed system, total control – an iron fist. today i’ve learned apple is using undocumented web app tools in the ipad user guides (http://www.tuaw.com/2010/04/09/adlib-apples-secret-web-app-weapon/). maybe we will hear about those libraries soon. maybe we won’t. apple is definitely holding all the cards.

BTW, apple’s supposed response to the anti-cross-compiling issue is multi taksing (http://www.tuaw.com/2010/04/09/apple-blocking-flash-built-apps-because-of-multitasking/). essentially apple may argue that wrapping non native code will prohibit multi tasking and the like on the 4G version of the OS…

in my mind this is the time for android to shine. google – get your act together and hire some UX experts. the nexus one feels like a geeky toy next to the iphone. did you not learn that the user experience is KEY? seriously… how do u enter a market with a smart phone that does pretty much all the iphone does, at the same price point with an inferior interface? adoption of the device will take longer than expected. change the UI, make it attractive – and u will win in the long run.

the good news is that apple will not take over the world. this is not microsoft nor google. they are here to take a little slice of heaven – an expensive piece of real estate. in the long run HTML5 will win and the web will triumph and bla bla bla…

a good move by apple is iAd. google is reporting a 30% growth in mobile search. no doubt the market is booming and more people have smart phones than laptops. the desktop is seriously sick and will die soon. why does google continue to push text ads in mobile devices? who is interested in contextual ads when reading a feed? no one! with 90 something percent of revenues streams from ads, google had no other choice but to go head to head with apple. those who control the medium – control the market. it is the device you use to access the internet that matters. the screen size, the operating system, the API’s and abilities to uniquely add advertisement.

google is in a tight spot, just like adobe, only google has much more to loose. i mentioned in a previous post that google should manufacture their own hardware – which they are doing now. but the only difference is the price point is the same. what is your competitive edge? only time will tell.

with apple pissing off everyone, we – the consumers, can relax and be happy. this competition will drive prices down, introduce new and exciting applications and innovation, will allow the eco system to grow globally, investors will start taking more risks, and the supply for smart phones and slates will rise while prices drop. a sure winner if you ask me.

as the google moto goes, and now it may be a good time to apply to to apple: apple – don’t be evil!

Confirmed: Google has Acquired Aardvark

Why aardvark? u guys had something great going on here.. selling out so soon, with so much potential to make you much richer than the $50M google gave u… just like smule who had a fantastic head start with the ocarina and other apps.. they raised $3.9M dollars thereafter. the aardvark community grew strongly quickly and created a niche that no other search engine does nor did. real time answering from real people. sure, u have yahoo answers et tal.. in those u hope that someone knowledgeable will pick up the glove and provide you with the info you need. by using vark, u can get good answers in minutes, and the more you ask, the more the system learns about how to route the question to the right person and figure out which answer was a good one. there was an attempt at the beginning of the interent revolution. at the time i was at my 2nd year in college studying computer scient. one of our teachers started a small venture where people answer each other’s questions. the implementation was not at it’s best, but it kinda worked. after two years of operations the money had run out and the creative ideas of how to make money dried as well, so they shut it down (for the life of me, i cannot remember the name of that company). what vark is doing differently is several things. one, it uses jabber/xmmp protocol to be present right there alongside gmail contacts with google talk, or any aggregator (like adium) that supports this open source protocol. the heart of the system is the algorithms to analyze a given question, suggest the right tag (ie topic) and route it to whoever is a good authority in the field (usually more than one person). those people are online (naturally) and can either pass or answer. you can then continue discussing the issue with them, rank it as a good answer or flag it as an inappropriate one. if u did not get the answer you want, you can resubmit it, change the tags and hope for the best. i started testing aardvark since the day it launched it’s beta and later on the iphone app. at the beginning there were not many users, and not so many questions to answer, but quite slowly, over a period of two months it was working really well. best case scenario, i got a solid answer in less than a minute. nothing i could do with google or any other search engine. the social aspect is interesting as well. people love giving answers to what they know about. there is an innate desire in humans to help each other out… u may say it is an ego thing (and to some extent u are probably right), however, people get our of their way to provide answers sometimes, doing basic research, giving good links and more. so why is google buying aardvark? good question. two answers: one, the small team of aardvark are ex google employees with top notch management with yale and stanford grads. these are serious people with the creativity and leadership ability to makes things work. they understand google and it’s weaknesses and have found a way to monetize. two, real time person to person (rtp2p) search does not exist. and the aardvark team has shown us that it can be done, and done well. so where is the money? meaning… how does the aardvark makes it’s profit. good question again. and the answer is simple: just like google’s adwords, the aardvark places results that are paid for. for example, let’s say someone is asking the community if they can recommend or know a computer technician in the upper west side of manhaatan. some people will respond giving their input, but this question can be routed directly into a paying customer, who wants to be notified immediately when someone is looking for a technician in the metropolitan area. long short – a lead engine. i have answered several questions and provided links to products on amazon, using my amazon referral id, so why not others in a streamlined maner, where the vark directs all of those potential leads to the user. aardvark also plants automatic answers. i was questioned by the devel team about the quality of that feature a couple of months back, when i was looking for someone to build a loft bed in my studio. i got an answer from service magic, a well known lead generator for all type of construction work. if haven’t tried aardvark u definitely should. they are at http://vark.com, they have a free iphone app and they can be added to your fav jabber client as aardvark@g1.vark.com. Confirmed: Google has Acquired Aardvark.