Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, January 07, 2021

Amid the far-reaching announcements this week about Google’s new video services and other media-convergent wares, the release of Google Pack, a suite of (mostly) Web-centric applications, merits the most attention.

Aside from the immediate gee-whiz factor of having Google provide a quick-and-easy download depository of 13 programs (customizable to user preferences), I see two distinct tactical actions here that could lead to broader strategic moves:

- The decision to include Mozilla Firefox in Pack’s suite could be the sort of boost that the browser needs to become even close to ubiquitous. Right now, the trumpeting about how much market share Firefox has been gaining at Internet Explorer’s expense overlooks the reality of the situation: Microsoft still dominates the browser market, especially among mainstream (non-techie) consumers. What’s more, that will continue, because IE has an overwhelming advantage in being bundled within the Windows OS. It’s a situation where the average non-intensive enduser never seeks out an alternative to browsing, because there’s no awareness that there even is an alternative (a good chunk of casual users equate that blue “e” icon with “the Internet”, and have no compelling reason — security flaws notwithstanding — to even think another gateway even exists).

I still think that’s an insurmountable edge for IE, but now there’s a counter-bundle for Firefox in Google Pack. By delivering the alternative browser as part of a friendly, Google-branded collection of Internet helpers — something Google’s already trailblazed with Google Toolbar and other apps — it introduces and familiarizes the notion of another gateway application for Web surfing for the average person. It could be the right delivery channel for truly spreading Firefox, although I’m not sure it really challenges the OS/desktop presence. Which leads to…

- Google Pack looks less like a Windows helper and more like a start-you-up OS software suite. Suddenly, the rumors of a Google-produced bare-bones PC (since discredited) don’t sound so far-fetched. I can see Pack being a trial balloon. If it develops a large user base among Windows and Mac users, trackable by user updates, that would be enough to convince Google to go ahead and release its own PC hardware. The boxes would come running nothing but a Linux OS, and a direct Internet connection to Google Pack for making the thing actually useful.

The big thing missing right now is an Office-like suite of programs. Even casual users need a word processing program, and probably a little more. Sun’s OpenOffice is an obvious candidate, but it’s curious that it’s not already in there. If Sun doesn’t want to partner with Google, and Google doesn’t want to commit resources to developing its own programs in this space (and it probably shouldn’t, as they’re very support-intensive), it would leave a huge hole.

Google’s moves throughout the rest of the year should be interesting. Google Pack might be the one area worth monitoring for a general barometer of the company’s performance.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sat 01/07/2021 04:10:05 PM
Category: Internet, Tech, Business | Permalink | Feedback (4)

I’m wondering what a typical iTunes Music Store customer spends in an average week/month/year.

Some people keep track themselves, but I’d rather see something coming directly from Apple. An end-of-year report detailing how much consumers spend, when they make purchases (times of year, times of day, etc.; I’d assume weekends and holidays get most play, and workday hours are probably less robust), what categories are most popular, and all that.

For all I know, Apple already regularly makes this public. But I can’t recall seeing it, at least not since iTunes’ start-up period, when the company announced only milestones like their one-millionth song sold and such. I’d think sales report profiles would be easy enough to compile, and make for great ongoing marketing copy.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sat 01/07/2021 02:40:32 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Pop Culture, Tech | Permalink | Feedback (4)