This Week in Google 272 (Transcript)
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWIG, This Week in Google! Jeff and Gina are here. We're gonna take a look at a brand new e-mail program for your mobile and web from Google. A replacement for Gmail? Possibly. Twitter takes a pivot with its new developer platform; we'll talk about that. And Jeff finally understands why what's App is worth 22 billion dollars. It's all coming up next on TWIG.
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Leo: This is TWIG: This Week in Google, episode 272, recorded October 22, 2014.
Check Your Inbox
This Week in Google is brought to you by hover.com. Hover is the best way to buy and manage domain names. It's simple. It's honest. It's easy to use. For 10% off your next purchase, go to hover.com and enter the promo code TWIG10. And by SmartThings: the easiest way to create a smart home. SmartThings lets you control your home using your Smartphone from anywhere. For 10% off any home security or Solution Kit, visit smartthings.com/twit and use the code TWIT10. And by shutterstock.com. With over 42 million high quality stock photos, illustrations, vectors, and video clips, Shutterstock helps you take your creative projects to the next level. For 20% off image subscription packages on your new account go to shutterstock.com and use the offer code TWIG1014. It's time for TWIG: This Week in Google. A show not just about Google but about the Cloud, Facebook, Twitter, anything we really want to talk about including New Media, that's partly because we've got this guy over here. Jeff Jarvis, professor of journalism at the City University of New York, turning young minds onto the possibilities that remain in the tattered wreck that is journalism.
Jeff Jarvis: Corrupting them.
Leo: Great to have you, Jeff. Also here, founding editor of Lifehacker, programmer, developer, host of All About Android, and the creator of ThinkUp, Gina Trapani.
Gina Trapani: Hello!
Leo: Hi Gina!
Gina: Good to see you.
Leo: Gina did a Mitzvah, Jeff.
Jeff: She did indeed. She did a couple of Mitzvahs. What's the plural of Mitzvah?
Leo: Mitsvi? Mitsuvishis? It's a Mitsuvishi.
Leo: She sent us invites to a new Google service that I think is kind of on the order of Gmail when it first came out in terms of people wanting it. It's called Inbox, and it's—they say a marriage of Gmail and Google Now.
Gina: Just to be clear, before I start getting a barrage of e-mails, I do not issue the invites.
Gina: OK. I just happen to have—
Leo: You happen to have one.
Gina: A few Googlers who follow me on twitter, I asked, they sent exactly three. So I sent them to my co-hosts.
Leo: Thank you, Gina.
Gina: I don't have invites.
Leo: So it's a really hard to know exactly what this. And by the way, you can go to google.com/inbox and request an invite. That's where you should go.
Jeff: And soon. You don't know when it'll open up.
Leo: Yeah. When did—Well maybe. I don't know. When did Gmail, remember when Gmail was invite only for some time.
Jeff: That was an earlier Google.
Leo: So what is this? And why should we want it.
Jeff: Explain it to us, Lucy.
Leo: Yeah, because both Jeff and I have it, but we don't know what the hell to do with it.
Gina: I'm also kind of trying to figure out what this is. I've only had it for an hour or so and I'm still kind of confused by it. But in short, it's a new, updated client for Gmail, which exists on Android iOS and the web and inbox.google.com and it adds features to, it's kind of like Gmail supercharge. It's got a little Google Now action where you could say, set a reminder and remind me about this e-mail in two days. It's got some, you know, snooze this, mark this as done, it bundles different types of e-mails. Similar to the way priority inbox groups e-mails, by subject. It's all material design. It's all kind of a new take on—it's got lots of different cool interactions. But I'm still figuring it out. I'll be really honest. I haven't quite got my head around this.
Leo: it reminds me a little bit of Mailbox, which is an app we've talked about. First came out on iOS then Macintosh, and I think there's Android versions now. Same idea. In fact, Mailbox really opened people's eyes to a new way of handling mail. You swipe left or right, mailbox has four different states. You could swipe all the way to the left to delete it, sort it the way to the left to archive it all. All the way to the right to make it—snooze it. This has those features in it, but as you pointed out, it also incorporates those new categories that were introduced in Gmail a while ago. Promos, but they have new ones too. They called these bundles, so there's purchases, Promos. Promos are, you know, basically stuff you agreed to sign up for but don't really want to read. Purchases are actually what you want. Nowadays, especially with Google Wallet and Apple Pay, Purchases will collate all of the receipts into one package. Your orders too. There's travel. I'm about to travel. It would be kind of nice to have you know, all of the e-mails associated with my flight, my rental car, my hotel in one folder called travel.
Jeff: And again, it's not just that you have the e-mail in one spot, it's that the preview and the list in the loan tells you what you need to know.
Leo: Right. Right. So here's a Virgin America reservation on their sample page, and there's a link that says, "check in." So yeah.
Gina: What's the URL on the page we're looking at there?
Leo: This is google.com/inbox.
Leo: This is their preview page. And you can create your own bundle. So I would create, for instance, a TWIT bundle for e-mails from the twit.tv domain. There's, I see they have book club, weekend woohoo, ski buddies, as samples. So your bundles could be added to the list of bundles. So bundles are essentially e-mail filters. In fact the setup is very much like setting up an e-mail filter.
Leo: So it's little bits of pieces through
Jeff: Can you do a "never show me this again" bundle?
Leo: Yes. Yes you could, I presume. But it's very easy—
Jeff: You can add to do's.
Leo: But it's very easy to get rid of stuff by swiping it off. Swipe it one way, it gets rid of it, swipe it the other way it "snoozes it."
Jeff: So you swipe it the one way, that's telling Google I don't care about this, you swipe it the other way, that's telling Google "yes, I care about this."
Leo: Kind of sort of. Well, it's telling Google "Remind me about this later.
Gina: Remind me about this later. I don't care if it's right now.
Jeff: Because the problem is, because here's an issue I can imagine for Google. Because you can now see the essence of the e-mail in the preview, you might swipe it off, you might say "Thank you, great! I found everything I needed. It was very important to me." And swipe it off. Or you could say "Ugh. I hate this. I don't want this. I don't care. Please don't prioritize this in the future, Google." And swipe it off. If the same action is the same signal, I don't know how they're going to prioritize well. But they'll figure it out.
Leo: It's interesting.
Gina: Yeah. This is pretty interesting.
Leo: If you do it on the web, by the way, obviously it's not a touch screen, so swiping isn't available.
Jeff: Unless you have a Chromebook Pixel.
Leo: Well I'm curious. Because if it knows that you have touch because
Jeff: I'll go home and I'll find that out.
Leo: On my desktop, I don't have touch, but I have buttons for Pin, we didn't mention Pin. Pin is another category, what you could do to triage your e-mail is pin everything you want to save and then there's a sweet button, Microsoft invented this for Outlook Mail that will sweep unpinned items off as done. So the, I think the idea is somewhat like the triage capabilities of Mailbox where you're going toward inbox zero. You're very quickly dealing with everything. Either get rid of it, do something about it, postpone it, or pin it. And then you sweep everything else away.
Jeff: But you see that's not been my behavior. Google taught me not to do that. Google taught me to just leave it and it'll go out below.
Leo: Well it doesn't—Sweeping it doesn't get rid of it, it just puts it in—
Jeff: Well most of my e-mail I don't even do anything to. I say, "OK, I don't care."
Leo: If you look at my e-mail, I have like 30,000 unread e-mails.
Jeff: And by the way, on my wonderful pixel, the sweeping of an individual item doesn't work.
Leo: Yeah. You have to still use those buttons.
Gina: Dang. I was hoping the web based material design would be touch sensitive. That's interesting. OK.
Leo: Anything you mark done is stored in a "done" folder. So "done" just means "I'm done with this one."
Gina: Is that an alias to archive? It must be.
Leo: Well this is the other question. What happen to your normal Gmail? Are you affecting Gmail itself? I should look.
Gina: You've got to be, right?
Leo: Yeah. You are.
Gina: Yeah. Anything you mark done is simply stored here. E-mails you previously archived are here too.
Leo: So it's added, has it added—let me look.
Gina: So it's archive.
Leo: It is archive. Because I don't see new boxes with the labels that they talk about. Oh maybe they do, because I see—yeah they do. So you'll also see, if you've turned on categorization in the e-mail inbox on Gmail, you'll also see those categories there. And I presume if I had another bundle, I will see that category too. So bundles equal labels. In Google speak.
Gina: They behave slightly differently right?
Jeff: Yeah, I was going to say.
Gina: It seems like they'll group.
Leo: I can't put bundles I create in the categories list. They now become the new label, so bundles I create are really just labels. The bundles Google's created are more categories. They go in the categories section.
Gina: Right. They seem to group similar e-mails in a way even beyond just conversation threads.
Leo: Right. I like that. I mean Google does—I think, as I remember, Jeff, you did not turn on categories in your Gmail. You didn't like that.
Jeff: I didn't.
Leo: The automatic thing.
Gina: And this got, I wish I could show you guys this. It's got some Google Now action going on, so I'm checking in on a Virgin America flight tomorrow. So I have my Virgin America "it's time to check in" e-mail, and I've got the flight number. It looked very Google nowish. It expands down the flight number, the link to check in, New York, San Francisco. It knows that the e-mail—
Jeff: So the key to this is to me that preview is that you don't need to open, you'll have to open e-mail a lot less of the time.
Leo: Well, what you do is you open Inbox instead of the e-mail. An Inbox kind of is e-mail.
Jeff: That's what I'm saying.
Leo: Yeah. I'll make a commitment to use this for the next week.
Gina: I can't do it. I don't use my vanilla Gmail account as my—it doesn't open Apps.
Jeff: Yeah. I'll use this for my account I never use. GOOGLE! You keep promising you're going to fix this and you don't. I love you guys, but really. Really, come on.
Leo: This doesn't—Are you saying this doesn't work with your Apps account?
Gina: Right, not yet.
Jeff: It was even worse than that, Leo. Gina nicely sent the invite to me to my Apps account. I opened it up and it says, "Sorry, sucker." So she had to send it to my Gmail account for it to work.
Gina: Yeah. It actually detected whether it was in your Gmail inbox. Just couldn't—you know. They could do that, right?
Jeff: Let me just say. Because I went and talked to the work people. Those people are paying for Apps now. They're paying for app’s functionality. To make apps people second class citizens, not the best thing, Google. Not the smartest thing.
Leo: I have to say, I have some trepidation about completely trusting this.
Jeff: Leo, we all said the same thing when Priority Inbox came out, and it has not failed me.
Leo: You're still using that. See, I don't use Priority anymore, because I moved to the next thing Google invented, called "Categories." Scategories.
Leo: Well I don't have a Priority inbox. I have a primary inbox. Same idea though. And that's been reliable, so in a way, having got used to the idea that promotional stuff is in one tab and updates are in another tab, I am perhaps more likely to use Inbox. I'm glad they keep trying.
Gina: Priority inbox just means I ignore more people without guilt. Which I guess is a nice thing.
Leo: This is part of the problem. It's that e-mail is so broken that everybody's trying to figure out a way to fix it.
Jeff: Well you can’t fix e-mail as is. You can't add on to the existing infrastructure. It's not going to work.
Leo: And that's what this is, I'm sorry to say.
Jeff: Oh yeah. It has to be. But you've got to totally create an entirely new e-mail infrastructure and ecosystem.
Jeff: That's the kind of ambition Google could have.
Leo: The other problem I have is that you and I, Jeff, we don't do much with our e-mail. We just have massive 14,838 unread e-mails in my inbox.
Jeff: You especially. Because the world e-mails you.
Leo: Well, I get a lot of e-mail. But this is really about inbox zero. It only makes sense if I sweep it every day.
Jeff: No. Because I think those previews are key to this.
Leo: I mean I could scroll forever. I have all this stuff from previous days. Maybe I should just sweep that out of the way. The problem is, doesn't it do that on my Gmail? But now it's in the done. I don't know.
Jeff: I disagree. It's not going to get you to Gmail. You can sweep stuff off, but you can also just let it go down the screen.
Jeff: And it has a clear demarcation from today and yesterday, which is kind of nice. It says, "If it was yesterday, you can deal with it. You can go back there, but you don't have to. It's just still there."
Leo: Yeah, because you only sweep a day's worth of mail when you sweep. Isn't that right?
Gina: Yeah. It looks that way.
Leo: So you sweep each day by itself.
Jeff: So in the rundown, under this story, I put a report, there were a couple of them, about a week of Gmail 5.0. Two days ago.
Gina: Yeah. I believe that this is a different thing.
Jeff: That's what I'm asking.
Gina: I think that Gmail 5.0 is actually an upgrade to the native default Gmail plan.
Leo: For Lollipop.
Gina: For Lollipop. Yeah.
Leo: We're seeing a lot of 5.0 versions. There is Play Store 5.0 as well. Basically Lollipopized.
Jeff: Ok. But the Gmail 5.0, according to the report, will also handle Yahoo mail.
Leo: As it should. Because doesn't the default AOSP program do that already?
Gina: Yeah. Right, so there's a default e-mail client, which is just a generic iMac, Pop, e-mail client. And then there's the Gmail app, which handles Gmail.
Leo: Just Gmail.
Gina: Just Gmail. You could always Pop or iMap or I guess just Pop to Gmail on the web, and then have that bring down, or have your e-mail forwarded. This is different. This is actually Gmail the client acting as just a straight Pop3 or iMap client.
Leo: A unified inbox, as most mail clients will do. And I think what that means is that they're going to deprecate the AOSP e-mail client, and going forward, Gmail 5.0 will be the default e-mail client in AOSP. That would be my guess.
Gina: I don't think so, because I think there's proprietary code. I don't think they're going to open source the Gmail App since there's proprietary code there.
Leo: You're right. So this is why you have to buy a Nexus 6 phone. Know what is official, what is open. But I would guess that on most Nexus phones, Gmail will be the default e-mail app. Right? I don't even know if they'll include an e-mail app. Because it will do everything the e-mail App will do. And just to make things more confusing, they've introduced a third mobile e-mail App called Inbox, just because we weren't yet baffled enough. I like Inbox though. I think I could get used to it.
Jeff: Here's the other question I'm going to have. Because I'm a chrome user on airplanes, I use offline e-mail Chrome App, which is really useful, because I can read my mail offline. And the question is, will they make this an offline App as well.
Gina: Yeah. I mean it seems like it makes sense that this would be an offline App as well, but probably not there yet. You have to install it as a chrome app, sync it, and then you get on the plane and you've got everything.
Leo: What I'd almost like to see is them turning Gmail into a true plain iMap client, because right now, it has extensions that for instance, in iMap e-mails are in exactly one folder. With Google's labels, you can have multiple labels. So there's no direct mapping of Google's Gmail organizational strategy to an iMap organizational strategy. What if Google just went to true iMap? That's been a problem for instance for Apple, in its mail app. What if Google just made Gmail and iMap standard e-mail client and then used the third, these other mobile clients and new desktop clients, as a way of doing its oddball labeling system. I think that would be good. Then we wouldn't have an on-standard iMap on the Gmail.
Jeff: But there's still back end functionality. For example, priority Inbox, that adds a lot of value. Gmail is never going to be again just a plain, vanilla, straight feed e-mail account. You can make it into that. The real value add of it is priority inbox, and the thinking that goes into the organization of your e-mail.
Leo: Because priority inbox is one of many labels a single mail can have.
Jeff: And there's a lot of thinking that goes in behind that. A lot of computing goes into that.
Leo: Well it's just filtering.
Jeff: Yeah, it's filtering, but it's very smart filtering.
Gina: Multiple labels isn't going to go away. I mean they're not incentivized to get rid of that at all. There incentivized to get more Gmail users. So their iMail implementation is a little janky, it works. Technically it works, even though one piece of mail can be several different folders. They're not actually folders, but I don't see them backing off on the multi-label feature, because I think that's one of the few things that distinguishes Gmail.
Jeff: Yeah. It's real value added. All right Gina, I've got a different question. So this is presented as an Android/iOS mobile app, but it also exists on the web. Does this indicate anything about what they're thinking about Android v. Chrome and Android v. Web in how things are being developed and what they're being developed for?
Gina: Well this web App at inbox.google.com looks very material design. It's got the floating action button.
Jeff: That's why I'm asking that, yeah.
Gina: Yeah, it's got that floating action button. It's got the transitions and the list items that kind of expand in place and the nice sliding back and forth. I think that they use Polymer to build this. Polymer is a framework that lets developers create material design-ish Apps on the Web. So yeah. I think that Google is moving totally in this direction. I think that we're going to see it on the web, I think we're going to see it on their Android Apps, I think that this material design is actually going to be—we're going to see influences of it everywhere.
Leo: I have to say, I've just been playing around with this Inbox, and it is a nice thing to be able to really quickly triage e-mail and then sweep the rest away. I just went through my whole updates folder and picked one thing that I wanted to save and then swept the rest away. That's great. Same thing with my finance folder. I can go through here. And this is all the credit card warnings and stuff, and I can just say, "got it." Sweep it away. This is good. This might really be a good solution.
Gina: I dig it.
Leo: I dig it, man.
Gina: But it is a learning curve. But I like it a lot. I want it for my Apps account. I want it for my primary e-mail.
Leo: So you can't use this with your Apps account.
Jeff: When I tried to do it, it said your organization isn't ready for this.
Leo: Yes, they are.
Jeff: Your organization wouldn't Google.
Gina: I think it's terms of service privacy issue. I think that it takes them longer, for whatever legal reasons, to opt organizations into the kind of permissions that they—
Jeff: Give them excuses. I still think they haven't figured out the damned account thing.
Gina: That's fair. Maybe.
Jeff: I love them. They do amazing work. But you know, when Gina and I were doing the e-mail back and forth, I just said: "Cue Jarvis fit."
Leo: It did say that, didn't it. Hey I've just gone through all of my—While you have been talking, gone through all of my e-mail, and swept away everything but three messages, which I pinned. I got at least daily Inbox zero.
Jeff: For ten minutes. Congratulations. Check back by the end of the show.
Leo: That was really easy. But that was great.
Gina: That certainly was the purpose of Apps like Mailbox, right? And it seems like Inbox is following in those footsteps. It's giving you an easy way to clear out your inbox.
Leo: It's very influenced by Mailbox, isn't it.
Gina: Although not everybody clears out their inbox every day.
Leo: No, I don't. That's why it's such a big deal that I did for the first time in my life. While you were talking. And it does reflect itself back in your regular Gmail interface, which is nice.
Jeff: So when you pin it, what happens with it?
Leo: It stays in that inbox until you handle it. And when you pin something, you can no longer sweep it away. So this is what I just did. I went through each bundle, scanned it, pinned the ones I knew I wanted to act upon. Ignored the ones I knew I didn't care about, now that I've read them, or at least, looked at them, and swept everything away. So I had basically—
Jeff: That's what starring was, but instead of going into a separate star category, it now stays in the field. You could also—
Leo: It has this sweep command, which means that once you start stuff, you can get rid of the stuff you starred.
Jeff: Right. And then separately, you can say "Remind me about this in three days." Right?
Leo: Yeah. That's a separate thing. So there's pinning and there's snoozing. Pinning is saying, "Stay here, I'm not done with you." Snoozing is "remind me tomorrow." And I did snooze three or four things.
Jeff: And there's archiving and killing. Because before you basically couldn't kill Gmail. You could, but they made it difficult. They said, "why bother?" So now there's a distinction between archiving and killing.
Gina: Yeah. Trash or archive.
Leo: You don't have a trash button on this, by the way.
Jeff: That's new in terms of the way they think about it.
Leo: There's no trash button on this. The worst you can do to e-mail is put it in "done." Which you say, Gina, is the same as the—
Jeff: There are times when you erase things. Your own e-mail you have a right to forget. Erase erase erase an e-mail.
Leo: Nope. Sorry. You don't get to erase erase erase in this thing.
Jeff: That's an issue. For companies that have lawyers saying, "get rid of the digital paper train here."
Leo: Wait a minute, I take it back. OK. So the big three buttons and the swipe choices are pin, snooze, done. But there's a menu. There’s a three-button menu thing. And in there, it says, "move to" and among other things you could move it to trash or move it to spam or move it to bundles. Or unbundled.
Jeff: I have this vision that somewhere at Google right now there are three people from this team having beer, laughing at us. "NO! Leo, look over there!"
Leo: I think what they're doing is rooting for us. "He'll figure it out! Come on!" They're not laughing; they're like "OK. Do you get it? Do you get it? No. OK. Keep trying!" Actually, I'm kind of liking it. We'll see.
Jeff: I am too.
Gina: its location based for mine is pretty cool too.
Leo: It does that?
Gina: Yeah. So you can say, "Snooze until." There are a couple of premium set choices like later today or tomorrow. You can pick a day and a time, and you can pick a place. So when I get to work, remind me about this e-mail.
Leo: By the way, even though I swept my inbox, now there's like 30 more e-mails in there!
Gina: That's the problem.
Jeff: Told you!
Leo: I just fixed it! I just cleaned you out. That's when you're going to give up is what's going to happen.
Jeff: Fan e-mail? What fills you up immediately?
Leo: Yes. Lots of stuff.
Leo: It's a lot of Bacon.
Jeff: You sign up for crap over the years.
Leo: It's also any time I use my credit card, not present I get an e-mail. I also turn on alerts in financial things. There's just a lot of e-mail. There's just a lot.
Jeff: The thing I mentioned in the show over the years is the hyper personal newstream. Right? Google is trying to let you know at a glance what you need to know in the context of your needs. That's Google's goal. They very cleverly bit by bit, piece by piece find new ways. Here's the way I've been putting it lately. In Seoul, they asked me to do a "What would Google do" presentation thing that's five years old, and "Hey great! What would Google do five years later?" So, I look back and Android was new in that time, and I really saw Google as a personal services company.
Leo: Yeah. I agree.
Jeff: That's the key. That's so key to where Google is now. There was this whole notion that I talked about them being the signals business. The reason is because they, unlike mass media, unlike mass manufacturers and marketers, unlike government, Google gives you personal service. That's their goal.
Leo: And what better thing for them to put their big brains to work on than solving e-mail.
Jeff: But again, like I said earlier in the show, I think that they have not moonshot this. The moonshot for e-mail is to invent an entirely new—
Leo: That was Google Wave and we saw what happened.
Jeff: Well it was. Because it was recipient controlled communication.
Leo: Right. Wave was absolutely a moonshot. In fact, wasn't some of the Gmail team was involved?
Gina: It was a Google Maps team. Lars and his brother. It came from Maps. Wave was a shot at that. You could argue that social networks are the better e-mail. The reason I defend e-mail and I want e-mail to stick around is because it's the only truly federated system that everybody uses. You know what I mean? That's easy to set up and everyone uses.
Leo: We're not reinventing e-mail. We're reinventing how we perceive it and process it.
Jeff: Yeah, but you're trying to fix its inherent vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Google could invent something new that's federated.
Leo: No. It wouldn't be federated. It would be Google. Then you'd have to get everybody else to agree to do it.
Jeff: Here's the difference, because Gina was right. My friend Bob Weinman at Google lectured me years ago, and he said, "The problem with e-mail, from day one, I knew the day the decision was made, is when it became center controlled." And we talked about this on the show back when Google Plus started. Google Plus is recipient controlled. And that's the essence of an entirely different communication schema. But you're right. That's just Google. And that's the weakness of it is it's just Google. What if you truly could imagine a federated recipient controlled Google Plus? Fine. You're still going to have e-mail, Gina, and you're still going to get the stuff that you didn't ask forever. And Google is still going to try and help you fix that as best as it can. But what if all your really important communication went through—What do we do instead? We try and Facebook. Facebook is controlled, not federated. It's the closest thing we have to everybody being there, but it's not built to communicate. It's not what it's there for.
Leo: What is federated? Would you explain that, Gina? I think Gina could do this.
Gina: Federated is a peer-to-peer network, where there's several different servers, and they're all on the same ground. They all have the same amount of power, and they exchange information peer to peer. They're equals. Versus a collection of servers controlled by one company that serves out to clients.
Leo: So when e-mail servers first started, it was that latter situation. You had MCI mail, or you had Genie, or you had AOL, or you had Compuserve, and you could e-mail anybody within that system. But getting e-mail from MCI to AOL was very hard, because it had to go through a gateway, and it was hard. You had to know how to do it. You had to know the right address. So they solved that problem by federating. By saying, "Look. Everybody has a canonical e-mail address that is some name @ and the host that hosts your e-mail. You know. AOL or Genie or MCI mail, so they had a system of naming that everybody understood. And then they set up the interconnect, so you didn't even have to think about it. I would write to Gina@aol.com and it would get to you.
Jeff: And this is pre TCBIP.
Leo: Yes, it is. Not exactly. It's pre-web.
Jeff: No, it was also pre TCBIP. Wasn't it?
Leo: Yeah, I guess it is. Because it's using SMTP and pop or some other system.
Leo: But the federation of all those pop and iMap servers, and that's one of the cool things, is that not only could you be on disparate servers, you could be on servers that use different protocols. Pop or iMap or exchange. And the e-mail would still magically get to where you sent it, as long as you knew the address. And that worked quite nicely, right?
Gina: The problem was that this was a different time. This was 1971, when we were just trying to get the network to work. Now, there's no company that's financially incentivized to make a federated system. There just isn't. There's no reason why any company would say everybody can have an equal copy of the data that we can have.
Leo: Twitter doesn't want to do a federated, they want to do Twitter. Facebook doesn't want to do federated, they want to do Facebook. Google doesn't want to do federated, they want to do Google.
Jeff: I would argue that if you go the WordPress model—
Leo: RSS is federated. RSS was an attempt to create a federated protocol that would cross all of these systems. But I think Gina is right. There's no economic incentive to do this.
Jeff: Let me argue the WordPress model. WordPress v. Google Type. Google Type said "We own the software and yes we'll let it out there, but we're going to limit it because we want to go into business and we don't want you to compete with us." WordPress on the other said "Nope. Software, open source, stays at the .org, anybody can do it. And we're just the first company to build on top of it." Indeed it's a great business. Mullenweg has a genius business there where he's built a great business. But I can use the WordPress underlying code and I can start my own hosting company, competing with WordPress.com and Mullenweg still benefits, because I'm going to contribute to the code base.
Leo: By the way, we've conflated several different OSI levels. TCPIP is still the protocol on top of which TCP and Pop run. That's simply a communication protocol, and there are e-mail protocols that are well understood. And similarly, WordPress is at a higher-level still than that.
Jeff: All I was trying to suggest there was that even before we had standardized use of net, you could connect MCI, which was not TCIP, which was not Internet to other mail services who were protocol. That's all.
Leo: Yeah, there was a gateway. But the best example of this was the XMPP, which was a federated protocol, it was a jabber protocol, Google user for gTalk, and what did Google do? They killed it. They said, "We don't want to support that anymore, because exactly as you said, Gina, they have no economic incentive to do that. They have every incentive to create a proprietary protocol that you can only use on Google, and not to interoperate with everybody else.
Gina: Yeah. The pattern is you make this amazing client that works with the standard protocol. Anybody can implement right? But then your client becomes so good and so specialized and so proprietary that after a while, you don't support the protocol. I look at GitHub for example. Git is a distributed version controlled system, and everyone that runs Git has an equal copy of the data. But GitHub itself is this amazing Git client with a bunch of add-ons per request. And social and tagging and user profiles and wikis and website hosting. People love GitHub. It's a great place to collaborate, but it is controlled by one company, but it's based on this open source software. Much like WordPress. Now WordPress has Jetpack, which is their proprietary layer, on top of WordPress that gives you things like stats and that kind of thing. But it all feeds back to automatic, which is the commercial entity on top. This is ThinkUp's model. We're open source software, and we're a company building a hosted service on top of it because it's too much of a pain to set it up yourself. That definitely works, but there's definitely tension between—you know, of course we're building this client, say this IM client and we're going to have Jabber Support in it until it gets so big and so good and so good and so proprietary and so imbedded into our system and you know what? It's just too much work to support Jabber anymore; you should just use our stuff.
Leo: Right. Because our stuff is better.
Jeff: I'm just wishing for some scenario where someone totally reinvents e-mail.
Leo: Let me say one thing, is that that's the application layer, and all e-mail is, is a protocol for exchanging messages using universally accepted canonical addresses. And there's a protocol for saying "I got all the pieces." I mean there's a lot of underlying stuff. The presentation layer can be anything. That's what Google is doing with Inbox.
Gina: This is a client.
Leo: That's the client. I think what you want, Jeff, is a replacement on the presentation layer.
Jeff: No. I'm going to disagree. I want people to not be able to send me anything, unless I have approved it.
Leo: Well we've had systems like that, as in anti-spam systems for some time, remember? I used to hate this. You'd get an e-mail from somebody saying: "Well Jeff's not accepting e-mails unless you prove you are who you say you are." That's annoying, Jeff. You don't want that.
Jeff: How does Google Plus operate? Google Plus is a model for this. I don't get—Listen to Mike Elgan on this. Mike Elgan is Dvorak 2.0, right? Dvorak, “I get no spam” Dvorak. “I get no trolls,” Elgan.
Leo: I agree. And that's why I have completely moved my social interactions to Google Plus.
Jeff: So the question is, the big complaint about Google Plus is what? Nobody is there. Just our geeky friends.
Leo: Just us. And everybody with a Gmail account could conceivably be on Google Plus.
Jeff: What would make Google Plus explode? Opening it up.
Leo: I don't want it to explode.
Gina: In my circle of friends, my team, my company, they laugh when I mention Google Plus. It's a punch line. I mean, really. There's a certain community who's heavy iPhone, Twitter users, for whom Google Plus is some weird—It's a cultural indicator of some weird aspy Googler. I apologize if that's offensive.
Leo: I like that though. I know what you're saying. I've never heard that phrase before, but I like it.
Jeff: I haven't either.
Leo: It is a little offensive, but that's OK.
Gina: It is offensive.
Leo: We all know what you're saying.
Gina: I'm actually really regretting saying that, I'm sorry.
Leo: I've never heard that before.
Gina: But there is something about it.
Jeff: She's trying to move on.
Leo: Jeff and I will not let her. Move on. But I find that interesting. Because I would think that everybody you know would understand and love Google Plus.
Gina: I come to you on All About Android to be with my people, my fellow Google fans, but there are a lot of folks out there who aren't about it. They use Gmail, but that's it.
Leo: And they think Twitter is great.
Gina: People love to Twitter. I know. Listen. Everybody's got —
Jeff: The Twitter numbers. All this week, I have the top editors from Burda, the big German publisher and I'm brainwashing them. And we visited Twitter, it was a great visit, but the numbers on Twitter, especially in Europe are really small. WhatsApp is bigger in a lot of countries. And what's the deal about WhatsApp? WhatsApp is more recipient controlled.
Leo: That's true. You can't WhatsApp me unless I approve you, right?
Jeff: Yeah! So maybe WhatsApp is what I'm looking for even though I don't use it.
Leo: But there are a lot of cases where you want somebody you haven't previously approved to communicate with you.
Jeff: That's what e-mail becomes, so that's OK. E-mail is a separate system.
Leo: Then Jeff, you don't want to reinvent e-mail; you just want to stop using it.
Jeff: I want to make it less important to me.
Leo: Well I think Inbox is kind of about that. It's kind of about saying "if we do this organizational stuff, you can quickly find the stuff that you want to get an e-mail, and all of your more important transactions can happen elsewhere." It would be nice if Inbox could say, "You seem to be talking to that person a lot, why don't you go move to WhatsApp?" That would be good. So we just change that to a WhatsApp account and maybe that's what Google needs to do.
Jeff: Well Facebook has WhatsApp and Facebook has Messenger, and I was just saying a few minutes ago that Facebook isn't a communications company, well right. Facebook is not a communications application, but Facebook Ink is becoming a Communications company.
Leo: And you know what happens is people want me to use Messenger. And some people insist on communicating with me with messenger, and this is the problem with Messenger, Jeff, because unlike WhatsApp, if you have a Facebook account, you have a Messenger inlet. So WhatsApp, you have to explicitly say "I'm going to allow that person to share with me, unless he knows my phone number, he can't. Anybody who has a Facebook account can bother you.
Jeff: So your canonical address in this world becomes your phone number, and OK. I see the brilliance of WhatsApp now suddenly. Knowing that everyone has a canonical address, you can build something across that—
Leo: But it's not widely known. Only your friends know it.
Jeff: But you can choose how—It's on my business card. You can choose how to put it out there. You also have some choice whether to accept or not. My point is this. Google and Google Plus tried to make everybody get a canonical account called a Gmail address. And they finally gave up. WhatsApp more cleverly said "No. Nobody can make this happen. Nobody is going to build that. There already is a new canonical address. It's a phone number. What can we build on top of that?
Leo: And people are saying in the chatroom, "Well you can WhatsApp anyone if you know their phone number." Well that's the point is that you control the phone number much more tightly than you do your e-mail address.
Gina: Well we're also speaking as people who publicize our e-mail address a lot more than normal people.
Leo: Maybe that was the mistake, yeah.
Gina: I mean you have to think about the fact that e-mail, electronic mail was built on the model of an electronic version of postal mail, where someone has your street address and they can send you a letter. But the difference between postal mail and electronic mail the onus is on the sender. They have to pay for a stamp, they have to get the envelope. It's a pain to send somebody a letter. With e-mail the onus is on the recipient because it costs so little and because it's so easy for the sender to send e-mail, if you publicize your e-mail address on websites that gets millions of hits versus a postal address in a white pages, you're going to get killed with e-mail.
Leo: So here's the easy fix. I don't know why I didn't think of this. Jeff, this is all you do. And many people do this. You have different e-mail addresses. You have a public e-mail address; you have one you give to a close circle of friends, and one you only give to intimates.
Jeff: I have enough trouble dealing with the two I have.
Leo: But that's really what you're doing with WhatsApp. You're saying, "Well, my phone number is a little more secure, so I'm going to use that for the most intimate conversations."
Jeff: No. Here's why. Leo, here's why that won't work. Because, inevitably it leaks in the spammer world, and it gets ruined.
Leo: Well I have a friend who has solved this. My friend changes his e-mail address yearly, in a regularly known fashion. His friends will know what to do each year when he changes his e-mail address, and to be able to get through to him. And he deprecates last year's e-mail address. He doesn't use it any more. It's brilliant!
Jeff: What a pain. What a pain.
Leo: But I know, as his close friend, I know how to e-mail him. I'm going to start doing that! I'll whisper to you my secret.
Jeff: Leo, here's the deal on WhatsApp. On WhatsApp, not only do you have everything Gina just explained, you also have at the moment of someone trying to communicate with you, you have the option at that time to say "nope."
Leo: Can you block them?
Gina: Or do you just decline?
Jeff: Yeah, I think so.
Leo: Decline and they can never contact you.
Jeff: Yeah. I think so, can't you?
Leo: But you're just doing what you could do with an e-mail address, which was have a higher security one and a lower security one.
Jeff: You can't spend WhatsApp. If your e-mail address leaks out in any way, your e-mail will propagate against spam world.
Leo: So if your phone number leaks out in any way, the idea is that your phone number is not as easy to use as an e-mail address.
Jeff: And you will get invitations, but you have the opportunity at that moment to refuse the invitation. I don't use WhatsApp folks, so tell me if I'm wrong.
Leo: That's why WhatsApp is worth 22 billion dollars right there. You nailed it.
Jeff: I'm now seeing the architectural insight into it. And an appreciation for it.
Gina: Well this kind of Segways the e-mail address versus phone number conversation—It kind of Segways a little bit into the announcements that Twitter made today. Did you guys see that they're trying to basically get rid—
Leo: Let's take a break and talk about those. We also have third quarter results for Google, lots of news, but we are going to take a break now, because we're brought to you be a fine company that's up in Canada that we love so dearly. It's called hover.com. It's a quality service run by nice guys who really protect you. They do the right thing. For instance, they take all the hastle and friction out of registering a new domain name. They know you want privacy. They just include it. They don't give you 50 check boxes and up sell you five ways from Sunday before you can buy the domain name. Right now is a great time to get a domain name at hover.com. They've lowered the prices on 200+ extensions, many TLD's. They've reduced the price for a new .com domain name, it's now $12.99 a year, with privacy always included, so that's one of the reasons you can't compare with it, because they have the best domain name management system, lets you setup, DNS, do all the right things. It's so easy to use. In less than five minutes, you'll find the domain name you want, buy it, and get it up and running. They even have a valet transfer service, I highly—Look not available. But there are some other choices. I highly recommend when you move to hover, you let them do it, it's free, they'll take care of the entire process for you, they'll transfer your DNS settings and everything at no additional cost. Then you get all the benefits of hover.com. They've got great customer support. They're famous for their no wait no hold no transfer phone service. When you call, you will get a representative who is empowered to fix your problem. Not that you're going to have any. They're so good. I've never had to call them. They also offer volume discounts, if you're one of those people who likes to register a lot of domains, or you've got a bunch of domain renewals coming up. The volume discounts start at 10 known domains and go up in value from there. You can add e-mail to any of your domains; they have all weird top-level domains as well as the .com and .net. I just think they're great. Hover gives you exactly what you need to get the job done, with no fuss. hover.com. 10% off your first purchase when you use our offer code twig10. Take advantage of that. twig10 at hover.com. Just do it.
Gina: Hover is great.
Leo: See? Unsolicited. We've all suffered so much. And I've moved—I keep trying to remember. Who's the first one that everybody used? Can't remember. Anyway.
Gina: This is pre-dead elephants and Nascar.
Leo: Yes. Pre-dead elephants and Nascar babes. I admit, I had an account with them at one time.
Gina: I did too.
Leo: And it felt so nice to move over to hover.
Gina: See you.
Leo: Bye bye. So what did Twitter just do?
Jeff: You're going to have to explain this one to me.
Gina: So Twitter had their first developer conference in several years, it's actually going on today in San Francisco, but they had a live keynote this morning. And they introduced a bunch of stuff. Basically they're trying—a bunch of stuff for developers. None of this is really consumer facing yet, but essentially a mobile tool kit of a bunch of tools that help developers imbed tweets and sign in with Twitter.
Leo: They're not telling people to develop Twitter clients; they're telling them to put Twitter in their application.
Gina: Put Twitter in your mobile Application and one of these tools that they introduced is called "Digits" and it’s their effort at removing e-mail addresses and passwords from signing up for mobile Apps. So Twitter project managers traveled the world to do some research on how people use the web and how does Twitter get new users, and one of the things they found is that the farther that you go away from the United States, the less likely it is that someone has an e-mail address. Everyone's mobile phone is the way that they identify themselves. So what Digits does is it's a beta UECT you can imbed into your mobile App that lets users sign up for your App using your mobile phone number. So you enter your number, your App SMS's them, SMs you the authorization code, you enter the code, and you're in. No e-mail address, no account activation.
Leo: No password. Nothing.
Gina: Right. Exactly. So similar to the way WhatsApp and Yo works. So it just reminded me, because what Jeff was saying earlier was like "Oh, right."
Leo: This makes sense.
Gina: Yeah. This makes sense.
Jeff: OK. Gina. But this is a bigger, huger strategy shift for Twitter, and it depends upon developers trusting Twitter. Notice where you started to say "Well Twitter hasn't had a developers conference in a few years," because the developers would have thrown spitballs at them for the way they've treated developers before. So explain to me what you, in an App, would get out of doing this in your App. And then explain to me while Twitter, as far as I can tell, gets to be the center of things and gets to sell add revenue and gets data. What does the developer get? Why would you build on this?
Gina: Yeah. So from what I understand, this is a mobile developer’s toolkit. I think that it's still really hard.
Leo: Is this Fabric?
Gina: Yeah. Fabric is part of it.
Leo: Is it like material? Or Textile?
Gina: The idea that Twitter is offering are tools, development tools to help mobile developers get particular tasks done in their App, like single sign on. Like embedding a tweet. Like getting crash statistics. Crashlytics is one of the things they're offering. So as a developer—
Leo: They should have Failwelllytics.
Jeff: Does this mean it's hosted by Twitter and you're going through Twitter's services, or does this mean this is just a standard separate from twitter.
Gina: These are like bits of code that you can embed into your mobile app—
Leo: It's an STK.
Gina: So yeah. It's an STK. You embed them on your mobile App, so Twitter is collecting, for instance, your crash reports since you logged in at Twitter to see what those look like. And yes. Users are maybe signing in with Twitter, so your using Twitter's authorization, but that's the same as using sign-in with Facebook or sign-in with Google. Basically Twitter is trying to make life on mobile developers as easy as possible, and they're trying to make Twitter a central part of any mobile App. The way that they're trying to do that is to offer these best in class developer tools. Now Twitter has basically said that they've learned a lot developing their own mobile Apps, and they want to share what they've learned and the tools that they have internally with the developer community. And this isn't unprecedented. If you look at Bootstrap. And actually, Twitter open sourced and released a lot of different frameworks and things. In fact, I use Bootstrap all the time. It's great. It's a fantastic framework. They're good at making developer tools. Most developer tools are pretty crappy. So as a developer, this is attractive to me. Maybe they're offering something for me, something here better than the App Store's crashlogs or the Play Store's crashlogs. Android is a first class citizen in this effort from what I understand. Really good tools here for Android as well. So you have Twitter, which is not Apple, and it's not Google. It's this kind of neutral third party that lets you build add in components to your mobile app that you don't have to code yourself. So the thing is your building your App. Your App does something. But it also needs all these other things. It needs sign in, it needs crash reports; it needs all these little bits of functionality. As a developer, you don't want to spend time on that. You don't want to re-invent the wheel. You don't want to have to do that for every app that you build. So that's what Twitter is trying to offer here.
Leo: Twitter has done this before. Didn't they have Bootstrap? Wasn't that—
Gina: Yeah. Bootstrap was one of the frameworks that Twitter offers. Yeah. Twitter makes really great developer tools.
Jeff: If you put in all of these things into your app, what is Twitter getting out of it?
Gina: Twitter gets more users, particularly with the sign in stuff.
Leo: And they get Twitter in your app.
Gina: They get Twitter in your app; they get tons more tweet impressions. They get to control, or they have some say about the way that you're displaying their content, so the way that they're displaying tweets. So that when you display a tweet, there's generally functionality shown with it like favorite re-tweet, reply, DM, etcetera.
Jeff: Is this even about Tweets?
Leo: Well it is, because what it does is it kind of changes Twitter to be an infrastructure. People often thought that Twitter would be like the dial tone of the Internet. And it kind of makes it more of that. It's not so much about the public presentation of Twitter as a whole, but how Twitter is used as a communication medium within your app.
Gina: Yeah. It makes it a mobile platform company, is what it does. Which is a huge shift. So this isn't at all about the consumer product.
Leo: Very interesting.
Gina: Yeah, it is interesting.
Leo: And I like it because that eliminates the whole trollish nature of Twitter, because you control the community, because it's whoever uses your app.
Jeff: Hold on. Explain that, Lucy.
Leo: Well, right now, there's a public facing Twitter that's everything, right? Whoever you follow and all the garbage that goes into that and whoever @s you and whatever. And it's just a big mound of horse poo with the pony buried somewhere in there.
Jeff: With a bird flying over it.
Leo: Many birds dropping more horse poop, so I would think that this would be, let's say I'm the voice. Right now on The Voice what they do is they say, "Vote on twitter, put the hashtag, the person's name," and it becomes part of that pile of poo. But a voice app could incorporate this all in it, use Twitter as more of a backend infrastructure and surface just the appropriate tweets into the app, making it much more useful for the voice in its users and viewers and much less a part of the massive car wreck that is Twitter today. And Twitter still gets the benefit right? In fact, it's better for them, because they can now say to advertisers, "Hey, by the way, we've got all these people using The Voice" and they can monetize it.
Jeff: And what has Twitter's problem been? Witness the discussion I had with Germans about Twitter. They need more sign ups, so they become infrastructural. You sign up. So the question you have to ask, and maybe it's just twitter smokes more now and is nicer, but if Twitter does what it has done before, and pulls the rug out, what happens to your apps?
Gina: This is the grand question of any developer that depends on a third party service when they build their app.
Leo: This circles back to the discussion of federation vs. silo.
Jeff: It does.
Gina: Well, it's the convenience versus risk thing. I build an app based on Twitter, we use Amazon payments. My company is dependent upon these third party services that could, at any moment, change their mind, or take it down, or block us. And it's one of the trade-offs you make when you decide to make an app. Twitter did, in a lot of developer's views, totally screw over the developer community. Mark wrote a post about this. I think it was a little heavy handed, personally, but I get it. I get that client makers felt really burned by Twitter doing a 180 from a very open API to a very limited API. These announcements that they made today are pretty separate than that. They're orthogonal. But I was at the original Twitter developer conference. I think it was called "Chirp," and it happened in 2010, and at that conference, they announced a thing called "Annotated Tweets," which was a way to pack lots of information into a tweet. Like any sort of meta-data that you wanted, it never happened. I don't think it ever launched. So I actually think that Fabric is not—
Leo: That was treating Twitter more like XMPP. That was exactly what XMPP does.
Gina: Right. They were trying to figure out a way. Hey. We want to push packets across the network and however developers—It was a very exciting big idea, but it never really happened. Fabric appears to be less vapo wear. I think you can actually download some of these components and use them now.
Leo: I think debs understand this and are always using it by using the Twitter authentication system. Look. I don't think this is a risk for a developer. You get all these benefits, and if Twitter goes away, which it doesn't look like it's going to do any time soon, you do Facebook.
Jeff: It's not about Twitter dying; it's about Twitter changing the rules.
Leo: Well if they change the rules, then you change to Facebook. I mean we all have Facebook, Connect, and Twitter.
Jeff: But now here's the problem, Leo, listen. Twitter sign-up is extremely convenient. Twitter and Facebook sign-up is extremely convenient, Google sign-up has never really taken off, but it's there.
Leo: I use those like crazy on Android devices, you use it like crazy.
Jeff: But at some point, if I sign into a service through Twitter, that's where my linkage is, and if Twitter changes the rules, or I'm violating Twitter's rules and Twitter pulls back on me or whatever, or my light switch goes off—
Leo: Well I hope, and it may not be, but it almost feels like Twitter is reinventing itself.
Jeff: It does. I'm trying to understand that. And I want to trust it; I'm trying to put it in the context of Twitter's culture and behavior previously. I think that's important.
Leo: Well maybe they want to turn over a new leaf, Jeff. Maybe they want to be better now. Maybe they want to turn over a new leaf.
Jeff: That's fine. But they've got to acknowledge the past, and they've got to give us reasons for future trust.
Leo: I think Twitter must see the writing on the wall at this point. The public facing Twitter has some real problems. Don't you? It's obvious to me, with all the harassment in gamer gate, how has it happened? Twitter. Twitter is, yeah. Arab spring, blah blah blah. Great. But the truth is, Google Plus and Facebook don't have nearly the problem that Twitter has with harassment. Twitter has become the channel for harassing people.
Leo: They must know that.
Jeff: How does this fix that? It lets you have a little world, maybe for The Voice where you see The Voice stuff.
Leo: People use Twitter to create communities, and it's a form of federation, because they're all through Twitter, but it's all owned by Twitter.
Jeff: So what do I do? Do I belong to a hundred different Twitter communities?
Leo: Well you have a single Twitter sign on, and you'll notice when you use an app it has a Twitter interface. Hey, good news! And you will see in that app only the stuff that's germane and apropos.
Jeff: Stop using Twitter or come across Twitter like an Intel chip here and there.
Leo: It will be everywhere!
Jeff: I hope.
Leo: I don’t know. Maybe that’s wishful thinking on my part.
Gina: You have a point, Leo. I think this is a completely separate issue from the harassment issue. And I like to think there are going to be developers that say Twitter does not make any effort to protect its users or doesn’t take enough of an effort to protect its users. So I’m not going to use its tools. I mean I wouldn’t use Four Chan sign-in.
Leo: I kind of like that. And I think Twitter must say gosh we’re turning into Four Chan. Don’t you think? If they’re paying attention, they must be thinking that.
Jeff: The brand is effected, yes.
Leo: How long before the voice says gosh we cannot use these Twitter hashtags anymore. Because our fans are going to Twitter and are going ah! Ah!
Gina: I don’t know. I wonder if we’re a small community of people that are tuned into this happening; how many people are friends with an Indie game developer who got driven from her home with threats. I don’t think that many. And Gamer Gate at this point is so convoluted and we haven’t talked about it, but it’s tough to understand. Dead Spin did an article, which is a sports blog, and a friend of mine who’s a big sports fan was like this Gamer Gate thing, what the hell?
Leo: Well nobody knows, right.
Gina: A 10,000 word article explaining; I wonder, it’s a big deal to me and a big deal to us because we care about these things. But I wonder if it’s really, does Twitter really know how bad it is? I don’t know. They haven’t even verified Anita Sarkeesian’s Twitter account. She’s got tons of accounts that are clearly impersonating her. Ripping her profile and her cover photo and the whole reason why verification exists is to address the impersonation.
Leo: And they’re not even doing that.
Gina: And they’re not even doing that.
Jeff: And it doesn’t do any good when you’re looking at the imposter site. What do you expect it to do? Background research on all these Twitter accounts to find the right one? The green check doesn’t mean crap.
Leo: I just feel like if a normal person, first of all, normal people probably don’t use Twitter. My mom isn’t going to use Twitter. But let’s say my mom goes to twitter.com, signs up, and of course Twitter does its best to do the intake and give her some interesting stuff to follow. But she starts seeing streams and maybe she starts following people. It doesn’t take very long before even, okay maybe it’s not even offensive. It’s just chaotic and it’s a strange culture. It’s weird! And there’s weird abbreviations.
Jeff: Leo, but why does every weather person in America push their Twitter stop? Why do all these big shows push Twitter?
Leo: You tell me why.
Jeff: Why has it not taken off more than…?
Leo: You tell me why they’re all using hashtags. Why does every show use a hashtag?
Jeff: And Twitter’s not mass.
Leo: That’s why I’m wondering. Why?
Jeff: I don’t know why. I’m agreeing with you. Here’s my bottom line.
Leo: Chad’s going to tell us why because he’s under 50.
Chad: There’s no other service that does that real-time public posting.
Leo: That’s why I think America’s angry. Because Twitter recognizes that it does have a lock on a certain market. And what it’s looking at is better ways to provide that service for individual communities that will be more appealing to communities that will eliminate the heat it’s getting from things like Gamer Gate. That’s why I think fabric would make sense as a strategic shift for Twitter. And who knows what they’re doing.
Jeff: Here’s my issue with Twitter…
Leo: It’s like IRC. What if people wonder into an IRC channel? Ours is pretty well-protected. But just a normal IRC channel.
Jeff: What if wonder onto Reddit or Four Chan?
Leo: Yea, exactly. If you’re trying to be a mainstream business and get the approval and appreciation of Wall Street, you got to start thinking about how do we present better.
Jeff: Okay but this goes back to our email discussion, Leo. Twitter has two options. One, which they avoided until the Isis videos would be to try to censor the content. Trying to make them do that, and it’s nearly impossible. You cannot stay ahead of it. But, maybe they do. In which case it’s no longer an open platform. It’s no longer an open stream. Ferguson might not bubble up anymore. Governments can control it more. Which is Twitter? Is it open? In which case if it’s open, this is the discussion we’ve had; I think it inevitably fosters instability and trolls. If it’s not open, then it’s not Twitter and it’s not as useful. That’s the choice they have.
Leo: Google announced its financial results for the quarter ending September 30th. Revenue up 20% year over year, $16.5B. Let’s see, net income: $2.81B. It’s nice. It making almost a billion a month, that’s a good business. It’s a nice little business. The Motorola stuff, the sale of Lenovo kind of messes things up a little bit. I don’t know when they’re going to close that. They entered that agreement believe it or not, in January. And there is a charge of $378M related to a patent licensing royalty asset acquired in connection with Motorola. They’re writing off the patent library. Anything else I’m looking? International revenues: $9.55B, more than half of all revenues outside of the United States.
Jeff: Cue the tax battle.
Leo: They actually broke out their United Kingdom revenues because that’s the double Irish. They said 10% of total revenues went to the U.K. But they did for those who have not been following this story, they set up a subsidiary in Ireland that they license the search technology to them. They collect the search revenues and then none of the money gets taxed in Ireland. It gets transferred to the Canary Islands or somewhere, Bermuda.
Gina: It sounds shady, but completely legal.
Leo: Cost per click went down… completely legal, for now. Cost per click went down 2%.
Jeff: That’s the big issue.
Leo: Yep. They’re making less money on banner ads. However aggregate paid clicks which included clicks related to ads served on Google sites and sites of network members increased 17%. So the cost went down but so many more clicks, they made more money.
Jeff: But is there a limit to that volume?
Leo: Yea, well interesting.
Jeff: There’s a post that somebody sent us on Twitter that I put up on the bottom of the Google section of the rundown asking whether-what’s the phrase…
Gina: Peek Google?
Jeff: Peek Google, yea.
Leo: Peek Google? You mean it’s all downhill from here, is that what they’re saying? It’s Ben Thompson, he’s going to be on TWiT on Sunday. We’ll ask him about it.
Gina: Oh nice.
Jeff: I think for example he’s arguing that mobile is now bigger than web. And Google was web, and it’s mobile. But Google is conquering mobile as well as anyone. So arguing that natively advertising takes over search advertising; I don’t think native ever joins the world. Takes over the world, because I think it’s a fake on users. And I think that attention according to Chart Beat is where we go. And I think relationships is where we go. But Google’s not invincible. And Google knows it.
Leo: In a way what he’s saying is web search, which is Google’s business, is going to be replaced.
Jeff: Yea, but Google already is a mobile company. And Google already is the best at generating singles. Google as a personal services company; I think it’s a little simplistic to say they were a search company. They haven’t been a search company in years.
Leo: I think it’s no accident that you’ve seen on the World Series and playoffs, ads for Android. For the first time ever. Not for Google Phone or a Google device. Not for Chrome or Search for Android. I think Google knows the future is mobile. And I hate to say it, but I think they have a pretty incredible thing they’re going with on Android. I think that Android is going somewhere. Just my guess. I don’t know! We’ll ask Ben, that’s an interesting…
Jeff: It’ll be an interesting discussion.
Gina: And his blog post is sponsored, so there you go.
Gina: Man Troll actually, but it’s not bad. It looks integrated into his blog theme. Yea, I think we’ve talked about native advertising. And we’ve talked about how it can be confusing to the reader, viewer, or listener. But I think that a lot of people really think that native advertising is the best thing.
Leo: Because it tricks people. It’s so effective. You know the best thing is fooling people. Ads work so much better when they look editorial.
Jeff: I was at the New York Times today with the board of editors. And they showed off a lot of the native we’ve seen. We talked about the Orange is the New Black, and so forth. It dawns me that native advertising besides selling some of your brand value to your advertisers and letting readers thing this is a period on your site even though the label is up. That’s the goal in one hand. The other hand is that advertising has been Google’s been a part of this completely and absolutely commodified. So you have to sell something that specials won’t advertise. You’ve got a few choices. You could sell them to your special relationship with your users. But you don’t have such a thing. The world does but you don’t in media because everybody’s the same, it’s a mask. Or you can sell them special content that we made for you. Aren’t we nice? And so it’s an effort to de-commodify advertising but it’s expensive. It doesn’t perform that well. Chart Beat has also found that people scroll three-quarters of the time of real time, only one-quarter of the time when they hit native advertising.
Leo: So people intuitively know they’re reading crap?
Jeff: Exactly. And yea, is it possible to do native advertising that has an interesting piece? Yea. But if people won’t read a four-word banner ad, why do we think they’re going to read a 600-word native ad?
Leo: Well only if they don’t know it’s an ad. If they think it’s content they might go for it.
Jeff: It’s so subtle that you don’t know it’s an ad, then well is it an ad?
Leo: You said Orange is the New Black, is that native content? Is it brought to us by the color orange?
Jeff: No, the New York Times did a native story about women in prison.
Leo: And by the way, if you’d like to learn more about women in prison, there’s a fabulous show on Netflix.
Leo: Oh my God.
Gina: Wait, this was a New York Time’s story?
Leo: It says paid posts, just those of you who are watching at home, see if you can figure out where it says paid post. It’s obvious, it’s right here in this little light-blue; there it is!
Jeff: Well, Leo, it also uses Sans Serif type. It’s not enough!
Leo: There it is! It’s obviously a paid post. Ooh, I like it. Pretty.
Gina: Did Netflix write that? Who wrote that? Did the Times write this piece?
Jeff: No, a business-side writer wrote this. It’s very well-done.
Leo: It’s like got all that fancy new media stuff that New York Times has.
Jeff: The videos and interviews are good, it’s well done! But if you’re a reader of the Times you have to ask: if this story is so good, why didn’t an editorial do it?
Leo: In an August op-ed in the New York Times, Piper Kerman, author of the prison memoir, Orange is the New Black, which inspired the Netflix series of the same name, calls the distance between… boy that’s just horrible. Horrible!
Jeff: That is being argued over and over, that industry is the future. Now Leo, of course they’ll say It’s no different from you reading the spot.
Leo: Well we say here comes an ad. There goes an ad. And that ends the relationship with the advertiser. It doesn’t bleed into editorial.
Jeff: I agree. But that’s the model. You try to say it looks compatible with the environment.
Leo: Look it’s the Times Brand studio that did it. Look here.
Gina: From a web perspective, the images as you scroll and stuff are really cool. It’s beautiful.
Leo: It’s beautifully done. Because they can afford to do it. Because Netflix gave them a million bucks.
Jeff: Check the URL?
Leo: URL is paidposts.newyorktimes.com/netflix.
Leo: They make no bones about that. But who reads that?
Jeff: They’re trying to put signals out to make sure there is some caveat at the bottom…
Leo: It’s funny because Apple in its Safari browser would cut that all out except for the New York Times part, but okay. Just some domain. It’s on the Times.
Jeff: If you go to Forbes, of course Forbes has made an entire business of what they call brand voice.
Leo: So yes, we’ve talked about that before. This is though for the most part except for that paragraph I read, good content.
Jeff: Yea, it actually is.
Leo: So the content’s there. Although, is this a clip from the show Orange? Or…
Jeff: No, these are interviews.
Leo: These are real people; looks like a clip from the show.
Jeff: They went and spent a lot of money to make this stuff and of course they charge the sponsor for all that money.
I think it strengthened my character and made me a better person.
Leo: Does this make you watch the show? And is this is in some way deceptive? If the editorial content were slanted somehow… the only thing is that they have this segment that is Piper Kerman, the author of Orange is the New Black. And then they move on. And she was in women’s prison. It’s not like she has some standing.
Jeff: They showed another one from United about United taking all of the athletes to the Olympics. And they said United has some data about this that only United has. United has stories, but only United has. We’re just helping them tell their story.
Leo: Now how does this… the other question would be how do I get to this? Does this appear as a story?
Jeff: There is, if you go to the home page of the New York Times, right underneath the big main news, there is a coaster of a half-dozen boxes across. Scroll down, scroll down, I’ll tell you when to stop. Keep going, stop! That insider on what happens dot com, if there was one-there isn’t right now-they would have it in there.
Leo: It would be one of these.
Jeff: You would see a big post. And it would be there.
Leo: And it would say paid post?
Jeff: Yea. And they’ll sell ads I believe. They’ll sell ads on the Times to drive traffic to the post. So they’re selling media in that sense.
Leo: I have to say this is hard to find whose damage to buy this.
Gina: Yea, I’m somehow not really offended by that because it’s like the show actually is about trying to raise awareness and trying to create prison reform. People care about this now. It actually looks like a well-researched article with great assets. Does that hurt anyone? It offends me when it’s done really badly. But it’s the same thing.
Jeff: I think it’s fine as long as you know. We need more research and I think they’re doing that research now. And the industry needs to, on whether readers are indeed fooled. I fear that they were. If you listen to Chart Beat, they say actually no. People recognize it’s crap but they don’t scroll.
Leo: Well that might be when it’s really crap. This is well-done content. And I have to say I would feel a lot better about it if this paid post indicator were a little bit more obvious.
Jeff: I agree.
Leo: That was very hidden on the whole thing.
Gina: Competing with a giant header image there.
Jeff: The interactive advertising bureau did some research, and I hosted their panel of the announcement of it two months ago or so. And what they found was that entertainment sites and lifestyle sites, people pretty much knew the difference. Given the site, they could go that’s and ad, that’s an ad, that’s not. They can do it only half as well on news sites.
Leo: This looks like news. Now everybody’s seen this. For crying out loud, my local paper has had a paid real estate section. As long as I’ve been alive where your local realtor writes a column on why it’s a good time to buy a house.
Jeff: And the auto section.
Leo: So we know. This is not new.
Jeff: No. Here’s the issue. In the example I gave when we discussed Forbes. When I see a Forbes link on Twitter now, it could be excellent content by a Forbes staffer and they have really good stuff. It could be very good content by a Forbes contributor. It could be crappier content by a Forbes contributor. Or it could be a really long and wordy ad. I don’t know which it is when I click. And when I get there, I see something labels brand voice. And next to that it says what’s this. If you have to put a link that says what’s this, obviously the label isn’t good enough. So when the law will run, I think publishers risk. It demands their trust and equity.
Leo: I wouldn’t do it but that’s more because I’m an old fuddy-duddy.
Jeff: Now what happens is the Times has to say, the Times puts itself in a position where-and they will, they are! They reject ideas for native ads. They won’t do them. They have to hold them to a standard. I heard another publisher this week say that the editorial staff is asking the ad department to do better native advertising so it holds up. But at some point what that says is, it’s been seen as part of your brand. And so you become responsible for your advertising in a way where you weren’t before. All I’m suggesting is it’s not the future of all advertising because I can’t see consumers reading thousand-word pieces and just getting the subliminal message that I feel like watching some women in prison.
Leo: We have the Google change log coming up in just a little bit. But first, an ad.
Gina: Good job, Leo.
Leo: You know I don’t know what the difference is.
Jeff: Have you listened to Alice Blumberg’s podcast about making a podcast company?
Leo: No, I have to listen to that.
Jeff: You really have to. And the funny thing is he goes on his way to do this and he plays special music when he goes into the ad and he explains that’s how you know I’m in the ad. I’m going to explain this to you. But you of all people should listen to that. And I’m sorry I’m doing this now over the…
Leo: No, I should actually. Paul Harvey used to do that. He’d go page two, and unless you were in the clue, you didn’t know. But that’s what that meant, this is an ad. I think it’s always the case that one of the reasons they want hosts to read ads is a little bit of confusion.
Jeff: No, it’s just you can’t escape it. It’s part of the flow.
Leo: I don’t know. I wish I didn’t have to make money. I wish I was independently wealthy and could do this whole thing…
Jeff: If you were independently wealthy, would you really be working as hard as you’re working?
Leo: Well I wouldn’t be doing three or four shows a day, no. But I might do one show a day, just too leisurely fashioned in my jammies. Yes. It’s not that I don’t love doing these shows. But we employ 20 people, full-time staff. There are several dozen hosts like you guys, but you get something. All that money comes from advertising. It’s our only source of revenue. We get a little bit of money from donations, thank you donors. But it’s mostly it’s from advertising and that’s how it works. If I had a couple hundred million, or if I were Steve Ballmer, I might just do this for fun. Pay you guys. I told Kevin Rose, really basically I’m paying to have some friends. Otherwise I’d be lonely. Our show today brought to you buy Smart Things. This was a Kickstarter project, in fact Gina told me that she actually invested in it. The whole idea of which was to solve the problem of how do you automate your home. There’s all these different protocols. Nobody talks to anybody else. So the smart folks at Smart Things said what if we made a hub that talked to everything. And then you wouldn’t need to worry about it. You’d just put the hub in your home, connected to the internet. And then start getting little solution-kits or security-kits and adding features. They have all sorts of do-hickies that work with the Smart Things. And the Smart Things hub also works with other companies’ stuff like the Sonos, which I love. The Wemo from Belkin. Those great LED lights from Philips, the Hue, the drop cam. We use those. Nest thermostats, Orion, or Honeywell, Schlage locks, or GE. So this way you’ve got this infinite capability of stitching things together. You can use if, this, then, that if you want. You can even write little programs in effect to connect these. Smart Things has three smart security kits. That’s one of the things people first want to do. They came up with those right away. You get the hub plus a device to know if there’s motion in your home or if someone’s opened a door. That kind of thing. They also have something new which I really like. They’re solution kits, there’s four of them. And they help you achieve common goals like automating lights, or saving energy or protecting your home from leaks. That kind of thing. And if you’re an Arduino-maker, there’s a maker kit that lets you connect your Arduino project. Now the sky is really the limit. Every kit starts with a Smart Things hub and then has the sensors and devices that you’ll need to turn your home into a smart home. And as little as 15 minutes, including the new and improved updates to Smart Things ZigBee sensors. ZigBee is a very common home-automation protocol. And they do ZigBee better than anybody. But the really powerful thing about Smart Things, it’s an open platform. That means because it’s compatible with hundreds of devices, there are thousands of things you can do with this product. They have an iOS and Android app. One app, limitless possibilities. To get started creating your smart home, visit smartthings.com/twit and we’ll give you 10% off the purchase price of any home security or solution kit if you use the offer code TWIT10 at checkout. 10% off when you use TWIT10 at checkout on any home security or solution kit at smartthings.com/twit. And you also get free shipping in the U.S. Smartthings.com/twit. I’m not exactly handy and I was able to set these up and make them work with my Hue lights and the Wemo. It’s so neat. I love my Sonos. Sonos welcomes me home. It will hail to the chief, it’s so nice. Wouldn’t that be great? I should do that actually. Alright, speaking of trumpets, it’s time for the change log. Play those trumpets.
The Google change log.
Leo: And now, ladies and gentlemen, Gina Trapani with the newest stuff from Google.
Gina: Google Play music adds Songza’s… can you hear me okay?
Leo: Yea, I’m just making funny faces.
Gina: Google Play music adds Songza’s contextual playlists for all-access subscribers. And using the new material design UI which we’re going to see a lot of in the change log and in the coming weeks. So that means if you’re a Google Play music all-access subscriber in Google Play music on Android, iOS, and on the web, you’ll see a brand new section in the listen now area. That’s basically a take on Songza’s concierge functionality. Depending on what time of day it is or what you’re likely to be doing at the moment, Play music will show you a list of possible playlists or stations you want to listen to like working out, getting ready for work, studying, sleeping. Hey it’s Wednesday afternoon, do you want to work to the beat, boost your energy, do you want to relax? And it offers you a list of playlists. I’ve been playing with this today; it’s pretty great, I’ve got to say. Look at that the blog 50. I like that. All the music blogs songs that you’d want.
Chad: I’m a huge fan of Google Play music and I have all-access. When I saw this come in I was so excited because it’s discovering music is the best thing to do when you have unlimited music.
Gina: It’s really great. We were looking at this last night on All About Android. Jason has his young kids like me, and he had family and toddler tunes. Ron is a single guy and hangs out with his friends and his suggestions for Tuesday night were going out to dinner and going out with your friends. We were commenting how scary it was that it knew so much about our lives.
Chad: If you look at mine it has working to the beat, having fun at work, boost your energy. It seems like I work too much.
Leo: But that’s the Songza stuff. It always had stuff like that.
Gina: It knows what time of day it is and what you’re likely to be doing based on earlier choices. It’s basically Google Now for music. So it’s pretty great.
Leo: They bought Songza a while ago. They just started integrating it. I love Google Play music. The more I use it the more I love it.
Gina: I was thinking about my all-access subscription and was thinking about maybe cancelling. This, I’m in. I’m good.
Leo: I know there’s now Spotify and Beats is more interesting. You’ve got a lot of choices.
Gina: That’s true. This one, Leo, I wonder you must have talked about this with Steve. Google beefs up its two-step verification with a physical USB security key option in Chrome.
Gina: So basically this is two-factor authentication is your password but this other physical thing that you have. Normally it’s your phone. You get your authorization code on your phone via SMS. This is an actual USB key that supports a standard for this kind of authentication. With this enabled in Chrome you plug into your computer and Chrome knows yes, this is you. Ah, you have one.
Leo: This is from Yubico. They’ve made these keys for a while and is it Fido that Google is supporting?
Jeff: Fido, yea. I ordered one yesterday when they announced this.
Leo: So this is the Neo. The idea is that you leave this in your USB port and it just checks it. I worry about this because I’m afraid of losing my dongle.
Jeff: Here’s my question for you, Gina. Does your phone still work? Because your phone doesn’t have USB.
Gina: That’s a good question. I haven’t actually tried this myself. Leo, does the phone work or is the USB just for your computer? And do I need one for each individual device?
Leo: You could. Each of these have little holes that you can put it on a lanyard or something and carry around your device with you.
Jeff: In case you want to put it into a work computer and then leave for someplace else and leave.
Leo: Right, but what about when you’re on the road. Would an authenticator still work? I don’t know. I would love it if it did. And I just don’t know.
Jeff: When I spoke to the work people, head of…
Leo: Look! It says use a verification code instead. Right there on the verification screen. So that means you could either have your security key in there or you could go to your authenticator and use the code.
Jeff: The head of security gave a fascinating talk and said we acknowledge that not many people use two-step. And he said we’ll soon have something-I presume this is it-that will get more people to use it. My guess is that, and tell me if I’m wrong, NFC on your phone operates in essence like that. It says I’m me. But I can see Google doing other hardware things that will help with this besides having a bulky USB device.
Gina: Thank you Doctor Mom. Doctor Mom in the chat room said that the key has NFC. So you can use it with your phone or tablet.
Leo: This one does and this one doesn’t.
Gina: So some keys do.
Leo: Some do, some don’t.
Jeff: Oh that’s the difference in price. They go from $4 to $50.
Leo: The little one does not. It’s too small. And the big one does. But there’s more than that. These are from Yubico. And we like them.
Jeff: How does that work? Does that have one special number and it says I’m a hardware thing so you know I’m really real?
Leo: No, it actually has a processor in here that does calculations. So it gets queried, it’s my understanding-Steve did talk about this on Tuesday but I was sleeping-it gets queried. I was trying to pay attention; I wouldn’t understand it, that’s the problem. It gets queried and makes some calculations then comes back with a response, I believe. Or is used by the computer to do the calculations. So there is a processor in this, believe it or not. Isn’t that wild?
Gina: What if you lose it or it breaks?
Leo: That’s the point. Then you use your verification. I’ll tell you what, before next week I will set this up and start using it.
Gina: Sweet. We’ve got you on Inbox…
Leo: I’m set.
Jeff: I have one arriving from Amazon tomorrow so I’m going to try it too.
Gina: Great. Change log, what else do we got? Google Earth for Android got some updates, including new 3D rendering technology, faster updates, and some KML updates. So first we’ve got the new 3D technology. This is Google Earth for Android. This gives users faster, smoother, crisper transitions as you zoom around to your destination. And Google says it’s the first major 3D overhaul since Earth launched since more than 10 years ago now. I can’t believe Earth is so old.
Jeff: How much do you use Earth?
Gina: I haven’t because Earth was kind of slow.
Leo: Maps replaced it.
Gina: And Maps replaced it. I think they’re trying to make Earth relevant again with this update. This update comes with and is going to get updated faster. Google said the new Earth app will get updates at the same time as Google Maps to add access to the most up-to-date information for things like places, names, roads, businesses. So I might spend a little more time with it if it’s faster. Earth for me was always hey I want to fly around and explore. Whereas Maps was always I need to get somewhere. Tell me how to do it. So it’s more of a utility. The new Earth updates also introduces support for opening KML files, custom map directly from Google Drive. That’s kind of nice. You can store your KML on Google Drive and open them up on the new Earth app for Android. Finally, Google Play games added new nearby multiplayer capabilities to make it easier to play with your friends nearby. This is actually for developers. This is part of the Google Play games API and it lets developers more easily create synchronized challenges. If Jeff and I are in the same room, I can challenge him to a game and sync players at the same time. It’s similar to the functionality on the Nintendo 3DS. So hoping to see more nearby game playing come to your favorite games on Android soon. And that’s all I got.
Leo: Neat. That my friends if you play the drum slowly is our Google change log!
Jeff: In the chat room, Cool Breeze just put up a link to Yubikey comparisons and features.
Leo: Yes, they have all the different kinds of keys. What did you buy, Jeff? You didn’t get a Yubikey?
Jeff: I don’t even remember.
Leo: What I have is the Neo N. So you want something that supports U2F. That’s the Fido technology.
Jeff: Now you tell me. Well I’ve got Fido.
Leo: If you’ve got Fido, then you’re good. The blue one that I showed is a Fido touch key and then the Neo N which is… so the Fido touch key even though it’s bigger, is $18. And the Neo N is $60. That’s touch one time password generator smart card. And it supports other protocols like Java card and so forth. There’s a lot of protocols. Google points out that the reason you’d want to do this is you can’t get spoofed by a phisher who might grab your text messages somehow and get the authentication code. If you have it on your phone as authenticator, I think you’re probably okay. I bet you businesses would like this because you could say alright, this is your Chrome. This is your laptop; this is your chip. Put that in there, only you can use it. Take the chip home with you, or something like that.
Jeff: Hand in your chip, Mr. Laporte.
Leo: Yea, hand in your chip. Business likes hand in your chip. And so that’s a good page. It shows you all the different kinds of stuff.
Gina: So you got the basic $18 one?
Leo: I have both.
Jeff: If you lose your phone, you’re okay. If you lose your chip, you’re okay. If you lose both, then you’re screwed.
Leo: Yea I guess. You know what I do, I put the… the way you get authenticator to work; and by the way this is a standard. It’s not just Google’s. There are other companies that make authenticator apps including Microsoft. But the way these apps work is they need your secret key which is issued to you by the company you’re logging into. Most of the time they do that in a QR code. So the authenticator lets you take a picture of the QR code so you don’t have to enter in this 30-digit key. Then that says oh yea, that came from Last Pass and that’s this. And so I’m going to now start generating numbers based on that secret key. The number is some hash of the secret key and the time. And the reason that works is because you don’t share that secret… it’s secret! So only Last Pass and I know the secret key. We both know roughly what time it is, pretty accurately. So Last Pass knows based on my secret code hashed with the time, which six-digit number I’m going to give it. If it matches, I must be the holder of that secret key. But you know if that secret key leaks out, you’re in trouble. What I do is actually put those QR codes for Google. I use Google, Tumblr, Evernote, Outlook, Last Pass. In my Last Pass secure store, I save the image. So even if I lose my phone, it’s only because I use so many phones, right? Every time I get a new phone, the first thing I do is set up authenticator on that phone. And because I’m using the same QR code and same secret number each time, I get the same numbers on all those phones.
Jeff: The industry has to make all of this easier.
Leo: It’s easy! What’s so hard?
Gina: I really like Authy.
Leo: Authy is a really good one. I’ve used Authy.
Gina: I’m glad you explained that, Leo. Because I wondered, how does Authy know? So this is just a standard; this is the key and the timestamp and that’s why they’re time-dependent. The clock counts down. That helps a lot. Thank you for that explanation.
Leo: I hope I’m right. Again, I drift off during Security Now and I may miss the just of it. Yea, Authy is not from Google but it works. You’ll get the same number that Google would give you.
Gina: Right, an authenticator. I find Authy is nicer-looking.
Leo: Maybe I’ll switch to Authy. I’ve used it on non-Android platforms. Okay, hey anybody order a Nexus 9?
Gina: My phone’s…
Leo: Me neither. Tablets are over. They’re over!
Jeff: No they’re not! I just think it’s too big for my pocket. I like my 7.
Gina: This giant phone. You’ve got the 7, yea.
Leo: Yea, I still have the 7. I don’t use it. I haven’t used in ages. Do you use it?
Jeff: I use it constantly.
Leo: Do you use it on the train?
Jeff: I use it on the train and on planes.
Leo: So it’s travel.
Gina: I’m going to get lollipop on it.
Jeff: Who’s ordering a 6?
Leo: October 29th apparently, the order date. I will get up early in the morning to order a 6.
Gina: I’ve bought too many phones this year already. I want to, but I’ve bought too many phones. I’ve been through two HTC One’s and now I have the One Plus.
Leo: No you can’t.
Gina: And honestly it’s just too big for me.
Leo: It’s really big. Six inches. They’re going to still sell the Nexus 5. I thought that was interesting. So it’s pretty clear the strategy. We hypothesized last week. The strategy is the developer platform, the cheap lollypop phone will be Nexus 5. And Google’s actually going to sell the 6 as a real feature phone through all the carriers and all of that, at a steep price. $650.
Jeff: I’m ready to buy.
Leo: I’m not clear. It looks like it does everything the Moto X does. Does it do the always listening?
Gina: It does the one plus one thing where you can tap the screen and it turns on.
Leo: That’s lollypop. Lollypop lets you tap the screen.
Gina: I was saying this on All About Android last night and you said last week you think Cyanogen is the best Android. I’m really surprised; it was so interesting to me how many features in Cyanogen made it into lollypop. Like clearly Cyanogen is this bleeding-edge thing. And Google’s paying attention or they’re mind-molding. I don’t know what they’re doing. But it seems like there’s just certain features. And I’m like oh that’s already in Cyanogen. And now that’s going to be part of the default; it’s nice.
Leo: I still think the One Plus One is great. I gave mine to the Catholic Church. I don’t have to use it anymore. Father Padre. You’re not allowed to give him anything. It’s always to the church and then they let him use it. I said do you want my phone, he said yea. But I do like the One Plus.
Gina: They’ll get you every time. Those bells of poverty.
Leo: It’s a nightmare. Poor guy. I think he’s actually doing pretty well.
Gina: What are you using right now?
Leo: Note 4 which I’ll talk about in a second. And the real question is going to be, now this is 5.7 inches, the real question is what happens… I have to order a Nexus 6, it’s my job. Chad, you went iPhone 6.
Chad: I went iPhone 6 Plus.
Leo: Any regrets?
Chad: I don’t know yet.
Leo: Missing Android yet?
Chad: I’m going to wait until you get it. I’m worried that 6 is the half-inch that pushes over. It’s an inch away from the Nexus 7, it’s so close! Although in Photos…
Jeff: Well just look at the comparison of these two. This is a 5; I’m not sure it’s going to feel that way.
Leo: The One Plus One which you’re holding up there, that’s a One Plus One right? That’s 5.5 inches. That’s the same size as the 6 Plus.
Jeff: You said, if you guessed this would look like a 5 to a 9.
Leo: The other thing that’s hard to understand, for instance this Note 4 which is a bigger screen than your 6 Plus, is a smaller phone because of big bezels.
Chad: Absolutely. Basically I am holding out until you have it in your hands.
Leo: I will bring in the Nexus 6 for you to look at. And you’ll say I’ll take that, thank you very much.
Chad: Then I’m hoping that the resale value on the 6 Plus is good enough if I decide to jump ship on iOS.
Leo: The Nexus has a couple things: it has dual front-facing speakers. That’s nice.
Chad: Out of the features of the iPhone I will miss, I will miss touch ID. And it seems like they’re doing Apple Pay right.
Leo: No, now wait a minute. You’ll still be able to touch and pay with the Nexus 6 or the Note 4. The Note 4 does in fact have a fingerprint reader that works. It’s not quite as good as Apple’s but it gets the job done.
Jeff: It’s not a button though.
Leo: Yea, you have to swipe it. And it does mean you have a physical button which I’m not crazy about. You swipe it. And by the way applications like Last Pass use it. So I swipe and it unlocks. So I no longer have to enter that PIN in Last Pass or the password. I swipe and unlock. So I wonder how long before Google starts doing that. You know Apple bought the company that it uses, AuthenTec. And they seem to have the best technology. Samsung is kind of more like those Lenovo laptops, you have to swipe across it. Anyway, I’m going to talk more about this in my pick of the week. So I don’t want to preempt myself. What else? Some people are starting to see the Nexus 6 I guess. We won’t be able to order it until the end of the month. And I’m not sure when it will arrive at that point. I have to say given the number of people saying I’m going to buy one, it may be in short supply. Be prepared. Lollypop, we’re starting…
Jeff: It will come on the 29th.
Leo: No, preorder on the 29th.
Jeff: What time of the day will that probably happen?
Leo: Midnight. I come in and log in at midnight and every hour thereafter.
Jeff: Midnight California time?
Leo: I don’t know. No, Google is not like Apple. Apple says midnight and then doesn’t do it. Google doesn’t say a time and then just does it whenever they get around to it. Right? I’m trying to remember other preorders. You just have to keep checking.
Jeff: I’m going to be in Madrid.
Leo: Uh oh. You want me to buy you one?
Jeff: I might need that, we’ll see.
Leo: You just tell me and I will buy two if you need it. I presume I can get two. Blue, they come in midnight blue or moonlight white. Or something like that.
Jeff: I don’t want the white. Are you going to buy the 64?
Leo: Oh yea.
Jeff: Yea, so will I.
Leo: You have to get the most memory you can get.
Jeff: I agree.
Leo: So we’re starting to see more about Lollypop. That’s the negative on something like the Note 4. And the positive on this Nexus 6 is you’re guaranteed to have Lollypop faster than anybody else. I like that phone. It looks just like a Moto X on steroids. Swollen up Moto X without the fancy colors and the wood and bamboo.
Chad: The first reviews are also saying the camera is really good.
Leo: Well yea but remember they’re comparing it to the Nexus 5. So, wow, it looks like the thing I took a picture of! Notice this hands-on, this is the Verge’s hands-on Peter Bohn wrote it.
Chad: You don’t see any hands.
Leo: I’m wondering, this seems like maybe in an event he had hands-on. I don’t think he has the phone yet.
Gina: A whale of a phone.
Leo: A whale of a phone, code name shamoo. This is the ad you’re seeing and all that stuff. I think it looks pretty nice. We’ll see. I want Lollypop.
Gina: Yea, I do too.
Leo: Google’s got a little bit of a problem because they moved everybody to Hangouts but they still have to offer a messenger app. So they will continue to have a messenger app, a stock SMS app in the Lollypop as well as Hangouts. Which is weird but I think they have to.
Leo: There is an opt-in kill switch in Lollypop. Not default. Opt-in. The new Gmail 5.0 which as we mentioned will handle all accounts. The new Google Play store 5.0 which is already out for some people. Some people have that.
Gina: I don’t have it yet.
Leo: I don’t either. What else is going to be new? This material design, have you been playing with that at all?
Gina: I haven’t installed the preview images or anything. So I haven’t had a chance to play with it. I think it’s the biggest most noticeable change; everything’s going to look different and be faster, and seem spring-loaded.
Leo: It’s pretty snappy. Did you see how fast those windows move on it?
Gina: Yea, last night we had on the lead developers on the Tumblr on their Android app. And he was saying that on other versions of Android, Tumblr scroll mechanism was sort of janky, a little stutter, and it had all these internal project to make it smoother. Then they installed the Tumblr app on L, and it’s smooth as butter. And they didn’t change a thing. So there’s clearly speed improvements that you get just for free. It’s very snappy. Even with all the transitions and sliding and effects, it looks really good.
Leo: Here’s a page turn on a book. Is this Dieter doing that? It looks like Dieter.
Chad: Yea it is.
Leo: Dieter Bohn of the Verge.
Chad: The keyboard looks nice. They’re competing one-to-one with iOS now. Their design is so top-notch.
Leo: It’s pretty. We had Nelay Patel from the Verge on TNT and he said something I’ve been saying for a while is that iOS is out of date! They really haven’t, Apple, been able to keep up with Android. UI-wise, I really feel like Android has lapped iOS.
Gina: Material is really great. I’m excited about it.
Leo: Let’s take a break, when we come back, a tool, a tip, and a number as we wrap this thing up. Our show today brought to you by Shutter Stock. We have a 25-image a day subscription with Shutter Stock. A lot of publishing companies might do that. And it’s a very affordable way to get royalty-free images. And you never run out because Shutter Stock, they’re kind of a glutton; 43,632,261 royalty-free stock images on Shutter Stock. 324,000 new images this week! You might say what the heck am I going to do with all those? They have the best search engine that makes it so easy to find exactly what you want. And not just a thing, like I can search for a gorilla. And not just a thing like a gorilla, but then and by the way they have some of the best gorilla images ever. Then, once you could say happy gorilla. You can narrow it down by emotion. Let me do a search for a gorilla, then I’m going to press the refine your search button. I could choose gorilla vectors, photos, or illustrations, horizontal or vertical orientation. I could pick a category. I can exclude keywords. If there’s an artist or photographer that I really like, I can choose their name. Here’s the problem, you’re going to start playing with this and never stop. The good news is you can do all this without paying a penny. Just sign up for an account; you don’t even need to give them a credit card number. Not only search images and play around with images, you can store them in a like box so you have access to the images. You can share that like box with colleagues and clients. Great resource for inspiration, for ideas. I love it. Shutterstock.com. Sign up for that free account right now. Play with the iPad or Android app. They’re gorgeous. In fact they won an award for their design. And if you decide to purchase, we have an offer code for you: TWIG1014 and that’s going to give you 20% off on a new account on any image package. The image subscription packages are really the best deal. And with 20% off, they’re even better. Shutterstock.com. Sign up for the like box for the free account. When you decide to buy, just do me a favor, use TWIG1014. Oh there’s gorilla video. Shutterstock.com, use the offer code TWIG1014. And now Gina Trapani has her tip of the week.
Gina: Alright this is one of those tips that is not news at all. But it’s one of those things that isn’t obvious and it’s super handy when you need it. So when you’re in and using Google Maps navigation on your phone to get somewhere, if you tap the compass you can toggle between first-person view and the route view. Which is really handy when you want to see what the entire route is. And again, not obvious.
Leo: I do that all the time because I always want to see where the hell are you taking me?
Leo: What is this route?
Gina: When I read this, I was like oh right, okay. This is good to know. Because the compass doesn’t exactly get asked to be tapped. So the next time you’re in navigation, tap on the compass and you can switch between those two views. Both of which are very handy.
Leo: Jeff, your number of the week?
Jeff: I’m going to cheat a little bit. First, Mark Zuckerberg’s first interview in Mandarin.
Leo: He answered in Mandarin?
Jeff: He answered in Mandarin. I haven’t watched the video yet but there’s a video there on the rundown.
Leo: What an over-achiever. Skip ahead. He’s talking to students in China. He sounds pretty good. He’s got to work on his tones though. I studied Chinese in college for years and I couldn’t do this. That’s pretty impressive.
Jeff: Somebody said in Twitter where I found this, he did this while running a company. What did you do?
Leo: And killing and dressing his own meat products. And tearing down his block.
Leo: I hate over-achievers. Wow, that is very impressive. Chinese is not an easy language.
Gina: That’s great. Good for him. The crowd loved it.
Leo: I got to tell you, Chinese speakers love it, even if you’re terrible. They go oh, your accent is excellent.
Gina: My favorite moment when I was visiting China and walking through a public garden and happened upon what I assumed were locals. And my group raised our hands and said ne-how. And they said hello. And then we all just cracked up. Everyone just started laughing and it was fantastic.
Leo: I like to go and get the mani-pedis and they’re talking in Chinese the whole time. And at the end I go chin-chin-neen-si-jen. And they go oh shit. He understood. I didn’t but I like to pretend.
Gina: You like to pretend.
Leo: Oh no! That guy knew what we were saying about him. So I did a full review of the Galaxy… did you want to do another number, Jeff?
Leo: First is a number, it counts.
Jeff: I counted. I could go into a whole bunch of numbers about Android.
Leo: No, I like seeing Mark Zuckerberg speaking Chinese. So I did a full review of this on Before You Buy. This is the Galaxy Note 4, I got the unlocked edition. People are starting to get them now from the major carriers.
Jeff: How much did that cost? $1000?
Leo: No, not that bad. $850.
Jeff: $850, okay.
Leo: You can get it for $300 subsidized.
Jeff: In Korea, it is more than $1000.
Leo: It’s beautiful. This is a 5.7 inch super-ambled screen running at quad-HD. So it’s what, 2560 by 1440. You can see it, it’s really gorgeous. Here’s the inbox app running on it. Texts are crisp. You can’t see any dots at all. Just really is a beautiful phone. Very fast. Quad-core processors, 2.7 GHz quad-core processors. That’s desktop speeds now. And the main thing, you know I’m not a fan of what Samsung does to Android or haven’t been. I am a fan of the Note because I like the giant screens. And I’ve had every Note: 1, 2, 3, and 4. And have always loved it.
Jeff: Do you use the pen?
Leo: Yea, the pen works great.
Jeff: I kind of would like to use it once in a while.
Leo: When you want to take written notes for instance, this is very handy. They’ve got templates you can fill in. You can if you work really hard at it have the hand-writing converted into text. But you have to write very nicely and in a straight line. Which I do not do. It also as I pointed out has a fingerprint reader that works. And can be used for Google Wallet and other things. You can train up to three fingerprints. The only thing about the fingerprint reader, you see it’s kind of wide. That’s because you’re scanning your fingerprint. So you have to cover it entirely. You learn how to do it pretty good. But it isn’t as easy as Apple’s where you just rest your finger on it. Apple’s seems to work every time. This one takes a little practice. But the main thing I want to say, and by the way I’m running Novo Launcher. I’m not running Touch Wiz as you can probably tell from the normal looking dock. Not the Touch Wiz weird dock. Samsung is king of junking stuff up in the interface and so forth. But they have obviously listened to people and they have junk. And they have junked it up so much less. For instance, remember the camera used to have 800 different modes. They still have the same number of modes but you can manage them and hide the modes you don’t want to use. We were talking about how good the camera is going to be on the Nexus 6. I think there is no question. This is a 16 megapixel shooter that’s spectacular. 3.7 megapixel front camera with 120 degrees. So it’s really a great selfie camera. It has some interesting useful modes but you don’t have to see them all which is nice. One of my biggest complaints about the Galaxy’s phone is the S-voice. The Samsung voice, they’ve replaced Google search voice with… I just want to use Google. You can. Okay Google, I’m talking to you. Okay Google. And it does the okay Google thing. And every Android phone has done that since Kit Kat. You can also get Google Now by pressing and holding. So it’s a much purer version of Android than Samsung has done even on the Galaxy S5.
Jeff: How’s the battery?
Leo: The battery is massive. I think the biggest argument for these phones is this is one of the few phones still remaining where you can take the cover off and put in a new battery. So if you have two batteries, it is a 32-20 mA battery to begin with.
Gina: That thing is huge.
Leo: Which means it’s going to get you through the day. I don’t have good battery numbers yet because I’ve only had it for a few days. I like to let the phone settle a little bit before I really get battery numbers. But I think it’s going to be comparable to the One Plus One. And for $20 you get a second battery and you never have to worry again. And SD card support. The Nexus 6 isn’t going to have either of these capabilities so I’ve always liked the Samsung phones for that reason alone. I can buy an extra battery.
Jeff: Is it possible you like it more than the Nexus 6?
Leo: It’s possible. I’m going to buy a Nexus 6. Nexus 6 doesn’t have a removable back, doesn’t have a stylus. But it has Lollypop. This is Kit Kat. And I don’t expect Lollypop to show up for a Samsung phone right away by any means. But again, you put a launcher of your choice on there and I tell you the screen is spectacular. We’ll have to see what the Nexus 6 looks like. The Nexus 6 has roughly the same battery but it isn’t replaceable. It doesn’t have SD cards. So you’re going to have to get 64 gigs internal and hope that that’s enough. Let’s see. Nexus 6 has 32-00, this has 3220. So they have 20 little mA-hour better. I’m not saying rush out and get a Note 4. But if you did get a Note 4, you shouldn’t feel left out. This is a pretty darn nice phone. It is a gorgeous phone. If you show my pocket, Chad, it’s not that big. It’s so funny. When the Notes first came out, people said oh my God, that’s huge. We’re so used to big phones by now. I can pocket it. It’s not so different.
Chad: How big is that one?
Leo: It’s a little smaller than the iPhone 6 Plus. I don’t know the exact dimensions of it. Because it’s almost edge to edge on the screen, the bezels aren’t as big. Crappy back, single back speaker; that’s one thing the Nexus 6 will do much better. So I don’t know who’s going to win on that one.
Jeff: I said to my Korean host, the world laughed at you for your big phones. But you got the last laugh.
Leo: I think so. I love a big phone and I don’t use a tablet. I think you could use this on the train very happily. A couple other quick notes: if you have a Samsung phone, you can go to the Samsung store and download Nokia’s Here maps and driving directions. Those are very good, everybody loves those. And they have one advantage over Google Maps. You can use them offline. They will download maps before you head out the door. By state, by city, by country. So you can just use them offline. Also, get the Fox app if you have FX or FXX on your TV. Because the FX Now app now has every episode of the Simpsons ever. Twenty-five seasons, 522 episodes on your phone. Those are a couple little tips for you if you’re getting on an airplane as I am. Thank you, Gina Trapani.
Gina: Thank you.
Leo: Thinkup.com. Everybody should sign up today for that great insights, Twitter insights app.
Gina: Thank you, yea. A lot of fun today. A good show.
Leo: And she’s back to blogging on Squibbler!
Gina: Scribbling.net, yes.
Gina: My writing muscles are pretty rusty but I just decided to, even if it’s just a paragraph I’m going to publish it.
Leo: Do. Keep doing it. It will be easier and easier and easier.
Gina: Yea, it gets easier, right? It’s a muscle for sure.
Leo: And I love your writing. As a reader, I want you to do it. Same with you, Jeff Jarvis. He blogs pretty regularly at Buzz Machine.
Jeff: Twitter kind of ruined me.
Leo: Twitter ruined everything. Twitter is why we can’t have nice things. Twitter is the problem. Jeff is at the City University of New York where a bunch of very lucky students get to study journalism with him. Both of them join us virtually every Wednesday at about 1pm Pacific, 4pm Eastern time. 2000 UTC. For This Week in Google. If you can’t watch live, don’t worry about it! On demand audio and video is available after the fact at twit.tv/twig. That’s our website. Or wherever podcasts are aggregated: iTunes, Stitcher’s a good place. We have third-party, lovely third-party apps for almost every platform including Roku so you can download those and watch. We’ve got a lot of people watching on their big screen TVs in their living room on Roku. Thanks, Jeff. Thanks, Gina. Thanks, Chad Johnson, our producer. Thanks to you for watching and we’ll see you next week on TWiG! Bye bye.