This Week in Google 275 (Transcript)
Leo Laporte: It’s time for TWIG, This Week in Google. Jeff and Gina are here, Kevin Tofel from Gigaom too. Kevin is bringing his Nexus 6 phone, we’ll get a first review from Kevin on that. That’s exciting. We’ll also talk about Lollipop rolling out for a variety of devices today. Taylor Swift, pulling out of Spotify, what does that mean for the record industry? It’s all coming up next on TWIG.
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Leo: This is TWIG, This Week in Google, episode 275, recorded November 12, 2014
We All Work for the Dolphins
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It’s time for TWIG, This Week in Google where we talk about Google, yes, but also a lot of stuff about the Cloud and Facebook and Twitter, all that stuff. Gina Trapani is here, founding editor of Lifehacker. She is hacking her own software at ThinkUp.com, mother, daughter -
Gina Trapani: Sister. Hello. Good to be here.
Leo: See, I wasn’t sure actually. I knew you were a mother and a daughter, wasn’t sure about the sister part.
Gina: Three times over.
Leo: Three times a sister. Nice to see you. A little under the weather earlier, I’m sorry. I hope you’re feeling okay.
Gina: A little bit. First cold of the winter, I guess.
Leo: It’s one of them. I’m a little stuffed up myself. Also here from the City University of New York, from CUNY, he just flew in from where?
Jeff Jarvis: Prague.
Leo: Oh, I love Prague. Did you see any of it?
Jeff: I walked some hours. That’s about it. It’s an amazing place. I was speaking at the European Broadcasters’ news event.
Leo: Neat, that’s only, what? About nine -
Jeff: I woke up at 1:30 Prague time, couldn’t get back to sleep this morning. I got a couple hours on the plane, so -
Leo: You’re groggy?
Jeff: I’m Prague-y, yes.
Leo: If you need to bow out, you can. We weren’t sure if you’d make it so we brought in a ringer. Ladies and gentlemen, from Gigaom, Kevin Tofel.
Kevin Tofel: Hey there, how are you, Leo? Let’s be honest, though, Jason said the only reason you want me on the show is I’ve got one of these Nexus phones.
Leo: Yes it is. You enjoy showing that, don’t you?
Kevin: I do. It’s nice, we’ll talk about it, I know.
Leo: It’s so big it takes up the whole frame of your camera.
Gina: It does.
Kevin: I’m pretty small, too.
Leo: This has been a banner year for Android devices, for phones in general but particularly for Android devices. The ecosystem is clearly mature. The variety and choice available to consumers is unparalleled. It’s hard to pick one because there are so many good choices. It started with the HTC One which is still a gorgeous, beautiful phone.
Gina: Great phone.
Leo: We had the Galaxy S5, which I’m not as crazy about although I love the Note 4, really great phone. Motorola, of course, not to be left out, did a number of phones. They did the Moto G, which is a low price phone but still for many exactly the right price, size and feature set. The Moto X 2014 Edition, then the Droid Turbo which frankly is just a Moto X on steroids.
Jeff: Don’t forget the OnePlus One.
Leo: The OnePlus One, which we still think maybe is the winner, the dark horse.
Jeff: We’ll see how the Nexus 6 looks, embarrassing. Kevin, you’ve played with both?
Kevin: I have. The OnePlus One is very nice. It’s hard to get, obviously because the whole invite system and whatnot. You’re getting a lot of phone for $300.
Leo: That’s the key, right? $300, or $350 for the 64 GB. The other thing about it, I found no other phone that had its battery life. None! Twenty hours in normal use, for me, is remarkable. I was kind of bitching about this last week - Droid Turbo, you take a phone and you add a massive battery, then you say, “What can we do now that we have all this battery life? Let’s put a 2.7 GHz quad core processor in it and a quad HD screen,” and the battery life goes right back down to normal. It would have been incredible. You kind of have a similar situation with the Nexus 6, it’s got a QHD screen.
Jeff: What’s the life like on this?
Leo: What’s the battery life?
Kevin: I think most people will get through a full day on it. If you’re a heavy duty power user, I don’t think twenty hours is going to fly. It’s a 3220 milliamp-hour battery, comes with that Turbo charger just like the Droid Turbo, and recharges the whole phone in less than two hours, very quick. But I think most people are good for a day on this.
Leo: Good. That’s the real question, because in every other respect, it’s a beast.
Kevin: It is.
Leo: Is the camera good? Motorola is not historically done great cameras.
Kevin: Google says it’s the best Nexus camera, which is not a high bar that they’ve set there. But yes, it’s actually quite good. It’s surprisingly good. There’s still some bugs with the Android 5.0. The camera app itself crashed on me at least six times in the last ten days, so there are some things they need to work out. But the actual quality is pretty good. Low light is still a challenge, I think that’s definitely going to be a problem. There’s still some better camera phones out there. Lumia and the iPhone 6, for example, they just do better in low light, in my opinion.
Leo: You know, the truth is it’s going to be about as hard to get for some time as the OnePlus One, maybe even harder. The OnePlus One at least -
Jeff: I managed to order one at Motorola. God bless, I got two TWIG fans that came into Twitter and said, “Order now!” I went into the first one, it said, the thing you ordered isn’t in stock any more, in my cart. So I refreshed the order and killed one of them, supposedly it’s on its way on November 18.
Leo: Nice, which one did you get?
Jeff: The black 64.
Leo: I’d settle for a black 32 or midnight blue 32. I wanted the silver 64. You know what, I think this really rounds out the year. What a year it has been for smart phones, wow. Any size, any shape, lots of power -
Kevin: Any price.
Leo: That’s the only negative, I guess, with the Nexus 6 it is $650 starting point. It’s really priced like the other high-end phones.
Jeff: I don’t mean to look a horse in the mouth, because you’re right. It has been a great year for variety but it took - the phones arrived, then the variety spread out. The question is, is there now a next development of amazing things phones will do?
Leo: I got to say, I think we’re now in a very mature space.
Jeff: I think we are.
Leo: It’s hard to imagine - I guess you could make the camera better. Quad HD is already beyond anything anybody cares about. The Droid Turbo is more than 500 dpi, done. There’s no point in going - in fact, overdone already. Battery life would be nice.
Gina: Yes, I mean, screens that don’t break, totally waterproof, front-facing cameras that match back-facing cameras in terms of, you know. I think there’s still some catching up that we can do.
Jeff: I still go for a vision that I’m going to have on my person my computer, and the phone is another accessory device to it.
Leo: What? I think this is your computer. A Nexus 6 is a computer.
Jeff: No, no. I think where it goes. I think in essence, this becomes your computer. Your computer is something that is on you, like you wear it. This becomes a display unit.
Leo: So you’re saying the phone is a display for the watch.
Jeff: Not the watch, I don’t care - you have something on you. Your key fob or something that’s your computer, that’s your identity, that’s your you. It can speak through your phone, your tablet, your laptop, your watch, your glasses, your whatever. I think that’s what we’re heading for here, is that you have one computer and many accessories.
Leo: I think you need a computer in the fifth dimension that is as big as a house but it has a little viewport on you in your dimension.
Jeff: And it can land on comets.
Leo: Hey, by the way, wow. Did you all get up in the morning, 11 a.m. for you, 8 a.m. for us, but I had to watch it. Even CNN covered it! It was so much in the news.
Jeff: I was on the plane, what was there to watch? Seven hours of waiting?
Leo: Well, at 8 a.m. it landed but we didn’t get a picture for thirty minutes. Just watching the folks at Mission Control in the European Space Agency when they got the news that it had touched down and seemed to survive - remember, they launched this ten years ago.
Kevin: Yes, it’s phenomenal.
Leo: So they’ve been waiting for today for ten years not knowing, it might miss or crash or all sorts of things.
Jeff: I haven’t seen, are there new good pictures up?
Kevin: Lots of pictures.
Leo: Yes, there was some issue. I think they have several ways of fixing it to the comet. One, the harpoons did not deploy, but they have screws on the feet which did work.
Jeff: The thrust that was supposed to push it down didn’t deploy. Maybe the harpoons did deploy.
Leo: I don’t know, I might be wrong. Anyway, it’s there. I think they need to secure it a little bit. But other than that, there’s a picture of the comet.
Jeff: That’s going in.
Leo: Yes, this is during descent, about 3 km from the surface. There’s the little guy.
Jeff: That one I saw.
Leo: This is it, that’s a rendering I believe. Photo illustration, as they say. That’s accurate, this is exactly what it looks like. You can see the Arch de Triumph from there, that’s the comet. It’s a pretty little thing.
Here’s an image of the surface.
Jeff: That’s the one from the fly around.
Leo: Right, so they still have a satellite going around and they had deployed the lander from the satellite. I’m looking, maybe there will be some more pictures… This is it, this is the set. But there are going to be, right?
Background voice: There were supposed to be but they haven’t come. They keep losing communication with it. They’ve got a lot of data, no pictures yet.
Leo: The ice screws had been shot by the craft’s harpoons and were securing it to the surface. The lander’s in great shape. It says that the harpoons did not fire, I’m sorry. The Agency is looking at trying again.
Jeff: You were right, I was wrong.
Leo: After analyzing telemetry, the ESA says it seems the craft’s harpoons didn’t fire as first thought.
Kevin: I’m curious what carrier they’re using. They’re losing signal and I’m sure a delay is there.
Leo: It ain’t Verizon.
Jeff: Today, I’ll be complaining about AT&T later.
Leo: It’s just really amazing, just amazing. You can follow it on Twitter, just really cool. It’s making sounds at a frequency higher at the capability for human hearing, 40 to 50 MHz. But if you make it audible and increase it by a factor of a thousand, this is what - can you hear my audio? This is the comet singing.
(audio clip of comet)
Gina: Sounds like a dolphin.
Leo: What if they’re trying to signal the dolphins?
Gina: That must be it.
Leo: They’re in cahoots!
Kevin: Sounds like a Star Trek movie.
Leo: It feels a little Douglas Adams. We actually unknowingly are doing the work of the dolphins to get this thing there. The dolphins sent us a message ten years ago.
Gina: “We’re doing the work of the dolphins.”
Leo: Now, by playing this I am now alerting the dolphins.
Kevin: I knew they were smart.
Leo: We are here. Wow.
Kevin: I’m afraid to play this any longer. I don’t know.
Leo: No, we’re doing the work of the dolphins. This is good. In Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, one of the volumes, the dolphins leave and it turns out they were in fact the smartest species on Earth. They leave a little note saying, so long, thanks for all the fish.
Gina: I love that line.
Kevin: I could kind of listen to this forever. I love it.
Leo: I’m blown away by this. We’ve got to do more of this.
Kevin: So ambient.
Leo: Meanwhile, Jeff wants a computer in the fifth dimension. But Jeff and I have ordered - now Gina, you’re happy with your OnePlus, you’re going to stick with that.
Gina: I’m going to stick with it. I’ve been through a few too many phones this year. As long as I don’t destroy this one, I’m going to hold on to it.
Leo: What is the update situation there? You’re running Cyanogen.
Gina: Yep, running Cyanogen, so I think they said 90 days from the AOSP drop.
Jeff: There’s a new mod that’s supposed to be out now for our OnePlus Ones that I haven’t gotten yet.
Leo: R39 or something, huh?
Jeff: No, I think the bigger number, 45 or something. But this might fix the problem I’m having with my phone but I still don’t know. It’s been a week and a half and I haven’t had a working phone.
Jeff: AT&T, not having - (crosstalk)
Leo: No, I think it’s you, Jeff.
Jeff: Here’s the deal, as quick as I can make. I’ve got a video up on rundown.
Leo: Let me pull that up for you.
Jeff: Every single time that I call, and you’ll see this, it happened time after time after time again. I dealt with a very nice person on Twitter and a very nice person elsewhere and it got escalated. Here’s what happens, I just tried to call. Notice I’m trying to call the AT&T retail store. It will ring, and then it just ends.
Leo: I think you have a defective phone. Then people start singing?
Jeff: Then people sing.
Leo: “He’s lost the signal again! Ho, he’s lost the signal again, that Jeff Jarvis has! Hallelujah!”
Jeff: It’s not a defective phone, because I put the SIM in my Nexus 5, same problem. I go around and around and around, they say, well, we’re doing some upgrades.
Leo: So on the Nexus 5 you drop calls with the same SIM?
Jeff: Nexus 5, dropped almost every call, 90% of the calls. I go to the store to get a new SIM, they tell me that’s not going to do any good. They told me to get a SIM, I get a SIM, that doesn’t do any good. They want me to go to the Device Repair Center, whatever the hell they call it, and they say, “oh yes! Known issue, Nexus 5, two weeks, the only fix we have is to downgrade to 3G.” What a hell of a fix, AT&T, that’s great. I’m doing all kinds of troubleshooting. It gets elevated thanks to another TWIG fan, a marketing executive. I get to the person at corporate where they were saying, “Oh, we’re doing some upgrades.”
Clearly what happened here is there’s been no new software for the Nexus 5 or OnePlus One, so you guys changed something in your system that made it not work. Then they came back and said, “No, we haven’t changed anything.” They were telling me they’ve been upgrading the whole time so they speak with forked tongue. Their biggest response to me was, “Buy an AT&T phone.”
Leo: That’s not a good answer. Yet I know I’ve used both the OnePlus One and the Nexus 5 on AT&T.
Jeff: It seems to be regional here. I went to my good buddy, my good TWIG fan Alex Hugo, who works at the store. He’s helped me time and time again and I’ve praised him to the executives. This is a guy who cares about AT&T working for its customers - Alex, thank you for all your help. The woman at corporate denied it, but his theory was there’s been issues with Voiceover LTE, I don’t even know what [inaudible] is.
Leo: That would make sense.
Jeff: That’s been an issue. So on the one hand, I’m ready to throw my hands in and be a sycophant. On the other hand, I’ll wait for my Nexus 6. I presume it’ll work because if it doesn’t, it’ll have lots of people.
Leo: Why don’t you go to T-Mobile like you should have done ages ago?
Jeff: I probably will.
Leo: How’s T-Mobile in Manhattan, is it okay?
Leo: I love T-Mobile.
Jeff: Here’s the thing, I have my grandfathered unlimited data plan with AT&T.
Leo: Really? They haven’t taken that away from you yet? You know they want to. “How can we get Jarvis off of that unlimited data?”
Kevin: Just turn his 4G off. That’s one way.
Leo: Just to wrap it up on the Nexus 6, you want to give us a quick pros and cons, Kevin? You’ve used it for ten days, this is the most thorough test I’ve heard about.
Kevin: I got a little dog and pony show in New York City with Google about ten days ago, walked home with a Nexus 6. It’s definitely a big phone, right off the bat.
Leo: Show us the screen a little bit so we can get a sense. Yes, looks big.
Kevin: It is big. I don’t have an iPhone 6 -
Jeff: Does your hand go around it without stretching too much?
Kevin: No, and that’s because it’s got the nice rounded back like the other Moto phones in all. It’s about as big as the iPhone 6 Plus.
Jeff: It fills the hand, doesn’t it?
Kevin: It definitely fills the hand and next to my head, it’s pretty big.
Leo: We’d gotten over that years ago, that’s fine.
Kevin: I do have a Moto X from this year to compare it to. I think that’s a fair comparison.
Jeff: This is my OnePlus One and my fingers are all dangly on it.
Kevin: Right off the bat, it’s big. That’s kind of, I said in my review, the Nexus 6 is in a very strange place. Think about it. This is the first time all the carriers are selling the Nexus phone. It’s really a very close copy of an existing phone in the Motorola, Moto X and the Droid Turbo. It’s bigger than any phone out there right now with a few exceptions.
Leo: The 1520, well - the OnePlus One is only 5.5 inches.
Kevin: Six inches.
Jeff: NuForce is bigger, right?
Leo: NuForce is bigger physically but a smaller screen, it’s 5x7.
Kevin: They really did pack in. It’s actually a 5.96 inch display. I call it 6 here. But it’s a beautiful display and Leo, as you said, it is Quad HD. It’s just gorgeous. You can’t see pixels. Part of me says, this is all great, but internally it’s got the same guts as the Droid Turbo. It’s got the nice big battery, and those are smaller and a little easier to handle. I think a lot of people, if you need a big phone, okay. This is a great one.
It’s got Lollipop; the other ones are all getting Lollipop now and they’re a little easier to manage. It’s a nice phone, it’s probably the first Nexus that hasn’t cut any corners. There’s always something missing, be it a bad display quality or bad camera, whatever. This is really the first no corners cut Nexus device I can think of. It’s nice but it’s a handful.
Leo: That’s what I’m kind of seeing, that we’re on a maturity point of this stuff. The processors are more than fast enough. Turbo has a 2.7 gHz core.
Kevin: Same chip as this.
Leo: 805. High end GPUs in these things. I don’t think you need much faster. Lollipop is pretty darn mature, I think this is - all the hard edges have been sanded down.
Jeff: So what’s next? It feels like we should close up shop, we’ve hit alpha space.
Leo: I think it’s possible this phone you buy the last months of the year might be the last phone you buy for a couple of years.
Jeff: Wow. Not you, of course.
Leo: I can’t go there. But frankly, I don’t think there’s going to be much improvement going for it. I think this is about as good as you’re going to get - maybe better cameras, I don’t know.
Kevin: You know there’s one thought though that really surprised me. This is all meant to showcase Android 5.0, which it does. But Android 5.0 is Google’s 64-bit operating system and only the Nexus 9 right now has a 64-bit chip. I’m not saying people are going to notice a different between 32 bit, 64 bit and so on. But your point about this may be the last phone you buy for a while, I would’ve liked it if it had the Snapdragon 810 which is not yet available, but is 64 bit, for example. Then you’re future proofed, you know?
Leo: Maybe, although I’m not sure what you get with 64 bit except access to more than 4 gigs of RAM. I’m not sure any devices - the Nexus 9 only has 2 gigs of Ram. None of these devices use anything really significant with 64 bits. They’re all plenty fast enough. I think 64 bits is like Quad HD, a number that’s kind of detached from any real value. It’s just, gotta be better, it’s twice as many bits. I don’t know about that.
Jeff: What are your predictions about Project Ara?
Leo: Oh, that’s a joke, come on. Remember the Visor?
Gina: What was the Visor?
Leo: The Visor was a palm device that had modules you could slot in. Terrible idea, the things fall out, they’re janky, nothing fits quite as nicely and beautiful as it would if they were built in. I don’t think consumers say - it’s bad enough that there’s twelve phones, to go in and say, “Now what modules do you want installed?” It’s way too much.
Gina: It could be a hobbyist thing.
Leo: I think it always has been.
Gina: It could be a successful hobbyist thing, though.
Leo: I guess.
Jeff: Well, to Kevin’s point, you could conceivably modularize, I mean, the whole damn motherboard. But the chip, change the chip and upgrade protocol.
Leo: Changing the chip costs as much as buying a new phone.
Jeff: That’s the problem.
Leo: So just get a new phone. Here’s the Visor, we actually have one here.
Kevin: It’s better than the picture I was searching for.
Leo: No, this is it. You recognize kind of the palm factor, but you could put a modem in there and other stuff. That’s Project Ara in a nutshell.
Kevin: Back to the future.
Leo: I just, I know people are so excited about Project Ara. I guess it’s the maker movement and the hobbyists and stuff who want it. It’s not even going to be that interesting. You’ve got eight modules or whatever, you can snap them together.
Jeff: That’s not what’s new.
Leo: I think we’ve got one. Is there anything you feel like you don’t have? By the way, PCs hit this maturity point years ago.
Leo: You said it yourself, Jeff. “I’m not going to buy another PC.” You don’t need to.
Jeff: What’s funny is, I have this reflex. My Chromebook is absolutely fine, it’s the best ware on the market. I still want to get a new one.
Leo: Because there’s consumer urge.
Kevin: Are you still using the Pixel, Jeff?
Leo: You bet; he loves it. Are you on it right now?
Jeff: I am.
Leo: Actually, I think I’ve come around on Chromebook. I see its value for certain users. I actually recommend it a lot on the radio show for people who just need browsing and email. All you need is a Chromebook. You don’t have to worry security or anything.
Gina: That’s good advice.
Leo: If you go to Google right now, I think - I might have turned it off. You will be encouraged to donate to fight Ebola and Google will match your donation two for one. That’s pretty cool. Google has pledged how many millions of dollars? $7.5 million.
Leo: For every dollar you give, Google will give two. They now have $5.7 million pledged on their way to a $7.5 million goal. Google will give up to $25 million dollars to fight the Ebola crisis. People are very much responding. I think that’s wonderful.
Gina: I just threw $5 their way. It made me feel good, I tweeted it out. It’s Wallet, so it’s real easy.
Leo: I wanted to do something about it. I read an article and I posted it on my Facebook page, saying, “If you’re worried about Ebola, don’t elect a Republican just give some money to fight Ebola in Africa!” Because the key is to keep the number of people who have it down, to treat the ones who have it - that’s how you keep it from spreading. It was a great article on Medium, I’ll see if I can find it. But at that time, I gave money to Partners in Health. They’re working in Liberia and Sierra Leone. I’ve started a sustaining donation to Doctors Without Borders because they do great stuff all around. They’re very involved in fighting Ebola.
Jeff: (inaudible) - on Ebola. It’s an example of the network society and what’s really happening here. The vulnerability isn’t here on our shores; it is over there and we have to fight it there.
Leo: It’s “Ebola, the Real Reason Everyone Should Panic” and it’s by -
Jeff: Zeynep Tufekci.
Leo: You know her?
Jeff: Yes, she’s great. She’s a brilliant sociologist. She is just brilliant.
Leo: It says, really, the global institutions are broken. The problem is not in here, the US, or Europe. The problem is in Africa. Let’s go there and fix it. It’s not even that expensive if we just do it. So she says at the end, “you want to do something about it, donate” and it moved me. I gave money to Partners in Health, which she recommended and Doctors Without Borders.
Gina: TWiT is doing some fundraising at the end of the year, right?
Leo: Yes, we’re going to do - I don’t want to be self-serving. We’re going to do a fun marathon, which we invited all of you to do. We did it last year on the New Year’s Eve marathon; but we thought, if we’re going to do this we should really make it for charity. I asked our team to come up with a charity that was international, highly rated and was doing good work with Ebola on the ground in Africa. We came up with United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF. They’re going to partner with us. We’re going to be raising money for UNICEF from 3 a.m. New Year’s Eve to 3 a.m. New Year’s Day. We really try to get all of you out.
Jeff: I’m trying to figure it out now.
Leo: I know Gina can’t do it because of the baby, but next year.
Gina: I’ll Skype in.
Leo: We’ll all Skype in. All our hosts will be here or Skype in. What we’re really hoping to do is raise a lot of money and awareness and have some fun while we do it. Celebrate New Year’s Eve in a geeky fashion.
Jeff: If it’s okay, I think I’ll bring cake.
Leo: Okay? It’s encouraged.
Jeff: I thought you’d like that.
Leo: We’ll put Jake to work.
So it’s interesting that Facebook and Google have both responded. I have to think this Medium post had something to do with it.
Jeff: Really? She’s amazing and she’s highly respected in geek world. Zeynep knows her stuff. She’s Turkish and really brought tremendous perspective on the network world there. She understands the sociology of the net brilliantly. I’m a huge fan of hers.
Leo: So when you log into Facebook, you’ve probably already seen the rectangular box that says “We can help stop Ebola. Let’s support organizations working in West Africa so they can stop the disease and save lives.” Again, the focus on stopping it in Africa where it’s really a problem and people are really sick instead of worrying about quarantining nurses in New Jersey. They’re asking for donations to the International Medical Corp. to save the children or to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Jeff: Let’s note that the doctor in New York was let out yesterday. So now, the United States is free of known cases. All the panic that occurred two weeks ago, done.
Leo: Incredible. Zuckerberg donating $25 million of his own dollars, and Google is doing the same. That’s awesome. I think that’s great. This is when our community is doing a good thing, I’m proud to be of that. We’re going to take a break. When we come back, I want to talk about the proposal President Obama floated on Monday for solving the net neutrality crisis. Get your opinions. This is the beginning of a long conversation, I think.
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President Obama said we’re going to preserve a free and open internet. It’s one of the most important technologies in the modern world. He didn’t seem to do much about it, and in fact appointed as chairman of the FCC that some of us felt wasn’t really going to look out for our best interests. Actually, he did in some ways.
Jeff: There was a great tweet, I forget who did it this week, I think it was Matthew Keys. The FCC head can’t figure out how to split the baby, and somebody said, “Oh, good. A dead baby.”
Leo: I feel like Tom Wheeler of the FCC, was a lobbyist, we know, for the cable companies and the wireless companies. He’s in the hall of fame for both so I had very little faith in him. Yet I feel like he has been trying. Maybe I’m misreading it.
Jeff: I’m thinking Obama gave him cover. He’s trying to play both sides, and Obama, what the hell. He has no Congress, he has no Senate, so what does he have to lose? By changing, pardon me, I guess AT&T just turned off my lights.
Leo: “We’ll get you, Jarvis! One way or the other!”
Jeff: (inaudible) - so the way it gives him coverage is to say, “Okay, here’s where the bar is. I’m going to put the bar up here,” because neutral is neutral.
Leo: So the FCC proposed open internet rules. Verizon immediately sued. The judge looked at him and said, “look, FCC, you have a mandate from Congress. Your mandate does not allow you to impose these rules so we’re going to have to agree with Verizon. But, nudge nudge, if you look at the Telecommunications Act, you’ll see a thing called Title 2 that allows you, the FCC to declare internet service providers to be common carriers. If you do that, we can assure you that will be fine with us.” The judge really gave him a road map.
Then remember Wheeler made a proposal everybody was very upset about. They received 1.7 million comments in their open comment period for almost anything except the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction, which really is a problem. They’re still kind of fencing around about this. So Obama on Monday said -
Jeff: One more step. Right before Obama, didn’t Wheeler come out with this idea of, “split the baby, neutral for Netflix, not neutral for consumers.”
Leo: He said, “We will protect the interconnects, the behind the scene stuff.” You saw this happen with Comcast, which slowly throttled down Netflix until all the Netflix customers on Comcast said, “Well this experience sucks.” Comcast said, “Okay, we’ll pay you.” They basically blackmailed Comcast into paying them, that’s what Comcast thinks anyway.
I have to say there’s arguments on both sides. I don’t think it’s that clear. Wheeler said, we’ll protect the behind the scenes stuff but we want to stay out of the public internet. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad idea. But Obama came in and said, “nope, Title 2” but he also said “but you don’t have to fully enforce it.”
Jeff: What’s an example of discriminatory service on the consumer end that you think is tolerable?
Leo: By the way, we’re going to do a big debate about this on TWiT on Sunday. We have Brett Glass, who is a firebrand and an internet service provider in Wyoming. He’s an ISP; he’s also been a tech journalist. He says any regulation at all of the internet is going to be a problem. You don’t want government fiddling with the internet because they don’t understand it. It’s a blunt instrument and if you regulate internet service providers as carriers, you’re going to make it far worse than it is. We will get on somebody, we tried to get Neil -
Kevin: We’ve got Dane.
Leo: Dane Jasper, who is the CEO of Sonic.net, another internet provider. He’s actually a good guy to get on the other side. I think he can argue the other side.
Kevin: He absolutely can. He’s very much looking forward to it.
Leo: So we will have a debate between internet service providers about whether they should be regulated as carriers.
Jeff: This is an Al Franken argument from a couple years ago from South by Southwest. The net neutrality is not trying to regulate the internet, it’s trying to stop the ISPs from changing the architecture of the net.
Leo: I would love it if Title 2 would just, boom, solve this problem. I remember talking to John Perry Barlow, founder of EFF. He said even the EFF board is very split on this. Some of us are just anti government. We don’t think the government can do a very good job. The internet moves too fast, is too technical, we just don’t feel like government is the right solution. We also recognize that just leaving it up to Comcast, Verizon and AT&T isn’t a great solution either. I think, can we all agree that what we really wish we had is real competition? If there were ten choices, it wouldn’t be a problem.
Jeff: That has to be the barrier. Until we have some measure of true competition, there’s a temporary regulation in place to preserve certain rights under the belief that competition will then deal with this. The arguments that the phone companies are making of course is that they have huge profits, even in these capital-intensive businesses. They argue we’re not going to invest. But they see that we are investing and if the barrier is set at a competitive level, if it says “the regulation will come off when you are this competitive”…
Leo: Well I’m going to channel somebody like Jerry Cornell, who’s a right wing libertarian, who would say, “When have you ever seen the government give up any regulation once imposed?” In other words, once you give the FCC the power to regulate, are they very likely to say, “Oh good, there’s competition now. Have fun, guys, we’re stopping.”
Jeff: I mean, you can sunset it in that way. I sound like a libertarian sometimes, I’m a Hilary Clinton democrat. I think there’s a rule for certain places and not other places. I scream generally about the government staying the hell out of the internet and I generally agree with that. Right now -
Leo: What about those who argue, there isn’t any problem right now? Everything’s working pretty well. I mean, yeah, Comcast put the screws to Netflix but Netflix is still making money. They were able to pay those interconnect fees. It’s working now. In other words, it’s a form of techno panic, to use your own phrase, Jeff.
Jeff: I also think, Leo, at this point - and I already had my rant about a phone company of the month - but if telephone and cable companies think we’re going to side with them and give them empathy… it’s time to pay the piper, guys. You’ve been treating us like prisoners and like crap for years, nickel and diming us, setting your own rules and not operating in an open way, now you expect us to side with you? We have no trust in you. Sorry, AT&T, you do not have the most reliable 4G network and I have the proof. Sorry, cable companies, you throttle us and I know your margins on internet are unbelievable. You bundle us and screw us in all kinds of ways. You don’t give us good service. No, we’re not going to sympathize with you. We’re not going to leave the internet in your hands.
Leo: But I also want to point out that Title 2 doesn’t say anything about pay prioritization which is really the issue here.
Leo: It does impose all sorts of interesting -
Jeff: I’ve never spotted that part, too. I agree. That’s what I was pointing to about selective enforcement. Maybe you just set the principles and say, “These are the principles we’re going to enforce.”
Leo: Title 2, this is the key thing, subsection 202 says, “Common carriers,” and this would make ISPs common carriers, “can’t make any unjust or unreasonable discrimination in charges, practices, classifications, regulations, facilities or services.” So Michael Weinberg at Public Knowledge says under Title 2 the FCC would be free to create blanket rules that prohibit problematic discrimination. But I know already that Brett Glass is going to come on and say, “That’s fine, but let me tell you some of the other things Title 2 requires.” There are a lot of arcane provisions in there.
Jeff: Requires, or enables?
Leo: The commission says we will forbear, selectively not enforce, certain features of Title 2 and so that’s the thing. Do you trust them to enforce just the good stuff and not everything?
Kevin: That’s the heart of the matter right there. Who do you trust more? The government to be involved, or the carriers themselves not to take advantage of the current situation - I think that’s the big split right there.
Leo Laporte/Jeff: I don’t trust either of them.
Leo: I guess if I had to pick one - I guess I’d pick the government but god knows. For one thing, they’re clearly influenced by the dollars donated by -
Jeff: I would pick companies in the competitive marketplace, hands down.
Jeff: In a non-competitive marketplace, I’d pick government. People will say, “Oh, Jarvis, what about you and Google when you defend them?” Well, they’re in a competitive marketplace for everything except advertising. There are choices. We are not imprisoned as users by Google. We are imprisoned in terms of phone and cable companies. That to me is the difference.
Leo: We’re going to have a heck of a debate on Sunday. I have a lot of prep work to do because this is a very complicated subject.
Gina: That’s going to be a good show, yes.
Jeff: Glad you’re doing it.
Leo: I think we kind of have to. Even in our own audience, it’s very split about how to solve this. I think we all generally agree, if there were competition we wouldn’t have to worry. If Comcast were screwing you, you’d have somewhere else to go.
Jeff: Yes Comcast has been able to gobble up even more.
Leo: By the way, that was with the help and support of the Federal Communications Commission which gave them monopoly. Now the argument if you go back in time was - Comcast said, “We’re not going to build out our system unless we have a monopoly in each region.” The FCC felt like, “well, if we’re going to let these guys build this infrastructure, we got to give them monopoly.” It’s very interesting. I think we all need to understand as best we can.
Matthew Inman did a famous Oatmeal response to Ted Cruise’s tweet, “Net neutrality is Obamacare for the internet. The internet should not operate at the speed of government.” Matthew said, “This led me to assume one of two things. One, when you accepted campaign funds, Ted Cruise, from Telecom lobbyists last year, they asked that you publicly smear net neutrality. Thing two, you actually don’t know what net neutrality is.”
Gina: I love this guy.
Leo: Isn’t he great? He said, “I can’t do anything about thing one, instead let me explain what net neutrality is.” The problem is, all of these simplistic explanations make a huge amount of sense. I’ve seen so many of these. This isn’t what’s happening. I’m not sure that this is - he even says, this is an extreme scenario and not a very likely one.
Jeff: Even the NY Times this week had a headline about, “A Really Simple Way to Understand Net Neutrality.” It’s not that complex. If you oversimplify it you ruin it too. The NY Times piece was not bad. It was a fine explanation.
Leo: Yes, and I think Matthew’s very smart. He did a great job. He says net neutrality is a bipartisan issue because net neutrality isn’t about control, it’s about freedom. It seems to me if you are conservative and you believe innovation is going to keep this country economically vital, you must believe in the internet and a free unfettered internet too. Of course, remember, conservatives just don’t trust government.
I have to say, if Ted Cruise is against it, I’m for it. Personally, that helps me make the choice.
Jeff: There’s an argument here that says anything Obama touches gets political cooties. (crosstalk)
Leo: Maybe by saying what he said, yes - now he’s provided a target. Do you think it was cover for Tom Wheeler?
Jeff: In a way, yeah, Wheeler can seem more reasonable or figured out. Otherwise, it’s now going to be known as the Obamanet.
Leo: We do know that Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T hate Title 2, which is another good reason to do it.
Jeff: Well, fine, now Wheeler has negotiating power. Now Wheeler can say, “Okay, folks, the President of the US and a lot of people, 1.x million, are after you. Let’s actually talk now.”
Leo: That actually could be a very savvy political move there.
Jeff: The problem is the idea that he’s going to negotiate net neutrality with the telephone companies. That alone makes my skin crawl.
Leo: Such a challenge. In areas where there are multiple internet service providers, I do believe that things are better. In general in the US, something like 80% of all Americans only have two choices for phone companies.
Jeff: I have my FiOS, and my FiOS is better than my cable setup was, and the two of them have been fighting each other for features. I think it improves it immensely. It’s only two, that’s still an oligopoly.
Leo: Let’s face it, Verizon and Comcast are kind of in bed on this one.
Jeff: The NY Times argument was basically that the net neutrality is the power company. We turn on the power, we don’t know where it comes from, and we get to pay a bill. That’s the British model, where BT does the last mile, anybody can sell you service over it. We’re not anywhere near that.
Leo: That’s the thing. We can think of solutions: competition, government-owned internet, that kind of thing. A lot of people, including Bob Frankston, one of the guys who created VisiCalc, are advocating for local municipalities to just use their right of imminent domain to take over the internet wiring in that town. Say, “We own this, it’s a public utility, and we’re going to let any company that wants to provide internet service over these wires do it.” That would be a great solution, but none of these are likely to happen in most areas.
We found out why the Google barges didn’t fly. They were fire hazards. The Coast Guard said, these barges - remember, these barges appeared in Portland, Maine, and San Francisco. We didn’t know what they were. They were supposedly floating showrooms for Google. Crazy, millions of dollars spent on these barges. The barges that they bought to recondition along cost something like 4.5 million. Apparently, according to the Wall Street Journal, the US Coast Guard repeatedly raised fire safety concerns Google could not answer. They warned that the barges would have over 5 thousand gallons of fuel on the main deck, right next to a substantial amount of combustible material. They’re floating bombs!
Kevin: You’ve got your Chromebook aisle, your Nexus aisle, and your fuel aisle.
Leo: In fact, they dismantled and sold the Portland barge for scrap in August and they moved the San Francisco barge. So much for the barges.
Jeff: Christopher Mims, I think, is the columnist for the Journal who did the story. On Twitter, he was arguing that this was an act of technology hubris. I said, maybe, but I often imagine it’s right hand, left hand - it’s not so much that we can get away with it, it’s that somebody went and did something. The company’s too darn big now.
Leo: This is an example of government regulation working exactly like it’s supposed to.
Kevin: Barge neutrality.
Jeff: Here’s a dumb question though. Barges, I thought were pushed by tow truck.
Leo: Yes, I don’t know why they have fuel.
Jeff: Why do they have fuel?
Leo: Apparently they did. Google didn’t dispute the point. “Yeah, we’ve got 5 thousand gallons of fuel, what’s the problem?”
Gina: “Yeah, all right. We’ll sell it off.” There’s a project gone wrong.
Leo: “Yeah, you’re right! It could blow up! I never thought of that.”
Kevin: “Never mind. Oops.”
Leo: Google has a Google Drive for genomes. Remember, they killed their HealthVault.
Jeff: That was more consumer leveled.
Leo: Yes, this is aimed at hospitals and universities. It’s the big genomic data on Google Cloud platform. Google genomics, boy, these guys think big. Got to love them. cloud.google.com/genomics if you’d like to explore genetic variation interactively.
Jeff: Hey, get me at it.
Kevin: And who doesn’t?
Leo: Compare entire cohorts in seconds with SQL-like queries. Compute transition, transversion ratios, genome-wide association, allelic frequency and more. We got a Cloud for you. It’s easy to sign up. If you don’t already have a Google account, make one. Wow. So you have to download the Java client .jar file. It’s all done in Java.
I want to do the change log. Are you in the mood, Gina Trapani?
Gina: Let’s do it.
Leo: Before we do that - oh!
Kevin: Oh, sorry. I thought that was the throw.
Leo: That’s in the business called a tease, not a throw.
Kevin: Sorry, I’ve got itchy fingers.
Leo: Not a throw… Our show today brought to you today by Personal Capital. PersonalCapital.com, this is a free and very secure - I can understand you might say, “Well, I’m going to give them all my personal financial information?” Yes, the back end on this is exactly the same one your bank uses, they already know all your personal financial information. What you do, once you enter all this stuff in, stocks, investments, mortgages, loans, assets, bank accounts, checking accounts, you’re going to get a great, beautiful dashboard. So you see exactly where your money is, where it’s going. You can even use this for budgeting, which is great. They have apps for all the devices, including Android Air Watch App so you can get notifications about your investments as you walk around town.
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Now, the throw. It’s time for the Google change log.
Voiceover: The Google change log.
Leo: Gina Trapani has the latest from Google.
Gina: Google Voice users, you now get MMS support on Verizon, Verizon wireless users, and data support. This means that Google Voice now supports MMS from all the major carriers in the US and Canada and if you’re using Hangouts with Google Voice, you can send these messages natively. You’re not going to get a link to an image, it all shows up right there in your SMS client, in Hangouts, the way you would expect. It looks like the only thing we’re waiting on at this point is group messaging via MMS. That apparently will be enabled in a future update. Google Voice, getting the MMS going on. Good news.
Google Drive has been optimized for iOS 8. So a couple of nice updates for iOS users, you can now open files from Drive and save back to Drive from other apps on your device if you’re using iOS 8. You can use Touch ID now to unlock Drive. There was the ability to pass code lock Drive for a while, but now you can get Touch ID. You can add videos that you store on Google Drive to your iOS device as well. You can save videos from Drive to your device’s Camera Roll. You just tap the file, and then say “Open in…” and then choose Video to save it to Camera Roll. That’s pretty nice.
Google Keyboard was updated with material themes and Lollipop’s Messenger app is now in the Play Store. Of course, the Google Keyboard got a refresh, an update which included light and dark material design themes. You don’t see them by default, you have to go under Settings and select which theme you want to use if you want to see them. The Messenger app, which has been introduced in Lollipop, is now available in the Play Store. If you had to buy for the Android 4.1 or higher, you can download Messenger now. It’s not a replacement for Hangouts. This is the app that’s kind of baked into the Android 5.0 Lollipop, it kind of gives you plain Jane SMS and MMS capabilities. That’s in the Play Store now.
Leo: It’s frustrating, because basically Google wants you to use Hangouts.
Gina: Right, it’s a little confusing. They want you to use Hangouts, but Messenger is if you don’t want to use Hangouts. You don’t want to merge those together.
Leo: It actually didn’t look that good in - did Hangouts look that good in, I should look, in Lollipop?
Gina: Hangouts - it looks similar.
Kevin: Sorry, I was thinking Messenger. It’s almost like now Hangout’s design feels a little behind some of the other things. It was like one of the first to jump.
Leo: Here’s Lollipop. It doesn’t look better at all, it looks exactly the same in Google Hangouts.
Kevin: The Hangouts definitely looks the same.
Gina: Hangouts does look the same. Hangouts hasn’t gotten the material design treatment quite yet.
Leo: Philip’s number is safe [inaudible].
Kevin: I’m starting to populate fake information.
Leo: You are so smart.
Kevin: It takes a long time to do that, by the way.
Leo: Thank you for doing that. I might steal your - I want my phone numbers and my information on here.
Kevin: That’s what I want to do. I want to create a domain account everybody can use.
Gina: That’s a good idea, with contacts.
Kevin: Part of the thing with the Messenger update too, is it is kind of confusing. It was this unified thing, “Everybody use Hangouts, this is the future,” but that doesn’t help for AOSP, right? Hangouts is kind of a closed-source thing. You have to have the messenger app.
Gina: Finally, we were talking about this a little bit pre show. Android 5.0 Lollipop begins rolling out over the air to Nexus devices. I believe that tweet went out today. So the Nexus 5, Nexus 7, both generations, but not the LGE 3G versions quite yet, and the Nexus 10 are coming out. They tweeted out this afternoon, they started to roll out now over the next few hours yet. We keep tapping that “check now” button.
Leo: It apparently does nothing, but what the heck? It’s like when you’re at an elevator and you keep tapping the up button. “Come on, come on, elevator, hurry up.” Nope, nope, nope.
Gina: I was going to save this for my temp but I might as well just say, Google did release the factory images as downloads. If you want to go ahead and install it yourself, you can.
Leo: Is that safe?
Gina: It is, it’s just a pain. You have to install the -
Leo: Do you have to root?
Kevin: No, you have to have an unlocked root loader but you don’t have to root.
Leo: The Nexus 7 root loader is surely not locked.
Kevin: I think they’re all unlocked, the Nexus ones. If you do flash that, though, you’re going to lose your data that’s on your device automatically unless you get it from OTA. I think there is actually a way to flash those that you don’t lose the data. I’m not quite sure.
Gina: Personally, I’m waiting for the OTA because I’d rather - I’m lazy.
Kevin: Yes, you still need the Android developer tools and such to do the flashing, so over there it’s much easier.
Gina: Over there is way easier.
Kevin: If you’re patient.
Jeff: No, we’re not! That’s the problem.
Leo: As you can see. Anything else?
Gina: That’s it, that’s all I got.
Leo: That’s the Google change log.
Now, supposedly Motorola did a post on its blog that they are also pushing updates for the G and X, this year’s and last year’s. Somebody in our chatroom has a Moto X Pure Edition, which is the one you get on Moto Maker with a T-Mobile SIM. Apparently his was updated. As always, they’re rolling updates. They don’t update all the phones at once.
Gina: They can’t release all the terabytes at once, I guess.
Leo: “Did you know if you try to update more than three times in any hour, it delays the update for 24 hours?” says Brian Bones. Is that true? What?
Gina: What? That ain’t right.
Leo: They could. So Spotify, remember we talked a little about Taylor Swift snubbing Spotify, saying, “I don’t want to give the impression that I give away my music for free.” She made sure her most recent album, 1989, in fact, I think all of her music is no longer available on Spotify. She says streaming “is a grand experiment, but I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment. I don’t feel it fairly compensates the writers, producers and artists, creators of this music.” Meanwhile, Daniel Ek, the chief executive at Spotify says, “Taylor, you might want to ask your label about that, because this year we have paid $2 billion in royalties” and he estimated that he had paid at least $6 million this year to Taylor Swift. The problem is, it’s not Taylor Swift’s money, it goes through the label, Big Machine. If Big Machine doesn’t share it with Taylor, that’s not Spotify’s fault.
Jeff: Leo, if you go to medium.com/@pud …
Leo: I love Philip Kaplan.
Jeff: He wrote a wonderful piece about this in which he argues the entire music industry was a grand experiment that lasted only a year.
Leo: I love it, thank you Pud! It’s amazing that the old record industry existed in the first place, he says. You know, the record industry has a history of ripping off artists, period. This doesn’t surprise me in the least. It’s very important that Spotify executive Daniel Ek stepped right up and said, “You know what, we do pay money.” We had on TWiT last Sunday, Rob Reid, who started this whole thing. He founded Rhapsody. He said, “We didn’t know what to charge, but we talked to the labels, we talked to artists, and it seemed to all involved that if you could get a user” - and remember, this is in the Napster era too, there was stealing going on. “If you can get a user to pay $10 a month like clockwork, there’s more money overall in the pie. More artists get more money overall than if you say, no, we’re never going to do that, we’re only going to sell music.” He was right. Users love it. He was the one, Rhapsody was the one who set that $10 price which has pretty much been written in stone ever since. I mean, $2 billion in payments from Spotify to labels this year alone, that’s up almost double from last year. I think the system works. I don’t think the music industry works, I would agree with Pud on that. He says “Mozart didn’t sell one copy, Taylor Swift sold 110 million!”
When record stores were a thing, there were exactly 60 musicians that figured out how to work in the system to become wildly successful. 60 musicians that sold 100 million copies or more, he says. That’s because they took advantage of inefficiencies in the market. How many of those millions of people only wanted one track but had to buy the entire album? How many of those millions put that album on a shelf and then never listened to it?
By removing yourself from streaming services - which, by the way, she didn’t do; she only removed herself from Spotify, she’s still on RDO and everything. Taylor Swift is intentionally adding inefficiency back into the market. She can, she’s on top. Like Comcast, her product is - and by the way, we had Damon Wayans on Triangulation on Monday, it’s exactly what he said as well. He said, “Someone like Taylor Swift can do that, but what about all the artists nobody’s ever heard of? They can’t pull out of Spotify.” He said too, it’s the record labels keeping the money. Like Comcast, her product is popular enough that people will put up with it. While I think an artist gets to choose what happens to her art, I still think it’s a dick move to her fans.
Gina: Really? I don’t know. I think it’s great that Taylor is in such a position of power where she can make that decision. It seems like that came from a place where she said, “I feel like everybody, we’re creating this music and should get more value out of it.” I think someone in her position -
Jeff: She makes a fortune from her tours.
Gina: She absolutely does. But this is the thing, I didn’t think this was about her. I feel like she knew that she was in a position, because she sells so well, that if she said something people would make a big deal about it - and they did. We’re talking about it.
Leo: They also bought 1.3 million copies of 1989, maybe because some of those people couldn’t get it any other way. It could have been a purely greedy move.
Jeff: What is it she wants? Does she want to charge $12 a month, $15 a month? Or does she not want streaming at all and only wants to do what record stores did for a limited time in this country? That’s the problem. What’s your solution? The whining of “I deserve to be paid more for my creativity”, okay. But the world’s changed.
Leo: A lot of artists don’t like Spotify but I think they need to call their label and say, “Hey, dude. You know those big checks you’re getting from Spotify?” I think probably this is a question of bad contracts, contracts that didn’t consider digital distribution streaming. I think the record companies have once again screwed artists. This is nothing new.
Jeff: So, Gina, because I cut you off and shouldn’t have done that - what do you think that the streaming services should be doing?
Gina: I mean, I think it’s good for someone to question the economics of it, particularly her because it made waves. You know, I don’t know what the solution is. It was interesting to me that somebody who reaches so many people - of course, she knew she was going to reach her fans no matter what. Her fans are going to get the music however they need to get it. Other artists just aren’t in that position to do that. I think most artists are just at the mercy of whoever will distribute their work, on whatever terms, because they just want to get out there.
Leo: Jeff, would you consider putting your book on Oyster Books or somewhere like that, where they charge $10 a month and you can read any book in their library?
Jeff: I did better than that, my book is going to be entirely free on Medium.
Leo: Okay, you’re the wrong guy to ask. But what do you think about authors? I mean, Oyster Books is basically Spotify for books.
Jeff: Try it, why not? That’s what Amazon’s argument is, that if you lower the price point, you’re going to increase the sales - part of what you want to do as a writer or singer is to reach more people. Let me make it quite clear here because I don’t want to get in trouble with my family. My daughter is a gigantic Taylor Swift fan -
Leo: I love Taylor Swift.
Jeff: When she puts on a show in Philadelphia, she puts on an amazing show. That is her scarcity now. She announced her tour, even my wife Amelia said, “Get your finger ready, we’re going to be hitting refresh, refresh, refresh, on the order screen. We’re trying to get tickets, it’ll be worse than trying to get a Nexus 6.” She’s created a tremendous scarcity there, huge tour. The more fans she has, the better off she is. I think I’ve talked about Palo Coelho on this show before. He’s sold 125 million books, ungodly amazing, and he’s pirated his own books because when he found new people would discover him in a new country, it would lead to more sales.
We’re not ready to say that we know what the economic model of music or media should be, just because of what it was. I’m not saying that it’s right where it is now. It’s not. Neither was it necessarily right before for the current reality. We need to experiment with more things, nothing says you’re going to get paid what you used to get paid. I think Pud’s point too is there was a tremendous blockbuster based business. The variety we have now is greater than we had when artists had to go through the gauntlet. Taylor Swift, God bless her, is the blockbuster of blockbusters right now. But she’s not representative of music.
Gina: That’s absolutely true.
Kevin: One question I have, and I don’t really know the answer. I would imagine she probably makes a lot more from the touring than she does the album sales anyway. It all depends on the contracts.
Leo: Ek said top artists like Taylor Swift is on track to receive $6 million a year from Spotify.
Kevin: From Spotify, I’ve got to believe she makes more than that in concerts.
Leo: That’s one, there’s multiple streaming services. This is not an insignificant flow of money. The point Rob Reid was making is, the music industry was very happy to say, “Oh, $10 for everybody who listens? That’s going to be more than we get selling CDs.” So they were very happy, especially in the world where people were starting to pirate like crazy. Music sales are down 14% this year. Physical or digital music sales are down 14% this year already, first half. I think this is viable and I think Taylor Swift actually is - this is kind of a data point that’s fud, that was driven really by promotional needs and not anything else. If there’s a problem it’s because the record labels are keeping too much, not because they’re not making money.
Jeff: They’ve always been a slimy business.
Leo: The head of her record label, Scott Borchetta, said that they wanted to restrict access to Spotify’s paid tier, but Spotify said, “No, we won’t do that.”
Jeff: What does that mean?
Leo: Well, there’s free Spotify with ads, so there’s revenue still. Then there’s premium Spotify, that’s the $10 a month. I would guess almost all music fans pay at least one streaming service $10 a month. I pay Google my $10, used to pay Spotify.
Gina: Yes, I pay $8 for all access. So she was rejecting the free/ad-based model. There’s something legitimate there for me, and I think that’s because I’m equating it with software and web apps which I’ve been covering for years. We went through this time where every app, everything on the web, was free with the idea it would grow big enough to attract advertisers to support itself. Now that we’re several years into it we see that isn’t sustainable. Small startups get swallowed up in acqui hires because they weren’t able to sustain a business model. It’s hard to sell. I build a subscription service, it’s hard to sell a subscription to consumers because folks have been trained that these things are free. So it kind of puts you in this weird position where it’s like - if you’re making something that’s really good, whether that’s an app, song, movie, or whatever - that costs money and who pays? I think for her to say, “I don’t want my music to be free, I want people to pay for my music through some way.” Whether that’s the Spotify Premium or buying the CD, or whatever, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.
Leo: Other artists have pulled their music off Spotify. I’m reading an article from David Byrne in the Guardian in which he says he’s pulled as much of his - David Byrne was the lead man for the Talking Heads - he’s pulled as much of his music from Spotify as he can. He also says, it’s kind of interesting, that Spotify generates profits for record labels and free content for consumers but spells disasters for artists. Again, seems to me the problem is the record labels.
Another kind of upside-down quote, this is from Scott Borchetta of Big Machine, Taylor Swift’s label. He says, “We don’t want to embarrass the fans. If a fan went and purchased the record/CD/iTunes, whatever, and then they’re friends go ‘hey, dude, why’d you pay for it, it’s free on Spotify’, we’re being completely disrespectful to that superfan who wants to invest, who believes in their favorite artist.” Record labels seem crazy.
All right, anything else to say? We’re done. I think we’ve said it all.
Gina: Actually, you know, we didn’t cover this in the change log because I figured we would talk about it separately. Music Key, YouTube Music Key…
Leo: Oh, has it launched?
Gina: Speaking of subscription music services - no, it’s been announced. I think it’s going to become available on limited data next month. So it’s $7.99 a month. A subscription music service which is YouTube, so it will enable offline videos, background playing, ad-free -
Leo: It’ll eventually be $10 a month like everybody else.
Leo: It’s bundled with Google Play.
Kevin: Play Music, yes.
Leo: This is interesting. So if you have Play Music, it’s an additional $8 a month?
Kevin: My understanding is if you’re paying one, you’re getting both, but I could be mistaken.
Gina: Music Key also includes a subscription to what the company is now calling Google Play Music, its Spotify competitor which normally sells for $9.99 a month. You’re right, it was $9.99 a month. So the Google Play Music all access name is dead.
Leo: Interesting. So this is the new Google Play.
Jeff: What do you get now that you didn’t get before?
Leo: Video, I guess.
Kevin: Music video through YouTube.
Leo: So you get ad-free - okay, a new way to enjoy music ad-free, anytime, anywhere. Ad-free music, background listening, offline playback…
Jeff: This is what Susan Wojcicki’s talking about. She made mention, I think we talked last week, of an ad-free YouTube paid experience.
Gina: This is it.
Leo: YouTube.com/musickey. You have to sign up, it’s not until November 17th. It’s going to be a private beta starting then. Wow. Oh, and you’re going to have a dedicated Music tab, or a Music homepage. You’ll have a new YouTube Music tab as a subscriber. So there’s video discovery - see, I think this is cool and smart. By the way, look who’s there, Taylor Swift.
Jeff: Let’s play her song so she can file a complaint and get the show taken down, huh?
Leo: Should I? How about this, I’m going to play Glen Campbell, who is in the last stages of Alzheimer’s.
Jeff: The saddest story.
Leo: He recorded a new song, which is probably the saddest thing I’ve ever seen, and yet moving and yet beautiful, called “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” and it features images of Glen Campbell as a young man. But he sings it and he talks about how the world is slipping away from him.
(Glen Campbell song plays.)
It’s really quite moving.
Jeff: He’s been so brave through this publicly.
Leo: It’s really beautiful. If you want to, I encourage you to YouTube and watch the whole thing, it’s on the VEVO channel. It’s a little like you, Glen - Jeff. “Glen Jarvis is with us.” I think I’m losing my mind. It’s a little bit like Jeff, talking about your prostate cancer and being very public about it. Alzheimer’s is kind of a taboo subject, mostly because Alzheimer’s patients don’t really get to -
Jeff: People think they just disappear or something. It was like click and clack, they show off what happens to somebody on -
Leo: We didn’t know what happened, and then he’s dead, Tom Lutzi.
So thank you, Glen Campbell, and his family for publishing that.
Let’s continue on, because now I’m depressed.
Gina: Yes, that was bummer. It was beautiful.
Leo: It was beautiful, it’s really quite touching.
Jeff: All right, I got - no, go ahead, go ahead.
Leo: Go ahead. Do something, say something.
Jeff: No, because I’ve got my number, so I’m going to do this for my number. I’m going to fake it.
Leo: Save your number. Is there anything we missed? Kevin, any story you want to talk about, the Moto 360 available in metal today?
Kevin: Oh, that’s interesting, as is - you know what, not a lot of people realize the Sony SmartWatch just came out this week. Nobody’s talking about it.
Leo: Sony SmartWatch 3, yes.
Kevin: What’s interesting to me on this one, it’s the only one with GPS. As an avid runner, I really want that in my watch so I can leave my phone behind. Even better, it’s WiFi ready, and not too many people have really glommed on to that yet. WiFi is not actually supported yet with Android Ware but obviously it’s ready when they do turn it on. I think you’ll be able to sync data right over your home WiFi network.
Leo: That’s interesting.
Jeff: How’s the battery life on that?
Kevin: Oh, probably not great though it does have a trans reflective screen, so that helps a little bit.
Leo: It is a bigger battery, I think, than the other Moto Ware watches. This is a Moto Ware watch. It also has a fast processor, Quad Core Tex A7. Very interesting, same price of $250 as the Moto X. SmartWatch 3, it’s on the Google Play Store. I actually really love my Moto 360, I really like it.
Jeff: The thing about mine is, when I get back into the country, it gets too confused. It’s now on Prague time.
Leo: It should get that from your phone.
Jeff: I turn it off, back on again, then it resets.
Kevin: He’s getting the time on his phone from AT&T, remember.
Leo: Oh, there you go. You actually are on Prague time. That’s terrible. Okay, let us get to our tips of the week. We’ll let Kevin start things off, actually just did with the watch. You’ve got another?
Kevin: Sure, I’m always good for another one. Actually, I think Jeff will appreciate this. He and I both use a Chromebook Pixel and a lot of people actually use Chromebooks, as we know. Talking about Google Drive for iOS reminded me about this. You actually can stream audio and video directly from Google Drive using a Chromebook and a Chromecast, you just go right into your Files app in the Chromecast. Obviously Google Drive Files are there, because that’s how the Files system works on the Chromebook. If you’ve got a Chromecast, just cast that video from the player right on your Chromebook, all of the sudden it starts streaming from the Cloud just like any other streaming service. So you’re not locally streaming it, where you get stutters and lags and need a really strong processor. So it was in the developer channel of Chrome OS back in September. I would be it’s probably in beta, close to stable soon.
Leo: Very cool. So you can store video on your Google Drive.
Kevin: Got to do something with that terabyte I got with the Pixel. So I threw my Beatles anthology movies up there, whatnot, I just stream them from the cloud.
Jeff: You could have your own Spotify.
Kevin: Not with Taylor Swift.
Leo: Gina Trapani, your tip of the week…
Gina: All right, I just spotted this. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but you can now flip a coin through Google Voice search. The new search is rolling out, I believe now the material design has refreshed to the Google search app. Among other feature updates, they’ve got one where you can say, “OK, Google, flip a coin,” -
Leo: That’s awesome. Can you tell it to roll multi-sided die, like, “OK, Google, flip a 20-sided dice?”
Gina: I don’t think so. But clearly that’s in the queue, that’s definitely going to happen. Google is just geeky enough for that. So I haven’t had a chance to try this. In fact, I don’t think I’ve gotten this update yet.
Leo: “Flip a coin.”
Gina: But it looks like it probably works on a Lollipop device. I don’t know if you want to try it on the thing though.
Leo: Nexus 7 doesn’t do it. Let’s try it on Lollipop. We’re not done yet, my friends! We’re going to go Home, new Home button, which is round. OK, Google, flip a coin.
Gina: Don’t make a liar out of me, Google.
Leo: Aw. (groaning)
Gina: No? Oh, it didn’t work!
Kevin: It might not have the new Google Search update.
Gina: Yes, I think it sounds like this update is rolling out. So I guess it didn’t ship with Lollipop, darn!
Jeff: The Hodor app?
Leo: Hodor! Is your Hodor app not working?
Jeff: Well, if you say “Hodor” to Search, it’s supposed to say “Hodor” back, but I can’t get it to do that.
Leo: Let’s try it. Hodor! … No.
Gina: You know there’s also the Hodor Keyboard.
Jeff: There’s something that tells you it’s going to do it and it won’t do it.
Gina: I’ve heard of a Hodor Keyboard, and that’s all it’ll type.
Leo: “Starting November 12, that’s today, you can say ‘Hodor’ into the app.”
Jeff: An app? I thought it was a Search.
Leo: Oh, you know, this is iOS, people use an app. Maybe it’s just for iOS. The app goes live at 1 p.m. Eastern, you can even program the app to set an alarm to remind you it’s time to Hodor! Wow. So, anybody got an iPhone? Anybody?
Jeff: I thought you switched back to the iPhone, Leo.
Leo: I did not switch back to the iPhone; what are you, nuts? I’m probably Droid Turbo’ing, although I like the Node 4, and I don’t know - maybe the Nexus 6 is between those three.
Jeff: What’s the longest you’ve been loyal to one phone?
Leo: I used the Moto X, the original Moto X, for probably eight months or something. I loved that phone. That was a great phone.
Kevin: Just to tag on to what you were talking about, Gina, with the update to Search. They’re also adding the ability to use “OK, Google” to search into other apps now.
Leo: Yeah, that’s cool. I think we talked about that last week.
Kevin: Oh, okay. Well that’s part of this update. This update also brings that in again.
Leo: I wonder which apps are using it. They used as an example, TripIt, if you do an “OK, Google” within Trip It - I’m sorry. …And a million phones went, doo doo!
Kevin: Wow, there goes my phone and my watch … and my Chromebook.
Leo: I just have a voice Google likes.
Kevin: It’s actually easy for developers to add that. It’s like three or four lines, Google said when they announced that.
Leo: I hope a lot of apps do it. Let’s see. Jeff, your pseudo number.
Jeff: I’ll pick a number, it’s either $199 or $99 pre paid. I want to know did anybody else get or order an Echo?
Leo: Did you order an Echo?
Jeff: I put in to be invited to do so. I said it was putting - I’m so jetlagged right now I can’t think - Siri in a Pringles can.
Gina: It’s true. Can we have Echo on the show if you get one?
Jeff: Yes, sure, if I get one, if I get invited.
Leo: Let me - just for people who haven’t see it, we have the, uh -
Jeff: It’s bizarre.
Leo: The early beta.
Kevin: I’ve seen better sitcoms that got cancelled.
(Echo parody playing. https://www.YouTube.com/watch?v=GijLoiVkmYI)
Jeff: This dad is a jerk.
Leo: I would buy it if it were this way. This is the parody, obviously. What they did, though, which is so great, is they took the actual, horribly insufferable Amazon video and the poor dad, he’s such an idiot.
Jeff: He’s such an idiot.
Leo: The only thing they changed was Alexa’s responses, to make them more appropriate. But Jeff, don’t you already have this capability in your phone?
Jeff: I probably won’t actually order it. I put in so I can get invited after we talk about it physically. Can you imagine? I have my phone. I guess there’s an argument that says if it’s just there and on all the time, you can start having a conversation with your computer, it’s Star Trek time. “Computer?”
Leo: I have to confess, I spent $600 on the JIBO and I’m not going to get that for a year. So it’s the same thing as the - you haven’t seen this?
(JIBO commercial - https://www.YouTube.com/watch?v=3N1Q8oFpX1Y)
Leo: This is a family robot. They were totally scooped, I’m sorry to say, by Amazon. Cynthia Breazeal, who is a real robotics expert, has done amazing things with robots, is the person behind this. They’ve raised several million, they’ve sold quite a few of these. I was one of them, $600. It does have a head that turns.
Gina: It’s a lot cuter than Echo.
Leo: Cynthia is really good at creating friendly robots. I remember seeing her at Food Camp with one of her robots playing with a kid. The kid just loves the robot, little kid like four years old.
So tell you what, Jeff. You get the Amazon cylinder, and I’ll have JIBO and we could have a show with them.
Gina: I was going to say, this would be a good panel.
Leo: They raised $2.2 million, 5554 supporters but they say it will probably be next year.
Jeff: What was the little thing where it had the soft cushion?
Gina: The Chumby.
Leo: I had a Chumby, too. I’m an idiot.
Gina: I had Chumby.
Leo: I’m an idiot, I buy all this stuff.
Gina: Chumby was cute.
Jeff: While we’re on [inaudible], I was in Prague and I did my favorite Autoawesome ever. It’s on the rundown.
Leo: Oh, I want to see it. By the way, there is something interesting about this Amazon thing is that somehow, Amazon in a skunks works project that must have been going on for years created voice recognition, Amazon style. That’s something that Google took a long time to do, Apple took a long time to do, Microsoft… I mean - ooh, this is really cool. What is this head?
Gina: Oh, neat, Jeff!
Jeff: That’s a sculpture in Prague. It was made for Autoawesome, that was all.
Leo: So it’s always moving? Does it move with the wind or is it mechanized?
Jeff: It’s mechanized and the face goes around.
Leo: Prague is cool.
Jeff: It is cool.
Leo: I’m jealous. All right, well I don’t have a tool so I think we can wrap this puppy up and put a bow on it. Thank you very much for being here, Kevin Tofel, mobile editor for Gigaom and one of the few people in the world who’s had a Nexus 6.
Jeff: You weren’t too obnoxious about it either, Kevin.
Kevin: I tried to keep it down.
Leo: His review is on Gigaom. I think you did kind of summarize it.
Kevin: Again, it’s got the same guts as some of the more current Android phones out there. As we said earlier on the show, there’s so many great phones to choose from. If you have to have a large, top-notch Android phone, this is definitely one to consider. You won’t have to wait for the Lollipop upgrade as well. It’s a nice phone.
Leo: Although it looks like Lollipop’s going to get to a number of the Moto phones before the Nexus 6 gets to stores. T-Mobile was supposed to have it today and they’ve pushed it back. I think that’s because there aren’t any of them.
Jeff: What scared me from what you said in your review was that you might be better off with some of the battery life of the other phones.
Kevin: When you’re pushing all these pixels and a larger display, even though it’s an AMOLED screen which is energy efficient and such, you’re going to pay the price in battery life. We still haven’t solved that problem. That’s what we need for the next big thing in phones is batteries that last for days, right?
Jeff: If the prices were equal, OnePlus One versus Nexus 6.
Kevin: If the prices were equal, I’d probably go with the 6, I think.
Leo: I think the OnePlus One is because it’s so inexpensive is what makes it so interesting.
Jeff: OnePlus One is also not a cheaply made phone.
Leo: No, it’s a great phone for $300. Six inches is big, too, have you ever had a six inch phone?
Jeff: I had Node 3 at one point.
Leo: Even that wasn’t six [inches], that was 5.2 or 5.5. I mean, I have a Nokia 1520, which is the only six inch phone I’ve tried. I like it.
Jeff: You’ve liked the Nodes from the beginning.
Leo: I’ve always had every Node. I note that you say in your review that instead of Dalvik, the Nexus 6 is using Arc runtime. Is that true for all Lollipop devices now?
Kevin: I believe, yes, it was experimental in Android 4.3, perhaps. But it is the default runtime in Lollipop. That could be attributable to some of the bugs that I’ve seen and I’m not the only one who saw those. I read the other reviews right before the show and a lot of people saw the same little buggy things like I did. Maybe there’s some runtime compatibility things that need to be resolved.
Leo: That’s interesting. I’ve had problems with compatibility with Arc with just a handful of programs.
Kevin: That’ll change over time though.
Leo: Yes, especially if Lollipop uses Arc. Interesting. All right, thank you very much for that. We’re really glad to get a review on it. The camera - you know what, that is a good looking cat.
Kevin: That is a lazy cat that’s been sitting here listening for the dolphins, sitting next to me this whole show.
Leo: What a great picture, and the detail on the fur, that looks good. There’s plenty of light, obviously, but still.
Kevin: That’s the key. That’s my new 4K monitor with 4K video.
Jeff: How big is the monitor?
Kevin: 28 inches.
Jeff: How much did that cost?
Kevin: Amazon refurbished, $459.
Leo: That’s the one Samsung was making a lot of hay on. All right. Now I don’t know what to do, but fortunately, I get to own them all. That’s the nice thing. I can try them all and then I have to decide which one to carry. Thank you, Kevin. Great to have you, Gigaom.com. Thank you, Jeff Jarvis, for sitting and suffering through sleep deprivation for us today.
Jeff: For suffering through me, thank you.
Leo: No, you were great. You’re always great. I know how hard that is to do what you just did, so thank you. Gina Trapani, suffering through the flu!
Gina: Not quite the flu, but yes.
Leo: Everybody’s limping here!
Gina: I’ve got the Rudolph nose going on. Thank you for having me, a lot of fun, quite a crew today. We got sickness, sleep deprivation, the whole thing. Lots of fun as usual.
Leo: Thank you. ThinkUp.com, you got to go there, you can get your free trail of ThinkUp, which is a great insight engine into your social media, Twitter, Facebook, and I use it all the time. I’m getting ThinkUp notifications now which is really fun.
Gina: Oh good, I’m glad.
Leo: It’s fun to see those. Did you know iTunes Podcast can thank me for 184 thousand more people seeing its tweet?
Gina: That’s an official Apple account? Good for you.
Leo: Yeah, no wonder they keep asking me to retweet them. I used exclamation points in 11 tweets last month, exclamation point. That’s 31% of my tweets, exclamation point. Oh, that’s bad. That’s really, really bad.
Jeff: That is bad, Leo. You’re not a 12 year old girl.
Leo: I have to go back to journalism school.
Gina: Hey, nothing wrong with 12 year old girls.
Leo: I think I am a 12 year old girl. My best time for responses, between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Jeff: How many exclamation points did you have, Leo?
Gina: Actually, you only had - so normally if you use double or triple, we chart it. You didn’t have a chart, that means you were pretty restrained and only used single exclamation points.
Leo: Yes, I don’t do double.
Jeff: I have 39.
Leo: Professor of Journalism Jeff Jarvis likes his exclamation points apparently.
Gina: Who’s the enthusiastic tweeter now?
Jeff: Touche, touché.
Leo: This is fun, this is really - anyway. If you haven’t got your -
Gina: Did George Takei change his profile?
Leo: Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh my.
Gina: Oh my.
Jeff: Oh my.
Leo: Oh my. This is fun. All your best tweets, all the information, this is good. Thank you so much, Gina. Thank you, Jeff. Thank you, Kevin. Thank you all for being here. We do TWiG, This Week in Google, every Wednesday at 1 p.m. Pacific, 4 p.m. Eastern, 2100 UTC on TWiT.tv. Please watch live, but if you can’t, on demand audio and video always available after the fact not only at TWiT.tv/TWiG but on YouTube.com/ThisWeekInGoogle, on of course all your favorite podcatchers, all the apps and Stitcher, everywhere else you can get a show. Please subscribe, that way you’ll hear it every week. We’ll see you next time on TWiG!