This Week in Google 291 (Transcript)
Leo: It's time for TWiG, This Week in Google. Gina Trapani is back for her monthly visit. We're going to - boy, there's great news like crazy. A brand new Chromebook Pixel just came out. Google just got in the insurance business. We're still waiting for the Google cell phone business. It's all coming up next on TWiG.
Voiceover: Netcasts you love from people you trust. This is TWiT! Bandwidth for This Week in Google is provided by Cachefly.com.
Leo: This is TWiG, This Week in Google episode 291 recorded March 11, 2015.
Uber for Metaphors
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It's time for TWiG, This Week in Google, the show where we talk about the Google, the Cloud, Facebook, Twitter, media, news, anchors, whatever we want to talk about. Jeff Jarvis is here from the waterlogged office at the City University of New York. Good to see you, Jeff.
Jeff: I have a little tiny spot here, big enough for one chair, sitting up against a filing cabinet with my microphone here, trying to act like this is normal, okay. I'm on TV.
Leo: It's podcast, you can do it from any crappy corner and it doesn't matter.
Jeff: That's exactly where I am. You see behind me where they store the sodas for parties.
Leo: In your office?
Jeff: In the hall. We had to move all the cabinets away from the opposite walls to - they cut like a foot and a half of numbers and numbers of walls around here rather than dry it out. God knows what they did.
Leo: There was a snow emergency.
Jeff: It froze. Hell froze.
Gina: Oh, it was frozen pipes? Is that what happened?
Leo: Wait a minute, what? Who's that? Wait a minute, what? Am I dreaming?
Jeff: Is this deja vu?
Leo: Did I lose my mind? It's Gina Trapani! Am I back in 2014?
Jeff: Deja Gina.
Gina: Hi, I know. It's crazy, so 2014. It's so good to be here.
Leo: How are things at ThinkUp?
Gina: Things are good. Thank you, yes. We actually just launched a new insight last week. ThinkUp lets you know now when your friends have changed their avatar so you get to admire high-res, beautiful pictures of your friends when they change up their avatar. So that's been really fun.
Leo: I asked you this before, is this Ruby on - what is it?
Gina: That's a good question, Leo. It started out as an open source project, so one of the requirements was, “Hey, somebody should be able to run this on the simplest, cheapest hosting package.” So it's PHP.
Leo: So it's a LAN stack.
Gina: It's old school LAN stack, ain't nothing new or fancy going on here much to my chagrin. But it's old technology that works, so okay.
Leo: You know, it feels very modern. I guess that's the design, right?
Gina: That's the design, right, but the back end is just straight PHP, which, you know.
Leo: It's easy to do, easy to maintain. I'm all about the Node JS and the -
Gina: I know. You're like fancy Node man. Yes, you're all up with Jason. You do what you do. If I was building what you're building, hey, you choose your technology on what you're building. That is the right choice.
Leo: I'm very glad to say, though, that the great team doing this is Four Kitchens is already contributing some of the code back to the triple core. Not core - well, maybe it is core. Because we're using an open source CMS, Drupal, as the back end for the API - actually, all the stuff we're using is still open source. So they did something cool, I guess. I don't understand it but they said, “Yes, we contributed back.” So that's nice.
Gina: That's awesome. Good for you.
Leo: To use open source coding to contribute back to it is great.
Gina: Can I say, Drupal's written in PHP. So I don't feel so bad.
Leo: Yes. There you go, right. When Gina left us, she said very kindly that she'd come back once a month. She's got to focus on her startup and we understand that. But it's really nice to have you. You were on All About Android last night.
Gina: Yes. That was a lot of fun. It's really great to be here. You couldn't ever be completely rid of me.
Jeff: Never, never!
Leo: The chat room is saying, “Did Jason think you were talking about him?” That's why I always say it “Jason”.
Jason: It always throws me off. I like to think that I'm that important to the website.
Gina: Using Jason to deliver our shows in more ways than one.
Jason: Never been busier than I am right now.
Leo: There's a lot of Google news this week, but I think we're going to start with the one Jeff Jarvis is the most excited about, which is the new Google - this happened moments before the show began. The new Pixel is here! I have to say before we begin, I should explain this. This only matters if you're watching live. We flip-flopped Windows Weekly and TWiG today because of travel schedules. Jeff, you're going to Madrid.
Jeff: Right, tonight.
Leo: And Paul was just coming back from Colorado, so it worked out great. Everyone's happy.
Jeff: I'm very happy because otherwise I might've had to -
Leo: But if you're tuning in and saying, “Where's Windows Weekly?” That'll be right after us this week. Anyway, new Pixel is here. Apparently it's been seeded to people because Tech Crunch has a review, the Verge has a review.
Jeff: Well, Straight Journal has a review.
Leo: I would've given one to Jeff Jarvis, Google. I really would have.
Jeff: Yes! Just let me review it, for God's sakes. I'm your only friend in Pixel land.
Leo: Isn't it weird this comes out a couple months before Google IO? They're going to give everyone one.
Jeff: They're going to do that again?
Leo: I don't know.
Jason: They don't seem to repeat themselves on the things they give out. They seem to be very different every year.
Leo: They'll give out a cardboard Pixel. It looks exactly the same, right? I mean, it doesn't look any different from -
Jeff: Pretty much exactly the same, yes.
Leo: But it's got newer processors. I presume these are - [crosstalk]
Jeff: What's the size of the screen, anybody know?
Leo: It's the same, I think.
Jeff: Same screen, oh.
Leo: It's 3:2 still, that weird aspect ratio. 2560X1700, still touch. So it's exactly the same in those specs. The color gamut is wider. That just means it can show more colors. It is cheaper, $999 for the I5 version and then they have an LS, which does not stand for luxury style -
Jeff: Luxury sedan.
Leo: It stands for literally, Google says, ludicrous speed. It's an I7 and I can't think of any reason you would need an I7 for a Chrome OS. Remember, these are mostly used - what did they say, 85% are used by Googlers?
Leo: So obviously this is what Googler's wanted. They wanted more speed and more tabs, too. Eight gigs on the base model of RAM, 16 gigs on the LS version, but $999 for the base model and $1299 for the LS.
Jason: Video said 12 hours of battery life.
Jeff: Charged for 15 minutes, you get two hours of charge value. C connector -
Leo: That's the big thing. We have seen others, I think there's an Asus out there with a type C connector but the Macbook announced on Tuesday was the first I'd seen with a type C charger. This is good news. I'd like to see a mass move from laptop makers to the type C port for charging because then we could use one charger for everything.
Jeff: That's why Apple went type C. That's really so unprecedented that they finally went standard.
Leo: It's just for the one Macbook, the one. I don't think that's going to be their feature. Type C is a USB-3 port - actually, it's a 3.1 port. Will do not only power in and out, by the way, but it will also do data just like a regular USB port and video. So that is your video port.
Jeff: So you can't charge and do video at the same time?
Leo: Well, Jason, go back and what's on the other side? I see two USB ports, actually three with the type C. I see an SD card but I don't see any other video port, so yes. I guess.
Jason: I'm seeing what appears to be two Cs, on both sides.
Leo: Actually, that's better. So you could do both, right? I love that. I think it's good to buy just for that.
Jason: I wonder if you can charge from either side.
Gina: Man, it's a nice - the Pixel's just a nice computer. It's a really nicely done computer.
Jeff: It is!
Gina: I just don't - the price drop is nice but you know, get it down to $800 and then talk to me. It just seems like a whole bunch. I know, I know, I'm asking for a lot and it's a great computer. But look at the Wall Street Journal headline, I don't think it's that far off.
Jeff: Gina Trapani, she doesn't buy retail.
Leo: “$999 for a laptop that only surfs the web?” That's such a lie, first of all. It doesn't just surf the web.
Jeff: I don't blame the headline writer.
Gina: But it's $1000. That's a place where, eh.
Jeff: What does the iPhone cost you, that's $1000.
Leo: This is the iPhone of Chrome OS machines.
Jeff: This is the Rain Man of computers. What does that technology cost you, $1000.
Right now, Nexus 6 and Nexus 9, some Android Wear watches. I thought the Nexus Player was gone. Isn't the Nexus Player dead yet? Chromecast, Nest learning thermostat and the Chromebook Pixel. So let's see, shop now?
Jeff: I bought it.
Leo: Two choices. Why would you get an LS? I can't figure why.
Jeff: Because I'm that important, Leo. I deserve the best.
Leo: Should I buy it? Oh, whoops. I slipped. Pay for - review your purchase - oh, I see. Don't show my address. Should I ship it here? Yes, why not. $1081.42 with tax.
Jason: You're not going to get ludicrous speed?
Jason: Sorry, I have to be the voice in your ear.
Leo: “Ludicrous speed, Leo?” I think it's good that they named it that. That's clearly for the Googlers.
Jeff: “You are the god of the internet, you deserve ludicrous speed.” (whispered)
Gina: Wait, I thought it was Bespriss, I thought that was god.
Leo: Really, I do question - this is just to show they can make a beautiful computer.
Jeff: Oh, yes. All they really did is just update - they did what I kind of wanted. The longer battery life and they just updated the bitters.
Leo: They didn't do one thing you did want.
Jeff: You know, I'm actually happy about this, no LTE. None.
Leo: This happened last time two years ago.
Jeff: I'm pretty sure they announced both at the same time.
Leo: It was a long wait for the LTE free.
Jeff: It was and I waited a long time for it. It was the LTE they gave out at IO. This time, no. So I'm happy the LTE only worked with Verizon.
Leo: I've been making kind of a point of looking at all the Chromebooks as they come out and even the low-end Chromebooks, now, the Samsung Chromebook too and Acer. There are a lot of really nice Chromebooks out there and they're a lot less. We're talking $300.
Jeff: Oh, yes. So this is kind of ludicrous and maybe I should - you know. The problem is, I bought the - what was it? They have the HD screen, so the problem is -
Leo: Nexus 6?
Jeff: No, the Chromebook.
Leo: Yes, there was one with a 1080 p touch screen that was almost impossible to use.
Jeff: It was tiny, tiny, tight. It was too much for my old eyes.
Leo: Someone in the chat room says, Scotlandcalling - sorry, Scottinfortcollins, “Chromebook is the answer to a problem that doesn't exist.” Is that fair? I don't know if that's true.
Jeff: Don't listen to your clock.
Leo: I have been saying - no, it's still in Fort Collins and we still listen to it. I have been saying for a while that the Chromebook really does make sense in certain environments. In schools, it makes a lot of sense, not $1000 one but in a sense.
Jeff: For our students, you know, the journalism students that need to do video editing, no. But my social journalism students, my entrepreneurial students, yes. They could use it.
Leo: Maybe a lot of users who call the radio show, for instance, I say, “What do you do? Web, email, web surfing?” That's what they do. Then get a Chromebook. It's more secure. You don't have to worry about it.
Jeff: A sales force could use it. You go out and make a presentation, you're on the Cloud, that's all you're doing. You know, it would be absolutely fine. If you're a corporate IT, this is kind of a dream because you just don't have problems with viruses and support.
Leo: Chromebook, for the very young and the very old.
Jeff: Hey, hey!
Leo: I just bought one. Come on, knock it off. I support you, Jeff. I've completely come around since we first started talking about this and I remember getting in a little tussle with Sundar Pichai. He was really defending it. This was early on and I said, “I don't understand it.” And I stand corrected, Sundar. You were right.
Jeff: Now Googlers, because we know there are a few of you out there watching, if there's going to be an LTE, blink twice, will you?
Leo: Tug your ear, do something.
Jeff: Do something for old Jeff here. I've been a friend to the Pixel.
Jason: Blink, blink, to tide you over.
Leo: That was fed by Jason. That's exciting that we reported the rumor. Actually, it's not really a rumor. It was confirmed by a Google executive at a meeting and in fact, there it is, the new Pixel is here.
Jeff: The phone book's in!
Leo: It's going to be an expensive couple of months for me. Apple Watch, $17 thousand.
Jeff: You didn't buy the $17 thousand Apple Watch.
Leo: First of all, you can't buy them till April 10, but I will be buying one of them. Can you still run Linux - I mean, Crouton is still vital, around and alive. Someone in chat room says he's a developer, he uses a Chromebook all the time. He uses Linux, Linux editors.
Jeff: The problem, unless they've changed this, at the time you needed dev mode so it's flakier. Now you can reverse but you couldn't reverse at the time.
Leo: Oh, really?
Jeff: Once you went ahead, you couldn't go back.
Leo: It was a commitment.
Jeff: Yes. You could rebuild with a stick, with a USB but it was a real pain in the butt.
Leo: Chrome Linux, what is your suggestion? He's in the chat room right now. What is your suggestion for doing that? Is it still Crouton? I guess, you know, it's a little tricky to install, but you did it.
Jeff: Even I can do it. I got through a few bad detours but I still got there, sticking my tongue out the whole time. But if you're a Linux jockey, then you can do what I couldn't do.
Leo: He uses ChrUbuntu. He says ChrUbuntu is better than Chrome.
Jeff: What I don't know is does that work with the dual boot? It's not really a dual boot because it's the same kernel, you just can startup - the great thing is, you can flip back and forth with a key. You don't have to boot.
Jeff: That's what's so amazing about it. Making me want to do it again but I don't know what to do with Linux.
Gina: You showed me that and I feel like we were in the backseat of the car on the way to Petaluma on a trip.
Jeff: Yes, it's pretty remarkable. You see, I've gotten you slathering over it a few times.
Leo: So the nice thing about ChrUbuntu is it supports - the computer is an Intel 1086 model, most of the other Chromebooks are Arm, aren't they? Some are Adam, there's a mix. But ChrUbuntu apparently requires Intel.
Jeff: Oh, is that it.
Leo: So I will look into this because it sounds like what I want to do with my old Pixel.
Jeff: Yes, I'll do that.
Leo: ChrUbuntu is also dual boot, says Chrome Linux. You re-partition your drive so that would be an argument to getting the ludicrous speed version, just for the hard drive.
Jeff: If you're a Googler using Linux then that does make sense.
Leo: Crouton is the one that lets you do the flip back and forth by pressing a key. You cannot do that. I thought there was a form that would allow you to run a Linux window on top of Chrome OS. That would be my ideal, if I had a little shell on top of Chrome OS. Can you do that? Maybe not.
Jeff: It sounds familiar.
Leo: I thought Crouton could do that now. Anyway.
Jeff: It's been a year and a half since I ran it.
Leo: I'll have to do some research.
Jeff: The other problem was, at the time, I couldn't get Netflix on the machine because Netflix wouldn't operate in dev mode because it wasn't secure to Netflix's definition.
Leo: So that's the big story, numero uno. Not much more to say about it except there - why, I guess is the question, does Google continue to make $1000 Chromebook when no one else does. It's three times the price.
Gina: I mean, besides Googlers, who's the market for this, besides Googlers and Leo?
Gina: And Jeff.
Jeff: Leo's not really the market. Leo buys everything.
Leo: I literally buy everything just because we want to review it.
Jeff: Leo is the Mikey of technology.
Leo: Since Google doesn't seed one to me three weeks earlier and I wouldn't want them to because then I would feel obligated, so we buy it.
Jeff: I would've reviewed it.
Leo: You would've done it.
Jeff: I bought it anyway, bought this one.
Leo: I did not buy the last one, I should be clear. I got the Google IO gift.
Gina: Me too, me too. When my wife left her job in San Diego, she handed in her computer and phone and I handed her the Pixel. We got her a Nexus 5 and she loves it. It's her main computer. She loves it. Yes.
Leo: There you go.
Gina: Once I got the printer working. That was the one thing. Once I got Cloud print set up. I expected her to, you know, come to me to do this and I can't do it here. It hasn't happened. It's been over a year and sometimes I see her using her computer and I'm like, “Oh, God, that's such a nice machine.”
Leo: It is really pretty, isn't it? It's weird that it's 3:2, it's so strange to see a square screen in this day and age. So do you guys still use your Nexus 6?
Gina: I'm OnePlus One still.
Jeff: I'm a 6.
Leo: Well, you're in luck because apparently, this Google wireless carrier that they're about to start, an MVNO, the weirdest thing of all, may only work with a Nexus 6. Are we - we still haven't got confirmation, or have we that they're going to do this? Wall Street Journal leaked it out.
Jason: Pichai teased it at Mobile World Congress but I don't know if we have exact confirmation of all of these details. Yes, he did say soon.
Leo: Like the next few weeks. So we're still waiting for the other shoe to drop on that. That could happen any time now, but the rumor is - first of all, it will be an MVNO, mobile virtual network operator, with using both T-Mobile, Sprint and WiFi, and will seamlessly hand off from one to the other depending on which connection is better. It will be much less expensive. I think that's the only reason Google would want to do that is because of price - would be so much better. But the Wall Street Journal also says it will only work on a Nexus 6. That, I don't know if that's technical. That might just be to start.
Jason: They do say that it's not going to work on older Nexus devices, so the Nexus 5, it wouldn't work with it.
Leo: I don't know if that's a technical issue or not because I had a Republic Wireless Moto G, I can't remember. It was a Moto of some kind from a public wireless that did the handoff from Sprint to WiFi and it did it seamlessly, did it beautifully. I actually tried it when I reviewed it from Before You Buy. I started a call in the house - actually, what I did is I called my voicemail and started leaving a message for the house, got in the car, drove away and at no point was there any audible handoff from WiFi to Sprint, seamlessly and beautifully. So.
Jeff: There's a piece I just put up on the rundown from Kevin Werbach who's from the Warton Business School for the FCC, he knows his stuff really well. He argued that this is the Uber of wireless, that it dis-intermediates because what it means is now anybody can provide wireless to the thing.
Leo: And it'll help you hit on hot women. No, that's not what he meant.
Gina: I really want to retire this, like, “Uber for” phrase.
Leo: I know, I heard you moan.
Gina: I'm just so tired of it.
Leo: It'll be something else next month, you know.
Gina: This is, the “like Uber for” has been around for - this has been sticky and persistent. Nothing against Kevin and I totally get what he's saying here.
Jeff: He says, he doesn't like it either but he does it.
Leo: He also says that this is - that one of the reasons they're going to use the Nexus 6 is - yes, I know. Thank you, Jason, for highlighting, “I hate the 'X of Y' comparison,” writes Werbach, “But I can't think of a better way to describe this.”
Jason: I'm not saying, I'm just saying.
Gina: I think it's a fine thing to say, it's just specifically the “Uber for,” because that has been - like, Uber for is like Uber for weak metaphors or analogies, I guess I should say.
Jeff: Gina, you are the Uber for...
Gina: I'm the Uber for anti-Uberness, okay?
Leo: Let me say what he means by this. What I think, actually, it's Tim O'Reilly that created this metaphor but he said - O'Reilly said Uber is an example of the internet of things. Cars become the network devices with phones as sensors. This is classic Tim because he kind of is able to out of the box able to think about this stuff and I think that's a very interesting and apt way to put it. So the idea is industry as a service. So eliminating, kind of, the commerce friction and just having it be kind of - you just press a button, the bill is paid. You know, it's all magical. I think this is great for Google. I think what Google wants to demonstrate is, it's possible to have a good wireless carrier.
I wish they had bought that 700 mgHz spectrum; it was very expensive, Verizon got it. But it would have been great to see Google really go all in on this. However, in this case, they're going to be able to sit on top of existing networks, get a much better deal - for some reason, I never really understood, Sprint resells its wireless service for much less. You can get Sprint for much less expensively than buying it from Sprint directly. In fact, I think all the phone companies do this, so - and Werbach labels this as a trial and that's why it's Nexus 6 only. I don't think there would be a technical reason it can't be anyone else.
Sorry, I'm talking a lot. I'll shut up. You want it?
Gina: I want it, yes. I mean, my phone won't support it; my current phone won't support but I'm in. I'd get the phone that supported it.
Leo: Especially if it's a lot cheaper. There might be issues though because it is Sprint or T-Mobile, neither of which has a great network. I'd love it if it had one of the biggies in there.
Jason: I wonder how they fill in each other's, you know, lack of coverage, though.
Leo: Yes, maybe that's the idea.
Jeff: Well, if it's Sprint, can it fail back from 4G to 3G if the 3G is still CDMA?
Leo: That's the other issue. Sprint is a CDMA voice carrier. T-Mobile is GSM, so they must be using voice over LTE for Sprint which means it's probably all LTE all the time. Well, I don't know about that.
Jeff: But that's an issue too.
Leo: That's an issue too because T-Mobile does not have voice over LTE everywhere.
Jeff: The other question is how they price it because it's unlimited data. If it's unlimited data too, that's the key. Google's got to be unlimited data.
Leo: Won't they?
Jeff: That could be the thing that makes me leave AT&T because the only reason I'm still on AT&T is because when I whine about no LTE on my Chromebook, Kevin Marks came in and said, “You crybaby -” He didn't say that but I inferred it. “Why don't you just tether?” A, because it's a pain in the butt to do that, my current Chromebook just goes online. B, I'm still a grandfathered AT&T plan that doesn't allow tethering.
Leo: Pichai says they are not competing on price though. So here's the other interesting thing. They're not the first company to think of this. Xfinity Comcast has for a while and has been getting heat for it, remember, been taking - if you're a customer, you have their WiFi access point, been using some of it for WiFi access everywhere. So everywhere in Petaluma, pretty much, I have WiFi because it's a Comcast neighborhood and there's so many Comcast users with Xfinity WiFi access points that I get free WiFi everywhere I roam. Actually, Werbach speculates that maybe Google's thinking about doing a deal to get access to that WiFi. Then it would be cheap, right? Because you'd rarely be using minutes.
Leo: Then maybe put some balloons up and who knows? Loon would not be a good choice for this, I think latency would make that an unappealing choice.
Jason: Actually probably somewhat related, but the latest version of Android 5.1 just pushed out a couple of days ago and one of the features of that is for Android to recognize whether a WiFi actually has internet access or not and if not, to just bypass it all together so it doesn't just connect to it and you realize you can't get anything from it. So if you're hopping around all these WiFi networks, that actually makes a lot of sense.
Jeff: Because all I do is repeat myself, I'm going to repeat my desire from last week. I want a standard that says, “I hereby agree to whatever stupid WiFi rules you have, just go ahead and connect me. Yes, I won't do anything bad on your network, I don't know how I would. Just connect me.”
Gina: Just get me past the blah, blah, blah.
Jason: Just sign me in, it's cool.
Jeff: It's such a torture to have to -
Gina: So wait, you wouldn't connect to one of these networks that has the sign in page where you have to agree and duh, duh, duh, because that is not internet access. That is intranet access.
Jeff: Gina, how often do you run across a network like that? I hardly ever see those networks so there's got to be something else here happening that we don't realize. I mean, if you are a Comcast or a Cablevision subscriber in my neck of the woods, yes, you can go on - but you're already authenticated as a customer. Unless, is Google going to do a deal with the cable companies? I can't see that happening because they're competing with them. I don't see that much open WiFi in the world any more. Remember those days of, what did we call it, when you went driving in the woods and went, “WiFi!”
Gina: War driving, yes.
Jeff: Wasn't that quaint? “Look, look, there's WiFi here! Isn't that cool?” The phone book's in, the phone book's in!
Leo: Not anymore. In fact, somebody's saying in the chat room that Cablevision sells WiFi-only phones in your area.
Jeff: Yes, they do. WiFi only? I guess you know who that would work for? Your kid at school.
Leo: Maybe. No, because the whole idea - I guess Cablevision's doing the same thign Comcast is doing which is using a little bit of your - borrowing a cup of access from you so anybody walking by can use your access point. Is that what they're doing?
Jeff: I'm not sure - you know, I see these connections come up most often when I'm in commercial places. So I think they must put access points around on poles and things too. I don't know, I've been meaning to ask about that. Maybe somebody in chat room can answer because where I most often see it is in commercial spaces, not in a residential area where I could be near somebody's WiFi.
Leo: That's what's so weird about Xfinity wireless, it's most strong in residential neighborhoods. I've been able to literally just walk through small neighborhoods and never leave WiFi, it's amazing.
Jeff: Wow. That's - hm.
Leo: Apparently Cablevision has deals with Xfinity as well so if you - who's the cable provider in Brooklyn? Is it also Cablevision?
Gina: Time Warner Cable.
Jeff: You didn't say that with joy, Gina.
Gina: There's a phone call to be made.
Leo: [crosstalk] - allowing HBO to go over the top, so maybe Time Warner is forward thinking, or maybe you'll be Comcast soon.
Jeff: Don't forget, it's already spun off, Leo.
Leo: Oh, they spun off HBO?
Jeff: They spun off Time Warner Cable from Time Warner.
Leo: Oh, it's not part of Time Warner.
Jeff: Time Warner as we knew it has spun off AOL, Time Warner Cable and Time Inc., spun off. So what you have left in Time Warner will be Studio, HBO, CNN, that kind of stuff.
Leo: I think this is really kind of the guerilla form of wireless access as these companies beef up their WiFi everywhere. Apparently in Vancouver, one of the chatters is telling us, Shaw, the big cable company there is rolling out street level WiFi throughout the entire region. So it's interesting, the ambition of these cable companies expands.
Jason: What is the security implication of this? Maybe this is a little bit of a tangent but if I see Xfinity WiFi in my WiFi list and it's going to connect to it automatic, I would say no because I don't know who that belongs to. I don't want my phone connecting to a random person's WiFi. What is the security aspect of this when you're connecting to hundreds of WiFi access points while you're roaming around town?
Leo: Oh, who cares?
Jason: Who cares?
Leo: No. That's a good question. I don't know; I didn't even think of that.
Gina: Maybe they're customers that set up the default and just left it open, they didn't have a password on their router, say.
Leo: No, it's not that at all. It's actually done by Comcast. So if you subscribe to Comcast and use Xfinity wireless access, the box they give you, which I don't, it'll automatically create this Xfinity WiFi account. Nothing you're doing - you can opt out of it but it's not opt in, it's opt out. You're now - but it doesn't go against your bandwidth.
Gina: And it's completely firewalled from your stuff?
Leo: They insist it's firewalled from your stuff.
Jeff: It doesn't go against your bandwidth for charging but what if everybody in the house is watching movies and somebody walks by watching a movie.
Leo: That's a good question. I think they say, “We add more -” Give you more capability. They bump you up and you don't know it. They don't give it to you.
Jeff: “We use it for us.” Yes.
Leo: The router could certainly do that. I do have to log in - so in order for it to work, the first time I use it, I have to log into my Xfinity account but you're right. The phone doesn't really know if it's - it could just be an open access spot.
Jason: Is there - excuse me, my voice is going. Is there anything stopping just a random person from setting up an Xfinity, naming it the same things your phone recognizes and goes, “I connect to these by default.” Then something bad happens. I don't know. Sorry to rain on the parade.
Leo: Guess I'll be forgetting Xfinity WiFi. It works nicely. Then somebody else is pointing out that Fon, which was started many years ago, has been doing this for some time. That was the plan. Fon was going to create a mesh network of WiFi and you would get a Fon router and then get free access to global WiFi in other locations. Apparently, there are 14 million access points all over the place. This is not well-known in the US. But I think it is available in the US.
Jeff: Oh, yes. But I don't - you've got to be, you know, play the odds of being by one.
Leo: You have to get a Fonera, a Moto Fonera. I'm not buying one, I'm just looking. Honest.
Jeff: “Oh, oh, I couldn't help myself.”
Leo: I'm just looking.
Jason: What's the over-under on how much Leo's going to spend on today's episode of This Week in Google?
Leo: I have a budget, you know.
Jason: Per episode?
Leo: Boy, you can tell it's a European country, it's $49,00 dollars USD for the Gramafon or the Fonera. You have Fonera for business - let's see more details. So it's a little doo-hickey. Classic Fon sharing features with - is it “phone” or “faun”? It's probably “phone,” isn't it? But that's very confusing because it's a homophone. I'm sorry. “The new Fonera is so small it fits in the palm of your hand but don't let its tiny size fool you, it's 802911 compatible, comes with a WPA encryption and a powerful antenna.” It looks powerful, huh. That's not expensive, it's $50.
Jeff: No. I mean, it's - Martin Varsavsky started Fon and it's a cause, trying to get WiFi everywhere.
Leo: So he's not trying to make money out of it, it's just -
Jeff: Yes, no, it's a business. But he's also trying to make it - you know, do good.
Leo: Well, I live in the country so I can't do much good with it. I guess we could put one in the window here. I never see any of these around so I think it's not widely used. That's neat, though. I think if it were widely used, this would be great. Part of my pay is in gadgets, that's exactly right. It's actually the reason I got into tech journalism in the first place 30 years ago.
Leo: I couldn't afford to support my habit so I had to find a way to - a means to do that.
Gina: Keep the salary, I'll take the gadgets.
Leo: It actually kind of happens that way. Lisa will say, “You know what?” So what else is new? She'll say, “Your draw this month is all in gadgets.” What else is new on the Store? Is it just the new design? It's pretty “purty,” but nothing else is different about it?
Gina: It seems like Google's really trying to be a retailer, right?
Leo: Which is an interesting thing for them. It can't be a big part of their revenue, can it?
Gina: It can't be, right? They can't be selling a lot of this stuff but they are getting more and more stuff.
Jason: They have to make it accessible.
Gina: They have to make it accessible and they have more and more stuff to sell. I mean, if you go to a Best Buy, you know, the Google section gets bigger and I mean, this is a good-looking site.
Leo: To that point, they just opened a Google store in -
Jeff: I'm so jealous. Why the UK?
Leo: In the London Curries.
Jeff: Why not New York?
Gina: That is a strange place. Why not New York, yes? Google!
Leo: Because Best Buy is gone. Circuit City is gone. Actually, Best Buy's not gone. I prematurely killed Best Buy. Radioshack is gone. So this is inside now - so our British listeners will have to help us with this. Dickson's, which is kind of a - I'd say like the Walmart of the UK, owns Curries, which is their electronics store, right? And inside the Curries - one Curries only, in London, Google has opened a Google shop. It's not big. It's kind of - we used to see those in Best Buys, they had an Apple “store.”
Jeff: Well you see in Best Buy now, they have huge Samsung, Sony, small Google, big Microsoft - very common now.
Leo: So it's in the Tantnum Court Curries PC World.
Jeff: I've been in there.
Leo: Have you? Is it big?
Jeff: Yes. It's not big like the German electronic ones are much bigger, Saturn is much bigger.
Jason: Check this out, Google launched VIP Shop at Curries VR Tour for your Cardboard so you can get a walkthrough tour.
Leo: Google's done this kind of thing before, I remember at Terminal 2 at SFO, the Virgin terminal, there used to be a little Chrome kiosk there.
Gina: Oh, yes. That's right.
Leo: They've done Chrome shops, Android Land shops in Australia. They've done Chrome stores before, in fact, in Curries.
Jeff: I have actually argued for some time that they'd be wise to - Google all around would be wise to have Google presence just to be friendlier to the world all around.
Leo: Right, right. That's what this is, I think.
Jeff: Come in and play - don't just play with the hardware, play with Google Maps and understand what it can do. Go into that [0:40:42.9?] dome we've all been in at Google IO.
Leo: Listen, this is the description. “The shop will host regular classes and events including tutorials about online security, as well as how to use Google devices. It will also hold virtual space camps to teach children the basics of coding, open house events where teachers can test potential educational tools -” You're right. This is a PR effort.
Jeff: Which they should do more of. By the way, what's the security lesson? Buy a Chromebook?
Leo: Maybe second factor authentication on your Google accounts. If I were them, I'd put more information on making and storing secure passwords and there's other stuff they could do.
Jeff: The other thing - maybe they think this is cheapening the brand but all of us who have ever visited the Google HQ valhalla, beg for a walk-in to the schwag store.
Gina: To the schwag store, I was just about to say that. Every time - the few times I've been to the campus, the group I've been in, it's been like, “When do we get to go to the store?” The store is just full of stuffed Android, t-shirts and all kinds of gear. People love it. I love it, I've bought things.
Jeff: People love it. Imagine if all over Europe, you started to see people walk around with Google t-shirts - as long as they didn't get hit with eggs.
Leo: To me, it's no accident they're doing it in England. Maybe they will do it in the rest of Europe. The shop includes a large screen called Portal that will allow users to fly around the world using Google Earth. There will be a Google -
Jeff: They're doing that, all right.
Leo: There will be a Doodle Wall where wannabe, budding artists can paint their own Google logo. That's all you can paint, though, is a Google logo. You can paint within in the Google but - then a Chromecast pod where customers can watch Google play movies and Youtube.
Jeff: In Mountain View they had, for whatever conference they did it for, they have a selfie booth which is very popular there.
Leo: We used to call those photo booths where you get four or five pictures where you get pictures of you and your honey.
Jeff: The difference is, those are an auto-awesome photo booth.
Leo: Yes, nice.
Jeff: So whatever you do becomes auto-awesome immediately and you can share that.
Leo: Be awesome, we're watching.
Gina: Makes you look really good automatically.
Leo: Another good breaking story, Google's been busy. We have three breaking stories today. Google has launched an interactive events app for Android and the web.
Jeff: Now, is this the real launch? It kind of snuck out yesterday, didn't it? This is the real thing now.
Leo: Here's a legal disclaimer I have to accept. You know, they didn't have to make this such small type but I guess if you're doing a legal disclaimer, you should. Nobody wants to read this. Yes, we know you collect information. That's okay. I love you, Google.
Gina: Sign in with Facebook, LinkedIn or GitHub.
Jeff: Whoa, that's new.
Leo: That's interesting. Or Google, which I'm using. I have no events.
Leo: What good is this? So what is this? If I had an event code, I could put it in here.
Gina: Gosh, this was such a promising on-boarding and then it was nothing.
Leo: It boarded me to nothing. “Take the last train to Noville.” It makes me feel bad about myself, you have no events.
Jeff: I have a boring life too.
Gina: No events.
Leo: “You have no life.” Can somebody give me an event code, please?
Gina: I don't understand - this is like an upcoming kind of thing or what? Let's see.
Leo: I'm going to show something I really like that I just found out about. Have you heard of Forekast.com? I should've made this my pick of the week, tool of the week. It's an open source, Karma-based calendaring solution. The crowd sourced calendar of the internet. So you can add stuff to it in different categories and then you can vote them up so the stuff that is voted up is what you see. So here is somebody who - Angelika Calico [?] was Meerkating from the NASA test firing of the largest, most powerful booster ever built this morning. Ryan Hoover was doing product hunt radio with Meerkat founder and others. So these are - I'll log in but I guess I'll do that off camera. It's kind of cool, like product hunt for events. Then people vote them up.
Gina: That's neat.
Leo: Tomorrow is Alfred Hitchcock day all day. The livestream of the Atlas 5 rocket launch. Facebook warns that your page likes may decrease substantially tomorrow. Sid Meyers' Starship releases, so it's kind of like a geek calendar. Of course, tomorrow, South by Southwest.
Jeff: Do we miss that, folks?
Leo: Are you guys going?
Gina: No, I miss the South by Southwest of yesteryear, though I did join the Twitter South by Southwest eight years ago.
Leo: That's when South by Southwest was very relevant.
Gina: Even then I was like, “Oh, this thing has jumped the shark.”
Leo: It's already big in South by, forget it. So eight years, in 2007.
Gina: Yes. So that was the South by that Twitter kind of launched, meaning that they set up those displays in the hallways with tweets. I spent the whole conference going, “Ah, this Twitter thing is stupid.” Then I flew home and joined Twitter at home and I think my first tweet was, “I'm home. About to take a nap.” You know?
Leo: “Good night.” Now it's your business, so there. Little did you know, eight years later, your startup would be all around Twitter.
Gina: My crystal ball was not working.
Leo: You'd be a lamp ray on the giant eel of Twitter, a dickey bird on the shoulders. So -
Jason: The interactive service is meant for Google's things, like IO for example. So you know every year they produce an IO app or something like that? Instead, there's this. You can plug in the event code and do things like interact with speakers, take notes, participate in Q&A, that kind of stuff.
Leo: So if you don't have codes, it's useless?
Jeff: All those things nobody gets invited to. He said bitterly about never going to Zeitgeist.
Leo: Aw. I'd love to go to Zeitgeist but that's for people who advertise on Google.
Jeff: I know, but they bring in cool people because there's money there. That's what makes it neat. I'm being very whiny today because there's no LTE.
Leo: No LTE. You see what you've done, Google? You've made an enemy. All right, so there's your three big breaking stories but we still have a Google change log, you know. Since Gina's here, we're going to make her do it.
Gina: Oh, yes. Okay. I'm going to wing it, you guys, do it live.
Leo: I don't think we have anybody at South by this year. Is Miriam going? She's going probably.
Jason: I believe she's there for something, yes.
Leo: I was asked to moderate a panel and I said no. There you go, I said, “Nah, I got to do my shows.” Because I would miss the shows next week.
Jeff: May I ask you, at the height, what did it cost you to do the mondo great stuff you did live?
Leo: The mondo stuff we did at CES where we had a booth and a crew. We brought down 15 or 20 people. We never did South by like that - actually, we did have a live broadcast from South by, didn't we?
Jason: We had one year in particular where we had a good presence.
Leo: It's in the low six figures, $100 thousand plus. Most of that is flying people there and feeding them, and clothing them. It's like I have a homeless encampment on my back.
Jeff: You feed them well.
Leo: I did, remember, we had that lovely dinner at that Brazilian sword meat place. That was fun. If I had Meerkat then, I would have Meerkat'ed it.
Gina: Oh, that's right. There was that one - was that the event where you had the giant backpack camera.
Leo: Yes, right before the crowdsource, I turned on the live view, showed them the bill and then we went over to Stub's Barbecue, walked to there, podcasting along the way. Then did the crowdsurf. Those were the days, weren't they? It wasn't just Twitter. Twitter was 2007, so was it 2008 that Foursquare broke out at South by? By the time I got there - yes, by the way, there I am being lifted. The reason you can see me is I've got a camera on my face that I've got on a staff like Gandalf aiming at my face. It was the original selfie stick, the streaming selfie stick. I had hair and look at the backpack, which is the streaming unit. It was like a 30-pound backpack. I feel like Dan Rather at the 1968 Democratic Convention. Or the Doonesbury guy with the satellite dish on his head. That was a lot of fun.
But what we realized quickly was, it's just a party. There's no news.
Gina: I think Foursquare was 2009.
Leo: Okay, so there was nothing in 2008? Oh, maybe -
Jason: I feel like there was something in 2008 but it was -
Leo: It was Goala. That was an Austin company copying Foursquare. Ah, those were the days. All right. I think this would be a good time to take a break, come back and do the change log. What do you say? There's still a ton of news. We've got the Google CFO moving on, wants to spend his time climbing mountains with his wife.
Jeff: How much money he has, people can just carry him up the mountain.
Leo: Did you read Pichette's letter? Did it make you want to quit? It made me want to quit.
Jeff: Yes, it did. And you're your own boss.
Leo: I can't quit but it made me want to - I'll read it out loud and do a dramatic reading. It'll make you all want to quit your jobs and go travel the world. Nest is looking for a head of audio, what could that mean? And Google Compare finally launches. We heard it was going to but it's here. There's a lot of new stuff. This is a good week if you're a Google watcher. Oh, and I want to talk a little bit about GigaOm. We have to.
First, let's talk about my mattress. Somebody said, “I can tell TWiT has jumped the shark, you're doing ads for mattresses now.” When you find a great mattress, even geeks have to sleep, my friends. All the advertisers we have are tied in some way to the new economy. That's really, I think, if there's a common thread, they may not be tech companies but it wouldn't exist if the internet didn't exist. Casper is one of those companies that is redefining what commerce looks like and it's an interesting one, a challenging one, because people say, “I need to lie on the bed before I buy the bed.” I've got to tell you from personal experience, five minutes on a bed in a show room with a sales girl looking at you and your wife, waiting for you to do something bad, is not a way to figure out if that mattress is comfortable. We bought a mattress and didn't like it. Fortunately, we love our Casper.
Here's how Casper gets around that show room problem. You get the mattress, you try the mattress for as long as 100 days, free delivery and painless return during that free period. So you can literally sleep on it for three months and say, “Yes, no, it's not right for me.” They'll come get it and say, “Thank you very much, we appreciate the opportunity that you gave us a shot.” I'm not returning my Casper. In fact, I bought more Caspers. Casper's in our guest room, Casper's in my son's dorm room. Well, he's in a house but he loves his Casper.
Casper mattresses combine latex on top and memory foam on the bottom to give you just the right sink and bounce. They are so comfy and yes, they come in a box. That was a queen size mattress that easily, easily fit through the door, simple to do. I just love it and that's one of the reasons we got it for my son. He's up three flights and he couldn't have had a big mattress upstairs. He wanted a king. Mattresses start at $650 for a twin, $950 for a king, and that's a lot less than that show room mattress but it's a lot more comfortable. It breathes, it's cool. It feels great and they're made in the USA. Even Ozzy the wonderdog loves Casper and you will, too. In fact, you'll save an additional $50 because you're watching this show if you go to casper.com/TWiG, $50 off any mattress.
This is an example of the Uber of mattresses, an example of how the internet can kind of revolutionize - well, it's kind of true.
Jeff: Oh, you have a Casper? I'll come home with you.
Leo: Exactly. Make new friends fast with Casper. That's not how we're selling it, Jeff, but I think that's how my son is selling it.
Jeff: Actually, they are. Actually on Sirius, on Howard Stern, it is how they sell it, in a sense.
Leo: Let me put it this way - Henry's very happy with his new mattress. I think it's getting a lot of use. But you know, college kids sleep a lot. Casper.com/TWiG, love it, love it. It was so much fun when we opened the box and the mattress just goes, whoosh.
Gina: It looks fun. I want to get one just to see it inflate.
Leo: I didn't open the box for a long time because I wanted to make sure we had all the cameras set up so we could shoot - I knew we wanted to - we knew it was going to be exciting. I told Henry, “Please, make a Vine of your mattress unboxing!” But he never did. I was disappointed. Anything I tell my son to do, he does the opposite. But that's going to change. My daughter's in the Big Apple right now. It's neat, I'm getting pictures back. She's got so many friends in New York, it's really the place for people her age. She's 23. People her age really flock to Manhattan, don't they?
Gina: Yes, definitely.
Leo: You should do it when you're young. It's a wonderful place to be and so she's - there's tons of friends there. Her Uncle James, who's the dean at EL Drama School took her to a Broadway show, went backstage. She's having a good time.
Gina: Oh, wonderful. Right on.
Leo: I said, “It's freezing!” She said, “I've got a coat.”
Gina: Actually, she got pretty good weather this weekend.
Leo: She did, it's melting, isn't it?
Gina: The cold broke a little bit. It's melting, yes. It's disgusting.
Leo: That's the worst time of year. Let's - can we dust off the change log theme?
Voiceover: The Google change log!
Leo: Time for the latest, the new stuff from Google from Gina Trapani.
Gina: Got to shake off my rust here. Okay, what do we got? Thank you to Jason for putting this together. I have been so out of touch with iOS, I had no idea there was not a native Google Calendar app for iOS. It's been a while but that wrong has been righted. Google launched Google Calendar for iPhone, a native app on iOS and this, of course, you used to be able to get Google Calendar - because I knew I had Google Calendar on my iOS when I was using it. It used to be available only through Google Sync. This is a full tilt Android experience. It's got events from Gmail support which automatically converts emails to calendar events that has places, times and dates. Assists will make suggestions for things like places and contacts, and this schedule view that we all - I say “we all,” I'm sure that not everyone on the show is on Android. But it really, really has a nice experience with all the up-to-date Calendar stuff, so that's available on the App Store now.
Leo: And it has a widget, whatever Apple calls them. It has an item for the notifications.
Gina: Nice. Yes, what does Apple call those notification thingers? They were calling them widgets, right? Doohickeys, jimmy jams? I don't know. But that's good.
Leo: You know what they call it on the watch? A complication.
Gina: A complication?
Leo: When you have the Apple Watch, you can add weather and stuff and it's called a complication.
Gina: That is funny? I don't …
Leo: It might be a horological term. They're using a lot of watch terms in this thing.
Gina: Interesting, I want more complications in my life.
Leo: By the way, you can't get Google Calendar for the iOS right now because the App Store's been down all day.
Gina: Oh, really?
Leo: All their services have been up and down. It's been a mess but I haven't checked lately. I know Apple, like Google, has the status thing. It hasn't been indicating any problems. Maybe it is now but they've been having all sorts of problems.
Gina: Even the status is down. That's not a good sign.
Leo: Let me see, let's look. Apple Support, system status - see all the green? Oh, no, App Store is down. Itunes Store is down, Mac App Store is down.
Gina: I feel for those engineers.
Leo: Store services, all users have been affected, going on since 6 a.m.
Gina: Wow, that's a long time.
Leo: It's a long time in the Stores, so I don't know what that's all about.
Gina: Good luck, Apple engineers. When the App Store comes back, you can get the Google Calendar on it. Good luck.
Android 5.1, we talked about this at Linked, actually, last night, on All About Android. Google announced Android 5.1. This is a minor update to point release, to Lollipop. It's rolling out to devices now. It's part of the Android open source project which means people who flash, it's available to flashing parties everywhere. New features are pretty good, multi-SIM card support, device protection for lost or stolen devices - of course, Android had this before but this is a new way to do it. It requires Google sign-in. So you lose your device, you sign into Google to unlock it but it works even after somebody has rebooted and factory reset the device.
Jeff: Take that, you thugs.
Gina: Yes. Just try to wipe my phone. Just try to wipe it.
Leo: Places where killswitches like that have been implemented have shown really good results, right? Even designers - I think I saw some Manhattan statistics for iPhones and it really drops the number of thefts. So that's good.
Gina: Then HD voice calling for compatible devices and carriers. So I think you both would have to have a Nexus 6 on the right carriers in order to enjoy this HD voice calling, but it's there. Then there's just a bunch of little minor - some icons got animated. There were some volume settings updates. This was kind of just a - you know, a polish and minor update that kind of made the whole Lollipop experience better. I, of course, don't have Lollipop on my OnePlus One yet and no one on All About Android had gotten 5.1 yet over the air but it should be rolling out.
Jeff: I just checked my Nexus 6 and no.
Leo: I'm going to see if it's running on my Nexus 7 while you keep talking. I don't know.
Gina: Jason, did you see it on your phone?
Jason: No. I keep checking, which, you know, we already know does no lot of good. As I said last night, I was tempted to flash it but I knew once I did that, I would then be authorizing another device on my Google Play Music all access account and because Google's so limiting on that now, I didn't want to run up against the limit. So I decided not to so that because those authorizations are precious to me at the moment.
Gina: Right. Then finally, Google released a standalone PDF Viewer for folks that aren't using Google Drive. Yes, it's released standalone to the Play Store and makes it easier to open PDFs. You've probably got a few different options. We tried it last on the show and it's like Quick Office PDF Viewer and then the Drive Viewer. But I think this is targeted toward Android for Work folks but it's open and available to everyone in the Play Store now.
Leo: I just - I love - you know, for years, especially on Windows, viewing PDFs has meant downloading additional programs and in case of a reader program, full of holes. It was so nice that Google Drive just went, “You can read it now.” It transformed life.
Gina: It should be treated like a text file. It should just be a system utility. PDF files at this point are such a ubiquitous format.
Leo: Apple does it that way, they come with a program called Preview.
Gina: Right, right.
Leo: But Google had to do it for Chrome OS, I think. What a great feature. Okay, about the tablet, my Nexus 7 is currently running, I think, 5.02. Gosh, don't you hate that? Let me check that again.
Gina: You lie.
Leo: My system is not up to date.
Gina: It's lying.
Leo: Come on, Google change log. Wah, wah.
Gina: It's on its way. Next time you see that little robot you'll know it's 5.1.
Leo: I should just show you one more thing - Leo has now written his first Android application. It's very stupid and simple because it's the App Inventor. You know I wanted a little countdown timeline for the radio show. So App Inventor - you know, the hardest thing was getting used to the idea of, like - you know, I couldn't do a case statement, I had to do multiple if-than analyses. Real programmers will go, “You're fighting App Inventor.” But for a non-programmer, it's great. You can actually make an APK you can give to people. I just downloaded the APK, put it on my Google Drive and I could put it on any Android device. It's a very stupid little simple thing, it just counts down how many seconds left - if we were on the radio show right now, I'd have three minutes of talking left. Then when it gets down to two minutes, it goes yellow. When it gets to 30 seconds, it goes red. When it gets to zero, then it goes to the blue commercial.
It's very simple but it's very handy and I used it this weekend. So that's the App Inventor from MIT, if you search for App Inventor 2. It's very easy and I can create new - new APKs that you can install on yours and anybody's. You have to be able to install third-parts APKs but that's easy to do. So this is counting down the number of viewers. I hope not.
Jeff: No, come back!
Leo: Go the other way. Come back, viewers! Enough about Leo's stupid app. That is the Google change log! So nice to have Gina here.
Gina: It's good to hear those numbers.
Leo: Things are going well for you?
Gina: Yes, things are good. Things are good now that spring is starting to happen. I'm feeling a little bit more human and a little less like, “What did I do?”
Leo: The reason for winter - you know, you can't enjoy anything unless you know suffering. It makes you better enjoy spring.
Gina: We were discussing that at Linked, is spring better because we earned it? I think so. This is what I'm telling myself, anyway.
Leo: Absolutely. Spring is coming. March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.
Gina: That's what they say.
Leo: Have you heard that before?
Leo: Okay. Let's take a break. Lots more to talk about. Our show today brought to you by hipchat.com. I'm on HipChat all the time on my Android device, on my iPhone, on my desktop. There's a web app for, you know, Linux. Actually, there may be a dedicated app for Linux. What is HipChat? Well, it's designed for teams to keep them on the same page. It's like instant messenger. You'll immediately be able to use it and understand what HipChat is but it adds video, document sharing, screen sharing, code sharing - it's really great for developers. Lots of developers use HipChat. We're using it for our development team in Austin that's doing the new website and it's like having a permanent record of everything that went on.
It's real time, so it's not asynchronous like email. It's SSL so it's fully encrypted. It works with 57 other services that developers like, like GitHub, Jira and Zendesk. So you're really very productive with HipChat. It's easy to set up, fun to use and I'm telling you - by the way, fun is part of this. They do have emojis and they have a plugin called Linky where when you send a link, it shows a little preview of the page. Little things like that make it really a pleasure to use. We liked it so much using it with Four Kitchens, we started using it for our engineering team and our sales team. I just love it. HipChat - so here's the deal, there's a freemium version you can use free forever but there's also a full version and you're going to get that for the next 30 days if you go to hipchat.com/TWiG. That includes additional features like video and screen sharing. Hipchat.com/TWiG, no credit card needed, just sign up, click on Start Chatting and invite your team members. You'll have it free for 30 days.
Actually, for the first 100 people who respond right now, you'll have it free for 90 days so don't wait. Do it now before the other guy gets to it. Three months free for you and your team of the full HipChat at hipchat.com/TWiG. We're a HipChat house, I think I can say that now. At home, we have HipChat always running. We scrum every day, have the HipChat going. I feel so agile. It's kind of fun.
Gina: Like a mountain goat. You're agile.
Leo: I'm climbing the hill. Have you done full on agile development, Gina?
Gina: I have not. I've definitely used part of it. I'm a cafeteria agile practitioner, I guess you could say.
Leo: Like a cafeteria Catholic, I understand.
Leo: I think for most people, that's the way to go, but if you have a big project with a lot of moving parts and a lot of moving people, this is a perfect example where you have various stakeholders, lots of different developers. There's a developer for Drupal - actually, there's several. There's developers for Node JS. There's developers for the Dust templates. There's a designer. The only way to do that, I think, is with some real structure and agile is very interesting. It's very process heavy but I found it to be really fun. It's really interesting and I think now that the bridge is almost built, I feel like, wow. This has really worked. At first it's very process heavy and you go, “Nothing's happening.”
Gina: You're spending a bunch of time - yes, deciding how we want to do things.
Leo: It's like designing programs, right? Nobody wants to spend time writing tests, writing a design, writing a spec. You want to get in there and code. The hard part is the up front part but it makes a difference.
Gina: You should write a - I hope you'll write up or do a show, maybe on an Inside TWiT. I'd love to hear about your impressions. Is this your first time, full-on agile experience?
Leo: Yes. We did a little scrumming with Lullaby but it was really, as you said, just a little here and there. They may have been fully agile internally but we weren't exposed to it. This time, we're fully exposed to it and it's really good, really interesting. It's a way of managing complexity and software is so complex, you really need this.
Gina: Yes, especially when plugging together different things the way that you are.
Leo: Oh my God, what we're doing is insane.
Gina: I can't wait to see it!
Leo: I should bring you in a little bit, bring you into one of our meetings and show you. We'll be doing a beta so there's going to be three phases of development. But we're going to be doing a private beta soon and when we do that, we'll certainly invite you guys, all the hosts and those of you in chat will maybe be part of it as well. I want the users to get a chance to bang on it a little bit before we go public.
Gina: Can't wait. Do you feel pregnant?
Leo: Yes, I feel like I'm in week 38.
Gina: It's such delicious agony when you're building something. I'm in that space right now where you're building something, you're really excited about it. You know exactly what has to be done but it's not quite done yet. You can't wait to show people and then there's the post partum after it launches and all you have is a list of bugs, so get ready for that.
Leo: It looks pretty, though. And I know, we're going to have - but you know, I think in a way, this agile process does make the bug squashing as you go. It's a good way to do it. I don't know. We'll see. The new Android Wear street art pack is out, thank you, ScooterX in the chat room. I don't even know what I'm going to look at here. You got it?
Jason: Yes, it's just a bunch of funky watch faces, exactly. Street art and it can customize.
Leo: This is from Google Education of all people.
Jason: Is it? I didn't realize that.
Leo: So this is - so one of the nice things about Android Wear, I think now all the attention is shifting to the Apple Watch, it'll be interesting to see how Android responds. You know, we've heard some people say they should make it compatible with iOS but one of the things Apple does not offer is third-party faces. You have to use Apple faces and there's only going to be half a dozen of them.
Jeff: Of course.
Leo: Of course. So third-party face space is huge in Android Wear but Google is doing new faces all the time. So is Motorola. Is there more then one or is this - never mind, I'll just install it and find out. You have to install it, like all Android faces, on a phone first and then it communicates at some point to the watch, so I'll install it on my phone.
Jason: I will say, the flat tire of the Moto 360 is not doing it any favors. You can only see the top half of the number six at the bottom.
Leo: What do you think - how hard would it be to make Android Wear work with iOS? Pebble works with both. You won't have the full set of -
Jason: I know somebody's got it working. I know I've seen at least a proof of concept of it.
Leo: Would it be Apple - could Apple get in the way of that? I guess they could not approve Android support in apps.
Jeff: Right, in apps.
Leo: Yes. Well, I'll be getting a Watch too, of course. I'm not going to get the gold one, that's for Kanye and company.
Gina: Really quickly, are you filled with desire for this watch?
Leo: I'm filled with desire for everything. I'm a walking bag of desire. Walking sack of techno lust.
Jeff: You give him a new garage opener and he's happy.
Leo: No, but then I'm only happy for five minutes and it's like, what's next? You know what I lust for?
Gina: Based on the announcement, were you excited about the announcement or did you feel like, you know, you can't wait to go to iOS and go full tilt? Watch it up in April.
Leo: We knew everything about the watch except for price and availability. There was nothing new to say about the watch, really, pretty much. What we didn't know at all about was the new Macbook and I'm actually really excited about that. It's only two pounds, only about twice as thick as an iPhone. I mean, it's only half an inch thick. Type C connector only -
Jeff: Just one?
Leo: Just one.
Jeff: That's really irritating.
Leo: Well, their claim is you're going to get nine hours battery life and Apple, by the way, unlike a lot of people, including Google, when they say nine hours, you get nine hours. A lot of companies say nine hours and you get five and a half or six. They say, “Well, your mileage may vary.” But Apple tries hard to give you accurate numbers. So the idea is, I don't know. How many hours a day do you think you use your Chromebook without being plugged in?
Jeff: Me? Without being plugged in?
Leo: Not nine hours.
Leo: The idea is, you've got that type C connector for all the times you're not charging and then you'll do, I think, the theory is you'll do with your laptop what you do with your phone and watch now. You'll just plug it all in at night and wake up the next morning and have a whole day's left.
Jeff: What's the type C USB extender situation?
Leo: They've got a $79, of course, connector. You plug it in and it gives you a standard USB, power type C connector and gives you video - full HDMI video out. So -
Jeff: If I wanted to do this show - if I wanted to buy that machine, which I don't, and do this show -
Leo: Well, you need the camera and you need power. You could do it, yes. You'd need a USB hub because you'd need two USBs, one for mic, one for camera.
Jeff: And I couldn't do monitor.
Leo: There is, by the way, an Asus that's very similar that came out six months ago, almost as thing, 2.6 pounds. Has all the ports but there's a problem - you have to use Windows.
Jeff: What about the Air brand? Isn't this smaller than Air?
Leo: Yes and so this makes the Air Brand kind of confusing because this is -
Gina: So this is a Macbook, period. It's not a Pro, not an Air, just a Macbook? That's interesting.
Leo: I think they're going to phase out the Air and keep the Pro. They need Macbooks that have all the connectors and everything but I'm thinking if what you want is thin and light, this is what you want.
Jeff: Does the Pro still have a drive?
Leo: You mean optical drive? No. There is one Macbook with an optical drive, not a Pro but a weird one. I don't know how long that will last. I like thin and light but then I also like Chromebook so I'm kind of crazy. Let's see. So the CFO of Google - he's only been there six years but you think in six years you can make enough money that you'll never have to work again? Patrick Pichette, Google's chief financial officer, apparently very well liked. He's the guy who's been handling the analyst calls since Larry Page's voice problems. He's leaving and he left quite a - I think Larry Page said interesting goodbye letter. It starts pretty traditionally.
After nearly 7 years as CFO, I will be retiring from Google to spend more time with my family. Yeah, I know you've heard that line before.”
He talks about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro with his wife Tamar, and they enjoyed the view and their kids have grown out of the house. Tamar out of the blue says, “Let's keep on going. Let's explore Africa, then go to India, then the Great Barrier Reef, then Antartica.” He says, “I remember telling Tamar a typical prudent CFO type response - I would love to keep going, but we have to go back. It's not time yet.” So she says, a great question, Tamar, it reminds me a little bit of House of Cards. Claire Underwood saying to Francis, “So when is it going to be time? Our time, my time?” In this case, Pichette said, “Eh, I quit.”
So he's going to phase out slowly. He says, “I want to wait until we find a Googley replacement.” He literally used that word, a new Googley CFO. “And help him/her through an orderly transition which will take some time. Then I'm off.” He's 52 but obviously made enough money in seven years at Google to.
Jeff: Good for him.
Leo: Yes, right on. It makes me want to quit. When is it my time?
Gina: Man, all this stuff about his kids, this is just killing me.
Leo: You reading it?
Leo: Because you're there right now?
Gina: Yes. We're in the thick of the Cheerio-encrusted minivan. We're in the thick of it, you know, and it's so funny because I hear people with older kids talk about with such nostalgia and you know, the baby was up with an ear infection all night. I was exhausted. And of course, I love her and she depends on me but it's a weird thing when you look back at that young time and think about it so fondly.
Leo: I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
Gina: It feels like such a grind right now - right, that's what everyone says. They need you in a way that they don't ever need you. I didn't mean to go all mama.
Leo: No, Jeff and I, I'm sure, both have that experience of if we could go back, maybe not the first two years. Get them out of diapers and when they can talk. You're just entering the best time and getting out of the worst time, Gina. But I would go back and do that in a heartbeat. I think also, Jeff, humans have a short memory for pain.
Gina: This is why women have second children, right?
Leo: We'd never have another child otherwise.
Gina: Yes, but wow. This is quite a letter.
Leo: Isn't it what all the grown-ups tell you, though, Gina? “Enjoy this, Gina. You're never - it's the best time.”
Gina: That's what everyone says and I try to but it's tough.
Leo: I didn't feel that way when I was in the middle of it, either. Like, “Oy, can I get out of here? When do I get to go to work?”
Gina: There are some days where it's like, “If I can just make it till bedtime then maybe we can watch an episode of House of Cards and fall asleep in the middle of it.”
Leo: No spoilers. I finished season three, have you finished it, Jeff?
Jeff: Haven't started. Well, kind of started but -
Leo: Getting some bad reviews - it's very different. That's all I'm going to say. Have you watched any of it, Gina?
Gina: We're about three or four in.
Leo: It's a little different, isn't it?
Gina: Eh, not so much in a good way. That's all I'll say.
Leo: Francis is kind of a wimp.
Gina: Well, yes. I'm not going to - no spoilers.
Leo: I don't think this is a spoiler, but if you don't like spoilers, put your fingers in your ears. In the last episode, he yells and loses his accent and I can't figure out if that's because Kevin Spacey can't talk like this when he's yelling or if they're telegraphing something we're going to learn about in season four. It's very strange.
Jeff: Give me a hand sign, is it over yet?
Jason: So what he said was -
Leo: I'm very curious to see what you think, Jeff.
Jeff: I should've downloaded it to my Nexus 7 so I could watch that on the plane.
Leo: Oh, do it now.
Jeff: I already paid for it - oh, that's right, you can't download it.
Leo: What's weird about House of Cards and I can't figure this out, there are definitely some high-profile product placements for Windows Phone in it. Like, very high profile but there's also iPhones and Macs. It's a strange thing, they didn't get an exclusive on it.
Gina: I actually think they did a very nice job - I like the way they display text message conversations.
Leo: It's Windows Phone style.
Gina: Oh, it is? I just thought they picked a generic style. It's Windows.
Leo: So clearly Microsoft gave them some money but not enough for an exclusive. I guess that's the bottom line. Yes, there's Windows Phone sounds in it and clear shots of screens. Interesting. I was a little disappointed, I confess. Not horribly so but it's just different.
Gina: Yes, pretty popular and pretty well known. I think at some point, somebody threw an Angular t-shirt at me at Google IO. I think it's great. Listen, the more collaboration, that's better. That's great. Microsoft makes a browser; Google makes a browser. I think it's a good thing.
Gina: That's interesting, in TypeScript. Yes, I have friends who work in the Microsoft stack who absolutely love TypeScript.
Leo: But then there's Dart. It's so confusing.
Gina: There's so many frameworks out there, it's really -
Leo: What is a framework? Is it - it's not a language.
Gina: No, it's written in a language. Basically, it's libraries to do common actions without having to write all the code yourself and different frameworks take different approaches that are better in different situations. But yes, I guess that's the simplest way to explain it.
Leo: Ruby on Rails is a framework. Jango is a Python framework.
Leo: Google has launched - we heard rumors they were going to launch an insurance agency. In fact, it looks like Google Compare for auto insurance. So this is from Search Engine Land. They - with a tool that I guess is an app or a website? I guess it's an app. Google delivers 14 - this is where you don't want to use it. 14 sponsored listings from insurers with rate information. Then you can buy policies online and by calling an agent from your phone.
Jeff: Is it just auto insurance?
Leo: That's what it says right now and now, it's only in California. So you could probably see it but it won't be any good to you. It'll probably roll out to more states soon. The problem is, it's regulated state by state, so you have to go through the regulators in each state.
Gina: I should've had this in the change log. It looks like it's a web app.
Leo: Yes, it does.
Leo: So this has been rumored for a long time, a Google employee got an insurance license and there's been a lot of evidence this was about to happen. Google will act as a lead generator, more than just ad facilitator and pricing will be on the cost per acquisition. They get a cut in other words.
Jeff: So does Google have to get into the insurance business because self-driving cars will be better self-insured?
Leo: It's a business, a profit center. You're saying this is preparatory for autonomous vehicles?
Jeff: What I'm saying is, if I don't drive the car, why insure me? Insure that which drives the car and that which is liable.
Leo: What are you insuring then, the computer?
Jeff: Yes, the software. Seriously, right? If there's a bug in the software that kills somebody, am I liable because I'm sitting in the car?
Leo: Well, that means, yes, car insurance has to be changed a little bit. There's already liability protection in your car insurance but there may have to be some sort of umbrella protection for bad code. Wow. MetLife and Mercury Insurance, two of the partners that offered quotes - as Google Compare for car insurance rolls out to more states, Google says, “We'll also be introducing ratings and reviews.” That's going to be pretty important as well as local agent support with agent networks. Hm. “Insurance panel membership, contract form.” So yes, they're looking for more people to join the club. It's a business.
Google doesn't sell airplane tickets but they're - so it's interesting. But they kind of - I wonder if they have the same kind of relationship with ITA through airlines. Can you book through Google? No, it sends you to the airline's site. But maybe they make a little money on the side, I don't know.
Softcard, which was Isis, a poorly chosen name, it turns out, which was the carriers' attempt to make a Google-like Wallet - Verizon, for instance, offered Isis/Softcard support. But Google bought Softcard and is not shutting down the apps for Android and Windows Phone. So I don't know what this means. I guess Google Wallet will take over. Google announced a deal with Softcard to preinstall Google Wallet on carrier devices. I thought they bought Softcard but whatever. Softcard is killing off the wallets. All wallets will be terminated.
Gina: Install Google while it -
Leo: It's a joint venture between Google, AT&T and Verizon. I remember Verizon blocked Google Wallet on my Verizon phones because they wanted to use their solution. Same idea, tap to pay and all that stuff. Have to use Wallet now. Softcard pointing users to download Google Wallet, which does not have tap and pay on Windows Phone, just on Android. There was no issue on iOS because there never was a Softcard app for iOS.
Jeff: It's ten minutes to TWiG, better get ready for TWiG. My alarm just went off. “I have to pick a number!”
Leo: Is that what you do, you do it ten minutes before?
Jeff: It depends.
Leo: One of the things the Apple Watch does that's really interesting is WiFi. So Android Wear is Bluetooth but once you get out of Bluetooth range, it's disconnected and no longer had conversation with the phone. The Apple Watch will use WiFi so as long as you're in the WiFi network that your phone is on at home or work, the Watch will work. You can get 100 feet away. In our building, I can get all the way outside the building and still the Watch would be connected. Apparently, Android Wear is going to get that which is great. That's a software release but I thought the watch would have to be built in. “A source knowledgeable with Android Wear's product road map tells The Verge that the next software release will turn on Wi-Fi support, meaning that features like notifications and Google Now will work when a Bluetooth connection is unavailable. Most Android Wear watches already have Wi-Fi built in, so a simple software update should activate the feature for them.”
Jeff: What'll happen to the battery life?
Leo: Ah, good question. Battery - the Moto 360, every firmware update has improved battery life.
Jeff: One day out of 100 it'll get confused and power down but generally it's very good.
Gina: It'll be a big deal. In my house, the phone - my Watch loses connection with my phone all the time. I installed an app that buzzes when the watch has lost connection with the phone and it's all the time. So this is huge.
Jeff: That would irritate the hell out of me.
Gina: It was stupid. It was one of the first Android apps I ever installed and I was like, “Oh, this'll be useful.” It's terrible. It's just like reminding you that it's not working the way it should work.
Leo: I am thrilled that Google is saying, “Okay, we're going head to head with Apple Watch.” They're not going to go, “Oh well, it's over.” They're going to try to maintain feature parity.
Jeff: What I want to know is when is the Pixel of watches coming out?
Leo: A super nice one? Well, the LGR is very nice with no flat tire. Another new one came out at - [crosstalk]
Jeff: It's like a $1000 watch, isn't it? The thing is, who would invest money in something you know is going to become -
Leo: That's what's weird. It has no shelf life. That's why the $17 thousand Apple Watch is just -
Jeff: It's absurd.
Leo: It's only for people where $17 thousand is like $20. Here's the Android Wear ad that was released just before Apple's event.
Very sprockets. I love - I have to say, I love those, “Be together, not the same.” It's exactly right and they're very soft sell because they don't really say anything but you can tell it's Android.
Jeff: It's the social version of, “Think different.”
Gina: Though I have to say, I was surprised by the number of options there's going to be for the Apple Watch because it seems like Apple generally goes with - this is the one, true good thing. But it seems like with the Apple Watch there are a lot of options and prices.
Leo: Remember that thing about fragmentation difference? The different Apple Watch sizes has different screen resolutions so for a programmer, that's a pain in the ass.
Gina: Yes, yes.
Leo: Just a little different so I guess we won't hear the word fragmentation from Apple for a while. So Twitter bought Periscope, which is a video streaming service that I presume is going to be tied to Twitter. Unfortunately, just in time for South by Southwest, Meerkat launched last month and everybody's using Meerkat now. IOS only, unfortunately, which peeves me to no end.
Jeff: Meerkat is iOS only?
Leo: Yes. I don't know if Periscope is supporting Android.
Jason: They will. The Meerkat team actually got a bunch of their programmers together over a weekend and created an app for Android that they call an unofficial Meerkat app just for viewing Meerkat videos.
Leo: No. I want to stream.
Jason: Right. They're working on that.
Leo: So this is not a new category, remember Qwik and SocialCam? Who bought Qwik, Facebook? Somebody bought Qwik. What's interesting is we're in a new age -
Leo: Skype bought Qwik, that's right. We're in a new age where SocialCam, Justin.TV and so on. I've used both buy streaming was really rocky and hard to watch. We've improved so much, our phones, our bandwidth and so on. I did an hour and a half Meerkat yesterday after Mac Break Weekly during lunch. It's incredible and it's friction free because it's Twitter. So you sign up with your Twitter account, automatically tweets that you're streaming. People can chat in the stream but their chat comments go out as Twitter comments as well. It's really interesting and clear that they're planning that this is going to - they're hoping to be the thing at South by.
Gina: God bless them.
Jeff: I've got a correction by David Schmidt on Twitter that the Huawai watch is 349 Euros, which right now, as I'm going to Madrid tonight, is about to hit parity with the dollar.
Leo: I know! It's like $1.07. What the what? I thought the American century was over. I guess not. FriendFeed officially dead. I loved FriendFeed.
Gina: It was the Uber of social, guys.
Jeff: This is the Uber of shows.
Leo: We're the Uber of podcasts. So Facebook bought FriendFeed and Brett Taylor who was the creator of FriendFeed became the CTO of Facebook. It's been there so long that he actually just left Facebook, didn't he? He's doing his own thing. But this is sad, they bought FriendFeed for $50 million. That's nothing, chicken feed. So I guess they're putting it to bed. The reason is no one's using it.
Jeff: Did you know it was still alive?
Leo: Well, everyone once in a while I'd go to friendfeed.com and I'd see that - it was a ghost town because the mistake FriendFeed made from which Google learned was, they allow you to pipe other feeds into FriendFeed. So I still have a FriendFeed account and it's still being posted. All this stuff is just being cross-posted from other - so, yes, it's very much alive but nobody's using it.
Jeff: Reminds me of the great - there was a Nickelodeon game show and my favorite category ever was “Dead or Canadian.”
Leo: That's terrible.
Jeff: It is but this is kind of the same thing, FriendFeed or dead? I had no idea some of these sites were still around, like ICQ.
Leo: I loved FriendFeed.
Jeff: Is ICQ still around?
Leo: That was purchased by ICQ, I think, maybe AIM.
Jeff: Was it folded in?
Leo: I don't know, let's see. ICQ.com, yes, it's still around with video calls, free messages and low-cost phone calls but the site is really slow. (sound effect “uh-oh”)
Jeff: “I'm the product manager for ICQ.”
Jason: Any excuse I can get to play the sound from ICQ.
Leo: I think that's a good sound effect for ICQ. That's right, uh-oh. Sounded so familiar. Right now, people are looking at their computers going, “Oh, a message?” This is FriendFeed's message to Recode, “We’ve been maintaining the service for the last five years, but usage has been declining steadily and the community is now just a fraction of what it once was. Given this, we’ve decided that it’s time to start winding things down. Our thanks go out to the FriendFeed community for its many years of support.”
Jeff: Bye bye, now.
Leo: Bye bye. That was an acquihire. Anything else we want to talk about before we take a break and get our tips. Oh, GigaOm.
Gina: Oh, yes. So what happened? Seriously, what happened?
Leo: No one's talking.
Jason: There's an interview here with Mathew Ingram, actually. I haven't read it, somebody in the chat room posted it. We've got to get Mathew Ingram and Kevin Tofel, both regulars on our show, great writers. Stacey Higginbotham, Janko Roettgers - Om had left the site a year ago because he wanted to become a venture capitalist, I think he was still part of the company. In fact, he tweeted yesterday or the day before when the news came out, “I just left GigaOm for the last time and my heart is breaking.” Om has not, I think, given any interviews. So this is Mathew Ingram.
Was there any indication this was going to happen before Monday? “No.” You were just totally blindsided? “Yes, and I think the majority of the staffwere as well. We were writing right up until the announcement.” Kevin Tofel was writing up an Apple Watch announcement minutes before the news came out. “We did get a new CEO recently, so I think people thought maybe there needed to be some changes - maybe some strategic changes - but there was literally no talk of even layoffs.”
Jeff: But I think when I read the About page recently, I couldn't find the CEO on it.
Leo: So what happened? GigaOm, which was a great tech blog we read religiously and many of its contributors were regulars on this show and other TWiT shows, had taken, I think, $8 million in venture funding over the last couple of years?
Jeff: I think that was just last year.
Leo: Last year, $23 million total? I think you're right.
Leo: Weirdly enough, they say on their closing announcement on the page, “This is it, we're shutting the doors.” They say, “The creditors own us now, we're done.” So it's not a bankruptcy exactly, they're just going hot water - “GigaOm recently became unable to pay its creditors in full at this time. As a result, the company is working with its creditors to have the right to all of the company's assets as their collateral. All operations have ceased. We do not now at this time what the lenders intend to do with the assets or if there will be any future operations.”
Jeff: That was lenders, of course, who were senior of $23 million in six rounds.
Leo: How do you go through $23 million and then they had ads. Is this bad news for -
Jeff: The last $8 million, February 2014, from Shea Ventures True Ventures, Alloy Ventures and Reed Elsevier Ventures.
Leo: Wow. They didn't have a lot of ads. They have some ads.
Jeff: True and Alloy were in for a lot of it.
Leo: That's a Google ad. These are all Google ads. What does this portend for the future of -
Jeff: See, somebody wanted me to do a story on that. We don't know enough to write anything. Danny Sullivan did a good piece on how, you know, being the tortoise is the better way to go.
Leo: You don't take VC.
Jeff: You're the same way. You know, I think that's one lesson in a media company, unless you have an entirely new model.
Leo: We have no creditors. So -
Jeff: And no other owners.
Leo: In order for us to go out of business, people would have to stop watching and advertisers would have to stop buying ads, both of which could happen at any time but it wouldn't be a sudden thing. It would be a slow degradation so something like this is kind of odd. I can't -
Jeff: It's very odd. I think that's why speculating is pretty meaningless. It's fine to contrast and look at Danny Sullivan's piece, that's a good one. Rahat Ali doesn't believe in taking too much venture money, I think that's a good one.
Leo: So it doesn't mean that - well, for instance, as someone in the chat room said, “Who cares? There's 100 other blogs. People no longer go to blogs and read stories, they get links from Twitter.
Jeff: The difference here is that GigaOm was making money not just by being a tech blog but it had high-end reports, had events. It was trying to move past just a volume-based media.
Leo: That's how TechCrunch made its money was it said, “Oh, we're going to do conferences.” There's a lot more money in conferences than there is being a tech blog.
Jeff: Yes. You're still dependent on advertisers and sponsors for it but you're not dependent on a commodifying business of impressions. The vast business model is dying.
Leo: What's unknown now, their big data conference, Structure, is coming up in a week.
Jeff: I don't even know who the lenders are.
Gina: Yes. So who - when they say creditors, they're not talking about their venture capitalist investors.
Jeff: No, because your creditors are senior to that.
Leo: In a bankruptcy. So that could be rent, could be servers.
Jeff: Just could be lines of credit, too.
Jeff: You've got $8 million venture last year and you can't pay your creditors? I don't want to speculate.
Gina: This could be straight up mismanagement. I don't want to say this because I love GigaOm, we love Om and all the writers there, love their work and have talked about it here. It's possible this isn't a sign of what's coming in the future. It's possible that this is just straight up mismanagement by the CFO, whoever.
Leo: There's no conclusion that tech blogs won't be lucrative - not even lucrative, self-supporting.
Gina: Yes. I would love to hear - and who knows, you know, who has the whole story?
Jeff: What gets me is on the About page, with the business team, there's no CEO there, just vice presidents and executive editors.
Leo: The CEO kind of disappeared here.
Jeff: Yes, that's what strikes me as odd.
Leo: He took the money and ran? No, I'm sorry.
Jeff: The board was Reed Elsevier, True, Alloy, Om and Shea Ventures. So the board was four ventures and the founder.
Leo: What's sad is there's a lot of people we love out of work all the sudden without preparation and if I could hire them, I would, but I don't want to bankrupt my company either. So on the editorial side, Signe Brewster, Biz Carson, Barb Darrow, Carmel DeAmicis, Katie Fehrenbacher - we've had many of these people on - Kevin Fitchard, Derrick Harris, Stacey Higginbotham, Mathew Ingram. We love you Mathew. There's a long list - Janko Roettgers. Kevin Tofel was just on last week, I think.
Jeff: Paul Walborsky, he was CEO, he stepped down in September 2014.
Leo: Right and they had an interim CEO step in but he's not in the business listing.
Gina: That's a little weird. Something's up.
Jeff: This is not something to extrapolate till we know more.
Leo: Om hasn't spoken. Nobody's really spoken except for Mathew with his interview.
Jeff: Om just said to Kara Swisher, “Not now, dude.”
Leo: Kara of course reached out and said - what's really sad is the other tech blogs piling on this. That's mean. This is a loss.
Jeff: I've seen this happen with other closures. Stacey was out on Twitter immediately singing praises for the other staffers and why you should hire them.
Jeff: Which is a generous thing to do.
Gina: These are all very talented folks who I don't think are going to have trouble finding their next thing. But certainly, we should all help them and recommend their work. We will and they do.
Leo: One reason this is so strange is that Gigaom seemed like it was doing so well. What should the takeaway be for other media outlets? CJR asked Mathew. “Everyone has their own favorite lesson. Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land talked about what this says about taking [venture capital] money when you’re a media company. And that’s part of the story. Gigaom has been VC-financed from the beginning. Other media startups were not. And when you take venture capital money they’re golden handcuffs, in a way. It’s a Faustian bargain. You make certain promises about your growth, and if that growth doesn’t materialize then VCs lose interest and your company fails.” But they didn't say it was the VCs that pulled the plug.
Jeff: No. They ran out of money and obviously the VCs chose not to pour more in and at $23 million, I get that.
Leo: Yes. They ran out of runway.
Jeff: So were they at a burn rate of $8 million or more than that? But if they went through $8 million in the last year and they had revenue on top of that, that means their burn rate was higher than that.
Leo: $10 million or whatever, that's a lot.
Gina: Well, we don't know what their debts were before that. The fact that Mathew was totally blindsided, they didn't do any cutbacks or sterity measures - generally, you see this coming, right? It's - that's why it sounds like mismanagement. Somebody messed up who handles the money. But it's sad and as a - you know, before I was a business owner, I would've rolled my eyes and gone, “Well, they took VC.” Now as a business owner, it's like - I just feel the hurt. It's tough.
Leo: Mathew says there are 22 people on the editorial staff, so you could easily have a multi-million dollar burn for that alone.
Jeff: What's your staff, Leo?
Leo: 20, but we don't lose money.
Jeff: Their business side, events side and sales side, I don't know what their total was. I imagine north of 30.
Leo: Om did post on his blog but it was mostly just sad. Well, there we go.
Jeff: That's a Debbie downer.
Leo: You know what? That's what happens. Meanwhile, Vox is going into the entertainment business.
Jeff: This is also breaking news, this happened during the show, they announced this.
Leo: Vox, which started with SB Nation, right?
Jeff: Exactly. It's a blog company.
Leo: Then the Verge. They have gaming -
Jeff: They bought Curve then started Vox, which is a brand.
Leo: They have Polygon which is a gaming brand. Now they're launching an entertainment division in a signed deal with WME. Who's that?
Jeff: An agency?
Leo: Must be. Now, talk about venture capital - Vox raised $40 million venture capital in November. They're going to do TV and film projects. Wow. “One of the powerful things about Vox is they hit so many verticals,” said Daniel Porter at WME. Is that William Morris?
Jeff: I think it may be.
Leo: [crosstalk] - to tell stories that hit different audiences. So Vox which was a tech blog, then sport blog, then lifestyle blog and a gaming blog. They have a food site, and a real estate site and a fashion site. Now they're going to TV.
Jeff: What this sounds like to me - this sounds like Vice.
Leo: Does Vice do TV?
Jeff: They do an HBO show. They don't do entertainment, per se, but it's entertaining.
Leo: Maybe they're just going to do Youtube videos. Nowadays, who knows?
Jeff: “Our approach is to become a programming company as much as an editorial company,” said the creative director Chad Mumm.
Leo: Good luck, Chad.
Jeff: Yes, it's tough. Leo, when are you starting your new soap opera?
Leo: I'm not.
Gina: You're not going to Meerkat it live?
Leo: Well, actually, we kind of had a Meerkat soap opera the other day. Next time I have a fight with Lisa I'll Meerkat it, how about that?
Gina: Oh, yes, that'll really put you in good graces.
Leo: “I don't care what you say, I'm Meerkat'ing this!” “Oh no, you're not!” “I am!” I think we'd get a thousand views like that.
Jeff: You know what you should do? Ruining it right now but that would be a good April Fools.
Leo: Wouldn't it?
Jeff: Just, “Oh, mom and dad are fighting! No!”
Leo: Lisa said she's always wanted to do a reality show. She says, “If people saw our life, they would howl.”
Gina: She's so high energy, she could do it. You guys could totally do it. With her energy and her willingness to keep up in public, you could do it.
Leo: I'm Ozzy Osbourne and she's Sharon. Basically, that's it. “Lisa, where's the remote, Lisa?” Let's take a break, come back with numbers, tools, tips, the works.
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Gina's here, so I guess - normally we would do Gina's tool or tip. It could be a thing. But what do you want to do?
Gina: I need a drink, so -
Leo: Some mommy help here.
Gina: Well, Google added cocktail recipes to their Knowledge Graph search so if you Google, “make a bloody mary,” you will get instructions on how to do so right there in the top box of your Google search results. I was just looking at mojitos. It's happy hour here, just about. It's time.
Leo: The sun's gone over the yard arm, as my grandfather used to say.
Gina: Yes, you know, listen, the instructions are - they're general. If you really want to dive into it, you can click on one of the results, but it's a nicely formatted Knowledge Graph card that tells you the ingredients and how to put them together. You get not - so you have to actually Google, “Make a.” So try “make a Bloody Mary.”
Leo: There you go, look at that. It's only a matter of time before you'll be able to click a link and get the vodka sent right to your house by drone.
Gina: Yes, right through my webcam. Oh, by drone, that'll be good.
Leo: Bing does that too, says ChrisP. There's actually a mixology war going on between Bing and Google.
Gina: Just chasing after Bing, chasing those tail lights on the cocktail front.
Leo: PSChop says, and I think he's right, people were asked to rate and update these recipes. Is there a link there that says, “Got a better idea on how to make an old-fashioned? Click this link.”
Gina: Right, well, you remember the “how to eat sushi” debacle so you want people - these are clearly just algorithmic, pulling from pages. These aren't editors writing these. How to make an old-fashioned, nice.
Leo: Just ask how to make an x.
Jason: I wonder what they'll say if I say “how do you make a Sapphire and tonic?”
Leo: Doesn't tell you but I bet gin and tonic, it'll tell you.
Jason: There we go.
Gina: “In a glass filled with ice cubes, add gin and tonic.”
Leo: What the hell? That's hysterical, the simplest recipe I've ever saw.
Jason: I can make that!
Gina: I love that the text is larger to fit the box. That's great.
Jason: Google's like, “You obviously need this larger text if you're Googling how to make a gin and tonic.”
Leo: Mr. Jeff Jarvis, a pick of the week?
Jeff: Loon, Google says, the balloon that brings internet access, can cover a state the size of, well, Rhode Island. It has an 80-kilometer radius - wait, is it radius or diameter? Oops, oops. I forget. 80-kilometer - it can cover Rhode Island. 84.7-mile diameter. That's about the size of Rhode Island, the footprint of the thing.
Leo: Not the diameter of the balloon, that'd be a big balloon.
Jeff: They've done tests with it at 4G, getting 10 megs. The record setter has been up for 187 days. Google says that's plenty because they want to upgrade the technology all the time, so three months is fine. So the record setter circumnavigated the globe nine times through temperatures as low as -7 5to centigrade, wind speeds as high as 71 kilometers/hour and drifting to a height of 21 kilometers. Drifting over a dozen countries across four continents. I find that interesting.
Leo: That might have something to do with their cellular ambitions as well. Wouldn't that be cool to provide cell service worldwide with balloons? How do you make gin and juice, is that in there?
Jason: I tried how to make a million dollars, that didn't do anything for me.
Leo: I do how to make meatballs and it shows me how to make meatballs. “Combine milk, breadcrumbs. Pour meat over breadcrumbs, set aside. Whisk the egg, combine the egg and ground meat.” This comes from thekitchen.com but that's in the Knowledge Graph.
Jeff: How do you get to these?
Leo: I searched for “make meatballs.” I don't make meatballs myself but apparently it can.
Jeff: I tried “make scotch on the rocks,” it gave me nothing.
Leo: What is it going to say?
Jeff: That's why.
Leo: Make Negroni. I can't show it on the show - one part gin, one part vermouth Rosso, one part campari. This came up in my mind because of Sam Bittle's hysterical but unpublishable article on Gawker - basically he has a pledge that you will never sleep with anybody wearing an Apple Watch. No sex for Apple Watch wearers. If you haven't read it, it is exactly what you hope Sam Bittle will write, mocking the Apple Watch.
Gina: Googling right now.
Leo: It's on Gawker, very funny.
Gina: I say, with my Moto 360 on.
Leo: This is another question. What happened to Dan Lions who was the editor-in-chief of Gawker for like three minutes, then got a book deal and said, “I'll see you later.”
Jeff: He also started a startup thing, right?
Leo: So what's the deal? Who's now in charge over there? He took over Valleywag, not Gawker entirely. Bittle was the guy at Valleywag, it was quite good.
Gina: This is great.
Leo: I can't show it, it would ruin our family-friendly status immediately.
Gina: I don't know, I can't keep track of the list at Gawker. I don't know.
Leo: We always talk to Gina about this because Lifehacker was - she founded it and it is a Gawker property.
Gina: Oh, Max. It looks like Max Reed is the editor at the moment.
Leo: You think that's temporary placeholder?
Gina: Well, as Paul Ford always said, “The eponymous Max Reed.” He gets a lot of views, so I can see that he would be editor-in-chief.
Leo: My tool is something we talked about a few weeks - actually, more like a few months ago. I really like it and want to give them another plug. They now have a Pro version of Known. I set up my self-hosted version of Known but if you go to withknown.com, this is Ben Word-Miller and Aaron Jo - what's Aaron's last name, Miller? Or is it Richie?
Jeff: Great guys.
Leo: Really great. It's a blogging tool. The idea is it's your place on the web and when you post, you can cross post to Facebook, Twitter, and now LinkedIn, FourSquare and SoundCloud. They say Google+ pages are imminent and that'll be a feature of the new Pro version, $100 a year and I just wanted to support them. I think they're doing such a great job and I've been running a self-hosted one. I just moved my Leoville blog over to their hosted solution, so just a little plug for them. I think they do a great job and it's so much fun when you make a post - I'll sign in real quickly and show you what it looks like when you make a post because - “Mystery guest, sign in please.”
It's neat because when you make a post - I've added all of these. I've added my Twitter accounts, Facebook pages. If I do a post, as I just did, which is a check in, I can have it go as a check in on Foursquare. Basically, the idea is everything you post should start on your own site and then be syndicated or sent elsewhere. If I post a photo, I can share it to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr as well is in there and they seem to be adding more all the time.
Jeff: They were going to do a whole education thing but now they're just doing this platform which is better, much smarter.
Leo: Oh, that's interesting. I noticed they still have the Known for Education but this is -
Jeff: Yes, but I think it's smart to just have a product and see who uses it.
What you could do for instance is make audio on your computer, post it with Known, cross post it automatically to SoundCloud and also have this little player right on the Known site.
Well, it's been a weird experience to do this in the morning but boy, it's great to have Gina here. So nice to have you. Let's go look - leolaporte.thinkup.com.
Gina: Oh, thank you.
Leo: I think I probably drove ThinkUp crazy. I'm looking forward to seeing all the stuff I get back from my Meerkat experience yesterday, lots of tweets on that one. Oh, there's the new insight, got new profile pictures, that's nice. New followers - look at that, that's the Meerkat post. 331 favorites. That's what's interesting is all the chat comes in as a reply, so 81 replies - actually, no, beating out 143 replies. Oh, I see 143 replies and 118 retweets.
Gina: That's the whole week and then -
Leo: Oh, the Meerkat is just this, 139 favorites, 81 retweets, 81 replies. Yes.
Jeff: Of course, on mine, it points to a tweet a year ago that has the F-word in it.
Gina: Don't show that one.
Leo: Most popular update from one year ago, the retweets, double the favorites. Snoop Dogg looking good, he changed his photo from one incomprehensible picture to another. You always want to keep track of those Snoop Dogg changes, all the time. This is fun. Facebook and Twitter analytics all together in one page, insights.
Gina: Instagram forthcoming, working on Instagram and we're close on that.
Leo: Go to thinkup.com, see what Gina's up to and you know what, get a subscription. I think this is really useful, we love it. It's “purty.”
Gina: Thank you, Leo. We appreciate that.
Leo: It doesn't look like it was written in PHP, looks much more modern. Jeff Jarvis is in his soggy office at CUNY, the City University of New York where he teaches journalism. He's also an author, Public Parts, What Would Google Do?, Geeks Bearing Gifts. He's off to Madrid - what for?
Jeff: Newspaper company. Should be fun.
Leo: I guess because you're on the East Coast but for you, it's like a commute, like a hop.
Jeff: I'll take my magic pill, the only time I take magic pills is when I fly, the Red Eyes. I hope sleep tonight because I get there tomorrow and they have me working straight through - of course, there's a dinner meeting but that doesn't start until like 87 in the morning.
Leo: UTC. Have a great trip. You'll be back next week, right?
Jeff: Yes, yes. Back Saturday.
Leo: All right. And Gina, we'll see you in a month. We'll miss you.
Gina: Yes. Thanks for having me back and you'll see me in a few weeks.
Leo: We just love having you on the show. Love having you here.
Gina: I look forward to seeing your hair growth.
Leo: Yes, it'll be longer next time.
Jeff: We're an excuse to let your wife handle whatever your kid complains about.
Leo: That's right. Think of it that way. Need some sleep? Come on TWiG.
Gina: Honey, I got to do a podcast.
Leo: Say it's a four hour one. No, don't do that. Thank you all for being here. We do TWiG normally - this is not a normal time for us. We're usually starting right about now, 1 p.m. Pacific, 4 p.m. Eastern time, 1800 UTC on live.TWiT.tv. We do like if you watch live but you don't have to - audio and video are on-demand available at the website, TWiT.tv, soon to be new and improved! TWiT.tv/TWiG for this show and also, wherever you get your podcasts, or get one of your great apps developed by lovely community members. We don't have anything to do with them but we appreciate they did it on every platform including Roku, Windows Phone, Android, iOS. Thanks for joining us, we'll see you next time on TWiG! Bye, bye.