This Week in Google 294 (Transcript)
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiG, This Week in Google. We have a fun show for you. Mike Elgan joins the panel along with Kevin Marks and Jeff Jarvis. We'll talk about the latest Google April Fools jokes but just for a little time. Chrome OS, indie web standards and a whole lot more. Join us, won't you, on TWiG?
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This is TWiG, This Week in Google, episode 294, recorded Wednesday, April 1, 2015.
Chrome Oh Yes
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It's time for TWiG, This Week in Google. The show where we cover the latest news from the Google-verse but also the Cloud-verse, Facebook, Twitter and the like. Mike Elgan sitting next to me, our news director and a Google+ pro. Nice to see you, Mike.
Mike Elgan: Thank you. I'm not really a pro, but I play one on TV.
Leo: You know, increasingly – I think it's a small and shrinking group so I think you can now say you're the guy on Google+. That's Jeff Jarvis laughing. He's also a Google pro.
Jeff Jarvis: I hate April 1. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.
Leo: I know, this is the one day I don't want to do a show.
Jeff: Make it go away.
Leo: Jeff is the professor of journalism at the CUNY, City University of New York school. He's also a blogger at buzzmachine.com. He's a book author, his latest, Geeks Bearing Gifts but he also wrote Public Parts and What Would Google Do? Also with us, Kevin Marks, former Googler and Appler and BBC-er and BT-er, Salesforce-er. He's been everywhere.
Kevin Marks: I have but now I'm nicely at home in my garden. It's very good.
Leo: It's a good place to be. Great to have you once again. So it is April Fools. Should we just run through, quickly? There's com.google, which explains why Google was so hot to get the GTLDs, in particular .google. It's backwards Google. It even works. Somebody tells me -
Kevin: It's just a transform, you can do it in the browser.
Leo: Yes, it's easy to make things backwards. Hey, we fixed it. You fixed it.
Jeff: Are you going to make Leo backwards?
Jason: I can.
Jeff: Yes, make Leo backwards.
Leo: There, now I fit my backwards Google.
Jason: This is normal.
Leo: That's really weird. There's something wrong.
Jason: There's something very wrong.
Leo: Yes, and when you click a link, it doesn't – they have the Google+ link but it doesn't make it backwards. They could do that. I don't know why they don't. But somebody told me if you look at the code, there's Yahoo backwards in there somewhere. So a little in-joke. That's one and then of course, the big one I thought was really great, the Pac-Man. You guys talked about that one last night, I'm sure.
Jason: Yes, and showed it off on the phone as well.
Leo: You can play Pac-Man – if you just go to your maps.google.com, you can play Pac-Man in your hometown. I'm playing it in Petaluma. Uh-oh, quickly, before Blinky gets to me. Run for the river, Pac-Man! Oh, I just went – I don't know where I am. Oh, yes, you go off the edge, that's right.
Jeff: It is kind of brilliant.
Leo: Isn't it? And turn up the sound.
Jason: I've got the sound up, I don't know. I heard that.
Leo: That's not the sound you want. Why are I not – sound is – oh, here it is. There we go. Now how do you feel? Do you have to license that sound?
Jason: I'm sure they did. It's Google.
Leo: I mean, it's exactly the sounds. Namco licensed it?
Kevin: Well, it's like an A1 Freight 1O chip, there's four things it can do.
Leo: That's probably a good point, it probably is built into the chip, isn't it? All right, Blinky. Come here, baby. I'm going to eat you alive. I was really bad at this game.
Kevin: So can we play this on a map of London? That would be much harder.
Leo: Yes, just – much harder. Sure, let's go back to Google Maps. I think you can go anywhere.
Jason: I believe so.
Kevin: What would be really hard is one of these suburban mazes where there's no actual end.
Jason: Yes, there's no out. Exactly, dead end.
Leo: It works anywhere. So play Pac-Man. I think this is nicely done. I mean, it's probably not that hard. In fact, they probably reused the code because didn't they have a Google doodle that had Pac-Man? I believe they did. Look, there's dead ends. Oh, oh, man, this is hard.
Kevin: I told you.
Jason: They even brought – Google even brought Pac-Man into the Ingress experience as well.
Leo: They did? So if you're playing Ingress, you have Pac-Man?
Kevin: See, this is nice. The part about this is it's not a stupid, make fun of people thing.
Kevin: Disrupt people with something playable.
Jeff: To enjoy.
Kevin: That's the April Fool's joke tradition that's actually good. It's one of the things that – Google's April Fools joke are a mixture of 50% cool shit like this and 50% we just throw something not very funny at all.
Leo: Painful. I like what Amazon's doing on their front page. This is their old 1999 page. But then Amazon did something yesterday that I was sure was an April Fools joke.
Leo: It turned out not to be. What is it called?
Mike: They're called dash buttons.
Leo: So if you go to amazon.com/dashbutton. If you're an Amazon Prime member, you get a free button that you press and it orders stuff for you.
Mike: This is the most ridiculous thing.
Leo: It comes with, I guess, overlays for the products you can buy. So you stick it to your dishwasher, clothes washer, and you push it for Tide or Bounty, paper towels or Huggies. What, you put that in your baby's butt? Your Gillette Fusion. But now, can you only get one?
Kevin: The problem here is toddlers. Toddlers press buttons. So your toddler is going to walk around and press this button, make a nice little noise and then a week later, you're going to have 20 packages.
Leo: No, it goes to your phone first. Just like the Amazon – you have the Amazon Echo. Same thing where you talk – actually, you don't have it. You gave it back.
Mike: I don't any more, but yes.
Leo: You talked to the Amazon Echo and when you say, “Buy diapers,” it doesn't automatically buy them.
Mike: In this case, I think that it -
Leo: It goes to the app.
Mike: Well, I think that it can.
Leo: Can it?
Mike: I think it can be a direct. What happens is that if you order it and then order it again, it'll send something to your phone saying, “Are you sure about this?” The other thing, this is for Prime members only and it's kind of an invitation-only thing. If they notice you're buying Huggies all the time and you're a Prime member, they'll contact you and say, “Hey, you know, do you want this?”
Leo: I think it's so great but I totally thought it was an April Fools joke and it isn't.
Mike: Imagine. Right now they have 18 but they're probably going to have hundreds. Of course, the companies and brands behind this are going to really want this.
Leo: So when you order it, you order it for a particular brand.
Mike: Yes. It's not an overlay. They send you – there's a Glad button and they send it to you.
Leo: I'm not putting the Lara Bar button in our snack cupboard because that would get us in big trouble.
Mike: The only place where I think this would be great is in the bathroom next to the toilet paper because you're sitting there.
Jeff: But it's not going to come in time!
Leo: Well, with drone delivery, it might.
Mike: They have one-hour delivery now, Jeff.
Leo: With drone delivery, you just have to sit there for an hour.
Jeff: You've got a few things to read, that's okay. Yes.
Kevin: Then you have to go and answer the door.
Leo: Oh, I see. So it sends an order alert to your phone but it does make the order. Unless you elect otherwise, it responds only to your first press until the order is delivered.
Kevin: You know, I wish they had this on books because I have this problem where I see a new book is coming out and I preorder it and then three months later, I see the same thing again and I preorder it. Then when the book comes out, I get two. You know, it doesn't happen on Kindle but if I actually order physical books -
Leo: It should know better. I do have several copies of a few books. You're exactly right.
Kevin: If they've actually done de-bouncing of orders over time, they should do that for books as well.
Leo: De-bounce everything.
Kevin: You already bought that. You want me to try and tell you where it is in your house?
Leo: So these are the brands. I – you know, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, it's crap. It's not – I mean.
Kevin: Of course. This is like mass market brand stuff.
Leo: It's big mass market brand stuff.
Mike: Of course, there are things that you order frequently, all of them. So it's mostly consumables, like paper towels and things like that.
Leo: Razor blades, toilet paper.
Mike: I'm not sure if there's any food beyond the Kraft Mac and Cheese.
Kevin: You know what I want? I want this for the water softener. I want to press a button and get 50 pounds of salt. That would actually be handy.
Leo: Not a lot of profit in that. So this is kind of funny because they have a patent on the OneClick. I'm wondering if this counts – if this is protected under the OneClick patent.
Kevin: It must be. Is that still – didn't that feel like it ws 20 years ago?
Leo: It feels like it. Anyway, this is not an April Fools’ joke. I immediately requested it but I haven't gotten the email yet. So maybe I don't – I buy a lot on subscribe and save.
Kevin: [wind interfering with mic] – started writing out – an April Fools’ joke about this for an indie web version of this and then realized halfway through it was a good idea, I think.
Leo: It's not a joke. There is a long Mashable post with all the April Fools jokes but I think people have finally gotten the message that there's some cruelty involved in really pranking people. We haven't had to fight a lot of -
Mike: Yes. There's the Project McFly hovering mouse.
Leo: Eh. ThinkGeek usually does some good April Fools stuff. Do they have anything?
Mike: Unicorn meat was a good one.
Leo: Oh, I like this.
Jeff: This is giving me hope for the world, that we actually are having -
Leo: They're learning. The steam-powered gaming cabinet. Oh, I'd buy that. It's integrated steam engine, power generated by burning coal or any other solid fuel and it works with Steam OS, of course.
Mike: You see a little flame in a window. That's hilarious.
Leo: Only $399.99. By watt and mule. Now you're playing with steam. ThinkGeek always has some fun with these. That's where the taun-taun sleeping bag came from. Originally it was a joke and then people said, “No, we really want it.” So they actually made it.
This looks like a unicorn horn but actually it's – I think this is real.
Mike: My favorite one is they have this gigantic selfie stick that puts GoPro cameras in 360 degrees around your head.
Leo: That may or may not be a joke. Did you see the selfie shoe? This was actually good. This was from, I think, a shoe company.
Mike: My wife might buy shoes from that company.
Leo: Miss Mooz? Here's the selfie shoe.
You have to kick your leg pretty high.
Mike: The thing is it looks like a big clown shoe when the phone is in it.
Leo: Finally. I like his cardboard moose head. That, I'd buy. I love the selfie shoe. Love that. All right, there's your plug, Miss Mooz. Why is my bell ringing? I hate iOS 10. We – yes, Weather, you can use my current location. I know it's time for the show. I've got Do Not Disturb turned on but it's disturbing me. All right, are we done with April Fools? Can we move on?
Leo: All right. We'll probably find some more before the show's – is that me?
Jason: Yes, that's you.
Leo: What the hell is making that noise? Oh, you know, it's the chat room any time they say my name. Every time they say my name and they figured that out, too.
Jeff: Make it go. Go ahead, chat room.
Leo: No, I just closed it. They figured it out. You know what? I rebuilt this machine and so some of the things I had turned off – yes, see, look at the chat room?
Jason: Look at that. “Leo, Leo, Leo, Leo.”
Leo: “Leo, Leo, Leo -” ding, ding, ding. Ah! Google says, this shocks me, 5% of its sites have ad injectors. So the reason that this is of interest is of course, we talked about Lenovo putting the Kommodia certificates in with TruPhish. That's an ad injector, the idea being that as you surf around with TruPhish installed – Lenovo has since stopped doing this. It would inject new ads on to pages you're visiting, ads that aren't there. According to a study Google conducted with UC Berkely, 5%, 1 in 20 have at least one ad injector.
Jeff: That's not – so that's malware that somebody got on their machine, right?
Leo: No, that's the funny thing. I call it malware. You call it malware. It's not really malware exactly. Lenovo said it's as a convenience to our customers.
Mike: So there are 192 of these and they're killing them. They're basically pulling the plug on them.
Leo: Thank you, Google.
Mike: So this is going to be good.
Leo: You'll now have a warning.
Jeff: This is way, way back in the day when I worked at Conde Nast, I think we were part of a big suit over this because there were browsers that would pull up ads on others' sites and it was seen as a copyright violation.
Kevin: This is the framing issue, if you remember site framing. That's one of those things that people do over and over again. So it was originally – it would frame other sites with ads at the top. Then there were, like, things like the Digg bar. Remember the Digg bar?
Jeff: Oh, God, yes.
Kevin: When Digg went and did that. This week's one is Nuzzle which does that on their Android client, which is really annoying. So they open – they tell you, “Look, your friend is reading this page,” and you click on the page. It's not on your browser, it's in their app and you can't actually get to the page underneath it. If you try and share it, it shares their link.
Leo: A lot of people get bit by this. If you download software from many of the download sites – I don't know if download.com does an ad injector but they do a lot of other stuff. I wouldn't be surprised if they did an ad injector. A lot of sites – and the reason we can't call it – I can call it malware but the reason it's not called malware is because usually, there is a checkbox hidden somewhere that you checked and said, “Yes, I want that.” This is on the way to doing what you actually want and they have an Uninstall entry in the Programs and Features Control Panel on Window. So if you do that, then antivirus and other manufacturers are hard-pressed to call it malware.
I know – does Google even call it malware? No, they just say “harmful programs.”
Jeff: Harmware, fine.
Leo: It's malware. Of course it's malware.
Mike: This study's going to come out in detail on May 1, so we might want to revisit this because there might be some interesting details to be discovered. Yes.
Leo: You know, it bites basically normal users who aren't really kind of vigilant about what's -
Jeff: Because even on the Chromebook, I got stuck with some kind of extension that I had installed that did this kind of crap. Finally, I looked up.
Leo: See, that shouldn't happen.
Leo: A Chromebook, it has to be signed, right? Isn't that right, Kevin? In order to install something on Chrome OS, it has to be signed.
Kevin: Right, but you know, there are legitimate, “Modify the thing I'm reading” plugins as well. So you can't tell [0:18:02.4?] whether rewriting the page that you're on is a good thing or a bad thing. The Pinterest plugin will rewrite the page to give you a “Pin This” button, for example. So the challenge is working out which ones are ones you actually ones and which ones you forgot about. I mean, the other – there's a useful tip, actually, to go and check which Chrome extensions you have installed. The problem is, they do load in every tab, which means you are potentially loading a lot of extra stuff.
Leo: Oh, that's interesting. They load in every tab.
Kevin: So one of the reasons that Chrome may slow down is you've got some extension plugged in that wasn't written very well and as well as every page loading, it's loading that extension too.
Leo: So go to the hamburger on the right of your toolbar in Chrome and go to “More Tools,” and select Extensions. You'll see a list. You can disable them or trash them. There's often, by the way, more information and sometimes even options there that you might not have seen. I have quite a few of them and this is what happens when you have a Chromebook, right, Jeff? You start putting extensions in -
Kevin: Instead of creating these things, yes.
Leo: These are your apps.
Jeff: Yes. I go through occasionally and just turn off a whole bunch of them.
Kevin: Also, I'm not sure but I think it will sync and install extensions across running Chromes.
Leo: It does.
Jeff: It does, it does.
Kevin: So if you install one on your Mac, it'll put one on the Chromebook and vice versa, which may not be what you thought was going to happen.
Jeff: I had a case this week where I'm going to New Delhi for 24 hours. How's that for insanity?
Kevin: That is insane.
Jeff: I had to apply for a visa, which thank goodness, you can now do online. Used to be, you had to go through the whole megillah. So they wanted my passport page at only 300 in size and coming out as a meg, every time. So I didn't know how to do it, I had to make a PDF and make it smaller. So I'm going through trying to find extensions, extensions, extensions. I ended up installing five things for PDFs and I then forgot about, of course. They're there and I go through eventually and don't have that many, I'll kill them off. But that's how you do get a little crushed.
Leo: Did you find a solution for that?
Jeff: I made it a GIF and then reduced the -
Mike: He cancelled his trip. It was the easiest way.
Jeff: I was about to.
Leo: It's little things like that, that bite you with the Chromebook, that you just get used to doing on a normal computer and all the sudden, it's like, “Oh. I don't have that.” Although, and I'll show you later in my tool, it's getting – there are a few things I said, “Oh, I can't. I have to have a real computer for it.” The number is dwindling rapidly.
Jeff: Including, I got Skype now.
Leo: I'm really liking the Pixel. The new Pixel is fast.
Jeff: The problem is you can't – we'll talk about the other Chrome announcements this week too. So I obviously love it. It's not like you could have a show on This Week in Chrome, because what do you say? “Yes, there it is.”
Mike: This is the show.
Leo: This is it. That and All About Android. Between the two of them, I think we're covering it. But good tip, Kevin, to go through your extensions and remove stuff that you're not using, because that takes up memory and resources.
Kevin: What's kind of – I'm not sure if Chrome – you know Chrome has this, “Who's using my RAM?” view but I'm not sure it brings out extensions. That would be nice if it did, wouldn't it?
Leo: That's a good question. There is a task manager in the Chromebook, which surprised me, in Chrome OS. You can see who's using CPUs. You can even do top command in the shell which is kind of nice.
Kevin: In any Chrome there's a task manager what's it.
Leo: Ingress is coming -
Jeff: You know, Leo, I've got to give you points. You do exhibit intellectual honesty.
Leo: You going to make me eat crow again?
Jeff: No, I'm saying the opposite.
Leo: Well, it's kind of backhandedly.
Mike: He's going to make you eat Chrome.
Jeff: I'm saying this with respect and love.
Leo: Yes, because I was very dismissive of Chrome OS.
Jeff: I tip my hat to you. No, I'm serious. Many others would still just hang on and say, “Yes, but, yes, but.”
Leo: A lot of people do and Microsoft made a lot of hay with their Pawn Stars ads, “Yes, but you can't use it offline.” Of course you can use it offline. You can do more and more. Not only do they have extensions but they also have apps now which are kind of, really, just browsers in the separate window. But it really feels like an operating system more and more. There's very little I can't do and -
Kevin: The task manager does include plugins, that's useful. So you can see which ones are chewing up RAM.
Leo: Oh, good.
Jeff: Should we talk about the new Chrome stuff this week?
Kevin: Apparently my GPO process is eating 500 megs of RAM.
Leo: How do you see the task manager in Chrome?
Kevin: Click on the handbar and then -
Leo: More Tools, Task Manager. There it is, yes. See, what's funny is you really have Chrome OS on your system even if you're on a Mac because Chrome is Chrome OS, pretty much. Background page, Google Drive, secure shell. These are all running.
Kevin: Right, so you can see who's got RAM. My Google Drive page in the background is chewing up stuff.
Jeff: Oh, stats for nerds. Did you click on that?
Leo: You have stats for nerds?
Kevin: That gives you pages – [crosstalk]
Jeff: On the OS.
Leo: Oh, lord above. About memory, measuring – oh, this is memory use, page in, page out. What is that – okay, explain. Finally, we've got somebody here who can explain what the hell that means.
Kevin: Page in, page out?
Leo: All task managers will show this. Go ahead.
Kevin: So the point is that with units like OS, like Mac OS and Chrome OS, you are allocating memory but not all the memory is actually in memory. Some of it is elsewhere. So you're saying, “I want this much memory,” and the operating system is deciding how much is actually on RAM and how much is page out to disk. So page in means actually using it in the memory of your machine, page out means it's on the disk and bring it back as needed. You often – the tricky bit is that because of the way page mapping works, there's each process has a bunch of shared pages which are operating system pages and things so that they will all be mapped into the same process memory space. But they will actually all map to the same piece of the operating system. So the page in, page out, it can look like you're using more memory than is in your physical machine in the page in ones.
Leo: They even say that in a footnote on the memory reader page. “Due to memory sharing between processes, summing memory uses does not give total memory use.” This is interesting.
Kevin: Yes. They'll also link to their own bug in it, which is wonderful.
Leo: I know. They say, “This page will show memory for all running browsers, not just Chrome.” That's interesting. “Bug: we seriously overcount our own memory usage.” They have to say that, though, because if you look at it and it says you're using 49 – what are you using? 49 megabytes of – actually, that's not so bad. But – or is that gigabytes?
Kevin: So there's a virtual list of all – you know, every piece has got 3 gigs in it because they've all got the same stuff paged in. So what I was saying, you know, the point about this is you really only want this if you're debugging your own pages and plugins. But the other one is useful to say, “What are these things lurking around here on my machine? Let's go and clean them up.” I'm realizing I haven't done this in a while so I should go and clean it.
Leo: It's always interesting. Google is putting Chrome in more places, Chrome OS. The ChromeBit dongle will be coming soon from Google. I also thought this was an April Fools’ joke at first.
Jeff: I did too, but this is cool.
Mike: Very cool.
Leo: I love this. So Intel, at CES, announced a PC on a stick that would do much the same thing. Android's been available on a stick for some time. In fact, you know, Google TV, Roku and there's a lot, Fire TV. They all look like USB keys but they really don't have a USB connector. They have an HDMI connector and you can plug them into your TV and then a computer runs. So this is Chrome OS. I guess Asus is going to make it for about $100.
Mike: Now, this – the next web story says that but the price has not been announced. What they did say is it's going to be under $100 and that seems to me – to be anywhere near $100 sounds really high to me.
Leo: I think it should be $70, $50.
Mike: It should be $30.
Leo: Well, the Chromecast is $35.
Mike: Yes, but a Chromebook now, you can get a Chromebook for $149.
Leo: They have two Chromebooks for $150.
Mike: A thumb drive should be more than $50 cheaper than an entire laptop.
Leo: So how – what's the use case for this, because it is on your TV.
Mike: Go to a hotel.
Jeff: Go to a hotel -
Leo: But you have to bring a wireless – a Bluetooth keyboard.
Jeff: Here's why. I've got an idea for you, Google. I'm telling you, this is a good idea. You should – your Android phone should be able to operate as a Bluetooth keyboard. Because you're not going to be using heavy duty stuff on this. But this is where, “Let me pull up that page. Let me show you the presentation. Let me do this, let me do that.” Right?
Jeff: Then you don't need to plug in, you have to plug in power, USB power. Then you just use your phone as a mouse and keyboard.
Kevin: Well, at that point, you might as well use your Chromecast.
Jeff: No, but you're traveling. The Chromecast has the problem of the Wi-Fi stuff, Kevin.
Leo: So the ChromeBit is due this summer.
Jeff: The idea for this is really – it's for at mass, at volume, and this thing does get cheaper, does get to $35, Raspberry Pie-ish, then the idea is for poorer schools and such that have TVs, don't have computers, and they can now have both.
Leo: Anybody who's got an old HDMI monitor lying around suddenly has a Chrome box, in effect.
Kevin: Except that you've got to buy a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, don't you?
Jeff: That's why I'm saying – that's exactly why I'm saying, then you use your phone.
Kevin: Just buy a Chromebook. But what this is for me is the Chrome box, shrunken. So the Chrome box is exactly this device and, you know, we got one at IO a few years ago. My son used it as his desktop computer for over a year with precisely this setup.
Jeff: You're a cheap dad. Jeez.
Kevin: No, because he had his main computer as the Chromebook and he was taking the Pixel to school. But his desktop computer then became a Chrome box. It was great for him.
Mike: I think the use case here for a lot of people is the fact that if you're using a Chromebook, if that's your computing system or whatever, then you can pretty much use anywhere. So this is something you can carry in your pocket, assuming you can figure out the keyboard part of it, and you basically have a Chrome box at home. When you go, wandering around, you can plug it into any TV or monitor.
Leo: I'd love carrying this in my pocket. So this is an April Fools joke, obviously, these self-browsing Chromebooks. “Rethink how you browse the web with a self-browsing Chromebook. With one click, you're surfing the web with no input needed.” So you don't need the keyboard and the mouse, you just lean back and we'll take you there. “Quickly, simply and securely.”
Jeff: “We know what you want.” It's the ultimate Google.
Leo: Unfortunately, it's not compatible with my system but it says it runs on Chrome OS. Maybe you ought to download it right now and see how it works, Jeff. I'm unfortunately using a Mac.
Leo: Well, it's really a simple thing. First of all, I don't want to waste my Chromebook here. But also, the issue is there's a weird – we tried this with the first Chromebook. I should try it with the new one but I can't do what we're doing right now which is get it to the screen.
Jason: Video out.
Jeff: I'm going to regret this. Okay, it's installed.
Leo: Introducing Chrome Selfie.
Jeff: Here we go, I'm going to hold the camera up.
Leo: Oh my God, what's going on? Oh, it is. It's actually doing it. It's like Stumbleupon. Oh, Solve for X. Okay, so brought to you by Solve for X. That's the great Google site, kind of their Ted Talks. Now it's bringing you to a Plus page. Now, Research at Google. It is literally self-driving.
Jeff: You know what's going to happen? The Germans are going to use this to prove that Google is just promoting its own products.
Leo: Right, because it is all Google sites so far. It's Stumbleupon for Google. It's fast, by the way. You barely have time to read anything. Wait a minute, that's not Google.
Kevin: Maybe Blogger sites, too?
Leo: Oh, maybe it's Blogger sites. Holy cow. Now it's a Google Maps of some place, looks like in the middle of nowhere.
Jeff: Looked like it was Burning Man.
Leo: Wow. It even showed Google in Spanish, right? Google Spain.
Leo: Wait a minute, that's Wikipedia. So it is more than Google sites.
Jeff: It's going all over Wikipedia, Fantastic Four.
Leo: Oh, I see what happened. So it's just following a random link on a page. That's probably what it's doing.
Mike: Right, it's finding a link on the page and then going to the next page.
Leo: You're lucky you didn't get stuck in Wikipedia. Uh-oh, you're back. So now you're going to be in Wikipedia for a while because a lot of Wikipedia links go back to Wikipedia. Huh. All right, I'll put that on my Pixel. It has to do something overnight.
Jeff: Well, it's not a bad screensaver, just leave it on your TV.
Leo: It is. Maybe that's what this is for. All right. It's funny because I click the link on Fast Company – I'm sorry, on the Next Web and it brought me that instead. This is where we wanted to go, more Chromebooks. This is the cheap Chromebooks. This is an Asus Chromebook, the flip.
Jeff: This one – I mean, it's going to be ridiculous. I'm going to end up with five Chromebooks.
Leo: This is only $250, flips all the way around so it turns kind of into a tablet. 15 millimeters thick.
Jeff: It's going to be running Amazon things. I mean, what am I saying, Android things.
Leo: Oh, it is. It's Android and Chrome.
Mike: Within six weeks or so, everything, all the Chromes will run Android apps.
Leo: Yes. That's going to be a very nice thing.
Mike: To me, this Haier Chromebook 11 and the Hisense Chromebook costs $149. That's an astonishingly low price.
Leo: At Walmart and Amazon.
Leo: Hisense is the Chinese company that wants to get into the TV business. They took over Microsoft's booth at CES. Haier's been around for a long time, selling very inexpensive -
Jeff: Refrigerators and things.
Leo: Yes, drugstore appliances, apparently. Wow, $150.
Mike: That's the cheapest.
Jeff: And it's like eight hours battery.
Leo: Well, yes, because it's got the slowest processor in the world, probably. 8.5 hours... I tell you, increasingly I'm recommending these to people who say – you know, I ask them, “What do you want to do?” Almost everybody says the same thing, “I want to surf the web and do email.” It's just crazy to buy something so complex and expensive as a Windows PC or a Mac when a Chromebook will do it all and do it securely.
Jeff: The one thing I still want is I want Dell – I've said this message before. My message to you, Michael Dell, I want you to do a fully-customizable Chrombook. There's not that many choices but how much memory, LTE, blah blah blah.
Leo: You want what we've all been saying, the mid-range Chromebook. The – [crosstalk]
Jeff: Let me custom make it and add my own stuff to it. If it's my own fault it costs $600, I'd be happy.
Leo: So Mike, tell us about this story. This is from Business Insider that Android is going to be on Chrome OS.
Mike: They talked about this at Google IO last year. Basically what's going to happen is that they're increasingly – you know, it's all under Sundar Pichai now. He's got – he used to be just Chrome, Chrome OS. Now, Android is under him. There's increasing integration, not only the ability to run actual Android apps on Chrome and there's going to be a handful of apps on these devices within a few – you know, month and a half, two months. It's going to be able to run on all Chrome OSs, anything that is capable of doing so and it's going to be – you know, it's going to be an app by app thing but eventually, I think that all Android apps are going to be able to run easily on Chromebooks and on Chrome. In addition to that, Chrome OS is actually starting to evolve from an interface perspective to be more like Android, the type faces, little things like that.
So there seems to be a desire to unify these and it'll get to the point very quickly where you'll wonder why you have both. I mean, if you look at this flip thing that turns into a tablet, now you have this Chrome tablet, right? So why would you have a Chrome tablet instead of an Android tablet?
Leo: I'm already taking calls on my Chromebook because I use Hangouts. I give out a Google Voice number so when my phone rings, it rings my – actually, rings my everything. I can answer that call on an iPad, as a matter of fact. Whatever I happen to have nearby – I'm sure the house wakes up like crazy because everything is ringing and everything has its own ringtone. It's a little crazy.
Mike: But the other thing that's -
Leo: But just to make a point about that, though. Apple's doing the same thing with continuity in hand off, but you have to have an iPhone and a Mac. So it's really kind of – it's a closed ecosystem whereas Google has made Voice work on everything. So I literally can take a Google Voice call on an Apple device, Android device – don't think I can do it on a Windows Phone device yet or ever. But that's pretty cool. The openness is really nice.
Mike: It is, yes.
Leo: Not that Google is open everywhere. Android Wear doesn't, obviously, work with an iPhone.
Jeff: How much effort does it take to port an app to Android for Chrome?
Mike: That, I don't know.
Leo: Right now the way you do it is you don't re-compile the app. You run it through a little doohickey and then the APK will just work on a Chromebook. Oh, wait a minute. No, you have to have a stub of something. I can't remember. I haven't – what did you do to get Skype working?
Jeff: I installed -
Leo: You have an extension that's running that is an Android emulator, I guess?
Jeff: Yes, whose name I'm suddenly forgetting.
Leo: There's no reason why my Google couldn't make an emulator be part of it.
Jeff: Yes, surely they're going to make it easier than that. Because I don't really run -
Leo: Well, they already did this with Evernote, right? The reason Evernote has an app as well as an extension, as well as a website is because Google's already done this privately with Evernote so the Evernote app is actually the Android app.
Leo: I just like how it's coming along here.
Jeff: I do too.
Leo: Talk about the OLPC, that $100 One Laptop Per Child, where really $150, we're getting there.
Jeff: For a quality machine.
Leo: And they're decent. “Quality” is maybe not right.
Jeff: Well, these are a little bit better. Compare it to an OLPC machine, yes.
Mike: But the beauty of it is that kids can go home, leave the machine at school – they can go home and login to their accounts and whatever it is they were working on at school is there. That's the big problem with Apple trying to sell iPads to schools. You know, this is – you can't do that so you have to send them home with an iPad and now the kid is a target for theft because, of course, somebody's going to mug these kids for this expensive piece of consumer electronics. So that doesn't work and it's just a fantastic thing now. To me, one of the most exciting developments in the Chrome OS world is the fact that the new Chrome launcher, 2.0, is going to be Google Now centric. So in the future -
Leo: You see cards, yes.
Mike: In the near future, you're going to turn on your Chrome, your Pixel and it's going to be Google Now. That's what you want to see.
Leo: But we already see that, right, Jeff? Because there is a notification in the – on the system bar on the right. There's a number that's the number of Now cards that are available.
Jeff: Yes, which again, I go back to my usual Apps problem because my main account is Apps. I get hardly anything.
Leo: Yes. So is this a tool you used, Arc Welder, Jeff?
Jeff: No. I'm trying to find it right now. I've got to go -
Leo: This one, you run – you need the Arc, which is the Android runtime for Chrome. Then you run the APK – you have to get the APK of Skype or whatever and you run it through Arc Welder. That somehow processes it and makes it possible. So here's another extension to install.
Jeff: What I have to do is I have to go to my Extensions and get it there. If you go to last week's rundown, it has what I used.
Jeff: My thank you at the bottom, I can't remember. Let me see where it was.
Leo: Yes, because you talked about – that's right. That's a pretty big extension, 103 megabytes so far.
Jeff: Hold on, hold on. Here we go.
Leo: How long before – this getting wild and open, right? Now it's more like an operating system. How soon before it becomes a problem? Or did they design Chrome OS so well that it never will be a problem? What do you think, Kevin? Is he there?
Kevin: Sorry, I'm missing context because I fell off.
Leo: We're just talking about running Android apps on Chrome. That's imminent.
Leo: I'm just wondering, as Chrome – one of the reasons Chrome OS works so well is because it was so restricted. But we've got, now, a big store growing fast.
Kevin: Well, to some extent. I mean, the point is, the design is clear. It's designed to run a web browser and web apps really well. So if you're going to run Android apps for a different kind of thing, you might as well optimize it for that. There is a difference in thinking about which one you're going to run but as Moore's Law keeps doing its thing. So you'll probably be able to be running an emulator on your Mac, which has worked for a while. But it doesn't work that great because it's got a lot of wrapper on top of it. The question is how much wrapper you can get away and make it go direct to GPU. Given that they control the OS, they've probably got ways to do the shortcuts for that. Maybe, is that what they're working things through? I haven't seen that before.
Leo: The thing that worries me is that Arc Welder, you have to kind of side load an APK somewhere.
Jeff: The thing I used is Twerk but I think it's basically the same.
Leo: Arc Welder's new.
Jeff: Yes, so I have to go to launch Skype – this is not ready for mortals. I have to go to the Extensions, find it, open the package that was created and then Skype launches. I still want to do a test with you, Jason, just to see how it works. I don't know. Is Kevin's – I don't know if it's the fact it's going through that wrapper. Is that affecting the performance?
Kevin: Right, you can simplify that.
Leo: The funny thing is the chat room was saying, “Twerk, Leo. Twerk.” But I thought they actually wanted me to twerk. No, they were telling me the app.
Jeff: No, Leo. No one wants you to twerk. No offense, love you dearly, but no one wants you to twerk.
Leo: I was hopeful. It's aspirational. Someday.
Kevin: The other thing here is that what you kind of would want is a bit like the emulator experience where you want the Android app running in a small window, not taking over the whole screen. So you'd have like -
Jeff: Well, yes, but in some cases, I think just the opportunity that I've already written an app for Android and now it can just run on Chrome however it auto-runs on a browser, that's free. That's like thinking – [crosstalk]
Kevin: That's the advantage, yes. Right, but the challenge is, Android will have a go at laying it out but there aren't any Android tablets that have that many pixels. Or maybe there's a few but not many in the market. So most of the apps aren't going to be tuned for that. Also, if they have – the biggest sort of design challenge these days is the difference between portrait and landscape things. This is a battle that's ongoing and we've had this – you know, we've had this for a while in that the Macs keep getting narrower and narrower that way so you end up with this very widescreen thing. Then the phones are the other way around and so the design challenge is, am I putting a tall thing or a wide thing?
The irony recently has been happening with video where Periscope wants you to use portrait-mode video. Everyone in video is like, “No, you're losing a third of the screen!” Except if you're watching on a portrait-mode screen, you're losing part of the screen when you watch landscape. So it's an ongoing, you know, problem we have which is, which way around is this thing? Does it make sense to be wide or tall?
Leo: So I apologize, Arc Welder is for testing. You still would use Twerk to convert it. So Arc Welder is more for developers to see if their app will work as compiled. We should mention that you can, if you want to try the Google Now cards on Chrome OS, all you have to be is in the beta channel. So if you go to “About Chrome,” in your Chromebook and select the beta channel, you should get this new launcher which I have and I haven't played with the Now features. So if you see this launcher, you got it.
Jeff: Restart to update, so I'm going to update my Chromebook right now. It'll be done in a few seconds.
Leo: Yes. I know, that's nice too. Boy, that Pixel boots in about three seconds. I've never seen anything boot faster. Did you get the new Pixel?
Mike: No. The old one was fast and this one's faster.
Leo: This one is instant. It's amazing. I don't know. You're right, now, Jeff, I've gone too far into the other side.
Jeff: That was my entire idea. You've been hypnotized.
Leo: You've hypnotized me. Microsoft is finally adding reverse scrolling to Windows 10. We were talking about this on Windows Weekly. You know, on the Chromebook, it's funny because it's in a setting. They call it Australian scrolling. But I want it to scroll like my Mac does because I use the Mac. Finally, Windows 10 will do it. Chrome OS does it. But Google is going to improve scrolling on Chrome using a Microsoft invention, according to this story, Tom Warren writing for the Verge. It's going to support pointer events, a standard that was introduced in Internet Explorer. Touch events is available right now in Safari. Microsoft, Mozill and Opera have adopted pointer events and while they were using touch events, they are now going to pointer events. I don't know what any of this means at all.
Touch handlers will be replaced with pointer event handlers.
Kevin: This is like one of those long-running web standardization problems which is that to touch events were pushed by Apple, Safari and then adopted by others but it's very much focused on, I'm operating this thing with my finger. Whereas, Microsoft, because they were building the tablets that had both touch screens and mice, wanted this more nuanced thing that were pointer events. Clearly, that's a better fit with Chrome because Chrome has that, has both modes, as well. Whereas, Apple doesn't have touch screens on their laptops yet, so they don't see this as important. So it's one of those, like, why would I care about that type things from Apple. It just makes booting websites a little more annoying at the moment.
Leo: What is the functionality difference from the point of view of the end user? Even on a touch device, would you -
Kevin: Well, the big difference is that one of the things people get frustrated with is if you have a touch device, you don't have – you have like a long-press gesture which means when you click the screen, it has to decide whether you're making a press or a long press. So there was a lot of fairly minimal second delays when you clicked things because it's waiting to see what kind of press you are making. So that was slowing down the websites.
Whereas, the pointer event, because you've got alternative gestures, because you can right-click or you can control-click or whatever, you can short circuit that thing. So the bit that's slightly weird is that the gesture stuff doesn't integrate with that well. We had this problem forever, which is that I feel you can do a two finger -
Leo: Yes, if I want to use pointer events, how do I do a long press? Can I do it?
Kevin: I think it maps a right-click to a long press or maps a long press to a right click. Something. So the problem is this, there's a set of gestures you use that are different between these devices and it's trying to unify them. [feedback] – to the app on the other side of it so that you get the right ones by default and you can reinterpret them if you want to. The classic one of these is the mouse wheel event which you know, you scroll the mouse wheel with your finger and that gets mapped to different things. The problem is, people mass map it to zoom which makes sense if it is an actual mouse wheel but it means when you try and two-finger scroll it maps it to zoom instead which has been a bug for something like five years and still drives me mad every time I try and pan with Google Maps the way I would pan everything else on the Mac.
So there's this sort of a mismatch of affordances between which of these gestures you're trying to do and how does that map to what the app inside is.
Leo: There's no perfect solution. You sacrifice in either direction, right?
Kevin: Well, the point is, you've got to try and come up with a set that makes sense. So that's what the standardization discussions going on are. So pointer events wasn't an attempt to come up with a more inclusive thing that included both but Apple wasn't interested in it because they were thinking it's two separate things. The question is whether they'll adopt that too or if one is right in code for this, is the other going to have to adapt to having pointer events from the Mac, and iOS things and another set from the others.
Leo: This is the kind of thing that the engineers and standard setters fight for decades over.
Mike: Yes, and then the lawyers.
Kevin: Well, with the challenge for this web standardization stuff – is we've – there's a long version or short version. The long version of this is standardization is basically a process of documentation. People implement things and then we try and document how they behave so other people can make them do the same things. So if you think about standardization like that, then it makes sense for it to have a lag. The problem is that once you've done that for a little bit, then people go to the spec place and go to the spec to implement it and so in their head, the standards body is not a documentation body. It's a legislation body. It's telling you what you should do.
Once people have that mindset, then they go to the standards bodies with the mindset of legislators lobbying for their organization or for their obsession or whatever. Then the standards bodies get full of these people whose entire focus in life is one particular little thing or the focus is, “No, I'm not going to accept that. I'm going to do everything to fillibuster that out of the standing because we don't think it's interesting.” That's when the standards bodies turn to depressing, political places and that's normally what happens when a new standards body is forked off. Then we start again with the documentation process.
Leo: We don't invite those other guys.
Kevin: In effect, this is what happens. People – because the people who are trying to get agreement are frustrated by the people who are trying to move things in that direction. This goes back and forth a lot. So the classic web version of this was the what.wg which was – W3C had become this very legislative mindset place and it has a bit of that anyway because it's a membership body and so on. So there's sort of the classic standards bodies like I say, who are these legislative processes where you're trying to pass a law that will say how everything works in that way. The W3C had got captured in by that mentality and so they were focusing on standards that they thought everyone should implement whereas the browser people were like, “No, we're trying to do these things. What's going on?” So what W3C was, was effectively a coalition of both the people burning websites and the people burning browsers to say, “How can we make this less annoying for our use cases because the W3C doesn't care about issues at the moment.”
And in a – you know, that was the iteration that because HTML-5 and W3C realized this, that they'd gone off beam and said, “Okay, right. We'll take that back into our process and absolve that. But there's still this sort of two-headed process going on on what W3C is doing, HTML, the open standard, the living standard. W3C is now working on HTML-5 Plus, HTML-6, whatever they're calling it this week and trying to hit sort of unitary versions. So there's partly a difference of process but it also comes to this difference of mental model and a lot of things I've seen with the standards board that I've done over the years has been – the progress often made by these ad hoc groups that say, “We're all trying to do the same thing. Can't we get this done?” Then document it, iterate it, have that and then try to take it to the standards body for ratification, if you like.
So you would say, “Okay, we're at the point now where we think this makes sense. Let's take this to the ITF or W3C,” and the problem is it can get bogged down in progress again. Another example would be [0:51:48.0?]. [0:51:48.3?] was an ad hoc group of people saying, “We need a way for one website to authenticate to another website and we came up with something.” There was some problems and coalitions but it was mostly done by, you know, small groups in Silicon Valley which can be a problem, too. Then it went to the ITF [0:52:06.5?] too and is now this standard that is so complicated that it's very hard to make it interoperate because everyone wanted to add their own little use case to the speck.
So you hit this problem quite a lot. So pointer events and touch events is an example of one of these things where touch events was, Apple needed a new way for you to be able to respond to the things that you could do on iOS that you couldn't do with a desktop browser. So that was touch events. Pointer events was an iteration that was trying to work with a concept that I have both a touch screen, and a keyboard and a mouse and they're different. They start in those different camps. One started in the Windows camp with their tablets and the touch screen on the Apple Cam.
What's going on now is people trying to make them fit together and correlate. So it's one of these, like – I think it's most a good faith effort but they start from different premises.
Leo: If you want to have fun – if you haven't had enough of this discussion, the bug tracker on the Chromium site is issue 162757, which was started in November 2012 and continues – they actually closed it two days ago because there were 148 comments in it. They've reopened it as issue 471824. The debate rages on but it's really fun to actually watch the Google engineers slowly change their tune and adopt point – then everybody else is pissed, so you can't win. It's one of those and it's a lot of fun.
All right, we're going to take a break. We're going to come back with lots more to talk about including Meerkat. We haven't mentioned it in like three days, so.
Jeff: It's dead already, you don't need to.
Leo: Oh, it's dead. Thank God!
Jeff: Yes, it's gone.
Leo: What's the new thing?
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Let's see, we did – oh. Is this an April Fools’ joke, Smartbox? We're not going to do it. See, I got bit! The Smartbox by Inbox? Is this something? “The mailbox of tomorrow?” Gosh darnit.
Jason: I got to say, it looks pretty neat, though.
Leo: Here's a question and I saw this a few days ago. I thought, “This can't be right.” Globerunner, which is a big SEO agency, claims they hired Matt Cutts to be their director of search. Is that true?
Jason: It is not.
Leo: Thank God!
Jason: I emailed Matt about it, I said, “Is this true?”
Leo: He should be a little miffed because it doesn't look like it's a joke.
Jeff: It's such an inside joke to know that would be a joke.
Jason: He said, “Ah, the new career is just some search engines optimizers playing an April Fools prank.”
Leo: But they did it early, like four days early. I saw it, I thought, “This cannot be unless they offered Matt so much money that he decided to go to the inside.” Matt Cutts, of course, he's a show regular.
Jason: He's on next week.
Leo: He's on next week so I'm glad to have him back. You know, part of this is, he's free floating right now. For years, one of the first Google employees, he was in charge of fighting spam in search results kind of. He did webmaster tools and talked about good SEO versus bad SEO. But he's been on leave for a while and we thought, “Maybe he's -” So -
Jeff: You see, Matt's own joke is there next on the rundown.
Leo: Is it? All right, he says he's going to go to work at a new project. It's at his blog, so I can trust this one. “My next project, Auto SEO.” Oh, SEO Ninja. “How much would you pay never to have to worry keyboard density? H1 headers and metadescriptions again. How about FREE? That's right, Auto SEO is free for individuals, students, self -” Again, you would have to know this is an inside joke.
Jeff: Then go to it.
Leo: It's nicely designed.
Jeff: Go to SEO Ninja at the bottom there?
Leo: “(c) April.” What? FAQ, reduce your stress, get back your time? What?
Jeff: I think the joke is it doesn't do anything.
Leo: Oh, yes. Because that's what Matt's always said. You don't need to do good SEO, just do good content. Everything else is snake oil. FAQ is -
Mike: Request an invite.
Jeff: Yes, if you go request an invite, that's kind of nice. Yes.
Leo: “Free for students, individuals and self-hosted installs.” That's hysterical. I love it. So Matt, come back. We'll see him next week and find out what he's up to. He's still doing his 30 Day Challenges, I know that. Now that Gina is only every month, we don't really do the changelog, per se, but a couple things new in Google. Your photos and files together in Drive – up to now, photos have been stored in a separate thing called Photos. Now, they'll actually just be visible when you look at your Google Drive. I doubt they're going to – like there's an extra copy or anything, you'll just be able to see them.
Mike: Yes. Mine showed up – it's rolling out over the next few weeks. Mine showed up yesterday.
Leo: So if you go to Drive – let me see.
Kevin: Doesn't that go the other way around as well, to view files in Drive previously end up on your Photos app on Android?
Leo: I've got to look. No, see, mine are coming soon.
Mike: These are Google+ photos and what's cool, also, is that for example -
Leo: There's no point in you showing me but you could plug this in if you really wanted to.
Jeff: So what do I do? Where do I go for this?
Leo: Just go to drive.google.com.
Mike: You'll see a Google Photos -
Leo: If you have it. Well, even if you don't have it, because I don't, you're going to have an entry under My Drive and Shared With Me, Google Photos. But when you click it, if you have it, you'll see photos.
Jeff: I don't even have the entry.
Leo: So you're really behind.
Mike: You have to go to the screen, Leo's screen.
Leo: There you go – that's now Mike seeing his photos.
Mike: Right. So basically what this is a bunch of -
Jeff: Of course, Elgan gets it.
Leo: Well, he's the pro. He's the Google+ pro.
Jeff: Of course. He's the king of Google+.
Mike: Well, I also have terabytes of – I'm exaggerating. But tons of pictures on Google+.
Jeff: The problem is, guess what? I'm looking at my Apps account.
Mike: You'll never get it there.
Jeff: Google, Google, Google, Google.
Leo: You can't see it on Google Apps.
Mike: What's interesting to me is that it will put your Auto Awesome. So Google+ will create an Auto Awesome and then the Auto Awesomes show up on Drive.
Leo: But I mean, come on. This is just a link. It's not – I mean, you're in Photos right now. It just appears to be in Drive.
Jeff: Yes, “New, Google Photos.” Yay.
Leo: Do you have photos in yours?
Jeff: Well, I have two.
Leo: Mine says, “Stay tuned, your photos are coming soon.”
Mike: Mine says that too.
Jeff: “Add your Google Photos to My Drive to make it easier? Add folder -” Yes, so I guess I will add folder, create folder, okay.
Leo: So this reminds me that it was one year ago that the auto Hoff-somes were being done on Google. This is the April Fools’ joke where they'd add – or Hasselhoff. They'd add David Hasselhoff.
Mike: That was awesome. That was hilarious and I think they're still in there, right? If you have a Hoff'ed picture.
Leo: Yes, I have lots of Hoff-somes.
Mike: That was well done.
Leo: I have quite a few Hoff-somes. In fact, I remember that because I was using Timehop and it showed me everything from last year.”
Mike: Time-Hoff they should call it.
Leo: I love Timehop. In fact, Timehop, now I have photos so long – I actually got a Timehop from seven years ago. So Timehop is an app, Android and iOS that will go through – you add all your accounts, your tweets. I still haven't been able to export my tweets to add it but you export your tweets and you can add them. But it also looks at Facebook and Google+, your photos. Then it says, “One year ago today... two years ago, three years.” But this is the first time I've ever gone that far back. Yes – what was I doing seven years ago?
I think I was …
Jeff: Sitting in the same chair, doing the same job.
Leo: I was a young man in search of a dream. I was on travel – I was travelling somewhere. It was kind of amazing when I saw it, “Wow.” Yes, they were black and white photos. Anyway, that's a nice feature and then also, they've updated Gmail for Android. I've been using Inbox so I don't really care but if you still use the Gmail app on Android you now have a unified inbox view. You get a conversation view for non-Gmail accounts. They say search is smarter.
Mike: You also have email from Yahoo and Outlook all in the same inbox.
Leo: Again, I don't use those. I don't want those. I mean, I have accounts but I don't want my Yahoo or Outlook mail in my good mail.
Jeff: Can you imagine what's in the cobwebs that are in there?
Leo: It's spam. It's all spam and notifications from Yahoo and Microsoft that something cool has happened. Yes, you know, I have a Google for Work account because we use it here at TWiT but I stay away from it. For all of the paying points that you're talking about, Jeff. I've got to solve this.
Jeff: But it's too late. I'm committed. The thing is, I'm committed on both sides.
Leo: You can't go back.
Jeff: No. I mean, no.
Leo: Your example has cautioned me.
Jeff: Again, every Googler has this problem because they have an Apps account for Work and they have their personal and Gmail accounts. So it's not that hard, guys. You're frigging geniuses.
Leo: So Google is – here, give me the dongle. Want to look at my dongle? Google is going to take Ingress to the small screen, as we used to call TV. Although, really, your biggest screen in the house is your TV, the smallest screen is your phone/computer. So I should reverse that now, to the big screen.
Ingress is kind of this wild program which the people who love, love it. Chad Johnson plays it and lost pounds, right? Do you play, who else plays it here?
Jason: Father Robert.
Leo: Chris plays it. What, you guys don't have a life? Brian Burnett? Robert actually lost a lot of weight, didn't he? He walks all over Petaluma trying to find places to take over.
Kevin: I tried it for a bit but A, it was fairly opaque to try and also where I live, everything is taken over because it's full of Google employees.
Leo: That's the problem. When I first used it, Petaluma was too small. There were only three or four points, the post office. Now it's busy, yes. But at the time – so I thought, “This is for people who live in New York or something.”
Mike: What's brilliant about this coming to TV – they're basically talking about doing a TV series. The TV series and the game will interact with each other. The TV series will have, you know, dramatized clues that can be then used in the game.
Jeff: It's like your Captain America decoder ring.
Mike: They're talking about all kinds of content, comic books and things like this, and they'll all be intertwined. There will be all this mythology behind it that will boost the game and so on.
Leo: One more reason I'll feel left out of geek conversations.
Mike: This news was broken by the Information.
Leo: Yes, R. Friday had the story and he's very trustworthy, so I'm sure it's true. But they haven't made a deal yet, they've just been talking about it.
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Do not flash Street View, at least not in Australia.
Jeff: I think the Aussies need to be a little more openminded about this.
Leo: I thought nudity was big in Australia. Aren't people in Australia naked under their clothes? “An Australian housewife who rose to internet fame by exposing her boobies to a Google Street View car has been interrogated by the police and now faces a court hearing.” Oh, come on.
Jeff: It's ridiculous.
Leo: It's legal in New York. You could do that in New York, it's not even illegal.
Kevin: It's still legal in San Francisco.
Leo: You know why it's illegal? We had to make it illegal because people were wandering around the Castro naked.
Kevin: I thought it was still legal.
Mike: In some places in San Francisco, it's required, actually.
Leo: You go down to the Castro and everybody's letting their freak flag fly. So this is Fort Puri in Southern Australia. Maybe they're a little more conservative there. It's the South, mate. “She was extremely bemused when the police questioned her and took a DNA sample?” What?
Jason: “Let's compare that with the picture.”
Leo: She said it was on her bucket list to flash Google Street View. She said “There was no child harmed in the making, my children didn't have to go to therapy for it. I didn't give an old man a heart attack that I'm aware of. I spoke to my 19-year-old son before and he thinks it's funny.”
Jeff: Oh, that is an embarrassing mom.
Leo: “Hey, honey, I'm going to go out and -” according to this story, “Flash my sizable breasts.” That's what the story says. I'm not making this up. They were uncensored because usually they blur -
Kevin: Is this the Daily Mail?
Leo: It feels like it. No, it's – well, maybe it is. This is RTE.
Mike: This is like ABC for Australia.
Leo: ABC is a legit Australian broadcaster. There is the picture there which RTE has had the decency to block although Google later blurred her. Aren't you supposed to blur people anyway?
Mike: The faces.
Leo: The faces or boobies.
Mike: If she drew a smiley face underneath it would.
Leo: She was flooded with friend requests on her Facebook page. Her next plan, to skydive topless for her 40th birthday.
Jeff: Then the FAA is going to get her.
Leo: Unless she's in jail. Google's response, you saw this, their public policy blog to the Wall Street Journal?
Jeff: I was going to say, Google's finally getting a voice. Rachel Whetstone who is in charge of public policy and stuff finally is giving it to Rupert what they should be doing.
Leo: She titles the blog post, “Really, Rupert?” and then has a picture of a laughing baby GIF. She does, actually, make some very good points. The “smoking gun,” as the Wall Street Journal said, saying the reason FTC dropped the investigation of Google seven years ago is because Google lobbied the White House. So assiduously claiming 130 visits from Google to the Obama White House. Then, she explains, “Yes, but five is for Google engineers on leave fixing technical issues. 33 were people -”
Jeff: Obamacare, so let's go into that, right?
Leo: We know that at least 30 of those were our own Alex Lindsey from the Pixel Core who was going to the White House for Google Hangouts. Pixel Core is contracted by Google to do those Hangouts, the one after the State of the Union and others. Of course, they show up as Google contractors. Several visits were advertising industry meetings attended by Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL and others.
Mike: 33 of them were people who work at Google now but didn't when they went to the White House.
Leo: So the number is a little.
Jeff: It's ridiculous and today, another story up on the rundown is that a former Republican FTC commissioner said, “This is ridiculous. The only test for anti-trust is if there's consumer harm.” And there was no consumer harm. “No, the lawyers didn't push for anti-trust case and we said this unanimously because this is true. I'm in the GOP and it wasn't political pressure.” This, I mean, I'm sorry. I respect the journalists of the Wall Street Journal but damn it. That's why Whetstone was right to go after Rupert because this is his vendetta against Google and he's using his paper as a bully pulpit. He's always done that. Somebody at the Journal ought to be revealing it or quitting, or something. The story just stinks. It just does.
Leo: Rachel Whetstone is Google's senior vice president for communications and policy and very adept with the animated GIF. She has two of them.
Jason: This is kind of a Google thing right now because a week ago, Google sent a reporter an animated GIF here as well to the Daily Dot reporter. They've got a little animated GIF thing going on right now.
Leo: They must have it on the servers there, little menu.
Jeff: Do they connect to Google+?
Leo: That's a good one. I haven't seen any of these.
Jason: That is a good one.
Leo: All right. TIME Magazine says, “Google tricks us into thinking we're smarter than we are.”
Jeff: Because we look up facts.
Leo: I know I'm a lot smarter ever since Google. “Study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology General” published last Monday. Even when participants couldn't find answers on the internet, they still felt an increased self-assessment of how much knowledge they had when they tried to use Google. Matthew Fisher, lead researcher at Yale, says it becomes easier to confuse your own knowledge with external source if people don't have a browser, don't have Google, are truly on their own, they may be wildly inaccurate of how much they know and how dependent they are on the internet.
Mike: I love that final sentence, “This study adds to existing research that suggests searching the internet creates an increase in 'cognitive self-esteem' though not necessarily an increase in intelligence.”
Leo: I have high cognitive self-esteem.
Leo: Very proud of that. Truthfully, when I first started doing the radio show and people started asking me tech questions, it was with Devorak in the early 90s. There was no internet search. I had to know this stuff off the top of my head. But I was a younger guy and there was less to know then. I don't think I could do the radio show without Google any more.
Jeff: Under numbers, there's a related one, a telegraph -
Leo: I don't want to steal your bit.
Jeff: No, it's okay. I'm giving you license. It's a telegraph that says – I think this is a really troubling idea here that they're trying to argue this that men are better at Googling than women.
Jeff: Right? It's a WTF.
Mike: Is that self-reported?
Jeff: No, it's some ridiculous study of boys. I couldn't figure it out. I put it up right before the shows started.
Leo: Studies are BS, we know that.
Mike: I do believe that older people are better at searching Google because we use bullion searches. We remember when you had to do that.
Leo: Don't have to do it anymore.
Jeff: That's true.
Mike: Now people just go and say, like, “selfie stick.”
Jeff: You know there's a problem when the headline says, “Scientific and Anecdotal Evidence Suggests...”
Mike: Yes, lump those two together. That's brilliant.
Leo: So everybody, Apple, Google and Facebook all designing new corporate headquarters as they've cashed in on the internet. Facebook was smart, they opened their new headquarters and paid a bunch of top Instagram photographers to document it which means we have no idea what it actually looks like, unfortunately. They picked all the most interesting colored places.
Mike: Facebook's was the wackiest because they deliberately designed it to look unfinished, so there's paint dripping everywhere. The edges of walls and things are rough. There's cement floors. It looks like it's under construction still which is interesting.
Leo: Gary did the Experience Music project in Seattle.
Mike: They did the whatever in Spain. The Bilbao Museum.
Jeff: He did the Conde Nast cafeteria.
Leo: I think he does the Mickey Mouse whatever it's called.
Mike: Right, the Disney -
Leo: Theater in LA, the Disney Auditorium. All his stuff looks weird. This one has a giant – it's all one room, right? It's 430 thousand square feet, is Lead certified.
Mike: The weird thing is that picture you have on the screen there, that is a park that's on the roof. So the roof is actually a park.
Leo: Right and the garage is underneath.
Jeff: What happened to the headquarters they've been in that had the kind of Disneyland courtyard?
Leo: Oh, that's old. That one's still there but this has an additional -
Jeff: This is the “real” HQ now?
Leo: Nine acres of grass on that roof, 400 trees and a half-mile walking loop. On the roof! But that's a carbon offset.
Mike: They're on the water there too so there's a water view.
Leo: And they own significant acreage next door so we haven't seen the end of it. I want better pictures.
Jeff: There were some other pictures. Remember when we did the story about Google's proposed new headquarters, they're really trying to close the outside. So now when they go walking, nobody's going to snoop on them. They can go up to the roof and get nature.
Leo: It's like the Biosphere. You're inside this natural environment that's indoors.
Kevin: Right. The one place on earth where you actually don't need that at all.
Leo: I know! You're in California.
Kevin: Google headquarters has the perfect climate, you'll never get too hot or too cold.
Leo: It's just down the road from Kevin, he knows.
Jeff: [crosstalk] – humble brag.
Kevin: I have my own mini Biosphere here. I've got a canopy that sits out over the garden.
Mike: The Apple space ship campus – the donut part of it now is being constructed and there's a new 4K video that's been posted on Youtube.
Leo: Another drone video?
Mike: But you can see that they've got the first wedge of it sort of built up all the way to the ceiling with just the frame.
Jeff: It's the cyber Pentagon.
Mike: I'm really excited about this one.
Leo: Thank you for quad copters, just saying. This is great that we get these incredible views.
Jeff: Was this illegal?
Leo: No, it's probably airspace, man, if you're doing it for noncommercial. If you're doing it commercial then the FAA has rules. Now, you're flying right over it, you're probably not -
Mike: This is probably illegal and the other thing is that there's a case, a story that's hit recently that the FAA contacted somebody and said that because he posted a drone video on Youtube, he also did it on his website, but because ads were sold, it was therefore a commercial use of a drone.
Leo: We'll see how that works out. The thing to remember is that the FAA actually has no enforcement arm so they're just spitballing.
Jeff: That's a bit of a First Amendment issue, I think.
Mike: But there it is, you see that's the chunk and this -
Leo: There's a public safety issue with these drones too, though. I mean, I think it's appropriate for the FAA to have an opinion on this because they're flying through the air. Some of them are very heavy.
Jeff: Profit versus nonprofit should not be the delineation.
Leo: There's a privacy issue.
Jeff: Companies are more careful because they have liability.
Leo: Yes. I don't know why – I guess probably because of the First Amendment they can't do it.
Jeff: Ah, commies.
Leo: They're all commies in DC.
Jeff: I have here a list.
Leo: Elon Musk – has he announced what he's going to do tomorrow?
Jeff: Somebody said it had to be a watch and his April Fools’ joke is that it's a watch.
Leo: Oh, no. He's going to – he tweeted on March 30, two days ago, “New major Tesla product line, not a car, will be unveiled at our Hawthorne Design Studio, Thursday 8 PM 30th.”
Mike: So the speculation is it's a home battery.
Leo: Because he's building a battery factory, right? But just the tweet, given that Elon has 106 million followers, increased the stock value of Tesla by more than $1 billion.
Jeff: So now you can imagine the SCC and lawyers are rubbing hands, wondering whether an executive tweeting is seen as stock manipulation.
Leo: No. You remember them going after Reed Hastings because the Netflix founder and CEO tweeted a couple of years ago and he was cleared because the regulators decided it's okay to use social media to disseminate material information as long as it's the expectation of investors and you let them know you will be doing that. As long as investors have been alerted about which social media will be used to disseminate such information, the SCC says it's legal. So Elon Musk, obviously paying attention to this. A battery, a watch? It's not a car.
Jeff: You see the watch on the next link I just put up.
Leo: Let me look at it, April Fools.
Mike: So he basically announced -
Leo: It's Big Ben on your wrist. I'm sorry, that, as I was told many times when I was in London – that is the Elizabeth Tower on your wrist. The bell inside is Big Ben. Am I right, Kevin Marks?
Kevin: That's right. It's been renamed the Elizabeth Tower, yes.
Leo: It used to be called Big Ben?
Kevin: No, the tower itself didn't have a name, it's just part of Parliament. But they named it Elizabeth Tower after the golden jubilee.
Leo: The key is the bell is the – this is good, a new watch, the Model W. I'd wear that. You could use it as a weapon, too.
Jeff: You would.
Leo: As long as there's little rodents running up and down inside. “The Model W is in no way a competitive response to what some other company's doing. No longer will you need to rudely examine your phone to read text messages. Now, you can politely stare at the tiny screen on your wrist without anyone noticing.” I think Tesla's confused. I don't know really what's going on here.
Jeff: Back for just a second to Elon Musk and his tweet, [1:25:21.3?] who is a wonderful sociologist on Twitter from Turkey, when the far left terrorists, you'd have to call them, took a prosecutor hostage in Turkey two days ago? They were tweeting it and then they went to Facebook to yell at Twitter for having killed their account. This has to be a first in history where you have terrorist kidnappers complaining about a social network on a social network.
Leo: They're terrorist trolls. Speaking of trolls, this is definitely a troll-ish article, the Boy Genius Report. “Meerkat is dying – and it's taking U.S. tech journalism with it.” Taking us and others to task for being so excited about Meerkat.
Jeff: Jay Rosen at NYU went after this piece on Twitter with the author for not naming any of the outlets that he was accusing of doing bad tech journalism. Then the author came back and said, “Well, I fear vendetta,” like it's the mafia.
Leo: I will say, we were one of them. We talked a lot about it. But we don't – his point or her point is if anybody would just take a look at the top charts on iTunes or read App Any, you would know Meerkat is not a success. That's not why we talk about a program. We're not saying – I mean, we were genuinely excited and still are about Meerkat. Mike, you used it a lot. But that has nothing to do with download numbers. We don't vet our news stories based on download numbers. That's a misunderstanding of what a journalist is.
Mike: This is a ridiculous story. I think the bigger story, it's delicious irony, I think. But a lot of the tech press slammed Google Glass as an invasion of privacy and many of the same journalists who were slamming it now are the ones into doing literally what nobody was doing on Google Glass.
Jason: Thank you, Mike.
Mike: It turns out the real crime of Google Glass is that the camera was not pointed at you, the journalist.
Jason: It's that the camera's on your face. If it's in your hand, it's okay. If it's on your face, it's not.
Mike: But literally, people are streaming for hours, recording strangers who don't have permission.
Leo: It's true. We, if you walk around the studio a little bit, there's “No Meerkat” signs in place. That's individual employees who have put up signs in their offices saying, “Don't you come in with that Meerkat.” And we've had to caution employees, “Please don't walk around with that Meerkat in certain areas because there's -”
Jeff: Well, you finally said no more Meerkat at the office, told them last week?
Leo: I said they can still Meerkat here. I told one individual no more but that's because -
Jeff: He was doing it all the time.
Leo: But people can Meerkat here. I Meerkat. But we don't want them going by the accountant's screen and people seeing private information and things like that. That is the little bit with Meerkat is that you're just walking around but there's stuff all over the place maybe you don't have the right to show on your Meerkat. I think Meerkat is cool, though. Periscope, to me, is a little bit less interesting. It probably will win because it's Twitter and they can just hang in there forever. We had a great interview with Ben Rubin, one of the founders of Meerkat, on Triangulation airing this week. I highly recommend it because he's a smart guy. He was actually really thoughtful and intelligent. We talked about what makes something go viral, what – you know, why Meerkat was a hit and so forth.
Although, the point well taken from The Boy Genius report, Meerkat's download numbers have dropped dramatically. It peaked at 130 on the U.S. iPhone download chart and is now dropped – no, he's telling a secret, I'm sorry. No.
Mike: Again, if people already have it, the question is, are they using it? That's the question.
Leo: Ben told me half a million users which I think is a significant number. That's not a bad number. I think he'd have more if he'd do an Android version. He's working on it. So was Periscope. I think it's an interesting category, this idea of instant livestreaming. He makes a point that he's in a very specific vertical, the ephemeral instant livestreaming, the stuff that doesn't get saved. Periscope, we thought, was going to be saved but it was only saved for a day. Even that it ephemera. That makes it a little easier to do if you know nobody's going to see it.
Leo: Unless they watch live. Just looking at the rest of this... I think we can take a break and wrap this up with our picks. Y'all agree? Anything else you wanted to talk about?
Kevin: I was going to give you my little perspective on livestreaming if you want.
Leo: You know, here's the king of realtime streaming, one of the authors of Quicktime. Yes.
Kevin: So yes, the background here is that – oh, Christ, 15-17 years ago when I was with Apple, the first thing I got signed was building Quicktime broadcasting which was -
Kevin: Which was, yes, trying to put the stuff into the OS and into Quicktime itself. So the Quicktime streaming part had been built but it was two weeks to W3C and they only had stored streaming. Steve Jobs said, “No, we need to demonstrate livestreaming because that's the point.” So as the new guy who hadn't been assigned yet, I got dropped on the, “Can you build the livestream in the next few weeks?”
Leo: In three days.
Kevin: It was just gluing together bits of Quicktime already there. We already had – this is the nice thing about Quicktime, we already had video capture, audio capture, the sequence grabber and all that stuff. They already had the stuff to do the hard bits of sequencing and playing it over the things. So it was just like, “Haul this piece of code, wrench this other piece of code. Write and do that in a loop,” and so on. So it sounds like I did something really cool but mostly I was piecing other people's code together which I suppose is a lot of programming these days.
But, so that was my first experience at Apple, “Here's this thing. Put it on this.” Then two weeks later, Steve Jobs put it on stage at Apple.
Leo: Incidentally, if it doesn't go well, he'll have your head.
Kevin: Well, Peter was shielding me from that aspect of it so that was kind of fun. But the point of it – the thing we then went on to build was called Quicktime TV, which was a livestreaming thing for what we're doing now on TWiG but with broadcast and things like that. So that was – we had trying to run 24/7 streams of the BBC and things like that. So that was fun in that I then had to write code that would maintain timing between audio and video across weeks which is harder than it looks. But we got all that stuff working.
What we realized, having spent a couple of years on this, is that the actual use case of live broadcasting is not very useful. In fact, this generalizes to TV as well. Because most of the time, the people aren't ready to watch it – it's a historic fact of television that was based on the fact we couldn't buffer anything back then.
Leo: Right, it's all we could do.
Kevin: So, you know, television was [feedback] so all we could do is live broadcasting, radio too. There wasn't any way to record anything initially with radio and TV recording was very hard to do. Video tape only came into widespread use in the 70s. So the model was built around this live broadcast model with everyone watching everything at the same time. Then we were replicating that in the computer and actually, it's not that useful most of the time. One of the advantages of the computer is that it does store things and make it easier to store things and keep multiple versions so the actual valuable thing is Netflix and Youtube, not so much the live broadcasting part.
We struggled for a while trying to find uses for this. What I realized was that the valuable thing is that when you have a live broadcast and the people watching it can respond to you, so you have a chat room like we have here, then it's actually useful. Then you're able to have this back and forth and it's useful for us as broadcasters because we're getting directly back what we're saying, suggestions as things. And it's useful to you as an audience because you can have that back and forth with the people watching. It isn't just a one-way stream.
Without that piece, it doesn't make sense. So the reason these things are more interesting than what we built then is that they've built that piece into it. They were using Twitter to bootstrap that back and forth conversation and they built that. The challenge is still that most e-live broadcasting is very dull because most of the time, there isn't anything interesting happening and if anything interesting does happen, you want to record it so you can replay it later.
You see this with TV. Whenever the TV is like, “And we're live from the political summit, we're standing outside waiting for the President to come out and say something,” it's very, very dull. In fact, TV has moved away from doing that these days.
Mike: But even more to the point is we learned with the Brooklyn fire, the fire in New York City, people who were using Meerkat and Periscope aren't doing even that. They're not explaining what's happening so sometimes people will go to a live event to view on Meerkat. They don't know what's going on. Nobody knew what was going on with that and there was no expert commentary so it's even worse than TV and access.
Jeff: That's saying something, if it's worse than television.
Kevin: So, you know, the challenge for all these things is, it's also very exciting for you to be, “Hi, here I am live to the nation.” We're doing it here now and there is a seductive part to that. That's been part of the problem with TV people understanding the internet over the last 15 years has been that it is their mental model of it and that's what they cared about. So a lot of the things that were built by TV over the internet were that, “Here I am live to the nation” world view which matters a lot to the person doing it, matters less to the person watching it. It took a while for the people watching it to get the upper hand in terms of being able to watch what they wanted when they wanted rather than being stuck in their loop because that was the TV's mentality as well.
To some extent, we're still stuck in that model with watching video over the net in that we have this very elaborate setup that's designed to not buffer things. So if you're actually using a lot of these streaming services to watch video, you still will get quality dropouts, buffer glitches and stuff like that because the way that they were designed by the cable companies and the TV people and the phone companies, they all have this realtime presumption. It meant they're not buffering enough so there's not enough stored locally to get you over the glitches in the network. That's still something that's been gradually addressed but mostly addressed by getting more cached in the network than by buffering things locally better.
So it's one of these sort of ongoing problem with the design things. But it was interesting to me to see this sort of sudden spike in this thing because, you know, I literally went through this 15 years ago where -
Leo: It did really feel like deja vu not just from 15 years ago but from five years ago and three years ago.
Kevin: Qik was the other startup that did this, went to it when it was young and did it very well and impressively on a bunch of crappy fans compared to what we have now. Of course, Justin.TV was the, can we make a network out of this, version of this before and that didn't do that well. The ongoing challenge is to do what you do here, Leo, which is have a space where there's something there to watch but also, you can have the back channel going back and forth and pay attention to that.
Leo: It's a great – [crosstalk]
Kevin: That's something you do well.
Leo: The thing people – the reason Meerkat and Periscope are so exciting to people is because it is exciting for the broadcaster not for the audience. But it's fun for the broadcaster because the person doing it sees the hearts on Periscope, sees chat coming up on both, sees all these bubbles coming up, people watching. That's very seductive. It is, by the way, the reason we do live. There's two reasons we do live and one is because performers, hosts, whatever you want to call people, are energized by that. So you get better-quality programming because if you're going to do it and you don't have two takes – the minute you have take two, the energy takes a professional because the energy just goes (farting noise), zero. There's no high stakes.
Jeff: For me, take two always guarantees a take three.
Leo: So doing it live raises the stakes for the performer. That's one of the reasons we do it. The other reason is actually, I think, a very, very valuable reason. You can't have, really, truly interactive programming unless you're doing it live. People can't interact with you an hour later. So I think we've sliced the baby well which is that we know our business started on-demand. Our busienss did not start live. We added live for those two reasons but the main business is still the download business and of course, because that's what viewers want. Viewers want to watch when they want to watch.
But I'm of the opinion viewers like to watch something that is – look at Jimmy Fallon. Look at the Tonight Show, Letterman. Those are all live to tape because there's an energy you get from that you just don't get and you get audience interaction. There's no reason – if you've ever seen live to tape like when they did Sound of Music and Peter Pan without an audience, it's horrible. It's just flat. If they had put an audience in there, it would have been great. So to me, that's why we do live. But I completely agree with you, Kevin, that live is not the audience looking for and our audience proves that. 95% of our audience is on download, not live.
Kevin: But for the people who do want it, it's there and it's exciting to be in the chat room now.
Leo: We offer a little value ad because they see behind the scenes – it's more of a relationship with the broadcaster if you're watching live and you can chat and so forth.
Kevin: The other interesting part of that is Twitter in general as the back channel for live TV is also the piece that I wasn't sort of, you know, surprised over.
Leo: You need a signaling mechanism.
Kevin: But actually, you know, bringing this to live TV – so the point is, I'd stopped watching any live TV at all but there are certain things that are more fun to watch with Twitter heckling them.
Leo: Exactly. The Academy Awards with Twitter running in the background is awesome.
Kevin: Certainly and the one for me that made realize this was the royal wedding where I stayed up late at night to watch the royal wedding precisely because I follow enough British people on Twitter, I knew I would have a hilarious side channel.
Jeff: This is why I watch Eurovision.
Kevin: God, yes. Eurovision is perfect, yes.
Jeff: All my European friends get surprised, “What's an American doing here, jeez.” But that's the fun of it, exactly that.
Kevin: Eurovision is sort of this mass cultural bonding of how ridiculous we all are. It's great.
Leo: The Super Bowl, live sporting events, you know, after the fact, they're not as interesting. So Meerkat, I think that's one reason people point a lot to the news reporting issue of Meerkat. There is that immediacy that you get on a livestreaming app. Are you Periscopeing or Meerkat'ing?
Mike: I'm Periscoping.
Leo: What do you like better, Periscope or Meerkat?
Mike: I like Periscope better.
Leo: See, I like Meerkat better.
Mike: It just feels more solid.
Leo: That's why I don't like it. Meerkat feels like you're really on the edge.
Mike: Anything could happen.
Leo: Also, it just feels a little more rough and ready. Periscope feels very corporate to me and you see that when you first watch the app in the streams that are recommended. Meerkat recommends streams of people you follow, people you care about. Periscope is Twitter's agenda so it recommends stuff that Twitter wants you to see.
Mike: On Meerkat, you get bigger audiences, much bigger, several times bigger.
Leo: Is that true?
Leo: Well, that's a timing thing.
Mike: But it takes time. For some reason with Periscope, you get your audience and then it dwindles. With Meerkat, it grows, and grows and grows over time. So if you're going to do long sessions, Meerkat is better. If you're going to do short ones, Periscope is better.
Leo: That's interesting. You know, since my thing is I want a buffer, I want to save it, because I feel like if I'm going to do the effort of doing a broadcast, I want – really, you shoot your heritage. It really shows in how you feel about all this stuff.
So then I started looking at, well – what really bugs me, why can't Android do Youtube Live? So I played with some devices that do that like the HTC Re, but shouldn't your phone be able to start a Youtube Hangout on Air?
Leo: Shouldn't I be able to do that from an Android device?
Mike: You should have been able to do that three years ago.
Leo: Google missed the boat here. Meerkat and Periscope -
Jeff: Absolutely. Exactly. I'd be happy.
Leo: I'd be very interested if I could do a Hangout on Air here as I travel – I'm thinking about for our Europe trip, I would love to do a daily little thing. Rick Steves does such a good job. His Facebook feed has little short videos, clearly shot like this, and they're great. They're really slice of life and all sorts of places. If I could do that and it would be saved to Youtube, I'd be very interested.
Mike: Come on, Google. You can do it. It's not too late.
Leo: Seems like an obvious thing. Did you read about – this is so funny. So Lazlo Bach, who is a Googler, just wrote a book. He's head of people operations, in other words, human resources at Google. He's got a new book but there's Christopher Mim's review of it in the Wall Street Journal. But today, Christopher did cull a little anecdote from it that I think is so funny. This goes back a few years, 2008.
A Google employee sent Larry Page the following email. “This is from the menu today. If there is no good answer or action from the company I will quit in protest.” The employee was referring to food being served in the cafeteria called “The Free Tibet Goji Chocolate Cream Pie.”
Kevin: I remember that. That was a huge thing when I was there, yes.
Leo: Apparently, Google called it a kilo thread. There were so many responses it was the fastest thread in Google's history to receive 100 responses, the longest email chain debate in Google's history at the time. It bounced back and forth across the globe between Google's many international offices, some in China where, of course, “Free Tibet” is not a good phrase. Some engineers were incensed that Google would imply Tibet should be free even in the name of a menu item. Others took the opposite stance, yet others worried this was an issue of free speech. If the chef can't name a pie as he pleases, what kind of talk would be regulated at Google next?
The chef was suspended immediately and Bach, as head of human resources, says that he saw among other things to make the point, “Some suggested Westerners would be equally offended if some chef in London had offered 'Free Whales Pie' or 'Free Northern Ireland Cookie'.” Others went so far as to suggest Texas Polygamy Steaks and War of Northern Aggression Hotcakes.
Mike: I like that one.
Leo: I would eat those.
Mike: The thing with the Texas Polygamy Steaks is you get several of them.
Leo: Bach later reversed the chef's suspension. As far as we know, he's still make Free Tibet Goji Pie.
Jeff: Which you have after you have your freedom fries.
Kevin: That cafe has since closed but yes.
Leo: So you were there for that event.
Mike: I think they should reincarnate the Free Tibet Goji Chocolate Cream Pies.
Leo: I'm going to make some Free Tibet Goji Pie tonight.
Jeff: Is there a recipe?
Leo: I know!
Kevin: There should be a recipe. I think the thing – so that was a very sort of hippie vegan cafe that was on the main circle at Google 41, I think it was, which had that Free Tibet thing. What they didn't take into account was how many Chinese engineers worked at Google and this set off all their buttons for them. It is one of those things. Now, also it was this sort of default assumption problem that Google has which is that everyone is like us and that is an issue that Google has and has bitten them on more than one occasion because their mental model of the world is built around that. They haven't been that good at having the empathy that's needed to think of people who aren't like them.
That's part of the difficulty of building a sort of campus like that, both [feedback] have been doing this, what we're saying. You end up building this complete, like, separated from the world enclave that is very hard for people to move out of the mindset of.
Leo: The book is called Work Rules, Insights from Inside Google and does not include, because I just searched, a recipe for Free Tibet Goji Chocolate Cream Pie. You missed the bet there, Lazlo.
Mike: I'm craving it now.
Leo: I want some. Freedom fries. It is like freedom fries, isn't it? All right, we're going to take a break and if you would, picks, tips, ideas, thoughts and Jeff will give us a number of the week as we wrap this up. The back of the book, I call it, coming up next.
Our show today brought to you by ZipRecruiter, ziprecruiter.com, yes. Love ZipRecruiter, what a great idea. In fact, we've used ZipRecruiter. If you are Lazlo Bach or somebody responsible for hiring, maybe you have a small business and you're the chief cook and bottle washer, you know that job boards have made this much easier. But which job site is the right one for the employee you're looking for? It's kind of a pain if you go to more than one unless you use ZipRecruiter.
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Now, my friends, ladies and gentlemen, it is time for tips, tools, picks and numbers. I'll let Kevin Marks, because he's kind of our guest today, start things off.
Kevin: So the tool I wanted to mention this week is called Huffduff Video. Now, I'm pointing to this as a tool on top of a tool, really, but -
Leo: HuffDuff in the ham world is high frequency direction finding.
Jeff: That may be the geekiest thing I've ever heard you say.
Kevin: huffduff.com is – yes. HuffDuff was named after that, so huffduff.com is a site that -
Jeff: That was not the geekiest thing I've ever heard you say, Kevin.
Leo: High frequency direction finding, yes.
Kevin: So this is a site that Jeremy made a few years ago and the point of this is it gives you a little bookmarklet and when you find an mp3 on the web, you click the bookmarklet and it stashes it in a Podcast feed and later, you subscribe to that Podcast feed. Then you get that when you're out walking. So that's been around for years.
Leo: I love that.
Kevin: Yes, 2008 this is about, so that's a 7-year-old tip.
Leo: It's kind of like Instapaper for mp3s.
Kevin: Yes, except I think it pre-dates Instapaper. But it's 2008 that Jeremy built this. So HuffDuff is great, recommend that, sign up for that, subscribe to your own podcasts and subscribe to mine if you like. I put a few things in here every now and then, huffduff.com/kevinmarks. But the tool that I was talking about this week is one that's been built – that will take a video file and turn it into an mp3 and post it to HuffDuff.
Leo: Oh, neat.
Kevin: The value for this is unlike TWiG, which sends both versions so you can get both, if you see something that's in video and you think, “That's actually really a talk that I'd love to hear,” there's a little button you can click that sends it to HuffDuff. It runs the video into audio. So the great example this week for me was Neil Gaiman talking about Terry Pratchett. So the day Pratchett dies, Neil kind of had a preexisting speaking event in San Francisco. So there's a video of that which [1:51:49.7?] interviewing Neil Gaiman and talking about Pratchett. But I also managed that into an audio file with HuffDuff video and HuffDuff so when I was walking the dogs the other night, I got to walk around and listen to Gaiman reminscing about Pratchett which is great. I recommend that.
Leo: A lot of times you don't need it. Our show is a good example but that would be also, the audio is all you need. Talking heads, you don't need to see the faces.
Kevin: You know, I have listened to things on Youtube while walking the dog but it's a bit silly because I've got video streaming to a screen I'm not watching. I don't think Youtube is smart enough to just send me the audio so it's a little bit wasteful whereas this is a useful way to do that transformation if you want it. It's not just Youtube. It works on Vimeo and a bunch of others as well. It basically looks for the video file, pours it out and turns it into an audio file. So there's a certain use case for this I think is perfect but part of it is this idea of transforming time shoot which I was talking about before with the livestreaming stuff, making that on-demand stuff more easy and the value of podcasting is very much that you want to be able to listen to this at another time in the future.
So the combination of those two tools is great and it sort of plugs into the infrastructure of podcasting that's already there.
Leo: Can people subscribe to Kevin Marks' HuffDuff feed?
Kevin: Oh, yes, there should be a subscribe button.
Leo: Look at that. You can even subscribe in iTunes.
Kevin: That's the point. The idea is you make this and subscribe to it yourself. You say you bought this thing of feed yourself.
Leo: But others can subscribe to your feed, right?
Kevin: Yes, so it's like a curated think list of things I'm bouncing from one place to another.
Leo: Neat. I don't know why I'm getting an iTunes quick tour, I really don't want that. Wow. Thank you, Apple. There we go, look at that. There's your feed. Look at that.
Kevin: A pet peeve of mine is people only doing iTunes links for podcasts. NPR is notorious for this where they say, “And here's the iTunes link for our podcast,” and you're like, “No. That is not helpful to me because I don't use iTunes.”
There is another tool that turns an iTunes link into a thing you can give to Android. I should find that one as well.
Leo: So you will like this. In fact, I should hire you as a consultant as we do our website design. I'll tell you what, once we launch the beta, pop the private beta, I'll invite you, Kevin. But we debate this considerable because we're going to have a subscribe button, obviously, on our shows. Currently we do a lot of – it's a very long drop down because of course, we don't just do iTunes, we do everything. But what I've been saying and I told the design team we're going to do this is would you just please give me a text of the RSS feed and just put that text right next to every show so somebody can copy it and paste it?
I feel like at the very least, we should tell people, “Here's the actual RSS feed and if you have your own was of getting RSS, you can use this.”
Kevin: Right. Well, I have – you know, there's another site of mine which is unmung.com. Did I share that before?
Leo: I don't think so. This translates iTunes into -
Kevin: No, this translates feeds into webpages so if you've got a feed, it'll turn it into an indie web marked up feed. If it's got podcasts in it, it'll give you players in line.
Leo: We just brought it to its knees, of course, because you never anticipate more than 1000 people visiting.
Kevin: It should have spun up. It'll take a minute for it to load.
Leo: unmung.com is an RSS to HTML. I like – you know, Safari used to do that, by the way, and they took it out. Such a nice feature.
Kevin: The point of this one is they do it to the indie web marked up H feed and H entry, all that stuff. So it works with the indie web readers as well and that was my iteration for doing it. I've actually found it quite useful as, I have a podcast and I want to see that permalink and play that episode because many of those sites are hard to find. So it's a way of working that thing.
So yes, the challenge is subscribing because there isn't a coherent prefix for saying, “This is a podcast feed.” So the Android apps try to claim this, it often doesn't work and you need to copy and paste. That is an issue, yes.
Leo: This will probably be hot in podcast:// because if you've registered a podcatcher on your machine, some machines will handle that properly, etc. Or is it pcast?
Kevin: That's the problem.
Leo: Or is it feed.ly or is it – so we tried to do the right thing which is make it as easy as possible for you to subscribe because obviously that's what we want. But it's trivial and the problem, I have enough history and context having done this for several years now, everybody looks at me like, “What, you want to have an XML file link?”
Kevin: That's the problem with RSS in general is that you click the link and you see a page full of gibberish and back away again. That's the problem with direct RSS links in themselves. The thinking with Unmung was like, “Well, this is the same information but in HTML which is probably more useful.”
Leo: Maybe I should crosslink to Unmung. No, I won't do that, I promise.
Kevin: Don't do that yet. If you're going to do that, I'm happy to help you do that.
Leo: Give me the code. Maybe we can figure out a way to do that, it'd actually be kind of cool.
Kevin: I'd have to add some caching because at the moment, it goes and gets the thing every time. I could do that but I'd have to add some caching so if the same people were to [feedback/crosstalk] -
Leo: It's not to make it a link that you can click because of that very reason. But anybody who's smart enough to look at it and see the RSS/XML would say, “Yes, I can cut/paste that.” I think that's what we decided to do.
Kevin: This is a structural problem with podcasts that is that the reason NPR says, “Go to iTunes and search for,” whatever is A, you can't put links in audio but B, even when they do it on the page it's hard if you don't have a good link format for this. That sounds like something for the rest of us.
Leo: Yes, we need to solve that. Get indie web to work on that right away.
Kevin: I just asked them to think about it. But, you know, the challenge is, there's a lot of infrastructure out there you have to change. That's the problem.
Leo: You see how long that dropdown is? It's crazy and that's the only way we can do it.
Mike: It's a lot of decisions, like HD, less than HD, here to here.
Leo: So the challenge is to give people choice without overwhelming them with choice. I think we just assume our audience is intelligent and we leave it at that, give you the choices and let you figure it out.
Jeff: Been meaning to ask you, in any of those formats, does serving it cost you or is that where Cachefly comes in?
Leo: Cachefly serves it. We pay for the website but Cachefly pays for the – we have a deal with Cachefly, it's not free. But Cachefly does the – if I to today's Docker episode – Randall finally got the Docker guys on, that's great. If you click “Subscribe to Audio,” we do iTunes, Feed.ly, My Yahoo! - we probably can take that off, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Zune – what? Other podcast clients – that's the pcast and then the RSS. The new site will do this a little bit differently, obviously, but look at video. It's crazy. So this is the issue and we've got to kind of simplify that. We've been spending a lot of time thinking about exactly what to do there because we do want you to subscribe. Ultimately, that's for us, the best thing is if you subscribe to it.
I think – my thinking has changed a lot about how important the web is and so forth to this. I believe that – this isn't necessarily a good thing and I know as an indie web promoter, you think it's probably terrible but really, apps are going to be the solution for a lot of our users and if we can get them to put a TWiT app or use their own podcast app on their mobile device, that's going to be the most likely way they're going to subscribe.
Kevin: I mean, the challenge with the TWiT app – the TWiT app would work because you have enough [2:00:11.1?] in the same way an NPR app works. The problem is it doesn't actually solve the distributed problem. The value of HuffDuff is that I can turn an arbitrary thing on the web into a thing that feeds into the app I'm already using to consume it. The value of an open standard for this stuff is so you can add to the model for consumers. That's what make it work. The challenge is that the infrastructure for this was designed, you know, in 2003-ish and so the methods we did to build it were built on what were available then.
Things that have happened since have been a bit [2:00:48.4?] and at the point where Apple sort of stepped up to the plate and said, “Yes, we're going to support this in iTunes and later in iOS,” that was extremely useful because it gave people a place to do it. But the way they did it didn't move the standard up forward in an enormously helpful way. The challenge of it is that Apple added a whole bunch of random stuff to the feed you have to have just for them. [feedback] – is what in the feed everybody else can read.
So there's still some craftiness there but the problem is that there is a very diverse ecosystem of things that we broadcast and they don't all quite do the same thing. So, you know, it would be nice if we could add a things we talked about page you could link to and put that in the post of the thing, but the number of podcast players that actually display that post and going to let you click on it is fairly small.
Leo: Podcasts are antiquated. We've got to solve this, please.
Leo: Somebody help us.
Jeff: One more question if I can, Leo, for the sake of one of my students. A couple of my students have podcast businesses, which is cool -
Kevin: What do they consist of? What is the business?
Leo: Yes, what is the business?
Kevin: There's more than one business there, I'm just interested to see what they're doing.
Jeff: One, I don't want to give away too much. One, immersive audio of people's experiences. I know it sounds really vague but I don't want to give away too much of her business. The other one is a – right now, there's two big media companies fighting over her, which I love. It's a better guide to podcasts. I think there's a big opportunity there.
So one of the questions was, how do you deal with promotions?
Kevin: Like Odeo.
Leo: Odeo, there you go. That's it, that's the secret.
Jeff: Hear me out, time wasn't there. Maybe the time is now.
Leo: Whatever happened to Evan Williams?
Jeff: Yes, I know. He just has flop after flop, you know. So Leo, in a stream and Facebook now with the auto-play and video, what we were talking about in class the other day is obviously, someone's not going to auto-play an hour and a half of this and then stop their Facebooks.
Leo: We're not real good on Youtube or Facebook.
Jeff: But you started doing little snippets, right?
Leo: Yes. We have TWiT Bits on Youtube.
Mike: How's that working?
Leo: It doesn't – I mean, it's promotional.
Jeff: I know that. Is it helping to promote? Are you getting into Facebook?
Leo: I don't know. I don't have any metrics for that but you know, our – yes. I don't know. I don't know how this stuff works.
Jeff: How do you promote a little bit of video to get somebody to subscribe?
Leo: You know what? Here's the problem with promoting TWiT. It's really an acquired state and it's only for some people. I don't really want to promote it to a mass audience because 90% of them will hate it.
Leo: So my market – I don't know how you market something. It's like mustard or something, horseradish mustard. You just, I think, have to hope that the people who -
Jeff: It's like Marmite.
Leo: You're not going to run a big ad for Marmite or Vegemite because people will try it and go, “That's the worst thing ever.” All you're going to do is create huge amounts of conversation about how bad Marmite is. So what you really want is to be under the radar and have people discover you who might be interested.
Jeff: Yes, but that's the question. Is there some better tools of discovery?
Leo: It ain't Facebook. You know, I used to do live with Regis and Kelly, I've done that a dozen times in the last 15 years and I realized, finally, even though 4 million people watch it, none of them are interested in TWiT.
Leo: It's just the wrong group so I'm not going to buy ads in Computer World, either. I think the best thing to do is hope that people will Stumbleupon us.
Mike: You know, I promote Tech News Today in two ways. The first way is that we have a lot of brilliant tech journalists on the show every day.
Leo: So you're cross-promoting, in effect, bringing their audience to them.
Mike: I mention them on social media and then people who are interested in them might want to watch our show because we have them on the show. The other way is I do regular blog posts on Google+, stories like, “This happened in the news,” I throw out some of the controversies, some conversation we had on the show and then I link to that segment in Youtube so people can go directly to that segment. My hope is that people will, after repeatedly going and saying, “Well, that's interesting. Why don't I just subscribe?” I'm not sure if that's the solution. Probably isn't but I see it as a link that you put in a blog post for people interested in these topics.
Leo: I mean, we do that. We do a lot of tweeting and you know, the thing that was the most successful ever for TNT was Stitcher featuring it. Whenever Stitcher features your show, our audience doubles. So I don't know. I have no idea how this stuff works. Sometime you and I will sit down, Jeff, and – but I have this counter-intuitive idea that's not a good idea. Market to the wrong people.
Jeff: No, I agree with that.
Kevin: That's the challenge is with podcasting what you're saying, it's like saying radio or music -
Leo: I hate the word podcast since day one. I gave the second keynote at Podcast Expo and said, “Stop calling it a podcast.” Everybody thought I was nuts.
Kevin: We used to call it audio blogging.
Leo: That's worse!
Kevin: Podcast was – yes. But that's, you know -
Leo: Even internet broadcasting. How is this any different from Meet the Press or whatever?
Jeff: I have this argument all the time with people who do video online. I call it television and they get all mad. I say, “No, no, take over the word.”
Leo: It's our word. We are broadcasters, not them.
Kevin: Who says we call it radio? We just say this is radio.
Mike: Why not? It's way better than radio and you should basically get in your car and your podcasts should play.
Leo: True. It's at parity with radio as far as -
Mike: It's customizable radio and customizable television.
Jeff: I amaze people all the time, Leo. I was at – sorry. Not being a broadcaster, I banged my mic.
Leo: I do, too, so it's okay. Everybody does.
Jeff: I was in Madrid a few weeks ago, as you know, and I talked to PRISA, the gigantic publisher of Alpine East and the owner of huge radio stations. I do this all the time – I dine out on you all the time, Leo, and tell them the story of TWiT and TWiG and what an amazing thing it is. Just the idea that we make TV and radio at the same time – every time I mention this, they go, “Oh? Oh.” They get it but it's just kind of a, “Why didn't I think of that?”
Leo: It baffles them every time. I mean, my only thinking is make it as available and as easy as possible for somebody to watch it. Make it available in as many different formats, as many different ways, whatever anybody – however anybody wants it. That's how we'll offer it, including live, including audio.
Mike: You're the Burger King of media.
Leo: Yes, however you want it. Our goal is eyeballs. We don't – you know.
Jeff: Here's what I want. Chat room, you have this amazing public out there who god knows why you watch it this whole time but I love you for doing it. If they would go to timecodes of their top three favorite moments of the show, funny moment, one minute here, 1:30 there, that you could just embed a Youtube video at that in and out. It would make it easier for us to get people who would be interested to sample things.
Leo: We have a problem with podcasts, especially long form, is sharing. Youtube does have a way to share directly to a spot but nobody knows about it. It's obscure and hidden.
Kevin: It's easier now, actually. If you click, “Share” while you're playing it, it says “Share at this time, now.” So it has got easier. But the trouble is you have to scroll back because – you think that was really funny, I'd like to share this. Argh!
Leo: Too much work. We've thought long and hard about maybe making our player have a share button that you could say, “Share here.” There's got to be a way, in fact, I think that's the solution. If somebody is watching it on some form of player that they could press a button that tweets that minute, maybe minus 30 seconds, but it's fine. You know what? We don't have to get big, we just have to get better.
Kevin: So serious suggestion here, and this is something that podcasts used to have chapter lists. Because they inherited that from -
Leo: Too much work and it's iTunes only.
Kevin: Yes, and they've stopped letting it play any more. So it's been broken but the idea is strong. The idea of a chapter list is actually what you want for these things and it would make sense to construct chapter lists for these shows. Youtube has chapter lists.
Leo: It's a terrible idea. I want somebody to listen to the whole show. I don't want them to jump to a part of it.
Kevin: That's the challenge, yes. The challenge is then you have a chapter list -
Leo: I have three ads. I want them to hear every single damn one of them.
Kevin: Exactly, Leo, so this is what I'm saying. Listen. As the audience, what I want is a chapter list because if I go to the indie web guys and say, “We had a great discussion about this indie web thing, hang on. I've got to go and try and guess where in the thing it is, oh, never mind.” The question is, would sharing the snippets leave people to subscribe to the whole thing. That's the trial you've got to do or you've got to pre-[2:10:41.6?] on the chapters or something. The problem is then you get the TV shows doing this, so the cooking channel.
They have a web player for the shows in the cooking channel which I thought was great until I tried to pause when and come back. When I tried playing from the middle, it played all the ads I would have seen up to that point before it would let me play the next one even though -
Leo: I'm not doing that either. I don't want to hurt people.
Kevin: Even though I'd already seen them and heard them with their bloody singing.
Leo: I don't want that. That just irritates. I don't want to make the pigs sing.
Kevin: The value here – oops, my fly is gone. There we go. The value of the chapter marker is potentially that you could do that individually. So I used to do this for Apple keynotes when Quicktime supported chapter lists. I would watch the two-hour long Apple keynote and put my own chapters in to say, “This bit was interesting. Jeff here, blah blah blah.” Which meant people could skip through it and see the pieces that they wanted. Not sure if anybody else particularly cared on how much use it got. But there is value to that and it maps to the thing you were saying about the chat room.
The other thing you could do is as the chat room does have timestamps in it, though I think the backend, if it's IIRC, they are on second timestamps. You could tie that to the recording and give people in the chat room a command to say, “I like that bit.” So that it would then know where it was highlighted.
Leo: We actually have some egg drops – so another concept I pioneered but never implemented from the test lab of podcasting is something I called the river. We do some audio and river streams; I wanted to do a textual stream that would include – hosts would have access to it. It would include links, include comments curated from the chat room and we actually have a number of scripts that were written years ago for chat mods to go, “That one, that one.” It would be very easy for them to extend that to that time code, that time code.
Unfortunately, there is latency so the chat room is off by some number of seconds, as much as 30 or 40. There's all sorts of – you know what? I've decided having thought about this nonstop for ten years, screw it. If people like it, they'll tell their friends and they'll tell people it's appropriate. We don't need to grow hugely, we're doing just fine.
Jeff: You're right. It's the loyalty. Again, the most amazing moments I have, it happened before last week's show when somebody stops me in the streets of New York, or Munich or Sydney and says, “Are you Jeff Jarvis? TWiG? We love Leo.” That's what makes this a special company.
Leo: That's all I need. Then all the effort I put in, too, is not into marketing but making a better experience for end users. That's what we're trying to do with the website. That's what we're trying to make, a better user experience. If I do that, then that's enough. That's good enough.
Kevin: That's weird. Part of my grumpy old man act from Quicktime is we have lost a lot of this stuff so, you know, when I mentioned Quicktime earlier -
Leo: Quicktime, yes. You had more than that. You could click on regions. You had – Quicktime was amazing and Apple slowly stripped all the best stuff out of it. Remember that? You could – I remember Alex Lindsey getting excited that variants could make videos and you could click on the tent if you said, “That's a neat tent,” it would then go to a webpage. I mean, there was some neat stuff in there.
Kevin: But the key thing that was neat about it was it had the concept of edit points built into it. So the, you know, somebody said, “Quicktime was the worst media player.”
Leo: Not at all. It was awesome.
Kevin: Well, there were places it didn't play well. It had some grief on Windows for a while that did get better over time. But the thing was that what it did have was a good understanding of combining and editing media together to sample accuracy. So you could create a Quicktime movie that pointed into a marked different file and then flattened out into one you could share with other people or you could share it with the pointers intact. It also supported more than just audio and video. It would support text tracks fairly early on so I could make these chapter tracks, a special case of text track. So you could have a text track that was running along underneath the video with just – it could be subtitles, could be a chat room chat appeared.
Leo: Could be links. Yes.
Kevin: That was all there and the loss was – firstly, the loss was when you were streaming because streaming was seen as the big thing. The second piece was that all the subsequent media players had this, “I'm going to play it from beginning to end in one go,” model and not the idea of editing. So VLC is a wonderful media player but a terrible editor. The editing process – the audio editing funk has gone away. The editing process now does involve rewriting files all the time. It no longer has this ability to point into different bits and pull it together. We get away with it because we have so much more storage but we've lost that dynamic editability piece that was there and that, you know, for my digital media parsing, that's the saddest thing. There was a lot of power there.
Now, Apple screwed this up in lots of ways, one of which was trying to enforce patents on the file format which was complete toxic idiocy.
Leo: Completely wrong idea, yes.
Kevin: And not being quick enough to open source bits of it which was when other people could have adopted it – [feedback] – active sabotaging of use of the file format was possibly the stupidest thing they did. What it means is that the actual audio/video file formats we have now do not have this concept of editing and so doing this stuff is now quite hard. We had a digital talk that made this very viable and easy from the – you know, whenever they first shipped Quicktime, early 90s through to mid-2000s.
Leo: Well, and that's Kevin Marks' pick of the week. Now we go on. If you can remember it, Huff -
Kevin: There's three chapters just in that pick, isn't there?
Leo: HuffDuff. Ladies and gentlemen, our HuffDuff video editor, huffduff.com. Now it's time for our number of the week from Mr. Jeff Jarvis.
Jeff: I just put a link into the far right column on the rundown. Do me a favor and go to that. So anyway, a tweet I just ran by by Muhammed Al-Suqqaf looked at mentions of computer phobia in books over the last years, right? So that was first step is it starts in -
Leo: Starts in the mid-70s.
Jeff: Peaks at about '82?
Leo: '86, yes.
Jeff: Now do me a favor. Add “, technophobia.”
Leo: Computer phobia, technophobia.
Jeff: Computer phobia comes down.
Leo: But guess what? Search lots of books but look at technophobia. So the blue line is computer phobia. The red line which, as soon as computer phobia start to go down, it starts to skyrocket technophobia.
Jeff: So we were afraid of computers. Then computers came everywhere. We weren't scared of computers anymore but we still needed to be afraid so now we're just afraid of technology.
Mike: So Jeff, I -
Leo: I wonder if you put vampires in, what happens?
Mike: I told you this by email but I'm not sure if you saw. I actual bought technopanic.com because I thought somebody would do that. So if you want it, it's yours.
Jeff: I might. I'll be writing a book on it.
Leo: You bought technopanic.com!
Mike: I was stunned it was available so I grabbed it.
Jeff: How long ago did you get it, Mike?
Mike: Six months ago, something like that.
Jeff: That's beautiful. No, I didn't see an email. That's great.
Leo: I'm going to tweet this. So the blue line on the bottom is computer phobia, the red line is technophobia. Zombies is the orange line and vampires is the top line, all right? I'm just pointing out here, as afraid of technology people are, it's still zombies and mostly vampires. Should I put Justin Bieber in here?
Jeff: Bieber phobia.
Leo: Is there a Bieber phobia? Probably.
Jeff: I suffer from it.
Leo: No, look. Bieber's flatlined. Nobody cares about Bieber. Mike, do you have a pick?
Mike: I have four things that I have, some old-ish news, new news, really new news, all streaming related. The first is that some time ago, somebody came out with a site called meerkatstreams.com which shows all Meerkat streams in one place.
Leo: This is the so-called God Mode. In fact, there was a hack if you held your finger on the Meerkat head for five seconds exactly, the Meerkat would look the other way and you'd get God Mode, but they turned that off. I was so mad.
Mike: Too bad.
Leo: But now you can do it on the web.
Mike: So here's a really cool – here's what you do when you actually open the stream. It's a Chrome plugin called Meerkat Plus. What it does is put the comments, including the ability for you to comment, on the web version of Meerkat.
Mike: Exactly. So here we are. This is the Meerkat we're doing right now and this is the Meerkat site, so it superimposes it on the actual official Meerkat site.
Mike: You just comment and you see all the comments.
Leo: Does Meerkat have an APR or are they just hacking into it?
Mike: So there's that. Now -
Leo: I wonder how Mr. Rubin feels about this.
Mike: The same people who made Meerkat streams created a Periscope version which came out today, I believe. It's called onperiscope.com is the website, just called Periscope Streams. Again, you're just going to refresh it and this is really fascinating because it shows you a different segment -
Leo: It's much more global, isn't it?
Mike: You're seeing people driving around Saudi Arabia, stuff like that. It's really very, very cool.
Leo: Which has the most nudity?
Mike: I don't know.
Leo: None of them, unfortunately. I thought this would rapidly become porn havens.
Jeff: What was the anonymous video chat with -
Leo: Chatroulette. There is Meerkat Roulette.
Mike: The thing is, though, that this has small audiences so the people are probably not -
Leo: So you're Meerkat'ing right now and we could watch it. You could use this extension to chat into this Meerkat.
Mike: Just right there on the web, which I think is what everybody wants to do. Okay, so here's the new new new news. I think it broke after we started the show. Oh, no, it didn't – a little before. But Facebook has a new app called Riff. Basically, it's a collaborative video creation tool where basically, you create a video and then your friends take your video and they add their video. Then another friend adds another video. So it's a way to have this sort of serial editions to a video and it tells you what to do. So you tell your friends, “Okay, make a funny face. Do this, do that and the other thing.” So it's a fun way to create not livestreaming but a video that goes.
Leo: But you do have to give it a hashtag of some kind and then your friends can view it and choose to add their own clips on that topic. That's how Facebook figures out that you're Riffing. You already have a Riff? This is your Riff?
Other: Yes, but then slow down. That's the desktop of it.
Leo: This is the app?
Leo: Facebook Riff – so this is – what are you doing right now? This is like Meerkat in a way, too, right? Because it's instant and then somebody – is this somebody you know? American in Paris backstage – oh, this is somebody else's Riff. Balancing Act.
Other: If you watch that, it'll go through.
Leo: Let me see, has anybody Riffed on you? What is your hashtag on this?
Other: It's me on my Facebook account.
Leo: So you have to be a Facebook friend with Evan Dunn. So maybe somebody's – 2000 people have seen it. Surely somebody -
Other: You'll see -
Leo: Ah, there's an even better juggling job. Ah.
Other: There's six Riffs there and you're looking at the first one, the second one.
Leo: This is actually the one they have on the page, actually. Okay. So this is actually exactly the same as one the website, they're just kind of demonstrating what you would do. Oh, I'm going to get Riffing.
Mike: Yes. So those are my – I guess they would be picks of the week but I have some breaking news which is that Nixon's mansion in San Clementi is now for sale for $75 million.
Leo: $75 million?
Mike: He bought it for $1.4 million.
Leo: That's even more than Jay Z paid for Title.
Mike: He should have bought this house.
Jeff: Back to Riff for one more second – I know we're long. I just want to know, did they get rid of the horizontal versus vertical problem by making the videos square?
Leo: That solves it. That's what they should have done in Meerkat.
Leo: They made it square because they learned that from Instagram. Does it have a Hefe filter?
Kevin: Instagram built Riff, right?
Leo: All right, I'm installing Riff right now on my phone. It's free from Facebook.
Jeff: Is it on Android?
Mike: The people who Riff will be called Raff, the Riff-Raffs.
Leo: You use Riff? Now you're the Raff. So I told you, Jeff Jarvis, that I'm slowly coming around on Chromebook. The new Pixel really sold me. I know it's $999 -
Leo: One of the things I realize is, part of the reason people have a bad experience with Chromebooks is because they're crappy. They're netbooks. But when you get a – I understand now why Google did the Pixel three years later because if you haven't experienced it on good hardware, it actually is amazing. So the Pixel, the new Pixel, has amazing screen. It's touch, got a great – everything's great. Great keyboard. The experience is phenomenal. Great battery life.
But then I'm starting to use it more and more because I like using it. It's a little heavy and clunky, I mean, industrial design is a little square. It's not elegant but it's Google. It's an engineer's notebook. You start adding extensions but there's two things I do and I've even said this to you, that I can't do on a Chromebook that are part of something I like to do. They're both hobbies.
One is photography, so Adobe has already announced they're going to do a new version of Photoshop, a streaming version for Chrome OS. If you're a subscriber to the Creative Cloud – in fact, they're already in beta for this. The work is done on their service. It's kind of like on live, like the streaming gaming. The work is done on their computers but displayed on yours. It's not exactly a VPN or VNC, it's something a little different. I haven't tried it so I don't know but then the other one is -
I like to write software just for fun. I don't write anything good, just for fun. I tried a couple of things. I tried Code Anywhere as one and then I found this one. Somebody tweeted at me, “koding.com.” Kevin, are you familiar with this?
Kevin: Haven't seen this one, no.
Leo: You would like it. So it's a new startup out of San Francisco – let me make it full screen. The thing is they have a free tier. So you can – it spins up instances on Amazon that will host a variety of things. Basically, it's Ubuntu Instants with a very nice IDE on top of it which is kind of amazing, that runs automatically. You can do coding is a variety of languages. It's web focused because, in fact, you even get a website as part of it. It has full SSH and terminal commands. It's very Chromebook friendly.
I'm going to login to it in just a second.
Jeff: So it's just a browser window?
Leo: It works great on a Chromebook. You could do Go, Python, Node, Ruby, Angular, PHP – you can play with Docker, Wordpress – you can set up a Jango, Ruby, Laravel Instant. You can create apps. You can write iPhone apps or iOS apps.
Jeff: So if you're Gina looking at this -
Leo: She can totally use this because she's doing web programming.
Jeff: What would she miss?
Leo: I don't know. Local storage, I guess. You can't compile an EXE. So here's the interesting thing – for free, you can get an instance. So it's one core, gig of RAM, three gigs of space. By the way, that's plenty. In fact, I created this. The only – they're smart. The one thing it does is the VM turns itself off if not used after an hour so it's not persistent enough to use for a website. But for $10 a month if you buy – this one I ended up buying as a hobbyist so that the VM stays spun up.
In fact, I put GigaOm on there. So remember, we were talking, I didn't want to do GigaOm before this because GigaOm went offline. So we made a little web – somebody sent me some CSS, a very simple site. But this is running on Koding. I'm not sure everybody should go there but let me login to my Koding account and show you what it looks like because I have to say, for free, this is truly amazing and let me see. Don't look at this, while I login. Actually, it doesn't really matter.
You can spin down the VM, spin it up, can do all sorts of things with it. It's got – let me pass. It's got a bash terminal and you see, I've got a web root so I can – there's the GigaOm stuff and I can do – see the index, I can even do this IDE completely functional. I even have it set up so that I can – let's go to my terminal. I can even run eMax. I put eMax on there.
So you really, if you want a box, a Linux box you can code on, this is amazing. I've set it up for Go but you could use Python. You have workspaces, so this is my Go code workspace. It just jumps right there, roots it at the top and now I can just work on my Go code.
Jeff: You're not installing a darn thing in life.
Leo: It's all installing on this Amazon instance, this ECT instance. Koding.com. The thing is, it's free. I ended up paying $100 – they get you, because I ended up saying, “Oh, you know, I like this. I want to do more of this,” and you end up paying. But they've done an amazing job.
Jeff: Can you store your stuff on GitHub.
Leo: Yes, it supports GitHub. Supports SSH, so you can see I have some authorized keys in SSH which allow me to go from any terminal with SSH into this. I'm really impressed. So now, this is the other objection was I want to be able to code. Now I can.
Jeff: I would say the one reason left you wouldn't get a Chromebook is video editing.
Leo: Yes and there are video editing things. But I do not video edit, so. I'm going to leave that to the professionals.
Jeff: Well, my journalism students, I can't have this become the computer for them.
Leo: Boy, if you're a regular student like K through 12, this is all you need. You'd be crazy if you're in a school doing a one-to-one program with anything but a Chromebook. You'd be crazy at this point.
Jeff: I can't wait to get the new Asus Chromebook because on some trips, just take along this thing that's both a tablet and a Chromebook at the same time. Lighter, jeez.
Leo: It's pretty impressive. So you know, you're winning me over, Jeff, inch by inch. It gets better, and better and better. It's really -
Jeff: Follow the light, children. Follow the light.
Leo: At this point, I would rather use the Pixel than use my Mac which is crazy.
Jeff: Just when I had to go into finding things on the Mac that I'm using right now. Eh. You say, “The Mac is so much better -” [crosstalk]
Leo: [crosstalk] – this as well, I am on my Mac and coding and everything I do on my Pixel is here. So it's not like – you know, it's everywhere I use a computer.
Mike: The thing I think is the least appreciated fact about Chromebooks is the mental state that they put you in. They give you peace of mind because you know it's always there. It's always safe. You don't have malware running. It just is relaxing to have one and use it as your main device.
Leo: So I'm working on a chat bot for our chat room.
Jeff: What's it going to do?
Leo: Jeopardy. Did you know about jService to you? You must know about this, Kevin. Somebody has written a – this is hysterical, a full API to every Jeopardy question ever. There's 155 thousand on here. They don't say Jeopardy anywhere except that looks suspiciously like somebody we know. You can call this through the API so if you're on Slack, you could put it on Slack. It's Trebec Bot. All you have to do is say, “Jeopardy me,” and he'll ask you a question. They keep track of your dollars and you get double Jeopardy. Anyway.
That's my – you know, you always need a little something, a little project on the side. Always have something on the side. Kevin Marks, great to have you. What do you want to plug? Anything going on in your life or are you just enjoying the weather?
Kevin: The -
Jeff: I think that's Kevin's orange stand.
Kevin: I'm always minding the orange stand. Indie web is a thing worth mentioned, indiewebcamp.com which is the website that there's a chat room attached to that and we have every other week, events in several cities of the U.S. and weekend-long camps at various intervals. It's basically a group of people who get together, try to build their own websites and work on how to plug them into the rest of the web. So we're not ignoring the large social networks, just making sure we're not depending on them.
Leo: Yes. No, I feel like you're doing God's work, here. It's a small group but it's good.
Kevin: It's a small group but the point is, I've had that big conversation about standardization. It's one of these, “Well, we decided to go off and do our own thing,” type groups and we're starting to get somewhere with it which is good.
Leo: indiewebcamp.com, find out more. Mike Elgan, you catch him every Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern time, 1700 UTC for Tech News Today. Great show, must watch. All the best tech journalists.
Mike: Yes, and you must subscribe. Just go to TWiT.tv/tnt and yes, you'll be the smartest kid in the class when it comes to tech every day.
Leo: And of course, Jeff Jarvis. You've got read his latest if you're in the news biz, please do. It's called Geeks Bearing Gifts. You can also catch him at buzzmachine.com.
Jeff: Or up for free on Medium.
Leo: Oh, you're doing it chapter by chapter for free, that's right. Awesome. We do TWiG, This Week in Google, every Wednesday at 1 p.m. Pacific, 4 p.m. Eastern time, 2000 UTC. Live.TWiT.tv, as I said, live is fun. But you don't have to watch live, you can always watch after the fact, just download copies from our site TWiT.tv/TWiG or subscribe in your favorite podcatcher. TWiT's been a long time. The good news is TWiT's been around long enough now that every podcast appliance, if you search for TWiT, you'll find all our shows including TWiG.
Subscribe to the ones that interest you the most. There you go, that's my marketing right there. I'm done. Thanks for joining us and we'll see you next time on TWiG! Bye, bye.