This Week in Google 295 (Transcript)
Leo: It's time for TWiG, This Week in Google. Jeff Jarvis is here. So is Matt Cutts. We're going to have a great conversation, including a look at a couple of interesting patents from Google, plus during the actual show, we are going to solve a pesky problem plaguing Jeff Jarvis. More illiteration ahead, it's time for TWiG!
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This is TWiG, This Week in Google episode 295, recorded Wednesday, April 8, 2015.
Bovine Avoidance Mechanism
It's time for TWiG, This Week in Google, the show where we cover everything that's not covered on any other show, which is just basically everything we want to talk about. Google, the Cloud, Facebook, TWiTter and, of course, because of Jeff Jarvis, journalism. He's a professor of journalism at the City University of New York. Hey, Jeff.
Leo: Blogger at buzzmachine.com and the author of many wonderful books. Also joined today by – we love having him on, Matt Cutts, Googler.
Jeff: Best in the world!
Leo: Long-time Googler.
Matt: Great to see everybody. How are you?
Leo: Hey, Matt. We should say, Matt does not speak for Google when he's on this show but we love having him on and he gives us a lot of insight. I was really disheartened a couple of weeks ago to read that you had left Google. You are on hiatus still, right?
Matt: I am still on leave, yes.
Leo: And so this is why it was a little credible – also, it was like three days before April Fools. Some SEO company announced they'd hired you.
Matt: Yes, and they also had a picture of me from some Search Conference a few years back, so it looked relatively credible.
Leo: It was very credible except for one thing, I knew you – I just thought, “That can't be right. No.” That would be like the most massive sellout ever.
Matt: Well, and for the first, you know, five minutes, I thought it was really funny and I was just going to let it ride for three or four days. Even though they didn't talk to me or ask me in advance, I was like, “You know, that's pretty well done.” But then I got an email from someone pretty high up at Google who was like, “This is April Fools, right?” I was like, you know what? Let me go ahead and clarify that just so people don't go stressed out, a little crazy or something.
Leo: I just said, it didn't seem possible. Now, you know, we should explain that your job at Google is fighting web spam – search results in spam. You speak, as this company mentioned, a lot at SEO conferences and so forth. But the idea of you going to work at an SEO – by the way, “This is my next project, Auto SEO,” I loved. We talked about that as well.
Matt: Yes, that was, surprisingly enough – about 4000 people signed up for this April Fool’s joke that I did that said, “It's a new product that does all your SEO for you, handles mobile, handles social. Here it is over at seo.ninja,” which I had thanks to a friend. So people believed it. So a few of them signed up because they were like, “Oh, I want to hear more about the joke.” But a lot of people signed up because they were like, “Yes, I would like all my SEO taken care of for me. Thanks very much.”
Leo: Well, it did subtly fit in with your message, your webmaster tools, those great videos you make, which is the best SEO is to make the best content. You don't have to do anything.
Matt: Absolutely. Our goal is that people don't even have to ever think about this stuff. So it was a little bit of a play on that.
Leo: SEO – somebody is saying, “What is SEO?” SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. While there is some stuff you can do to make your site more useful, things like having a site map. Google says this is a good thing, it helps them search it. But a lot of it's snake oil, stuff – if you get somebody cold-calling you or emailing you saying, “I can put you number one in search results, guaranteed.” Snake oil.
Jeff: Seriously evil obfuscation.
Leo: I feel like it's too bad because I think there are some serious SEO folks and you've spoken at SEO conferences, as have I.
Matt: Oh, yes, and there are plenty of white-hat SEOs. It's just most of them have plenty of business, so you're not going to get cold-emailed by someone who is going to be guaranteed white hat. So you've got to check your references. People who know their job usually have more than enough business already so they're not reaching out to you.
Leo: I want to also, as long as we're on Matt's blog which is mattcutts.com. Go watch the talk you did – I think it's your alma mater, right? USC Chapel Hill?
Matt: Yes. Went to grad school there, so got to go back and talk for about 45 minutes or so about lessons learned from the early days of Google. It's kind of fun, not super technical. It's more like, “Here's some stuff I picked up along the way.”
Leo: We love that stuff.
Matt: Good talk.
Leo: I didn't realize you were at that little back and forth – and it was not a heated battle, with Sundar Pichai in the early days of the Chromebook. I didn't realize you were standing there.
Matt: It's great because Google often has a Christmas party and they'll invite journalists.
Leo: That was the last time I was invited, I just want to say.
Matt: Oh, no. Well, that's their mistake, because it was really good to have you there and I think at that time, only the CR-48 had come out. So it was kind of fair to say, “Look, what am I going to do with this?” Because it was hard to see the potential at that time, and honestly, a lot of the potential hadn't been realized yet. So it was fun to watch the back and forth where I think Sundar could see what was coming and you were sort of like, “The state of the world is not good enough yet.”
Leo: Why would you spend that much money and carry around that big a thing to just use a browser? I think even then, I said, “I can see the value in a company where they want to constrain what their employees do online or on the computer, or a school where you don't want kids playing Minecraft during class.” But I have to say, it's very generous of you to defend me but it is true, I've completely come around and I love the Pixel. You haven't gotten the new one yet.
Matt: I haven't, and I'm really missing the USB-C where you can plug in the power on either side. Two USB ports, ah!
Leo: Now I want everybody to put type-C connectors in everything.
Jeff: I finally got my USB-C to HDMI.
Leo: Nice! I need to order some of those.
Jeff: From Google. The other great thing is, I don't know what Apple's going to charge for these things -
Leo: A lot.
Jeff: But I bet you, Google's going to be less.
Leo: Apple has an adapter because Apple's Macbook comes out this Friday. It will have a single type-C connector and they already are selling an $80 dongle but it has regular USB, HDMI and then a type-C for power. But $80! How much was the Google one?
Jeff: Oh, I forget it. I mean, it's on the site if you go to the Store.
Leo: I should buy a few and type-C is type-C, so that'll work with Apple just as well.
Jeff: Yes, I bought an extra power adapter.
Matt: That's like half a Chromebook right there.
Leo: $79, that's ridiculous. Although, hey, we should point out that the Pixel starts at $1000 and if you want to get the ludicrously speedy one -
Jeff: Which I did!
Leo: Which Jeff has, that's $300 more.
Jeff: How many people, Matt, at Google – A, what proportion of the people who you work with use Pixels? And what do they really use them for?
Matt: That's a good question. So almost everybody uses either Macs or Pixels, or Chromebooks. I'd say maybe – I'm just taking a total guess from what I've seen. Maybe about a third of the people use Pixels and a lot of that is if you're a manager, you're just doing email, not hardcore coding. Although, even SSH, you know – Leo, I loved where you were talking about doing coding in the web browser. That was very cool.
Leo: It's Koding, I now use it everywhere. It's exactly what you want if you're working in any language for web apps. You want it to be somewhere where you can publish it immediately and try it. So it's really great. Then you can also SSH to a server. I was starting to set up a server and somebody tweeted, “Oh, you should look at Koding.” And it's great. So that was the last – that and Photoshop were the last bastion of stuff I was doing on desktop computing and boy, I have to feel like this is really changed. So when I talked to Sundar five years ago, this was in the distant future.
Matt: Yes. I think you had a very good point whenever you were talking. You were like, “I don't quite see...” Anyway.
Leo: And I wasn't angry, just saying, “Explain to me what's going on.” You know, he was great. I came away very impressed with Sundar Pichai. He's thoughtful, his intelligence, his thoughtful demeanor and his calmness in the face as what he might well has perceived as an attack because that was his baby, his Chrome OS.
Matt: Well, I love that Sundar – you know, coming from the Chrome world, really believes in open, federated standards. Chrome is just a paragon in how things should work.
Leo: No, I agree. The adapter, Jeff, isn't cheap. It's $40 on Google but I'm going to get a few because I have a feeling this will be in high demand. The thing about Apple's is you can continue to charge while you're connected to HDMI. So, Jeff, actually, let's do some Chromebook self-help here. Jeff, you're seeing ad pop-ups in your Chromebook?
Jeff: Yes, they're little – I tweeted it the other day, I can't find it right now. But there's a nice little box that popped up on the lower right of my screen or just now, on your Mac, on the upper right of the screen. So I closed Chrome, know it's Chrome. Major brands like GAP, they pop up – they almost look like a Now box but they don't pop in the same way. They pop in from the right side. I can't figure out where it's coming from. I figure it's got to be a rogue extension but I don't have that many extensions. The most rogue-ish thing I have – there, that's it. Very good, yes. Thank you.
Leo: How did you do that, Jason? Oh, that's the tweet.
Jason: I did this Google search for “Jeff Jarvis TWiTter.”
Leo: It's amazing what you can do on the internet, and then 37 posts from Marc Andreessen.
Jeff: So that came in from the right and, you know, I clicked on it and it went to the GAP.
Leo: But the key is, it's not just on your Chromebook, it's everywhere when you use Chrome.
Jeff: Yes, so it's obviously something that travels with Chrome. It's not like the Chromebook itself is besmirched in some way.
Leo: The chat room is giving me a tool that might be useful. We said, of course, first to look in your extensions and Matt said, you know, it's engineered so that if something is in an extension, it will show up in extensions. There's also a Chrome memory redirect – About Memory. So chrome://memory-redirect will show you – you know, Chrome has a top browser built into it, so this is just a web-based version of this.
Jeff: What the hell do I do with that?
Leo: Well, you see everything that's running in memory, including all the extensions. So you can see if there's a rogue extension running in the background or something.
Jeff: Yes, I'm looking now... not seeing anything. Of course, I was on that machine. So it's weird, it's like I just don't – it's now going to bug you.
Leo: If you were using only the Chromebook, you could just do a power wash and it would go away – I think.
Jeff: Well, no, because it's going to install the extensions again. It's going to re-sync.
Matt: What you could do is try turning off all your extensions and then turn them on one at a time.
Jeff: The problem is, it's such an intermittent – the ads are very intermittent. I've gotten three in six days.
Leo: Somebody in the chat room is saying it's a Chrome notification from Google Now.
Jeff: Google Now's not sending me ads.
Matt: That seems strange. You're seeing this on TWiTter, Jeff?
Leo: No, he posted it on TWiTter.
Jeff: No, I posted that as a screenshot on TWiTter.
Leo: It's random webpages you're seeing it on, right? It's not anything – like, if you're on our Google Drive, you would see it sometimes, right?
Jeff: That just popped up on my Tweet Deck.
Leo: That could be Tweet Deck doing it.
Jeff: No, I don't have Tweet Deck running on the Apple right now. That's a good point, it could be. But the thing is, it appears off the screen, off the browser.
Leo: He's saying, check your Chrome notifications sources – see, now Chrome has notifications. I don't know where to do that, though. Wow.
Jeff: Gina, Gina!
Leo: Where's Gina? I don't know if Gina could help you here, this is obscure.
Jeff: On the Apple, it didn't appear on the browser, it appeared on the screen all the way over on the far right. I've got a 27-inch Samsung monitor here, so it was two feet away to the right. When I closed Chrome, both went away. So it was definitely Chrome.
Leo: You should look at, I guess, your privacy settings. You can make sure you have pop-ups turned off and look at “Manage exceptions” in there and see if you have allowed pop-ups from a site.
Jeff: But where would it be? All I have open on the Mac right now is Google stuff.
Leo: So I think it is a good idea to go to Settings, Privacy, which is in the advanced settings. Click on Content Settings. Google hides a lot of interesting stuff in content settings.
Jeff: I did – yes.
Leo: Then there's a notifications thing there and you can manage exceptions. So those would be the sites you said “Yes,” to for notifications. You can see who you've allowed. What I would do is clear these all out or just say, “Do not allow any site to show desktop notifications,” and see if it goes away. Then look at your exceptions. I've never seen that. That's a weird thing.
Matt: That is strange. I haven't seen that either. On the bright side, everybody at Google and who watches This Week in Google is going to know.
Leo: That's why we do it.
Jeff: “Shoot, Jarvis is killing our new revenue stream. Damn him.”
Leo: It is – you know what? Our chat room has given me a link. Thank you, George. To the Rich Notification page in the developer.chrome.com and look down here. That is a basic notification you're getting. Isn't it? That's what it looks like.
Jeff: Looks like it, yes.
Leo: So somebody – you've installed something that has used -
Jeff: Somebody's selling it to GAP. It's somebody who can get an RRP with the agency for the GAP, one would think. I guess, no – you know what? It could be an affiliate.
Jason: It could be an affiliate because if you take a look at it, “Upto” is one word. So if it's GAP, they missed a big -
Leo: I'm telling you, this doesn't look good.
Jason: “Hurry up!!” The urgency is there! Click on me, please, please, please.
Leo: You do not want to see those.
Jeff: Nobody else is getting this.
Leo: Here's another one from our – boy, our chat room is good. Superuser.com, how to find Chrome extensions that inject ads into any webpage I browse. Wow.
Matt: If we could harness the power of the chat room -
Leo: Aren't they great?
Matt: Do crime fighting with it or something.
Jeff: So I've got my pop-up exceptions – the first one is Saunabad, Berlin. Look at that, Wall Street Journal.
Leo: I would look at your extensions really closely and make sure you want the ones you've got.
Jeff: I've pretty much done that. I'll sift through it.
Matt: In the chat room, I'm going to paste a link which is actually – it shows you where you can manage the exceptions, which sites are allowed the notifications. I just went through this process myself so I can see – I've allowed docs.google, drive.google, play.spotify – you know, it's a pretty small list. So there, you can go through.
Leo: Settings, Advanced, Privacy, Content – which is exactly what we said. “In the dialogue that appears, you go down to Notifications and can manage exceptions.” Yes, that's exactly what we were talking about. Yes, that's a good thing to know about. Thank you, Matt.
Jeff: I'll report back next week.
Leo: I power wash all the time. I think power washing is the best thing. This guy on Superuser said it was an extension called Show/Hide passwords. So there are -
Jeff: That sounds dangerous.
Leo: That doesn't sound like a good extension. That's one to stay away from. Interesting.
Matt: We sometimes see behavior where a legit Chrome extension will sellout – so people sign up for these extensions that do something useful and then after a while, you know, the guy decides to monetize it and he sells it to someone bad.
Jeff: Here's a weird one now. So I go to – I'm sorry, Matt. I go to the content settings, right? I go to the Notifications part. I have clicked on, “Do not allow any site to show desktop notifications.” I click on, “Manage exceptions,” okay? Then it lists, like – eBay is there. I can't turn them off. In the other areas -
Leo: Oh, yes, yes. They're just there.
Jeff: They're just there. Is that true for you?
Leo: There's no delete. Yes, I think so.
Jeff: So I can't manage the exceptions.
Leo: You can just see what you've excepted. Power wash!
Jeff: One of them I can do.
Leo: Matt knows better than anyone how – what a constant battle this is. They just overwhelm you, I guess, with constant attempts. Google, in fact, cut Android malware, they say, in half last year. Which is interesting – 1% of Android devices had a harmful application installed in 2014. Now, most of those came from third-party stores or sideloading. When devices had that box unchecked that said, “Allow third-party sources,” it was .15%. So the vast majority came from sideloading. But there is a long report which Google has put out, a 44-page report talking about all the different kinds of abuse that happens on Android but they announced last year, they disabled 200 harmful extensions in Chrome that affected about 14 million users.
So it's not impossible to get a Chrome extension that as you point out, Matt, may have started out fine and went rogue because it got sold. Or, just somebody missed it when they approved it.
Jeff: Well, as Matt said, now the three or four people at Google who watch this are going to say, “Hm?”
Matt: I think there will be some very interested people doing research on that, yes.
Jeff: I have to be aware of myself because last night I had a – I subscribed to New York Times' email newsletter because I want to see it, but I hate email newsletters. So I wanted to unsubscribe. So then I clicked the unsubscribe and it takes me to a page that says, “You can't do this, you have to sign in.” But it said right there on top, I'm signed in. It's me!
Leo: That's frustrating.
Jeff: So of course, I've had a little wine. So I go on TWiTter and of course, I have to use the f-word. “Why can't I unsubscribe from these effing – grr.” So then, of course, the problem is, today, there's five helpful New York Times people going, “I'll fix this for you, I'll fix this for you!” You know, and I'm not trying to be mean and nasty. I have nothing against the newsletter, I just forget that people actually read these tweets. Sorry, Leo, I've been interrupting.
Matt: Got to harness the anger carefully, that's for sure.
Jeff: One does. One needs to do that, yes.
Leo: It's so funny. I just got a text from my son who sent me a text thread. It says, “Is this a sketchy transaction? I'm buying tickets for a concert from a Craigslist dude?” He sent me the text exchange and yes, I think it is, actually. I'm saying, “Maybe you might arrive at the concert and the tickets were already used.” There's all sort of ways you can get – they're all out there, aren't they?
Matt, you know, I was talking to – we had a police officer here the other day and I said, “It must be hard seeing the worst every day, day in, day out.” Does it get that way, Matt? Is that why you're on such a long hiatus? Just seeing this constant stuff?
Matt: Well, it's – I have to say, it is weird that you want to say, “Why can't people just be nice? Why can't everybody just be cool and respect everybody else? Let's not scam each other.” And yes, somehow, something about the internet or just reality brings that out. I don't know why.
Leo: But you're not dejected, depressed, through? What are you doing on this hiatus?
Jeff: Yes, come on. Fess up. You're cloning dinosaurs, is that it? Are you giving us the hint?
Matt: Yes, here they come. No, last night I stayed up late watching a movie next to my wife and I slept late this morning, went for a bike ride.
Leo: Isn't that a nice feeling?
Matt: You just can't complain.
Jeff: Who said you could live your life?
Leo: So do you have a plan to go back at some point?
Matt: Well, the leave can still go on for a while longer so sometime in the next month or so.
Leo: It sounds like a sabbatical. Does Google have like a sabbatical policy?
Matt: Yes, sabbatical model. They've had policies like that before. In fact, they talk about that – in the run down, there's the, “How to get a job at Google.” That's about a book called Work Rules by Laslo Bach. I have to say, Laslo is one of the hidden gems at Google because he does such a great job in the people operations side of things. So they try things like, “Let's give a sabbatical. Oh, everybody left after they took the sabbatical. We'll try something different, let's subsidize their Prius and see whether that helps retention.” They're really in the spirit of experimenting with things. So he's written all that up in a book called Work Rules that sort of says, “Here's our interviewing habits.” There's a lot of people that think we just use brain teasers, and puzzles, and you know. So he kind of sets that straight and talks about the sorts of interviewers that do well, those sorts of things.
Jeff: How often do you, when you're working as opposed to lazing around watching movies late, end up interviewing people and how often are they people working for you or you're part of the process interviewing people for elsewhere?
Matt: It's pretty wild because they try to take the attitude that hiring is the most important thing you can do at Google because if you can get somebody good, really A+ level, on board, then you've done a ton – you know, you've enabled all this extra work that you can do. So they actually have little badges on the internal system where you can say, “I've done 150 interviews,” or, “I've done 200 interviews,” or something like that. So everybody is supposed to – not everybody does, but everybody is supposed to chip in so you get a wide spectrum of people, a lot of different diversity in interviewing people to figure out what works and doesn't work.
Jeff: Who decides who interviews whom?
Matt: They don't interview at like, “I'm the hiring manager and I want to fill a specific role for my specific job,” usually. Rather, everybody says, “Look, we need this many people in search quality and this many people in Google X.” Then we hire the smartest people that we can and work with those people after they've gone through the hiring committee all the way up to Larry or whatever, where you say, “Okay, now what are you interested in?” So some people sort of bid on the candidates coming in.
Leo: I thought that was kind of interesting because I met somebody – a young woman graduating from Cal with honors had gotten a job with Google and I said, “What are you going to be doing?” She said, “I don't know yet.” So she'll find out later, when she arrives.
Matt: Right. To be fair, I'm sort of a weird exception. Most people don't stay in the same area for 10-15 years. Often, after four or five years – or depending on your role, two or three years, you might switch and try something new and different.
Leo: I'll tell you – does Larry really review every candidate? Come on, that's a lot of candidates, 6000 people last year. That's 500 a month, 25 a day.
Matt: He used to in the early days. These days, I'm guessing they send him the data and he maybe does spot checks? I don't know if he really – you'd have to ask him but he did in the early days. Yes.
Leo: Well, that makes sense in the early days. Especially, in the early days, you're really forming the company culture and those first 100 or 200 hires – maybe first 1000 hires even, are really going to set a tone that's going to continue. It's very hard to change once you've done that, so I think that's the time to be very involved. God, it's got to be unmanageable. Google's has 56 thousand employees at this point. No, sorry – is that right? Yes.
Jeff: It's got to be a lot easier when Google is – it's like you're running Yale. Everybody wants to work at Google so they have the pick of brilliance. They have to weed through a lot but you know, there have been jobs I've had to hire over the years where I've had to scrape in to find somebody willing to do the job at the pay we have, and so on and so forth. So it's – Google's in the catbird seat in that way.
Leo: But it changes all the time. The other stories you hear are – you know, it depends on the stock value and also what the perception of incoming college graduates is as to what's going to be the cool place. I would bet it's getting harder to get the really good engineers because the best engineers just start their own company. At this point, it's so easy to start a company that – well, I think it's a good idea to at least go to work for a company for a few years and learn some stuff. I think a lot of people come in out of school saying, “Let's do a startup. I'm going to do it myself.”
Do you wish, Matt, that you had done that coming out of school?
Matt: Well, that's kind of what I did, right? Because Google was under 100 people back then.
Leo: You went to work for a startup, yes.
Matt: Yes, yes, absolutely. And it's true, on one hand, you learn so much in such a short period of time and on the other hand, you really burn the candle at both ends with late nights. It's hard on your marriage. You know, you'r eworking weekends. So you want to think hard about that tradeoff.
Leo: Apparently still that way at Apple. We just saw another Apple employee leave and leave a long post about 16-hour days followed by meetings, meetings, meetings, weekends. The lifestyle today, even though Apple is far from a startup, is just as brutal. But people are willing to do it because they want to work at a company that's making a difference, I'm sure. But you're right, not great for family life.
Jeff: It's the old Disney joke too. If you don't work on Saturday, don't bother coming in on Sunday.
Matt: I remember coming in one weekend and I was like, “Wait, where did everybody go?” I realized that we were now at the point where people weren't always working on weekends. That was a distinct culture shift for Google.
Leo: Google – let's see, what else is going on? It appears to be developing a tele-conferencing tool. I like this idea – in fact, it's really interesting when you see something like Meerkat. The first thought, I think, many of us had, is, “Gosh, Google could have done this a year ago with Hangouts on Air and just didn't.” One of the hot areas – and we have a big advertiser, GoToMeeting, that does tele-conferencing. It's a hot area in business. But this is such an obvious thing for Google to do, especially for those of us who use Chromebooks. We'd like Hangouts to be used this way. So apparently, Gmeet – this was a post on Google+.
Google Meetings will allow users to schedule and join tele-conference calls with one click. You've got Google Voice. You've got Hangouts on it. You've got everything – all the technologies you need. Hangouts would be the base for the functionality. Screenshots, though, also show an Android app and a Chrome extension which would be very, very good news.
Jeff: You know what I want to get rid of? Here's what I want to get rid of in conference calls. Number one, musak. Number two, 40-digit codes as though they have a gazillion calls every day. Number three, the voice says, “We're checking to make sure your number is valid,” when you know it's a computer. It does it in two seconds. Why does it take it that long to do it? Then number four, idiots. If we get rid of those things, conference calls are fine.
Leo: This makes sense, though. If you want people to use Chromebooks, it's – I understand better now that I'm using the Pixel a lot, some strategies to make sure you can do everything in HTML-5 and in browser. I mean, that's basically what Hangouts are, with WebM, Web RTC and all of that makes sure you can do a lot of this stuff now in the browser on Chrome OS.
Jeff: Leo, what's the – Matt's in on Hangouts as I was for a long time as a loyal user. Now, Matt, I don't know if you know, but they sent me a Mac. I feel dirty but I'm using a Mac.
Leo: TWiT had to buy him a Mac because we wanted him to use Skype.
Jeff: What's the technological difference in between Skype and Hangouts? Skype does have good quality.
Leo: The biggest difference is Skype uses a proprietary codex and it's been tuned over many years. I think in most cases, Skype's proprietary technology does a better job that the open technologies. Hangouts used Vidyo, which is something that we tried. You may remember we tried it and then many of the other tools use – is it Silk? Slick? And Brick? These are open source codex and they're just, in my opinion, not as robust, not as good. Skype has been so highly tweaked to handle adverse environments and yet, when you throw enough bandwidth at it to give you amazing results, all you have to do is look at Alex Lindsey on Skype and you'll see what Skype is capable of, which is essentially broadcast quality.
Even with the right camera and sufficient bandwidth, a computer that's powerful enough is not bogged down doing other things. But at the same time, Skype handles, I think, adverse situations pretty well as well.
Jeff: Is it still built on some version of peer-to-peer structures?
Leo: No. Microsoft acquired them not long ago – a couple years ago, Microsoft bought Skype and the first thing they did was shut down the super peers and all that stuff, the super nodes Skype was using. So it's no longer peer-to-peer, but Microsoft has servers galore, right? We are constantly looking at alternatives because – I would love to use Web RTC. That would be so much easier and I would bet this Google Meetings thing would be very much like it. You could, with a Web RTC, give somebody a URL and say, “Click this.” That's it, you're in.
Leo: That's awesome.
Matt: No numbers.
Leo: And Web RTC allows you to skin it so you can write your own – we could have a TWiT client. There's just so many uses.
Jeff: Add chat to the side of it and all kinds of stuff.
Leo: You could do anything you want, yes. I'm sorry to force you to use a proprietary solution because I'm in favor of – [crosstalk]
Jeff: I'm ashamed of myself every week.
Leo: But I have to say, we have to prioritize quality. I'm sorry.
Jeff: I know.
Matt: It sounds like Hangouts, you know – some can work with Web RTC but you know, as you switch toward VP8 and VP9, you know, those – Youtube just announced that they're starting with VP9. Over time – [crosstalk]
Jeff: 25 billion hours served.
Matt: [crosstalk] – customer support.
Leo: I think it'll get better. There's no reason – I mean, I doubt Skype's doing anything that can't be done as well as, if not better, by others, including open source, especially with Google's help. VP9 gives you up to 4K quality using a lot less bandwidth. See, part of the problem is, there is good technology like H.264 out there. But it's owned by companies and there are limits as to what you can do. We're even – you know, Skype has certain restrictions that we worry about a lot, so I would very much like an open solution. I think we're using Skype in ways we're not supposed to – I don't want to talk about that too much, but.
Matt: It seems like -
Leo: There is a Skype TX for broadcast.
Matt: But it seems like it's, you know, just getting better and better. Huh, okay. But it seems like it's getting better and better, so.
Leo: This is from Youtube's engineering team, comparing H.264 and VP9 with a 600-kilobit connection, which is a pretty low-quality connection. That's H.264, a Janelle Monet video. VP9 is a lot better that H.264 and if you look at the split, the one on the left is the high quality. It's better, for sure. I mean, it's still not perfect, but 600 kilobits is pretty low quality. Percent of low-definition watch time – low definition is 240p. When's the last time you watched a 240p video on Youtube? It looks so horrible. So bad. Then, of course, VP9 will give you 4K, as I mentioned.
Chrome has it – so part of the issue is, and this was a big debate and still is, I guess, raging debate in HTML-5. HTML-5 doesn't really have a – Matt, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think it has a standard codex yet. So the debate is, what should happen when you have a video tag?
Matt: Oh, good question. Yes, I'm not sure.
Leo: You know who would know is Kevin Marks. He's probably foaming at the mouth right now. “I want to talk!” We use FMmpeg and FMmpeg does support VP9. So we could do it if we wanted to. We put all our stuff as mpeg4 and I think that looks the best right now, still. Let's see – oh, we talked about it on Security Now, a big story. Google had a little run in with China NIC, network information center. That's the certificate authority that does certificates out of China. You know, just a little background if you're not a Security Now listener. This might be a little more complicated but a little background.
In order to preserve the chain of trust when you use a secure website, the certificate issued by the secured website has to originate from a certificate authority that is recognized by the browser you're using. So all internet browsers come with the collection of certificate authorities – Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera, Google Chrome, all pretty much use the same batch, I think. It's not part of the operating system. It's part of the browser. But a short while ago, Google, which has a lot of instrumentation on the internet, as you might imagine, noted that somebody had issued a certificate for Google inappropriately. They tracked it back to China NIC. What China NIC had done is issued a certificate that allowed the holder to make other certificates. The certificate was issued to a company that had promised only to make certificates for its own internal use but apparently, these wild card certificates were somehow released into the world and this Egypt-based MCS Holdings, which is an intermediate CA, was basically allowing man in the middle attacks.
So if Google – Adam Langley over at Google, who is the guy for all this stuff, investigated and Google has decided to eliminate China NIC from its pool of trusted certificate authorities. That's a big deal.
Matt: Firefox is doing it too and it used to be the case, I would really be paying a lot of attention to this and really stressed out. Now I can read about it with enough distance to find it kind of hilarious. But I love the quote from Mozilla where they basically said, “The behavior in issuing an unconstrained, intermediate certificate to a company with no documented PKI practices and with no oversight of how the private key was stored, was an aggregious practice.” So they're just like, “Okay, this qualifies as aggregious practice. We're going to drop CNNIC.”
Leo: This is absolutely the way to do it.
Matt: Normally, we read people saying stuff like that.
Leo: China NIC has responded, “The decision that Google has made is unacceptable an unintelligible to CNNIC.” Meanwhile, CNNIC has sincerely urged that Google would take users' rights and interests into full consideration. I think Google did. “For the users at CNNIC have already issued the certificates to, we guarantee your lawful rights and interests will not be affected.” Well, that's not exactly true because if you go to a site with a CA authority that goes up the chain to CNNIC, you will not be able to visit that site in Firefox or Chrome once those are updated.
Microsoft says, “We're still investigating,” and no word from any other browser manufacturers, Opera and Safari. I imagine they'll do the same. That's a big problem. Chrome is, by the way, the number one browser in China, 52% market share, 23% for Internet Explorer. So it's a big deal in China if all the sudden the number one browser doesn't recognize any CNNIC authority.
Leo: Yes. It's a big deal. I mean, if you're a CNNIC certificate holder, that's a big deal for you.
Jeff: What does CNNIC have to do to fix it?
Matt: I love that you can do this thing called public – [feedback] It sounds like they'll need to put better controls in place but I love that Chrome uses something called public key penning, which basically is able to spot whenever somebody tries to do a man in the middle attack without the proper authorizations.
Leo: Yes, and Steve explains all how that worked and all that. It's great because Google does not – knows almost immediately when this man in the middle stuff starts to happen and says, “Wait a minute, this is not our certificate.” Even though it says it is.
Google's in talk with mobile operators still. Where is this Google wireless that we keep hearing about, this new wireless company?
Jeff: Oh, I can't wait.
Leo: I know. Well, I'll have to go back to the Nexus 6.
Jeff: I'm fantasizing that we'll get SIMs at IO.
Leo: You think they'll wait til June to – when is IO, end of May, right?
Jeff: End of May, you know, because the latest is that they're doing deals with foreign and international companies as well, which would just be wonderful. Ah.
Leo: You'll also get cheap international calls and be able to use your phone abroad at no extra cost. That would transform the industry. Huge.
Leo: So no word yet about this.
Matt: [crosstalk] – popped my SIM card out, yes. I was terrified. So something like this would be really neat.
Leo: Yes, I mean, we use T-Mobile, so you get 2G free everywhere. But there's always – you know, phone calls are still very expensive. There's all this nervousness going on.
Jeff: You know, again, it's the case where the business doesn't operate properly, and as with Google Fiber and as with Phones, and Android, they can just throw it away and put screws in them. They can for once think of the customer.
Leo: Say goodbye to Google Moderator, shutting down July 31. Did you know people that used it? This was kind of a good idea.
Jeff: It's like that old – I think I've mentioned this on the show before, that old Nick gameshow question. Is it dead or Canadian? I had no idea Moderator was still alive, must be a Canadian app. I don't know.
Leo: During the election – actually, after the election, the Obama transition team used Moderator to get input. Now I have some ad covering up this Venturebeat article. Go away, ad. Wow. That's good, it's an ad for Venturebeat barring me from reading Venturebeat. This is worse than a pay wall.
Jeff: It is.
Leo: They took questions from the public that were – the first series ran for 48 hours, got 1 million votes from 20 thousand people on 10 thousand questions. That's the power of Google Moderator, but I guess – you know, we should have used it for some things but we never did. It allowed user-submitted questions, suggestions and ideas. You could then rank them and take feedback from a large number of people, not only on their own questions but on others' questions. This was a good idea but I guess not enough people used it.
If you were using Google Moderator, you can get your data from Google Takeout, of course. You can continue to try using Google Moderator right up to July 30 – June 30, sorry. Then they're going to have a month of read-only. Then they're going to shut it down. Does that – do people at Google sometimes go, you know, kind of cringe when stuff shuts down? I think everybody understands, stuff has to be shut down, but it's always a little painful for some people.
Matt: Yes, I think there's a little bit of a cringe reaction because, you know, sometimes we actually use Moderator for our weekly TGIF kind of meetings that people can grill the founders. I've used it for, you know, web master videos. People can vote up the questions that you want to hear. But yes, you do have to kind of earn your pixels. Yes, yes, absolutely. But you know, it does make sense and I think it's been around long enough that people are like, “Okay, nobody's super crazy attached to it.” They understand it's got to earn its usage and so there's probably other tools that you can use at this point.
Leo: I know, I didn't see this post. But according to QZ, Eric Schmidt posted in January on Project Syndicate the story of how Google Image Search was created. He writes, “So our co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin—like all other successful inventors—kept iterating. They started with images. After all, people wanted more than just text. This first became apparent after the 2000 Grammy Awards, where Jennifer Lopez wore a green dress that, well, caught the world’s attention. At the time, it was the most popular search query had ever seen. But we had no surefire way of getting users exactly what they wanted: J-Lo wearing that dress. Google Image Search was born.” At the time of its launch in 2001, the site offered 250 million images. By 2010, billions. Of course, QZ knowing the value of this has made sure that picture and many more of J-Lo are right there on its front page.
J-Lo knows how to get attention and Google knows how to help you find it. Wow. I think – is that going to make this show not safe for work?
Jeff: Nah. Can you imagine that moment? That's the kind of great Google shinings. “Oh, crap, we don't have Search for images. Let's go build it then.” Sorry, Matt.
Leo: Matt's a little latent.
Matt: No, it's true. We want to help people find what they want to find.
Leo: Right, even if it's J-Lo's dress.
Matt: Sorry about the lag.
Jeff: No, no. Just sorry to be interrupting. It's unintentional.
Leo: We have to learn to be patient.
Jeff: Oh, I can't do that.
Leo: Google has a patent for a cow avoidance mechanism in their self-driving cars. This is the patent which actually involves a diagram of bovines, both full grown and calves, and a car. The cow -
Jeff: I have this vision that some Googlers get patents just for the jollies.
Leo: You think this is just for the lulz? Cow avoidance patent.
Jeff: And the damn patent office actually patented that.
Leo: Actually, when we were in Hawaii driving the Hana Highway, there was a bull occupying the road and very leisurely walking down the road. As much as we'd beep or yell, he led us down the road at about a mile an hour. So cow avoidance can be an issue in some circumstances.
“The trick is to develop a system that can tell when you're stuck behind an immovable object or when you're just in bad traffic or a parking lot.” So you needed to not only to know there's an obstacle in the road, but how long it's been there – how long you've been there too. This is from Popular Science.
Jeff: Maybe it gets a heartbeat from it or body temperature.
Leo: I don't know, do they have a UV sensor? They probably do. They should.
Jeff: You know, I read the story about the other car that made it all the way across the country and of course, you'll appreciate this. I freaked out because they said, “Uh-oh, we're going under a bridge in Philadelphia and it's all metal. That confuses the car.” I was like, “No!”
Leo: I thought that was funny. I didn't think of you, though. That was the only kind of scary moment in the self-driving car that went all the way across the United States. It was from a company that does car accessories but they – of course, they had, as with most of the Google cars – there it is. Is that it? Yes, once we get past the takeover [ad]. What's the name of it?
Leo: That's right. They did – there were a few moments but for the most part, the car went the whole way on regular roads. These cars are getting so good. I feel like we're close. As you say, the most difficult or scary thing for the engineers was this metal bridge because they knew the metal would likely throw the radar. It didn't, though. They just hovered their hands over the wheel. That's pretty cool – how many miles did they go? It was an Audi Q5 that was modified.
What's cool is, it looks pretty normal. Most of the LIDAR and radar in the self-driving sensors were hidden behind plastic panels in the car. It went 3400 miles, 99% of the time in autonomous mode. Nine days, 15 states. The team collected three terabytes of data during the drive. I think it's great that it's not just Google that's doing this. I think you want – this is when you get critical mass. I'm sure people are sharing – I hope people are sharing their information and so forth.
Of course, Audi did this. They drove from San Francisco to CES. Mercedes has done this as well.
Jeff: Now, the thing I wondered was, I didn't think the self-driving cars were legal in all those states.
Leo: I think they're increasingly legal for research purposes but I bet you that's why it took them nine days.
Jeff: It said they took the southern route because of snow.
Leo: Well, yes. It's pretty cool. I think we might see them in our lifetime, Jeff.
Jeff: Yes. I think Matt will be driving one home before you know it. They're going to say, “Hey, Cutts, if we send you a self-driving car, will you come back to work?”
Leo: Are you bored yet, Matt?
Matt: I'm happy to be in any self-driving cars they have. I'm not bored yet, no. It's been nice spending time with my wife, so.
Leo: You know what I played with the other day and really enjoyed it? We had the whole team doing it. I should show you our Google+ story. We got Segways, which I know sound like old hat but they're still kind of mind-boggling technology. We had so much fun doing them. Let me see if I can find you the – it wasn't an Auto Awesome, it was story of our trip through San Francisco's streets on Segways. There's Father Robert, Ryan – well, this is why Segways didn't take off. Let's face it. You look like a dork.
Leo: But it was so fun that I have to say, I feel like – by the way, this is completely automated, this Google story. They did such a good job. We had, I think, six segways. There's our producer, Karsten Bondy. So much fun. This was actually cool because I was able to get – a Segway makes an excellent dolly for video shots. Look how smooth the – I was just holding a camera phone. It's really kind of fun. Wait a minute - “We detected your video can be enhanced, so we're going to fix this video.” Thank you, Google. Thank you. They are really fun and then Robert, of course, is the quadfather, so he brought his drones and flew them probably illegally.
Leo: Near that thing you hate so much that I won't use the B-word.
Jeff: My palms are sweating.
Leo: No. You look at the Golden Gate – oh, there's birds saying, “Mine, mine.” I love it. Google even made it black/white, so that's cool. I should share this but this was so much fun. You know what's interesting? Once you ride these, you realize that it's hard not to personify these. I bet this is the same thing with autonomous vehicles. You start to feel like you're riding a horse or something. After half an hour on a Segway, you really feel like you just think where you want to go and you go there. It completely becomes internalized. I'm this close to buying one. Talk me out of it, Jeff.
Jeff: God, no. Leo, no. No. So you're going to drive it back and forth from home and work, which does sound practical, but you're going to feel like such a geek.
Leo: You know who looked like a geek? Mike Elgan, because he's wearing a suit on a Segway with Google Glass. That's the height. Tourists were taking pictures of him, “See, it's true! They do do this in San Francisco.”
Jeff: “He must work for Google!”
Leo: “He must be a Googler!”
Jeff: So I like the other patent there, Leo.
Leo: Is this the spoiler avoidance? We need to patent that because apparently it's the worst thing we can do, to spoil a TV show for our audience. Spoilers on social media – this is also from QZ. This is an April Fool’s joke. It can't be real.
Jeff: It's April 7.
Leo: God, I hate April Fools.
Jeff: The thing about it is, there is some logic to it, right? Viewing progress – so if it knows where you are in watching a show, it can then help you avoid spoilers, which only gives Google yet more data about you. “A-ha, Mr. Jarvis, we know you're three seasons into the Good Wife.”
Leo: “A method comprising, receiving activity data, describing activity performed by a first user. Determining a first progress stage for the subject associated with the activity based at last partly on the activity data...”
Jeff: Writing these must be torture.
Leo: They have people do that. This is long, wow. This is the patent application. Where's the figures? Here's the images.
Jeff: I want a little stick figure jumping up and down and saying, “No, you spoiled it!”
Leo: Does Google have a Pittsburgh office? These two guys are in Pittsburgh.
Matt: I think we do have one in Pittsburgh.
Leo: So the idea would be the message comes up on Google+ or whatever but is hidden or truncated. Then there's a pop-up that says, “Content may include a spoiler. Do you want to read it now?” Then you can click to show the full message. That's wild. Can you do it to podcasts, though? That's the question.
Matt: I could use that on – I had a Google Now card. I was watching the NCAA and I'm a Kentucky fan, which it learned. So it was hopefully showing me the scores live for the Kentucky game and I'm going, “Don't look at my phone because it'll tell me who's winning!” So I could use a spoiler avoidance just for my own phone.
Leo: I'm so sorry. So – we know what Andy Rubin's doing after his hiatus. I guess he's left Google. He left Android and then was working for the Google X folks, right? We thought maybe doing robots. Turns out, he's become an investor. He's launched an incubator called Playground Global and it's to provide support advice to tech startups, particularly making hardware. That is actually a great area because it's well know how to do software startups, but a hardware startup is an entirely different collection of challenges, including having to go to China and all that. Of course, Andy Rubin, before he was at Google, did Danger and the Sidekick and certainly has a lot of experience being a hardware startup.
Jeff: So he gives advice for equity, which makes perfect sense to me. The only thing I don't understand here is why he then needed to raise $48 million. I mean, I understand. I'd love to invest and have a piece of Andy Rubin.
Matt: It sounds like some of the investors were strategic, so Foxcon, it sounds like, is one of the investors. That's also a company that does a lot of manufacturing. So there might be some synergy going on.
Leo: HP Google, Hao, High Precision Industry all investing and Redpoint, of course, which is a venture capital firm with a past history of investing in Andy Rubin. Ten Cent Holdings, C-Gate. Interesting. I like the idea that he was going to go work on robots but maybe he'll still get to work on robots. He says, his quote is -
Matt: I thought the other interesting story about -
Leo: Oh, this lag is killing us. I'm sorry.
Matt: The other -
Leo: Just, once you start talking, just keep going.
Matt: The other interesting story at Google – okay, will do. The other interesting story I thought about at Google alumni, alumnus, alumnae – I'll just say them all until I get correct.
Leo: Alumni is the correct.
Matt: Stephanie Hannon, who it sounds like – yes, alumna because it's one female person. So Stephanie Hannon sounds like, according to the Washington Post, is going to leave google.org and work for Hilary Clinton as her CTO, kind of like Harper Reed did for Obama. I have to say, Stephanie is a fantastic Googler. She'll be really missed. I don't know if she's just going on leave, maybe. But she's helped with everything from helping you find your voting location to you know, google.org does stuff like Ebola Oneboxes and all these really useful, interesting things. So I'm really excited to see what she does over at the Clinton campaign.
Leo: The Washington Post says, “Stephanie Hannon is Google's director of product management for civic innovation and social impact. She will serve on the senior staff for Clinton's campaign and oversee a team of engineers and developers which could include outside consultants to develop websites, apps and other tools for the former Secretary of State and her staff to engage with supporters and voters.”
Yes, Harper did so much good for President Obama in the campaign. This is now something you cannot do without.
Matt: Yes, and I love that there's Googlers who are civic minded and interested in government. So there's a well of people like Mikey D., who went to help with healthcare.gov. So, you know, you can imagine going off from Google and doing startups or investing, but I like that there's this new path opening up if you want to help with U.S. digital service or 18F, government service in general because there's a lot of good things that could be done there.
Leo: Well, we need it. We desperately need it. Let's see – a couple of – we don't have a change log, per se, but a couple of features. Google Calendar 5.2, which isn't yet on the Google Store, you can do a side load, brings back the month view on phones. Apparently, people really missed it.
Jason: I missed it.
Leo: Did you?
Jason: Yes. Even though everything is so condensed, compact and everything, it's still useful to be able to glance at and go, “That's the layout.” I don't know. I found myself wanting it many times. I'm happy to have it back.
Leo: I just pretty much always use the agenda – you know, the list because anything else, I just can't see it on a small screen. Anyway, the angle here – the article, I'm sorry, here from Android Police, has an APK that you could download. I would wait.
Jason: There it is. You know, no. I can't wait. I saw month view and I was like, “Sold!”
Jason: Yes, so it's all jampacked in there but it's still usable. I mean, I totally find this useful.
Leo: I use it to kind of look at the – to see what day April 23 is, things like that, I guess. Well, you can get it if you want, Android Police has the link. Though if I were you, I'd wait for the update. Google Vault – what are you laughing at? I don't even know what Google App Vault is.
Matt: In general, it's a good rule of thumb to – yes. That might be the archiving for enterprise to like, you know, save things for legal discoveries. So.
Leo: They should call it your Sock Vault, your Socks Vault. Now covers Hangouts for Work chat. So you can keep your organization's chat history in the Vault and when the feds come calling, you'll have a copy of it. That's something only enterprise cares about.
Android Wear now has more than 1000 different watch faces. Boy, as the Apple Watch comes out on Friday, there's of course a lot of attention on Apple. But I've got to say, Android Wear has such an amazing ecosystem. I just really love my Moto 360 and it's going to be tough to give up my Android phone and my Moto 360. I'm going to have to, starting on the 24th of this month, do a Watch.
Jeff: When can you order?
Leo: Order Friday at midnight, Pacific.
Jeff: Do you really believe they'll get rid of the lines?
Leo: You know, that's one of the things we talked about yesterday on Mac Break Weekly. Angela Ahrendts, new president of retail at Apple, has decided and I think rightly so, to encourage staff – all the folks at the Apple store, to tell their customers, “Don't try to buy it here, order online. We'll get it to you.” The lines are a great marketing for Apple and we talked about this yesterday, but have really become not a great experience. There have been fights in Apple stores. The lines are filled with homeless people and riff-raff. “I hate the riff-raff in the lines.” People who are not Apple fans but are being paid to buy stuff or hold a place in line, or to buy stuff to ship overseas. So it's just not the wonderful experience it used to be. I think the employees loved it because it's exciting, you applaud, there's a countdown – blah, blah, blah.
Leo: Yes, they work all night. But the experience of buying the Watch is going to be so very different, I think. You have to make 15-minute appointments. They have a special table. You cannot touch the watches. They're under glass, sealed, and unless you have an appointment with an Apple employee who has then, this card, they can swipe the table and a magic drawer appears that they pull the watches out. They stand there watching you while you try them on and help advise you and encourage you to upgrade you iPhone. I think this is a very different experience, so they're telling people – Angela says, “This is a new mindset for us.”
Because remember, it wasn't so long ago – maybe less than a year ago that Tim Cook said, “We want to get people back in the Apple stores buying their phones.” They didn't like that the phones were being sold by the cell phone companies and not in the Apple store. Now, I think they're backing off. But look at this – I love this.
This is an Android mosaic with 1000 Android Wear faces. Most of them, horrible. Let's face it.
Jeff: What's your face now?
Leo: I use a program called Facer, an Android program that's in the store called Facer. Then there are big repositories of Facer – you can make your own, of course, but people have also made their own and uploaded them to Facer repos. So there's some beautiful, I think, really nice watch faces. You can now, in your watches – and of course, Apple's going to do this much more elegantly.
Well, Apple's going to do two typically Apple-y things. First of all, only Apple can make watch faces for the Apple watch and two, they have a very elegant way of adding what they call features to the watch. They call them complications to the watch face. So you pick a watch face and then spin the knob to add different complications to different parts of the watch face and all that stuff. So you will be able to create a custom watch face.
You won't have this variety of bands, either.
Jeff: The bands are nice. They have some nice new bands.
Leo: Lots of nice new bands. Of course, you'll have to buy your band from Apple, at least for the time being. You know, that's what Google's all about, choice. Android's all about choice. Apple's all about a curated experience.
Jeff: Matt, what do you wear?
Matt: Oh, my goodness. I wear, for the most part, a $30 Timex watch, but I'm still holding on hope for Android Wear. So I'm not young enough that I don't wear a watch but I'm holding out to see what's going to be the best watch for me. So.
Leo: I'm just going to – I think we can go to the picks of the week here in just a second. Turkish government blocking Facebook, TWiTter and Google over photos of an assassinated prosecutor.
Jeff: What I love about that story is that as soon as they blocked TWiTter, TWiTter users in Turkey know how to get around now. So they make, you know, something like #blockedinTurkey the trending hashtag.
Leo: Google, last Christmas, or maybe it was two Christmases ago, suffered a split. In the past, Google has teamed up with Norad to do the Santa Tracker every year and Norad's got those early warning radar stations all over the world so they can see as Santa approaches each region of the world. Norad started doing its own tracker and Google has the Santa Tracker which actually is a fun website. In fact, there's a Santa Tracker watch face. But they've decided to open source it.
Jeff: I'm waiting for porn to come on that, I'm not so sure.
Leo: So it's on GitHub, google/santatrackerweb and google/santatrackerandroid. So you know, if nothing else, this is a great opportunity to look at the source code and see how Google does an Android app and a web app. I think that's super cool and of course, you can customize it. That is nice, when a company does something like that just as, “Ah, we're going to put the source out.” It's very rare, I think partly because programmers realize how ugly their source code is and they don't want to clean it up. But the Santa Tracker on the web was built using a library from the Chrome team called Polymer. You may remember that from Google IO – I think that was last year. So in a way, it's an ad for Google development technologies and the Santa Tracker for Android, is that using Polymer? I don't know.
They have all these cool components and and stuff. So it's actually, really, a good idea to open source this, put it on GitHub and let people download it and look at it. And the software engineer in charge, Ankur Katwal, says he hopes developers are inspired to make their own magical experiences. What else could you do?
Matt: You could have an Easter Bunny tracker.
Leo: Yes, exactly. Did you do the Easter egg hunt and all of that?
Jeff: No. No.
Matt: I just – no. You know you're getting old when you buy yourself your own candy for Easter.
Leo: That's sad. All right, let's take a break – no, we don't need a break. We're going to go right through. Wait a minute, Jason Howell is pulling the microphone.
Jason: I was just going to confirm there is no break. The show goes on.
Leo: The show goes on with our traditional tool, number and Matt, I'll let you do a thing of the week. Let me just show you my new tool. You're going to be a little jealous, the Galaxy S6 from Samsung came yesterday and I'm kind of liking it. This is the Edge, the one with the curvy edges on both sides. They've somehow figured out how to take a screen – this is one screen, just bent around. IN fact, the screen does go around the edge. You can see the edges, not as much as they did – one of the things I really like is they've got a fingerprint reader that works very much like the Apple fingerprint reader, works really well.
It's very fast and snappy. It's got Samsung's own Exynos 8-core processor in it but one of the – by the way, that means they've got a glass back and no removable battery any more, no SD card. But it does come in variances, there's 128-gig version. I got the 64 gig, 64 is enough for me. People are raving about the camera and I have to say so far, and I've only had it a day. I've been taking great pictures. I'm not so sure about battery life though, I'm a little worried. What I've been told is that Google – I'm sorry, Samsung is using an 8-core but it's really effectively, dual quad-core processors. There's one running at a slower clock rate, one at a faster. Unless you need it, it doesn't kick in that second processor but if it does kick it in, this is going to get hot. It did get hot when I was downloading all the stuff to set it up. It started getting – not burning hot but pretty hot and it just clobbers battery life.
I'm a little nervous about battery life but I haven't had it long enough to know. It's one of those things that's so beautiful that you play with it a lot at first.
Jeff: How's the Samsung cruft?
Leo: It's cruft-able. It's cruft-y. It's cruft-ed. Definitely heavily cruft-ed.
Leo: Let me change the home – I use a Nova launcher which I really like. Where do I change that? Oh, there it is, applications. How do I change the home launcher to TouchWiz, which is, of course, Samsung's own launcher and show you – I don't know that woman. It's just strange wallpaper. I don't know why it's there. That's not Samsung's wallpaper. They do have themes on this. It's got a lot of – this is from T-Mobile, so it's got a lot of T-Mobile stuff. This has a lot of Samsung-y stuff.
Although, you know, I don't find it offensive. It also has – this is like the Google Now launcher, you swipe right to get Google Now on HTC Sense. You get Blink. Samsung's doing that too although now it's a special version of Flipboard which is actually pretty nice and it also demonstrates how fast the processor is because I can scroll this puppy like nobody's business and once you start reading stuff, it does a lot of – you see those little special effects and things like that.
I'm actually kind of fond of it. This phone is 577 dpi, which is crazy. Crazy.
Leo: It looks like a sticker, like a poster. It looks so good. Let me just – I'm using a – I love this, the 500 pixel wallpaper app, so I just put it in at random, new wallpaper every 30 minutes. The camera is, I think, going to be the real selling point on this. They've made it – if you're used to the Samsung cameras, they've made it a little more subtle. You know, they used to have these big pictures and stuff. Now, it's just very simple, the different kinds of cameras.
They've cleaned it up a little bit. It's Lollipop, Android 5.02. But you don't see – I mean, it's – you know, this bugs the heck out of me. S Finder and quick connect, you can't. I don't know why when you do the pull down to get notifications, you can't get rid of that. Drives me crazy, I don't even know what they do and I don't want to use them but it takes up all that real estate. On the other hand, I love the quick launcher and you can customize that, you know, and that's kind of nice. It's just not Lollipop.
If you want Lollipop, though, besides the Nexus 6, I think the new Oxygen OS on the OnePlus is very pure Lollipop. Both Jason and I have put it on our OnePlus One. Are you still using the OnePlus – no, you went to the Nexus 6, didn't you?
Jason: Yes, Nexus 6 is my current jam.
Leo: You too, Jeff?
Jeff: Oh, yes.
Leo: So you already have a nice, clean Lollipop experience. That's such a big phone, though. This is so elegant.
Jason: iFixIt gave the S6 Edge a 3/10 on repairability for obvious reasons.
Leo: You know what? Nowadays, who cares. Right? Did you – okay, so your Nexus 6, which I'm sure is very repairable. What did you do when the screen broke?
Jason: Hey, fair point.
Leo: Did you repair it?
Jason: Not myself. I'm not going to do that. I ain't got time for that.
Leo: You got a new one!
Jason: Exactly, I contacted Motorola and got a new one. I had to pay for it, but that's all right.
Leo: That's what people do. My only concern at all, because in every respect, this is the most elegant, beautiful phone. It just looks nice, feels nice. It's snappy, works well, gorgeous camera. It might be, arguably, the best camera on the market, certainly the best Android camera out. But the battery life could be a make it or break it. But I like it. I've been really happy with this. There is a fair bump for these – it's so thin, there's a fair-sized bump for the camera on the back but we're seeing that more and more now.
Some people are wondering whether they should buy the Edge or the regular – you don't get much extra functionality with the Edge. There is kind of a cool thing you do with the Edge, which is if I slide it in, you can assign colors, up to five people in your life, and if you get a message or call from them and this is face down, it will glow with that color to let you know.
Leo: Then there's a night mode which will show the time, weather and date on the side here – on the left or right side. So it does come with both Qi and Powermat wireless charging. I have it in a little wireless charging cradle, so that's kind of nice. I can look over and see the time. Not a big functional thing, frankly. So I think it's more aesthetics – I like the aesthetics of it. Though it's so weird, because we're used to curved backs and flat fronts, I frequently – I have not yet conditioned myself to realize this is the back and that the curved thing is actually the front. So.
But that's my tool of the week. I'm actually pretty excited about it. I'm enjoying – this is the Samsung Galaxy S6. I bought it from T-Mobile but of course, I think all the companies are carrying it and will have it soon.
Jeff: Did you buy it unlocked?
Leo: Normally what I do is I don't by it from a – this is the first phone I've bought in years from a carrier.
Jeff: That's why I'm asking, yes.
Leo: Usually I just buy an unlocked version. But what's happening with Samsung when you get an unlocked version on like, Expanse or somewhere – like my Note 4 is the Hong Kong model. So I was like, “You know, I should get a U.S. model. We'll just try it.” You know, I'm a T-Mobile guy. I'm a customer of all of them. T-Mobile is my preferred carrier.
Yes, now there's a strange baby on the phone. I don't know. I love this wallpaper, though. It's 500 pixel wallpaper, it's awesome. Isn't that cute? You get to pick which categories in 500 pixels you want and it changes it every – whenever you want, five minutes, hour.
Really fast, really nice, but I'm a little nervous about battery life. I'll tell you, the one way they've handled that is it does support fast charging. I was able to charge the phone from 0 to 50% last night in half an hour and fully charged in under an hour. So you know, that's one way to get around it. But you need the fast charging capability and you cannot get that on a battery, as far as I know. Not yet, anyway.
Jeff, you got a number?
Jeff: Let's go with this one. So Business Insider speculated – merely speculated, but what the hell? It's what we do in journalism now. That if Apple does drop Google from its default search position, they then speculated that Google would no longer have to split revenue with Apple. So they did some figuring and figured if 50% of the users stuck with Google, which I think would be a conservative estimate of how many would, Google actually would earn $1.2 billion more in revenue by being dropped from Apple and dropping Apple's share.
Jeff: Who knows what the truth of it is, but I found it interesting, the way the economics could work in this case.
Leo: I don't think that's true. I don't believe that because the reason Google spends the money, $1.2 billion and sends it to Apple is because it's, I would guess, a percentage of the money they make with those. It's a -
Jeff: Right, but it says they get to keep that percentage.
Leo: Yes, but they're losing whatever it is, four or five times more than that, in revenue. It's like saying, “Oh, this is great. If I don't use a realtor, I'll save a lot of money.” But you also don't get to buy the house.
Jeff: Help me out on the math, here.
Leo: Isn't it true that Google pays to Apple a percentage of the overall traffic Apple brings to Google, the overall revenue?
Matt: You could certainly do it that way, but imagine that Apple leaves Google and now, Google's not paying that large amount of money. Now, Google makes its case to all the users of Apple devices – [crosstalk]
Leo: To change it back.
Matt: [crosstalk] – Firefox users when Firefox switched to Yahoo.
Jeff: Right, that's the point.
Matt: To change it back. If those users change it back, now we get to keep the money from all those ads without paying anything to Apple.
Leo: But that's a big if.
Matt: Mathematics could be – yes.
Leo: That's a big if. Remember the tyranny of the default. People never change their default search.
Jeff: Google is Google, though, Leo.
Leo: I would change it.
Jeff: Yes, sure.
Leo: So that's the key. It just depends -
Matt: I'm sure there's a lot of people on – yes.
Leo: Nobody's telling anybody the actual numbers, so we just have to guess.
Jeff: Of course not. So it's just – this is the Insider speculating.
Leo: There's no question, though, Google is making a point because when you do a – I can't remember when it comes up, but when you do a Google search, they pop up, “Oh, we noticed that we're not the default search on your browser. Would you like to change that?”
Matt: It's important to do that not so often. You don't want to annoy users but a lot of the times, if somebody's a Firefox user and all of the sudden, they're searching on Yahoo and they don't know why – you know, letting people know, “Hey, if you want to come back to Google, here's a simple way to do it.” You know, it might make it easier.
Leo: I guess the question is, how many people would notice the difference and hate Bing and Yahoo so much that they say, “Oh, God. What's gone wrong? I need to get back to Google search.” They look a lot alike. I bet you, half of the people don't notice it. There's a reason Internet Explorer was the dominant browser for so long.
Matt: But I also think there's probably a lot of people at Apple, and at Bing, and at Yahoo and at Google who are doing all this analysis and trying to figure it out. I think one benefit from Firefox switching to Yahoo – I like competition and I like diversity in the search space. That lets everybody try out different options. But it also, probably, gives Google a little bit of insight about what percentage of people would switch back and all those sorts of things.
Leo: Right. Having had that happen once, now they know, maybe, how many people stick with the default and how many people will switch back. Then they can make some – then they have – what it is, is you need the information so you can negotiate a fair price in the future, going forward.
Leo: So I don't know if Business Insider knows any more than we do on this.
Jeff: No, they don't. They're just speculating, but hey.
Leo: There's some point. There's some percentage of people that will go back to Google that will make it worthwhile. We just don't know what that is. Mr. Money Mustache, Matt Cutts, his pick of the week.
Matt: Yes. So at the top of the show, we were talking a little bit about trying to make great content and you will succeed, not thinking that much about SEO. So I wanted to highlight a website that I've been just really enjoying the last few months or so called mrmoneymustache.com.
Leo: Highlighting that a good name is very important.
Matt: Yes, it's very brand-able. So he's basically a tech worker. He's worked at tech companies. But he saved a ton of his money, a large percentage of his take-home money and he's early retired. So now he's got financial independence, he can do what he wants. But he's got a whole philosophy and the philosophy is stuff like, “Move closer to your work so you can commute with a bike instead of a car or second car,” and, “Learn new hobbies like woodworking, plumbing or working around the house to save you money.” Then that not only saves you money, but you also get good exercise. So he's got a whole philosophy about, you know, you can take the money you would use when you early retire and use that to make the world better.
For anybody who's ever been like, “Oh, I should save more than 10% of my paycheck,” or anything like that, it's like a little bit of personal finance but more about trying to emphasize all the fun things you could do if you were to learn a few new skills, not just sit and watch TV every single hour of the night.
Leo: I love this one. “Muscle over motor. You know, if you just mow your own lawn, blow your own leaves, walk instead of ride a Segway, you won't need that expensive gym membership.” Ain't it the truth? This is good. So what is the SEO lesson to be learned here?
Matt: I think the SEO lesson is, this is a guy who started in like 2011, 2012, and has built a very profitable sort of business on the side, although he's already financially independent. All he's done is tried to provide the best advice, no nonsense, that he can. There's been a couple times where, you know, somebody has come to him as an advertiser and said, “Hey, can you tone down this post or take out these curse words,” or something. He's like, “No, the whole point is that by being a little financially independent, I am able to turn down those things so I keep my voice. I'm the master of my destiny.” It's – he's got a forum. It's like a whole thing. It's like, as a hobby, it would be a lot better for you to get into this sort of stuff, biking to the store and that sort of things, instead of a lot of other ideas.
Leo: I love it that the ad banner, instead of being at the top where we ignore it anyway, is at the bottom. That's fine with me.
Jeff: Forbes just redesigned its site and got rid of the – they still have a banner but they got rid of all the other stuff at the top, all the – if you just go to a story page after you get through that.
Leo: You still have this and now, they're doing a countdown, which is ugh.
Jeff: So just pick a story.
Leo: “Clunky Apps, Hold Back, Apple Watch.” Everybody is, you know – oh, yes. See, there's this big ad, yes.
Jeff: But they got rid of navigation on the top, I think. Oh, they didn't. Maybe I'm thinking of the wrong page, I'm sorry.
Leo: I'm very aware of all this now because we're in the midst of a redesign. It's tough to balance – you always want to make the site to be the most welcoming to users, but it's hard to know what's the best way to do that. It's really a great thought experiment. We don't have the luxury of being able to do a lot of AB testing and things like that, so I'm just going to trust my gut.
Jeff: I'm putting it in right now in the chat – oh, I got it. I just got the GAP ad!
Leo: Okay, don't do anything.
Jeff: Ah! “Disable notifications from... D2I4NXEJANHW0H.cloudfront.net!”
Leo: Cloudfront is an advertising agency. Matt's loving this.
Matt: Okay, we found them. We found them, yes!
Leo: We began the show with a conundrum – we'll end it -
Matt: Kill them dead!
Jeff: I lost it! How do I get that back, I lost it!
Leo: Just rewind the tape.
Jeff: I lost it, Matt.
Leo: Jeff Jarvis has some work to do and we'll let him go do that.
Jeff: Matt! How do I get that back! There's a disable notifications things from – how do I get that back?
Leo: Cloudfront is the key, not the big numbers at the beginning. It's cloudfront.net. That's what you want to know about.
Jeff: So where do I go?
Leo: Go to settings – I don't know if you can disable them.
Matt: Shut them all down.
Leo: Settings, in the advanced at the bottom – you know, the second page. It's under web – I'm sorry, content – what is it? Yes, privacy.
Matt: Advanced settings.
Jeff: There was a nice thing that said, “Disable notifications from...” Content settings, yes.
Leo: Pop-ups. Now, what I would do is, “Do not allow any sites -” Oh, not pop-ups. It's notifications, I'm sorry. “Allow sites to -”
Jeff: That's the one where it won't let you do anything.
Leo: Just click that, “Do not allow any site.”
Jeff: I already did and there's a whole bunch that are there and it won't let me change it.
Leo: So you can't delete these?
Jeff: There it is. I found it, you're right. It just is in there as an allow but it won't let me delete it.
Leo: Wait, I got it for you. Click it. You'll see there's an X on the right.
Jeff: There's not here. Mine doesn't have that.
Leo: See, the ones that are in italics have no X's.
Jeff: Right, how does that happen? How! Bug!
Leo: It must be from Google. It's not a bug. But why am I getting game-socaban.com allowed and it's – let's learn more.
Jeff: I've got Amazon, Flashcards, Spot, Wordpress, Hoodspeak.
Leo: Okay, whoever's watching at Google if they're still here, what do these italicized ones mean and why can't we delete them?
Jeff: We got it. We got you!
Leo: We can delete the un-italicized ones, you get an X.
Jeff: Somehow, they've gotten themselves protected.
Matt: Power wash, power wash, power wash.
Jeff: But no, Matt. Then the same thing was happening on my syncs. It syncs.
Leo: Do notifications get synchronized, notification settings? They may not. They shouldn't because you would want different notification settings, perhaps, on different machines.
Jeff: Wait a second, going to my – now it says I have two machines.
Leo: We should explain is that one of your extensions or apps is monetizing using Cloudfront.
Leo: So what you really want to do is find out which app is using that.
Jeff: It's not – power wash won't do it, Matt, because it did sync it to the Chrome on my other machine.
Leo: So you – I still think you have not a rogue extension, but you have an unfriendly extension that is using notifications to pop up ads. I think you want to find that extension by deleting everything. We were at -
Jeff: But it's doing something more. It's doing something to the notifications exceptions and making them exceptions to exceptions.
Leo: It may be that those italicized notifications are driven by extensions, for instance, and you can't – they're not by websites.
Jeff: But Cloudfront – I used that one, yes. But Cloudfront, it somehow got in here and I can't - “Set by app, Popular on Netflix.”
Leo: Cloudfront's a CDN. Cloudfront is Amazon, not an advertising agency. It's a CDN.
Jeff: It was set by Popular on Netflix. So it managed to sneak in that way. I hope there's some good CSI Googlers right now.
Leo: So apparently, the italicized notifications can't be deleted because they're associated with the apps, not extensions. So there's this new thing called Chrome Apps. So see if you have a Chrome App -
Jeff: Oh, I've got apps. I've got to go through it and kill them. We talked about it last week where I go through it every once in a while and kill them but just the fact that it came in through – it says here, it came in through Netflix. Now the weird thing about Netflix is – [crosstalk] It didn't actually create an app, it was just a redirect to a webpage for Netflix, now, on Chrome. There used to be an app.
Leo: Cloudfront is part of AWS. It's their CDN. Hm. But it said Netflix? Then I think you – apparently -
Jeff: It's actually a different address at Cloudfront than the one I just read out.
Leo: Oh, you're not doing Popular on Netflix, are you?
Jeff: Why do you say that?
Leo: Are you? Is this the one you're doing? This is not from Netflix. You know that, right?
Jeff: Did I mess that up? No, I didn't do that.
Leo: See if you have – there are several extensions that will do things like, say, stuff that's leaving Netflix.
Jeff: No, let's see. I have an actual Netflix one but it goes to Netflix.com. That could be how it did it.
Leo: We'll know soon.
Matt: You might want to check not just the extensions -
Jeff: I have Popular on Netflix, yes.
Leo: Delete Popular on Netflix. You don't need that.
Matt: That's the one.
Jeff: “Remove from Chrome.” Okay, now once I've done that -
Leo: You should never see it again.
Jeff: It's not going to clean it up?
Leo: You're never going to see it again. Sometime, I want to go through all of our extensions – what are you – do you have any favorite extensions that you use on your Chromebook, Matt?
Matt: I do have a few. Let me see what extensions I've got. Oh, boy. There's one that I've written by hand – I like -
Leo: Oh, he writes his own extensions.
Matt: Well, I use Face – well, there was one. It turns out you can actually run a Chrome extension off of GitHub, so you can like, download something off of GitHub, you know, unpack it into a directory, change like three lines. That's all I did. Then run that extension from your local download.
Leo: That's a great idea.
Matt: It is. Like, I found something that takes TWiTter usernames and makes them links to the TWiTter username, which is kind of fun. I think I wrote a blog post about it.
Leo: I want that. Okay, I'm going to find your blog post. That's great.
Matt: Let's see. Oh, something that makes Hacker News all read so you can keep track of what you've seen on Hacker News.
Leo: I love Hacker News. That's become my product hunt – my version of product hunt is Hacker News. It's news.ycomminator.com. It's really great because it has up-voting. So it's like Reddit but it's Reddit for really smart people. So the number one story on Hacker News right now is, “Announcing Git large file storage.”
For a while, people were trying to gain Hacker News and it was kind of junky. Then I think they realized nobody cares. Number two is, “Microsoft announces hyper V containers.” But the third one is the one I was talking about – that's probably where I found it. “I Quit, what really goes on at Apple.” It was that blog post about how life at Apple was so, so challenging. Hacker News is so good. I love it.
Jason: By the way, user reviews for Popular on Netflix – one says, “It adds advertising pop-ups and the Google desktop notifications will not let me go.” I think you found it.
Jeff: Good work, detectives. Good work.
Matt: Hot dog.
Leo: Hot dog! Ladies and gentlemen, this – how about this? “Teaching Haskell to a ten year old, day one.” You know, I found a great site on News called howistart.org. It's kind of geeky. It's a bunch of coders, most of them very well known, who work in various programming languages. How they start a new project, so Peter Borgan, who is Go Evangelist's and SoundCloud engineer, talks about what you should do – how he starts every new project in Go. It's awesome. Then some of them are really fun. Let me – the one I like is Fred Hebert who wrote the most amazing programming book ever, Learn You Some Erlang for Great Good. So he – I don't know if anybody's interested in Erlang but it's fun because the project is a Homer Simpson nuclear power remote control simulator.
So if you want to blow up Springfield, this is for you. In the process, you learn how somebody who is truly an expert in the language – in this case, Haskell – works. It's amazing how many people code in VIM. It's like, “Why? Come on.”
Jeff: Gives you vigor.
Leo: Vim and vigor! Are you a VIM guy?
Matt: I'm a VIM-er. I'm totally a VI, VIM guy. Yes. Why do anything different? That's all you need, so.
Leo: Fred is also a VIM-er. He says, “Use the text editor of your choice. Mine is VIM, because I'm a terrible person.” You too, Matt Cutts. You know what my project is this last couple of weeks? To learn eMax. It's going to take me years but yes, I've always used VIM. But I want something a little – I know, crazy right? Just fun, you know. Keeps the mind.
Matt: You didn't have enough carpal tunnel syndrome in your life?
Leo: It's all keystrokes, man. But you can do anything. It's like running a nuclear power plant with meta-keys. All right, everybody, we should wrap this up. It's so much fun but I think we should let everybody go. Jeff Jarvis is at the City University of New York. His blog is buzzmachine.com. His books are legion and he blesses us every week. We just love it. Thank you for being here.
Jeff: I've got to give a quich shout-out. I was doing this event for Quartz magazine which we quoted on the show twice today, by the way, in Nashville, only yesterday. On Monday night, they had a party because it's a sales conference, at a brewery in town. The big guy behind the bar – I recognize this now. He looks at me, looks at me again and says, “Are you Jeff Jarvis?” So I want to give a shout out to our fan, Lucas Hendrickson, a TWiT and TWiG fan.
Leo: And a bartender?
Jeff: And a bartender. It happens everywhere.
Leo: I love it.
Jeff: It's the power of Leo, as we always agree.
Leo: It's not me, it's you.
Jeff: No, it's you. It's you.
Leo: Thank you, Jeff. I saw that tweet. No, it's Matt! It's Matt! Matt does have the best laugh ever. Matt Cutts, we love you.
Matt: Can I just – thanks so much for having me on. I just wanted to say very quickly, I've had at least two people come up to me and say, “Hey, I really love you on This Week in Google.” So it's really fantastic and a little ego pat on the back that way, as well. So I've experienced what Jeff has talked about.
Leo: That's impressive, given that you're one of the first 100 Googlers and all that stuff. Anyway, we love you, Matt. Keep up the great work and I'm so glad you didn't go to work for that SEO.
Matt: Thanks for having me.
Leo: We do This Week in Google every Wednesday at 1 p.m. Pacific, 4 p.m. Eastern, 2000 UTC. I hope you'll tune in and watch live. We love it if you do. You can be in the chat room and we can interact with you. But if you can't, don't worry because we do make on-demand audio and video available after the fact at TWiT.tv/TWiG, youtube.com/thisweekingoogle and of course, wherever you get your podcasts, your favorite podcast app on your favorite device. Like iTunes, or the Zune – whatever it's called, Xbox Store.
I think I use – I want to say, PocketCast, now, on Android. That's the one I use. In any event, we also have great apps on all the platforms thanks to our community of third-party developers. We'll see you next time. Thanks for joining us on This Week in Google! Bye, bye.