This Week in Google 297 (Transcript)
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Leo: This is TWiG, This Week in Google, episode 297, recorded Wednesday, April 22, 2015.
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It's time for TWiG, This Week in Google, the show where we cover Google, the Cloud, the Twitter-verse, the Facebook-verse and all of the above. Mike Elgan is with us in house. Great to have you.
Mike: Hey, glad to be here. Love this show.
Leo: Our news director - well, we love having you on and you are a Google+ head.
Mike: I'm a Google freak generally.
Leo: Me too, but I try to hide that.
Mike: You know why I like Google? Because I have to write a lot about news and Google makes news every single day. Apple makes news twice a year, but Google is such a newsworthy company. They do all these crazy projects. They're always, you know - they have their hands in every cookie jar. It's just a great company to cover because they just do so much.
Leo: And this is a red letter day, for the first time in a long time, somebody's handed me a brush, saying, “Could you brush your hair?” Wow. Jeff Jarvis is here from London. I should throw him the brush across the pond. It's late at night.
Jeff: Oh, is it -
Leo: No, I like it. You know, both of us look like crazy professors.
Mike: I'm the only person on this show who combed his hair. Well, until just now.
Leo: You are a crazy professor, though. That's the difference, Jeff. What are you doing in London?
Jeff: That's true. I'm absentminded, too. I was in Perugia, Italy last week for the International Journalism Festival and then I came on to work at the Guardian for four days.
Leo: I am so jealous. I've been watching Mathew Ingram's posts from Perugia. Last year, Omallic and Mathew. Is this your first time at that conference?
Jeff: It was. It is, and Mathew knows how to live it up. Poor Mathew, I don't think this is any secret, he got his backpack stolen from under his train seat. He was sitting in it and the hotel took pity on him apparently, and he got the royal suite.
Jeff: I thought that was cool.
Leo: I want my backpack stolen. Well, good for him.
Jeff: Mathew ate very well and enjoyed his time in Perugia with his wonderful wife.
Leo: Is he happy? Because he was picked up, I think, six - five or six other former GigaOm'ers, he was hired by who?
Leo: Fortune, that ain't bad.
Mike: Yes, he was one of the six GigaOm alumni.
Jeff: No, it's great.
Leo: And did you ask him about it? Is he happy about that?
Jeff: Yes, he's happy. Yes, he starts pretty soon.
Leo: Well, I'm glad he got to go to Perugia and I'm glad you got to go to Perugia, one of the most beautiful middle-age, medieval cities in Italy, just stunning. It's where many American students go to learn Italian before they do their exchange program. My daughter - my sister went there to get ready for that.
Mike: Are they going to Italy to learn Italian or are they learning Italian to go to Italy? These kids, you've got to wonder.
Leo: Oh, chicken and egg. I don't know which one came first. Also with us, we're really glad to have Danny Sullivan from SearchEngineLand, one of the most astute observers of Google and search in general. I've got a lot of questions for you. This is a Danny Sullivan jammed week.
Danny: I've got no answers. I'll try.
Leo: I've got to start with the breaking story, though. Google finally announced its wireless carrier business - going way back to the 700 mgHz auctions that the FCC did. For so long, we've been saying, “If Google would just get into the cell carrier business, they could just destroy it, reconstitute it.” That's not exactly what they're doing this time. It's called Google Fi.
Jeff: Fo, fum.
Leo: It is - Fi does not stand for Finland, it is what we expected from Google, which is a new project, Fi, a new wireless carrier based on, frankly, Sprint and T-Mobile. So they're really an MVNO, just a fancy MVNO.
Mike: Fi stands for, “Finally, Google is an MVNO.”
Leo: But it is going to be different. For one thing, flat rate, $20 a month. That gives you talk, text - by the way, unlimited international as well as U.S. text.
Mike: It turns out though, despite rumors, international will cost extra.
Leo: So let me explain what's going on here. So for $20 a month, you get unlimited domestic talk and text, unlimited international texts, low-cost international calls - this is through T-Mobile. This is what T-Mobile always does. WiFi tethering is included in the $20 and it's 120+ countries. But then there's the data component and that starts - you pick a package, 10, 20 or 30 gigabytes a month. You pay $10 per gigabyte, flat rate. If you use more, you pay more. If you use less, they refund it. So it's a little like Ting in that regard.
This would easily be the least expensive mobile system. Here's the catch. You've got to have a Nexus 6 phone. That's the only phone that works with it.
Mike: But here's why I love this -
Leo: Of course, we all have Nexus 6 phones, right?
Mike: I don't.
Leo: You don't? Jason does, Jason Howell does. That's your daily driver?
Jason: You know it is and I've requested an invite.
Leo: As have I. Jeff Jarvis?
Mike: Phone's still missing, though, Jason, so if yours goes missing, it's probably an accident.
Leo: Just don't leave it under the seat on a French train. Jeff, you still carry the Nexus 6 as your daily driver, don't you? Yes.
Jeff: There it is.
Leo: Danny, what do you use for a phone?
Danny: I have - I actually use the iPhone 6 mostly, if I had to go out with one phone. Usually I go out with two and would have the Nexus 6, but then the Galaxy S6 just came in, so I've flip-flopped them for the time being.
Leo: Yes. I actually really love the S6.
Danny: Yes. And although my key feature is that I can put a wallet case on both the S6 and the iPhone - you can't do that with the Nexus 6. So I was like, if I want to have a single phone that I want to go out and have all my credit cards and everything in it, then I need the wallet case. So next time, make it a flat back! But it's a nice phone. The Nexus 6 is a very nice phone.
Leo: It's just big, 6-inch phone, and it's not cheap. It's not a traditionally inexpensive Nexus phone. It starts at $650 for the 32 gigabyte and then I think it's $700 for the 64 gigabyte. But I would guess that there's some sort of - well, for one thing, it out of the box does work on both Sprint and T-Mobile, so that's one thing going for it. LTE -
Jeff: What's the international cost, Leo?
Leo: That's a good question. I don't know what the international cost is.
Mike: Yes, I haven't seen those numbers but to me, the thing that is the big, big news here is the fact that you have two carriers and WiFi and calls go seamlessly between them. So if you're indoors and you have home WiFi, and you're talking on the phone and leave to go to work, it will switch over to one of the mobile carriers without dropping the call.
Now, imagine this extended beyond the Nexus 6 and beyond the two carriers. Imagine if you could have three or four carriers, or if you could have all the carriers.
Leo: You'd just have the best possible coverage, yes.
Mike: Then you'd have amazing coverage. The other innovation here is the clarity of the plan because what carriers do is they play the shell game. They hide fees, like, “Oh, sure, we'll subsidize your phone.” And then you end up paying $1200 for your iPhone because they fold it into the wireless charges. Who knows what you're paying for? In this case, you just - you get what you pay for, you pay what you get and it's very clear. I think that's the threatening thing to the carrier model.
Leo: EllenTepper[?] in the chat room says if you want to buy the Nexus 6 from Fi, as part of the Fi experience, you can amortize the cost over 24 months. So that's not so bad. Go ahead, I'm sorry, Jeff. I stepped on you.
Jeff: No, no. I'm laggy here. I also did order the Karma and that was the founder of Karma. That is also a pay for the data you use on a MyFi or not. I think - I'm delighted that there are now two pressures to get rid of this wasted data plan thing.
Leo: It's also a month-to-month, there's no annual contract. So really, I think this is probably what Google's interested in is kind of a shot across the bow on mobile carriers who've really made this a horrific experience.
Mike: Yes. And so, yes, I think it's just - look what they've done with Fiber. Fiber involves digging trenches and things like that, getting massive regulatory approval. With an MVNO, they should be able to grow this, and expand it and sort of get better deals for international coverage and all that sort of stuff more quickly than they've been able to grow.
And of course, the Fiber project started out as a project, nobody really believed it. People thought it was some future thing, you know, and then all of a sudden, it was upon us. They were digging trenches. Suddenly cities are actually going online with this thing. So I think that this, you know, they're coy about it and they say, “Oh, this is just an experiment. We're trying it out, it's very limited.”
But I think, you know, within a year or two, this is going to be a pretty significant option for people.
Leo: You'll also have to get a new SIM card. There's a particular Project Fi SIM card which, if you think about it, a SIM card is traditionally tied to one carrier. This SIM card will allow you to go back and forth between Sprint and T-Mobile.
I mean, we've seen WiFi calling. In fact, T-Mobile on the S6 and other phones has WiFi calling, which I think works pretty well. What's your experience been, Danny? Have you played with it?
Danny: No, I haven't. I usually - you know, it's one way or the other, so you know, the most that I've been dealing with, say, WiFi stuff has been if I have been sending texts from my desktop, because I use Google Voice. So you know, I'd go and I'd connect that way, which is beautiful because, like, I can be in another country and I'm still getting the same sort of stuff. At times, I've made calls that way. So I haven't used it.
What I am curious about is typically you turn to WiFi because you don't want to use up your data, right? So I want to watch a bunch of movies and everything, so you hook up to WiFi and you don't even think about whatever the data is if it's open and you're free to use it. So I'm wondering when they say, you know, it's one gigabyte. Is that one gigabyte if I'm on an open WiFi thing or is it one gigabyte regardless of how I'm using the data.
Because you can actually start racking up more data usage that costs you money with this plan if they count your WiFi usage and I can't find anything to the fact on that.
Leo: Oh, that's really interesting.
Jeff: That can't be. That can't be.
Leo: No, they can't charge you for your own data.
Danny: Well, I don't think it can be but, you know. I don't think it can be but it would be nice if they clarified that. I keep going through the fact trying to figure it out.
Jason: No, I'm not looking at the fact but I am looking at the - well, and I guess they don't spell it out specifically but they do say, “This technology connecting to the WiFi hotspots helps keep your speed high and your data bill low.” So if connecting to that WiFi would increase your bill, actually, then they might not make that statement.
Danny: My assumption is it's probably not counted into it.
Jason: I would guess so.
Leo: I would immediately drop it if it did.
Jason: Yes, that would be a big bummer.
Leo: Here's, in the FAQ, it says, “Does it cost extra to use my phone as a WiFi hotspot? Project Fi does not charge any extra monthly fees to use your phone as a WiFi hotspot, it's included. You can use your phone as a WiFi hotspot to share your data with any WiFi-compatible device. The data you share will count toward your monthly usage data.” But that's because when you're doing that as a WiFi hotspot, you can only use LTE. So that makes sense.
Danny: I will say that you know, I use prepaid for both Verizon in the U.S. and T-Mobile in the U.S., and I think a lot of people overlooked that the prepaid plans actually can be very good. On Verizon, I think I'm paying $45 a month and that's giving me, I think, 1.5 gigabytes of data and then you buy additional data in 3 gigabyte things for $20 that last 90 days. But it's actually a really, really good deal, especially when you compare it to their regular paid plans.
On T-Mobile I have a plan that's costing me $45 a month and that includes 5 gigabytes of data, unlimited call and text. But you only know how to get that plan if you go past all the stuff they put at the top and you go to the bottom and go, “Oh, I'll pick one of those things down here.” So.
Leo: This is the best, in my opinion, T-Mobile plan. It's a prepaid, also. $30 a month, unlimited Web, unlimited text, 100 minutes talk and since most people don't talk any more …
Danny: That's the secret plan. That's what I have. Until you want to activate your hotspot and then they're like, “Oh, yes, we're going to tack on another $15.” But it's still a pretty good plan.
Leo: You get your first 5 gigabytes at $30.
Danny: You're right. That is the secret plan and that's the one that gets me when John - I can never say his last name right, Legere? He goes off about how, “Hey, look it, we're so great. We're the end carrier, we're breaking all the stuff.” And it's like, you never mentioned that awesome plan that you have down there and if only people know the secret plan exists. I wish you would just, you know, embrace it.
Leo: Yes. You have to go to the prepaid plans on t-mobile.com and you'll see it down at the bottom. But you're right, those are - and that's comparable to what we're talking about with Google. In no cases do these plans talk about federal and state taxes, which can be significant, maybe as much as $8 a month, so just consider that.
Danny: But the international thing, man. You know, I mean, I just came back from Iceland, right? And so when I ended up there I, in the airport, bought the local SIM card, put it into my phone and then I'm pretty good, right? It's not like I'm trying to get phone calls and I still have Google Voice on the phone so I can see if I'm getting any calls coming into me that way, but still, I had to get the local card or whatever. I don't want to turn on the phone till I have it and this will be awesome, because this means, you know, you get your SIM from Google and you go abroad.
Yes, it's going to be limited to 3G speeds abroad, but -
Leo: Is it? They don't mention that. That's the T-Mobile deal.
Danny: You've got to read in the fact.
Leo: It says it in the fact, okay.
Danny: Yes. “Internet speeds are limited to 3G.” Oh, and then they call 3G - ready for this? 256 kps, which to me is not 3G.
Leo: No, it's really edge. It's really 2G, isn't it?
Danny: Yes, that's edge. All right, but still. You know, it'll get you by, I guess.
Leo: I'm going to be going to Europe in June. I hope I can get my SIM and my invite before then, because I'd love to take the Nexus 6 with me and give you a real-world experience. Jeff's traveling all the time. I'm sure you would be a good person for them to give this to. We get - it's interesting and I don't know if this is true all over the country - Sprint is terrible in Petaluma. T-Mobile is amazing in Petaluma. But that might be exactly what this does for you is - Sprint is great in Vega. T-Mobile is terrible. Go to Vegas, you've got a choice.
And my experience with WiFi handoff is actually pretty good. Republic Wireless does this and I had a Moto X on Republic Wireless. It was pretty amazing. I was making a call on the WiFi at home, intentionally got in the car and drove off as I'm talking, and I think I did this in my Before You Buy review. I was leaving myself a voicemail message, it was seamless. At no point did you suddenly say, “Oh, now he's on the cell service.” It was just seamless.
So this is totally doable. Phones can do this very well now. So that's exciting. We've been waiting for this. Why is Google doing this, Jeff Jarvis?
Jeff: Just trying to put the big guys in a vice.
Leo: What are they - are they the shaming company? Is that their job? “Let's shame the other guys?”
Jeff: Yes. We're going to shame you in the mobile now. We're going to shame you into a faster -
Leo: What's the business model, purpose for this?
Jeff: It's always very simple. Google's business model couldn't be simpler. The more people use the internet, the more money Google makes. Full stop, right, Danny?
Danny: Yes. No, I agree with you entirely. This is like - make it easier for people to get online, stay online, always be online so we can always be there for them, figuring out ways to make money from them while they're online.
Leo: Is this at-cost service or is Google subsidizing us with revenues from search? I bet it's at-cost.
Jeff: I think this may be right at because this is comparable pricing to Karma and Karma - Karma's just going to pay one big data bill a month to Sprint is the way they described it to me, but it's pretty comparable. I forget what the cover prices are but it's comparable. I'll bet it's not a loser.
Mike: I'll bet it is very close to break-even, and this is the kind of thing that Google does. They launch something. They see if it catches on and then they wait for the monetization. I mean, it didn't even occur to Google to, for example, put advertising in Gmail till much later. They've had it for a while and a lot of people were using it and they thought, “Huh, we could do this.” So I wouldn't be surprised that this is another sort of experiment to see if it goes anywhere but regarding their business model, yes. They probably have a secret bunker somewhere where they have a committee of geniuses sitting around going, “What is it that causes people to hesitate to use the internet more?”
And they probably have a long list of reasons. One of them is, people are confused about their data plans. They really don't know how much it costs so they sort of hold back and then what happens is, the average person wastes $23 a month on data they didn't use. And so they see the situation where people are holding back on using the internet but then wait - but then they're holding back too much and not even using the plans that they have. This is because of confusion.
So I think by creating all this clarity and by creating a situation where you're never out of range of a good signal, they can just get people - they're just making it friction free in terms of using data on a mobile device. I think that's sort of got to be the grand scheme, just to get people to use more data.
Leo: So where's the phone - is their phone number on here? Where's that, because there's a phone number somewhere on this website.
Mike: Under the experience tab, scroll down at the bottom and you see there's a number there. Keep going - right there.
Leo: What is that? Is that so - let's call. Let's call that. It's a (404), that's Atlanta, I think. (404)978 - you getting this, Jason?
Are they paying Lionel Richie for this?
Mike: He's answering every call.
Jason: He and his band are answering every call.
Leo: That is hysterical, so Google's actually giving out this number and when you call it, you get Lionel Richie. (404)978-9316. Does a pitch come on at some point or is it just Lionel singing the whole time?
Mike: It just stops suddenly.
Leo: It's such a puckish sense of humor there over at the Google place.
Mike: You know, Dave Chapelle has a hilarious routine on something like this. He says - he explains the reason why they always have 555-something-something-something on movies is because everyone - someone will call. You put a phone number somewhere, someone will call.
Leo: 8675309 in every area code is unusable.
Mike: Google's solution wasn't to use a fake number, it was use a number that actually, Lionel Richie answers.
Leo: It's probably a Google Voice number, wouldn't be that hard to set up with Google Voice. Wow. No other tighter integration, though, into Google. Wouldn't that be interesting? I guess because the Nexus 6 is already pretty tightly integrated but you'd think that they'd do a tie-in to Google Voice or something.
Mike: There actually is some degree of integration. The calls, text and voicemails can all be sent to Google Hangouts no matter what device you're using. So there is some attempt at integration with Hangouts.
Leo: By the way, [0:21:19] says, “See, you do get a human when you call a Google number. It's not always a Python script.”
Jeff: So the thing is, I'll get it and I'll use it but I'm not sure when I'll give up my AT&T because I'm grandfathered in unlimited data.
Leo: At some point, AT&T is going to shake you out of that tree. They do not like you, they just haven't figured out a way to get you out.
Mike: I'm on that tree with Jeff, hanging on for dear life. They better shake pretty hard. I love that unlimited.
Danny: I gave it up about 1.5 years ago and I haven't missed it now because actually, it turned out to be cheaper to go down to their share everything with your family plans. I was really surprised.
Leo: You use it less than you think, don't you?
Danny: Well, you know, when I went to the plan, then it was like, “Okay, you've got 15 gig. You do use it less.” But then they took the 15 gigabyte and said, “Oh, by the way, we're doing this special promotion so now we're doubling everybody's data,” which got me into that and then they keep rolling over the data, so it's like, you know. I was in the car the other day and I told the kids, “Yes, go nuts. Stream Youtube while we drive up there, I don't care.”
Leo: “Use it all!” Lisa's son is on a shared data plan with Lisa, my wife, and Lisa gets, I think, 9 or 10 gigabytes a month but Michael has no compunction about getting on the Youtube and running a playlist, and it just runs all day. He will blow through all 10 gigabytes literally in a week or two. It drives Lisa crazy because she's got no more data. So it is not impossible to blow through 10 gigabytes on a mobile device.
I can't wait. We all hope we get an invite, I just don't know what Google's criteria are. I imagine - they do ask for your zip code, so some of it will be coverage. Obviously it'll have to be people with a Nexus 6, although I think they don't vet that. But I presume it.
Jeff: By the way, by the way, of course, I couldn't use my Google Apps account.
Jeff: Nope, it has to be a Gmail account.
Mike: Google Apps strikes again.
Danny: I didn't even try. I was already logged in.
Leo: That sucks so much. Lionel Richie is the secret ambassador for Project Fi. We're going to take a break, when we come back - I'm glad Danny Sullivan is here because yesterday was Mobilegeddon and I want to know what the upshot - what the body count - the butcher's bill.
Danny: Cell phones are raining down from the sky.
Leo: They are. First, a word, let's talk about shaving, shall we? I didn't shave this morning.
Mike: Well, there. You've got the shaving kit right there.
Leo: I should shave. I looked up this morning and it was light and I said, “Oh my gosh,” and I ran out the door. You know what? I was writing code. When you're coding -
Mike: So you're starting to look like a developer.
Leo: This is why developers look this way. You just forget, you know, about grooming and time and all of this. Fortunately when I go home, I've got a fabulous Harry's shave waiting for me. You know we're big fans of harrys.com. When they started just a couple years ago, they said, “We want to make shaving a better experience. It's something we all have to do, something few of us love and having a dull or bad blade is just going to exacerbate it.” So Harry's said, “Let's make sure we can make the best possible blades at a very fair price -” About half the drugstore blade, about $2 a blade.
The way they do it, they bought the factory. There are two factories in the world, both in Germany, that make great blades. So they bought the factory and they designed the blades to their specs for sharpness, high performance, comfort. You know, there's knobs you can turn on that factory line to say, “Oh, yes, we're going to make the disposable blades, now. Turn it down.”
But they've turned them all the way up to 11 on sharpness and performance, and you get a great shave. Better yet, Harry's delivers these blades to your door for free - not the blades, but the shipping's free. Because they're more efficient, they make themselves price is right. Take a look at a Harry's kit - in fact, if you go to harrys.com right now, they've got two big kits.
This is the Winston. The Winston kit is about, what, $25 and then there's the Truman which is $15. In both cases, you're going to get a handle. The Winston set has a metal handle, the Truman set has a plastic handle. You're going to get three blades. This is all for $15. You're going to get a bottle of the incredible Harry's foaming shave gel which not only smells great, it works great. Although they also have cream for - I use the cream.
Oh, look. He's got his Harry's. Is that a Harry's?
Jeff: That's the Harry's.
Leo: That's the Truman.
Jeff: You know what? You know I'm nuts because all I do is shave my neck and I don't even use anything with it. It's that good.
Leo: Why would you? You don't need to. It's a very beautiful, sharp blade, very little pull, very little tug. Yes, I'm going to do the same thing. Who needs razor cream/shave cream? Harrys.com and by the way, $15 for the Truman, make it $10. We're going to take $5 off your first purchase if you use the offer code TWIG. So that's a great - this is a great gift that a guy - Father's Day is coming up. Maybe dad would like a set of Harry's?
Mike: And for the developer in your life.
Leo: And for the developer who forgets to shave because he's in the middle of a coding binge, just hand it to him. Put it on his desk with a bottle of mouthwash and a tube of toothpaste, you got it. Harry's, harrys.com and get $5 off with the offer code TWIG at checkout. We love Harry's. Thank you, Harry's, for making shaving, something I do every morning, a much nicer ritual.
You know it's funny, I used to shave in the shower. Once we got Harry's, I started shaving in the sink both to save water, because we're in a drought here, but also because I like kind of the ritual of it and the steaming water and everything, looking in the mirror. So it just kind of became a more aesthetic experience for me. I care more about it.
Mike: Yes. The water situation is so bad, I switched to wine for all water. I bathe in it.
Leo: That's a good idea.
Mike: It's more plentiful in this area.
Leo: There's more wine than water here in Sonoma County. So, Danny, what -
Jeff: When I was in Prague, there were beer spas where you could bathe in beer.
Leo: The Prague, the Czech Republic, they love their beer. They make great Pilsners.
Danny: It's kind of like that show, Last Man on Earth, when he had his margarita pool or whatever.
Leo: So Danny, what is Mobilegeddon? What happened there?
Danny: Mobilegeddon, so yesterday was Mobilegeddon. What happened was, back in February, Google said, “Hey everybody, you know, we think mobile results - we think mobile is very important and in fact, when we are driving people from our search results to pages, if those pages don't render well on their mobile devices, we think that's an issue. So we're going to use one of the big levers we have here at Google to help change the web out there by saying that when someone does a search in mobile on Google, we are going to give preference to sites that we deem to be mobile friendly, and if your site isn't mobile friendly then you might not rank as well as you've been doing in the past.”
So the idea is that Google wanted people to correct sites where, you know, you can read them but you may have to do the double-tap or may have to switch the phone sideways and stretch it out a bit, or it's hard to click on links. Sometimes you go to the page and the Flash doesn't load and everything. All those things are things that Google thinks cannot be considered mobile friendly. So they made this announcement in February that on April 21, “We are going to roll out what we call our mobile-friendly update and that will start to reward pages that are mobile friendly from that point onward.” And that mobile friendly test page you have up there is the way anybody can check individual pages on their website to find out if they're mobile friendly.
If it comes up and it says yes, you're good for that page. If it says no, you've got problems and it gives you some advice on how to fix it.
Leo: Is this unprecedented, A, that Google would announce so far ahead of time that they're changing their algorithm and being more specific about what changes are being made?
Danny: Yes and in fact, I'll get to that. Let me say also, in addition to that test that you're showing there, if you log into Google Webmaster Tools, it gives you an analysis for your entire site rather than page by page. So you're absolutely right. This was unprecedented -
Leo: Hey, our page is mobile friendly!
Danny: Excellent, yay!
Leo: That's why we're redesigning it at great expense. Oh, crap.
Danny: Some people might recall that Google had these updates like Panda or Penguin and you might even recall that people were hit by these things and they lopped a lot of traffic and demand, media or whatever. Those were updates or changes to Google's algorithm that were designed to go after spam or low-quality content. This isn't going after, necessarily, low-content quality, this is akin to things like Google has said where they're going to reward sites that are speedy, or are going to reward sites that are secure, but it's of a nature and of a scale to the degree that Google says it will be like the anti-spam fighting algorithms where it has an impact on many, many more pages in the mobile results.
And it is absolutely unprecedented that they have announced so far in advance that on this particular day, we're flipping the switch, which is why Mobilegeddon came about because we've never had that. We've never had that, like, “Oh my God, get prepared! It's going to be this day.” I don't know who coined Mobilegeddon. We certainly have been using it at SearchEngineLand, a lot of other people have been using it as well and that's what happened yesterday. They flipped the switch and if anything happened, nobody knows yet because there's been no big reports of people saying, “Oh, my site dropped out of the results,” or, “This hasn't been a huge thing.”
So we think that actually, they may have been a bit slow in flipping it. We also know that it's going to take about a week until it fully rolls out but we're watching to see if we get a sense of any brands or any changes that happen where people weren't prepared and they actually lose noticeable ranking and stuff like that.
Leo: Anyone who's done a redesign in the past few years would probably pass this test. I'm actually stunned because twit.tv did pass the test and so did live.twit.tv. We do have -
Leo: It's not too demanding, let me put it that way.
Danny: And the good news is, by the way, it is a page-by-page type of thing, so if part of your site isn't mobile friendly, the rest of the site might be okay. And also, it's ongoing. So there's no, “Well, Mobilegeddon happened, now I've got to wait till Mobilegeddon 2.” They're constantly crawling the web -
Mike: Great movie.
Danny: It would be, wouldn't it? You see it on SyFy channel or something like that. But so there's no waiting for that. It's ongoing, so if you make the changes today and Google comes back tomorrow to your website and sees it there, then you should see some of your rankings get restored if they really were impacted.
Mike: It may be a bigger problem than some people think because the research firm Portent said that they tested the 25 thousand top sites - what they consider the top sites and 10 thousand of them failed the test.
Leo: Oh, almost half!
Mike: Including the Department of Homeland Security.
Leo: Well, I expect a lot of government sites to fail actually, yes. But commercial sites are always being updated and redesigned and this - mobile friendly doesn't mean mobile responsive, right, Danny? It doesn't have - you don't have to go that far.
Danny: It doesn't have to be. It has to render in a way that wouldn't feel uncomfortable reading it on a mobile device. But Google is recommending responsive. They've definitely taken that side. They understand that it's not always going to be the right case in some situations and it isn't in some situations, but they really are on the side of responsive and they recommend that people go that way.
Leo: You know, so there's mobile friendly and there's mobile friendly, in other words. In the old days, the way you would do it and I think my site, Leoville, still does that. I have a template for mobile and supposedly, when you come in on a mobile device, it will give you a very different-looking site. That's the old way of doing it and now, kind of not preferred.
The new way of doing it is having the site designed in such a way - Squarespace does this, that when you are on any size screen, it adapts sensibly so that it gives you good results on any size screen.
Danny: Exactly, yes.
Leo: That's our new site, it'll be mobile responsive. I don't think our existing site is mobile responsive but I'm glad to see that's not a requirement at this point. Did you imply that it might get tougher?
Danny: It could but I mean, it's already kind of tough to begin with. You know, it's not hard to look at some of these sites that - like my editor-in-chief Matt McGee runs a site about U2, a long-running fan site that he's had up for 20 years. He actually did a case study that he wrote on SearchEngineLand saying, “Hey, my site's probably going to get hit because this is a hobby that we do. It's very proprietary with a lot of our databases and we literally don't have time to go through.” In resources right now, they're trying to make it mobile friendly.
So potentially, he's going to get hit even though if you go to the site, you can read it. It's not like you can't do it, you just have to do a bit more work. So it is, I think, quite a step to say, “Well, mobile friendly doesn't mean I can use it on the mobile device but that I can use it without extra steps.” That's sort of a big chunk already, I think.
Mike: It was kind of funny, when we did this story on Tech News Today, 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern, 1800 UTC at live.twit.tv - we had a chat room full of people saying, “Who does Google think they are?” And you know, so this is the philosophical segment of this part of the show where - this is exactly what Google should be doing.
Leo: Is it?
Mike: It absolutely is. The reason they're a product -
Danny: The biggest search engine on the block!
Leo: Well, yes, but that means that - should they start being a bully as well? But Google does this in a lot of respects. They've been doing this with HTTPS, they've been doing this with SHA-1, they've been doing this in a lot of respects.
Mike: They have the product.
Danny: They love their views and they push that when they want to make tech news.
Mike: That's what Google Search is, that's the secret sauce. They optimize the user experience so if they're not penalizing sites that are horrible on mobile when you use a mobile device, then it's kind of a dereliction of duty and user experience is lower. When I want to go to the top resource on a mobile device, I want them to give me a good experience when I get there. That's, I think, Google's job.
Jeff: Here's a question. Question, do they deprecate you if you're searching on the Web? Only on mobile?
Mike: No, only on mobile.
Leo: So okay, that's interesting. So you can't really search on the Web and expect to see your result. You have to do it on a mobile device.
Danny: You have to do it on a mobile device. There's simulators you can use but it's better if you use a mobile device and by the way, it's not the only thing that happens. So if someone were to search for, say, TWiG, and you weren't mobile friendly because that's so brand-oriented and it's pretty obvious that you're the right answer, you probably would still come up. And if you really did have the right answer over other things, even if you weren't mobile friendly, you still might come up even if it wasn't a brand/navigation thing.
Jeff: Danny, a word for me. My blog is not mobile friendly. I'll have my son fix it this summer. And by the way, he told me - I guess, here on Wordpress, here's what you do. You just go there and do this but if I search for Jeff Jarvis, my site comes up first?
Danny: Yes. That should continue to happen. It really is an impact where you have generic searches that are happening where if there are 11 possible answers and one of them is not mobile friendly, that site's the one that's likely to lose out in this sort of stuff.
Leo: Boy, Jeff, your site sucks.
Jeff: I know.
Leo: “Page appears not mobile friendly. Text too small to read, mobile viewport not set...” I don't know what that means. “Links too close together, content wider than screen...” Jeff, Jeff, Jeff. This page -
Jeff: To hell with you mobile people. I want people to sit in their chairs on their ass and read me.
Leo: Ha, “To heck with you mobile folks.”
Mike: Leo, can you send that page to Jeff's son and say he's got to get on this?
Leo: What does that mean, Danny, mobile viewport not set?
Danny: I think it's the - where you define the size of the screen and how it's shaped, if I remember correctly.
Leo: So it would say, “On a screen of this size, the viewport should be this size.” Okay. On yours, it just -
Jeff: Look on the right where it says, “How to make this friendly, you're on Wordpress...” It's very, very helpful.
Leo: In fact, there's some very straightforward stuff and I think - I suspect the problem is the theme that you're using and you'll just change to a more mobile-friendly theme. I'm on - Leoville is on Wordpress and it's -
Danny: You don't have to worry, Jeff, because if I search for you on mobile for Jeff Jarvis, I just get this big huge thing at the top of the page courtesy of Google+.
Leo: Actually, that image looks like it's from This Week in Google.
Jeff: That was this horrible picture Scoble took that I hate.
Leo: You've been Scoble'ized.
Danny: You can also search for Gina Trapani and Leo Laporte, that's nice.
Leo: Oh, so we're associated with Jeff, now?
Danny: Oh, yes, you are. And then there's Buzzmachine, number one after you get past all the other Google stuff.
Leo: That's fair. What's this Google Doodle?
Danny: Oh, yes, you've got to click on it. That's the animal thing I was telling you earlier.
Leo: Oh, so this is Earth Day today.
Danny: So just click on the logo.
Leo: Which animal are you? Earth Day quiz. “What are you up to on a typical Friday night? Alone in my burrow. Rarely seen out. Strutting my stuff. Following the herd.” I'm not alone in my burrow, I”m in my burrow with my honey but I'll click alone in my burrow.
Mike: So you've got honey, so you're probably a bear.
Leo: I'm a honey badger. “You and your best friend show up to a party wearing the same outfit. No big deal? How embarrassing? Fight or Flight?” I'm going to fight if you wear the same outfit. “Choose a snack. Seafood? Fruit and/or insects? Meat? Or salad?” “What do you look for in a partner? Bright colors. Loud grunting sounds. A complex system of glands. Or old-fashioned values.” “Your hobby, feats of strength? Work around the house? Swimming? None of the above.” I think feats of strength.
I'm a honey badger! I knew it, I knew it! “Your true friends know they can always call on your to scare away lions or fight a king cobra.” So I should share this, right?
Danny: Oh, yes. I was checking, there's been about -
Leo: And you're a wooly mammoth.
Mike: Wooly mammoth.
Danny: Five or ten people sharing them per minute.
Leo: “I'm a honey badger! Honey badger don't care and I don't care.” Share. But it doesn't share my honey badger picture, just the - this is the picture I want to share. Look at that, yes. That's fun. Do they - they pretty much have a Google Doodle every day now.
Danny: Yes, it's getting to that point. I mean, there's always a 37th, or 125th, or 3rd or 33rd anniversary to be celebrated.
Leo: I think they've taken the fun out of the Google Doodle. Let's make it something special.
Mike: They should generate cash that spills out on your desk. That would be impressive.
Leo: Let me - I'm going to tweet it. Maybe if I tweet it, I'll get my honey badger picture. Wouldn't that be sad? Is Google+ - what's going on with Google+? I just read some stats that show that it is not exactly a -
Mike: Well, there was a guy on Forbes who wrote a piece talking about how it's dead again.
Leo: I don't like the dead thing.
Mike: But he trot out those stats which were -
Leo: It's not a giant.
Mike: No, it is absolutely not giant and -
Leo: Which isn't, by the way, a bad thing. I often do like social networks where it is an exclusive group of people.
Mike: Right. Well, it's interesting because it's probably similar in size to Twitter in terms of the number of active users. But Twitter has every single journalist, lots of famous people and the people you're going to find on Google+ are often very, very smart and engaged but they're less likely to be Lady Gaga or Jeff Jarvis. Well, that's a bad example because Jeff is on Google.
But we, over the weekend, had this big whoop-de-doo where this guy posted this thing and said, “Oh, it's dead.” Then he just got hammered with traffic from Google+ with people passionately arguing in favor of Google+. And this happens every time. This doesn't mean that they've got a huge audience but super-passionate users. So that's essentialy where the dust has settled now, and Google+ is a place where people who are passionate about something, usually technology, oftentimes, but every other thing go and we love it.
But it's not, sort of, like a site for the masses and it's not a site for celebrities and journalists. It's not the site for everybody, which is what Facebook is. So everybody sucks compared to Facebook in terms of numbers and engagement. Google+, you know, it's good for the people it's good for but it's just not everybody's cup of tea.
You know, the truth is that some people want to interact with people they already know and some people want to find new people. Google+ is the place to find new people. Facebook is the place to interact with people you already know and Twitter is the place where you don't really interact so much as get information and swap, you know.
Leo: Yes, Twitter's not about conversation by any means. It's funny because every time somebody does a threaded conversation thing like Google+, like Jiku [?], like - I mean, I can go on and on, Friend Feed. They fail. People don't want to spend that much time but the people who do, I think, are the people that you and I kind of are interested in in terms of engagement. I would say that's probably true of you too, Jeff.
Leo: You know what I'm talking about. It was a Google+ post. Google hasn't released any information about their stats but somebody did some deep data mining.
Danny: Stone Temple did a huge report last week which I don't think we even ended up covering in the end because it was sort of like, “Who even cares at this point?” It was like -
Leo: That's cold. That's the saddest kind of call of all.
Danny: I know, but I think when you go back to Google+, I mean, my view of it is, it is the Google online store or it's the place for Google fandom. If you like Google products and services, or whatever, that is your home for a lot of people that are there in the way that, you know, you can go to an Apple Store and sometimes you see a lot of Apple fanatics or whatever.
But, you know, I think the fact that sometimes the posts that get the most engagement are the posts about whether or not Google+ is dead or not is both tiresome and indicative of how little traction the service has had broadly because you never, ever see that happening on Facebook.
Leo: Nobody says, “Facebook is dead.”
Danny: Nobody says, “Facebook is dead,” and then the entire Facebook community turns out to try and say, “No, it isn't, you're just not using it right. You haven't done this!”
Mike: Well, part of the reason is -
Danny: Even on Twitter, you all see sometimes people debate whether or not Twitter is going to be dead or whatever and people will argue it a bit among a smalll, select group of people. Meanwhile, everybody else is busy tweeting, you know, their stuff. So I'm still on Google+ and I found that personally, the engagement is down even though I haven't done anything different from day one.
You know, it sends traffic. It does. But it just -
Mike: I actually think that the Google+ is not a good place to - it's not a good way to send traffic. Yes, there's a lot of engaged people and you can send a lot of traffic but people on Google+ don't want to leave Google+ which is the opposite of Twitter. Twitter is almost always a link to somewhere else. On Google+, it's very difficult to drive - it's easier to get people to comment, and engage and share than it is to get them to watch a video or just click on a link.
One of the reasons - I think there are two reasons why nobody has these arguments on Facebook. One of them is that on Facebook, it's like oxygen. It's kind of there and people don't care about Facebook itself. Their people are there and that's why they're there. Secondly, you know, nobody loves Facebook but the people who love Google+ really love it and so they're always chomping at the bit to have that argument.
Leo: You're missing the main reason it doesn't happen is because it's patently not dead. I mean, that's the main reason. Whenever I hear people protesting, “We're not dead, yet!” That's in a way, an acknowledgement - well, it kind of looks dead.
Jeff: Here's a question, here's a question for you. When was the last time, either Danny or Mike, that they added a new feature to Google+?
Leo: It's dead from Google's point of view, right? Vic's gone.
Danny: It's not dead, it's in hibernation. They're not going to do anything more with it and they're actually going to keep breaking off parts of it and spinning them off.
Leo: Kind of like Friend Feed was in hibernation.
Danny: It won't die. I mean, in like five years from now, they might eventually say, “Hey, by the way, that stream thing that we've been doing that's the remaining part, it's being sunsetted into Google Reader News Whatever Oblivion.”
Leo: Just to put this in perspective, kind of the bottom line of the Stone Temple analysis. They took a little more than half-a-million posts just at random and analyzed them, and came up with a number of about - the monthly active users, which is a number you could argue its value. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others use to kind of say, “This is how big we are.” The monthly active users, somewhere around 23 million people on Google+.
Which, sounds like a lot, until you say, 200 million at Twitter, 300 million on Instagram, over a billion at Facebook, monthly active users. 23 million, it's not dead. That's a lot of people, that's 23 million. That's more people than watch our show and we're not dead. But it's just not on scale to a Twitter, Facebook or even an Instagram.
Mike: Now, those are public posts, right? Now, Google+ -
Leo: Well, he talks about that too, this idea that maybe a lot of people are posting behind the scenes.
Mike: Well, Google+ is a place of stage fright. When you post something on Google+, some - I don't know why, but it seems really consequential. People are timid about it.
Jeff: That's true.
Mike: Part of the reason is that people will jump on you. It's a very criticial, criticism-oriented community and so any time you post anything. You can say, you know, “The sky is pretty,” and people will jump on you to disagree about it. So a lot of people are shy and I imagine that the vast majority of engagement is not public, and there's no way for anybody to measure that unless you go through and take a poll or something.
Danny: But it also doesn't matter. I mean, that was the argument Google made when this launched, which was like, “Oh, you can't see. There's a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes,” or whatever. Fine. For the most part, if someone is trying to consider Google+ alongside other social networks as a social media manager, they don't see the value there and that's been demonstrated even from the height of Google doing everything they could do to get you on to it and at this point, Google doesn't even seem to be trying to convince the social media managers that they should be doing stuff on Google+.
I mean, they really - they just really don't. It's not - Beyonce isn't given a free Google+ to wear on her wrist or anything like that, it's whatever. It's there and the tools are being spun out or whatever, and it's almost like we don't even want to talk about the Google+. It's all streams, or photos, or whatever or stuff like that.
From a consumer point of view, I guess they still try to get you to sign up for it when you get things but usually I see that stuff as, like - because you want your photos or you want this other stuff and things like that. So the - you know, in the past - then lastly, the big lever that they really had to let Google+ push beyond its weight in the search results, where they said, “Oh, you know, authorship is all hooked up and we're doing all these things. That got a lot of publishers to say, “All right. I guess it really is worth my time to do it.” Then they took all that stuff away.
Even though the Google+ connection is still very strong for personalized search results and, you know, there's a reason why people are connected with you and you may do better with it - even that doesn't even seem to be working for people. So it's, you know.
Mike: Actually, I always come across like this, “Google+ can do no wrong.” But that is not the case at all. I think there's tons of room for criticism of Google+ but I think people criticize the wrong thing. If you have any sort of hobby or enthusiasm, I guarantee you go there and search for that enthusiasm, whether it's macrame, or basket weaving, or robot building, or beer brewing or whatever it is - I don't care how obscure your enthusiasm is, you're going to find a teeming community of active people passionate about it, knowledgeable.
And by the way, you can search Google+. Hardly anybody criticizes Facebook, which you can't even search this social network and nobody says a word about it. The problem with Google+ is that, ironically, their algorithms are horrible. You go to the notifications and you're getting stuff in other languages. Like, Google doesn't even know I speak English. How is that even possible? I go in there and get all this engagement, and there's this thing at the top that says, “Show comments, remove spam.” They have an algorithm and Twitter is in the news this week for introducing something like this, an algorithmically-based way -
Leo: Do you notice that's pretty accurate, the -
Mike: It's not accurate at all.
Jeff: It's terrible.
Mike: They take - [crosstalk]
Leo: I post a lot of comments that are removed for no good reason.
Mike: A lot of comments from good people are flagged as spam and I have to spend a huge amount of time slogging through there and re - you know, de-flagging or whatever you call it. How is it possible that Google can't get that right after all these years? These are the kinds of things that Google deserves massive criticism for. But if you're a user, who cares if social media managers use it or not? If you have an enthusiasm and you're looking for a community to engage with over your enthusiasm, Google+ is untouchable in that respect.
Leo: It makes me sad because I've gone back to the WELL. I've always wanted a place where people like me could gather -
Leo: Yes, the tech elite, and talk and not be flamed, not be trolled, and have a great conversation. Friend Feed for that - you know, the WELL was briefly. Friend Feed was that for me briefly. Jyku[?] was that for me briefly. Google+ had that promise. Maybe there isn't going to be a place like that. Maybe we don't need - maybe you should just have regular friends in real life. It's a concept I'm not sure I'm ready to absorb.
Jeff: Well, I think Mike has an important point that if Google had seen it, it is a very good platform for for communities as opposed to individual relationships. They didn't ever manage to do it. They saw it in the early days on with photography and they didn't dothe right thing by it.
Leo: Is Google Groups still here or is that gone? Because that's really what Google Groups is. Yes, they still have Google Groups. They should have replaced Google Groups with Google+ maybe, huh?
Mike: Give it a shot. Like, search for anything. Search for cupcakes, for anything and it's like -
Leo: You're absolutely right. There's a baker's group that you and I are both members of -
Mike: The Art of Bread.
Leo: It's phenomenal.
Mike: That's a community but even if you don't use it - like, communities, I think, are a mixed bag. But just - every stream is a search result. Like the elegance of that is - there's TWiG.
Leo: There's our cupcakes.
Mike: But this is - the cupcake community on Google+ is just foaming at the mouth with enthusiasm. This is like a really vibrant, enthusiastic, engaged community around anything and it's not about, “Here's another cat photo.”
Leo: It doesn't have to be.
Leo: If you search for “cupcakes,” you're unlikely to see cats. Or are you?
Mike: You'll see cat cupcakes at some point. There's my cupcake post there.
Leo: What? Cupcakes with what?
Mike: Cupcakes that look like nachos.
Leo: Nacho cupcakes? What the hell?
Mike: Anyway, 234 +1s from my nacho cupcakes posts.
Leo: That's crossing the streams in 43 reshares. That's not bad. Buffalo chicken superbowl cupcakes? No, I think not.
Mike: Anyway, so I think each of the social networks has something for - you know, there's a social network for everybody.
Leo: You're going to get this exact argument from people who are Pinterest fans, for interest.
Mike: Exactly. It's very Pinterest-like.
Danny: The difference, though, I mean - and I agree with you, if you - whatever's your home, that's good and if you're finding a place that's there, that's wonderful. You know, but no one questions whether or not Pinterest has lots of traffic. I mean, they just don't, not the people who are in charge of, say, doing social media because that's their profession in trying to reach out to audiences. I get that that's going to be different from necessarily the people who are trying to use it but they just don't question it. You know, Pinterest is a huge powerhouse with communities and with all this stuff as well, so. You know, ultimately Google wanted, despite whatever they want to talk about, saying Google+ was just a layer and all this stuff. They wanted it to be a Facebook challenger.
They wanted to be a social destination and it's just not stepped up to being that kind of a challenger to these other things. So either they're out of that space or it's going to be some time until they find out another way to approach it. I don't know which of those are. It's not, again, to take away from the people who are there, active and doing everything. But you know, we've got Facebook earnings going right now - Facebook is making oodles and oodles of money off of social-based advertising. That's not money Google's making. That's money that Google wants and they don't have a product to get it.
Mike: Yes, and I agree with you. I mean, Google's rolled out all kinds of really - go ahead, Jeff.
Jeff: Oh, sorry. Sorry for the lag here. I think it's not - I've been thinking about this lately, I wonder what your reaction is. I don't think it's just social. I think what Twitter has - you know, not what Twitter has but what Facebook has is the stream and getting somebody's attention for the time of the stream to keep scrolling along and the chat communities, and Twitter and all that - but Facebook above all has the stream.
That's where we want to get our content into it, and our advertising into it and that's the value. Google doesn't have a stream.
Danny: Well and that's what I was writing about. This is what I did in March - I wrote this thing called The Web of Streams and I was talking about how when we got that new name, that suddenly it was photo streams and like, yes, you're right. You've got a Facebook stream, you've got an Instagram stream. You know, you can argue to some degree that Snapchat, when you go through it, you have a stream that's kind of going there, and Yahoo's trying to do stream. It's like, what's the Google stream? Well... You know, I think Google's best stream actually is Youtube and going back to what you said, Leo, where the kids - my kids will do the same thing. They'll load up Youtube and just go boom, boom, boom, boom.
But then, I think, where Google misses is that that's not the case when you're on, say, mobile, where they might not, I think, just let the mobile - let Youtube keep playing on the mobile device. I just haven't seen that kind of behavior. Maybe it's going off but what I kind of wonder is if they couldn't roll out what I call Youtube-gram or something like that where basically you're flipping through and it's all short-form videos. Like, here's 30 seconds -
Leo: Hey, they missed the boat on Meerkat and Periscope. Google had the technology and just didn't -
Mike: Years ago! It was incredible.
Danny: Yes, and they could do that but that's different than the short-form videos that are popular with Vine or that are popular with Instagram where I can consume this video on a mobile device. It's 15 seconds and I'm done. When you do it in those small amounts, it also means it's very easy for advertisers to come along and say, “Oh, by the way, we're going to insert this as well.” They don't have that sort of thing for Youtube because there's just no division of it and there's no strong thing, I think, on mobile to go, “I'm bored, I just want to flip through Youtube stuff and be entertained.” I need to keep channel swapping or whatever.
Leo: You can't do it, no.
Danny: I think that's an opportunity for them if they get it together, but -
Mike: Well, they're going in the wrong direction. I mean, originally, Google+ used to auto-update. You could set up any sort of stream, any sort of search, any sort of any of your circles and it would just sit there and every time there's a new item, it would just chunk through. I used to have Google+ take up one-third of my screen and it would just sit there full time. Then they did a redesign and it doesn't work any more.
Leo: This is the late-lamented track feature from Twitter gone back maybe seven years. Twitter used to have this thing where you track a topic and when they took it out - this was actually early in the days of TWiT, we were very much involved in Steve Gilmore's bear hug movement to get track back in Twitter - a movement that was ill fated because they never did bring it back.
There's something about that kind of thing. I don't know why. It seems like that's something Google would embrace, but yes. You know, what is - clearly if you're a company like Google, you don't want to say, “We're going to chase after the app of the moment.” That's crazy. But maybe you don't have the people that can create the next big app. Maybe that's not where those people end up.
Mike: I personally think the problem with Google+ is that all the vision left with Vic Gundotra. What happened was, there was a massive, bloody world war within Google between Sundar Pichai and Vic Gundotra. Sundar Pichai won and Vic Gundotra left. And so now, they're grinding salt in Vic Gundotra's fields.
Leo: What is Vic doing these days?
Mike: He is living off the fat of the land as far as I can tell. He's still active on Google+ but as far as I know, he hasn't -
Leo: Hasn't taken a new gig, even as a VC.
Mike: But I mean, Vic Gundotra was on this and backed by Larry Page - was on this sort of crusade to integrate every single Google property into Google+ and it was the internal politics that enabled him to start to achieve that and there was so much pushback internally - someday, somebody should write a book, Jeff Jarvis, about what happened. But basically, he ended up losing that battle and they've been since just decoupling it and -
Leo: By the way, almost exactly a year ago, April 24, 2014. So almost to the day, one year ago, that Vic Gundotra left Google+ and I think it has been at least a year since there was any change to Google+ at all. That's it.
Mike: There have been changes here and there, pretty small stuff and some of them not good. For example, they gave up on the real names policy and that kind of - the combination of that -
Leo: That was one of the first things they did.
Mike: The combination of continuing to be integrative with Youtube and also having real names also made Google+ a lot more like Youtube in terms of crap comments. So the comments, you have to be more vigilant in order to weed out the lousy, nonsensical comments nowadays because of those two changes and those are not necessarily a change for the better.
I think if Google+ had started out with no real names policy, you know, when people were clamoring for it, they should have done it. They didn't and then they waited until nobody cared anymore, then enacted the real names policy. It just - the timing was just way off and so, anyway. I just think it has a lot more to do with what's happening internally at Google and less to do with Google's true strategic objectives.
Leo: It is [1:01:01?], looking at what the result is, to figure out what's going on inside. It's a black box. Apparently, according to Blumberg Business Week - Elon Musk had a deal to sell Tesla to Google in 2013. I don't know - was it widely known that Tesla - and this is from Ashley Vance's book, Elon Musk, Tesla, Space X and the Quest for Fantastic Future. Was it widely known that in 2013, Tesla was almost bankrupt?
Mike: I don't think it was, not to my knowledge it wasn't.
Leo: According to the book -
Jeff: If anyone would have known, Danny Sullivan would have known.
Danny: If they were going to do Tesla? I wouldn't know that.
Leo: If they were going to be bankrupt. They had a profit in May 8, 2013 that was their first profit announcement and weeks before, according to Ashley Vance, they had been on the verge of bankruptcy, struggling to turn preorders into actual sales. Musk put his staff on a crisis footing to save Tesla and began negotiating with Larry Page a deal to sell the company to Google.
Mike: Now, it's possible that more is being made of this than the events merit.
Leo: How so?
Mike: Well, Ashley Vance is selling a book and this is an excerpt from the book. Essentially, as he says in the excerpt, Elon Musk and Larry Page are personal friends.
Leo: Could've been over a drink.
Mike: So if they said, “You know what? Yes, let's just get together and see if there's anything here. Obviously the deal didn't happen, so you don't know if they were in negotiations on the brink of buying Tesla or if they chit-chatted and said, “No, it'll pass.” I mean, those are two very different things.
Leo: The story says that Tesla wanted - Musk wanted $6 billion plus a commitment of $5 billion in capital to expand factories. In hindsight, would it have been a good deal?? $11 billion, I don't know if Tesla's justified that.
Mike: I think it will be eventually. I mean, I called two years ago for Apple to buy it. I think that would be a cool purchase just because I'm -
Leo: There were a lot of rumors that that was about to happen.
Mike: They've never ceased, but I just want to own an Apple Tesla somehow. I don't know why, but -
Leo: We're going to take a break and come back with more - how about building your own Apple Tesla with LittleBits? Could you do that, I don't know? I have the LittleBits deluxe kit and it sure does a lot, 5 million possible circuit combinations, 15 projects in a box. You know, on Triangulation on Monday, we talked to the producer and director of a new film called Coding, Debugging the Gender Gap in Technology.
One of the things she said and I completely agree with her, is part of the solution is to give kids, boys and girls, access to things like LittleBits. She actually mentioned LittleBits by name because LittleBits is so accessible and so much fun that it can get your kid into electronics projects. LittleBits' deluxe kit comes with a great book and a description of all the different pieces - the pulse, the sound trigger, the timeout, the fork. What's neat about these is you can't put them together wrong. There's no soldering, so you kind of have immediate gratification, even for a doofus like me.
When you're putting them together right, they snap together but the magnets in here will prevent you from putting them together wrong, and so it's easy enough to just come up with a kit of your own or to follow the instructions. I think what'll happen is - by the way, color coding tells you what each part does. So pink modules affect the modules after them. Blue modules are the power modules. Green modules are activities. They do something. So for instance, this green module is a speaker. This is the pulse - I think I've just invented something incredible! We'll just plug it in and see what happens.
You all - it's so cool and I want you to try these out, a great gift for kids whether they're yours, nephews or nieces, even parents, coders, hardware hackers, makers, artists and designers love LittleBits. You can get your dog to text - yes, you can, or make a robotic snack server. Why buy electronic toys or gadgets when you can build your own, invent them yourself? There are over 60 modules that can be used in virtually limitless combinations.
I just think the idea, whether your kid is going to become a maker or not, that the kid is going to understand a little bit better about how things fit together, you just can't go wrong with this. You may be lucky because you may get a kid who goes, “Wow, I think I've got an idea for something I'm going to call a hyper loop.” The base and deluxe kits, great ways to get started. Space Kit was worked on in partnership with NASA, so it's a great way to explore earth and space science. There is an Arduino coding kit for kids who are ready to start programming. We love the Arduino.
Now, the deluxe kit, that I have, has 18 modules stacked together with billions of circuits, no wiring or soldering, and you can make something in seconds. There's a synth kit - kids who like to make music and make sounds love the synth kit and of course, Arduino is great for anybody who wants to program and manipulate the outside world. I just think these are so great.
Now, we're going to give you $20 off your first kit when you go to littlebits.com/twig, plus free shipping in the U.S. Everyone can build electronics and learn about them with LittleBits. And $20 off your first order makes it even more LittleBit-tyish, LittleBit-a-licious. Littlebits.com/twig and if you make something, would you Instagram me, mr_laporte? I'd love to share - I haven't actually checked but I'd love to share some LittleBits projects from our TWiT listeners, our TWiG listeners. There's not a health kit yet, that must just be a matter of time.
So you had this story in SearchEngineLand, the story of the man who put Edward Snowden's secret den inside the White House. Danny, what - how did that happen?
Danny: That's actually a really interesting story. So a reader tipped us to it, saying, “Check this out,” and we looked at it. It's not unusual you might find a weird things on Google Maps - it's unusual when you find a weird thing that's been verified by Google. That listing was literally like, “Google verifies that this is Edward Snowden.”
Leo: By the way, looks where the Oval Office is to be.
Danny: Actually, not where the Oval is because I had to go look it up. I thought it was too, because it's all curvy like that but you see, now, the Oval Office is actually in the West Wing and then you'll see another curvy bit. So I got to go on a little -
Leo: White House tour.
Danny: Got to learn a little White House geography, exactly, because that was my first thing. In fact, my headline I originally started to write, Oval Office, and then had to go, wait a minute.
Leo: By the way, it's gone now. Darn it.
Danny: So what happened was, there's a guy named Brian Seely and I did a followup interview that might be linked at the end of this story, or you can search for him by the name, but - oh, yes, there it is. So you might recall about a year ago, this thing came out where Google Maps - somebody had made listings for the FBI and the Secret Service on Google that were verified, and people started calling them to leave tips and things? That was this guy, Brian Seely, who basically was doing this because he's frustrated that Google does not take the security of their search listings more relevant - or more, more strict.
Leo: Seriously, yes.
Danny: So he did a TED talk the week before this latest thing happened and he set this whole thing up so that he could show, as part of his TED talk in Kirkland, in Washington State, how you can go through and do this.
Leo: Let me talk about my experience, because we're a verified listing, the TWiT Brickhouse. The way it worked is I created the listing in Google Places and then they say, “Okay, so we can verify this by sending you a postcard.” So they sent a postcard to that address and it had a code on it. I went back in and entered the code and that at least proves that I have access to mail at that address. That seems like a fairly good way to verify it. There are other ways but that's, I think, the simplest. So how did he get around that?
Mike: They've also got your phone number, right?
Danny: That's where it goes wrong. So you've got to verify by phone number or mailing, whatever. So you do the verification by postcard, it comes to the physical address. You've got this little pin code. You call in and enter the code, and they go, “Okay, well, someone who was clearly at this address got the mail.” That's what he did and then you delete the listing - or, you don't delete the listing, you delete your ownership over that listing and you leave it all alone, right? With the phone number that was also part of it.
Leo: So he made a listing that went to somewhere like his house?
Danny: Yes, he had like a local house, a real place. So after you've kind of released it, let the listing be an orphan, you go back over with a new Google account and you claim it - you claim it and then you have to re-verify it and you re-verify it using the phone number you still control. Once you've re-verified it with the phone number, you can move that listing all the way across the country if you want to, which is exactly what he did. You know, and if you look at the number, at the time the number was at (206) - it was a Seattle phone number.
Mike: In Washington D.C.
Danny: Yes, so that's how you ended up with this Seattle phone number for Edward Snowden being in the White House. So he was - it was interesting because after it happened, I didn't know who did it and I thought, maybe it was that same thing. I remember being on vacation when the other stuff had broken up about the Secret Service. Then he called out to me on Twitter, like, “Yes, I'm the guy who did it.”
So I called him and did a quick interview with him from there but - you know, what's interesting to me is that we went back to Google PR and Google PR was like, “Oh, yes, this is like a minor thing and rarely happens. You know, there's a few people and we patch things up.” He's like, “Yes, they knew about this whole before I did the Secret Service stuff, then they closed it for six weeks after, then they reopened it again so it's still sitting out there.”
You know, I do think there's some validity to the fact that it speaks to Google not, maybe, doing the effort that they could do with local. You know, it's just - it's one of those - Google likes to do things that scale. They want everything to be automated and everything to be happening and all just magically come together, whatever. Local seems to be one of those things where actually, it might be useful to have a lot of people involved with it, both from working with the local businesses and getting them online, to making sure the information is verified or whatever. Until they make that kind of a commitment, I think you're going to have, you know, these kinds of weird oddities come up.
Now, you know, most people don't see them happening, I suppose but still. You know, it is strange that you could let that sort of thing go through, especially when you knew about it over a year before.
Leo: So I could release my TWiT thing and I could then - the hole's still there, right? The loophole is still there. So I could release this, move TWiT into the White House, rename it, “The White House Podcast Studio,” and they would phone me, I'd verify it, and it'd be done.
Danny: Where do you want to put TWiT at?
Leo: I think TWiT should be in Langley at the CIA headquarters or maybe at the NSA headquarters. Oh, or that new facility they just built in Utah.
Danny: Yes. Now, the downside for you, of course, is once you do that, it's going to burn your listing and you can't afford to do it. What his real concern is, is not that people are doing it with these attention-grabbing things but they're doing it with smaller listings for fake businesses and actually making real money off of it.
Leo: How would they make money off it?
Danny: Well, you could set up a business as though you were a locksmith in a location where you don't actually have a location. You could potentially pretend to be another business and let it get burned after you had some people call in saying, “I want this business to come out.” Imagine you make a fake listing for a florist or whatever, put it next to some other florist and you start getting phone calls of people who think they're calling that actual florist and you say, “Yes, I'll send that out to you.” You kind of hijack their customers that thought they were reaching the other place or your pizza joint or whatever.
So there are things that could be done if you're really kind of going at it and they're the kind of people who will go through and do that kind of stuff. So that's the real concern.
Leo: It's for - trolls could use it troll, basically.
Mike: Also, people who are in a business where there's just one person and they're competing against a big company, they could make it seem like they are also a big company when in fact, this is somebody in a basement somewhere.
Danny: Microsoft Support, right? You put your thing out there for a price.
Leo: I don't know. I could maybe kind of sympathize a little bit with Google that it's - the damage is kind of minimal in most cases. I can't think of a serious -
Danny: We don't know that because we don't know. They tell us that these things are really rare. This other guy is like, “They're not rare and I'm really concerned about it.” So the truth may lie in somewhere between but it's - you know, it doesn't seem difficult to say to Google, “Hey, if someone tried to change their address and is moving it from five miles of where it was before, maybe you ought to send out another postcard.” How hard is it, right?
Oh, routine, did point on map get moved more than five miles outside of where it was? Trigger remove verification, send renewed verification postcard.
Leo: Right. When is - I think Back to the Future Day is this year, isn't it? Is it October.
Danny: Yes, coming up.
Leo: Pretty soon. Quartz has a great article - “What Back to the Future Got Right About Tech in 2015.” Flat screen TVs, yes. Video calling, believe it or not, we're actually doing that. Biometrics, 3D - we don't have self-tying shoelaces. Well, we do but they're just expensive. We have yet to have - drones they got right, but we have yet to get the floating hoverboard. Programmable home, yes.
So here's a Google - this also from Quartz, a Google patent. A patent does not mean they're making it, folks, but they have patented reactive paint that could actually turn a wall painted with photo-reactive paint into a screen.
Mike: Yes, this is -
Leo: So you would use a projector.
Mike: This is actually a wider trend that I see happening. There's actually a child's product called the Lumo Interactive Projector and it basically projects things on to a floor or wall and kids can interact with it. It's a touch display on the floor or wall.
Leo: That's what HoloLens is going to end up doing, I think. Microsoft augmented reality glasses.
Mike: Right, and Microsoft has a patent for Illumiroom which projects peripheral vision gameplay content on the walls, and ceilings and floors when you're using Xbox. I think that this is - and of course, the vision videos from Microsoft and Samsung are loaded with this kind of thing, using walls, and windows, and desks, and floors and surfaces as the next interface. I think this is going to be so great when this happens, like I want the whole wall to be like a computer screen. I just think that's the coolest idea. We already have the technology, we just don't have it at a cost that's ready for the mainstream.
Leo: Did you see - I'm going to skip this ad here and show you, this is from Philco-Ford. They made this in 1966, what life will be like in 1999 AD. It's actually the most depressing, dystopic version of life. This poor kid's school - there's your computer, by the way.
Danny: Oh, multi-screens, nice.
Mike: Turning the knobs and stuff.
Leo: This poor kid. This is the kid's school. He's all alone ina room and he flunks his test. He has to now go over to the other computer - apparently there's one massive computer in the middle of the house and the poor kid has to go over to the other computer, turn a knob and go sit down at the other computer and take the lecture again.
Mike: Little do they know in reality, he'd be pushing over to PewdiePie on Youtube.
Leo: But PewdiePie, they did not predict PewdiePie, I can tell you that. There's mom, of course -
Danny: A computer in the kitchen, I think that would be much better.
Leo: Mom likes to cook and flowers, of course, it's '66. So it's an incredibly sexist vision of what the future -
Danny: Actually, that's not correct. What was happening there is mom's actually a work-at-home developer and she's been working on this menu app, and she is interacting with it right there. We could reinterpret this and make the future be the way the future should be.
Leo: The plates are coming down out of the things. Apparently the future is very physical and knob oriented.
Danny: Look at that carpet.
Leo: Shag carpeting, oh yes. They haven't solved that one but - by the way, is Philco still around? I don't think they are. It's dinnertime!
Mike: Wow, that is depressing.
Leo: It is the most depressing view of the future I have ever seen.
Mike: I think it's interesting that almost all of the future visions involve - the computer was like a knob-turning interface. What are these knobs?
Leo: Well, that's what they knew, right? Look at dad on his -
Mike: Now the man is going to balance the budget.
Leo: He probably is. Look at all the knobs he has to turn.
Danny: Again, to be clear, that is simple her assistant who is back at the office and is taking her - he's received her programming instructions that she had created because she is the programmer and he is merely the key entry person putting it in there.
Leo: Oh, look, a stylus. Oh, look at the stylus.
Danny: That's why she works at home, by the way, because she's been so successful where she can just do the stuff she wants and this guy has to take care of these things for her.
Leo: More knobs, more knobs!
Mike: The other thing is that the computers are specialized, so there's a shoping computer and there's a - you know. So they didn't envision that you could do a million times more than this with a smart phone.
Leo: The person who did this really didn't have much of a grasp of the present, let alone the future. This is a patch bay and knobs? Maybe Philco was in the knob business.
Danny: There was the Great Knob Collapse of 1968. It was tragic, you might recall you used to go into stores and there used to be the big knob testing things next to the two testing machines. So if you didn't have the right knob, you could kind of put it in there but now we have 3D printing, so you can just -
Jeff: The knob bubble.
Danny: Here they're doing some working out. Good job. In his off hours, this man is a personal trainer for the family. She hasn't come in - sometimes it's tough. She works him hard, Leo. She works him hard.
Leo: Oh, there's a knob for that. Oh my god, what is going on? I don't know if this is good. This doesn't look good.
Mike: What is going on there?
Leo: He's done.
Danny: He's getting some time, getting some tan action.
Leo: Wow. This is on Youtube, this is the grimmest vision of the future I have ever, ever seen from Philco-Ford. You can search for -
Danny: I mean, to be fair, that could be my desktop with just a screen but not the rest of the stuff.
Leo: You have three screens, yes.
Jeff: Oh, it's what's-his-name!
Leo: Yes, he looks familiar.
Mike: Well, they got my haircut right, that's one thing they got right.
Jeff: I don't know.
Danny: He's even bringing up a map to go to Pebble Beach, nice.
Mike: This is what I imagine the computer scene in North Korea looks like.
Jeff: What's his name, what's his name?
Leo: Wink Martindale.
Jeff: Thank you very much, mister.
Leo: Chat room got that one, Wink Martindale and Lars Michigan.
Jeff: Thank you, chat room. I knew you would.
Danny: This is the Shirley B. mystery science future computer 4000 where we just do the narration of it.
Leo: We should, I like the idea.
Danny: Meanwhile, back at the home office, she's wondering why he still hasn't finished the things she's demanded.
Leo: Oh, well, she's making a pot.
Mike: It's 3D printing.
Danny: Exactly, thank you. Thank you.
Leo: Look at the lovely pots she's been making. She's a talented artist. That one on the left looks like a -
Danny: These will all be rendered into the computer.
Mike: I want to know what kind of pots they were smoking when they made this video.
Leo: Oh my goodness, isn't it fun?
Danny: I just want the music from Ghost to be playing now.
Leo: This is what parties in 1999 will look like.
Mike: Those are the party knobs? What are they going to do there?
Danny: I remember this scene from Logan's Run. Is this where Jessica Six appears and, “Oh, I didn't mean to put myself on the circuit. Oh dear.”
Mike: Bongos of the future.
Danny: I do not have the words.
Leo: Somebody made this piece of junk.
Mike: This is another aspect of human nature that futures always get long. For example, when they invented the telephone, they thought people in the country would listen to opera over the telephone. The thing is that people don't stop and pay attention to things if it's not live. Only live music causes everyone to stop talking, face the music. If it's recorded or just on a projector, people would just talk to each other.
Danny: The other thing that is clearly wrong with what you can see here is no one is using their phones to take pictures of the screen and tweet it out to the appropriate hashtags. There's no hashtag being displayed. How do I even know -
Leo: Where should I post this? Yes.
Mike: Although -
Danny: This could be Bongo Tuesday, I don't understand.
Mike: That could be Jeff Needles in Havana, like, Meerkat'ing this back home.
Danny: That's true.
Leo: There you go, this is the Home of the Future, Year 1999 AD.
Danny: That's beautiful.
Leo: From Philco-Ford.
Mike: Boy, he's hitting some high notes here.
Leo: In the future, men will sing like women.
Danny: At this point, they ran out of futuristic things, so they were like, “Just go home on him.”
Leo: Now we bring on the Conga group, let them sing for 12 minutes and we're done.
Danny: This damn thing had to go 15 minutes of high note.
Danny: People still applaud in the future.
Leo: Apparently women in the future have I Dream of Jeannie hairdos.
Mike: And they applaud when something is on TV. It's like - why did anybody think that would ever happen?
Danny: Hey, it was two-way. It was two-way.
Mike: At least they're racially integrated.
Danny: I was impressed by that, actually. It is very integrated there. Oh, it's gone now. What's the 1920s, what the future will look like?
Leo: I don't know. Let's go even farther back in time.
Mike: I love the future from the pre-18th century where everybody has a personal dirigible and you know.
Leo: You know, this - we're doing right now what we were talking about. We're working here and we're watching a stream of Youtube videos one after the other and Youtube did the right thing, by the way, which is instead of showing a grid of possible videos to watch featuring women in bikinis, they've actually segued into another video. I don't know when they changed that but that's something that does encourage that sitting here and watch the future.
Mike: So this is the future, AKA 1930 or 1940 just now.
Leo: By 1940, dirigible trains -
Mike: Trains will have propellors. By 1950 -
Danny: Well, that's true. We saw the guy in D.C. just flew the gyrocopter, so let's - you know. And the Channel Tunnel exists.
Leo: Is it Channel Tunnel or carpal tunnel? I thought he was entering carpal tunnel.
Mike: He pulled down the table and all the plates were already there.
Leo: In the future, the table's already set.
Danny: What's that?
Leo: That gun went off a little prematurely, I think.
Danny: Why - why?
Mike: That is terrifying. What is that?
Leo: That's a lady robot.
Danny: That's just animation. This is Frozen.
Leo: By 1960 -
Mike: Boy, they really nailed the '60s.
Danny: We have gears, we have pistons and buildings in 2000.
Leo: Oh, I wish this vision.
Danny: Lots of spotlights.
Leo: That's what happened in San Francisco, they built a bunch of elevated freeways that they've since torn down since it was so ugly.
Danny: And traffic jams, right?
Mike: There will be biplanes in every city -
Leo: Flying all over.
Jeff: Drones, drones!
Danny: You can't fly with just one set of wings, come on. Come on. That's crazy talk.
Leo: What year is this? Definitely the far future.
Danny: Madonna at the anticipated early on.
Mike: They still talk with that phone Hollywood accent.
Leo: It's the same thing from Philco Ford in the 1960s. They've got that kind of weird, pseudo-British accent. Why did they - I don't -
Danny: Well, they had climactic changes. Look it, they were talking about global warming in the '20s. That's awesome.
Leo: They knew. A wedding dress of glass? “Aluminium!”
Mike: They got that right, Johhny Yves says it like that.
Leo: “Electric headlights in her hair.”
Danny: I would kill if her wife comes out now to get married to her.
Leo: That would be great.
Danny: What is he wearing on his head and isn't he needed back at the Game of Thrones dressing room right now? This show has completely devolved.
Leo: I don't know. This has nothing to do with TWiG. We're going to stop right now and move on.
Danny: I think there's a whole other show here.
Leo: Watching Youtube videos.
Google Glass 2.0, this is a patent from - it looks like -
Danny: Oh, my God.
Danny: I just can't even look at it. I was thinking the other day, “Am I ever going to turn them on again?
Leo: It looks like you're looking into the Glass.
Jeff: Oh, dear.
Mike: They moved the prism to the left and then they put the camera on the right.
Jeff: That changes it all. [sarcastic]
Mike: I think what would fix it -
Danny: It's like balancing out the dorkiness. I'm sorry. “I was too leaned over with dork this way but now it's fine.”
Leo: Dork on both sides! Oh lord. What would fix it?
Mike: To make the camera removable. The problem that everybody has is the camera and for people who want notifications, if they can shrink that prism down to the point where it's almost indistinguishable and make the camera either optional or nonexistent, it would be great. You'd have notifications. You'd be able to see things. You'd get - you know. But until they - as long as it's - you know, the other thing is that the tech press was proven hypocritical about the camera. But he said it was an invasion of privacy.
But the second Meerkat hit, all those same journalists were out there filming everything in site, doing exactly what they said Google Glass would enable people to do.
Danny: Meerkat would be the perfect app for Google Glass, too.
Leo: Hey, Danny, is this new on Google? You enter in a geometric equation like x(sin)y and you do a search for it and it give you the graph?
Danny: Oh, I can't keep track now. They probably -
Leo: It's from Wolfram Alpha, I think, but that's kind of cool. You can -
Jeff: I think so.
Leo: All right, I'm just checking.
Danny: I do all my math on Google now. It's usually a little less calculated - complicated than that. It's usually like 5 divided by 13 times -
Leo: You don't use (sin) calculations much in your checkbook.
Danny: You know, sometimes I like to do a little infinite number testing but, you know, for the most part I just stick with basic arithmetic.
Leo: This is wild that Google has -
Danny: I've only got five, ten fingers.
Leo: That's a search result.
Mike: That's incredible.
Leo: That's pretty amazing.
Mike: The other interesting search result is that if you lose your Android phone, you can search for it. You can Google it.
Danny: Oh, yes. Yes, that's good.
Leo: So what do I do? Okay, so I have - what am I going to do to Google my phone?
Danny: “I lost my phone.”
Jason: Type in, “find my phone,” into Google search.
Leo: “Find my phone.”
Jeff: Doesn't work for me.
Leo: You have to sign in again to get your phone's location, all right. I'm going to sign in again.
Danny: Then it'll screw up if you have multiple Apps or Google Apps, it doesn't like it.
Leo: Which phone, too? And I have a list of phones, so I can say, which - you know, I'd love to know where my Nexus 6 is. I really want to start using that for Fi.
Mike: Right, because you sold it years ago. I wonder where it is now.
Leo: Who has my Nexus 6 now? Actually, it's at home. I'm glad I kept it and there it is, there you go. There's my Nexus 7 right there. It's in my hand right next to me.
Danny: I didn't even know I had a phone. What's an XT1058?
Leo: That's the Moto X. So there's the OnePlus One, the Moto E, a couple of Samsung phones, the Moto X.
Danny: What's GTG3113?
Leo: You should have renamed them when you had them?
Danny: It's just so hard. I have so many phones. It's almost like when you're dealing with your Kindle, a sixth Android device.
Leo: You know what? I just installed something on my 47th Kindle. My 47th Kindle! I don't know how that happened. Every time you install the Kindle app, it counts as one, I guess.
Leo: It's good to know I have 47 Kindles somewhere. Just want to run down and make sure we get all of these before we wrap it up and get our tips, and tricks and numbers of the week in here. What other big stories - oh, let's give Jeff Jarvis a chance to raise his blood pressure real quickly. The French government -
Jeff: Oh, what?
Danny: That's all you have to say.
Leo: The French - I had to wake up Jeff. French Senate backs bid to force Google to disclose how its search algorithm works. Next they'll be asking Coke what it's formule is?
Danny: Oh, what is that?
Jeff: Then they admit that it's not legal within EU law, so it's just ridiculous and is just another show trial.
Leo: So they can't even if they voted to do that? They can't do that.
Jeff: No. No, it's ridiculous.
Mike: This is the French Senate. They haven't approved the law but this is a bill approved by the French Senate and the other part of it that's really wonderful is that they would require Google to offer direct searches or links from google.com, the homepage which Google doesn't put anything on, mostly, to three competing search engines. One of those competing search engines has to be a French search engine.
Leo: Are there any?
Mike: There are, there's Voila.
Danny: But then the French sold their search technology that the government held back, like [1:32:14?]. I mean, it's really going back and time, but yes, and Voila. Does Voila still exist?
Mike: It does, it does. It's the number one search engine in France.
Leo: Of course it is.
Danny: I mean, when you say it's the number one search engine in France, you're joking, right?
Mike: No, it's the highest-traffic search engine that is owned by a French company.
Danny: Right, yes.
Leo: There's a slight different between that and being the number one search engine.
Mike: It's not in any search engine that any people have heard of. So this is the absurdity. This would be required to be on google.com. It's just -
Leo: Oh, look how you spell “oops” in french, “oups.”
Danny: To some degree, that's what Google used to do, right? Actually, you don't really - this is the stupidity of, say, lawmakers. “Well, we'll put it on the Google homepage,” because not as many people who search on Google actually go to Google on the homepage, they just get to it because they did their search from Chrome and everything. So what they really want is that these would be listed, say, at the bottom of Google's search results which people would long remember, that's what Google used to do when they were starting out as a little tiny search engine. They used to say, “Also try your search on AltaVista, or Excite or all these other things.”
Leo: I'm in an oups loop. I can't get out of the oups.
Danny: On Google, I'd be like, “Yes, you want us to put it there? Fine, we'll put it there because when we were a tiny little search engine, nobody wanted to use it when we linked to bigger competitors. That didn't seem to hurt us becoming the big thing.” So yes, whatever.
Mike: You know, the irony of course is that Leo found Voila by Googling it, which wasn't really that hard, let's be honest.
Leo: voila.fr. This does not seem to be a news story but maybe I'm missing something. According to the unofficial Google operating system blog, you can now export your Google Web history, your saved search history. Couldn't you do that all along with Takeout?
Danny: I thought so but apparently not. It wasn't one of those things.
Leo: So it's an expanse of - you know, Google Takeout is awesome and it seems to me that it's not such a big deal that you can get this because for a long time, if you go to your google.com/dashboard, you've seen all the things Google keeps track of and you can download it all, although it's one big XML file. I don't know what the hell you'd do with it.
Danny: It deals with - it's probably a proactive thing where Google can anticipate someone saying, I can't get my Google search history, you're being anti-competitive. It really is sort of an oversight so yes, people want to take it out.
Leo: Now you can get that too.
Danny: Yes, now you can get that.
Mike: My advice for what to do with it is delete it. Get rid of the evidence, for crying out loud.
Leo: Let me see if I do - google.com/dashboard. If I - so these are all the things that Google knows about you, including location history and stuff, so is it search history? Is that what I'm -
Danny: It's easier just to search for Google web history on Google. You'll never find where the dang thing is - there you've got, though.
Leo: You can, by the way, disable this. You can remove search history items and if you wish, you can use Google Takeout and download it all.
Danny: I did this, by the way, like two days ago and I'm still waiting for it to actually generate this archive I'm supposed to get, so.
Leo: Well, that's another problem. I keep asking Twitter for an archive of my tweets and they've never done it, not once. Mobilegeddon, we did. Is there an update to Chrome OS? Somebody said that Chrome OS was updated. I guess it's updated all the time, what's the news there? Certification program for Cardboard clones. Now, that's a story from the future. “In the year 2015, Cardboard clones will be certified by a company called Google.”
Danny: Oh, my God, you doing that voice is great.
Leo: If you'd written that story, they would have gone, “What the hell?” “A company named Google has announced a certification program for Cardboard clones. Here we see the young Maurino Herra trying her Cardboard clone.” What are the Cardboard clones? A lot of companies make these, right? DodoCase made one almost right away. LG is making one.
Danny: I have to say, by the way, I went up to F8 and was using the - because Oculus is coming, right? So they had the little Oculus thing and they had where you could try on the Galaxy VR Gear or whatever it is -
Leo: Yes, and you pop in a Note 4.
Danny: You had to have like, a Note 4 and it only worked with the Note 4. Then you had to pay for this expensive thing to put it on the Note 4, then the Note 4 got too hot so it didn't work.
Leo: It was essentially Cardboard.
Danny: It was cool, yes. It was like an expensive thing to put on an expensive phone, so you know, Cardboard -
Leo: Here's a hat mount for your Cardboard. Now, that is awesome.
Mike: That's the future.
Leo: “In the future, your hat will have a virtual reality helmet built in.” Wow.
Danny: “Feeling lost? Put on your baseball cap and you will see the world in a whole new way.”
Leo: “A map will leap to view.” Wow. So this is the new logo - “Works with Google Cardboard.” That is the most down market certification -
Danny: [crosstalk] - coming at him now, oh, and it's going back.
Leo: That's so down market. Yes, “Works with Google Cardboard. Next will be working with Google Pasteboard, soon Corkboard.”
Don't root your Galaxy S6 Edge, Danny Sullivan. We knew this but Nox will stop working as well as Samsung Wallet. OnePlus One no longer needs an invite. It's gone invite free, just in the nick of time for nobody to care.
Leo: Nice timing, OnePlus One.
Mike: They strung us along for a long time, you've got to give them credit for that.
Leo: Now nobody wants it.
Danny: And by the way, if you're going to tell me that I can finally get your phone but the next one is going to be any minute, then I don't want your phone. I want the next phone. So screw you double.
Leo: Yes. They've really got to work on their marketing message.
Mike: They have never done anything well in terms of marketing.
Jeff: It's the Osbourne 2 problem.
Leo: They Osbourne'd themselves. This is an interesting story on Wired. I don't know how much this is - Kyle Waynes is writing this, who is, by the way, if it's the same Kyle Waynes - the founder of iFixIt. He has pointed out that John Deere and General Motors are planning to change the agreement they have with owners. They have submitted comments to the copyright office saying that because computer code is so heavily written throughout your entire tractor, that you - they wish to be able to say that you, when you buy a John Deere tractor, do not buy the tractor but an implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle.
Mike: He discovered this when a friend of his - he was checking out their incredibly high-tech tractor. They drive themselves, practically. They're tied into GPS and his friend - because he's a very technical person, asked him to tinker with it and they discovered that they don't let you because the content -
Leo: And this is not unusual. The diagnostic computers are sealed up. You know, you have to buy very expensive equipment.
Mike: But it turns out there are laws for cars around repairability and stuff like that, that don't apply to tractors. So what happened is they subsidize - this is kind of an Amazon-style business model. They sell the tractors at essentially below cost knowing they're going to make a bundle on servicing because they don't let the farmers do the servicing themselves. So it's a racket, essentially.
Mike: This is a really interesting feature that he wrote.
Leo: This is just an example of the DMCA gone wild. Crazy. Good article, you've got to read it in Wired magazine, online at wired.com.
Danny: I mean, that's crazy. That would be like saying, “You bought Star Wars on digital and you don't own it even though you thought you were buying it on digital. Oops, wait. You don't actually.”
Leo: Yes, yes.
Danny: Maybe like buying a book, you know, on Amazon or Kindle and thinking, “I own the book but you're only telling me I have a license for the book but - oh, wait. Yes.”
Mike: What's especially frustrating is that these tractors cost $200-300-400 thousand. They are just amazingly expensive.
Leo: But they're still selling them for less than cost?
Mike: Well the point is that they're able to reduce the cost of the tractor itself because it's like if you buy a car. They're making more on the financing plan and -
Leo: You almost could say - you bought an inkjet printer and had to use the ink from the inket printer company.
Mike: It's almost like that. Wouldn't that be awful and terrible?
Leo: It'd be like if you bought a coffee maker and you could only use pods from the coffee company that made the maker.
Mike: But look at how cheap printers are and how expensive ink is. That's the model. But he's leading this whole cause - you could do something if you wanted to get involved. Go check out this article and he'll lead you to a site where there's petitions and so on because he considers himself a right-to-repair activist.
Leo: I love Kyle and he's fighting God's fight there on that one. That's - good for you, Kyle Waynes. Read the article and then write your member of Congress, I guess. So what's going on with Android Wear because as Apple Watch comes out the day after tomorrow, Apple Watches will start arriving in people's homes and of course, one of the things Apple Watch has is WiFi which is cool because it means you can leave your phone anywhere in the WiFi network and the watch will continue to work.
According to Mike Elgan on Tech News Today -
Mike: He's a great source.
Leo: I heard you talking about this. The next version of Android Wear will support not only WiFi but the internet.
Mike: Well, the thing that's cool is that if your phone is at home and on your home WiFi network, you can be at work - in the future because this isn't backwards-compatible with older Android Wear watches -
Leo: You can't use it with this -
Mike: This will be upcoming Android Wear watches but you can be on your work WiFi network and your watch will talk to your phone.
Leo: It uses the public internet to communicate with your phone, not just your WiFi network.
Mike: Yes, and that's different from the Apple Watch which requires - you can do that, but on the same network. Exactly. So that is a really cool improvement. They also added a new gesture, wrist flicking gesture to move from one car to another and a couple of other options.
Leo: You can now draw, they have handwriting recognition for emojis.
Mike: But the big thing is the WiFi because this is something, you know, where you go to the gym and don't want to be carrying your phone around. You can leave it in the locker and still use it as though it was on your person.
Leo: I love that. So - now, we had heard originally that maybe WiFi was a capability of the existing Android Wear watches but that's not the case?
Mike: I think it is on one or two of them but most of them do not have that.
Jason: Actually, a lot of them do. Moto 360, it was guessed that it wouldn't and it in fact does. The LGG watch does not but the G Watch R does.
Mike: The new one does, the -
Jason: Yes, the Urbane does.
Leo: So if I have a Moto 360, I could get a software update that would enable this WiFi?
Jason: You have a 360, you will get a software update that will enable WiFi.
Leo: Is that 5.1? 5.2, do we know when this update is?
Jason: I don't know. I mean, that's the next update which is supposed to come sometime in the next couple of weeks.
Leo: What? Crazy. They're fighting it out over my wrist.
Jason: You're going to have one watch on each wrist.
Leo: Two phones, two watches.
Mike: You have two arms.
Jason: No, you won't need two phones. Leave your phone at home, carry your iPhone, wear both watches.
Leo: All right. Very - it's good, as always. Competition is always good for end users and that's really great news. All right, let's take a break and when we come back, your tip, your tool, your number. We will wrap this up with the back of the book. Mike Elgan is here, our news director. He is, of course, the host of TNT, Tech News Today every Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern, 1700 UTC. You've got to watch that.
Jeff Jarvis from buzzmachine.com, that mobile-unready site. He is also the author of Public Parts, What Would Google Do?, Gutenberg the Geek and his latest Geeks Bearing Gifts. Always great to have Jeff, our professor Jarvis.
And Danny Sullivan from SearchEngineLand, who's probably been watching this search engine scene for longer than anybody else. SearchEngineLand has always been the place to go to get the latest on what's going on with Google. They also have MarketingLand.
Danny: My friend was like, “Don't you work for SearchEngineMarketingLand?”
Leo: Also, obviously an avid snowboarder.
Danny: Yes, that's my Bing snowboard, actually.
Leo: Oh, my God. Look at that, a Bing snowboard.
Danny: Sometimes people are like, “You've got all that Google stuff, you're so Google.” No, what you can't see is Bing! Yes.
Mike: He uses that 20% of the time.
Leo: Our show today brought to you by Shutterstock. You know, it's so funny, I watch House of Cards at the end, “Images courtesy of Shutterstock.”
Leo: Movies, more and more, I'm seeing images courtesy of Shutterstock. So I realized, what are they doing? Shutterstock offers - of course, it's the place to get more than 52 million high-quality stock photos, illustrations, vectors, but they also have millions of video clips. I realized, if you're doing House of Cards and you need an aerial shot of Washington D.C., you're not going to hire a helicopter, you're going to go to shutterstock.com.
4K and HD video, very affordable. You pay once and use it royalty free forever. Some of the best-looking photos and videos. Each is reviewed individually for content and quality. They get more than 385 thousand new images every week, so there's always stuff new. Look at that, I think that's right from the House of Cards, right there. The beauty part of this is, you can get a free account right now if you go to shutterstock.com, use their Lightbox to store images, photos, drawings and videos so you can access them at any time, use them as kind of an idea book, share them with other team members. They've got a great app for Android and iOS now, a Webby Award winning app that's just gorgeous.
But most importantly, when you have this many images, different clips, more all the time, the best search ever. Google-quality search, better than Google quality because you can search for a topic but then drill down by palette.
Mike: It's also better than Google Image search because when you arrive at the photo, you can use it.
Leo: You can say, “I want two people in this one. I don't want any people in this one. One man, one woman.” You can specify emotions. It is incredible. I want you to play with it, just go set up your free Shutterstock account at shutterstock.com, no credit card necessary. If you do decide to buy images, we've got a deal for you on image subscription packages. Use the offer code TWIG415 and you'll get 20% off your new image subscription package. That's a great deal.
The image subscription packages are for publications and others who use a lot of images. We have the basic one, which I think is 25 images a day. We use it all the time. Shutterstock.com and 20% off subscription image packages on new accounts with the code TWIG415. We thank you so much, Shutterstock, for your support and for providing great images for our use all the time. If you've got a blog, you've got to have an image on every post, I think. Great for Google+ too, right?
Mike: Yes, and here's something a lot of people don't know about Shutterstock. If you have a blog where you write about technology, the brands are in there too. You can search for Facebook, Twitter or whatever and you get just hundreds of images that are relating to actual brands. This isn't the - these aren't iconography taken from the company, these are conceptual illustrations built by illustrators that you can use.
Leo: I wanted to share a tool this week called FOSSDroid that I found. I think it was Hacker News I found it. It looks just like the Play Store but all of these are open source Android apps. So many of them are like, barcode scanner is on - and Canine Mail and VLC, these are on the Play Store. But if you are interested in being and using open source, free and open source software. If you're interested in what kinds of free and open source software there is out there, this is a really great compendium of programs and of course, all you have to do is check the side load box in your settings and you can download them directly from FOSSDroid.com. When it comes to security, I like to use open source because then you can verify that there's no NSA backdoor, no CIA backdoor and so forth. So if you're looking for encryption tools or that kind of thing, this is a great place to go, FOSSDroid.
The other thing I wanted to show which just came out today, Microsoft is true to its promise that they're going to support users wherever they are. They've released Microsoft Outlook for Android. This is the Accomply program that they bought. They have already released this on iOS. It's now out for Android and it's actually really sweet. I don't mean that, sweet, like cute. It's actually a very nice program that supports OneDrive, DropBox, Box, iCloud, iMap. You can, of course, set up your Gmail accoutn but you can also use Exchange or outlook.com. You can even use Yahoo! Mail. Is there anybody still using Yahoo! Mail? I won't log in right now but if you go and look at it in the Play Store, it's free.
You'll see, it's got that Accomply interface where you can swipe. If you like Inbox, you might like it a lot. It also has a built in calendar. You know, if you want to go a little bit past what the Google apps will do on Android, it might be worth checking out and I think it's great that Microsoft is releasing all this stuff for tablets even before they release it for their own Windows product. Outlook is now available - I'll sign in and show you a little later on for Android, tablet or phone.
Jeff, do you have a number of the week for us?
Jeff: I do. I apologize, I didn't want to break in more with my lag here but I've got one number which is Ruth Porat, new CFO at Google has a $70 million pay package.
Mike: Oh, that's up there with Angela Ahrendts.
Leo: Where did they get Porat?
Jeff: Shoot, she came from Morgan Stanley as CFO.
Leo: Wow. That's a lot of money. Don't tell Lisa that a CFO can get that kind of money, will you?
Mike: That's ten times more than CEO Tim Cook makes, I think.
Leo: Is it really?
Mike: Yes, yes. He's ranked as the highest bang for the buck in the industry.
Leo: Apple gets a good deal with Tim Cook, believe it or not and Angela Ahrendts, their director of retail, costs more.
Mike: Like $75 million or something like that.
Leo: She's up there with Porat. Those are Porat numbers. Not Borat, that's another person. The new CFO at Google. Mike, you have a thing, a tip or tool?
Mike: I do. Speaking of Facebook - were we speaking of Facebook? I don't think we were but we are now. Facebook today released something called Hello. Speaking of Hello and Lionel Richie -
Leo: “Hello. Is it me you're looking for?”
Mike: This was built by the Messenger team and basically, it's caller ID even if you don't know the number of the person who's calling you but if they have ever interacted with you on Facebook, Facebook knows who they are and will pop up information about that person.
Leo: They're glad to tell you everything they know. Oh, God.
Mike: You can also search for people and businesses, local businesses, and call with a single tap. This is currently in beta. It's available for Android only and it sounds like it might be a nice - as long as it's not too obtrusive, it might be a nice addition to the existing caller ID because, of course, if you're a heavy Facebook user and Leo, I know you love the Facebook.
Leo: I love the Facebook.
Mike: This is a good way for you to see who's calling you. You can block people that you don't want calling you and so on. So it sounds like they may be on to something. They're trying to sort of - you know, they've had several abortive attempts to be a phone interface with Facebook Home with a Facebook Phone and all that stuff. But this is a way where they're offering a tool that just does something kind of minimalist and leverages your so-called social graph from Facebook for an interesting caller ID function. I like the fact that you don't - it covers people who are not in your contacts database who you may not know their number but it still functions as if you do. So Facebook Hello, start today.
Leo: Hello, Hello. I'm going to download it. It only would add caller ID, I presume, for people you follow.
Mike: No, it's anybody who's interacted with you on Facebook. So if they've commented on one of your posts, they're added to the list somehow. At least, that's how they've described it and you can call with one tap, as I said. Yes, so it's - they're sort of trying to get people to use - you know, eventually I think they want everybody to use Facebook as their contacts database and so this is a way to start populating.
Leo: It's got to be set for that. It's, you know - people tend to keep their information up to date in Facebook.
Mike: Yes, people I think are reluctant to add their phone numbers to Facebook sometimes but -
Leo: Well, but if you're using Tinder, not that I am. But if you were. Danny Sullivan, you got any cool objects of interest?
Danny: I've got a number for you if you want.
Leo: A numbr, 404.
Danny: Not 404. Today, the Internet Advertising Bureau came out with their year-end stats on how much spend has been happening in different kinds of online digital ads and search was again at the top with 50% of all money that is spent that they track in the United States, so you know. It's anything but dead although the growth is not as strong as when you look at what's been going on with social, because social is a smaller chunk. So there's a lot more spending that's starting to go into it.
Or, if you just take out mobile from all the stuff as well. So that's sort of my number. Kind of simple but after search, by the way, I'm looking here at the story on SearchEngineLand. Search makes up all of 50% of online AdSpend, display ads make up 40% of it. You can then break down and look at desktop search is actually 38% of that share - desktop display is 27%. One thing that surprised me was video spending is only 7% of online AdSpend.
Leo: Got to get that up.
Danny: You know, it might be a bit higher because there might be some mobile AdSpend that's in there because they don't break out the mobile part of it. But I was surprised it seemed to be as low as it was there, so.
Leo: That would include prerolls in video ads?
Danny: It should do, it's a video spend.
Leo: Yes. Interesting. Danny, it's always great to have you. Thank you so much for being here.
Danny: You're welcome. Thanks for having me on. I appreciate it.
Leo: You can find his great work at searchengineland.com, @dannysullivan on the Twitter. Also, MarketingEngineLand - no, MarketingLand.disney, yes.
Danny: I've got to register MarketingEngineLand right away.
Leo: Thank you, Danny. Jeff Jarvis, we're going to let you go to sleep, poor guy. It's probably midnight in jolly old England.
Jeff: It's London, not that bad.
Mike: He's going to hit the pubs, what are you talking about?
Leo: Party time! Always great to see you, Jeff. Thank you for joining us.
Jeff: No problem. Always a pleasure.
Leo: We appreciate it. Jeff is every week, of course. He's the professor of journalism at the City University of New York. Follow him at buzzmachine.com.
Mike Elgan, our news director, great to have you.
Mike: Glad to be here, it's all the way across the room from my news desk.
Leo: Long commute.
Mike: It was tough.
Leo: Appreciate it. And we thank you for being here. We do This Week in Google every Wednesday, 1 p.m. Pacific, 4 p.m. Eastern time, 2000 UTC at live.twit.tv if you want to watch along with us. Join the chat room at irc.twit.tv but if you can't, we make on-demand audio and video of every show available after the fact at twit.tv/twig and if you subscribe, you can go to iTunes or your podcast client, whatever it is you use and subscribe to make sure you don't miss a week because we don't want you to miss a minute. Thanks for being here and we'll see you next time on This Week in Google. Bye, bye!