It’s been a crazy couple months. The government finally approved our deal with Google after realizing that the industry changes fast. Our CEO, Omar, put everything into perspective when he pointed out that AdMob had been under scrutiny for roughly 15% of our entire existence.

There hasn’t been much on this blog but like any good engineer, it’s time to under promise and over deliver! Therefore, I’m never updating this blog again.

New Google Chrome OS

Google just announced that they will be releasing an OS based around Chrome. An amazing move for Google as this gets them instantly on a the radar of every netbook manufacturer out there.

Microsoft’s licensing fees for Windows are generally $40+ per copy. Manufacturers are barely eeking out a profit in the sub $300 price range and having to pay per copy of Windows kills that margin. There is already a ton of competition in this space from Moblin to Jolicloud to whatever is going to be on the CrunchPad.

At first glance, from a product perspective, I wonder why Google is not using Android? There is already an SDK out there, Android is already open source, and Android already has an app marketplace. Bifurcating their “OS” strategy seems like a bad move on the surface.


New Gmail Spammer Trick

I just received a spam that I thought was a very clever way to by pass Gmail’s spam filters. They put in a link! They would probably never filter out email with links to! Genius.



2008 Predictions Retrospective

So 2008 is almost coming to an end and what a wild ride in the tech industry. In some cases we’re better off, no more start ups getting inflated valuations for putting a website (see crazy valuations of facebook apps). On the other hand the economy seems to be going to hell in a hand basket and most startups are going into survival mode.

In the beginning of the year I made some predictions. Lets see how those turned out….

Facebook will decline as people either go to the next hottest thing or advertisers realize their ROI on the FB ad platform isn’t the greatest.50% Wrong/50% Correct
I was wrong on the general consumer side as has been increasing steadily on the one metric that matters these days, minutes spent. TC reported that Facebook is gaining on Google and passed MySpace back in March.

However, I wasn’t wrong on the ad platform side. Facebook’s ad platform has fallen flat on it’s face. Facebook Beacon hasn’t been relaunched since the original debacle. Most app developers have moved on as they realized their $0.10 eCPMs weren’t worth the headache. With it’s $15 billion valuation from the Microsoft round is a distant memory, they’re bleeding money.

Google will acquire at least two mobile companies to aid Android iPhone will continue to gain mobile browser market share stagnating the mobile web even more. Wrong
I couldn’t find an authoritative list of Google’s 2008 acquisitions but I don’t recall them making a single mobile one this year. Not surprising since nobody is in the M&A market these days.

Slide or RockYou will be acquired. If 07 was the year of widget, 08 will be the year they cash in. Wrong!
Nobody wanted to acquire these guys… low social network eCPMS with a bad economy equal no cash out.

Google or Microsoft will launch an Amazon AWS competitor Correct!
Google App engine was launched, with just a little fanfare. I think once they start supporting languages other than Python, it’ll do quite well.

Yahoo will close at least 4 more properties in an attempt to slim down. Correct!
I think the death count is somewhere north of 15 properties. This list used to be a LOT longer.

A web 2.0 company outside the US will eek out a new niche – Unknown
Honestly, I don’t know one “web 2.0” company that I currently use that is based outside of the US except for If you use one please leave a comment… Is it because startups can’t break into the US market?

At any rate, stay tuned for my 2009 Predictions. Obviously I’m Nostradamus when it comes to these things (/sarcasm)

I Think I Broke Google

The url for the above image is actually It’s supposed to be the 36th page of the query “computers”. You can test it yourself and if you happen to hit the same shard/bug as me, you can see the oddity too. (Keep refreshing if you don’t, roughly 1 in every 20 from my highly scientific test!) It definitely happens more often the deeper you go in the result set .

Interesting notes:

  • Obviously, should be displaying more than 1 result.
  • Wikipedia link some how survives what ever bug I ran into.
  • 59.6 million results and only shows results 1-4.
  • Supposed to be page 36, some how I’m back on page one.

A funny but harmless bug.


AppEngine: First Impressions

I’ve been developing a small app using Google’s AppEngine. My first impression is that developing in the sandboxed python environment forces you to KISS. The SDK makes things dead simple in terms of templating, data access, and controlling which scripts map to which urls.

The side affect of abstracting the data access layer is that I no longer have to spend much time with database schema. That’s because AppEngine doesn’t run a traditional relational database and doesn’t allow you to run traditional SQL against the data store. I end up writing horribly un-optimized ‘queries’ because I’m not able to write highly optimized SQL queries. The SDK is obviously geared to take full advantage of the instant look up and high throughput that BigTable excels at.

For example, for these 2 objects:

class Attribute(db.Model):
  author = db.UserProperty()
  content = db.StringProperty(multiline=True)
  date = db.DateTimeProperty(auto_now_add=True)

class UserAttribute(db.Model):
  attribute_key = db.ReferenceProperty(Attribute)
  user = db.UserProperty()
  date = db.DateTimeProperty(auto_now_add=True)

I can access all the Attributes that belong to the User with the following code:

    query = db.Query(UserAttribute)
    user_attributes = query.filter('user =', \
    attributes = [ua.attribute_key for ua in user_attributes]

I’ll keep updating as I dig into the SDK.

Google App Engine: No AWS Killer, Python++

google_appengine1.png Tonight Google releases Google App Engine and has the coverage.

The biggest news is that App Engine is free to use up to a certain amount, like all other Google developer services. (As I previously postulated.) Pricing after the free period has yet to be determined.

Applications cannot use more than 500 MB of total storage, 200 million megacycles/day CPU time, and 10 GB bandwidth (both ways) per day.  

The downside is that all the apps have to be written in Python. It’s a language that’s not as popular as PHP or as chic as Ruby but has been proven to scale and seems to be getting traction again as django matures.

I, for one, would love to be getting back into Python but Google App Engine won’t be a home run until they offer it in true services style. Any language and piecemeal. For example, as I read it, I can’t use BigTable and GFS for my self-hosted PHP application. Undoubtedly, this will eventually happen. I can also see Amazon firing back making portions of AWS free for small users.

Update: has a good technical overview of GAE’s sandboxed python environment.


Google Web Services Should be Free?

Dave Winer offers a compelling reason on why Google would offer it’s Web Services (AWS competitor) for free. (That is if they actually release one like I predicted for this year.)

The basic premise is that if GWS were free, Google could reap the benefits of having a whole heap of developers tied into their platform. After which acquiring a company would be much less cheaper if they’re already tied into the Google cloud. I can see Google making a move like this for the normal user but they would eventually have to charge for larger customers. After all they already provide 6.5 gb of storage space for gmail users but providing unlimited GWS usage is a hit not even the mighty Google can take.