Cool Tools Google the Cloud

Google Calendar supports CalDAV

Ok, maybe not the most glamorous headline, but if you are looking for a way to integrate into the “cloud” with minimal effort and not paying $99 a year to Mobile Me (and praying that it works), this is a pretty good solution from our friends at Google.

I share a group calendar with my coworkers at Boxbe and I don’t always remember to update my “cloud” calendar to be inline with iCal. This pretty much solves that problem.

What’s CalDAV?

CalDAV is an open standard for sharing calendar information from a desktop computer with a server. In this case, I’m sharing iCal calendar information with Google Calendar and my co-workers can see my schedule.

Previously, I could publish my calendar to Google Calendar, but I couldn’t make any changes to it on Google’s servers. Supporting CalDAV makes this works in both directions.

Setting up

It’s pretty easy to set this up. Here are instructions for setting up iCal and Google Calendar.


The only real trick is getting the URL correct for your calendar which is a URL that contains your Gmail address [ your Google Calendar email address ] /user.

There are some known issues, but nothing there was a show stopper for me.

I just started using this today, so I’ll let you know if I have any issues with it.

[via Daring Fireball]


Google Maps = Peeping Tom?

robotstalkingtorobot2.jpgSo, I’m digging the new street level view on Google Maps. It is very cool to be able to walk around the streets of San Francisco (although for some reason, they couldn’t make it down my old street). But apparently the Google Bus is getting a little too close for comfort for some.

Today’s New York Times is reporting on a woman who saw her cat in Google Maps, in her second floor window. Yow.

Now, I’m all for new technology (and I love the street level view), but I could see where this might give you the heebie jeebies. From a privacy standpoint, I’m not sure where I stand on this, but if Google had pictures of me in a bathing suit (oh boy), I think I might be asking them to take it down too.

Wired has a great collection of interesting locations and people doing strange things that people have found using the new service (where the above image is from, um, but the other ones are real-ish).

Geek Fun Google Site News Social Media Social Media Marketing

How much for a Google ad?

Given Ziki’s marketing gimmick, I’m curious just how cheap it is to buy an ad for my name on Yahoo! or Google. I’ve never used either AdWords or Yahoo! Marketing Solutions personally, so it will be a fun way to see if I get any clickers. No fair clicking on my ad if you are reading this, but feel free to click on the Ziki one ;-)

I’ll let you know how it turns out in the next few days.

Conferences Features Google

John Battelle and Economy of Intention

I had a great time at last week’s Blog Business Summit. I met a lot of people whose work I respect a great deal and people that I found that I had a lot in common with. John Battelle is someone that I hold in very high regard because he inspired me very early on.


I got an opportunity to hear Battelle speak Friday and he’s as well spoken in person as he is on his blog. The content of his speech inspired me yet again. I’ve read his book, The Search but I don’t think I truly realized how powerful an idea “The Database of Intention” truly was. Adsense and Adwords best illustrate the power of the intention economy and it is those products that have put Google where they are today.

Why FM Publishing?

Given all of that, I still have a lingering question. If Battelle truly believes intent will triumph over content, why did he start a “content” based publishing business, rather than one based on intent? I asked John that very question.

Essentially John replied that in the near term there are tons of advertising opportunities for content. To me that future seems limited. This limitation and distinction is currently being well demonstrated when comparing Yahoo’s quarterly earnings versus Google’s.

I relearned a valuable lesson that day; sometimes your idols let you down. Battelle isn’t a visionary, but he has spent his career being able to recognize them and to report on them, and in a limited way, to capitalize on them. I hope he will be able to learn the lessons he is teaching to capitalize on his Database of Intentions in the future.

Photo by Niall Kennedy.
Google Social Media

Google acquired wiki company, Jotspot

logo.gifThe Google acquisition train keeps on rolling.

Jotspot, the wiki company announced today that they are being acquired by Google. Terms of the deal are undisclosed but I suspect that this might have cost less than YouTube.

Jotspot is a wiki maker that has taken the wiki (user created website) model and extended it into user created applications such as spreadsheets, calendars and photo galleries. They’ve also made them easier to use in the process. I tested Jot back at Epinions and loved their toolset, but they wanted to host the data exclusively, which is a tough sell for most corporations.

Some good news and bad news with the acquisition. First, if you are an existing user, your account will be free. New users, on the other hand, will have to wait until integration into Google’s infrastructure is complete. This misses a golden opportunity of using this publicity to obtain new users, but ensures that the service isn’t crushed under the weight.

Congrats to the Jotspot on the acquisition, you’ve got a great product and by making your product free, more people will use it. The wiki model really is wonderful and making it easier to use will bring wikis to more people.

Here is the announcement on Google’s Blog. Get more info at Jotspot’s FAQ and blog. More commentary at Get a New Browser and SEW and TechCrunch.

If you want to learn more about the company or wikis in general, Scoble recently interviewed Joe Kraus, CEO of Jotspot, on his PodTech show.

[Full disclosure: I’m currently consulting with another wiki company, Wetpaint]

Google Video

Diet Coke and Mentos, Part Duh

Feeling much like most sequels do, the EepyBird boys are back. Bigger and better than their first video, but lacking the wonder and awe. This time, they’re getting paid by Google, not Revver.

TechCrunch reports on the deal between Google, Eepybird and their new sponsors, Diet Coke and Mentos (You’d think that Diet Pepsi would beating down their door). According to the report, this will be the first of many sponsored videos from Google Video, but this doesn’t appear to be for just anyone. Google is focusing on the top producers, rather than their typical long tail.

Unfortunately, the biggest loser in this deal is Revver, but this certainly proves their business model.

Google Yahoo

The state of online advertising?

yahoovgoogle.jpgIf you think of Google (GOOG) and Yahoo! (YHOO) as bellwethers for online advertising, you have to be scratching your head today. Or maybe not. I think Yahoo! may be the canary in the coal mine.


Ad Slowdown, What Slowdown? – GigaOm
Google revenues surge on ad strength – Financial Times
Google’s 3Q Profit Nearly Doubles – AP
Google revenues surge on ad – MSNBC

and from a few days ago


Dear Google Bulls: Yahoo! Comments still suggests a problem – Henry Blodgett
Dot com bubble 2.0 –
Yahoo shares fall on 3Q profit decline – AP

So, we’ve got Om Malik in one corner (who just started his own venture backed, advertising funded blog network) saying online advertising is strong versus Henry Blodget (Web 1.0 cheerleader who helped inflate so many dot coms) who thinks that we might be heading into familiar territory.

So who do you believe? If there is one thing that I have learned from being in business on the net for the last 11 years, diversify your revenue streams. Ad sales is a cyclical business which means you have good years and you have bad ones. Ask CNET or Yahoo! who limped through the downturn in 2001-2004. Ask eBay, who didn’t have any problems during the bust, but who is currently buying its way into growing businesses.

God, I hate to say it, but I think I agree with Blodget…

Google Social Media Video Yahoo YouTube

For Mark Cuban, history repeats itself


The first thing that I thought today was how strange it was that Mark Cuban had been calling Google “moronic” for thinking of buying YouTube. I don’t imagine that he was telling Tim Koogle that he was “crazy,” for buying his company,, a company that Yahoo! would spend the next several years dismantling.

Mark’s definitely asking the right question as to whether this is a good deal for YouTube or not. After all,, which arguably was more of a “real business,” (they had corporate customers, after all), wasn’t making any money and still got $5 billion. YouTube probably should have held out for a lot more money.

Ah, but those were bubble times and everyone thought that the future would come more quickly than it did. Who could have imagined that streaming video would suck so much? Asidecan you pause Real, QT or WMV streaming without waiting for 2+ mins for it to restart yet?

While the YouTube acquisition is similar to Yahoo!’s acquisition of, I think there are two key differences. First, the iPod (and to a certain degree, the cell phone). Everyone has one (or both) and short form video excels on these devices. I know you can’t carry these YT videos around easily yet, but it’s coming.

Second, and more importantly, is the Class of 2009. If you live anywhere near teenagers, you may have noticed that there are a lot of them. The Class of 2009 (and the years surrounding them) is the largest graduating class in American history. These kids are already powering a lot of Web 2.0. They have always had a computer in their home and they probably can barely remember not being connected to the internet.

Google’s acquisition of YouTube is part of their bet on this upcoming generation of creators. It has taken us a long time, but we’re finally getting people off their butts and making them into content producers not just consumers. Mark Cuban helped lay the groundwork for this revolution and instead of pedantically nitpicking from the side lines, he should be cheering them on.

Now, let’s just hope they find a business model. :-)

Apple Google

Eric Schmidt joins Apple’s Board roundup


(image from Valleywag)

Oh boy. I do love the interweb some days. Being a long time Apple nerd, I’ve been through a number of rumors of x acquiring Apple, Apple acquiring x, what does x mean? Frankly folks, we’ve been here before.

Here’s the round up of “news” surrounding Eric Schmidt joining Apple’s board.

Is Schmidt the set-up pitcher for an Apple-Sun merger?
So I know this is Dvorak just being Dvorak, but man, this horse is glue already, please stop beating it. A Sun Apple merger would be horrible as other than being Microsoft haters, they’ve got nothing in common and culturally, it would be a really bad fit. Their histories in Silicon Valley are too long and both companies are heavily rooted in their own identities.

Common Enemies
Common enemies seemed to be a theme with almost all the news stories and this one does make sense. Google and Apple together pretty much cover the gamut of competing against Microsoft.

Current Board Members
Looking back in history, I remember when Mickey Drexler (then CEO of Gap), Al Gore and Bill Campbell joined Apple’s Board. Other than the iPod being fashionable, I don’t really know what “synergy” that Mr. Drexler brought to the board, other than being CEO of a huge consumer brand. Al Gore being on the Board, well, it can’t hurt to have the former VP of the USA a phone call away. And last, Bill Campbell. The only thing to say here is that Quicken for the Mac is one of the reasons I installed Parallels to run XP.

And finally, Valleywag chimes in:

Six effects of Eric Schmidt joining Apple’s board
Cloud of smug says it all.

So what will Eric Schmidt bring to Apple? Hopefully, a better .Mac, more support for OS X with Google Apps and services, and maybe iTunes will get distribution in Google Video.

My guess is that we’ll see a whole lot of nothing.


Google Checkout

googlecheckout.jpgGoogle Checkout launched today and is Google’s attempt at the universal wallet. The idea is that you sign up with Google and you don’t have to enter in your credit card and personal information at every website that you purchase from. Google also provides fraud protection against shady merchants, so theoretically, you will feel safer purchasing from merchants you may not recognize.

While this is an interesting proposition, this is a path well worn path by Google’s competitors. Both Yahoo! and Microsoft have wallet products that have been moderately successful, but there are no grand slams here.

Google has made Checkout more consumer friendly than it’s competitors. First, it doesn’t transmit your credit card number to the merchant. Second, if you select the option, Google won’t send your email address to the merchant either. While these features are consumer friendly, this program is not friendly to merchants.

Google’s biggest challenge here will be acquiring merchants who are willing to accept not owning (or even knowing) their customers. Merchants view advertising on Google (and, Yahoo! Shopping, etc) as a necessary evil to acquire new customers, but ideally they would like to convert customers from these aggregators as customers of their own.

Google has one thing going for it: size. Since the vast majority of web merchants derive their customers from search engines and Google is the most used search engine, merchants may have a hard time saying no, especially if Google skewed results in favor of merchants that offered Checkout.

One thing is for sure, the web shopping landscape just got a little more interesting.

Google Checkout
Participating merchants

[UPDATE: Om Malik has an interesting take on what Checkout means about the CPC business]


Google Sketchup = Bee’s Knees

sketchup.gifWow… I had seen Sketchup at MacWorld Expo this year and thought, wow, that’s kind of neat, another 3D drawing tool that I may have some use for, but not $200 some odd-dollar use for. Along comes Google shortly after Macworld and scoops up the company and makes the program free… for Windows.

Well, laddies, get your drawing pencils ready. As of yesterday, the free version of Google Sketchup is available for Mac OS X and boy is this program cool. Most CAD or 3D programs have been expensive and fairly difficult to use, not so with Sketchup. Take the 10 minute video tutorial and you’ll be up and running fairly quickly. You’re not going to releasing the next Pixar movie with this app, but you will can make some 3d representations of objects pretty darn fast.

Call me lazy, but I’ve always wanted a program like this to layout a room or space to get a sense of what it might look like before I do all the heavy lifting. This app is so easy to use, my back thanks you, Google.


Google iPod Playstation Portable Entertainment

Google Video – now for iPods and PSPs

googlevideodl.jpgNeed a little content for your iPod? Google has made its videos (not the ‘for pay’ videos, mind you) available for download reformatted for the PSP and iPod. Thank God, I can finally watch “Road Trip Prank,” “Shtanga,” “Indian Exotic Dance in Office 2” wherever I want!

Check it out
(Via The Unofficial Google Weblog)