Posts tagged could

With Twitch, Google Could Dominate The World Of Gaming Videos

Google is reportedly purchasing video game livestreaming platform Twitch for $1 billion. A Google spokesperson has declined to comment on the rumors.

Twitch, the world’s largest gaming website and community, lets gamers broadcast their live videoplay for viewers. It’s like the Netflix or Hulu for livestreamed games.

Livestream gaming on Twitch 

The report from VentureBeat on Thursday confirms an earlier report from Variety in May. 

Google is hoping for lightning to strike twice with their affinity for online video. For what Google accomplished with online video gargantuan YouTube after its purchase in 2006 for $1.65 billion, we can expect the same from Twitch.

This reported purchase also signifies the mainstream growth of the online video gaming community and the legitimization of gaming as a sport that people actually want to watch. It’s a huge opportunity for gamers and the advertisers who can profit billions from the virality.

The livestreaming platform has already developed an enormous community, albeit a niche one within the gaming subculture. And according to Twitch’s numbers from last year, audience numbers are skyrocketing.

The gaming service saw 45 million unique visitors per month last year, and 12 billion minutes of gaming were consumed each month in 2013. With one million broadcasters, Twitch sees more peak traffic than Facebook and Hulu.

Google’s reported acquisition also shows that the search engine giant is paying attention to YouTube’s thriving gaming community. Gaming channels like Stampylonghead and The Diamond Minecart have amassed over 3 million subscribers apiece.

YouTube’s most subscribed channel of all time stars Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, also known as PewDiePie, whose gaming channel has now close to 29 million subscribers. Like many other gaming channels on YouTube, Kjellberg uploads videos of himself playing and reacting to games, popular draws being games like Happy Wheels and Flappy Bird.

With such a clear connection to the gaming community, YouTube and Google’s embrace of Twitch comes at the perfect time. We’ll just have to wait and see what Googly things might come from the gaming network in the future.

Images courtesy of Flickr user The World According To MartyDucksauce on Twitch.tv

View full post on ReadWrite

Who Could Fill In for Matt Cutts? by @albertcostill

Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, recently posted some big news. “I wanted to let folks know that I’m about to take a few months of leave. When I joined Google, my wife and I agreed that I would work for 4-5 years, and then she’d get to see more of me. I talked about this as recently as last month and as early as 2006. And now, almost fifteen years later I’d like to be there for my wife more.” Cutts says he’ll completely unplug, meaning that he won’t be checking his work email until October. (Side note: Anyone care […]

The post Who Could Fill In for Matt Cutts? by @albertcostill appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

View full post on Search Engine Journal

How to Detect and Deal With Toxic Content (That Could Poison Your Entire Site)

It’s critical to habitually audit your domains for low-value content that could negatively impact organic search visibility. Here are some efficient ways to automate and scale your efforts by leveraging the following tools, tips, and tactics.

View full post on Search Engine Watch – Latest

Why Smartwatches Could Stand Some Old-School Watchmaking

The wristwatch is on the cusp of yet another revolution. Once the province of artisans working with finely crafted gears and springs, then of factories churning out mass-produced mechanisms tuned by quartz crystals, the watch is about to be born again as a creature of silicon and software.

That would herald a comeback of sorts for the world’s first wearable device, which fell on hard times ten to 15 years ago as people started relying on ubiquitous mobile phones as timepieces. Smartwatches neatly flip that older dynamic on its head by offering convenient access to a wealth of digital information and control without the need to pull a phone out of your pocket.

Yet today’s smartwatches still have plenty of evolving to do. Most of them are still fairly rudimentary gadgets with terrible battery life, scarcely able to function unless wirelessly tethered to a nearby smartphone.

In short, the modern smartwatch remains badly in need of some old-fashioned watchmaking—the art, that is, of miniaturizing complex devices by crafting tiny components and combining them into ever more capable precision assemblies. These days, of course, that means marrying simple-to-use yet highly capable software with powerful but highly energy-efficient chips and sensors that won’t drain a small battery in less than a day. But the same basic principles are at work now as they were 500 years ago.

To see why, we’ll need to take a quick jaunt through the history of watchmaking.

Watch Out

Watchmaking has long been considered a fine art. German craftsmen built the first watches—then known as clock watches—in the 16th century, basing them on the “mainspring,” a spiraling metal ribbon that could store mechanical energy by winding and then release it slowly as it unwound.

Peter Henlein of Nuremberg, who built expensive but portable brass clocks for the nobles of his day to carry or wear as pendants, sometimes gets credit for inventing the watch, although a number of other German clockmakers were also tinkering with portable timepieces in the early 1500s. The German humanist Johann Cochlaeus immortalized Henlein in 1511:

Peter Hele, still a young man, fashions works which even the most learned mathematicians admire. He shapes many-wheeled clocks out of small bits of iron, which run and chime the hours without weights for forty hours, whether carried at the breast or in a handbag.

Over subsequent centuries, generations of craftsmen refined those mainspring-based clock watches with innovations such as the balance spring and the cylinder (and later lever) escapement. Watches grew accurate, cheaper and smaller over time—evolving first into pocketwatches, then wristwatches. By the mid-1800s, a U.S. factory began mass production of mechanical watches made with interchangeable parts.

In a crude sense, these mechanical watches essentially functioned as the first mobile devices in history—ones that offered their users both data and a form of connectedness by synchronizing them with other watch-wearers. Wristwatches boomed in popularity among military officers in the late 19th century for precisely that reason.

The mechanical watch reigned until electronic quartz-crystal watches emerged in 1969. These timepieces used a quartz crystal resonator that vibrated 8,192 times a second, driven by a battery powered oscillating circuit. That resonator could turn the hands on an analog watch face, although it took only a year for companies to produce the first digital watch with an LED display.

Quartz watches rapidly took over the market, devastating the mechanical-watch specialists of Switzerland. Swiss-style watches only began to stage a comeback in 1983 with the Swatch—a line of stylish analog (but quartz-driven) watches intended to reassert Swiss design principles in a world of cheap digital watches.

Digital quartz watches, meanwhile, exploded in popularity throughout 1980s and 1990s. New models came packed with new functions and expanded into a dizzying variety of niches, some of them evolutionary dead ends—calculator watches, the Casio Game-10 watch, and the first watch that let you watch live television on your wrist.

Time To Take A Call

Soon enough, though, the bell tolled for digital watches as well, in the form of the cellular ringtone.

“Youngsters don’t have watches today,” French watchmaker Peter Besnard told the Agence France-Presse during a 2005 watch convention in Europe. “If they want to know the time, they look at their mobile, which never leaves them.”

Up to that point, watches doubled as both timepieces and fashion accessories; afterward, they mostly turned into pure fashion symbols. Cellphones, and then the iPhone and other smartphones, quickly emerged as the go-to utility-gadget-cum-fashion-accessory for many people.

Not that watchmakers didn’t try to strike back. In 2000, Swatch announced the Swatch Talk phone, a Dick Tracy-style two-way cellphone communicator watch. The idea was to strip down a cellphone into its constituent parts to fit in a watch casing. Swatch eventually abandoned its plans because of the technical difficulty of building a watch with a cellular radio.

“I’m convinced that the Internet watch will be even more successful than the mobile,” said Nick Hayek Jr., then president of Swatch S.A. and now CEO of the Swatch Group, in a 2000 New York Times interview. Swatch may have been prescient, but it was also 14 years too early.

Samsung Gear Live, Pebble Steel, LG G

The Companion Watch

Though it’s clear that the smartwatch hasn’t yet come into its own.

Take, for instance, the first watches built to use Google’s Android Wear softwear. If you’ve happened to try out either of the first Android Wear smartwatches—the Samsung Gear Live and the LG G Watch both launched at Google’s recent I/O developer conference—you may have started to realize both their promise and their limitations.

For both developers and consumers, Android Wear is all about notifications. Regular Android app notifications automatically show up on an Android Wear smartwatch. These include text messages, emails, call alerts, social-message notices, calendar items and much more. Most of these will also you to take some kind of action—archiving an email, for instance, or sending a quick text-message reply via voice input.

Consumers don’t download apps straight to an Android Wear smartwatch. In fact, unless you’ve received a notification, the watch offers very little navigation at all—you can access voice commands to send texts or press your way into a settings menu, and that’s about it. 

Google’s Android engineering team at Google I/O 2014

Which just highlights the fact that the current round of Android Wear devices—plus the forthcoming Moto 360—are not are full blown computers in their own right. All the information they provide to you arrives via the phone’s Internet connection and is then piped to the watch via Bluetooth. 

The smartwatch we have now isn’t really close to the “Internet watch” that  Swatch envisioned nearly 15 years ago. They’re more like companion watches, wholly dependent on the phone for apps, a data connection and local processing power.

From Quartz To Silicon

Quartz may be giving way to silicon, but watchmaking is still a fine art. Digital smartwatches still require engineers who know how to miniaturize complicated components. And, of course, Moore’s Law continues to roll forward, shrinking down the size of electronic components, allowing engineers to pack them together more tightly and miniaturize the devices that rely on them. 

That gives the smartwatch lots of room to evolve.

Right now, for instance, the LG G Watch can’t make phone calls, doesn’t have a GPS sensor to track movement (for a long run or bike ride), doesn’t have a full Internet browser, the battery life is about a day-and-a-half and it runs no apps. It’s a long, long way from my own personal ideal smartwatch—one that would accurately track my progress on a 60-mile bike ride while streaming music to Bluetooth ear buds without draining the battery, all without a smartphone anywhere nearby.

See also: Why The All-In-One Smartwatch Is Not Happening Anytime Soon

That ideal smartwatch isn’t particularly close to reality right now. A couple of companies claim to make “smartwatches” that handle all those functions, but these things are basically undersized and underpowered smartphones with a wrist strap. They aren’t really watches.

Talent Wanted: Miniature Specialists

Which brings us back to the fine art of watch making.

The beauty of the talent of the early watch makers was that they were able to assemble complex mechanisms from tiny components, build them into small cases and make them both functional and very nice to look at. There’s a reason that watchmaking was considered a fine talent for hundreds of years: making complex and accurate devices that were also the height of fashion was hard to do.

Watch face for LG G with Android Wear

That’s exactly the challenge facing computer companies in the era of the smartwatch. While they’re no longer working with springs and gears and quartz crystals, they’re still trying to cram the functionality of a much larger and widely used device—the smartphone—into a package less than an inch wide and weighing a few ounces. Oh, and it has to look smart, too.

This is not going to be easy. Not for the makers of Android Wear watches, and not for Apple, should it release a smartwatch later this year as rumored. Not easy at all.

Lead image by ReadWrite: Google’s reproduction of the Jayrun Waterclock, one of the first time keeping devices built by Arab engineer Muhammad al-Sa’ati in 1203, at Google I/O 2014. All images in article body by ReadWrite. Slideshow image credit in parenthesis.

View full post on ReadWrite

Larry Page On Right To Be Forgotten: “Could Have Arrived At More Practical Place Than Court Ruling”

Larry Page offered his thoughts on the European court’s “Right To Be Forgotten” ruling during an interview at Google’s I/O conference this week with New York Times reporter Farhad Manjoo. Page claimed it would have been better if there had been more discussion around the…



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

View full post on Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

Page On EU Right To Be Forgotten: “Could Have Arrived At More Practical Place Than Court Ruling”

Larry Page offered his thoughts on the European court’s “Right To Be Forgotten” ruling during an interview at Google’s I/O conference this week with New York Times reporter Farhad Manjoo. Page claimed it would have been better if there had been more discussion around the…



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

View full post on Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

SEO Mistakes You Could Probably be Making – Business 2 Community

SEO Mistakes You Could Probably be Making
Business 2 Community
We have dealt with in the past blogs too about the kind of SEO mistakes that you may be committing. Even if we were to shout ourselves hoarse, you could still be making many follies, even though unintentionally. You need to understand that SEO is …

View full post on SEO – Google News

The Cloud-Computing Market Could Be Much, Much Bigger Than We Thought

A billion dollars isn’t what it used to be. Indeed, anyone that hanging around the cloud computing industry for the past couple of years has been barraged by $1 billion strategic commitments from big vendors like IBM and HP. While $1 billion sounds like a big number, it’s not always clear how much of those billions are being spent on hand-waving marketing versus serious cloud engineering. 

Even if we credit these efforts as serious attempts to transform old-school enterprises into new-school cloud vendors—and we should—what’s more interesting is to understand just how much business is actually moving to the cloud.

A startup out of Portland, Oregon, called Cloudability may be able to tell us. And the answer is, “far more than we may have imagined.”

Billions In The Clouds

Cloudability gives companies visibility into how much money they’re spending for cloud computing services like Amazon Web Services (AWS). Last week, Cloudability crossed the $1 billion mark in cloud spending managed by its system. That’s $1 billion in cloud spend in the three years since its founding, $999,000,000 more than the company managed in 2011.

For a still relatively small startup to be notching those kinds of numbers, it suggests that even our most optimistic estimates of cloud computing spend may be low.

Earlier this week I talked with Cloudability’s CEO, Mat Ellis to get his thoughts on the significance of its own $1 billion announcement and why cloud spending is accelerating.

One of the big shifts driving more money being spent on AWS and other cloud services, Ellis points out, is the cloud is becoming an essential part of the “compute supply chain.” In other words, rather than vertically-oriented IT services built and running within the company’s own data centers, companies are shifting more IT services to public cloud services and plugging into published APIs rather than write their own code. 

A shift is taking place away from isolated, departmental deployments to public cloud resources and instead “enterprises-wide spending.” Some of this is driven by a desire to shift spending from capital expenditure to operational expenditure. Some of it is simply driven by increasing comfort with public cloud security and performance. Whatever the reason, enterprises are clearly spending lots of money on cloud computing.

Analyzing And Controlling Cloud Spend

The growing amount of dollars going into enterprise cloud deployment is why a company like Cloudability can exist. As Ellis suggests, while everybody knows cloud is growing, “what they don’t know is the havoc it’s having inside companies as they try to manage their spending.” Developers who report into a line of business are tasked with writing applications. How is of less importance. This ‘bottom-up’ IT phenomenon is “a big reason cloud cost analytics have become mandatory for large buyers of cloud services” because, “if you’re spending lots of money on cloud, you have to manage it actively,” according to Ellis.

Which, of course, is exactly what we saw happen with the growth of the open source movement.

Open source, beloved by developers even as it was initially shunned by company executives, became part of the business fabric of software development without the business leaders ever realizing what happened. Cloud spending has followed this same path. Unlike open source, where lawyers got involved to ensure nobody was giving away critical IP, in cloud computing it’s very become a mater of managing cost.

 

As Ellis points out, this isn’t about cutting cloud spending, but rather about channeling it:

Cloud analytics really isn’t about cutting costs, like most people think, but rather to see where it’s happening and where it could be best spent. In fact, nearly all of our enterprise customers are using us to help them expand their cloud usage, but in a controlled and efficient way. Once you’ve demonstrated this stuff works and makes you a profit there’s really no stopping it.

Developers, Developers … Developers!

When I asked Ellis what all this means for traditional IT, his response was immediate: “The CIO role is fundamentally changing.” Not changing in a “the CIO is doomed” sort of way, but changing in terms of a fundamental shift in what the chief information officer does.

CIOs, Ellis says, generally understand that the entire way they buy, sell and support IT services is shifting. One of the biggest challenges CIOs have is when and how to really engage with the cloud. I quoted Fidelity Investments’ CIO in recently, “We know about all the latest software development tools. What we don’t know is how to organize ourselves to use them.” This is true of CIOs and public cloud services, too. The spirit is willing; the flesh proves very weak.

But the first step is to understand how their users are spending money, Ellis points out.

As for developers, cloud’s impact on them is huge, too. Ellis suggests that, “They’re now operating in territory beyond the code they write,” with “corporate visibility into their spending that forces new levels of fiduciary responsibility.” But, again, it’s not really a matter of cutting down spending, but instead “analytics tools like ours give them the ability to justify asking for more resources to do more things.”

More resources to do more things. Billions more.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

View full post on ReadWrite

Apple’s Swift Move: How Its New Coding Language Could Shake Up iOS Development

Guest author Alex Salkever is head of product marketing and business development at Silk.co. This piece first appeared on his Tumblr.

At the 2014 Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple released an entirely new programming language called Swift. It is a higher level coding language that aims to provide the power of Objective-C with the flexibility of higher level scripting languages such as Node.js or Python.

In theory, Swift should make it far easier to write iOS apps that run as fast or faster than those scripted painstakingly within the more cumbersome, time-consuming and risky confines of Objective-C. If Swift delivers even partly on its promise, it could be huge boon for companies that want to build iPhone apps. iPhone developers have been the hottest ticket on the global software market for a number of years.

The good ones command nose-bleed level hourly rates of $250 to $300 per hour. Starting salaries for entry level iOS coders that have passed rigorous coding challenge tests run from $120,000 per year north. Senior iOS devs have commanded $200,000 from larger enterprises seeking their experience.

Why the high prices for iOS talent? Supply and demand. It’s very hard to learn Objective-C well enough to write compelling, high-performance apps. Learning how to manage memory in iOS and how to best take advantage of the capabilities of the hardware takes time, effort and a deep understanding of Objective-C.

A Swiftly Tilting Labor Market

Enter Swift, which—again, if it works as Apple clearly hopes—will with one stroke dramatically lower the bar for writing an iPhone app. The language is designed to make it much easier for coders to write iPhone apps both quickly and well. That should rapidly expand the market for coders with iPhone skills; in turn, the cost of building iPhone apps, which is primarily a function of wages for developers, will fall.

That’s bad for existing iPhone developers, but good for everyone else. Apple will enjoy a rush of new iPhone apps entering the market.

Startups and enterprises building iPhone apps will be able to pick from a wider talent pool, and in the not-too-distant future, they’ll build those apps with developers paid mere mortal salaries in the low six figures. The only folks who don’t win here, in addition to the iOS developers who have been making huge bucks, are the iOS education programs that charge devs top dollar to upgrade their iOS chops and move up the coding salary ladder.

For consumers, too, this is a big win. Better apps. More apps. Cheaper apps. Apple, too, may hope that the switch to Swift, which might turn out to be an easier development environment than Java for Android, could help Cupertino reclaim lost handset market share. Check back in on Swift in six months for a more complete verdict.

Lead image by Flickr user Sean MacEntee, CC 2.0

View full post on ReadWrite

Why iCloud Is Broken—And How Apple Could Fix It

Apple builds beautiful mobile and desktop devices, and has crafted solid operating systems and apps for its adoring fans. It has a vast cadre of developers working to extend and improve the Apple ecosystem.

But when it comes to the cloud, Apple’s offering doesn’t shine as brightly as the rest of its products—and that’s putting it mildly. The limitations of its iCloud service are a mounting frustration for many people, whether you’re an individual unhappy because iCloud seems to randomly delete, move or hide your data or a developer frustrated by iCloud’s finicky and error-prone ways once it’s integrated into an iOS app.

“It’s the worst thing that came out of Apple,” Frank Thelen, founder and CEO of app maker Doo, told me in an interview. “Our experience with iCloud is that it is really a bad service for developers, which is a pity.”

Apple continues to make piecemeal progress on various iCloud bugs, but there’s little doubt that the service could use a major revamp. Its next major opportunity comes Monday at its Worldwide Developers Conference, where there are already hints that it wants to make iCloud easier to use with apps.

It’s far from clear, though, that Apple is ready to address iCloud’s biggest shortcomings—the fact that it works only within Apple’s closed ecosystem, and an behind-the-scenes, invisible style of operation that makes it almost impossible to know when it’s not working or what to do about it if it’s not. Both issues work at cross-purposes to one of the cloud’s major advantages: the fact that it can connect users consistently and reliably to their apps and data no matter where they are or what devices they’re using.

So far, there’s no sign that Apple seems willing to rethink iCloud or the way its limitations stem from a what in other contexts has been a longstanding Apple strength—its insistence on managing every aspect of its user experience. Just last week, in fact, Eddy Cue, Apple’s chief of Internet services, brushed off concerns about iCloud’s opaque operations at the Code Conference:

Today, every one of our customers is using iCloud, multiple times a day, for lots of different services. They’re just not seeing it as iCloud…. [A]ll those things happen seamlessly. The customers are thinking about it from an iCloud perspective, and we think that’s great.

For Users: Store It On iCloud—If You Can

Apple’s iCloud will let users back up their iOS devices and apps, as well as any digital media they’ve purchased through iTunes. It also offers a storage option for Apple’s productivity apps Pages, Numbers and Keynote, and backs up stored passwords through Apple’s Keychain and external-account information through Passbook.

And that’s about it. The free storage users get through iCloud is only 5GB, which is not only less than what rivals like Google and Microsoft offer (15GB and 7GB respectively), it’s also mostly already claimed by those aforementioned backups.

One of my ReadWrite colleagues can barely back up her iPhone and portions of her an iPad backed up on her iCloud account, leaving her with a grand total of 9.2MB in free space. Upgrading isn’t particularly cheap, either. An extra 10GB in iCloud will set you back $20 a year, whereas Google will give you ten times the storage for $8 a year less.

Then there are the service’s shortcomings. Needless to say, iCloud doesn’t play nicely with non-Apple devices. Worse, iCloud has long been plagued by complaints that it has mishandled user data—for instance, by mysteriously converting iTunes playlists to streaming-only access, or misplacing calendar and contact data, or syncing documents and photos from personal iPhones to shared iPads. (The security with which it handles iWorks documents doesn’t sound so hot, either.)

“The design of the product seems to suggest that the cloud isn’t even there,” said Javier Soltero, co-founder and CEO of Acompli, maker of a well-regarded email app. “It’s well intentioned, but it causes confusion among users.”

Apple continues to address the specific complaints, but not the broader issue of user frustration over iCloud’s failure to offer them much recourse when things do go wrong. Apple wants iCloud to “just work” invisibly for its users, and that’s a noble goal—but the key is that it has to work all the time to hold up its end of the bargain. And it’s pretty clear that it doesn’t.

iCloud Doesn’t Play Nicely With Apps, Either

Developers are no less frustrated. 

First, a bit of clarification. To developers, iCloud is an entirely different beast from cloud services offered by the likes of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Apple doesn’t offer the sort of cloud that lets developers rent servers to store or process data.

It clearly has that capability—Apple’s massive data centers power remarkably successful cloud services such as the App Store and iTunes for millions upon millions of users. But unlike Google, which took what it’s learned running its search platform and related service to offers an open platform for developers, Apple doesn’t share. It hoards.

So for developers, iCloud is mostly useful only as a backstop service they can integrate into apps—if they dare. It can provide cloud storage for apps—a place to stash saved games or documents, for instance—but that can be problematic. “If you wanted to throw data at that service as part of your app, you can do that too, but there’s a perception issue with the utility of that service because it’s pretty opaque,” Soltero says.

“Apple cares more about consumer solutions than providing developer technical services,” said Joe Moreno, an app developer and former Apple employee. To Moreno, that makes sense, because Apple is a hardware company that markets to the consumer. “Cloud services (other than iCloud) tend to be technical solutions—something for power users or developers which is not Apple’s core market,” he said.

Hard Out There For An iCloud Developer

iCloud’s inability to work with non-Apple devices rules it out immediately for many developers. “We would consider cloud services from any of the big vendors (Amazon, Google, Apple),” said Bret Taylor, CEO of Quip, maker of a Web-first word processor app. “The main thing we would look for is working for all platforms (Android and iOS), and not just Apple’s ecosystem, since our app works on all platforms.”

Acompli is a well-reviewed email app first developed for iOS; an Android version in the works. Despite its Apple-centric roots, the service runs on Amazon Web Services, not iCloud. “We didn’t even try,” Soltero said when I asked if he’d considered iCloud. “If you even have the slightest intention of creating a cross-platform tool, iCloud doesn’t make sense.”

The lack of APIs kept another developer, Roambi, from integrating with iCloud. “If I make a Keynote presentation on my iPad, I can sit down with my laptop and I can see it and share it with other people that have Keynote, but for a third party developer, it’s not an open repository,” said Quinton Alsbury, co-founder and president of product innovation at Roambi, makers of an app that visualizes data from spreadsheets and databases and makes it accessible on mobile devices.

Roambi designed its app to tap into Box rather than iCloud because of its widespread adoption in enterprises. “iCloud doesn’t necessarily support what companies are using Box for, or what we’re doing,” he said. “For us, iCloud doesn’t make sense.”

There are other problems. When you store data in iCloud, you can only access that data via the app you created it with. “I can only access data from one specific app. If another app wants to access the data it cannot,” Thelen said. So if you create a spreadsheet in Numbers, and store it in iCloud, you need Numbers to get that data out.

Contrast that to Google Docs, for example. You can create a spreadsheet anywhere, back it up to Google, and access it later from any browser on any device, or from an app running on Android or iOS.

Developers long for a better cloud platform from Apple, one that they can tap into via more extensive application programming interfaces (APIs) and better synchronization. “They’re extending their own OS to the cloud, but they are not open,” Doo’s Thelen told me. “What we need is an open API you can put any data in, and share it with other people.”

Another developer nit is iCloud’s limited and faulty synchronization. Apps need synchronization between devices via the cloud, and they need to be available offline so you can still use the app if you can’t connect.

Thelen experienced iCloud’s sync limitations with Wunderlist, a task management collaboration app his former company Wunderkinder released in 2010. Because Apple’s sync wasn’t good enough, he said, his team built its own synchronization function. Ensuring apps running on different devices sync reliably is still difficult, and other companies like Evernote have had trouble with it, as evidenced by Evernote CEO Phil Libin’s recent blog post addressing quality issues, notably sync. 

“Getting sync right today is tough, and if somebody would deliver a standard platform for this, it could help enormously,” Thelen said. “We could focus on our own development efforts and not on developing our own sync.”

What A Better iCloud Would Look Like

On the eve of WWDC, we’ve compiled this iCloud wish list:

  • Make it work. iCloud is too important to users for it to be as flakey as it is. If it has to be rebuilt from scratch, so be it, but iCloud needs to be rock-solid if Apple doesn’t want to get outflanked in the cloud.
  • Give users more control. I know, it’s not the Apple way. But absent any way to see what iCloud is storing for you or to move items in and out of cloud storage, users are at the service’s mercy. And if experience to date has demonstrated anything, it’s that iCloud hasn’t yet earned that level of trust.
  • Provide open APIs and better synchronization.  Unless Apple likes steering business to competitors like Google and Dropbox, it should give developers the tools it needs to build reliable cloud functionality into iOS apps using iCloud services.
  • Make iMessages viewable in the cloud. They’re backed up in iCloud, but currently you can only see them on your iDevice. Making them more accessible would help mitigate the anxiety caused by Apple’s current problem with disappearing iMessages.

 Lead image by Flickr user Jeff Turner, CC 2.0; screenshot by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite

View full post on ReadWrite

Go to Top
Copyright © 1992-2014, DC2NET All rights reserved