GAPE at Google Apps

Today’s big web news is the release of Google Apps Premier Edition (GAPE?). The Google Apps entry page tells us:

  • What it is, including Gmail, Calendar, Docs & Spreadsheets (but not yet Presentations), all hosted by Google
  • How it’s packaged for different markets: small business, enterprise, education, family/group.

Here are remarks from four “usual suspect” Web 2.0 bloggers.

So, what’s missing?

  • The presentation app, but I’m sure that’ll be along soon.
  • Google Reader. There are many Google services that could have been part of GAPE, but aren’t. Reader is, for me, the most prominent of these.
  • Support for OpenID. Suspicious (but “open”) minds might take this as an implication that Google considers your Gmail address the only identity you’ll ever need.

Steve Jobs on Dumping DRM

Yes, yet another blogger weighs in on Steve Job’s Thoughts on Music, published online yesterday. In a word, brilliant.

Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat…

Why would the big four music companies agree to let Apple and others distribute their music without using DRM systems to protect it? The simplest answer is because DRMs haven’t worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy.

No, I’m not claiming brilliance for the familiar and stunningly obvious point that DRM hurts consumers without stopping pirates. I’m claiming it for the spin. Jobs is the good guy, on the side of the consumer and of openness, and DRM is the big four’s fault.

Apple can afford to take this stance given iPod’s dominance and profit margins. DRM gets in the way of acquiring music, and hence restricts demand for players. I’m not sure that Jobs is a good guy (nor am I sure that he’s a bad guy), but I am sure that his coming out against DRM is a good thing.

Wal*Mart Video Downloads, and Cyber-Snobs

Wal-Mart’s new video download service got a lot of criticism on blogs yesterday. For example:

These blogosnobs are missing the point. The fact that Wal*Mart’s video download page doesn’t work in Firefox is irrelevant to 90% of web users, and to at least that percentage of Wal*Mart customers. They get their browser from Micro*Soft*Mart. This majority doesn’t whine when some obscure option doesn’t work, unlike the above-quoted opinionated outposts of openness.

Ad-Free at WordPress.com

AdFreeBlogButtonI use this button to indicate that:

  • I do not accept money in return for advertising space on this blog.
  • To do so would be against WordPress.com policy, and hence against the agreement I made when I created this blog.
  • I think it’s a really cool icon.

If you follow the owl in the image, you’ll see a three-item list with some overlap with my three-item list. I’m not as implacably opposed to ads on blogs as is Laura, the owl artist and ad-free activist.

In fact, I’d like this blog to be a little more commercial than it is now. I miss the WP-Amazon plugin I used elsewhere. It’s not because I made much money as an Amazon affiliate. It’s because I think that product-related posts can be enhanced with an image and a link to specifications and reviews. Consider, for example, this review of a book on blogging.

Corporate Blogging Typology

Brian Oberkirch provides such a typology, and Shel Israel provides a link to it.

As I read Brian’s post, I decided that:

  • Of the types of corporate blogger he identifies, I find “Company Evangelist” the most interesting. I agree with Brian that the best example is, or was, Microsoft-era Robert Scoble. My favorite current example is also from Microsoft: Don Dodge.
  • I’ll draw Brian’s post to the attention of the students in the Blogging and Business course I’m currently teaching.