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Jan 17

With the launch of the overhyped Nexus One , Google have entered the hotly contested mobile phone domain , but is it worth it to buy a Nexus one phone ? Also is it worth it to buy it in the US and import it into India ? The Nexus One has been dubbed as a superphone in many circles but does that justify its price ?

Currently Amazon.com lists the Nexus one phones starting at 680 USD or 31000 Indian Rupees. Add around 3-4 thousand to that and you get the Indian Grey market price of around 35000 rupees for an Unlocked Google Nexus One phone.

Google Nexus one phone in India

Before going into the viability of getting a Google Nexus One imported into India or for that matter asking a relative to bring it, we look at some of its features.

The Google Nexus One runs on the Android operating system, not a lot of Indian smartphones run on Android, heck not a lot of any kind of smart phones run on the Google Android operating system and the Nexus One Google hopes will change all that.

One of the USPs of the Nexus One is said to be its voice command feature for searches and normal phone operation etc. Ok, lets reverse a little, my Nokia Symbian phone does that too and I loaded the Google Symbian app on it a few days ago and it also has voice recognition.

The Google Nexus One boasts of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1 Ghz processor, now thats a lot of computing power for a phone. The touchscreen is  480 by 800 pixel and has a diagonal width of 3.7-inches. The phone has a AMOLED display which people are claiming is out of this world.

The phone has a 5 MegaPixel camera and has a LED flash. The phone features no hardware keyboard like the Iphone which its supposed to kill. The no hardware thing is a turnoff for me. I love the QWERTY on my Nokia E-series phone.

Overall, the Nexus One is one mean performance machine with good parts and excellent performance, but the price is a little out of reach for most people. I would much rather buy a laptop than this, but to each his own, Indian fanboys of the Google Nexus One will surely order one for them. Teardown by Isuppli pegged the cost to manufacture a Google Nexus One at 175 USD.

Its strange how company after company keeps ignoring India as a launch market for smartphones. First it was Apple with its delayed Iphone launches in India and now its Google. Even HTC waits a lot before bringing its obsolete world models into India it seems.

Nov 14

Google Doodle India

Gurgaon kid Puru Pratap Singh drew the above Google doodle for a competition organised by Google, the above is the 1st ever Google Doodle made in India.

The first ‘G’ is a peacock, the ‘o’ stands for wisdom, the second o stands for the discovery of water on the moon by ISRO, the next ‘g’ is about Kashmir, the ‘l’ is representing the Amar Jawan Jyoti and the last ‘e’ represents Mahatma Gandhi.

The doodle is active for today i.e. 14th November 2009 which happens to be Children’s Day.

Nov 03

I was one of the (un?)lucky few to be invited to use the new Orkut and quite frankly its not that good. Google has used a lot of Ajax, tried to make it more facebooky but have failed miserably. The first thing where they fail is the gaudy and bright color scheme. The bright pink and blue color schemes dont match with the uncluttered look at all.

Plus the new Orkut is not even uncluttered, the huge advertisement on the right column has been shifted to the top and adblock no longer kills the whole element so there is a sick huge void in my Orkut window when I use Firefox. The huge ads are the biggest turnoff in the new Orkut.

The menus are less intuitive, took me 2 days to figure out how to use the communities section and get the latest post times from my various communities. Friend updates it seems are no longer optional, despite having them disabled in the old Orkut I am thrown this huge list of status updates from friends which tries to mimic Facebook but is very unfacebook at the same time especially with all the junk HTML Orkut seems to allow.

Orkut went down the day it allowed all the junk HTML and javascript coding. Compared to that facebook has a much better style and restricted media options and thats what makes it cleaner. Hope the Orkut devs are taking notes :)

May 01

Good news for Indian publishers whose cheque got stolen or lost many times, so much so that they had to pay the high charge of $25 extra for secured DHL delivery. Google has decided to dump the Indian postal department in favour of Bluedart. In what should come as a big disappointment to the postal department, lakhs of cheques which are issued each month will no longer be sent via the Indian Postal System.

Indian publishers who access the my account tab will be able to see that the secured delivery via DHL option is no longer there and only a local courier option is there. These couriers will be sent via Bluedart which is infact one of the fastest domestic couriers of India and probably pretty reliable too as banks frequently trust them with their credit cards etc.

But Google is still tightlipped about electronic fund transfers for India, we heard its due to taxation issues and laws,lets see how this new Blue Dart saga turns out for Google  and its Indian publishers when they start receiving Bluedart cheques from next month.

A statement from Google Adsense India team read :

“AdSense publishers in India will receive standard delivery checks mailed via the local courier service Blue Dart for no additional charge. Cheques mailed by Blue Dart should arrive within 10-30 days of the cheque date.

So the Secure Payment option has been removed from all the Indian adsense publishers account.

Blue Dart is not able to service all areas throughout India. If you live in a location they don’t service, your check will be sent by Registered Post and should reach you within 2-3 weeks of the mailing date.”

Feb 24

Aha ! , how do you get back to a company who has released a draconian TOS recently. Lets take 2 quick examples :

1. Google Chrome – The Google Chrome TOS were pretty draconian and had a lot of ownership issues. Google quickly attributed all that to TOS reuse , and corrected the error after the Internet slammed it hard and people started dumping the browser.

2. Facebook – In a controversial move, Facebook tried to take ownership of all photos and stuff posted by all its members. This led to a huge hue and cry and a large number of people actually left Facebook after the announcement. The effect was so huge that Facebook immediately tendered an apology and reverted back to its old TOS.

Even now if you try to deactivate your facebook account , you are shown an apology and asked not to quit facebook :

facebook delete account

Here is what it says :

Are you deactivating your account because you are concerned about Facebook’s Terms of Service?

This was a mistake that we have now corrected. You own the information you put on Facebook and you control what happens to it. We are sorry for the confusion. See http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=54746167130 for more information.

– The Facebook Team

Just the Internet democracy at work :)

Oct 02

Google Knol Logo

It was being touted as a Wikipedia Killer, but “Knol – a unit of knowledge”  seems to have died a painful death so to say. No one uses knol, i didn’t ever remember whether the URL was google.com/knol or knol.google.com , They both redirect to the subdomain though.

Knol was supposed to be the first place one would go while searching for a particular topic, but i am unimpressed. I searched for computer graphics and got pages about women in the computer industry and computer buses , ports etc. If you cant find a topic in Knol, then knol isnt so great, is it ?

Wikipedia had welcomed the entry of Knol into the online knowledge sector, it had said the more the free content, the better. However it seems that Knol seriously lacks on content and content quality. Also the images on Knol did not have separate pages like Wikipedia and had no individual licensing information.

There was also criticism to the Knol from other quarters, people had said that Google might try to fudge rankings to ensure that Knol ranks higher up in the search rankings. Google however dismissed all such allegations.

Knol also scared the media industry, a lot of people in the industry said that Google is slowing switching over , first it was a data searching company, then it became a data organising company, and now its a data generation company seriously threatening a lot of media houses.

For the time being though it seems like knol isn’t used by all :P