Google Chrome the Most Used Browser on Techie Buzz

There is something about which I have not seen in any other browser. It is one of the fastest growing browsers across the world and currently has around 20% usage world wide.

Google Chrome Market Share Techie Buzz

Many tech related websites around the world are seeing that Google Chrome has been overtaking . Last year both TechCrunch and Techmeme reported that Chrome was the most users on their site which prompted me to write the article; Why is Chrome Winning and Firefox Losing Market Share?. Back then, Chrome’s market share was around 10% was constantly growing on our site too.

Recently, I wrote an article on How Chrome is Growing in India and Hurting Microsoft and Mozilla. In that article, I delved upon how Chrome has been dominating Indian markets even though the internet usage there is around 15% of the population. This definitely showed how much impact Chrome has had on the browser market.

Google Chrome Market Share Graph Techie Buzz

Today when I was checking the browser market share for Techie Buzz I saw that Chrome has overtaken Firefox as the most used browser. Last month, Chrome was behind Firefox by 2%, so the month over month growth is pretty impressive. This means that almost 1+ million out of the 3.5+ million users on the site were using Google Chrome to visit Techie Buzz.

One of the reasons for Google Chrome’s growth is the heavy advertising Google is doing for it. I see many ads which pitch users to play Angry Birds on Google Chrome and I can swear that those have converted many users to switch to Chrome including my own brother who is a big fan.

Google is also landing some punches on rival browsers like Firefox and Internet Explorer by stopping development on certain products while providing plugins for them too. Recently, Google has decided to stop development of Google Toolbar for Firefox 5. This has sent Mozilla in a frenzy because lot of users are not upgrading to Firefox 5 from because of the incompatibility of the .

Google also provides Internet Explorer users with something called as Google Chrome Frame to bring Google Chrome’s technology to Internet Explorer. As you can see from our browser stats, we have around 0.13% IE users who have installed the Google Chrome Frame.

Additionally, Google has also been blocking several features in their products on . Our in-house Opera guru Pallab has always been finding problems using Google’s features on Opera including the recently introduced .

So is Google intentionally doing all these things to switch users to their own browser? It could very well be possible, however, they are also backing that up with an excellent browser and I for one have been using Google Chrome as my primary browser since it launched and yes some of the new features in it including the Multiple Chrome Profiles are definitely good.

What do you think about Chrome’s dominance? Is it good or bad? Do you use Google Chrome as your primary browser? If not which one do you prefer to use? Please let me know through your comments.

Google Plus After One Week: Can it Challenge Facebook? [Editorial]

It’s been just over a week since Google Plus was unveiled to the world. Google’s big new announcement wasn’t exactly a surprise, but the beauty and elegance of the product caught many off guard. The Google Plus launch will probably go down as a turning point in Google’s history. This will probably be the do or die moment for Google, as far its social media aspirations are concerned. Facebook has already established itself as the undisputed leader among social networks, and is currently well on its way to weaving itself into the very fabric of the interwebs. If Google fails now, it might not get the opportunity to fight another day. So it’s only but natural that the Google Plus launch caught the imagination of tech enthusiasts around the globe. The questions on everyone’s mind were Does Google ‘get social’? Can it finally succeed in challenging Facebook?


As expected from any major product launch, Google+ attracted everything from ebullient praises to utter disdain. I have been using Google Plus enthusiastically for the exactly a week now. In his initial review, my colleague Tony Price hailed Google Plus as one of the most amazing products he has ever seen. While my reactions are slightly more restrained, I am also amongst the hordes of geeks that Google Plus has succeeded in winning over. While the enthusiastic reception from early adopters is a positive sign, it doesn’t automatically imply mainstream success. Google is concerned by the growing influence of Facebook because through its ‘Like’ buttons Facebook is able to gather accurate personal data such as which movies you like, which movies your friends like, and which movie you might enjoy watching. Google is desperate to gain a foothold in the social web, because it can help them make sense of the semantic web, while supplying a treasure trove of additional data. However, in order to do this, Google Plus needs to achieve critical mass. Make no mistake, anything but large scale adoption will mean failure for Google+.

Everything+: How Google+ Changes (And Will Change) The Social Landscape [Editorial]

A couple of days ago, Google released one of the most amazing products I have ever seen into the world of limited Beta. After much anticipation, a colleague of mine gave me an invitation to Google’s newest attempt at a social service. After using it for a couple of days, I think I am ready to express my thoughts on what Google+ means now, and what I think it will mean in the near and not-so-near future.

Amit, one of the other authors here at Techie Buzz, has posted the technical aspects of what Google+ is and how it works already. As such, I won’t be covering that. If you are looking for any sort of help getting started with Google+, I recommend that you read Amit’s other article, Google+ For Dummies.

Within this post, I will be sharing what I think makes Google+ a real game changer in the social space. I will talk about the features that make it, in my opinion, the best social network available. I will cover that I think makes Google+ great, from the sharing to the feedback. After all that, I will make my predications for the future as it pertains to Google+.

Google+: Circles Changes Everything

As long as I have been using social networks, I have run into one consistent complaint. With every network I have joined, they have told me who I could share with. Twitter made everything I tweeted publicly available. While that’s fine, I wasn’t ever completely satisfied. ¬†With Facebook, they told me I could limit it, but if I did, then only the people who were my friends would see it. There was no going back to Public. While I understood the idea, I still wasn’t satisfied.

Then came Google+, with its fantastic management tool known as Circles. Thanks to Circles, G+ has given me what I have been wishing for: the ability to selectively share. What I mean is that I can choose to share certain things with certain circles. If I have a piece of family related news, I can share that with only my family. If I have a great piece of public news, then everyone can see it.

I feel like the beauty of circles works both ways. If people use it as it was intended, we will create a social space where over sharing is less of a problem. We won’t be put off by people telling us about their doctor’s appointment like they do on Twitter. Thanks to the selective Streams, you can catch up with your family and friends without having to read every update from active users like Chris Pirillo or Robert Scoble.

Artificial Hardware Fragmentation: The Next Big Problem for Android

Over the years, a lot has been said about Android’s fragmentation problem. Manufacturers and carriers often took months to deliver operating system updates, if they delivered them at all. Thankfully, the Android update scenario seems to have taken a turn for the better. Manufacturers like Sony Ericsson have cleaned up their act in a big way, and have promised to deliver quick updates. Google has also begun to wield its influence to nudge manufacturers and careers in the right direction. However, now that the software fragmentation problem is showing signs of settling down, another major issue is rearing its ugly head hardware fragmentation.


Google has very little say over the hardware configuration of Android devices. Current generation Android handsets run on everything from ARM A9 to ARM A6 and ARM A11. Google wants Android to be ubiquitous. It wants Android handsets to dominate every segment from basic low-end devices to cutting edge high-end smartphones. This is in stark contrast to the approach taken by Apple and even Microsoft. Apple restricts iOS to handsets manufactured in-house (i.e. iPhone). Microsoft on the other hand has laid out stringent minimum hardware specifications that all Windows Phone handsets must satisfy.

In theory, Google’s approach has some significant advantages like affordability and diversity. It allows for healthy competition between hardware manufactures, and it fosters innovation and rapid improvements in hardware capability. Hardware fragmentation by its own isn’t a major headache. However, as always, vested interests have found ways to exploit the freedom offered to them by Google to gain unfair competitive advantages.

Hardware manufacturers are tying up with game developers to artificially restrict games to their own platforms. The biggest culprit is probably nVidia, which has roped in several big names to launch Tegra exclusive titles (often called Tegra HD or THD games). Quite obviously, no one expects a budget handset to be able to run graphics intensive games like Riptide GP. However, thanks to the Tegra exclusive tag, even beasts like the Samsung Galaxy S II aren’t capable of running the jaw dropping ski racer from Vector Unit. Imagine shelling out big bucks to purchase the latest and the greatest Android smart phone in the market, and then discovering that you can’t play most of uber cool games for Android, as you have an Exynos chip instead of Tegra 2. This is an entirely artificially imposed restriction that if not checked will be a major deterrent for mobile gaming enthusiasts.

It is one thing to optimize a game for a specific platform, but it is quite something else to cripple it or make it unplayable on other equivalent platforms. Unlike in the PC gaming segment where games are often optimized for either nVidia or ATI (AMD) graphics cards, but run pretty well on both, nVidia is making some games simply unavailable for other platforms.

Earlier this month, an enterprising developer at XDA found a way to fake the graphics capabilities of the handset. His app, called ChainFire3D, can manipulate OpenGL feature identifiers with the press of a button. With the help of proper plugins it can run Tegra 2 exclusive games like Samurai Vengeance 2, Guerrilla Bob THD, and Riptide GP on several non-Tegra handsets including Samsung Galaxy S, Samsung Galaxy S II, Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, HTC G2, HTC Desire, and Nexus One.

Sony Ericsson has also been doing something similar with its Xperia Play exclusive games (mainly published by Gameloft). Sure some of the games require hardware keys for full gratification, but most of them are perfectly enjoyable even without dedicated hardware keys.

Tegra Zone Games on Nexus One with ChainFire3D

Google has indicated in the past that it is serious about Android as a gaming platform. However, if Android wants to take on iOS in the mobile gaming segment, then it will have to deal with this artificially created hardware fragmentation problem. The purpose of the operating system and graphics libraries like OpenGL is to abstract the hardware from the software. Whether a game runs on a given handset should be determined by the capability of the hardware, and not some other superficial restriction. If Google wants to retain even a semblance of openness in the Android ecosystem, then it must step in, and prevent this artificial fragmentation.

Video via Android Police

The State of Engineering in India

Engineering-IndiaEven as the number of engineers in the US continues to shrink, India is churning out engineers by the hundreds of thousands. Much has already been said and written about the quality of engineering graduates in India. Much more qualified people than me have penned their frustration with the state of engineers in India. Nevertheless, as a Computer Science and Engineering student who is at the brink of graduating, I couldn’t help but jump into the discussion.

In 2008, India produced 3.5 lakh (350 thousand) engineers. However, raw numbers don’t tell the entire story. When it comes to number of engineers per million people, there are only 214 engineers in India, compared to 1435 in South Korea and 765 in Japan. Of course, this isn’t all that surprising, given that the percentage of secondary and higher secondary pass outs in India is also significantly lower than in other developed nations. The real worrying statistic is that even after one year of graduation, 30% of Engineers in India remain unemployed. According to the Wall Street Journal, 75% of technical graduates and more than 85% of general graduates are unemployable by India’s high-growth global industries. The situation is so dire that leading IT Services companies like Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Wipro have been forced to extend their initial training program for freshers in order to impart basic skills required on the job. And these are not companies that are not known for doing a lot of real engineering work. You can imagine how hard it must be for fledgling startups and software companies to attract real talent.

While opining on the state of engineering in India, most pundits have ripped apart the Indian education system. Right from the grassroots level, India’s education system ignores all the key facets of engineering, viz. curiosity, learning by experimentation, and problem solving. The explosion in the number of colleges handing out B. Tech degrees have resulted in a dire shortage of qualified teachers. The bar for becoming a teacher at the under graduate level has been lowered so much that it has become a folklore that students who don’t get recruited are the ones who end up becoming teachers.

However, the poor quality of education is not the sole reason for the current situation in India. The other driving factor is the attitude of the society. While, in the US, students are comfortable taking up courses like Humanities and Social Studies, Communications, and Media Arts, in India, most students believe (or are forced to believe) that the only two real career options before them are to become a doctor or an engineer. As a result, students who don’t have the will or the aptitude to become an engineer enroll for an engineering degree. This increase in demand has lead to the increase in the number of colleges, which in turn has lead to the lowering of the bar. It’s the lure of an offer from TCS and Infosys, rather than the attraction of building something that motivates engineering students in India. Even the criteria for getting into these colleges is misplaced. If you can mug up a few organic chemistry formulae, and have practised enough to solve some mechanics problem in Physics, chances are that you can get into a fairly esteemed institute of engineering.

Here are three completely random observations that I have made during my interaction with other Computer Science and Engineering students from several colleges across India:

  1. A staggering portion of the graduates aren’t even capable of accomplishing basic tasks like installing Windows or Linux operating system. Yes, many of the CSE graduates being produced by the Indian colleges are technically challenged.
  2. Most of the students in colleges around India, can’t even write simple algorithms like Bubble Sort or Binary Search, even if their life depended on it.
  3. Worse still, many of the lab instructors, who have been entrusted with the responsibility of teaching programming can’t write real code.

I am not suggesting that all engineers in India are clueless, or that all of the academicians are incompetent. However, a disappointingly large fraction is. Installing an Operating System has very little to do with Engineering. However, it does exemplify a lack of willingness or aptitude for even very rudimentary problem solving.

Undoubtedly, there is a lot that is wrong about the education system in India. However, it will also be wrong to ignore the positive impact that education has already had on India. Yes, quantity currently supersedes quality in India. However, most people will probably prefer the current situation over the situation ten or fifteen years back. Sridhar Vembu, the founder of ZOHO, very effectively pointed out the positive impact that even these substandard educational institutes are having on the society. In his own words,

The education for the most part was of poor quality, but that does not matter, because of what I have called the Placebo effect of education. What it confers is confidence, while the real knowledge is gained on the job – which is why dropping out of college doesn’t do much damage to upper-middle-class kids, who presumably already have an ample supply of confidence.

Most good things in India happen in spite of the government, and not because of it. When the quality of Engineering graduates picks up, it will also be because of a combination of factors that will have very little to do with the ministry of education. It might be because some premier institute decided to lead the way by encouraging hacker culture, instead of learning by rote. It might be because of the opening up of new lucrative career paths as the Indian economy grows and flourishes, which will reduce the (false) compulsion that most students feel to get into an engineering college, which in turn will lead to new batches of engineering students who will study engineering not because it will improve their chances of getting a job, but because they truly want to understand how stuff works and they want to build things. Among those will be several brilliant minds that will be able to dream big enough to change the world.

Image via OpenClipArt

Twitter’s #DickMove

If you are a Twitter user, you have probably heard about the sweeping changes made by Twitter to the Twitter API ToS (Terms of Service). In one fell swoop, Twitter’s platform lead Ryan Sarver outlawed all new Twitter clients. The justification offered was that Twitter wants to provide a consistent user experience in order to avoid confusing users. Of course, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Twitter’s real motivation is something a lot less noble.


Back in 2009, when Twitter was experiencing tearaway growth, the billion dollar question in everyone’s mind was how will Twitter manage to generate enough revenue to become profitable. Two years on, we have a better idea. Besides selling access to search engines like Google and Bing, Twitter is using various promoted products (promoted trends, promoted accounts and promoted tweets) to generate revenue. The recent inclusion of the #dickbar in the iOS app suggests that Twitter is about to get more aggressive about monetization. Unfortunately, if a large number of users continue to prefer third party apps, Twitter might find it harder to generate enough revenue. And, that is the single biggest motivation for Twitter’s recent ToS changes. If maintaining consistent user experience is all they were worried about, they could have easily made third party apps fall in line by introducing a few additional clauses to the ToS, instead of abolishing them.

MG Siegler has done a comparison of the old ToS with the new one. The most telling bit is that Twitter has gone from wanting to empower our ecosystem partners to build valuable businessesto empower our ecosystem partners to build valuable tools.

As you might expect, most developers aren’t bemused. Twitter started off as simple service intended for sharing what you are currently doing with your friends. Now, it is being used for everything from organizing protests to proposing one’s girlfriend. Twitter itself has gone from asking “What are you doing?” to “What’s happening?. The credit for the evolution of Twitter lies with its ecosystem, which includes both users and third-party developers.

Fred Oliveira eloquently explained why the recent ToS change is a #dickmove in an open letter to Twitter. Twitter’s dramatic change of policy will not only anger developers, but also users. To quote Oliveira:

Lack of trust (like what developers are feeling right now) trickles down through the ecosystem and to the users’ ears.
I just don’t see this as a time when you can just tell developers you don’t need their clients anymore. Find ways to monetize your service by putting up sensible rules and guidelines, not walls.

However, there is another issue that Oliveira missed. From the very beginning, it is the ecosystem that defined and redefined Twitter. The list of features that were first seen in third-party clients and were later adopted by Twitter is fairly lengthy. It includes features like retweets, trends, lists, flickr integration, YouTube integration, URL shortening and so on. In brief, Twitter clients have been responsible for major innovations, and they have helped shape Twitter. By preventing the entry of third-party apps, Twitter will also be stifling innovation.

Twitter raised large sums of money in its funding rounds. It is obviously under pressure to start generating serious revenue soon. However, it seems to be willing to betray developers, annoy users, and damage the entire ecosystem in the process. The big question is can they afford to continue pissing off developers and users? Is the core product compelling enough to make users and developers stick around irrespective of Twitter’s betrayal? I have a feeling that if Twitter continues to be irreverent towards developers, in the long run, these very decisions might come back to haunt Dick Costolo and Twitter.

Building A Business Around Someone Else’s Could Mean Disaster

I have had some really big ideas to build around WordPress. I had wireframes ready for them, had all business plans ready and more. However, when I went to an investor to get funding for it, I came back empty handed. The reason was because though my ideas were not innovative, but no one willing to put much money into it because of the fact that it relied on someone else’s business.


This rejection thought me a big lesson in life and there were several things I learnt from the Investors who rejected my idea. One of the most important lessons I learnt was to never build a business based on someone else’s business. There are quite a few problems. I’ll quote some reasons below:

  • You rely on someone else’s business for your own business. This is the cardinal sin of creating a business in the first place.
  • When the business in question builds something you have built, your business is potentially killed rendering all your hard work and marketing useless.
  • There will be competitors who will try to do better (remember first is not always best in startups) and take off and your business may collapse.
  • The business you are building around could just collapse rendering all your hard work useless.
  • The business you built around could change their terms of use rendering all your hard work useless.

Well, these are just some of the lessons I learnt from a brilliant idea which collapsed like a pack of cards. The idea would work, it would have worked great in the short term, but in the end it would collapse because of the fact that I don’t really have control over how things would work out considering all the above problems I listed out.

Also Read: Is Twitter a Reliable Service to Build Your Business Around?

Of course there are success stories which are built upon these businesses, for example on we all came across Farmville at some point of time. The game was created by Zynga, a company which relied solely on Facebook for it’s income before diversifying and becoming a billion dollar company today. There are more examples like these which will lure you into building around someone else, but there are also 100 times more failures.

Quite recently,  asked developers to stop developing new apps to display Tweets because they wanted to control how tweets are displayed and how information is delivered to their users. This new change has caused quite a lot of hue and cry among the developer community, and for valid reasons.

However, the storm will die and developers will stop developing apps for Twitter, but what about people who already put in years of efforts into developing those great clients? Does everything go to waste? Would the folks behind have to shut shop? Well, most likely the popular clients will survive, but the smaller clients would eventually wind up. In the end, Twitter can block your service like they did recently with UberTwitter and twidroyd and render your app/business useless.

Of course, this does not mean that you should not use Twitter or Facebook as part of your business. However, it is better to limit the amount of functionality they bring to your business. Building your business solely around Twitter or Facebook or for that matter any other service would be disastrous in the long run and is definitely best avoided.

I am not a businessman per se, but I have seen enough in the past 10-12 years to really understand that it is always better to build something and then integrate other services as part of it, rather than building a service around something.

I would be more than interested in knowing your thoughts about this and would love to learn your experiences on developing apps and your feelings about Twitter’s recent move. The comments form are all yours.

Image Credit: Contractor Business Profits

Life Without An Android Smartphone

Last July, I purchased my first ever Android phone the Galaxy S. Since then, I have shifted from one Android phone to another after every few months. My Android based smartphone had become a very integral part of my life. I need it for tweeting and checking mails on the move, trying out new apps etc.

I never thought how my life would be without my Android phone. Then one fine morning the microphone on my Desire Z stopped working. I had to give it to the service center for a replacement. HTC promised me that I will get a replacement phone within a week, but it was only after 15 days and tons of phone calls that I got a replacement phone.


Nevertheless, when I gave my Desire Z to the service center, I was totally devastated! I had no idea how I was going to spend the upcoming days without my beloved Android handset. Since I did not have any spare Android handset with me, I had to use a Nokia 6681 for the time being. I had all my contacts backed up to Google Contacts, and the 6681 had no option of syncing with it. The only option I was left was with, was to save some important numbers in the phonebook of the handset.

For the next week, what I went through without my beloved Zee phone was nothing short of torture. More than the phone’ itself, I was missing apps like Remote For iTunes, TweetDeck, My Tracks, Google Maps and RunKeeper which I use on a day-to-day basis. The thing I missed the most? Push email and calendar entries reminder!


The basic and the most important feature of a phone, the calling part, was something which I did not miss at all. The Nokia 6681 was as good as the Z in network reception and the call quality was above average as well. I do understand that the Nokia 6681 is a smartphone’ in its own right, and I could have simply pimped the phone to make my life a little less miserable.

However, after using phones with speedy 1 GHz processor and tons of RAM, the 6681 felt downright slow! I felt pity on the poor soul, and decided against pimping it for my needs.

All this just proves that with time we, the users, have started expecting much more from our smartphones, than just fulfilling our basic telephony and messaging needs. We need a small device in our hands that can help us find our way through unknown roads, let us know what our friends are having for breakfast, make our day-to-day life much better, and in the end help us to connect to our near and dear ones via phone calls and SMS’s.

Using Multiple CPM Ad Sizes To Increase Your Earnings

I have been a webmaster for a long time now and understand the nuances of increasing earnings through subtle changes. You might have already read my tips to increase your AdSense income, so today I will try and put some effort into explaining how you can increase your CPM advertising earnings.

CPM Advertising

First of all, CPM earnings are based on per thousand impressions (read Wikipedia definition). This means that you get paid a certain amount of money for every 1000 visitors who see those ads. This is a standard way of looking at CPM ads. However, what many don’t know is that the CPM of ads are also based on the number of clicks those ads get.

Let me make this clear though, you don’t get paid for the clicks on CPM banners, but those clicks help in increasing the CPM rates on your website. It also helps in attracting better advertisers to your website. After all, no one would pay you if the advertisement money they put in does not gain them any customers, would they?

Important Note: Just like , clicking on your own CPM ads or asking someone to do it for you will not help you. Let it happen naturally and you will benefit in the long run.

I would like to now elaborate on the topic this post is about. First of all, IAB (International Advertising Bureau) have certain standard ad sizes which are common to all ad networks. You might be familiar with those ad sizes, let me list it out if you are not.

IAB Ad Sizes

  • 728×90 (Banner)
  • 468×60 (Banner)
  • 120×600 (Leaderboard)
  • 160×600 (Leaderboard)
  • 300×250 (Rectangle)
  • 300×600 (Half Page)

You might have used all these banners on your site at some point or the other. As you can see, some of sizes of the ads are small while some are large. The common misconception among webmasters is that larger the banner the more they will get paid.

However, this is a wrong. The banner size does not really determine how much you will get paid , it is based on several factors including the click-through rates of the banners you have.

For example, in some cases a 468×60 banner will pay you more than a 728×90 banner and so on. In many other cases, you will earn more based on how many clicks you earn. However, if you have 10 such banners and don’t get any clicks on most of them you will end up earning 0.01 CPM on them.

Making the calculation as to which banner will pay you more is definitely a hard and tedious process. More often than not you might lose out on earnings because you decided to ignore a higher paying banner because of it’s size.

This is the reason why several ad networks provide users with an option to club multiple banner sizes together. It means that you can club a 728×90 and 468×60 banner together and leave it up to the advertising network to display the best possible ad size with the highest paying CPM.

So it is better to choose ads which serve multiple sized banners based on best CPM rates. For example, most ad providers provide users with either a 728×90 ad or 468×60 ad, a 120×600 ad or 160×600 ad or a 300×250 ad or 300×600 ad.

I would suggest that you use these combinations if you have appropriate ad space on your site, because it would mean that the advertising network will always display the highest paying ad in any of the sizes provided in these combinations. I have always used this mantra to make sure that I don’t have to deal with managing which ad size works best for me and which one pays higher.

If your ad network does not provide you with combination ads, you could always email them to ask them about it. You will always find the best CPM ad networks (coming up shortly) around and use it.


I am pretty upbeat about the tips in this article and can tell you that I am confident enough that they will work. However, there is something I should let you know.

Don’t take anything at face value. It takes a lot of tweaking to get the best performing units for your individual website and more often than not you need to analyze your own performance yourself.

Me saying that these things will work should be taken as a tip, however, you still need to check your statistics to understand whether something is working or not. All ad networks provide you with useful statistics which will help you determine the best performing units. So put an effort to learn and understand your advertising networks performances before you just jump ahead and start searching for the best ways to make more money from your website.

I would definitely be interested in learning your strategy on ad placement and whether or not you find these tips useful. Also, if you haven’t been using these tips make sure to tell me if they work or don’t.

I am planning to do a lot more posts about effectively earning more money from your website and you will find all of those under section, so make sure to keep checking back for more tips and tricks in making your website a success.

Image Credit: Is Not Dying, and Here’s Why is an interesting company. It started off as two different projects one involving online radio, and one involving recommendations. It was born as the internet was beginning to recover from the dot-com bubble burst. While might no longer be the coolest kid in the town, a lot of people, including me, still have a soft spot for it. Naturally, when I first noticed the title of Stefan’s TNW editorial How long is gonna last?, I was outraged. How dare he! But as I read his post and deliberated on the issue, I could see why he had arrived at the conclusion that is heading towards oblivion.

I may not have been the earliest adopter of, but I had joined it at a time when it was still considered hip and fun. Besides MySpace, was the go to website for music lovers. It had the neat ability to generate charts based on what I had been listening to. Of course, those charts weren’t generated in real-time, because back then almost nothing on the web was real-time. I would check multiple times at the beginning of a week to see if the charts had been updated. I had friends, who would do the same. We would spend hours every week comparing each other’s tastes, checking out suggestions, browsing through the most popular artists, etcetera etcetera. In short, I loved

Then in 2007, got acquired by CBS (and I went to college). As always, the news was treated with cautious optimism. While CBS had the money and influence to expand’s reach, it could also potentially spell trouble for the website by taking away its trendiness.

Next year, rolled out a design overhaul that added several new features, and made dozens of modifications. Although a certain (vocal) section of’s dedicated user base didn’t like the changes, my impressions were mostly positive. It allayed my fears about stagnation at the hands of a large corporation.

Unfortunately, since then, it has been mostly one bit of negative news after another. stopped providing free streams to everyone other than users based in US, UK and Germany. It allegedly leaked user data to RIAA. The founders left the company. It stopped providing free preview streams for a large percentage of the tracks. And last month, it stopped its free mobile service even in countries like UK, US and Germany.

Being a web based content-provider in the music industry is tough. The record labels are still mostly clueless about the web as a content distribution medium. I would have to admit that most of the stuff I mentioned above were things beyond’s control. However, that doesn’t change the fact that they happened, and that they had an overall negative impact on the product’s quality and value. In the meantime, Spotify has come along, and conquered Western Europe. Grooveshark has won accolades by offering high quality music for free to everyone.

To make things worse, as a product has stagnated. There has been very little in the way of new features over the past few years. The charting and recommendation engines are the differentiating factors for However, they have seen little in the way of improvements in the last four years. Tight integration of charts with profiles and communities has the potential to make an attractive destination for music lovers. But the once coolest kid in the block seems to have lost all its creative energy.

So, are’s days numbered? I don’t think so. Although I agree with Stefan’s overall assessment of, I believe that is still quite far from heading towards oblivion. It might have lost its chance to become the king of online radio; however, its core product is as appealing as it was five years back. might no longer be chic, but it still is useful. Even switching to a premium model didn’t make users stop coming back, because is a lot more than just an online radio. The thing that makes users coming back to is Audioscrobbler, which works from pretty much any music player, and any device.

While I don’t believe that is not going to go anywhere anytime soon, I would love to see regain its edge. It needs to reorient its website and applications to make them an integral part of a music enthusiast’s life, instead of just being a website you visit a few times a week. has to increase user engagement, and one way to do so is to completely revamp user pages. The shoutbox is currently relegated to the bottom of the page where it is mostly ignored by users. If wants to increase the amount of time users spend on their website, it has to find a way to make users interact with their friends more. The homepage has to do more than just displaying what my friends are listening to now. It needs to implement a site-wide playlist to encourage users to listen to music without using the desktop client. The mobile apps should encourage users to shout out their opinion. should also try out of the box revenue generation mechanisms like allowing users to purchase and dedicate songs to loved ones. I don’t want to see turning into a Facebook, but it needs to leverage the huge pile of data it is sitting upon better.

What do you think? Do you agree with Stefan? Do you still use Drop a line and let us know.