Tag Archives: Meebo

So You Want to Kick the Google Habit? [Editorial]

Google-Logo

 

Google Everywhere

It is hard to go online today without touching one or more Google products or services. If it is not search, it may be email, YouTube, Blogger, Picasa, Docs, or Calendar. Google has truly blanketed us with their web-based app offerings. Heck, even the Google Doodle is a conversation topic!

In this editorial, I shall discuss how you can kick the Google habit, what I am using now as alternatives and why you probably won’t be able to replace certain Google products today. Ready to move away from Google? First, some background.

Why un-Google?

Some of the reasons I personally decided to look for alternatives:

  • Google became a part of virtually everything I did online. I used GMail, Google Reader, Google Finance, Blogger, Picasa, Picasa Web, Google Docs, Google Search, Google Calendar and Google Maps. I felt uncomfortable putting such a large portion of my online life in Google’s hands.
  • Google morphed from the cool little startup building fun stuff for consumers, to a dominant public company whose revenues essentially came from just one product. That’s the key most (96%) of its revenues (and profits) came from search advertising. In other words, it needed other ways to make money. The most obvious way to do so would be to extend the arm of advertising, their main revenue-generating product, into other products. I realized I was the merchandise.
  • Google seemed to get Apple and Facebook envy. Apple was growing rapidly across all their product lines and at very high profit margins, and Facebook was taking eyeballs and key talent away from Google. This led to some bad attempts to mock Apple and Facebook publicly, which of course delighted the Google developer and enthusiast community but came off as being negative to me. If you make a great product, you don’t need a negative campaign.
  • Aside from philosophy, some of the competing products started becoming better, and Google’s products started getting worse (more on that within my descriptions) prompting me to start Project Un-Google which was an effort to use fewer and fewer Google products, hopefully reaching a point where I did not depend on any Google product at all.

Whether it is for philosophy, or hedging your web app bets, it is good to know there is life outside Google when it comes to products and services online and offline. There is usually a strong resistance to change, especially if you have a long history with a product. There is a high cost for transferring the old stuff, and learning your way around a new product/service. However, these challenges are not insurmountable, and I hope you take a look at some or all of the products I list here as an alternative to Google. If you have ideas of other products I may not have mentioned, please let me know!

Popular Google products

Here are some of the Google products/services I will be comparing to competition:

  • Search
  • Picasa
  • GMail
  • Calendar
  • Documents
  • Groups
  • Finance
  • Blogger
  • Chrome
  • Maps/Directions
  • Talk/Chat/Voice

I realize Google has many more products, appsand services, but I did not look at products like Book Search which are very niche. My attempt here is to look at the commonly used products and services only.

How To Delete Your Account From Any Social Network or Web Service

Tired of Facebook? Getting lots of spam on your Meebo account? Don’t think you need Last.fm service any more? If you have a desire to delete any of your social network, blogging or email account but just don’t know how to do that, DeleteYourAccount is a great resource to learn that.

DeleteYourAccount is a simple website that contains detailed instructions on how to delete your account from major web services including direct links to pages or email addresses you need. Simply browse through the alphabetical listing to find your desired web service or look it up using the search box. You can also check out the web services that have recently been added or web services that are popular.

If you delete your account by following the instructions but realize you didn’t want that, the website also has detailed instructions on how to get it back. This information, however, is not available for all the services. As of now, you can find instructions on deleting your account for around 25 different web services. This makes me wish for an app where I can provide my username/password for different web services and automatically get my account deleted without doing any manual steps.

Delete Your Account

XAuth: A New Social Sharing Service To Take On Facebook Connect

With 400 Million users and a FacebookConnect button on thousands of websites, Facebook is slowly monopolizing the way people do social sharing. Not any more. Meebo, the company behind Meebo Bar and web-based chat platform is introducing a new way for people to share links.

Instead of giving users 10, 15 or 20 top social bookmarking sites to choose from, XAuth will find out what services the site visitor uses and prompt them to log-in so they can share stuff with friends on those networks. It completely eliminates the need to guess is visitors to a site would be more interested in Digg or Reddit or StumbleUpon. What makes XAuth seriously competitive to FacebookConnect is the fact that Google, MySpace and Yahoo! have already joined in.

XAuth

This is how XAuth would work. When a visitor comes to Techie-Buzz, XAuth will ping all participating social networks like MySpace and Yahoo! and Google Buzz to see which of these services are used by the visitor. Whichever services return a positive reply, will be displayed to the user. For Meebo, it provides another opportunity to display more ads and make some money. For other networks who will opt-in, it will just provide a way to counter the growing share of FacebookConnect on social sharing.

There are ofcourse privacy implications because not every user would want every website in the world to know what social networks it uses. For example, if a NSFW or adult website implements the XAuth system, it can also get information about the social networks you use, something most of the people would not like due to privacy concerns.

[Image Credit: VentureBeat]