There was a time once when Tumblr and Posterous were in a tough battle for the short-blogging space. The battle is long over. Tumblr has emerged as the undefeated champion and Posterous has barely managed to stay afloat. In the last one year, Posterous shifted its focus from competing with Tumblr, to group conversation. It has worked well for Posterous and it managed to stay in business.
However, the latest development at Posterous is great news for them. Twitter just acquired Posterous. The Posterous blog has announced this acquisition saying,
The opportunities in front of Twitter are exciting, and we couldn’t be happier about bringing our team’s expertise to a product that reaches hundreds of millions of users around the globe. Plus, the people at Twitter are genuinely nice folks who share our vision for making sharing simpler.
Along with the technology, Twitter also let in the Posterous team, which includes product managers and engineers.
The Posterous team has promised that all the existing services at Posterous (like Posterous Spaces) will continue to be live and the withdrawal of any service will be announced well in advance. Additionally, instructions for backup of data and other artifacts stored with Posterous accounts will be announced soon. This is a bit confusing, as on one hand, the Posterous team suggests that they will keep all their current offerings live, and on the other hand, they are promising prior withdrawal notices.
It is unclear whether Posterous will meet its fate eventually, but the Posterous team will definitely be a valuable addition at Twitter.
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.
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:
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.
Google’s free blogging platform and competitor to WordPress, Blogger, might be one of the biggest source of spam websites and douche bags who leech our hard written work, but it surprisingly has a 100% uptime record in tests conducted over two months by Royal Pingdom.
In a new report released today, the folks at Pingdom tested several blogging platforms including Blogger, WordPress.com, TypePad, Tumblr and Posterours. Surprisingly they left out Drupal from their tests.
Nevertheless, according to their test results, the Blogger platform had the best uptime, which was 100% and was followed by WordPress and TypePad. The worst service was Tumblr, who have been facing some terrible downtimes due to database crashes and 4Chan rage. Over a period of two months, Tumblr was down for over 47.5 hours, their database outage itself had lasted for more than 24 hours.
WordPress and TypePad did have downtimes too, but they had fairly good uptimes at around 99.99%, so most of the downtimes were negligible. On the other hand Posterours were down for 2.1 hours in the past two hours, which is not bad considering that they are seeing a huge influx of casual bloggers posting there.
Overall, Blogger was the winner, however, the amount of spam out there is really concerning. One of the major reasons why you see more spam on Blogger is because unlike WordPress, free Blogger accounts can use advertisements on their websites. Hopefully, Google should work more towards cleaning up the spam on their property, after all they do that all the time for Google Search.
Tumblr and Posterous have fought a tough battle over the last few years for supremacy in the short-blogging service. Each one tried to attract users with more features. However, now the battle is nearing its end and Tumblr stands at a much better position.
Considering the fact that even as I started my short-blog a few days ago, I chose Tumblr over Posterous, I am happy to be with a better service. My idea of Tumblr and the notion about Posterous (which eventually cancelled it off my choice list) was developed after a simple opinion search on Google. Almost everyone prefers Tumblr to Posterous. Put simply, my point here is, Tumblr had won long before I or Richard MacManus at the ReadWriteWeb covered this.
The view has already been shared by a co-author here at Techie-Buzz, Tehseen Baweja who correctly predicted the scenario some months ago in this coverage.
Tumblr lost a considerable amount of customers when Posterous came into existence and lured them away. ReadWriteWeb’s coverage shows Compete and Quantcast stats as considerable proof of the fact. So, the question here is, what made Tumblr stand the tides of time and survive?
Tumblr has the advantage of being the first name in the field. This allowed it to start the show and many corporate brands started their blogs on Tumblr. The unique features of Tumblr was viewing and commenting on friend blogs from the dashboard. This allowed Tumblr to socialize its blogs and build a network around them all.
When combined, it created a perfect blend of things you would want to do on a blogging service like WordPress as well as on a microblogging service like Twitter.
Tumblr might be the next big thing and now is the right time to join it. You can also also setup Tumblr on your personal domain and this desktop client makes using Tumblr a lot easier.