Many user behavior studies show that users spend most of their time in viewing top left hand corner of the monitor hence this portion of the website (to some extent product as well) is the most valuable real estate hence this portion of the screen called “The Golden Triangle”. Studies show that some users don’t even scroll down beyond the golden triangle and most users hate horizontal scrolling. Given these user behavior and preferences, choosing a right screen resolution to design a website or product UI becomes far more important. If you chose a low resolution 800X600, most of the users can read the content without scrolling but you are not maximizing the content in the golden triangle. On the other hand, if you design for higher resolution then you will maximize the content but only a small set of users will view the content without scrolling.
One of the studies done by ‘Central Market Research & Insights group’ show that majority of the users use 1024×768 resolution monitors and only <10% of the users have 800×600. If you want to maximize the content in golden triangle but still want to cater to a large customer segment, you have to choose 1024×768. A webpage designed for 1024 x 768 will cater to ~ 85% of the user population.
(Screen Resolution Statistics Source: Central Market Research & Insights group) This is based on survey conducted across ~1500 people in Sep 08)
(Image Source: Eye-tracking studies: more than meets the eye from Google Blog)
I have multiple Linux machines at my home. Previously, when I needed SSH access to these machines I used to setup port forwarding on my router to each of these machines. It was a tedious process of enabling port forwarding and then disabling it after use. It was also difficult to remember port number forwarded for a particular machine. But now I found a cooler way to get SSH access to all my machines at home without setting up port forwarding or remembering any port numbers and most importantly, I can address my home machines with local subnet IP address, no matter wherever I connect from the internet.
- Remote machine with Putty installed in it.
- Home router’s internet accessible IP address or dynamic DNS (DDNS) address.
- One/more Linux/Windows machine(s) to which direct SSH access is required.
- On the router, port forwarding is enabled for SSH service to at least one of these machines.
The basic idea to get this working is that we make one initial SSH connection to our home machine. Then using this connection as a tunnel we can connect to any machines at home by addressing them with local sub-network address (such as 192.168.x.x). So the high level steps are:
- Open a putty session and configure it to act as a tunnel.
- From this session connect to your default SSH server at home.
- Open another putty session and configure it use the previous putty session as proxy.
- SSH connect to any machine at home using the local subnet IP address. Since we are using a proxy it will resolve the local subnet’s IP address properly.
- You can make any number of connections to all your home machines by just repeating steps (3) and (4).
Note: If on the remote network’s subnet is same as your home network’s subnet then you might run into IP conflicts.
1) On the remote system, open putty enter the IP address or dynamic DNS (DDNS) name in the host name field. Select “SSH” as connection type. Port 22 will be selected which can be left alone unless you run the SSH service on a different port. Note: Though your putty screen might look a little different than the one seen here due to version differences, the basic steps would be still the same
In our example,
Host Name = demo123.dyndns.org
2) In putty, on the left-hand navigation panel, open SSH option and select “Tunnels”.
In the tunnels screen, set these values
Source Port: 3000 (this is the port at which our proxy service listens to, this port can be changed to any but preferably a number larger than 1024)
Destination Port: (Leave Blank)
Finally, select “Dynamic” from the radio button options.
3) Important: Click “Add” to add the tunnel settings to the connection.
4) On left-hand navigation panel, move the scrollbar to the top and click session. You will be seeing the settings entered in step(1). Now we can save the whole connection settings. Add a name for this connection in the saved sessions textbox and click save.
5) Click open, to open connection to home machine, and enter login and password information for the remote machine. This user need not be root user, but it needs to be an user with network access on the remote machine. That brings to the end of putty configuration. Now you have a proxy tunnel connection from remote machine to one of the home machine. Now we are ready to connect to any home machine.
6) Open another putty session. Select the options “Proxy” from the navigation panel. On the right-side proxy options, enter only the following information. Don’t change any other settings.
Proxy type : select “SOCKS 4″
Proxy hostname : enter “localhost”
Port : 3000
7) Click on the “Session” option from the navigation panel. Enter a name under “Saved Sessions” text field. Don’t enter any information in the “Host Name” field. Now click “Save”. Now we have a template connection session using our proxy.
8 ) Now enter local subnet IP address of a machine at home and click open. The connection gets routed through the proxy tunnel and you will be connected to the home machine directly. Similarly you can connect to another home machine by opening putty and loading the template we created and just filling in the machine’s local subnet IP address.
BTW, if you think just SSH access is not cool enough, you can do more cool stuff like
- Listening to music stored at home
- Viewing/sharing photos at with friends and family
- Creating schedules, Todos, notes etc., securely at a home computer
Have you use IKEA’s shopping carts, versus ones in Walmart, ToysR US for instance? The difference is huge.
The bad shopping carts tend to run in one direction, steer doggedly against where you want to go and take a huge amount of patience just trying to move from one aisle to another. This can become more painful when the store is crowded and you are trying to pull off some tight maneuvers. While the ones I used recently in IKEA were a dream come true. They steer perfectly, the ride is perfect and is effortless to move around. If I can compare shopping carts to cars, the ones in IKEA have to be the Mercedes, while the rest are the equivalent of the now defunct Yugo.
So why do shopping carts matter and what point am I trying to get across?
Shopping carts matter a lot for stores, because that is what (most of) the customers use when trying to buy things. If their shopping carts cause frustration, are fussy, customers are more likely trying to make that thing move instead of looking wondrously at the goods at your store and potentially buying more of them. I am sure stores want their customers looking at their products rather than at the shopping cart’s handlebars.
The same analogy holds true for great UI. You want to make a UI that is effortless to navigate, takes the user where he wants to go without trying to frustrate him needlessly. Otherwise you end up with user interfaces that are much like bad shopping carts, that a user spends more time trying to figure out how to navigate than looking at the great features you provide. Build great shopping carts and then build great features.
PS: Walmart, fix those bad shopping carts please.
At a glance, Tonido looks like a simple way to get access to your system running Tonido and get access to your data. This is true for Tonido Webshare and Tonido Jukebox applications. But that is only half the story. Tonido has built in powerful p2p sharing technology that allows Tonido servers to connect to each other securely to transfer data.
Tonido Photos is one of the Tonido applications that is built to take advantage of the Tonido’s P2P engine. Tonido Group consists of a group of Tonido peers and is the fundamental unit of sharing data. Therefore, at least one group is needed to begin using Tonido Photos. This group may just consist of one user in which case no sharing will be done. Here is the partial list of Tonido Photos’ features
- Photo transfer
- Photo tag, comment, rate capability
- Photo organization and Slideshow
- Photo search
Let’s look a bit under the hood of Tonido Photos to understand how different it is from myriad other offerings. Since Tonido Photos uses the Tonido P2P engine, photos are transferred to other users in a group directly. The photos are NOT relayed, routed, stored in any third party servers. Photos once transferred are available locally and therefore can be accessed without internet connection with little latency.
Furthermore, the data transfer is encrypted using AES encryption for maximum security. No configuration is necessary such as port forwarding, router setting changes to make this work as it is all handled by Tonido’s P2P engine. It is as simple as selecting a folder to share with a group. Tonido Photos will do the rest!
Tonido Photos will monitor the shared folder and will transfer any changes and only the changes to the group members automatically. Tonido Photos user interface will monitor for any received photos or any new comments/tags/rating activity and update the view periodically.
Additionally, the members of the group can configure settings for each group to fit their needs such as the received images store location, group size limit etc. You can explore all available Tonido Photos settings by accessing “Settings” menu in the top right corner.
Tonido Photos UI can only display JPG image format, but Tonido photos will transfer multiple formats and best of all, there is NO size limit on the size of the photograph!
“Torrent Style” Transfer
Tonido P2P Data share engine uses torrent style transfer to optimize the transfer of photos. Therefore, every group member will participate in the transfer (subject to the global upload limit set by the user of course) resulting in much faster downloads. So, larger the group, faster the data transfer to a newly added group member!
Tonido Photos offers an array of features to interact with a photo. At the time of beta, the features are Commenting, Tag and Rating capability. This is available in the control panel on top of the photo detail view as shown.
A photo can be tagged by any member of a group using the control panel on top of photo and the tag will be available to every member of the group!
Tags associated with a photo are displayed when the thumbnail image of the photo is clicked to display the larger view. Tags can also be deleted by clicking the delete icon displayed with every tag
A photo can be commented by any member of the group and the comment will be transferred to every member of the group. The comments are displayed in the photo detail view. The latest comments are shown on top. At this time, Photo comments cannot be edited once added to a photo.
A Photo can be rated by any member of the group and the rating associated with a photograph will be transferred to all the group members. At this time photo ratings cannot be changed once rated!
Tonido Photos comes with powerful tools to organize photographs. Photos can be categorized based on user, group, favorites, tags, timeline, recent comments, top rated. These are accessible on the left navigation panel. Tonido Photos user interface monitors periodically for any change such as new received photos or comments and will update the view.
The views can be filtered further with additional criteria using the drop down menus.
The photos are displayed as thumbnail where possible. Tonido photos will try to generate thumbnail if the photo is of JPG format. For those that cannot be rendered or deleted, a default thumb nail will be displayed.
Additionally, photos can be viewed using the slideshow feature. Slideshow option will be displayed in all views where slideshow is supported.
Tonido Photos comes with a powerful search feature to search photos using name, comments etc
The results will be categorized based on the search hit.
So Why use Tonido Photos?
Tonido Photos’ primary mission is to make sharing of photos simple and secure while providing advanced features such as comment/rating/tag sharing capability. While there are specialist applications available in each of these areas, they all have disadvantages that cannot be ignored.
Disadvantages of web based photo applications
Services such as Flickr, Photo.net, Pbase, Photobucket, picasaweb provide easy to share photographs and collaborate over them but not without disadvantages such as
- Photos stored in third party servers with little control on who can view it/download it
- Limits on the size of photo
- Internet required to access the photograph
- Photo comments/ratings/tags available publically
- Service contracts could be changed at anytime
- Service could be discontinued at anytime (for example Sony’s ImageStation)
Disadvantages of desktop applications
Applications such as Picasa focuses more on photo organization and have no real capability to share other than to upload to picasaweb (an online location). Applications such as Memeoshare depend on storing the photos in third party servers and suffer from privacy and service interruption isssues.
Tonido Photos on the other hand provides complete control on who can access your photo without having to worry about privacy and security considerations. The photos are never stored or routed via third party servers and there is no limit on the size of the photo. The photos are available regardless of internet connectivity because the photos are downloaded right to the hard disk automatically. All comments/ratings/tags are shared ONLY with the group members removing the worry of abuse.
Tonido Photos is an evolving application and expect to see additional powerful functionalities added based on user feedback in future releases.
Interested? Download Tonido and try it out!
Both applications are designed to simplify photo sharing experience and save users from spending time in downloading and uploading photos. Users can form groups (Circles in Memeoshare and Tonido group in Tonido Photos) to share their photos. Group members need not upload or download photos, they automatically receive the photos.
For the first 10 minutes learning about these applications, they appear as if they are doing exact same functions. However, you will soon notice that there is a fundamental difference between these two applications. Tonido creates a private P2P network to transfer files among group. Tonido doesn’t use a third party server to store or channel user photos. In case of Memeoshare, it loads user photos into a central server and sends the photos from the server to other in the user group. Since Tonido doesn’t use a central server, it promises complete privacy — user communications or photo sharing is neither monitored nor stored in any server. This is a big advantage that Tondio Photos offers that no other photo sharing service offers.
Comparison By Feature
Photos vs. Memeo
Ease of Use: Sharing Photos
· Quick to install
· Easy steps to share
· Notification when new photos are received
· Quick to install
· Easy steps to share
· Notification when new photos are received
· Browse by user, group, tag
· Filter by date-time
· Browse by tag
· Option to rotate photos
· Users can set bandwidth to use
· Users can set size limit on group
· No such controls
· No one outside group can see what is shared by whom
· User communication/ data/ photos are neither monitored nor stored in any external servers
· Photos are stored in third party servers. Potential privacy concerns
· Uses 19MB RAM
· Uses 83MB RAM
Operate from anywhere and device
· Access Tonido from any device with standard browser
· Share new folder or create new group from anywhere
· Only view photos/videos from anywhere
· Cant create new group or share folders remotely
Porting to Facebook
· Not available in Beta. (in product roadmap)
· Easy to upload to Facebook
· Needs extra steps to set backup option
· Easy backup
· Absolute Privacy
· Extensible Platform (comes with other applications jukebox, workspace, webshare)
· More granular user controls
· Supports videos
· Easy backup option
· Option to upload to facebook
Photo Sharing in Tonido
1) Create a Profile (no email registration)
2) Create a Tonido group
3) Select a folder to share
4) View gallery in Tonido Photos
Photo Sharing in Memeo
1) Register a new user
2) Create a circle
3) Select a folder
4) View the gallery in http://share.memeo.com/
Footprint Comparing memory usage across Tonido and Memeo
A quick video of Tonido as a concept and and in action. Check it out.
Listening to music online is not a new concept to many internet users. However this habit has evolved more into listening to your own music collection online. With hardware prices getting dirt cheap and more users switching to faster internet connections (switching from dialup to cable/DSL), running your own personal radio station is fancier than ever.
In this article, we will take a look at the installation and configuration of two such software that lets user to run their own internet radio station.
(1) Tonido Jukebox – An application plugin from CodeLathe that runs on tonido platform.
(2) Jinzora – A PHP based web application that runs on LAMP stack.
Before proceeding with the installation let us look at the comparison of each of the above.
- Setup very trivial.
- Supported for different OS without any additional software stack.
- Very Low memory footprint. (about 10M for music collection with 50 songs)
- No need of separate Dynamic DNS (DDNS) setup.
- Automatic UPnP port forwarding available if supported by users router.
- Simplified user interface.
- Setup is more involved.
- Additional software stack (such as LAMP, WAMP, MAMP) will be needed depending on the target OS.
- More memory footprint. (about 50M for music collection with 50 songs)
- Needs registration with a DDNS provider if a URL access is needed.
- Automatic UPnP not available
- Complicated user interface.
Let us look at the steps involved in installing the above two on a windows platform.
Installation of Tonido Jukebox
Tonido Jukebox is an addon plugin for tonido platform. Jukebox is bundled with the default Tonido installation along with few more other applications. Tonido also has the advantage of automatic dynamic dns (DDNS), so accessing your Jukebox with a URL is possible without any extra DDNS configuration.
1) Download the latest Tonido from http://www.tonido.com/ . Click the downloaded file to run the setup.
2) In the windows security warning window, Click “Run” to run the setup.
3) In the Tonido setup welcome screen, click “Next”.
4) In the next screen, keep the default start menu folder. Click “Next”.
5) In the next screen, keep the defaults. Click “Next” to start the installation.
6) After installation, click “Finish” to conclude the installation and launch tonido.
7) Tonido UI opens in a browser window. Click on “Create Profile” to create a new user id.
8) Create a new user id by entering all the information and click on “Create”.
9) A new user id is created in your Tonido. This instance of Tonido is completly local to your PC and no information is stored in any thirdparty servers. Login to the account by entering the password and clicking “Login”.
10) In Tonido administration screen, click on Jukebox from the application list on the left navigation panel.
11) When Tonido Jukebox starts for the first time, it prompts the user to add MP3 song collection. Enter the path to your MP3 collection and click “Add”. 12) Finally Jukebox is up and running. All the necessary configurations are completed and ready for access from anywhere.
13) Tonido Jukebox is already configured for dynamic dns (DDNS). So now you can access Jukebox anywhere on the internet by using the URL (http://tuxan.tonidoid.com:10001/ui/jukebox/index.html), assuming tuxan is the user id and port forwarding is enabled. Goto www.tonido.com/support for more information on port forwarding.
Installation of Jinzora
Jinzora is a PHP based streaming application that works on top of a LAMP stack. So the steps include LAMP stack setup and then the Jinzora setup.
1) Download the latest LAMP stack from here. Click on the installer to start the installation. Click “Run” at the windows security warning window.
2) Click “Yes” on the setup warning window.
3) Click “Next” on the welcome screen.
4) In the next window, select “I accept the agreement” and click “Next”.
5) In the next window, do not change the default path and click “Next”.
6) In the next window, select the shortcuts options that needs to be created. Click “Next”.
7) Enter the SMTP server information if you have one. If not keep the defaults. Click “Next”.
8) When the installation is completed, click “Finish” to close the launcher.
9) Before proceeding with the Jinzora installation, the MySQL database user (root) should be assigned with a password.
Open URL(http://localhost/phpmyadmin/) on a web browser. Click on privileges. Edit root user and set a password.
10) After setting a password for root MySQL user, php admin application won’t be able to access MySQL database.
Edit the config file(Default : C:\wamp\apps\phpmyadmin3.1.3\config.inc.php).
Change the line from,
$cfg['Servers'][$i]['password'] = ”;
$cfg['Servers'][$i]['password'] = ‘password’;
Save the file and restart all servers from the windows system tray. Click on the WAMP icon and select “Restart All Services”.
11) Now its time to install Jinzora. Download the latest Jinzora installation from here. Open the zip file and copy the contents of the zip to apache web directory. (Default C:\wamp\www). After copying the contents the folder should look as follows.
12) Open a browser window and go to the URL (http://localhost/jinzora2/).
You will be greeted with the Jinzora welcome screen. Click “Proceed to Requirements” to move to the next screen.
13) Jinzora will check for the requirements and will show the results. If nothing major is found missing click on “Proceed to License”.
14) In the license screen, select “I Agree to the license terms” and click on “Proceed to Install Type”.
15) In the installation type screen, select “Standalone” as the installation type. In the Jukebox mode, select “Streaming Only” as the mode.
Click on the “Proceed to Main Settings”.
Streaming Mode : Music will be streamed to the remote client and the music is played at the client side.
Jukebox Mode: Music will be played at the server side.
15) In the main settings screen, enter user, password and theme details for the Jinzora webpages. Click on “Proceed to Backend Setup”.
16) In the backend settings screen, enter the password details for the MySQL root user. Select “True” for the option “Create Database”. Click on “Continue with Backend Install”
17) In the backend creation summary screen, the setup summary will be displayed. Click on “Proceed to Import Media”.
18) In the import media screen, enter the path of the music collection and click “Import Media”. After the import is done, click on “Proceed to Save Config”.
19) In the save config screen, config change results will be displayed. Click on “Proceed to Launch Jinzora”.
20) Jinzora frontend opens in the web browser. Jinzora can also be opened using the URL(http://localhost/jinzora2/index.php) from a web browser.
21) When the web page is opened, a login prompt will be displayed. Before proceeding with the login delete the install directory under the Jinzora web directory.
(Default : C:\wamp\www\jinzora2\install).
22) Now in the browser window enter login id and password (admin/xxxx) to login to Jinzora.
23) Now that you have Jinzora up and running, next step is to configure access to Jinzora from anywhere on internet. Unlike Tonido Jukebox, Jinzora doesn’t support Dynamic DNS (DDNS) automatically. DDNS for Jinzora can be setup following the instructions here.
Tonido Workspace is a powerful application that is part of the Tonido Platform. It is a personal information manager and a P2P group collaboration application. Nearest competitor to Tonido Workspace is Microsoft’s Groove application. To those who don’t know, from Wikipedia,
“Microsoft Groove’s core concept is the shared workspace , which consists of a set of files to be shared, plus some aids for group collaboration. Groove users can create workspaces, add documents, and invite other Groove members to a workspace. A user that responds to an invitation is made an active member of that workspace. Each member has privately editable copy of the workspace. Users interact and collaborate in the common workspace which is a private virtual location. All changes are tracked by Groove, sent to all members and all copies of the workspace are synchronized via the network in a peer-to-peer manner.”
This exactly describes Tonido Workspace as well. Tonido Workspace allows you to setup a shared workspace that is shared among a set of group members. Each group member needs to have Tonido installed and the Tonido Workspace application enabled. A group member can invite another group member to be part of the workspace. Once they accept, they will get a privately editable copy of the workspace. Users interact and collaborate via the workspace. These changes are tracked by Tonido workspace, sent to all members of the group via the Tonido P2P network.
So in this post, we will describe some of the features of Tonido Workspace and how it compares with Microsoft Groove.
Before we do that, let us look at the base set of features that Microsoft Groove has and compare that with Tonido Workspace. Instead of using the usual set of hundreds of features most sales materials use, let’s look at a list of general features as listed on a slashdot posting.
1. It’s a rich client in a Web 2.0 world – which means you will see people running it on an airplane (also, incidentally, where you don’t see any Web apps running)
Tonido Workspace is a rich client in a Web 2.0 world. It works online or offline, whether you are at work, at a customer site or on a plane.
2. It runs a distributed directory, so people can collaborate across organizational boundaries without requiring IT to modify directory systems (a challenge that has been vexing the industry for at least 15 years now)
Tonido Workspace uses a fully distributed identity management of Tonido Network. People can fully collaborate across organizations. And if your enterprise requires it, you can run your own custom Tonido Domain Server (TDS), with fully custom IDs (email@example.com)
3. It navigates across firewalls to create a “live” peer-based connection between Groove users – features are presence, awareness, instant messaging, and a whole raft of collaborative tools like file sharing, calendars, discussion threads, and customizable forms.
Tonido Workspace runs on top of the Tonido P2P network. Tonido P2P network establishes fully direct p2p connection between Tonido Group users. Tonido Workspace shows whether a peer is online or offline, chat and a bunch of collaboration tools like a shared calendar, discussions, tasks, contacts and files.
4. Security is built-in from the ground up – every user is authenticated, which has proven to effectively limit spam, viruses and other malware, and all work is protected with FIPS-approved 192bit AES encryption on disk and over the network.
Tonido Workspace runs on top of the Tonido P2P network. Every user is authenticated, all network transmission is via 256 bit AES encryption. Encryption support for Workspace data on disk is coming soon.
5. Trust. Only the people designated to read information you choose to share will have the keys to unlock it. That means that an errant sys admin cannot view Groove workspaces or intercept data intended for another recipient.
Workspace data is transmitted directly between peers. It is never transmitted to third-parties, never relayed through the Tonido DS. The data transmitted across the wire can only be unencrypted by the other party; since the shared key for the session is setup using Diffie-Helman key exchange.
6. Synchronization. This actually should have been first, since at the core, Groove is a great big XML message switch. Here’s where you’ll find the patents. Groove has a very robust synchronization engine that ensures that all documents, files, messages, changes to a workspace, etc. are synchronized with all members, whether they are online or offline. This is a hugely complicated endeavor that the Groove team has been working on since the Lotus Notes days – and they KNOW how to do it right.
This is subjective, but Tonido Workspace also has a full-fledged robust data sync framework with can work with any type of data. The sync feature in Workspace allows all objects to get synchronized whether the group member was online or offline; allows you to resolve conflicts on objects, in case two members edited the same object before synchronization.
Advantages of Tonido Workspace
So far you can see that Workspace matches Groove in most of the main features and functions. Now we will see where Workspace is better.
1. Browser based
Tonido Workspace UI is via the browser. This offers a huge advantage over a normal rich UI. Say for example you have Workspace installed in one machine, you don’t need to install Workspace in 3 other machines just to access your workspace. You can simply access it from another machine. Even better, you can even access it from your mobile phone browser in a pinch.
Tonido runs on all OS variants unlike Microsoft Groove. It hardly matters which OS you wish to use.
3. Hierarchical Organization of Data
In Groove, objects are all straight jacketed to a single type. In the discussion forum tool, you can only add comments or topics. In Tonido Workspace, however, any object can be children to any other type. In a discussion forum, you can add child comments, attach files, attach a note, even attach tasks to be completed. Groove requires you to work within their boundaries while Tonido Workspace is flexible enough not to impose those boundaries. Want to add a reminder for an object, just add a child calendar event and it will appear in your calendar.
It is unknown what Groove really costs an enterprise, but it is probably hundreds of dollars, and thousands more if you want to run the Groove server internally. Tonido Workspace will be a fraction of the cost for small business and enterprises.
Missing Features/Cons in Tonido Workspace compared to Groove
1. More variety of Tools
Groove offers a variety of tools that can be integrated into a workspace. Tonido Workspace offers less. But we believe less is more especially if the less is better integrated with each other and offers a better user experience.
2. Relay Capability
Groove has relay capability so that if peers cannot directly connect to each other, it relays information between them. Tonido, however does not relay information at all. All connections are peer-to-peer. However, there are two mitigating factors.
1. Tonido Workspace can synchronize group information through any set of connected peers. If there are 3 peers (A, B, C), and A connects to B and C, but B and C cannot directly connect to each other. Information added by B and C will still propagate to each other through A.
2. CodeLathe hosted Relays. CodeLathe will host relays that will be always online, and which can be added to your groups as regular members for a nominal monthly costs. Since these relays will be always be on and it will always have internet access, you can depend on syncing information to the group irrespective of whether or when anyone is online.
Screenshots of Key Features in Groove and Comparable Feature in Workspace
Online Contact Options
Contacts (Only in Workspace)
Learn more about Tonido Workspace and how you can use it to work seamlessly, securely, privately with distributed teams.
Most of the search algorithms learn and improve as more people do more searches. As algorithm improves, it produces better results and attracts more users to use the engine. On the flip side, if an engine doesn’t have enough volume of people doing searches, it cannot learn and improve its algorithms, thus wouldn’t be attracting users. This is a vicious cycle – you need more people to attract more people a.k.a “Network Effect”.
A leader like Google, who has head start and share in the game, is already in an advantaged position. With its 70% market share, Google continues to improve its algorithm and extends its lead by improving its search results. This positive reinforcement is evident from the market share growth that Google experiencing for the past 3 years.
Advertisers want to place their ads only in engines which can maximize their spend by showing their ads to a variety of searchers. Unless an engine has enough scale, advertisers will not be ready to spend money and time for small share of consumer eyeballs. Even if they spend, they wouldn’t pay as much as they are ready to pay in Google platform. Moreover, ad platforms are auction based hence if a search engine wants higher price per click, it should attract more advertisers to bid on keywords. Since Google has large enough users to attract advertisers to compete for keywords, Google will get 2-3X price for same keyword than any other search engine. With its scale, not only Google continually improves its algorithm, it gets higher price for its inventory hence higher revenue per user.
Search is high investment business where table stakes are high. Company like Google has millions worth of server farms and data centers that are continuously indexing web content and serving query results in blazing speed. Whether an engine serve 1 million users or 200m users, it has to invest in servers which is a fixed cost. Marginal cost of serving an additional query is very less and almost entire price through ad is profit. Hence profitability also improves as scale increases.
Given higher price for click and higher profitability, Google can share more profit with content providers. This attracts more content providers to choose Google Ad platform over other search engines. In turn, Google gets content for its tailend queries and helps it to give results that are deep. This reinforces its lead in term of better results and more users.
Given the above reasons size is important. For a small player, it is extremely difficult to improve algorithm, attract advertisers, maximize investment and attract content network.
For a startup it poses huge entry barrier to cross and compete against Google or Yahoo. Most of the startup in this space know they can’t compete directly against big players and these startups hope that one of big search engines will acquire them. E.g Powerset was acquired by Microsoft. As a small startup competing against Goliaths, we at Codelathe understand the tough path ahead these startups, and we wish them good luck.
Traffic for a website is driven by number of users, and visits/user. In addition to user visits, time spent in the website or in an internet activity is a key metric to understand trends among web consumers. Visits/user and time spent by a user collectively define user involvement. Here are the some trends in users and user involvement in various internet activities – search, portal and social networking.
- Nearly 90% of all US Internet users visit a search engine in a month. An average user makes close to 24 visits in the month and spends average 2 minutes each time a user visits a search engine. (Source: Comscore January 2009)
- Number of Internet users who have a search engine for their home page has grown significantly. 21% of Internet users said that their home page is a search page such as Google — more than double the response in 2005. On the other hand, % of users, who set an Internet portal (Yahoo, America Online, or MSN) as their home page, is continuously declining. (Source: Daily Internet Activities (May 08, US, Pew/Internet)
- Apart from decline in portals as homepages, overall pageviews for portal websites usage is declining. Though the usage is declining, portals still get almost twice as many visits as a search engine gets. Not all portals are performing poorly. Yahoo’s portal usage and pageviews are growing while others are declining. Yahoo has consistently shown growth through building a very strong user community that uses multiple Yahoo Services.