Friday, February 12, 2010

My brief comment on iPad, Siri, GBuzz, and Aardvark Acquisition

Due to my schedule, I do not have time to make intensive posts that explore the news in depth as I used to do. To celebrate the Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day (this year they happen to be in the same day, Feb. 14) together with the Thinking Space readers, however, I would like to share my brief comment on some of them with my friends. Happy holidays!


iPad represents a remarkable breakthrough in concept. Its current product design is, however, immature. It is a terrible misleading to think of iPad an enlarged iPhone. To see the real intrinsic distinction, let's take a minute thinking of the following comparison.

The innovation of notebook computer brings the Web to people anywhere in the world; the innovation of iPhone brings people anywhere in the world to the Web; the innovation of iPad, on the other hand, makes an instant bridge between a person anywhere in the world and a specialized subset of the Web---his Web of interest. This is the real gap Steve Jobs claimed to fill in the product launching show.

Certainly, the current iPad design has not reached the goal yet. This is why I call it immature.


Siri on iPhone is a milestone though there is still a long long way ahead to reach a meaningful success.

Believe it or not, Siri and iPad actually belong to the same philosophy---developing a personal assistant. iPad plans to construct a hardware platform of personal assistants. Siri attempts to build a software platform of personal assistants. Compared to iPad, the road ahead for Siri is even tougher.

On the positive side, Siri provides a fascinating environment to experiment many key concepts of the Semantic Web and linked data in the real world. Idehen Kingsley must be interested in exploring his journey with this service. We as normal users, however, still need more time to watch the future progress of this service.

Google Buzz

Twitter but in Google? Maybe. But GBuzz means more.

Google Buzz reveals the GMail users the social communities they implicitly belong. These social communities existed disregarding GBuzz. GBuzz, however, makes them explicit. This is a critical step Google made towards exploring the treasure of the social web. Google has been hesitated on how to step into the social web for long time. Finally it seems the company finds their unique asymmetric strength to enter this market by cashing the popularity of its dominating GMail service. This is remarkable because in comparison Microsoft still does not get how they might exploit their asymmetric strength in this field.

Google's Aardvark Acquisition

The innovation of Aardvark is ended. This acquisition is probably a good news to the Aardvark investors and the Mechanical Zoo employees. It is, on the other hand, not so good a news to the evolution of the Web.

In short, Google's ultimate interest contradicts to the eventual potential of Aardvark. Google's ultimate interest is to make itself a super-smart brain while everybody using it may follow it stupidly. The social search services such as Aardvark aims to locate smart people and make people rather than machines be smarter through the social communication. This contradiction in the level of philosophy actually is the intrinsic reason that made the Aardvark designers leave Google several years ago. Although at present the power of money brings them back, it does not solve the fundamental conflict.

I had a phone conversation with Max Ventilla two years ago and we shared quite a few thoughts about what the social search was and how to approach it. I am glad of and sincerely congratulate his achievement in business by sealing this acquisition deal. I am afraid, however, that he will start another journey sooner or later when his original passion catches him again.


Bruce Princeton said...

My initial reaction when I saw the Apple iPad was confusion. What functionality does this device offer over and above the Apple iPhone? And what market is Apple aiming this device at?

Yihong Ding said...


I think Apple themselves were not very much clear on what they are doing either. Intuitively, they plan to achieve the market of digital devices whose price range between $400 to $1000. In fact, however, the real vacuum is not sitting in the price range but in the range of functionality. I believe Steve Jobs had realized it and he wanted to address this thought in presentation. But he himself still has a little bit difficulty when foreseeing the true direction of Web evolution.

Apple iPad opens the access to a new realm between person and the entire Web, i.e., the person' web. This is the real value of this device. Very soon the iPad developers will see this opportunity. At that time, Apple can really finalize the design of iPad. Now it is only the beginning.


adlin said...

My dear friend. I hope you and your family are well.

I wonder whether the confluence of IPAD (note Ibook platform) early sale of Aaardvark might be right to revisit some of our old conversations. Lets chat;)

Yihong Ding said...

hi adam,

it's been a while. We are great. Thank you very much. And wish you and your family all the best as well. This is the time of Spring Festival. :-)


Anonymous said...

I am reading this article second time today, you have to be more careful with content leakers. If I will fount it again I will send you a link

Anonymous said...

I didn't understand the concluding part of your article, could you please explain it more?

Anonymous said...

Good post and this fill someone in on helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you as your information.

Anonymous said...

Good dispatch and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Thank you as your information.

Anonymous said...

Correctly your article helped me terribly much in my college assignment. Hats afar to you dispatch, wish look forward in the direction of more interdependent articles promptly as its anecdote of my pick subject-matter to read.

Anonymous said...

Hey great post. Thought I'm not sure I agree with you 100%. Keep em coming. Are you interested in having anyone guest post opposing views?

Anonymous said...

very interesting, thanks

Anonymous said...

One of those informative posts i get interested reading with. this is very helpful not just to bloggers but also to those readers out there. thanks a lot for sharing this one to us.