- Hey, look at that, Yahoo is capable of making something useful and beautiful. In mobile, no less; the future of its business. This is just one small piece of the puzzle, but it’s a good sign. (Then again, not everything they do is great. The new main Yahoo app seems mediocre.)
- Anyone under the impression that old, simple problems — like accessing the weather — have already been “solved” is nuts. “Do we really need another weather app?” Actually, if it’s better, we do. Imagine if they’d stopped making new search engines after HotBot or new smartphones after the Samsung BlackJack.
- Don’t neglect the icon. Never has an icon seemed so uninspired, relative to the rest of the app. Icon design is just as important as the app itself. This one’s a dud. This would actually be a great argument for some sort of subtle “live” icons, like Apple’s built-in Calendar app has.
- The App Store is still a very capable hit-maker. And Yahoo still has some brand pull/recognition. Again, I’m surprised by how many people I know have been talking about this app. Of its ~7,700 iTunes ratings, 89% are five stars and 97% are at least four stars.
“Call it WWDC if you like, but it needs to take place 365 days a year instead of 4. It needs to serve 300,000 developers, not 5,000. And it needs to take place online, not within the cramped confines of a small convention center in San Francisco.”
— Daniel Jalkut has some good ideas about the future of WWDC.
Bit by bit, Chrome is becoming less about us and more about Google.
I switched to Chrome a few years ago because it was insanely fast, relatively stable, and refreshingly uncluttered. Especially relative to Firefox, which was on the road to becoming slow, bloated-ass Netscape Communicator all over again.
Chrome is still fast and stable, and I still prefer it to Safari and Firefox for most browsing. But wow, Google is starting to Google it up even more.
Check out the “new blank tab” in the latest version of Chrome for Mac, “27.0.1453.65 beta.” It’s basically the Google homepage — special commemorative logo included! — minus the Google+ bar at the top and Privacy/Advertising info links at the bottom.
It also re-added an “Apps” button — which I’d already hidden before — to my Bookmarks bar. It’s easy enough to right-click and deactivate this. (Nice try.) But still.
And there’s also a new Google logo next to the re-styled, predictive Google Instant search terms, as you can see in the top screenshot. No big deal, again, but a little cluttered. Do I really need to see the Google logo every time I type anything into my URL bar?
If you switch away from Google as your default search engine, all of this goes away. But I still prefer Google for most searches, so I’m going to leave it alone.
Anyway, of course this is going to happen. Chrome has been a huge hit for Google, and is now the top browser worldwide. For most people, it’s the portal to the Internet. Google is smart to try to own that as much as possible. How long until my new tab has an auto-playing YouTube preroll?
(Lastly, maybe this is only a beta feature that won’t make it to the “retail” version? I don’t know.)
But I still long for a fast, simple, truly blank new tab page, which Safari is happy to give me, and Google doesn’t seem to offer. This is a compromise. So I’m going to be a whiner until I get used to it.
Also: The End Of Android
— 1) Pigs fly! 2) Thank you, Twitter. 3) This is smart. My Twitter for Mac is open for 12+ hours a day. There’s no way I’m alone. Why destroy that?
“Obvious hints: cheaper plastic iPhone, mobile payments, I think I saw some hints at wearable computing.”
— Sammy the Walrus IV summarizes Apple’s earnings call in a tweet.
Apple is still growing, but slower than before. And it’s not as profitable as it was a year ago — a rare reversal. But it’s still solid.
Apple reported March quarter earnings this afternoon. Expectations were muted, and Apple beat them, with particularly strong iPad shipments. Mac shipments were flat, and iPhone shipments beat low expectations, showing just 7% growth.
Also: Peak Mac?
A micro-trend in iOS apps? The new Facebook and Foursquare apps have buttons hovering over — and partially obscuring — the content below.
In Facebook’s case (left), it’s a pill-shaped “New Stories” button that shows up at the top of the screen when there are new News Feed items to load. In Foursquare’s app (right), it’s a big, round “Check In” button at the bottom of the home screen.
- It lets a button stand out without a navigation bar blocking off the entire width of the screen. (This is, perhaps, increasingly beneficial as screen sizes/resolutions become less consistent and predictable.)
- And it feels a bit more futuristic than the old nav-bars-of-square-buttons, in a Minority Report/Google Glass sort of way. Eventually, there might be a bunch of buttons hovering over our field of vision, on our car windshields, eyeglasses, wherever. This simulates that heads-up display effect.
- The downside is that it covers up some content. But less than a more-elaborate, full-width nav bar does. And if the button is drawn nicely, it will still stand out.
This isn’t a brand-new concept — Path, for example, has had a small floaty button in the bottom-left corner for a while. Sparrow, too, I’m reminded. And Apple Maps. And Google Maps, where the “Locate me” button is enough in the way that I routinely tap it by mistake.
And it could quickly become tired/overdone quickly — you really wouldn’t want to overuse this. But I think we’ll see more of this technique.
Previously: The Wrap-Around Ribbon
“Here, again, technology’s getting in the way: It’s so advanced that technicians can’t figure out what’s wrong with it.”
— The never-ending Berlin airport fiasco, in this case. But it could describe a lot of things. Sometimes, we deserve ourselves.