Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Is Wikiasari Google killer?

Wikiasari is a new community based search engine being launched by Jimmy Wales. For those of you who don’t know he is the founder of Wikipedia which really showed for the first time the power of community and in my opinion it is also the first killer product based on user generated data. I am not going to talk about wikipedia because everyone knows how useful and great it is .The basic reason for this posting is Wikiasari I think this might be the real product to compete against Google .

First of all there is little information available about wilkiasari except that, it will use user/community input to generate search results which is different from what Google for example does –Google basically uses algorithm to create search results without human interaction. There have been several attempts before also to generate search results based on user ratings or user bookmark data etc but none has been successful to beat algorithm based Google results. It is widely accepted fact that user/community input based search engines would be better than algorithm based search provided someone gets the right way to use user/community input. It is like an open secret that everyone knows but no one knows how to get it right, there are lot of examples like everyone knew digital music players (mp3 players) is big thing many attempted to enter that space like creative, Sony etc but it was apple with ipod and itunes that got it right and was successful.

I think wikisari might be the search engine that will finally get the right way to use the user input ,the reason for my thinking is simple that its founder knows really well how to use community .If there is anyone who can get it right it would be him his records speak for itself when he started wikipedia people questioned that how can user generated knowledge be equal to Britannica were the content is generated by professionals but he showed the way and now wikipedia is accepted as trusted place to find information .

So in short Wikisari with right approach and right people driving it now has the real chance to be a Google killer.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

IPhone, Google Phone what next?

Today I was reading articles about Google phone and I have been reading similar articles about Apples IPhone over last few months .One question that has always poped in my mind is why is such speculations about these 2 companies in general and also pertaining to their speculated phone plans in particular. In this posting I try to put my thoughts and answer to those questions.

Both Apple and Google have been phenomenally successful companies in post dot com bust days, Creating a legions of fans both in consumer and stock market world .Both these companies offered easy to use products and were able to monetize their success with consumers into real profits gaining them star status in stock markets. Both these stocks have high valuation compared to their counterparts in their industry with PE of 58 for Google and 38 for Apple. Which basically means markets expects their financial performance in future also to be spectacular. So what it means in reality to these 2 companies is that they should churn out again world beating products like Google search or Apple Ipod to generate high growth and justify their present high valuation .Considering the fact that both these companies are leaders in their respective markets with high market share they both are forced to view market opportunities in other industries .But in reality there are very few industry or segments were there is huge revenue potential to justify these companies attention .As I have already posted in my earlier postings I believe one such field is converged device markets space with smart phones as first products with huge potentials in near term future .So it is quite logical for analyst and industry observers to speculate that these 2 companies will launch phones .

Having put my thought on why there are speculations about these companies launching phones in earlier paragraph, I will now try to put my thoughts on what are the chances that these speculated phones if launched will be successful. First I would say it will be really challenging task for both these companies to develop and launch even a moderately good phones .But the markets expectation is that they would be able to launch phones that not only leave up to their brand name but also challenge the industry leaders which according to me too much to expect .Some of the reasons for such pessimistic view are

  • Mobile phone is still complex industry both because of technology involved and also due to non existent standard hardware architecture .What it means is it is not easy for new players to come and produce good phone without prior experience and IPR in this industry. So they can’t rely on ODMs alone like in other electronic and PC industry. One example to prove my point is Microsoft is working with HTC for at least 3-4 years now they are able to produce decent phone after several mediocre attempts. So both apple and Google have any prior experience or IPR in wireless handset industry are in serious disadvantage.
  • Customers: Even today mobile phones major sales channel is mobile operators which mean phone manufacturers need to work with them to produce operator specific variants which are not easy especially for company like Apple which is known to be company that loves to control total user experience. And wouldn’t like to make compromise with operators on this issues.Ofcourse they can try to sell directly to consumers but without operator subsidies for device the price wont be attractive for mass consumption meaning it will remain niche market.

So not limited to above 2 points but also due to many other reasons like competition from existing well established brands like Nokia, Motorola I think the chances of apple and Google pulling of successful products in this space is very low –But at the same time if they eventually launch phones as speculated and are truly successful it would be really a remarkable achievements and proves that both these companies are really not ordinary companies.