Thursday, April 19, 2012

Google Declares Facebook and Apple a Threat to Internet Freedom – Really?

Cloud computing is the hot-button tech topic these days. When it comes to talk of transitioning companies to the cloud, there is one question that just won’t seem to go away: Is it safe? For cloud computing to secure its spot as the future of computing, businesses need to feel confident that their data is as secure in the cloud as it would be in a traditional on-site infrastructure. When evaluating the services of a cloud hosting provider, businesses therefore need to evaluate the security and backup systems with the same rigorous criteria as their in-house operations

Google’s Sergey Brin said that the openness and accessibility that led to the creation of the Internet is under serious threat — and that threat is from none other than Facebook and Apple.

See the CNET story>>

I tend to wonder about motives when a statement from a CEO of one company is directed directly at one or more other companies. So, let’s take a moment and ask why Brin would target Facebook and Apple.

Personally, I think it’s because Google is feeling threatened in the core business that has brought them success — search advertising. Google has a near monopoly on search right now:

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3 Things to Look For When Measuring SEO Success

Every site owner likes to see tangible proof that their SEO campaign is doing what it’s supposed to. However, since SEO is so long term it’s important to remember that you might not see the results of your SEO efforts for several months. Many site owners have pulled the plug on what could have been a very successful SEO campaign because they got impatient. If you are willing to strap down for the long run, here are three things to look for when measuring the success of your SEO campaign.

1. Increase in visitors

This is the easiest way to tell if your SEO campaign is working—are more visitors finding your site? Keep in mind that you are looking for overall trends, so don’t get bogged down in the daily data. Your site’s traffic is going to fluctuate from month to month, so don’t panic if one month it teeters a little downward. Take a step back at look out for real trends (3-6 months) in your traffic. A strong SEO campaign is going to show an uptick in traffic over time.

Remember that there are no guarantees in how much of an uptick you might get from month to month. Right after onsite optimization and all your new pages have been indexed, you might see a big spike in traffic, but that hardly any gains the next month. There are a lot of factors that can impact how much traffic is being sent to your site, which is why it’s so important to not panic at losses. It’s only cause for concern if your traffic tanks one month and doesn’t recover. This might be a sign that you’ve incurred a penalty.

2. More non-branded keywords driving traffic

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How OMGPOP Scaled to 36 million Users in Three Weeks

OMGPOP can thank the cloud for its acquisition by Zynga on Wednesday. The gaming startup, whose Draw Something iPhone app used cloud computing and a NoSQL database to scale from zero (relatively speaking) to more than 35 million downloads in three weeks and never miss a beat.

I had a brief call on Thursday with Couchbase CEO Bob Wiederhold, whose company worked with OMGPOP to scale its implementation of the Couchbase database as demand started growing. Although the companies aren’t ready to give exact details yet, here’s what Wiederhold told me:

  • OMGPOP is hosted in the cloud, but “they’re not on Amazon.”
  • Draw Something has been downloaded more than 35 million times. Players have created more than 1 billion pictures and are creating around 3,000 pictures per second.
  • To handle the incredible traffic spike, OMGPOP had to reconfigure its Couchbase cluster, scale it into the many tens of nodes, and many terabytes of data and increased throughout into the tens of thousands of operations per second.
  • Throughout all this, Draw Something didn’t experience any downtime.

This type of load really stresses a system, Wiederhold said, and if it wasn’t for its decision to use cloud computing and NoSQL technologies, “their game would have fallen over.” EA recently removed its “The Simpsons: Tapped Out” game from Apple’s App Store after server problems prevented users from being able to login. It’s not clear what, exactly, caused EA’s problem, but it speaks to the importance of having components that are able to scale as apps go viral.

Scalability, of course, is one of the primary calling cards for both cloud computing and NoSQL providers. NoSQL databases, which broke onto the scene a few years ago by claiming to solve the scaling problems inherent in many relational databases, are hugely popular among those building web applications. One of the early poster children of cloud computing was Animoto, who launched its Facebook app in 2008 and scaled to about 250,000 members and about 3,400 Amazon Web Services computer images over the course of a week.

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