Work Management in Theory: Context

This is an excerpt of the upcoming report, Work Management Narrative, in which I will be reviewing around a dozen products, including Asana, Azendoo, Basecamp, Clarizen, Fleep, Flow, Liquid Planner, Mavenlink, Smartsheet, Trello, Work Front, Wrike, Zoho Projects and others.


Work Management in Theory: Context

Work management is a term that has emerged in recent years as task management tools were enhanced with various social communication capabilities, principally derived from design motifs from work media tools. This increase of capabilities — and the resulting overlap of work management capabilities with those of work media tools — means that trying to assess the trends that are prevalent  in work management really require stepping back. Today, there are a wide range of approaches to supporting cooperative work in the workplace, and they have many features in common. So, in many instances, groups or companies evaluating tools for  team cooperation may consider offerings that are very different in their underlying design, and require correspondingly different approaches to their use.

The Lay of the Landscape

Here’s a table that attempts to make sense of a variety of technologies that are used in business to support cooperative work. It is not exhaustive, but I hope it will clarify some of the distinctions between these classes of tools. At the same time, there is a great deal of overlap so some degree of confusion is inevitable.
Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 2.37.22 PM
Today, there are a wide range of approaches to support cooperative work in the workplace, and they have many features in common. So, in many instances, groups or companies evaluating tools for team cooperation may consider offerings that are very different in their underlying design, and require correspondingly different approaches to their use.The primary distinction here is the degree of emphasis for task-centric versus message-centric tools. Those that we will focus on in this report are task-centric, even though there have to include some fundamental level of social communication to be considered work management tools. So for example, Todoist is a leading team task management tool, widely used in business. However, the tool lacks social communication aside from comments (‘notes’) associated with tasks: Todoist does not support messaging, discussions, activity streams, or ‘call outs’ (also called ‘@mentions’). While tasks can be assigned to others by the task creator, there is no other way that users can reference each other, or ‘talk’. And at the least social level of task management, personal task management tools don’t allow even the most basic level of business-oriented task assignment. As a result, team task management tools are not covered in this report, although Gigaom may develop a report like this one for that market, at some time in the future.
Work management tools share a lot of similarities with various message-centric work technologies. Note that I have divided the message-centric tools into two sorts:

  1. Follow centric — like Yammer, where the primary orientation of messaging is around following of message sources, and messages are primarily displayed in activity streams based on the user choosing who and what to follow.
  2. Chat centric — such as Slack, where the primary orientation of message is around chat rooms, or channels, and messages are principally displayed in those contexts when the user chooses to’ join’ or ‘enter’ them.

Some work media tools provide a degree of  task management, although it may not be the primary focus of the tool. And, as a general case, products like Jive, Yammer, and IBM Connections have little or no native task management, relying instead on integration with third party solutions. Likewise, many leading work chat offerings, like Slack and Hipchat, don’t have native task management, also relying instead on integration with task management tools, like Asana and Jira.
Lastly, the class of tools I refer to as workforce communications (like Lua, Avaamo, Fieldwire, and Sitrion One) have characteristics that are like those of work media and work chat tools, but are principally oriented toward communications management with an increasingly mobile contingent of the out-of-office ‘hard’ workforce, such as construction, retail and restaurant workers, field sales, security, and others.
At the bottom tier of the table in figure 1 are tools that are not principally oriented toward business use, like personal task management (Todoist, and Google Tasks), social media (Facebook, and Twitter), and consumer chat apps (Facebook M, and WhatsApp). This are widely used in business contexts, although they aren’t geared for it. Note however that this doesn’t mean that they couldn’t be recast as team or work oriented tools, like the trajectory of Facebook for Work.
There are other less-closely related work technologies that are also not investigated here, like curation tools, conferencing tools, and so called ‘productivity’ tools (like Microsoft Office 365, Dropbox Paper, and Google Docs/Sheets/Slides). These, again, are candidates for inclusion in another report.


Next week, I will be posting another excerpt from the report. 

Mobile Security: putting the consumerisation genie back in the bottle

Since the arrival of the first consumer-bought smartphones, enterprise security has been under threat. That all-important chain of defense against security risks has been undermined by its weakest link, people, in this case by using non-standard devices to conduct business and therefore making corporate data vulnerable to attack.
The alternative, to roll out company-issued mobile devices, has not been an easy path to follow. When historical market leader Blackberry lost its leading position in the market to Apple and Google’s Android, companies also lost a significant part of the ability to control corporate messaging and applications from a central point.
From the perspective of the IT shop, the consequence has been fragmentation, which has undermined the ability to deliver a coherent response in security terms. While solutions such as Mobile Device Management have existed, they have been seen as onerous; also, some devices (in particular those based on Android) have been seen as less secure.
Looking more broadly, many organisations have ended up adopting an approach in which corporate devices are used alongside personal equipment for business use. The genie of consumerisation is out of the bottle, say the pundits. But now devices exist that can deliver on an organisation’s mobile security needs, the question is, can it be put back?
The answer lies in addressing the source of the challenge, which is not the device but the person using it. Human beings assess risk all the time, and indeed, we are very good at it. In the case of a mobile device for example, we are prepared to put up with a small amount of discomfort if it will get us the result we want: sending a message, say.
If the discomfort is too great, we will assess other risks, such as, “What happens if I get caught using my personal phone?” If the answer is nothing, then the chances are that the behavior will continue. With this in mind, anyone deploying a mobile solution needs to consider two variables: the discomfort it causes, and the cost of avoiding the discomfort.
Considering the discomfort first, the point of any mobile solution is to enable productivity. Different security features — such as encrypted data storage, separation of apps and so on — may be applicable to different business scenarios.
Defining a solution appropriate for an organisation or group requires familiarity with the security features available on a device and the risks they mitigate. Better knowledge makes for more flexibility, reduced operational overhead and therefore increased probability of a successful deployment.
An equal partner to product knowledge should be an understanding of the organisation concerned, the data assets to be protected and what constitutes their acceptable use. If a policy is in place, this may need to be reviewed: note that it needs to be signed off at the top of the organisation to be effective.
Once a standard configuration has been defined, it will require testing. Too often, enterprise mobile security can fail “for want of a nail” — insufficient licenses on the RADIUS server for example, or lack of WiFi cover in areas where authentication takes place. Users need a solution that works from day one, or they will immediately lose confidence in it.
Putting all these measures in place can help minimize discomfort, but the need to go hand in hand with measures to ensure that the capabilities cannot be circumvented. Note that we are talking about the organisation’s most important asset — it’s people — who will respond far better to inclusionary tactics than draconian tactics.
At the same time as understanding why secure mobile working technologies are being deployed however, employees need to know that they need to act as a strong link in the chain, not a weak one. An Acceptable Use Policy should be enforceable, in that a staffer at any level’s card will be marked if they attempt to circumvent it.
In addition, the genie should be given a clear timescale for getting back in the bottle. For example, in an ‘anything goes’ environment which mixes personal and corporate mobile equipment, individuals should be given a cut-off date following which corporate data access will only be possible via a secure device.
A final question is about sustainability, that is, how to keep it all going? Reporting is important, with deprovisioning perhaps the most critical — it is one thing to know that resources have been allocated to the right people, but even more so is to know that any rights — and indeed devices — have been returned on change of role or exit from the company.
The bottom line, and the most fundamental challenge, is that any shiny new corporate devices deliver on what they are supposed to do — in this case enabling mobile users to stay productive without compromising on corporate risk. Provide people with usable security they will not try to circumvent, and you avoid consigning devices to the desk drawer.
If you’re interested in improving your business’s mobile security operations, join us for our upcoming webinar: Evolving Enterprise Security for the Mobile-First World. This webinar is presented by GigaOm’s Jon Collins, with sponsorship by Samsung. Register now for the webinar taking place on Wednesday, March 9 from 1 to 2pm EST.

Google+ gets an overhaul, refocuses on communities and collections

Google+ ain’t dead, yet.
The moribund social network has received a new shot at life with a redesign focused on allowing users to gather in communities devoted to certain topics. The change involves a full redesign of the service across the Web, Android, and iOS devices that users can choose to test when they sign in on the website.
Google+ was previously focused on allowing users to divide their contacts into “circles” that never had to interact with each other. This didn’t prove enough to help the social network take on Facebook and Twitter, however, so the company spun out the best aspect of Google+ and has now apparently rethought the site.
Google “director of streams” (whatever that means) Eddie Kessler said in a blog post Google+ is focusing on communities and collections based on user feedback.  These are “the places on Google+ where people around the world are spending their time discovering and sharing things they love,” Kessler said in his blog post.
The new Google+ is supposed to be available now, but I was unable to opt-in to the updated service using the methods described in this post. From what Google has said, however, it seems like the company is changing Google+ into a Reddit competitor instead of an attempt to take on other social networking services.
Google+ could have the benefit of being connected to people’s Gmail accounts. My real name and face appear whenever I post something on the service; when I post to Reddit, though, I can use any pseudonym I like without restriction. This could make Google+ seem like a friendlier, decentralized version of its controversial competitor.
But, then, pseudonymity is one of the nice things about Reddit. (You can pry my throwaway account from my cold, dead fingers.) Perhaps the two sites won’t compete so much as they’ll coexist by focusing on different audiences. Until the new Google+ is widely available it all comes down to little more than guesswork.
People should be able to test the updated Google+ website now. The company says updated applications for Android smartphones and the iPhone will be released in “the coming days.”

Google Photos reaches 100M users in five months

Google has announced that Photos, the image backup tool spun out of Google+ just five months ago, has already reached 100 million monthly active users.
That doesn’t seem like much compared to Instagram, which has more than 400 million users, or Facebook’s 1 billion users. But it compares favorably to Flickr — the most recent figure offered by that service says it’s used by 112 million people — despite launching more than a decade after its primary competitor debuted.
It’s still remarkable that Photos has reached so many people in such a short time. Not that it’s surprising: Google+ was often hailed as a great way to manage pictures, and cutting that functionality out of the all-but-defunct social network gave people a way to enjoy the tool without having to bother with Google+ itself.
Photos has another thing going for it — a lack of competition. Besides Flickr, and the iCloud photo-management tools available to iPhone owners, there really isn’t much of an image backup market. Google has won simply by virtue of its ability to offer a service like this without needing it to make money right away.
This wasn’t always the case. Loom was acquired by Dropbox, which shut down its service after the deal closed. Everpix closed its doors because it couldn’t afford the cost of saving photos to Amazon Web Services. StreamNation bought Picturelife for an undisclosed sum. If the last few years have taught us anything, it should be that independent photo management services are fleeting things.
That leaves people with a few options: Hope that an indie service won’t fold after it becomes popular; use whatever backup tools come with their phones; or sign up for Photos, which has the full support of a company that doesn’t have to charge for most of its products because it draws most of its revenues from ads.
Of course, that means all the images saved to Photos will be analyzed. (The listicle in which Google announced Photos’ popularity included data about what people take pictures of and search for.) But the company has already proven that most people consider this a small price to pay in exchange for nice services.
So welcome Photos as it ascends the throne of photo management tools. Sure, that throne was built on the ashes of other companies that have tried and failed to establish viable businesses in this category, which is so costly to support that all but the largest companies have been forced out of the running. But I suspect that won’t ruin Google’s celebration, or hinder Photos’ continued rise in users.

Dropbox beta tests Paper, a collaborative writing tool

Dropbox has revealed a new collaborative writing tool. It’s called Paper — not to be confused with Facebook’s news reader app, FiftyThree’s drawing app, and likely a dozen other less prominent software products — and right now Dropbox is inviting select consumers to beta test it.
Paper is the next iteration of the Notes service Dropbox previewed earlier this year. It works a lot like a trumped-up version of Google Docs: People can use the service to write together, communicate, and assign each other individual tasks.
Here’s what Engadget, which got a preview of the service, had to say about it:

When asked what differentiated it from the rest of the field, [Dropbox product manager Matteus] Pan pointed to Paper’s focus on building documents that let users work and share multiple content types regardless of what’s used to create them.
He cited Paper as a way to collaborate that keeps things from getting overly ‘messy’ in terms of both clean design and organization. The last differentiator is organization and helping teams find their work quicker. ‘Creation and collaboration are only half the problem,’ he said. ‘The other half is how information is organized and retrieved across an entire company.’

Dropbox picked a funny day to reveal Paper to the public. Another company, Quip, announced just this morning that it has raised $30 million from a number of investors to keep working on its own collaborative office tool. Given the inevitable competition between these services, it wouldn’t be hard to believe Dropbox revealed Paper to try and steal some attention away from its new rival.
Not that Quip is the only service Paper will have to compete against. There’s also Google Docs, Microsoft Office, and who-knows-how-many other tools out there. The service will have to fight an uphill battle to become something more than another interesting service Dropbox introduced only to let it become stagnant. (Say hello to Carousel and Mailbox!) To state the obvious: Odds are against it.
Dropbox users can ask to be added to Paper’s waitlist through the service’s site. The company hasn’t said how many people it plans to allow on the beta service, nor when the service will exit beta and become available to the general public.

Amazon will stop selling Apple TVs and Chromecasts. So what?

Although it seems pretty cut and dry, there are folks in tech media that feel Amazon shouldn’t actually stay competitive, as businesses tend to do to survive.
Case in point: Amazon doesn’t like that neither the Apple TV nor Google’s Chromecast provide easy access to its Prime Video service, so it’s taking steps over the next month to stop businesses from selling the products through its website.
“Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime,” Amazon said in an email to employees. “It’s important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion.”
This means that products which play nice with Amazon’s streaming video service — like most game consoles, Roku’s set-top boxes, and the company’s own FireTV — will remain available on Amazon. Apple and Google are the only ones being booted.
It’s hard to be too upset about this. Could this frustrate Apple and Google? Maybe. Will it be annoying for Amazon Prime customers who expect to be able to purchase anything through the company’s marketplace? A little, I guess. But that’s about it.
But let’s not pretend this is going to hurt Apple or Google that much. Apple has the highest sales per square foot of any retail store in the United States, and it can easily promote its products by emailing the hundreds of millions of people who gave the company their email addresses so they could download stuff from the App Store.
As for Google? Well, running the world’s most popular search engine has its perks. It can also put ads for the Chromecast on YouTube, in Gmail, and basically anywhere else it desires through its advertising platforms. Sure, it won’t offer free two-day shipping, but I doubt most people are in a rush to purchase a new dongle.
Could this be the start of a worrisome trend? Maybe. I guess it would be a problem if Amazon stopped selling e-readers that don’t support the Kindle Store, given that it’s all-but-synonymous with the product category. But those competitive devices are still listed on the company’s site, and that seems unlikely to change any time soon.
At this point, the only entity harmed by this action will be Amazon. It’ll frustrate people who want to make it their one-stop-shop for all things commercial, and it makes the company seem like a petulant child stomping its feet because the other, more popular kids don’t want to play with it. Does that seem like a stable company?
This move reeks of desperation. Amazon might be the biggest online retailer in the United States, but it’s not the only place where people can buy these products. It would’ve been better off allowing them to be listed on its site, if only to keep up its appearances, than to plan the products’ downfall to serve its own selfish purposes.
But we’re only discussing this because of the companies involved. Remove the brands and this becomes a lot less interesting. A retailer pulled some items from its virtual shelves. There are other stores, and luckily for anyone with a decent Internet connection, it only takes a few seconds to visit them and buy those items.
Yawn.

In praise of the $50 smartphone

It’s time to stop what may be the most offensive, yet generally accepted, bias from smartphone analysts: “don’t get caught in a race to the bottom.” It’s a sneering dismissal of the people and companies that are building advanced, feature-packed mini-mobile computers with little to no margin — and of those who might benefit from their use.
Newsflash: The vast majority of the world is “the bottom.” Like me, like you, they also deserve a smartphone. Mocking the companies that are making this happen is misguided, to say the least.
Now for the good news — very low cost smartphones are within reach. Last month, Google announced it was revamping its Android One initiative to help bring the cost of devices to below $100. For this price, the buyer gets Google Play, search, maps, apps, camera, and more. The effort originally launched in India though will now include parts of Africa. Combined, these regions have a population nearing 2 billion.
Unfortunately, even $100 for a smartphone is still too expensive for many. Rajan Anandan, Google’s managing director in India and Southeast Asia, told the Financial Times that the “sweet spot” for Android One is 2,000 – 3,000 rupees. That’s about $30 – $50. Anandan says getting to this price will take “the next few years.” I expect it much sooner.
Consider the Micromax Canvas A1, typical of current Android One devices:

  • 5mp rear-facing and 2mp front-facing camera
  • 4.5″ VGA display
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 4 GB storage (expandable)
  • 1700 mAh lithium-ion battery
  • Text type by voice
  • 3G
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop

That’s better than the second iPhone — which cost $600 off-contract in 2008. The A1 costs $92.
A Google spokesperson told me the company is now “working closely with phone and silicon chip makers to share reference designs and select components,” hoping to drive prices even lower. The effort is paying off. For example, the Infinix HOT 2, a new Android One device, has a quad-core MediaTek processor with 1GM memory, dual SIM support, and is assured of running Android Marshmallow, the latest build. It costs just $88. The HOT 2 is available for sale in Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Egypt, and Morocco.
And we are being told to mock these efforts? To praise those companies that are focused on “profit share?” Why? The great magic of technology is not just that it aids our life but that it spreads, oftentimes quickly, to the poor, the marginalized, the non-connected.
No doubt, Android One is an attempt by Google to effectively port its search and maps dominance from desktop to mobile to the entire world. So what? That’s business. Too often, we focus on these short-term plays rather than the long-term potential. A $50 smartphone!
The company told me that “really good phones at great prices” will bring the web to more people. “Access to the web changes the way we live for the better — whether it’s connecting with different people, exploring foreign countries, identifying new educational opportunities, or simply watching a movie with your family.”
Google is just one of many making the low-cost smartphone a reality. Xiaomi has teamed with Foxconn, which manufactures the iPhone, to assemble smartphones in India. Their first phone, the Redmi2 Prime, costs $110. Perhaps next year it will be less than $90.
Why then are so many analysts and tech bloggers not praising these efforts? Earlier this year, TechCrunch lauded Apple’s capturing of “89% of all smartphone profits,” while noting that “Android handset makers are in something of a race to the bottom.”
In 2014, it was repeatedly asked by numerous business and tech sites: “Is it now a race to the bottom in the smartphone market?” A post in Techcrunch titled “Samsung’s race to the bottom” opined:

In a market saturated with essentially undifferentiated players (and again you can argue this point and you will lose that argument), the main differentiator is price. And that’s never the game a smart hardware maker wants to play but, in the end, it is a game they will be forced to play in the coming year. And it won’t be pretty.

Not pretty? It’s beautiful!
This is exactly how technology is supposed to work. Yet, this “race to the bottom” meme continues, and with it a host of negative connotations. It’s not just the tech press. Last year, the Telegraph decried how “smartphone makers (are) stuck in ‘race to the bottom’ on price.”
In 2013, Bloomberg ran a piece filled with trepidation: “Is Apple Really Going to Join a Race to the Bottom?” Even way back in 2010, Fast Company lauded Apple for avoiding the “race to the bottom” in the smartphone market.
There are numerous other examples.
As Google notes, only 1 in 4 people own a smartphone. How long do you go without your smartphone? A week? A day? An hour? These devices have transformed our work, our learning, our play, how we connect, and from where. We are on the cusp of a world where it’s possible for most people to have the same amazing tool at their disposal. The $50 smartphone deserves to be celebrated. Embrace the race to the bottom.

Why Google is taking a closer look at disrupting health care

In its first investment since the announcement that Google would become Alphabet, Google Capital has put a major vote of confidence into the future of health care in the tech sector.

A vote of confidence to the tune of $32.5 million.

Google Capital, a growth equity fund and part of Google/Alphabet’s investment arm, has previously backed ventures like Duolingo, Survey Monkey, and Glassdoor, as the Wall Street Journal points out in its report. Now, Oscar Health Insurance Corp. joins those ranks, but there’s reason to believe Google’s interests in health care go beyond the investment.

Oscar is a health insurance startup that hopes to change the way that people buy and interact with their health care coverage by using technology paired with simple and intuitive design. By clearly laying out coverage options, connecting customers directly to providers, and keeping track of care, Oscar already sets itself apart from the pack of large health insurance providers, which continue to lean on outdated technology that drives a wedge between customers and their coverage.

Health care is slow to change, and the tech is outdated,” says Forrester Research health care analyst Kate McCarthy. “New competitors help push large payers forward and are a good way to test the market to see what works.”

Oscar isn’t the only startup attempting to push the health insurance industry forward, though. Accordion Health‘s customer-facing insurance solution Pistachio helps customers explore their options by comparing Medicare Advantage plans side-by-side.

“I think Oscar is a starting point for a huge change in health care, and we are working just as hard (or harder) in bringing about consumerism within health care through our tools, such as Pistachio,” says Accordion Health CEO Sriram Visiwanath. “We have a fraction of the resources of Oscar, but the same shared goal of making health plan risk management way more operationally, financially efficient, consumer-driven and UX-centric.”

Startups have a habit of moving industries forward (usually), and the health insurance industry is no exception. As companies like Oscar enter the marketplace and provide customers with options and transparency, expectations within the open market shift.

Health coverage is already moving in two directions,” says McCarthy. “More plans are being offered with high deductibles. This shifts much of the upfront investment in health expenses to the patient… In turn, this is pushing patients/consumers to expect more options in health plans and greater transparency on cost and quality outcomes. Startups that can be good patient navigators and agents of price transparency have a big spaaaaaace to fill in the industry.”

Google Capital’s $32.5 million investment boosts Oscar’s valuation up to $1.75 billion, according to a source from the WSJ report.  Though certainly a new direction for Google in the health care space, the recent investment is far from the company’s only foray into the health industry. For instance, Google Life Sciences, which is focused on technologies that push health care technology forward (like glucose-monitoring contact lenses), very recently hired Dr. Thomas R. Insel, who was previously the director of the National Institute of Mental Health.

Google (Alphabet) is clearly making a play to expand their presence in the health care marketplace,” says McCarthy. “Oscar represents an opportunity to invest in a model consumers are responding positively to and is a smart choice for Google.”

For now, Oscar is only available in New York and New Jersey, but plans to extend service to California and Texas beginning in 2016.

Google’s ad penalties are more significant than Apple’s ad blocker

“Highly unlikely” would probably be how you’d have responded a year ago to someone telling you two of the largest tech companies in the world — Apple and Google — would both try to fix mobile advertising by blocking ads, but that’s currently the case.
For instance, much has been made of a new feature allowing iPhone and iPad owners to block advertisements in Safari when iOS 9 debuts –with the rationale that it will enhance web browsing. But Google’s recent decision to start penalizing websites featuring app install ads –intrusive ad units that slow page load times and engulf the entire screen — might be a more significant way to improve the browsing experience.
Now, there are some clear benefits to the ad-blocking tool coming in iOS 9. The browsing experience is improved when a website isn’t cluttered with obnoxious advertisements, both because it makes things easier to read and because nixing the ads makes the websites load quicker, as others have already demonstrated.
Blocking those advertisements, however, isn’t a permanent solution. The measure doesn’t help people who never install the utilities Apple will allow onto the App Store, nor does it help those who browse the mobile web from a device that wasn’t “Designed by Apple in California.” That’s where Google comes in.
Google’s search tool is more popular than Apple’s iOS products. ComScore says some 64 percent of searches are run through Google. The iPhone, on the other hand, has 43 percent of the American smartphone market. Any changes to the former are bound to affect more people than any changes made to the latter.
This means Google has a little more power over websites than Apple does. Its decision to punish websites for bombarding people with annoying ads will probably do more than Safari’s new ad-blocking — especially since changes to Google’s search results take effect without any effort on the consumer’s part.
“Most blocking solutions discussed in the media are fairly esoteric and technical, so they won’t be widespread in adoption. Internet users still have to take several steps to enable ad blocking on their browsers or devices,” says PubMatic president Kirk McDonald.” As it always has, advertising will change and adapt — it will get faster, evolve to new formats, gain advancements in measurement and tracking, and find a way to reach the consumer.”
Having to respond to Google’s whims could have more of an effect than ad-blocking for another reason: It encourages websites to serve advertisements that don’t make people want to throw their phones against the wall instead of trying to find ways to sneak their existing advertisements onto people’s phones.
The arrangement also works for website owners that depend on ad revenues, and for Google, which is probably also making money off those advertisements. Consumers are happy, website owners are happy, and Google is happy. The only ones upset by this change should be people who profit off accidental clicks.
Besides, as much as the web’s dependence on advertisements is worrisome — it erodes privacy, compromises user experience, and has other drawbacks — that’s not going to change any time soon. Websites need to serve ads, and anyone who wants to view those sites without paying for the privilege has to accept them.
Provided they want those sites to stick around, that is. Otherwise they can install an ad-blocker (if they use iOS devices) and immediately benefit. Who doesn’t want a better reading experience and faster load times? Unless online businesses find other ways to sustain themselves, though, that’s not going to be a long-term solution. Finding a way to live with ads just might be.

Google’s logo gets redesigned for the Alphabet era

Search giant Google unveiled an updated version of its logo today, which last saw a significant change back in 1999.
The redesigned logo was done to mark a new era for Google, the company said in its announcement. Last month Google Inc. restructured and rebranded as Alphabet — a holding company that owns a slightly slimmed down version of Google as well as several other organizations like Nest, Google X, and Calico. The company states: “As you’ll see, we’ve taken the Google logo and branding, which were originally built for a single desktop browser page, and updated them for a world of seamless computing across an endless number of devices and different kinds of inputs (such as tap, type and talk).”
The new logo should debut across all of Google’s products and services in the near future, the company said. Check out the video embedded below for a quick look at all the past versions.