1、Google Reader之后:拿什么拯救订阅源(华盛顿邮报)


Digg和AOL(beta版)已经开始“拉拢”google reader的用户,比如仿照google的标记文章功能,同时还允许你的订阅源之间从google导入自家产品。其他的选择还有Feedly、The Old Reader和Flipboard等。

News junkies, this is it. Today is the last day of Google Reader’s life.

Google announced in March that it was “powering down” its RSS (really simple syndication ) news feed reader on July 1, setting off hue and cry among a truly devoted userbase — including yours truly — that relied heavily on the news feed site to keep track of the news that mattered most to them. Anyone who ever really got into Google Reader can tell you: a lot of time has gone into curating, organizing and reading all those news feeds in past years. Seeing Google Reader fold feels a lot like watching all that time and commitment slip down the drain.

But all is not lost. Preserving your feeds, their folders and all your hard work so they can live another day is a fairly painless process, but it is one you’ll have to do today.

To download you data from Reader — or any Google service, for that matter — sign in and head over to Google Takeout. Once you’re there, hit the “Choose services” tab to select Reader and click the big, red “Create Archive button.” Once Google has compiled your information, you can download it for your very own.

One tip: Please, don’t download your information on a public computer. Grabbing data from your Google account is really best done in the comfort of your own home.

Where do you go from there? There are plenty of alternatives, all clamoring for your love, data and attention.

Most recently, Digg and AOL (well, in beta anyway) have stepped up to the plate to specifically court Google Reader exiles with organization features such as the ability to flag certain articles that emulate Google’s simple design. Plus they have the option to import your feeds — folders and all — straight into their services.

And if you’re looking specifically for the old Google Reader experience, which let you see the news you were most interested as well as the things your friends wanted to share with you within the network — features that Google stripped from Reader in 2011— The Old Reader has the same clean link list as Google Reader, so while it’s not that pretty, it is super functional.

Other, arguably better-looking, options include Feedly, which also will import your existing feeds and offer easy sharing options for Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, and has nifty keyboard shortcuts for easy management. There’s also Flipboard, which added an option that lets you import your Google Reader feeds into your existing account. Both present your reader feeds in a more magazine style — meaning they’re better for reading, but maybe not for scanning the headlines. Feedly works well on the Web, while Flipboard may be the better option for people who read more on mobile, particularly if they’re already Flipboard users.

If you mostly used Google Reader as a place to save articles that you wanted to read at your leisure, there’s a whole world of options open to you with “read-it-later” apps such as Pocket, Evernote and Readability that essentially let you clip what’s interesting and tuck it into a digital scrapbook.

There is, of course, another option: jumping off of the news feed hamster wheel altogether. Appetites for digital news are growing, but there is an argument to be made that a Reader-like service isn’t the useful tool that it was back in 2005.

The most obvious reason for this is the rise of social media. Google Reader was great because it gave you all your information at once, instantly, without having to navigate to individual sites. But that’s essentially what social media does for us now. In fact, one reason people speculated Google killed off the social features of Google Reader was because it was trying reroute some of the sharing energy and to give Google+ a leg up. While a 2012 survey of Americans from the Pew Center for the People & the Press found that television is still the most popular way that people get their news, the study also found that 47 percent of Americans see their news over social networking sites. That’s up from 29 percent in 2010.

And news is only getting more mobile and more social. In 2012, nearly one-fifth of all Americans, 17 percent, said they got recent news on their mobile phones — that number was up to 31 percent among smartphone owners. With smartphone adoption having grown to 56 percent from 46 percent in the last year alone, that number’s likely continued to tick up along with it.

There are certainly ways to make news feeds work on mobile. In fact, many of the alternatives I just mentioned to an excellent job of balancing a range of content without being overwhelming. There is something inherently difficult about translating all the information from something like Google Reader to a smartphone or tablet, but the smartest companies have figured out a way to let RSS feeds power what they do in a way that makes sense for smaller screens — rather than simply present the bare material.



Groupon推出新工具“Groupon Reserve”,允许消费者以优惠20%~40%的价格,预定包括波士顿、纽约和洛杉矶在内的10个城市的高档餐厅,而且无需提前支付。今年这项服务会扩展到高档温泉会所、沙龙和宾馆。

SAN FRANCISCO — Groupon continues to regroup — or at least give doubting analysts and investors a reason not to take a bat to its battered image.

Today, the daily-discount service used by 42 million people unfurls Groupon Reserve, a tool that lets consumers book reservations at high-end restaurants in 10 cities — including Boston, New York, Los Angeles and here — with discounts of 20% to 40%.

Reserve offers customers a discount off their check without requiring pre-payment or vouchers. It also gives local businesses the chance to draw crowds at slow hours through flexible pricing.

That service will expand this year into deals for prestigious brands at spas, beauty salons and hotels.

"It's another major milestone," Groupon co-CEO Eric Lefkofsky told USA TODAY in a rare interview. Groupon broadened the availability of deals last fall and is now ratcheting up higher-end deals.

"The company is in a much better place than it was four months ago," says Lefkofsky, who took over the helm earlier this year with co-CEO Ted Leonsis. He says customers and merchants were "largely unaffected by the rockiness of last year" and the company's stock has inched up to $8.55.

"We're going to go slow and not overreact," Lefkofsky says of the past few months, when things seemed to have stabilized after the ouster of former CEO Andrew Mason.

If there's been a piñata among high-profile publicly traded tech firms, it's the Chicago-based Groupon. Valued at a stratospheric $15.8 billion last year, it's now worth about $5.7 billion amid concerns about an ultracompetitive climate in the online discount market.

Groupon's grand plan is to become the "operating system" for local commerce. But it faces intensifying pressure from Google, LivingSocial and others, because its business model is easy to replicate. With Reserve, it could butt heads with OpenTable, too.

In September, Mason said the company's future success hinged on going "deeper" into an estimated $3 trillion local-commerce market. At the time, Groupon added the latest piece to its portfolio: It plunged into the mobile credit card payment business, joining a crowded field that includes Square and PayPal.

"We're not trying to make money hand over fist," Mason told USA TODAY in an interview then. "The goal is to enhance (services) for daily deals."

That service — an iPhone and iPod Touch app, coupled with a free credit card reader/swipe or $100 durable smartphone case with built-in swipe — let restaurants, salons and spas, retailers and other local businesses accept credit card payments at a lower rate (1.8%) than other providers.





The king of virtual cows has left the building. Zynga CEO and founder Mark Pincus is stepping down after a year full of layoffs, shuttered games and an ill-fated acquisition.

Don Mattrick, the former head of Microsoft's (MSFT, Fortune 500) Xbox and gaming division, will take over as Zynga chief. Pincus wasn't pushed out -- according to regulatory filings, he controlled 61% of the company's voting power at the end of March.

"I've always said ... that if I could find someone who could do a better job as our CEO I'd do all I could to recruit and bring that person in," Pincus said in a company blog post. "I'm confident that Don is that leader." Mattrick, a 30-year veteran of the gaming industry, helped develop major Electronic Arts (EA)video game franchises like "FIFA" and "The Sims."

Shares of Zynga jumped 11% in regular trade Monday, on an AllThingsD published a report published before the news was official.

As such a large shareholder, Pincus will likely remain involved in the company's decisions. He'll also keep his roles as Zynga's chairman and chief product officer. But it's the end of his reign at the helm of the company he helped create in 2007.

For months it's been clear that Zynga is in trouble, left scrambling after a raft of its social games underperformed. Just last month, Zynga laid off 18% of its workforce and shuttered three offices in an effort to stabilize finances.

The June bloodbath followed a 5% headcount reduction in October 2012, when Zynga also announced it would shutter about a dozen games. Several more have folded since then after failing to take off with players.

It's been a rough ride for Zynga since the company's December 2011 IPO. Skeptical investors sent shares plummeting through 2012 after bad news on game performance. Zynga didn't help its public image by buying "Draw Something" maker OMGPOP, which proved to be a costlymistake after the game's faddy popularity wore off.

Zynga (ZNGA) has fallen a long way since its buzzy startup days. Games like FarmVille took off in part through spamming Facebook users' pages in Zynga's early years, in an attempt to gain new gamers and monetize existing ones.

The constant notifications ("Start biting chumps!" read a particularly prevalent Vampire Wars message) Facebook (FB) decided to expressly prohibit the practice in early 2010. Zynga straightened up after the crackdown.

Those casual social games haven't been enough to keep Zynga afloat. Investors are hopeful that the thawing climate for legal gambling -- with real money -- in the United States could pay off for Zynga. In December, Zynga filed an application for a gaming license in Nevada. Zynga had previously announced a partnership with bwin.party, a British gaming company that specializes in online sports betting, poker and bingo.




Apple has filed for ownership of the "iWatch" trademark in Japan, suggesting that the company could be preparing either to introduce a wearable technology or a product relating to the TV business.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the application was made there on 3 June, and made public on 27 June.

Izvestia reported that it applied for the same trademark in Russia in June. However, it does not appear to have registered the name in Europe, where an Italian company owns the trademark.

Registering a trademark is usually an essential step made ahead of the launch of a product in order to prevent rivals from registering the same name and creating an embarrassing and costly legal clash. The name of Apple's iPod was first discovered from trademark filings ahead of its launch in October 2001 – though it trampled over Cisco's "iPhone" trademark in 2007 when it launched its phone that January. The two companies later came to an agreement.

There have been rising expectations – after a growing hiatus since October, during which it has not released any new devices – that Apple will introduce either a watch-style device or some form of TV-compatible device.

The idea of an iWatch that would offer a wearable system able to connect to a smartphone has raised interest, with a number of media outlets saying the company has a huge team of engineers working on such a product.

Wearable technology such as Google Glass, now in beta testing with thousands of "explorers" in the US, and Pebble's Bluetooth-connected watch, has become a hot new item. Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, didn't rule out the idea of such a product when he appeared at the AllThingsD conference earlier this year.

Alternatively, the "watch" element of the name could relate to a TV-related product. Analysts have expected Apple to make a move in the television space, but with margins on sets very thin and replacement cycles low – at about 10% per year – have been unable to think of what it might do. Benedict Evans of Enders Analysis has suggested that Apple could introduce an HDMI-powered dongle with the ability to use TV signals. But the company has given no indication of its intentions, and there has been no industry chatter from TV content providers that would indicate a product was on the way.

So far there is no record of a similar iWatch trademark filing from Apple in Europe. An EC trademark database search on iWatch turns up three results, with the ownership being held by Probendi of Italy and filed in 2008. The other two applications were made after Probendi's, and were either opposed or withdrawn.

Probendi's iWatch application is a mobile-phone application which sends real-time information to an emergency support system.




Last week, All Things D’s Kara Swisher reported that her sources had told her that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was likely to unveil restructuring plans for the company at the beginning of July. Today, Swisher had a far bigger scoop: Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment division, the unit responsible for the Xbox, was leaving to become CEO of troubled online game maker Zynga.

Mattrick’s abrupt departure–since confirmed by Zynga and Microsoft–amounts to a one-man reorganization in itself, and will presumably require Ballmer to further reshuffle the plans he had for his big reshuffling. The Xbox 360 is tremendously important to Microsoft right now; the upcoming Xbox One will be important for years to come. And the vertical integration of the Xbox business–Microsoft makes the hardware, publishes games and provides the Xbox Live service–may be a template for the company’s future direction across all its product lines. It’s a template which Mattrick has tended to with enormous success since 2007. Until today, I assumed he’d play a major role in applying it to the rest of the organization.

Back in October, Ballmer’s annual letter to Microsoft shareholders explained that the company, moving forward, saw itself as being in the “devices and services” business. He wrote that this move was a “significant shift,” and if anything, that’s understating matters. For several decades, Microsoft has been synonymous with PC software–the sort you install on your hard disk, not the type that lives in the cloud. Even as it’s retooled itself for the web era, it’s often described its vision as involving “software + services,” indicating that it still saw itself as a software company.

There’s a funny thing about the phrase “devices and services,” though: It doesn’t even include the word “software.” Microsoft isn’t planning to quit the software biz, of course. But this new self-description–which is even mentioned in your browser’s title bar when you visit Microsoft.com–positions the company to take on Apple (the leading consumer device company) and Google (the leading consumer we service company) in ways it wouldn’t if it defined itself as a software company.

That’s assuming that Microsoft follows through on those words with deeds. Xbox is a devices-and-services success story, but the company is still struggling to replicate it: Its Surface tablets haven’t made a dent in the PC universe, and Windows Phone, though moving slowly in the right direction, remains an also-ran compared to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. A reorganization might help Microsoft become more device-centric, but it might require even bigger thinking than that–which is why the recent rumors that it had been investigating the possibility of acquiring Nokia’s handset business rang true.

The “services” part of “devices and services” is relatively uncontroversial. Nobody will be confused by Microsoft’s desire to be perceived as a leader in services, and thanks to offerings such as its subscription-based suite, Office 365, it can even turn venerable software into a service of sorts. It’s also doing solid work with stuff such as Outlook.com, the Office Web Apps and SkyDrive.

But what does it mean for Microsoft to be in the device business? It’s still a jarring notion, one that sounds more like a long-term goal than a statement of current fact. Parsing Ballmer’s shareholder letter, I interpret its stance as being something like this:

  • Microsoft believes that services work best when they run on powerful, sophisticated devices designed with those services in mind;
  • In some cases, it’s going to design and sell those devices itself, especially when it’s dissatisfied with the work its partners are doing;
  • When it doesn’t, it’s going to take a more active hand in defining hardware platforms (as it does with Windows Phone handsets and Windows 8 PCs);
  • The software still matters, but it’s an enabling technology for devices, rather than the other way around.

That, anyhow, is what I think Ballmer is saying; with any luck, it’ll become clearer after any upcoming reorganization–and better still, once future “devices and services” products are announced.

Here’s a postscript: Just for fun, I went back and looked at how Microsoft has described itself over the past seventeen years, in the form of the text it tacks on to the end of press releases. As you would expect, that boilerplate copy has evolved in an increasingly less PC-centric direction:


Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ “MSFT” ) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.


Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” ) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.


Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Microsoft has apparently been comfortable with that last definition, which it’s still using nine years later. I imagine, however, that it would like very much to start describing itself as the worldwide leader in devices and services. Today, that aspiration still feels like a longshot. But if the day comes when it can reasonably call itself that, it’ll be because it managed to reinvent itself in a way that few large companies ever have.



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