What does Yammer’s David Sacks have to do with Apple’s reception hiccup? And what does DoubleTwist’s Jon Johansen have to do with Google Me? To be honest, not a whole lot. But we had both founders in on Friday morning, for our fifth episode of TechCrunch NOW.
For those who are unfamiliar with the program, TechCrunch NOW is a daily show (Monday-Friday, 3 PM PST) where we combine an assortment of entrepreneurs, investors, reporters and other tech personalities to debate the top headlines. This week, our line-up included Cyan Banister, founder of Zivity (and host of Speaking Of), Brian Singerman of Founder’s Fund, Ryan Sweeney of Accel Partners, Andy McLoughlin, co-founder of Huddle, Michael Seibel, CEO of Justin.tv, Evan Soloman, VP of Marketing for Justin.tv, and our OMG/JK dream team MG Siegler and Jason Kincaid.
We don’t expect our guests to be designated experts for each headline— however, as an engaged player in technology, his/her perspective will add an extra layer of context and facilitate intelligent discussion.
On today’s episode, we got a chance to delve a little deeper into Apple’s amusing press release, its botched formula for calculating reception, the problems with the Android marketplace, and the upcoming fight between Google and Facebook.
Below are a few highlights:
On the Android marketplace:
During our show, Jon Johansen got a chance to elaborate on his recent post, “Google’s Mismanagement Of the Android Market.” On Sunday, the co-founder of DoubleTwist (a music service often described as the ‘iTunes for Android’), ripped Google for failing to curate the Android marketplace— leaving it vulnerable to clutter, less-than-legal apps and making it difficult for quality apps to surface.
Rant aside, Johansen says there is a “middle ground” here, where Google can balance its desire to remain open and the need to control the Android eco-system: “Both Palm and Android have this option where you can actually install apps from outside the market…so even if Google started curating the Android market more and flushing out some of these spam apps for instance, that wouldn’t necessarily make the Android market not open anymore because you can still install apps from anywhere else.”
Sacks, also agreed that Google needs to overhaul its system to be more developer-friendly. As a CEO who has an app on the iPhone and the Android platforms, he said it has been a struggle for his team to design apps around the different Android devices and for each iteration of the operating system (although he notes that both Apple and Google still rank higher than RIM).
After our interview, Johansen told me he was looking for more editorial control and improved search algorithms for the market. Google, if you’re listening, he actually has a four-pronged plan for the Android:
“Here’s a few things Google needs to do:
1. They need to expand the number of countries that have access to paid apps (it doesn’t seem to be a big priority as they’re adding them at an extremely slow rate)
2. Developers need to be able to respond to user comments (perhaps through a proxy email to preserve the anonymity of the user)
3. Illegal apps need to go. They’re unfair competition for legitimate apps.
4. More payment options (subscriptions, in-app payments, etc).”
On Google Me vs. Facebook
Meanwhile, in the last portion of our round-up, David Sacks delivered a bold prediction for Google Me: Google Me, on its own will not be able to take down Facebook, if they want to tackle the 800-pound gorilla in social they will have to buy Twitter:
“I think it’s going to be very difficult to create a new social network that just copies Facebook…Google already tried with Buzz to bootstrap off of Gmail, to create a social network, and I think that failed….If it’s just a clone of Facebook it’s certainly going to fail…The only other sort of social networks that have achieved scale on the consumer side in a big way have been Twitter and I guess you could kind of argue LinkedIn…I basically agree with what Keith Rabois wrote which is that Google’s best shot of getting into social networking would be to acquire Twitter. I definitely don’t think they’ll be able build a product themselves that will be able to get significant traction.”
He also ominously warned that in the long term, the market might not be big enough for both a Twitter and Facebook. See the full video above.
Any suggestions for our show or guests you want to see? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, subject: TechCrunch NOW.