Tag Archives | Google

uTest On Tour – San Fran to London to Hyderabad and Back

October is bursting at the seams in terms of uTest speaking engagements! The exec team will be presenting at leading events all over the world this month — from San Fran to London to Hyderabad and back.

We start in San Francisco next week at CrowdConf, the world’s first conference dedicated to the world of crowdsourcing and the future of work. CrowdConf will be held at the St. Regis Hotel on October 4th.

Crowdsourcing veterans CEO of oDesk, Gary Swart, and CEO of Elance, Fabio Rosati, will join Doron on a panel to discuss the ways crowdsourcing models are used to maximize a company’s potential and manage costs. More details here!

By the way, we will also be at CTIA in San Fran October 5th – October 7th at both the Mobile Web & Apps Forum (10/5) and the iPad & Tablet Publishing/Entertainment Apps (10/6) event. CTIA will be held at Moscone Center West. Let us know if you’ll be there!

LONDON 10/13 & 10/19
Next stop – the UK! On October 13th, Co-Founder of uTest Roy Solomon will be speaking at TCL’s Star Testing event in London. Other speakers include our friends James Whittaker (two-time Testing The Limits veteran!) and Tom Lounibos, CEO of SOASTA. This event will be held at One Alfred Place.

On October 19th, uTest exec Matt Johnston will be among the outstanding line-up of more than 40 speakers at Mobile App World, which includes Google, Microsoft, Ericsson, Orange Global and the BBC, who will be discussing the future of mobile apps.

Next stop – India! uTest was selected to attend the invite-only Google Test Automation Conference (GTAC) in Hyderabad on October 28 for the second year in a row! uTest exec John Montgomery will be there.

Last but not least, Matt will be speaking at TiE CON 2010 in Dearborn, Michigan on October 28 at 1pm in the Crowdsourcing track.

And that’s it! (Where’s an exhausted emoticon when you need one?) If you want to meet up with us at any of these events, please shoot us a note. We’d love to share a coffee break with you.

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And The Winners Of The Best #KickAssApps Are…

In hot tech news today, Google releases its goo.gl URL shortener (cool!), Facebook upgrades its photos (cooler!), Foursquare 2.0 for Android arrives (nice!), Twitter’s Promoted Trends appear at the top of the trends (meh) AND… the winners of the “Where’s The App For That?” Twitter contest are announced (woooo!!!).


-1st place: @rodydio, the geo-party app, wins an iPod Touch
-2nd place: @Ed_Wing, the thoughtful alarm clock app, wins a Nano
-3rd place: @OrenTodoros, the swear-in-any-language app, wins a Shuffle

Thank you again to everyone who participated, including the incredible voter turn out! 621 people turned up to support their favorite apps. Special thanks to our honorable mentions @linzlovesyou, @statelessSH, @Omeriko21, @the_qa_guy and @eurekalopes.

There were so many good ideas – let’s hope someone out there is listening and creates them for us. We’d be happy to test them! :)

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Mobile Web: “I Ain’t Dead Yet #*%$#@!!”

Rumors of the mobile web’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Despite some compelling arguments in Wired’s latest series –  where experts assert that native apps have (or will soon) totally displace the web as a medium of choice – we’re not quite ready to pull the plug. Apparently, neither is the general public. Not just yet.

More on that in a second, but first, let’s examine why some are making this claim. It’s true that there’s been a meaningful shift towards native apps over the last few years, thanks mostly to the iPhone and its offspring (i.e. smartphones). What was once the Great Wide Open, the Internet has been parceled into what Wired calls “semiclosed platforms that use the Internet for transport but not the browser for display.”

In other words:

You wake up and check your email on your bedside iPad — that’s one app. During breakfast you browse Facebook, Twitter, and The New York Times — three more apps. On the way to the office, you listen to a podcast on your smartphone. Another app. At work, you scroll through RSS feeds in a reader and have Skype and IM conversations. More apps. At the end of the day, you come home, make dinner while listening to Pandora, play some games on Xbox Live, and watch a movie on Netflix’s streaming service….

You’ve spent the day on the Internet — but not on the Web. And you are not alone…

Quite true. But you are also NOT alone if you’re still using the mobile web. As part of our weekly “What Do uThink” poll question, we asked our community whether they prefer to get information via native apps or the mobile web. Here were the results:

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What’s Your Favorite Next-Gen Browser?

As long as we’ve had the World Wide Web, we’ve needed software to browse it. Originally, that meant using a tool like Mosaic or Lynx. Today, we have a wide variety of browsers from which to choose, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

So it was in this spirit that we polled our community of testers to find out which of the next-generation browsers they were most excited about as part of our weekly What Do uThink polls in our forums. The outcome was tight, with Firefox 4 and Chrome 6 together taking 86% of the votes (Firefox 4 had 46% of the votes and Chrome 6 had 40%). Internet Explorer 9 came in third and garnered the bulk of the remainder.

We posed the same question to users on Facebook, and the results were nearly the same. Firefox won with 50% of the votes, but Chrome was right behind with 33%.

So which do you prefer? Are you excited by Chrome’s astonishing performance improvements and built-in PDF reader? Or are you looking forward to Firefox’s Tab Candy interface? Of course, you don’t have to agree with our community. Internet Explorer 9 features some rocking speed improvements and support for HTML5, while Opera 10.60 now features some killer geolocation features. And don’t forget about Safari 5, which now supports extensions for easy modification.

The browser wars are hardly over, and I couldn’t be more excited. That’s probably why I use all of them! What do you think?

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You Have Questions – Google Has Answers

What’s the square root of Pi? Who led the NBA in rebounding in 1988? Are there really rattlesnakes in Vermont? Is Silly Putty edible?*

Here’s another question for you: Where do you go for answers online? If you’re not sure, we suggest that you ask Google, because that’s where almost everyone submits their online inquiries these days.

To make it a bit more scientific, we decided to make this question the topic of our weekly “What Do uThink?” poll. Here are the results from the uTest Forums:

  • Google (search) – 91%
  • Wikipedia – 4%
  • Bing (search) – 2%
  • Other – 2%

Clearly, Google pretty much owns the online answers space, which came as no surprise. However, when we posed the exact same question to our Facebook users the results were slightly different. Google still came in first place, but with “only” 53% of the total vote. Rounding out the totals were Wikipedia (18%); YahooAnswers (12%); Bing (6%) and WikiAnswers (6%).

So what makes Google the go-to place for answers? uTest Forums member “scornik” explains:

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Click Fraud Climbing – Up 18.6 Percent

According to tech analyst firm IDC, U.S. companies paid a record $14.2 billion for paid keyword-driven contextual ads in 2009, with Google dominating 55% of that revenue, Yahoo 9% and Microsoft 6%.

More dollars = More fraudsters. Period.

The company Click Forensics just released a report on the overall click fraud rates for the paid search industry. According to SearchEngineLand, the report said click fraud was up from 17.4% last quarter to 18.6% in Q2 of 2010. Traffic across 300+ ad networks is reflected in the data.

In addition, it was found that the countries outside North America with the greatest volume of click fraud were Singapore, Pakistan, Japan, Ukraine and China respectively.

Recent research by marketing intelligence company Visual IQ came out with similar numbers earlier this month. The company estimates marketers lose an average of 16.7 percent of their pay-per-click budgets to fraud.

So why is click fraud slowly trending higher and higher? The CEO of Click Forensics, Paul Pellman, stipulates that “the main reasons appear to be the continued sophistication of botnets and malware prevalent in the fast-growing search marketing space.”

According to Inc. Magazine, click scams use the following techniques:

  • Manual clicking. Workers might be paid to click to run up totals.
  • Software clicks. Automated clicks.
  • Bot networks. Using malware to harness unsuspecting users’ computers, criminals can create large networks of computers employing programs that imitate clicks.

Despite detection innovations, click fraud rates show no signs of slowing. Attacks are becoming more sophisticated. Criminals are making more money. So what can we do? Any advice out there on how to mitigate it?

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What’s the Best Mobile Operating System? Android FTW!

The mobile wars are heating up! Microsoft is aggressively luring app developers for its Windows Phone 7 OS, while Android quietly gains market share. Blackberry expects big things out of OS 6, while The Big Apple deals with antenna issues, the yellow screen of death and the (remote) possibility of a recall. Interesting times indeed.

As part of our newly-launched “What Do uThink?” series (more on this shortly), we decided to ask our community which mobile OS they considered to be the best. Here are the results:

  1. Android – 38%
  2. RIM Blackberry – 28%
  3. Apple – 16%
  4. Symbian – 12%
  5. Windows Mobile – 6%

“What do uThink?” is a weekly poll, where we’ll be asking the uTest community their preferences and feedback on various apps, operating systems and other technologies. To encourage voting, we’ll be awarding monthly and quarterly prizes to randomly selected participants. This quarter, for instance, we’re giving away an iPod Touch. The weekly polls open every Tuesday afternoon and voting takes place in the uTest Forums available to registered testers) as well as on our Facebook page. Got it?

Good. Now back to the mobile OS results…

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Apple Winning the Bug Marathon

Take that Oracle! You just let Apple capture the lead in the 2010 Bug Marathon, otherwise known as Secunia’s Half Year Report (PDF). Worth the read, the 20-page report identifies the ten largest vendors with the most vulnerabilities (in all their products) and ranks them for the first half of 2010 – great entertainment for those who like to track bugs and keep score.

I mean, the World Cup is over and nobody really cares about baseball until September, so perhaps this could help fill the competitive void in the meantime…

Here are the current “standings”:

  1. Apple
  2. Oracle
  3. Microsoft
  4. HP
  5. Adobe Systems
  6. IBM
  7. VMware
  8. Cisco
  9. Google
  10. Mozilla Organization

As noted earlier, this is really more of a marathon than a sprint, so it would be useful if we went back a little longer than six months to crown a winner. Thankfully, Secunia did just that as part of their key findings:

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Testing the Limits with James Whittaker – Part II

In the second part of our Testing the Limits interview with James Whittaker, we tackle Google vs. Microsoft; dogs vs. cats; why SCRUM is just a name; his advice for college graduates; bad habits of exploratory testing and more. If you missed Part I, you can find it here.

If you want to read more of James’ work, bookmarking the Google Testing Blog would be a good place to start. You can also read his 2009 book Exploratory Software Testing or check out some of his uTest eBooks and webinars.

uTest: The Microsoft vs. Google battle continues to play out very publicly in the media. Just last week, Computerworld wrote this story: “Microsoft: No Matter What Google Says, Windows Is Secure.” Having been at both companies, we think you have a unique perspective on this one. Any thoughts?

JW: Let me say right away that I enjoyed my time at Microsoft and admire the company and the smart people who work there. As a resident of Seattle, it is in my best interest for Microsoft to prosper! But the two companies are vastly different regarding the way their talent is managed and their products are built. Google is an engineering-centric company where innovation comes from individuals who are empowered to do whatever they need to get ideas into production. Much has been made of Google’s game-theory approach to managing people where rewards are given quickly for impactful behavior. It works. Morale is high and people work very hard and take quality very seriously.

Does this mean we produce more secure or more reliable products? We try hard to do so; Microsoft tries equally hard. I think we have the advantage of less legacy and a more modern and reliable platform (the Web as opposed to client operating systems) to work from. But the secret sauce at both companies is the same: hard work and due diligence.

uTest: You shared with us (as the pioneer of Testing the Limits posts) that your first assignment at Google was “To raise the level of testing precision and diligence.” So, how did it go?

JW: It didn’t take long. Google was mostly already there so I can’t really take credit for it. Now I am busy raising the bar further.

uTest: Top tester Glory Leung is curious: What are your views on SCRUM testing in general? Are people doing it properly? What is the ideal situation?

JW: Scrum is just a name. I don’t like names, they feel too confining and people have their own ideas of what they mean. I took a lot of flak for using the name ‘exploratory testing’ for my book. People love to confine you to how they view a specific named idea or technique. Flexibility is required.

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Testing the Limits with James Whittaker – Part I

It was one year ago (June ’09) that James Whittaker helped us christen our ‘Testing The Limits’ interview series by being our first guest. And for much of the year, he held the distinction of generating the most page views… and then some guy named Patrick Copeland came along and took the lead a few months back.

Well, in honor of our one-year anniversary, James has accepted our invite to be our first-ever return guest – and this marks the start of a new trend. In our 2nd year of Testing the Limits, we’re going to be revisiting some of the past legends and leaders to see what’s changed since they last spoke with us. Of course, we’ll also be blending in some voices we haven’t heard from yet (we’re looking at you, Cem Kaner and Elizabeth Hendrickson) so stay tuned!

In this interview, James discusses his present role at Google; the emergence of Web Test Framework (aka WTF); the next decade of testing innovations; cloud computing and much more. When you’re done with this one, go read Part II.

uTest: A year ago, the big news was about your move from Microsoft to Google. Now that you’re no longer a Noogler, how has this year changed your perspective on testing and the testing industry? What has surprised you most?  Can you share any favorite stories?

JW: Four years ago I made the decision to leave the comfy confines of academe and consultancy and do something more real. It seems there is a steady supply of ex-industry folks going into consulting and not much of a flow the other way. I thought it would challenge me more than anything else I could do. Unfortunately, Microsoft just wasn’t the place to pull that off, ship schedules in the client-server domain simply didn’t allow a fast enough pace to suit me. I’ve been part of more software development in the past year at Google than I had my entire time at Microsoft and my consulting career combined. Things I didn’t think possible like shipping a product from concept to production in a matter of weeks, doing software development in a way that makes testing mostly invisible and creating completely new uses for test techniques that I had dismissed as amateur earlier in my career (e.g., record and playback) have not only surprised me but also now make my days a lot more interesting.

Another perspective that has changed is my appreciation of automated testing has grown. I’ve written extensively about manual testing and the importance of having a brain in-the-loop and I haven’t given it enough credit to automation in the past. Automation is really important and I think the detractors to it, simply don’t know how to do it right or simply don’t have enough experience with it. At the same time my appreciation for manual testing has grown as well, but I no longer advocate doing it without a lot of automated assistance. I’ll explain more about that later.

uTest: In the spirit of “WTF”, can you tell us more about the new, appropriately named, Web Test Framework and the unique control that Chrome and Chrome OS will offer web apps, browsers and the operating systems they are running on?

JW: I work with a developer who believes that WTF (the real meaning of the acronym) is the only appropriate response to a tester who creates yet another test framework. I have to admit, it is a response I often employ as well. Does the world really need another test framework? What the —-?

Well the world needs this one.

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And The BBJ Best Places To Work In Boston Are…

No, not us.  So don’t worry, this isn’t a “look how cool we are” post.  Actually, at Friday’s Boston Business Journal ‘best places to work‘ awards ceremony, we came in 9th out of the 20 finalists in the ‘small company’ category — and we’re very proud to have even been on the list in only our 2nd year of operations.  The finalists included some outstanding Massachusetts companies in the large, mid-sized and small biz categories, including Google, Microsoft, LogMeIn, Intuit and Carbonite.

Setting that aside, the whole experience of getting nominated, making the finals and being around such great companies this morning got me thinking about the importance of company culture — particularly in startups.  As resource-constrained startups, how do you create a culture or a DNA in which people love coming to work, feel passion for what they do, and believe they’re part of something bigger than themselves? In short, how do YOU create a “great place to work”?

As we emerge from the global recession in 2010, this will be imperative for companies of all sizes — but most notably for startups, where our people are our business. So what are you doing to give your company — and your employees — a sense of shared mission and purpose? How will you keep your best people engaged and challenged to conquer the world?

Back to Friday’s award ceremonies, special congrats to the three companies who won 1st place in their categories:

  • Small company category: fama PR (websitetwitter)
  • Mid-sized company category: HubSpot (website | twitter) — way to go, Brian, Dharmesh, Mike, Mark & co!!!
  • Large company category: William Raveis Real Estate (website | twitter)

And in case you think we’re hanging our heads over not bringing home the gold, think again.  We can’t wait to see where we are in 2011. But in the meantime, we’re working on our dance routine in case there’s a talent show at next year’s BBJ event. Would love to hear from other entrepreneurs, founders and startups about what you’re doing to compete for the ultra-scarce resource of talent.

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