Tricubes secured RM5.3 million MAVCAP funding for MyEmail; MAVCAP goes “Huh?”

MyEmail service provider, Tricubes Berhad held a media briefing on Tuesday April 26 in a move to clarify the highly criticized project which was announced by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak last week.

During the briefing, CEO Khairun Zainal Mokhtar revealed that Tricubes had secured from venture capital – RM 5.3 million in convertible securities for the MyEmail project. The CEO was quoted by The Star as saying, “We have secured an initial investment of RM5.3mil from MAVCAP (Malaysia Venture Capital Management Bhd) and the balance will be funded through equity, debt or a rights issue.”

Yesterday, it was reported by The Malaysian Insider that MAVCAP clarified that its RM5.5 million investment was meant for the development of mobile solutions in Tam Tam Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Tricubes Berhad. That means, the MAVCAP investment is NOT for the MyEmail project. This revelation will no doubt intensify speculation over Tricubes’ financial health.

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10 Things You Probably Already Know about 1Malaysia Email

This is a list of 10 things we’ve learned about the 1Malaysia Email or MyEmail service:

  1. Types of information you’ll receive in your MyEmail Inbox: Income tax returns, Employee Provident Fund statements, notices of summons, driving license renewals, and quit rent payments.
  2. 1Malaysia Email project is to create “Malaysian Email“. According to Tricubes’ press release, “Malaysian Email” means the service is operated and hosted by a Malaysian company, and this is where Tricubes comes in.
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Tricubes issues statement on 1Malaysia Email as public dissatisfaction continues

Following the public furore over the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s announcement on Tuesday on the implementation of the 1Malaysia email accounts and the subsequent clarifications both by himself and by the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) yesterday, Tricubes Berhad, the company that was awarded to spearhead the project, issued a press release to further explain the much maligned 1Malaysia Email.

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1Malaysia Email with project description changed overnight

ETPThe description of the 1Malaysia Email project was changed on the ETP website overnight. On April 19, 2011, PEMANDU described the project as follow (emphasis added by GreyReview):

The 1Malaysia Email project is a government initiative in providing a unique and official email account and ID for the citizens of Malaysia.

This initiative will serve to allow direct and secure communications between citizens and the Government, as well as enhance the delivery of Government services to consumers and businesses alike.

Tricubes Bhd will spearhead the development of a web portal which includes an email account for all Malaysian citizens aged 18 and above. The web portal will serve as a one-stop centre for government services, providing value added services such as social networking, online bill checking and payment as well web development toolkits for citizen and businesses organization to creatively develop applications.

Today, the description of 1Malaysia Email is as follow (emphasis added by GreyReview):

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Government clarifies on 1Malaysia email accounts after online public outcry

Yesterday’s announcement by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak that a 1Malaysia email account will be issued to every Malaysian above 18 years of age has spawned online protests by the public, claiming that the latest 1Malaysia exercise is an unnecessary wastage of taxpayer’s money and an attempt by “big brother” to keep citizens in check.

A check by GreyReview reveals that most Malaysians have gone on to popular social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to vent their dissatisfaction, one example being the “1M Malaysians who don’t want Najib’s 1 Malaysia email” Facebook page, which is reminiscent of the online protest against Datuk Seri Najib’s announcement about the construction of the 100-storey mega tower project last year.

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RM50 Million 1Malaysia Email to provide official virtual ID for every Malaysians

The Government of Malaysia announced the 1Malaysia Email project, as part of its Economic Transformation Programme (ETP). The project will provide unique email ID to every Malaysian citizens who are 18 years and above.

The total investment of this email project is RM50 million by 2020. It will be spearheaded by Tricubes Bhd, in collaboration with Microsoft. The project will use Tricubes’ FUSION, which the company describes as “a middleware platform that provides a unified infrastructure to enable the implementation of applications based on the usage of smartcard and biometrics” and m2e (Mobile to Enterprise) middleware – “provides a messaging framework ( middleware ) for system integration by providing adapters that can interface to different back-end system platforms. The system connects to Microsoft Windows Live environment.

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Google Chrome Tailor-Made for Web Computing

Google Chrome LogoAfter two years of development, Google today unveils its open source web browser, Google Chrome (went ‘live’ at 11.46 PT, September 02 2008). With Chrome, Google outlines its vision of a next-generation web browser. Amidst a crowded browser market with players like Mozilla Firefox / Camino, Apple Safari, Opera, Flock and Microsoft Internet Explorer, the new Webkit-based browser does indeed offer a breath of fresh air.

Google Chrome is probably the first browser designed for the Age of Web Computing (George Colony, CEO of Forrester Research, called Executable Internet). It is created from the ground up to accommodate the demands and challenges of modern interactive web applications.

Introducing Google Chrome

The following section highlights what’s new with Google Chrome:

User Interface
Layout Structure
  • Tabs-on-Top Tabs are located on top of navigation bar.
  • More browser real-estate “File, Edit, View” menu bar not available. Options and controls are accessible via these two icons, located on the right-hand side of the browser. This translates to bigger ‘browser real-estate’ without sacrificing easy accessibility to functions and controls.

  • Agile Tabs ,which can be moved from window to window (and the tabs retain its state). The example below shows “Technology Review” tab being dragged. Drag by holding down your mouse left button and once released, the tab will open in a new window.

  • Integrated URL and search bar. Google called it omnibox. In addition to URLs of visited sites, omnibox can handles search, sites recommendations, etc. If you have used a search engine at a website, say The next time you type the URL, you can press TAB to directly search CNN from the omnibox.

  • Full text search over browsing history.
  • Window for App This window shows no browser UI; displays just the app. Below is a screenshot of Gmail app window.

  • Download status at the bottom of browser window, similar to what Download Status extension can do on Firefox. The downloaded file can be drag-and-drop anywhere.
Tab Page Display nine favorite sites, search ‘history’ box, recent bookmarked sites and recently closed tabs.

Sandboxing Google Chrome SandboxStripped browser processes all its right; can compute but can’t write files or access sensitive areas in your computer.

Isolated “sandbox” involves confinement of browser of processes; the confined perimeter can be defined based on permissions – low, medium, high.

Closed browser tab to terminate rogue processes.

“Incognito” mode for more private browsing; similar to Safari’s Private Browsing and IE In-Private mode.

Multi-processes Google Chrome ProcessWith its Multi-process design, each tab is a separate process.

Each process is isolated with its own memory and global data structure.

A tab with rogue process won’t crash the whole browser.

Can restore crashed tab to state before crash.

Memory management Google Chrome ProcessWhen a tab is closed, the process is destroyed and the browser gets to reclaim back the memory.

Memory leak can be easily contained by just closing tab with ‘rogue’ process.

Built-in Task Manager to see which sites are hogging memory.

Moving from Site A to Site B are treated as two distinct processes. So, browsing with Google Chrome is a constant creation and obliteration of processes.

JavaScript Engine Google Chrome V8Google Chrome’s new V8 JavaScript engine enables dynamic code generation. It converts JavaScript source codes directly to machine codes, which in turn, interact with your CPU. This turbo-charged execution.

Also, its Hidden Class Transitions, in which objects with similar properties will share the same hidden class, enables dynamic optimization.

Source: Google Chrome Comic

When Google signed a marketing deal with Mozilla back in 2006, many thought Google will use Firefox to enter the browser market. Last week, the Internet search giant extended the deal to 2011.

However, building a browser from ground up makes more sense for Google because this approach is without path-dependent legacy, development assumptions, designs and other coded constraints. With a clean slate, Google can fully exert its creativity and authenticity when developing the new browser. This resulted in the development of multi-process architecture and V8 JavaScript engine. A quote by Albert Einstein aptly apply in this case:

The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.

In Search for Web Supremacy

“Google lives on the Internet,” said Chris DiBona, Open Source Program Manager (in Google Chrome comic). Google’s business is tightly-weaved to the Web and already has arrays of web-centric services, namely search, email, photo organizer, chat, map, online video sharing and interactive maps.

Currently, Google is spearheading two major industry initiatives – open source mobile platform, Android and open Web API for social networking sites, OpenSocial. With Chrome open source project, the search giant aims to influence the technological direction in the browser market and further catalyze the adoption growth of web-centric applications.

Better browser leads to improved Web applications performance and better user experience. This, in turn, catalyzes greater diversity, novelty and variety of applications / services to generate vibrancy in the Web ecosystem. A vibrant, bustling Web is, indeed, good business for Google.

Verdicts: Google Chrome offers a new kind of user-browser interfacing experience. I admire its ‘fluid’, agile and dynamic tabs, something other browsers don’t have. Google also rethink and remodel the way we interact with bookmark. Of course, last but not least, the integrated search-URL is smart and much more awesome than Firefox’s Awesome Bar. In a nutshell, Google Chrome is fresh, snappy and so much fun to use.

Google Chrome is available for download here (Windows only; Mac and Linux versions will be available soon).

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In Search of Competition 2.0

Tim O’Reilly, in “Microhoo: corporate penis envy?,” (O’Reilly Radar, May 24 2008) advised Microsoft to outsource its search to Google and “Compete where you have ideas that can really change the game, but don’t play me-too.”

Michael Arrington disagreed with O’Reilly assertions in his article “The Importance of A Competitive Search Market” (TechCrunch, May 25 2008). He believed that competition is crucial to the evolution and improvement of the search technology and business models. According to Arrington, if Google is allowed to assume the dominant role in search, “little effort is put into innovation, and the not enough revenue flows to companies that add value to the system…. the entire ecosystem is put at risk.”

O’Reilly countered with “Why search competition isn’t the point” (O’Reilly Radar, May 25 2008). He asserted that the focus shouldn’t be on Web 2.0 applications or search, what he termed as subsystems of a much bigger Internet Operating System. He went on to argued that Google’s monopoly will be short-lived because “it’s rare for a company that led with one generation of technology to also win at the next.”

O’Reilly also pointed out that Web 2.0 applications tend to slide into monopolistic behaviors, fuel by network effects. The network effects already in play for Google and its search business. So, unless Microsoft is taking the search concept to the next level and make its “search services that are more open, re-usable and re-deployable than Google’s search services”, it should walk-away from the search business. He argued that “there’s so much yet to invent.” He believed Google dominance in search will be toppled by disruptive forces coming from outside the current system, not from playing catch-ups at the same game (as adopted by Microsoft).

I agreed with Arrington’s position. Competition is important to create a sustainable and healthy Web Ecosystem. O’Reilly equates web applications like search to subsystems of a more grandeur system, named Internet OS. Competition at even the subsystem-level is crucial for evolution. Any lock-in by a particular species in a particular subsystem is risky for the entire Ecosystem, as the Whole System is only as good as its sub-systems.

I agreed with O’Reilly that network effects, in the favor of Google search, is almost an Everest for Microsoft to climb. BUT we have see many instances where companies overcoming the undercurrent of network effects. Search engines like Altavista and Hotbot have lock-in in the search marketplace and Google, a relatively late-comer, dislodged the incumbents. Google is evolutionary (rather than revolutionary) improvement over Hotbot or Altavista. Google managed to develop new sort of algorithms and methodologies to deliver better search results compared to its predecessors. What if then we asked Google not to pour their resources to compete in the search subsystem, as this area already been taken care by Hotbot?

The same applies for the social networking marketspace. Friendster and MySpace practically captured this marketspace before Facebook comes marching in. Should we advice Facebook to do something else other than social networking business when they started operation?

There should be competition in every subsystems. We see competitions in practically every niche of the today’s Web 2.0 market – bookmarking segment (e.g., StumbleUpon, Diigo), books (Goodread, Shelfari, Library Thing), photos (e.g. Flickr, Picasa), etc. Through competition, innovative ideas like Google PageRank and Facebook Platform can emerge. The Web 2.0 is a thriving and dynamic ecosystem, mainly because array of species are emerging every day to bring something ‘special’ to the evolution of the entire Web Ecosystem.

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