Robot Vacuum Cleaners Taking Off

Remember the \”great sucking sound\” that we used to talk about? I think it\’s the Roomba. In 2003, IRobot sold 470,000 units of the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner. In just the first three months of 2004, the company has exceeded that total, and has high hopes for the second generation of the product.

Buying a robotic vacuum cleaner and lawn mower is definitely in my future purchasing plans.

Renting User Information: Hooked on Phonics and Amazon

Hooked on Phonics just agreed to forfeit $4,600 it earned from renting customer information that it had obtained under a Privacy Policy that did not allow it to rent customer information without giving existing customers a chance to opt out.

Interesting timing on this. I have been ordering books from Amazon for several years now under the name \”Paul Amazon Allen.\” I did this, of course, to track Amazon\’s use of my customer information.

Will Google Netscape Microsoft?

Last November, Google released its Deskbar, which allows you to search the web from your Windows toolbar without using a browser. I use it occasionally; but when I first learned about it I blogged a memo to Larry Page and Sergey Brin with what I thought was a brilliant idea, but probably one that had occured to them long before. I suggested that Google provide a free search tool that would index all your personal email and all the files on your desktop.