Monday, December 05, 2005

Gmail gets security upgrade: Builder AU: Program: At Work

The battle against spam, viruses and spy-ware is starting to be won. The tough part has been the willingness of and professional hackers to find and publish security flaws. Many a copy of virus protection software has been sold because the flaws to the various systems (primarily Microsoft products) have been made public.

Gradually, email and internet service providers have taken the responsibility to cut the problems off at the pass; as they should. Individuals should not have to buy software to scan email that comes from ones provider.

Web 2.0 is going to be very big. The web has now moved into the build-out phase of the product life cycle. It will take years to fully implement but regular web users will go from about 50% to about 90% of the population during this phase. Those who are already regular users will expand their usage dramatically.

It is not a coincidence that the government is expected to revise productivity figures upward this week. The US enjoyed productivity growth of an average of about 1% from 1985 to 1995 and then went into hyper growth mode. Recent figures will be revised to over 4%.

This is a very important number. It means that companies can increase profits even while paying increased wages and holding down retail prices. Productivity is a win-win-win number. Productivity increases are mathematically equal to increased wealth. The other good news is the increase in wealth is gradually spread to shareholders and employees. Of course, in today's new economy a majority of Americans are shareholders, employees and consumers.

Manufacturing jobs are gradually lost as a result of productivity. If you want to study productivity and the benefit it brings then you should study what happened on the American farm in the past 100 years. The bottom line is much less hard work by many fewer people but more production of food.

Manufacturing is making the same transition that farming has already made. America is setting new records as the leading manufacturing country and, yet, even after 2 years of economic recovery we only added 11,000 manufacturing jobs last month. Today's news includes the announcement that Ford motor will close not 5 but 8 manufacturing plants. The reality is that more cars are being made with fewer workers.

The news that Gmail will scan for viruses is productivity news in the service sector. Gmail scanning will allow millions of individuals to stop buying virus software and spending the time to load and maintain these programs. Life here on earth is good and getting better.