You’ve seen the tags that you’re allowed to add to your Flickr pictures, blog posts, submissions to Digg, etc. These are important because they change how we can find and use information:
In a workshop yesterday 13 new companies were launched. I’ll blog more about the specifics later, but I thought I would simply list them so you can take a look yourself for now:
Rollyo – Create your own search engine and search others search engines in your social network.
Joyent – Mail, calendar, contacts, files, binders, all web-based, focused on groups of 20-25. Has smart binders which pump out rss feeds of changed content. Can tag content and share to others in your group.
Bunchball – Social application space all about doing things with people you know. They provide the distribution and infrastructure for developers to create social applications.
Realtravel – Travel blogs which integrate with maps, journals, photos, etc on any place. Allows community through tagging others content and viewing all the information on a particular place in one view.
Zimbra – A colloboration suite based on AJAX with mobile support which has mail, contacts, calendar, etc. If you mouseover a URL, you see a small popup thumbnail of the webpage. If someone mails you about meeting next friday, you can mouseover friday to see a small popup of your schedule for that day. If you mouseover a phone number, there’s a skype mashup. It integrated with web services across the web – if you mouseover a fedex tracking number, a small popup shows all the tracking information about that package linked from Fedex. Looked very neat.
Zvents – what-when-where search of events in a particular area into list-map-calendar, integration with google maps in AJAX.
Knownow – notification servicie of changes in any rss feed you subscribe to.
Orb – gateway to get your stuff from any always-on computer to any other device (laptop, mobile) regardless of file type or plugin needed. Can access photos, music, videos, etc which is on your computer at home over your mobile device or laptop through a http interface. The web is everywhere on every device, now you can use that to get ahold of your own stuff anywhere you are.
Wink – search engine which allows you to share what you know. They aggregate tags and analyze them to provide search results. You can have personal sharing sets to share what you are searching on with your peers. The idea is to create a more relevant and accurate search engine through a better user interface and interaction.
AllPeers – Creating firefox APIs for others to use to develop killer web apps. Two right now: MediaCentre which allows you to tag and organize all files and Web Page Sharing allows you to annotate web pages locally for your own use.
Flock – A social browser which has a stream of events and creates social interactions. A focuse on favorites/history and blogging. Has a flickr and blogging tie-in right in the browser and a shelf which allows you to drag and drop any content for your own use later.
PubSub – They are focused on prospective instead of retrospective search. And also focused on structured blogging with a wordpress plugin which allows people to create your own structured data types which can be used across the blogosphere to aggregate data across the web.
The first workshop I attended this morning was all about tagging – how people use tags to find content they are looking for, help others to find it, and direct searchers to their own content. Tagging is used by sites like Flickr, Technorati, Del.icio.us to categorize content by having website users tag their own content with keywords (or by tagging other content with keywords). This has been described as using a ‘folksonomy’ (as opposed to a taxonomy). The beauty of this method is that your users create the links between content instead of trying to come up with a taxonomy that may or may not work across all your content. The difficulty is that there isn’t a great way to have only one tag to describe an item. For instance, the Web 2.0 conference could be tagged as web2, web20, web2.0, web 2.0 – all of which are the same to a human, but quite different to a computer.
Search engines infer that certain keywords are related to each other, why not use that information towards tagging? Or by using social networks? Or some combination thereof. How do you deal with information that is relevant now and that very few people are linking to or tagging, but which has a high relvancy and value? How do you place value on content which isn’t from a large content publisher?
Flickr has seen widescale use of tagging by ‘normal’ people, but they tend to tag their photos in a very generalized way. All the photos taken on a trip to Disney World are simply tagged ‘disney world’ with no further information about what is in the images. This makes it difficult to get more value from the tagging unless someone else sees the image and adds their own tagging to it.
How do you handle misbehavior so that tagging doesn’t go the way of meta keywords? Meta keywords are invisible and may or may not be relevant to the content on a page. Content publishers may forget to update their keywords, or just have sitewide keywords that are not relevant to individual pieces of content. Perhaps a trusted or democratic systems needs to be put in place so that misbehavior is filtered out by the masses.
I can see real value for tagging in our own web sites. We are currently looking at the problem of trying to suggest content to users. How do you suggest content to users if you can’t accurate create keywords for that content? Do you leave it up to the editors to create those keywords? How do those keywords relate to the keywords in other industries which apply to the same thing? What about keywords which refer to different things in different industries? A tagging system has interesting potential for the users of our websites to create a ‘folksonomy’ and truly control what they see without us having to spend the effort to create a corporate-wide taxonomy.
Web 2.0 starts this morning with breakfest and then two sets of workshops. I’m going to have problems choosing which ones to attend, but at least with four of us here we should be able to cover all the good ones. There is an interesting discussion this morning about using tagging instead of taxonomy to group types of content together. I think that may have some interesting applications for us when we decide to show articles to users similar to how Amazon shows book suggestions. Later this morning, I think I will attend the discussion on how search is evolving with panel members from all the large search engines.
But first, it’s time for breakfest!
I’ll be traveling to San Francisco next week with some work colleagues to attend the Web 2.0 Conference. I attended last year (see the ET Archive for coverage) had a great time. In the midst of our hectic Vignette v7 Migration this will be a welcome break for myself and our lead programmer. And, more importantly, a chance for us to brainstorm and get more ideas of how to push the company even further into the present and on into the future. I’ll be covering the conference on this blog. More to come….
Web 2.0 High Order Bit
Brendan Eich, Mozilla
10/7/04 The browser is back, which is why Longhorn is irrelevant in the web application world. Firefox is 2% of the web so far, according to websidestory.com. You can go to sites with a RSS link, or use the RSS button in the button corner to subscribe to the feed. Longhorn has a laundry list including graphics optimized into the GPU, but is it worth the price? Also, XML declared UI widgets and layout, which Mozilla has.
E4x boosts XML productivity.
Momo project: www.go-momo.com
Cairo Vector Graphics: www.cairographics.org
Irrlicht 3D Engine: irrlicht.sourceforge.net
Dirac Video Codec: www.bbc.co.uk/rd/projects/direac/
Web 2.0 High Order Bit
Larry Lessig, Stanford Law School
10/7/04 I wrote a book on free culture.
Stephen Manes said it was horrible. He wrote about it in Forbes – it was #2 on Google.
Text journalists take advantge of the freedom of speech. The freedom to remix without permission. Remix is changing the democratic culture. It is the power to speek. It is about a bottom up democracy, not a NYTimes democracy. It’s a blog democracy, or p2p democracy. The architecture of this form of creativity was enabled by technologists, by you.
The problem is that it is illegal to remix in other types of media. All content is inherently copyrighted and requires permission. Text journalists say it’s simple to get permission, but it never is.
This is a new problem. The potential is new and the restrictions are new. Technology has changed. And restrictions have massively changed. Before 1978 we had a opt-in copyright system, now we have an opt-out system. Before 1978 some content was controlled in some places. After, it was all controlled everywhere.
We’ve gone from a free culture to a permission culture.
There are consequences… for politics: Robert Greenwall wrote a movie called Uncovered. It included a nbc interview on Meet the Press with the President during which they asked why he went to war. NBC said Greenwall couldn’t use the clip because it was very unflattering to the President. In an environment with less Press conferences and more single interviews, there is an incentive for the news organizations to be nice. We’ve privitized the presidency.
After Greenwell’s movie Outfoxed in 2004, it was said that quoting journalists and criticizing them puts them at risk. They have a huge exposure and no protection. Is this free speech?
Text-heads think “it’s simple”. They’re oblivious. What’s the harm? “terrorists” Without remix, we can’t teach.
The Induce Act is a huge threat to our free speech – don’t think it’s dead.
You can’t sell anything – it’s a lawyer’s culture.
In 1839, Lous Daguerre invented photographs, which were expensive and small. George Eastman made Kodack photography, which was inexpensive and the market took off. The question was asked, do you need permission to capture images – to pirate someone’s image? No. Images are free. Free results in market explosion. But what if they weren’t free? And you needed permission to take a photograph? What if they passed the Daguree Machine Control Act (DMCA)? Photos would be unfree, and you’d have a slow market.
Remember. Free speech makes Manes free. Brilliant or juvenille – commenting on something is a freedom worth fighting for. Make the digital culture free.
We need balance.
We need sanity.
We need an end to apologists extremists taking us from free to unfree.
Strange things are happening in IT. Brazil throws out Microsoft. Regions of Spain, Germany and Belgium are adopting open source. The US Department of Defense pushes for open source. In 1776, they called it the tea party. It’s a revolution, from the bottom-up.
Let’s give credit where credit is due. The top down system worked for a long time. The industrial egosystem has worked well for Ford, JP Morgan, Carnegie. Top down software was a natural for its time.
Then the net came. Which is a whole new software habitat. It’s home on the range for developers. It allows for end to end communications. And soon the new ecosystem was filled. Customers didn’t need to drink the expensive tea anymore. They could make what they wanted. It started with open source adoption. Now, open source is going mainstream. We’ve been evolving for a long time towards this point. We tried good ideas in object oriented programming, but we were all stuck in our own silos.
Web 2.0 demand began to supply itself. Programmers and users are turning markets upside down. We have the Wikipedia, blogs, podcasting. The view from the top is not happy. Microsoft doesn’t like open source. Nicholas Carr says that IT doesn’t matter, it’s a cost that needs to be controlled. IT is not strategic.
In the new ecosystem, the real hero is the IT guy. It’s driving change. He looks like outsource fodder. IT is turning phone booths into WIFI hot spots in NY city. IT is unwiring whole cities. It’s turning old mainframes into new Linux server farms. It is driving hardware and licensing costs to the floor. It is making bosses happy.
The Net and open source were both built on the same principles. Nobody owns it. Everybody can use it. Anybody can improve it. IT gets better naturally. By using debugging by thousands of people you don’t know. Everyone participates in a mature market. New opportunities are opening up to be filled by commodities. But there are too many commodities right now. IT is drowning in component choices.
Need a company which assembles software like Ford assembled cars.
Introduction to Spikesource, which pre-integrates open source. We’re an open source IT services company. We have an automated system for assembling software. Deep computer science is involved. We have an automated framework for accomplishing this. Our alpha was available in March and our public beta in December. We have automated assembly, deployment and lifecycle management in a validated, tested and integrated system.
Web 2.0 High Order Bit – MMORPG
Bill Gurley, Benchmark Capital
10/7/04 We’re going to break into the business of MMORPG which are the realization of the environments in Snowcrash. MMORPG stands for massive multiplayer online role playing game and is based on the text-based online games called MUDS or Zork. The first graphical MUD was Ultima Online. NCSoft has the leading mmorpg game, City of Heros. Also, Lineage and Lineage II. There are also Shanda and Sony’s Everquest.
Why are people passionate about mmorpgs? We’ve seen the prosecution of in-world theft in the real world in Korea. Also real world retailation. There has been the resale of digital assets and accomplishments on eBay. People have shown that they can earn a real life living playing games.
There is an untapped market in the IM market for casual games and avatars. The gaming communication and social networks are colliding.
Neopets has 23 million users and is targeted at children. It has all the aspects of a multiplayer game. And offers HTML lessons so that kids can build their own guilds. And it is extremely sticky. Kids will spend a lot of time there.
Lindenlabs has come up with a new mmorpg called SecondLife. They’ve built the development tools which allow people in the world to create the world. It’s essentially a 3D programming environment.
Why are mmorpg’s a good business? They have recurring revenues in montly fees. They have network effects with increasing returns. They offer real competition and include a large amount of time engaged by the players. There is unlimited complexity available and even with the high risk of failure, there is a high reward. The average successful mmorpg lives 5 years and with a sequel can live another 5 years.