Monthly Archives: October 2005


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:

Socialtext launched – WYSIWYG text editor for any website, wiki, etc.  Also,

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.

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Web 2.0 – What’s in a Tag?

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, 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.

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Start of Web 2.0

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!

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