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Ajax Confab

March 15, 2006 by

Dion Hinchcliffe covers Real-World Ajax Seminar:

Ajax is sparking yet another big push towards Software as a Service on the Web and even the biggest software players like Microsoft are now making significant investments in Ajax desktops, online business software, as well as elaborate Ajax development frameworks such as Microsoft’s forthcoming Atlas product.  Even more staid companies IBM and Oracle have gotten together recently and formed an Open Ajax coalition to make sense of where Ajax is going and help ensure it goes in the right direction.


March 14, 2006 by

Russell Buckley writes:

AdMob is a pay-per-click marketplace for mobiles. Think Google AdWords for phones – yes, it’s that deliciously simple.

Publishers of any website optimised for mobile viewing can join the network free. And Admob run text-based ads on their site, whenever viewed by a mobile and share revenue. In other words, for a publisher, it’s all upside.

Emerging Areas

March 14, 2006 by

Matt McAlister answers the question: “If you were able to spend a somewhat large sum of money in the Internet space now, what would you do with it?”

1) Publisher services. In the late ’90’s, I thought the music business had the most to gain by the dotcom explosion. Today, I think the publishers do. Understanding content and communities is the name of the game. Publishers have this in their DNA. They just need services that help them transition their businesses from tired media vehicles to the dotcom world.

2) Social search. There are lots of opportunities for companies to figure out how to help information find people. I don’t know whether that comes in the form of recommendations, sharing things, subscribing to things, a combination or something else. But this is a big space with lots of room for newcomers.

3) Web services. I don’t have clear insight into where exactly the best opportunity is in this space, but technologies that move data in and out of databases across the web is probably the single most important aspect of today’s online world. I’d bank on companies that are making RSS the core technology behind their products.

4) Video on the web. Big media is moving quickly to move their programming to the web. The user experience for consuming video is clunky, but the pieces are all there. A new hit product is going to appear here, or an old product is going to look new again, I’m sure.

Amazon offers storage

March 14, 2006 by

BusinessWeek writes:

…Online store with “Earth’s biggest selection” of everything from books to zithers will announce Tuesday morning that it’s adding a new and different kind of service: an unlimited data storage service aimed at software developers who are creating new Web sites and services.
This could help spur a whole bunch of new Web mash-ups and other services.

TechDirt writes:

Word is leaking out tonight that it’s Amazon that’s leading the way with the open platform. This isn’t about storage, even though that’s what most people will talk about. This is about being the file system and database on which web apps are built. That’s much more powerful than just storage.

Forget the head fake of Amazon getting into contextual advertising. Combine this announcement with the announcement a few months ago from Amazon subsidiary Alexa opening up their search platform, and start to imagine what developers could do if they can simply plug into an open online file system/database and an open search engine — and then just build an app on top of that.

It’s like Amazon just provided much of the database and middleware someone might need to develop a web-based app. Of course, there’s a lot of marketing that needs to be done between here and there, and convincing everyone to jump on that platform may not be easy (and who knows, the terms of service may be problematic). That’s, in part, because people just don’t think of Amazon in this way. However, if Amazon really can convince people that it’s providing the basics they need to build the next generation of web apps, Amazon just became a much more interesting company — not by copying Google and Yahoo, but by going beyond them and doing what both companies have yet to do.

Mash-ups: combinations of mainstream web services

March 14, 2006 by

BusinessWeek wrote:

Looking for a place to live last year, Paul Rademacher pored over Silicon Valley rentals on craigslist, the popular online classified-ad site. But the 3D-software engineer grew frustrated that he couldn’t see the properties’ locations on one map. So Rademacher hacked his own solution — a Web site that combines craigslist rentals with search engine Google Inc.’s (GOOG ) map service. The listings on appear as virtual pushpins on maps of nearly three-dozen regions around the country. Click on one, and up pop the details. Since its public debut in April, the free site has drawn well over a half-million unique visitors.

What they’re all seeing is nothing less than the future of the World Wide Web. Suddenly, hordes of volunteer programmers are taking it upon themselves to combine and remix the data and services of unrelated, even competing sites. The result: entirely new offerings they call “mash-ups.”

Mailroom: Manage your small business mail

March 14, 2006 by

Nik Cubrilovic of TechCrunch writes

Mailroom is a web-based small business email management application that allows multiple users to manage multiple email addresses effectively.

The way it works it that you point all your sales, support and general email to your Mailroom account from where you can have multiple users read them, respond to them, assign them and clearly see which emails need attention. One of the really strong points of this solution is that when replying to emails it allows you to drop in standard responses based on the email you have received and previous responses to similar emails. There is no need to setup standard template responses as you can pick and choose which paragraphs you wish to reply with based on what you wrote previously.

With a single place for all emails it means that all your staff can work as a team in replying to emails, and with the response suggestions they can’t really go wrong. If they can’t respond to an email then they simply assign it to somebody who can. This sure does beat having a single email account where you often get into an internal email thread about who is going to respond to it, or worse 2 people respond to it. Also a lot better than routing rules on your mail server, or not having a sales query responded to because your only sales guy was on holidays.

SaaS Predictions

March 14, 2006 by

Amy Wohl makes some predictions about the software-as-a-service market:

1) This market is growing in a serious way. I would expect a company of any] size to be able to purchase all of the software function it wants and needs as a service, rather than as traditional software, installed within its own firewall, within 3 to 5 years.

(2) Of course, I don’t expect every company to want to move all of its IT needs to the SaaS platform in that time period. I do expect even large companies to move functions that are used only occasionally or only by small numbers of users to an outside service provider.

(3) SaaS will increasingly look like a great solution for commodity problems like Email, for companies of any size. Remember, having Email supported by SaaS means outsourcing your Spam problems, too, and most of your virus problems as well.

(4) Look for large traditional software players to start to seriously offer SaaS-based alternatives to their traditional software offerings. These have to be serious, full-function alternatives rather than Microsoft’s recent foray into on-line services, offering incremental services to Office users, but still requiring the customer to install Office on every workstation and multiple Microsoft servers within the firewall.

(5) Watch the innovator companies like Google figure out how to be SaaS vendors beyond the consumer function they offer now. Inevitably, they’ll offer software to the small business market and they may decide to move beyond that into services that appeal to the remote workers of large companies, for example.

Google Mobile

March 14, 2006 by

Business Week has an interview with Deep Nishar, Google’s director of product management who also heads the company’s wireless efforts worldwide. Excerpts:

How important strategically is the mobile business to Google?

For Google, it’s extremely strategic. Our mission is, take the world’s information and make it universally available and useful for our users. And we don’t believe all the users will use PCs to access content. Especially in emerging markets where cell phone penetration is deeper than PC penetration, cell phones might become — or, in some cases, have already become — the primary means of accessing data.

What’s your overarching mobile strategy?

The phone is not the PC. It’s about creating the right experience for the mobile user, so they can find exactly what they want, quickly and efficiently. People search differently on mobile phones; they don’t browse as much, as PC users do, for example.

Microsoft Origami

March 14, 2006 by

WSJ writes:

After months of cryptic Web marketing and word-of-mouth hype over Microsoft Corp.’s project code-named Origami, the company finally showed off the product Thursday: an ultracompact computer running Windows XP with a touchscreen and wireless connectivity.

The device, about the size of a large paperback book, weighs less than 2? pounds and is about one inch thick. It doesn’t have a keyboard, but includes a seven-inch screen that responds to a stylus or the tap of a finger. The device, manufactured by Samsung Electronics Co. and others, is expected to be in stores next month for between $600 and $1,000.

The screen is wide, bright and easy to see, even in low light. Mr. Mitchell showed a music video on one model and a film on the other. It doesn’t have its own keyboard, but since the units are designed with USB 2 ports, one could be plugged in as needed, the Associated Press reported. Other units shown to the AP had SecureDigital Card and CompactFlash memory-card slots, along with jacks for connecting digital cameras, headphones and speakers.