Archive for the ‘Web’ Category

Ajax Confab

March 15, 2006

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.

Emerging Areas

March 14, 2006

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

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

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 HousingMaps.com 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

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.

Mobile Web 2.0 Service Example

March 14, 2006

Ajit Jaokar elaborates on a specific example as part of his ongoing series:

The service we are considering here is a `mobile’ version of a combination of del.icio.us and flickr.

As you probably know, both del.icio.us and flickr are based on tags. However, note that in a mobile context, a `tag’ would have a different meaning to the term on the web. People do not like to enter a lot of information on a mobile device. Thus, a tag in a mobile sense, would be explicit information entered by the user(i.e. a `web’ tag) but more importantly information captured implicitly when the image was captured(for example the user’s location).

The service would enable you to
a) Search related images and get more information about a `camera phone image’ using historical analysis of metadata (including tags) from other users. This bit works like del.icio.us i.e. searching via tags BUT with a mobile element because the `tag’ could include many data elements that are unique to mobility(such as location)
b) `Share’ your images with others (either nominated friends or the general public similar to flickr but as a mobile service)

From a user perspective, the user would be able to
a) Capture an image using a camera phone alongwith metadata related to that image
b) Gain more information about that image from an analysis of historical data (either a missing element in the image or identifying the image itself)
c) Search related images based on tags
d) Share her image with others – either nominated friends or the general public

Google’s Internet Plans

March 14, 2006

The Times writes:

Google is working on a project to create its own global internet protocol (IP) network, a private alternative to the internet controlled by the search giant, according to sources who are in commercial negotiation with the company.

Google has long been rumoured to be planning to launch a PC to retail for less than $100. The Google computers are likely to be low-grade machines that require a connection to Google to be able to perform functions such as word processing and spreadsheet manipulations. While using the computers, it is understood that consumers will be shown personalised advertising from the company’s AdWords network.

Blog Analytics

March 8, 2006

Brad Feld recommends tools for bloggers:

* FeedBurner: Core RSS feed, page view metrics, item views, reach, and email stats
* BlogBeat: Core page view metrics (plus feed data via integration with FeedBurner API)
* Google Analytics: Page views
* Amazon: Online purchase metrics
* MyBlogLog: Outbound link tracking
* Technorati: More link tracking

Google: “No constraints”

March 8, 2006

Greg Glinden writes about the presentation at Google’s Analyst Day and interal notes while were leaked to the public:

Slide 31 says that Google’s philosophy to new product development is “no constraints” and that they initially ignore “CPU power, storage, bandwidth, and monetization.”

Slide 20 says (in the notes) that Google plans to “get all the worlds information, not just some.”

Derrick made the full notes for slide 19 available:

In a world with infinite storage, bandwidth, and CPU power, here’s what we could do with consumer products…
Theme 1: Speed
Seems simple, but should not be overlooked because impact is huge. Users don’t realize how slow things are until they get something faster.
Users assume it takes time for a webpage to load, but the experience should really be instantaneous.
Gmail started to do this for webmail, but that’s just a small first step. Infinite bandwidth will make this a reality for all applications.
Theme 2: Store 100% of User Data
With infinite storage, we can house all user files, including: emails, web history, pictures, bookmarks, etc and make it accessible from anywhere (any device, any platform, etc).
We already have efforts in this direction in terms of GDrive, GDS, Lighthouse, but all of them face bandwidth and storage constraints today. For example: Firefox team is working on server side stored state but they want to store only URLs rather than complete web pages for storage reasons. This theme will help us make the client less important (thin client, thick server model) which suits our strength vis-a-vis Microsoft and is also of great value to the user.
As we move toward the “Store 100%” reality, the online copy of your data will become your Golden Copy and your local-machine copy serves more like a cache. An important implication of this theme is that we can make your online copy more secure than it would be on your own machine.
Another important implication of this theme is that storing 100% of a user’s data makes each piece of data more valuable because it can be access across applications. For example: a user’s Orkut profile has more value when it’s accessible from Gmail (as addressbook), Lighthouse (as access list), etc.
Theme 3: Transparent Personalization
The more data, access, and processing Google can handle for the user, the greater our ability to use that data to transparently optimize the user’s experience.
Google Desktop w/ RSS Feeds is a good first example: the user should not have to tell us which RSS feeds they want to subscribe to. We should be able to determine this implicitly.
Other potential examples: User should not have to specify the “From” address in Google Maps; user should not have to specify which currency they want to see Froogle prices in; user should not have to manually enter their buddy list into Google Talk.

Box.Net: Online Storage

March 6, 2006

Paul Stamatiou writes:

A relatively new and revamped web service called Box.net plans to make online storage as easy as possible without skimping on the features. With 1GB of storage for free and up to 5GBs for a small fee, you can easily safekeep files and share them with contacts.

Online storage is a volatile industry. Server space is at a premium these days. The only way Gmail is even able to cope with their outrageous offerings and large user base is by compressing their data. Assuming each person uses their ~2.5gigs of storage (not that anyone ever uses the entire thing, attachment size is limited to 10MB) with text, Google can compress that space to only a few hundred megabytes. However, with Box.net users are encouraged to store all types of data and media. Nothing will be compressed and that is a secret to why the service is so fast. New users can get 1GB of box space for free with paying users getting 5GB for $4.99 a month.