Archive for the ‘Services’ 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.

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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.

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

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.

Craigslist

December 8, 2005

SF Weekly profiles Criag Newmark and his classifieds site:

Almost by accident, Newmark built one of the Internet’s most successful sites, creating a free marketplace for millions that continues to grow around the country and the world. Among the unintended consequences of Craigslist’s growth, though, is that it’s sucking away significant dollars in classified advertisements from already-struggling newspapers. Bay Area papers alone forfeit at least $50 million annually to Craigslist, losses that contribute to layoffs of dozens of reporters. As fearful publishers cut newsroom jobs, inferior news coverage is the likely outcome. Craigslist’s devoted fans are unknowingly exchanging one public service for another — trading away the quality of their news for a cheaper way to find an apartment. At the same time, Craigslist’s executives won’t disclose the amount of money they’re pulling in.

Newmark now suffers from a moral dilemma: He feels guilty about helping cause job losses and poorer-quality papers, but he’s excited to accelerate the decline of the big, bad mainstream media. He seems determined to remedy his sins against the media by changing it for the better, lending his name and dollars to a citizen journalism movement populated by J-school professors, idealistic techno-futurists, and so-called citizen journalists. A self-described news dilettante, Newmark believes his recent journalism-related work could be more important than Craigslist. Citizen journalism, though, may not be enough to plug the news hole created by his site’s success. Newmark’s well-intentioned campaign to repair the institution he inadvertently injured could very well be in vain.

Telcos Morphing

December 8, 2005

WSJ writes:

Battling for customers in a quickly changing communications landscape, telephone companies are starting to roll out a range of new gadgets and services that combine wireless, landline and Internet access.

The wave of new products and services comes as phone companies are trying to grab market share and beat back stiff competition from cable operators, wireless carriers and, increasingly, Internet companies such as Google Inc. They are doing so by shifting their focus to growth businesses such as wireless and Internet access.

For consumers, the strategy could mean further discounts for packages of Internet, landline and wireless services — and a wider selection of services and gadgets.

Competing with Google

December 7, 2005

Umair Haque writes:

One way to qwn Google is through connected consumption. Google has proven time and time again that it doesn’t have a real competence in community. Most of it’s community-based initiatives are also-rans (Orkut, News, etc).

But communities are huge sources of value creation in a post-network economy – especially when they scale. That is, they realize increasing returns via viral and network economies of scale. So, for example, rather than Yahoo (etc) trying to roll it’s own communities, a much smarter play would be to begin acquiring vertical communities and build nonlinear returns to scale, because each acquisition price won’t reflect network benefits.

Vertical communities create value in two ways. First, they’re hyperefficient attention allocators. Second, that’s because they’ve built huge knowledge pools about their verticals. Check out Basenotes for a quick example. The trick is that few of them realize much value now, because their networks haven’t reached scale.

But the economics are clear: both of these sources of value creation are deeply disruptive to traditional consumer-facing industries. Where newspapers are today because of micromedia and ambient media, so tomorrow most consumer-facing industries will be because of communities – think magazines, department stores, and other mass players. And that means that a community roll-up player can exert huge market power over complementors – like Google – because it will own the edge of the value chain.

Personal Search

December 7, 2005

John Battelle points to a paper by Vivisimo’s CEO, Raul Valdes-Perez, who says: “…. search personalization is likely to waste the talents of top computer scientists. It may even give worse results…”

On a related note, Fortune writes how Yahoo is combining social networking with search: “Yahoo hopes it can trump Google someday by combining MyWeb’s shared bookmarking with Yahoo’s existing search engine. Users get conventional search results, with those that have been tagged brought to the head of the list. MyWeb 2.0 is still in its early stages.”