YouTube Is Purging Copyrighted Clips (Noam Cohen/New York Times)

YouTube Is Purging Copyrighted Clips  —  Hitting the financial jackpot, it appears, may have created some headaches for YouTube, the wildly popular video-sharing Web site that has agreed to be bought by Google for $1.65 billion in stock.  —  The site late last week began purging copyrighted material …

Source:   New York Times
Author:   Noam Cohen
Link:   http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/30/technology…

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Campaigns Target Web Audience

Significant numbers of U.S. voters go online for political news and information, and they tend to be younger, educated and liberal, according to a recent AP-AOL poll.

Runner-Up Takes on YouTube

Metacafe, one of the video-sharing sites lurking in YouTube's shadow, is launching an incentive program that rewards the content creators who upload the best clips. The race for eyeballs in online video is heating up. By Michael Calore.

Google Code Jam Winner

google code jamIn the massive fourth annual Google Code Jam competition that began in the beginning of September, Google managed to attract 21,000 registrants from 100 different countries. Google's Code Jam competition is not only a celebration of the best in engineering, but it is also a way that Google can help bring together a community of people who will be building next generation tools.

The initial participants all went through a qualification round, which was narrowed down to 1,000 registrants who then went on to compete in a two round competition. The top 100 scores from the second round took a trip to Google's New York offices to complete in the finals. The talented programmers went on a wild ride competing to see who was the best in engineering using Java, C++, C#, Python, and VB.NET. This year Petr Mitrichev from the Russian Federation pulled in first place, and a win of $10,000 in prize money. The second place prize went to Ying Wang of the US, who walked away with $5,000. Not to leave out the top 100 finalists, Google gave them each a cash prize. Its great to see Google bringing together such talent, and pushing to see what can be done with such a diverse group of programmers from all over the world.

Under Fire, Soldiers Kill Blogs

Hundreds of active duty personnel have been weighing in on the Iraq war with personal posts on topics from basic training to military strategy. Now the brass is taking notice -- and they don't like what they see. By Xeni Jardin.

LeWeb3 on Dec. 11-12 in Paris

TechCrunch is co-hosting this year’s LeWeb3 in Paris, France December 11th and 12th, an event organized by Loic Le Meur of SixApart. It is a two days conference to discuss the next generation web and mobile services, virtual games/communties, old and new media and other topics. Last year the event gathered 450 web entrepreneurs, [...]

MySpace Moves to Protect Copyright Holders

On Monday MySpace will announce a partnership with California startup Gracenote to help detect and block copyrighted music from being posted on MySpace member pages. This will allow them to be more proactive about copyright enforcement, in addition to complying with DMCA take-down notices. YouTube made a similar announcement earlier this year, although YouTube is [...]

TopTenSources Raises $3.5 Million, Acquires Blogniscient

Top10Media, parent company to Massachusetts based TopTenSources, a human edited blog aggregator, has raised $3.5 million in a venture round led by Highland Capital (see our previous coverage of TopTenSources here). They are also announcing their acquisition of Blogniscient, a TechMeme-style blog news aggregator. We compared Blogniscient to TechMeme and other competitors in October 2005 [...]

3D Weather Data Visualization in Second Life (Aimee Weber/Second Life Insider)

3D Weather Data Visualization in Second Life  —  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with Aimee Weber Studio just unrolled a sneak preview of their educational project in Second Life (due to open in mid November).  This appetizer of things to come features …

Source:   Second Life Insider
Author:   Aimee Weber
Link:   http://www.secondlifeinsider.com/2006/10/28/3d…

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YouTube removes Comedy Central clips over DMCA claims (Xeni Jardin/Boing Boing)

YouTube removes Comedy Central clips over DMCA claims  —  BoingBoing reader Jeff says, … Link.  —  Reader comment: skott says, … [Another BB reader named] Jeff came up with a funny and spot-on list of practical reasons why comedycentral.com's video-viewing UI sucks way more ass than YouTube.

Source:   Boing Boing
Author:   Xeni Jardin
Link:   http://www.boingboing.net/2006/10/27…

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In Teens' Web World, MySpace Is So Last Year (Yuki Noguchi/Washington Post)

In Teens' Web World, MySpace Is So Last Year  —  Teen Web sensation MySpace became so big so fast, News Corp. spent $580 million last year to buy it.  Then Google Inc. struck a $900 million deal, primarily to advertise with it.  But now Jackie Birnbaum and her fellow English classmates …

Source:   Washington Post
Author:   Yuki Noguchi
Link:   http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article…

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How to embed Flickr slideshows

Blogger Paul Stamatiou details how to embed the default Flickr slideshows on your own web page or blog. All you need to do is embed the following on your page (minus the line breaks):

<iframe align=center src=
http://www.flickr.com/slideShow/index.gne?user_id=12345678@N00&tags=foo
frameBorder=0 width=500 scrolling=no height=500></iframe>

Change user_id from 12345678@N00 to your Flickr id, which you can find out with this idGettr. Also replace foo with the tags of the photos you wish to display. Other parameters include "contacts=", "text=", "tag_mode=", "favorites=", "group_id=", "frifam=", "nsid=", "single=", "firstIndex=", "set_id" and "firstId=". If you want to use one of these extra parameters just add it after your user_id with a separating &.

If you're a fan of Flickr, you probably have jumped on some of the available tools for embedding Flickr slideshows on your blog or web page. But if you prefer their default slideshow, you can still get it on your own site with relative ease. Check out a sample slideshow from the LH Flickr page after the jump.

Nifty.

37 Signals releases free edition of web-development book

Getting%20Real.jpg

The 37 Signals book Getting Real has been released for free viewing on the company's web site. Previously, you had to pay $29 for the paperback or $19 for the e-book.

37 Signals is best known for popular web apps like Backpack, Basecamp, and Campfire (which Lifehacker editors use for online powwows). Getting Real offers insights, advice, and ideas for web developers and anyone interested in business, design, programming, and marketing.

Drag and drop web pages to text areas

drag%20and%20drop%20web%20address.png

Here's a little web browser quick tip that I stumbled onto from a reader email recently: Any time you're working in a text area, you can drag and drop text from various parts of your browser directly into the text area. Most of these work in any browser, but just as a heads up, the behavior isn't always the same; these are the results in Firefox. You can:

  • Drag a link or web page/tab into a text area. The URL and title of the web page/linked text will be pasted separated by a line break (like the screenshot above).
  • Drag highlighted text - this will quickly paste whatever text you had selected into your text area.

This tip may not be groundbreaking for everyone, but it is one of those potentially lesser known browser shortcuts that can certainly save some time. Thanks Rubens!

Why Ze Frank is Right and Wrong About Rocketboom (Heather Green/Blogspotting)

Why Ze Frank is Right and Wrong About Rocketboom  —  It turns out that Ze Frank is right in doubting Rocketboom's numbers.  Rocketboom doesn't dish up 300,000 downloads a day.  In October, it's averaging around 211,000 daily downloads.  —  But that also means that Ze is wrong in speculating …

Source:   BusinessWeek Online - Blogspotting
Author:   Heather Green
Link:   http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/blogspotting…

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Google Blog Alerts

google blog alertsIn the gigantic world of blogs, there are so many important ones to keep up with, and sometimes the information they provide might not be what you want to read. You might want to search out blogs just to read one specific topic--how on earth can you keep up? Our friends at Google have come up with an answer, Google Blog Alerts. Its at the same address as their regular Google Alert application, and works the same way. Just choose your search term, and under the Type, choose Blog, and how often Google should check for your results. Simple as that. No more surfing aimlessl y looking for blog content.

Bookmarking and social sharing trends (Niall Kennedy/Niall Kennedy's Weblog)

Bookmarking and social sharing trends  —  The ability to save a URL has been around since Mosaic 0.2 but is currently experiencing a transformation as we learn more about the pages and content behind the pointers and share our findings with others through social networks.

Source:   Niall Kennedy's Weblog
Author:   Niall Kennedy
Link:   http://www.niallkennedy.com/blog/archives/2006/10…

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Why IBM's patent suit against Amazon could be bad news for the entire Web (David Berlind/Between the Lines)

Why IBM's patent suit against Amazon could be bad news for the entire Web  —  For years, there have been a handful of companies trying to figure out how to erect a toll booth on the Web, if not the Internet altogether.  In other words, they've been looking for some way to ensure that the Internet …

Source:   Between the Lines
Author:   David Berlind
Link:   http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=3848

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Googleholic for October 27th, 2006

googleholic
In this issue of Googleholic we cover:

  • George Bush uses the Google
  • US Election info on Google Earth
  • Google's scary stories
  • Amazon declined Google's request for book searches
  • Google is the most valuable tech company
  • China to run Google's click to play video ads
  • YouTubes copyright breaches will not be tolerated by Google
Continue reading Friday's Googleholic...

George Bush uses "the Google"
Mostly to look at the ranch with that program that he forgot the name of. [Via Think Progress]

Google's scary stories
Using the ever popular, Google Book Search, Google has created a nice list of classic scary stories. Everything from Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. There are even some links to download the book for free.

Amazon declined Google's request for book search information
Amazon declined to provide details about its book search feature to Google in order to fight a copyright infringement case.

Google is the list of most valuable tech companies
Google passed IBM, to become the third most leader< /a> in technology. Behind Microsoft and Cisco.

China to run Google's click to play
video ads

YouTubes copyright breaches will not be tolerated by Google
Google is on a move to stamp out copyright violations on YouTube. Could this spell the end of this once leading edge video sharing service?

The past week in Google News
Make sure to check in for Tuesday's Googleholic Google News report.

If you have any tips, tricks, or anything Google, you can always drop us a line!

Apple upgrades .Mac webmail

.Mac webmail
Apple finally realized that .Mac users were bailing in droves because of the service's lack of recent updates updates and the march of progress to distant locales like Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and Windows Live Mail. In response, it has unveiled a new version of its .Mac webmail offering. The service takes a lot of cues from the new batch of Ajaxy webmail clients, but also from Apple's own Mail.app. In fact, the app looks quite a lot like a desktop app with an interface that fits very well alongside OS 10.4 Tiger. It features IMAP syncing, organization by drag-and-drop, a new message pane just like Mail.app and Outlook's, a Quick Reply feature that lets you "Dash off a response without leaving your Inbox," address book integration, keyboard shortcuts, and Gmail-esque "message previews." Overall, it looks like it will fit in reasonably well with the current crop of webmail offerings, but keep in mind that .Mac still costs $99 per year, which gets 1GB of storage, including what you might use for iDisk backups.

So I want to hear from .Mac users: Is the new .Mac webmail really awesome? How does it compare to Gmail or Yahoo! Mail? Is it worth $99 per year when free webmail (Gmail, 2.8GB) and online storage services (Xdrive, 5GB) are out there? It's not rhetorical--I haven't used .Mac and I really want to know, is it really worth it, and if so, why?

Update: TUAW's David Chartier has penned a nice long review of the new .Mac webmail entitled New .Mac webmail delivers, mostly. He concludes, "Let's face it: no one can please everyone, but this new webmail is pretty hot, considering everything .Mac is up against, like a segmented demographic and high expectations from the nerdier half of it."

Open your ears for audible Google AdSense

google radioWe knew the advent of a Google AdSense audio version was coming down the pipes when Google acquired dMarc Broadcasting, a digital media solutions firm. Well, it looks as though AdSense for audio is slated for release this quarter. With podcasts being its main target, and streaming and audio on demand programming. This could potentially bring a whole new level of importance, and validity as somewhat of a business revenue model to the fine art of podcasting. There are also rumors that point to Google launching a music podcast product. Don't you just love Google potential product leaks?

Google Video for mobile devices

google video search for mobileCan't seem to get Google Video on your phone or mobile device? There's nothing like being able to search for a video, download it and watch it when you are bored. But what happens when you are on the road, and just have your phone? Well, as long as your mobile device has a XHTML browser, some nice storage space, a relatively fast connection, and an application that plays AVI or MP4 formats, you are in total luck. Srobbin mobile video search plugs into Google Video search and serves them up upon your request. Now remember, you should have a data plan, since many of t he videos are about 5MB, and your bill might get kind of yucky. To surf for videos, simply visit srobbin.com/mobilevideo from your mobile device and search! Simple! No more boredom! Just a giant bill if you don't have a data plan.

Facebook sharing features are live

Facebook sharing
Those Facebook social bookmarking features we told you about the other day? Well, the wait wasn't long and it seems that they're available to everybody now, even little ol' me. Facebook, of course, isn't calling it social bookmarking, they're calling it "Sharing." There's now a "My Shares" link in the left-hand sidebar, and there's little "Share" buttons all over the site--next to photos, people's profiles, and items other people have shared. When you share an item you can choose to put it on your profile or share it with specific people, or both.

Facebook sharing 2When you share something with another Facebook user, it shows up in their right sidebar, not in their News Feed, which w ill be a relief to those who were afraid of overzealous linkers (or those with dreams of "free" iPods) spamming things up. Like events, you can enter someone's e-mail address if they don't have a Facebook account, but they have to register for an account before they can see what you've shared. There is, naturally, a bookmarklet that you can use to share links from across the web, as well as MP3s and videos from YouTube and Google Video.

Overall, I think Facebook's new Sharing features are well-implemented and well-thought out. They don't get in the way, it's easy to control who you share with and easier still to manage items. I really wish MP3s had an embedded player like videos do, but you can't win 'em all. Look after the jump for a bunch of screenshots of it in action.
Facebook Sharing 3
Your shared items appear on your Mini-Feed if you choose, and you can remove them later with the X button. Others can use the "Share" button to share them themselves. Unfortunately, no embedded player for MP3 files, unlike videos (below).

Facebook Sharing 6
This is the pop-up that appears when you use the bookmarklet. Videos from YouTube and Google Video show a thumbnail. I like how it grabs the description from YouTube, too. On the right you can add Facebook users or email addresses to share with.

Facebook Sharing 4
This is how a video shows up on your Mini-Feed. Clicking on the Play button...

Facebook Sharing 5
...makes it expand to the full embedded player.

Facebook Sharing 7
Clicking on the Share button on a photo shows this attractive dialog.

Facebook Sharing 8
The My Shares page shows everything you've shared. You can remove items with the X button, which also deletes their associated comments, etc.

So far I haven't see any "Facebook Sharing is teh sux" or "OMG SHARING wut is this MySpace!!1?" groups pop up, but I suspect it's only a matter of time.

Yahoo time capsule projections

yahoo time capsule projectionA while ago I wrote about Yahoo's initiative to archive the current state of the web with writings, photos, videos, audio, and drawing submitted by users to teach future generations. Enter another kooky idea, projecting the images in New Mexico. Yahoo is planning on projecting the images from its time capsule project on the Pyramid of the Sun in Mexico. Although permission was denied by the Teotihuacan archaeological site in fear that the projections could somehow damage the ruins, it looks like Yahoo will continue on rolling the 15 hours of materials. Dates for the projection are from October 25 to the 27th.

CPA Shopping Search Jellyfish Closes $5 Million Round

Madison, Wisconsin shopping search engine Jellyfish.com just announced the end of a $5 million round of funding from Kegonsa Capital Partners and Clyde Street Investments. It’s been a busy week of funding announcements for 2.0 style sites. Jellyfish searches for products across more than 1000 thousand stores that provide Cost-Per-Action compensation to Jellyfish [...]

Comedy Central yanks clips from YouTube

Comedy Central vs. YouTubeHead over to YouTube right now and search for clips from The Daily Show, the Colbert Report, or South Park. You'll find your search discouraging, since clicking on most of those video links will get you naught but a big red "This video has been removed due to copyright infringement" or "This video has been removed due to terms of use violation." That's right, Comedy Central's lawyerbots are reportedly on a rampage and have asked that newl y Google-owned YouTube take down copyrighted clips from their shows. That sound you hear is the sound of a million buzzes being killed or, as Agent Smith would say, "That... is the sound of inevitability."

As I wrote recently, Viacom--Comedy Central's parent company--and other media companies in similar situations could easily rectify this situation by simply offering the best clips from their shows on their own web sites with their own branded player that users can embed in their blogs and MySpace pages. This would allow them to directly control their content while still allowing their shows' biggest fans to do all the free promotion they want, and they could stick ads at the end for their other properties. Warner Music recently got a clue and struck a deal with Brightcove to do this very thing. Personally, if I were Viacom I'd rather pay a few engineers to give fans a legitimate alternative to copyright infringement than pay a bunch of lawyers to sit around watching YouTube.

Still, Viacom is well within its rights and Google's only option--its only smart option, at least--is to comply with their requests. This, as I've said before, is the shape of things to come.

[Image via NewsCloud]

Google Alerts Adds Blogs to News Search

I got an email this afternoon notifying me that there was a new post on the official Google blog, but the blog was down. Now that it’s back up we can read that Google is expanding its popular Google Alerts service to include blog search. At the end of last week blog search [...]

Yahoo serves up new bookmarking tools

Yahoo%20Bookmarks.jpg

Yahoo Bookmarks is like an upscale Del.icio.us, allowing you to store, share, tag, and organize your bookmarks within an attractive interface. Currently in beta, the new version of the online bookmark service offers drag-and-drop organization, three ways to view your bookmarks, and user-friendly tagging features.

As someone who has never been a fan of Del.icio.us (you call that an interface?), I'm very pleased with Yahoo Bookmarks. It imported my Firefox bookmarks without a hitch, and I was able to install its bookmarklet just by dragging it to my toolbar. (I'm really glad Yahoo didn't force me to install the Yahoo Toolbar; I'm more of a Google Toolbar man.) Interestingly, Yahoo acquired Del.icio.us about a year ago. Could this be a first step in migrating users away from that service?

Download of the Day: iPod -> Folder (Windows/Mac)

ipod%20to%20folder.png

Windows and Mac OS X only: Freeware program iPod -> Folder allows users a super-simple way to do a full backup of their iPod on any Mac or Windows computer.

We've actually posted a few methods for backing up your iPod in the past, but iPod -> Folder is a nice standout both for its simplicity and it's Windows and Mac versions. The downside is that iPod -> Folder doesn't allow you to selectively backup music, so it's an all-or-nothing affair. That said, this is a great little app to download and stick on your iPod so you can easily "back up" your music at any computer. Thanks Rory!

Vox blogging app open to the public

vox.png

Previously-mentioned hosted blogging service Vox launched today and registrations are open to the public.

What I really like about Vox - besides its dead-simple interface and overall "fun place to be" feeling - is that you can easily pull in items from all over the interwebs into one personal page, like Flickr, iStockPhoto or Photobucket photos, YouTube videos, and Amazon items. Privacy levels allow you to blog about that thing you'd rather the whole world didn't know about to just your friends and famly, and the VoxWatch reader helps you keep up with the folks you care about. Plan to lose a couple of hours of your day wandering around Vox.

Google Book Search Halloween ebooks

Google Book Search launches a "scary stories" section with classic fright novels and stories like Dracula, The Tell-Tale Heart and Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Google's digitized the text of all 25 stories and made them searchable and, where copyright isn't an issue, browseable page by page online. The public domain works (like The Turn of the Screw) are also available as a free PDF download. Looks like a great way to gather around the flickering jack-o-lantern this weekend and brush up on a few classics.

Web Browser Faceoff (Richard MacManus/Read/WriteWeb)

Web Browser Faceoff  —  Written by Alex Iskold and edited by Richard MacManus.  —  The last few weeks have been packed with browser action and the two market leaders, Internet Explorer and Firefox, have launched major new versions.  So to round out our recent browser coverage …

Source:   Read/WriteWeb
Author:   Richard MacManus
Link:   http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives…

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Annecdotes from Jason Calacanis on Weblogs Inc. and blogging (Tris Hussey/The Tucows Blog)

Annecdotes from Jason Calacanis on Weblogs Inc. and blogging  —  Jason Calacanis, love him or hate him, is a poster boy for making money from blogs.  Weblogs Inc, now owned by AOL-TimeWarner of course, is one of those storied parts of the blogosphere.  I think (I hope) there is going to be …

Source:   The Tucows Blog
Author:   Tris Hussey
Link:   http://tucowsblog.com/blog/_archives/2006/10/26…

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Google's Internal Company Goals (Google Blogoscoped)

Google's Internal Company Goals  —  A company paper* Google published internally earlier this year and which I got hold of outlined some of Google's big goals and directions for 2006.  The list included several items, for example:  — Google wants to have an improved infrastructure to make their engineers more productive.

Source:   Google Blogoscoped
Link:   http://blog.outer-court.com/archive/2006-10-26-n80…

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Facebook dabbles in social bookmarking

Facebook social bookmarking
TechCrunch's Marshall Kirkpatrick is reporting that Facebook is dipping its toes into del.icio.us territory with a new social bookmarking feature. Given the recent controversies over the News Feed feature and Facebook's opening for all users, the company is currently only letting Stanford and Berkeley users in on a private beta. The new sharing feature lets Facebook users bookmark both outside sites as well as Facebook pictures, notes, and profiles, and users can choose to share a bookmark publicly on their profile (in which event it will may appear on their friends' News Feed) or privately with the friends they choose. The bookmarking can be done by entering a URL into a form, c licking on a browser bookmarklet, or clicking on a "Share" button next to an item on Facebook. Justin Smith at Inside Facebook has more images of the feature in action, which show a YouTube video being bookmarked. It looks like Facebook is smart enough to recognize that it's a video and put a thumbnail image in feeds as well as a full embedded player in your profile. Smith says it recognizes MP3s, too, and does the same.

I think this is a very cool feature, but though I don't think it will cause a stir like the News Feed did initially, I have a feeling that Facebook will be hearing its share of complaints. In the end, though, if they make great features that users ultimately find useful, even if the mere thought of change scares them at first, everybody wins.

Google Earth coordinates for all of Wikipedia

Wikipedia for Google Earth
You may or may not be aware that Wikipedia contains the geographical coordinates for thousands of cities, landmarks, and other geographical features, and there's an ongoing WikiProject to add latitude and longitude data to every place in the online encyclopedia. This is pretty cool, as it allows you to check out a Wikipedia article and jump straight to a Google Maps satellite view or punch the place into your GPS unit. But wouldn't it be cooler if you could do the opposite, i.e. look at a map and see all the associated Wikipedia articles? You know where I'm going with this--Wikipedia for Google Earth. One clever soul has taken a snapshot of the geocoordinates Wikipedia makes available and put them together as a .KMZ file that you can load into Google Earth. There are tens of thousands of coordinate pairs in the nearly 2MB XML file, but they're all logically separated into layers since seeing them all at once is a tad overwhelming. It's available in both English and German, and uses Google Earth's built-in web browser to display the Wikipedia article when you click on a placemark. Very cool.

[Via Waxy.org]

MemoriesOnWeb is back with YouTube integration

CodeJam logoThis morning I saw a blog post on the CodeJam blog about a new update to MemoriesOnTV, but the big item in the post was that they were bringing back MemoriesOnWeb, a freeware slideshow creator application.

The application uses the same engine as MemoriesOnTV so you have lots of features and control. In the slideshow you can mix multiple audio tracks and sync up your photos to the audio. And with the pan/zoom effects on pictures you can give movement to still photos.

They do have some tips on their site for running it, which lists some codecs you should have for best user experience. And the projects created in this and MemoriesOnTV are compatible and can be loaded in each. Check out some screens after the jump.

Click each of these for larger versions.

The main window of MemoriesOnWeb.

SlideConfiguration

Publish Video

Google's sekrit plans revealed

GoogleGoogle Blogoscoped has published a summary of an apparently-leaked internal Google memo that outlines the Big G's secret plans to breed evil radioactive mutant rats, er, take over the world, er, make a ton of money this year. To summarize the summary, this year Google planned to:

  • Improve infrastructure and make engineers more productive with uber-search tools
  • Build 10MW of green power toward its goal of becoming carbon-neutral
  • Become the best in search (duh), which includes building the world's top AI lab, eliminating spam, and launching products with UIs that "that people love"
  • Sell lots of ads, with a goal of $1 billion in new business this year
  • Expand communities and content, in particular video
  • Push Google Pack deployment
  • "Increase the scale of innovation"
  • Test a "radically improved" Google News prototype in Q4

There's lots more in Google Blogscoped's report, so if you're a Googleholic like us I don't recommend missing it.

America's Next Top Web Browser

Web Browser FaceoffSeeing a bunch of lean code jockeys building the next generation of web browsers is a reality TV show I'd watch. Since that's probably not happening any time soon, I'll take the next best thing: Read/WriteWeb's Web Browser Faceoff, by Alex Iskold. Iskold reviews six of the latest crop of web bowsers: Firefox 2, Internet Explorer 7, Safari, Opera 9, Flock, and Maxthon. I highly recommend reading his entire round-up, but in case your attention span ain't what it used to be, here's what he concludes about our trusty browsers:

  • IE7: "Solid release, which is going to help Microsoft maintain the market leadership in the near future"
  • Firefox: "We think that Firefox is going to continue narrowing IE's lead, but await with interest the next major version!"
  • Safari: "It's a clean and simple web 1.0 browser, but needs a major feature boost in order to be a contender even on the Mac."
  • Opera: "We can see why fans like this browser, but a bigger future depends on spicing it up and poring in the marketing dollars."
  • Flock: "Great productivity browser for web 2.0"
  • Maxthon: "Need to apply Occam's Razor (i.e. make it simpler), but definitely could be a contender because of solid service integration."
"Even though IE and Firefox are far ahead today," Iskold concludes, "we see that other browser like Flock and Maxthon are ramping up support for the latest web 2.0 services - making themselves stand out and attracting early adopters. ... Faceoff bottom line: This round of browser competition is going to be at least as interesting as the Netscape vs. IE ten years ago. And hopefully less one-sided!" Hear, hear!

iPod cracked, so what

I know it is incredibly difficult to crack DRM in some cases. Now that DVD Jon has cracked the iPod, but it doesn't matter to me that much. Many times a poorly executed DRM system can be bypassed with almost no effort, but some of the well-coded ones can be hard (i.e. the iPod and iTunes "FairPlay" DRM). It is isn't that I don't appreciate the effort of it, but I really don't see the point of it. Is it really going to help the music sharing problem go away, is it going to stop all the lawsuits by the RIAA? I know that many iTunes fans will download the crack and use it, what are the chances that anyone will get caught using it right? I feel like this is just another trip ar ound the circus ring. I still maintain that the music problem (meaning DRM, sharing, digital rights) is not any better. I don't care who cracks what anymore. Call me obscenely critical, but come on, when is the bouncing-fairy dance going to end? The issue hasn't improved for either side in my not-so-humble opinion. What do you think? Are you sick of hearing about DRM, sick of having to do all kinds of dumb things, jumping through hoops to be to use your music, when clearly record companies are clinging to a dying business model with their dollar-clenched fists? I want problem resolution, I want results, and I want to see real change in the industry. Are there reasons why the cracking and repatching and recracking of DRM and its minions is a good thing that will drive change and usher in the new world of music downloading utopia? If you have a good reason that cracking is a good thing in this case, please let me know, but right now I just don't see it.

Eurekster's Reaction To Google's Eureka! Moment

Disclosure: Read/WriteWeb will be going live shortly with a custom Eurekster search box.

One of the big pieces of news this week has been Google's new Custom Search Engine. It's noticeable not because it's an innovative product, but more because Google is most definitely a follower and not a leader when it comes to custom / social search. Not only are there a number of small startups already doing the same thing, but one of their direct competitors Yahoo! has been doing social search for quite some time. So it was a little humorous to see the Google Blog post trumpeting custom search as a "Eureka!" moment. Also my immediate thought upon seeing the post, entitled "Eureka! Your own search engine has landed!", was that they were taking a sly dig at Eurekster. Mike Arrington also picked up on this.

search 20Read/WriteWeb profiled the social search space back in July, with a well-read post by Ebrahim Ezzy entitled Search 2.0 vs Traditional Search. It's worth doing a quick update on that post, to clarify exactly where Google fits in.

A reminder of Ebrahim's definition of what we termed "search 2.0". He defined it as a service that combines "the scalability of existing internet search engines with new and improved relevancy models; they bring into the equation user preferences, collaboration, collective intelligence, a rich user experience, and many other specialized capabilities that make information more productive."

As we noted, a number of small startups are doing custom and social search engines: Eurekster, Rollyo, Clusty, Lexxe to name only a few.

Where the competition stands

Now let's take a high level look at which of the small startups is leading this 'space' currently, via our old friend Alexa:


Source: Alexaholic

It's clear that Eurekster is the leading player right now, but of course both Google and Yahoo are extremely capable of taking a big share of the market.

Eurekster comments on Google launch

I emailed Eurekster's Chief Scientist Dr Grant Ryan (who is a fellow kiwi) and asked what he thought of the Google Custom Search launch? As to be expected, he took an optimistic view of the situation:

"This Google launch has been great for our swicki creation rate - seems to have increased by a factor of about 10! The reason this is great is that we no longer have to explain why building your own search engine is a good thing to do and people seem keen to check out the company that has been doing it for the longest. It is a compliment that Google and Yahoo have chosen to follow us into the vertical social search space (how often is Google a follower when it comes to search....)."

Nice little dig back at Google in that last line ;-) But of course Eurekster and the others like Rollyo and Clusty know only too well that Google and Yahoo are big threats in this market. While right now the offerings of Google and Yahoo aren't as sophisticated as the startups they're emulating, they have the big advantage of resources and reach.

However Grant says Eurekster has "lots of cool new features coming out soon that [will take] the idea of publishing your own search engine to the next level." I'm sure Rollyo, Clusty, Lexxe and others will be planning similar upgrades. So as usual, it's the consumer who wins out in the end!

Web Browser Faceoff

Written by Alex Iskold and edited by Richard MacManus.

browsers

The last few weeks have been packed with browser action and the two market leaders, Internet Explorer and Firefox, have launched major new versions. So to round out our recent browser coverage, we present the Web Browser Faceoff - looking at how all the main browsers compare with each other in terms of features and innovation. We are basically looking for what is unique, interesting - and missing - in each browser.

Right now Microsoft still holds onto its huge market lead, but Firefox is gaining more ground every month. Probably more importantly, there are other major innovators in the browser space - such as the social browser Flock (a Read/WriteWeb sponsor) and the perennial innovator Opera. The Mac browser Safari of course has many passionate supporters, while new kid Maxthon is one to watch.

Regardless of who will prevail in the 'browser 2.0 wars', the users will win. While fighting each other, the browser makers innovate and simplify. They increase our productivity by integrating into the browser web concepts such as search, RSS, OPML, microformats and more. The core browsers are getting slimmer and faster, while extensions that cover a wide range of services are being developed by external parties.

Internet Explorer 7.0

Internet Explorer 7.0 is a major release from Microsoft, after nearly 5 years of silence. We just recently profiled this browser and concluded that it is solid - and even an exciting release, at least compared to its predecessor. Clearly Microsoft felt great pressure from Firefox to come up with the upgrade. 

This release is mostly good. There are major improvements like Tabbed Browsing, beefed up security, support for RSS, built in search engines and better interfaces for bookmarks and history. Oddly, there are still some leftovers from IE6 - the major one being the in-page search box, which is nearly impossible to use.

Pros: Big improvement over IE6, nice user interface, very good RSS support.
Cons: Leftovers from previous release, performance is not great, not fully compliant with standards.
Faceoff bottom line: Solid release, which is going to help Microsoft maintain the market leadership in the near future

Firefox

Firefox just launched its 2.0 release. We covered the launch extensively with a Firefox 2.0 product review, an interview with Mozilla exec Chris Beard and a Firefox marketing discussion post. Firefox 2.0 impresses with its speed, stability and coolness. Mozilla has managed to create both a thriving community and strong extension ecosystem, that drives both improvements and market share. Firefox also has many great productivity features - like search engine integration, in-page search, simple RSS integration and tabs. It excels in overall usability, security and accessibility.

Pros: Great performance and feature set.
Cons: No built-in RSS reader, no hugely innovative features (like Flock) - so arguably not distinct enough from IE7.
Faceoff bottom line: We think that Firefox is going to continue narrowing IE's lead, but await with interest the next major version!

Safari

No browser faceoff would be complete without Safari, the browser for MacOS. Like all things Apple, Safari has cool features - but it still feels like a 'web 1.0' browser. The most impressive feature is RSS integration. For each page that contains an RSS feed, Safari presents a handy search bar which allows the user to find entries by date, category and many other criteria. It also has built-in spelling - a feature that was just recently added to Firefox. The bookmarks and history are nice, but unexciting. Tabs are not enabled by default and there are no integrations with web services.

Pros: Simple, relatively fast, good RSS support.
Cons: Lacks web service integrations and productivity features.
Faceoff bottom line: It's a clean and simple web 1.0 browser, but needs a major feature boost in order to be a contender even on the Mac.

Opera

Opera 9.0 is an interesting browser. It has a lot of good features, nice add-on infrastructure and a strong community. In terms of basic features it is not far off from Firefox. It is also fast and responsive, which makes us wonder why it is not used by more people. The answer, we think, is due to a couple of things. First the default skin and some UI elements are bit contrived. They look like a blend of future and past - and overall there is a lack of harmony. 

The marketing of the browser has not been as strong, at least for desktop - since this browser has been focusing primarily on the mobile space lately. On a positive note, there is fairly complete RSS integration - including a built-in RSS reader. The URL toolbar and home buttons are done in a very clever and convenient way. Tabs are done well (and as a R/WW commenter noted recently, Opera had tabs even before Firefox). One other interesting thing about Opera are the desktop widgets. We found them to be cool, but somewhat unrelated to the browser since they run on the desktop.

Pros: Rich feature set, RSS integration, fast
Cons: Lacks coolness factor of Firefox, not as well known - but maybe an unfair comparison since Firefox is open source
Faceoff bottom line: We can see why fans like this browser, but a bigger future depends on spicing it up and poring in the marketing dollars.

Flock

Flock is the newest and perhaps the most exciting browser on the market today. This Firefox-based browser has taken the concept of browsing to the next level by radically integrating support for web services. For example, stock browser feature bookmarks have been replaced in Flock by integration with del.icio.us. Flock also features support for online photo sharing sites like Flickr and Photobucket. 

Flock comes with a built-in Blog editor, which supports many blogging services including WordPress, Blogger and MovableType. There is also a built-in RSS reader, which is one of the best RSS readers on the market in our opinion. The innovation goes beyond the service integration, since Flock also includes interesting new UI elements like TopBar - which is an improved search box and scratch area for storing web snippets.

Pros: del.icio.us and Flickr integrations, built in blog editor, RSS reader, cool UI
Cons: Cloned Firefox code base, making it more work to make compatible add-ons.
Faceoff bottom line: Great productivity browser for web 2.0

Maxthon

We thought it would be worthwhile to profile the China-based Maxthon browser, which had over 55 million downloads by May 2006 - at which point it received an investment from Charles River Ventures. This browser is based on the IE engine and it claims to be 100% compatible with it. The first thing we noted is that the install was super fast, just a few seconds. 

The Maxthon browser comes with many pre-installed plugins, mostly for integrating with web 2.0 services like del.icio.us, Digg and Technorati. The look and feel resembles Internet Explorer 6, with the addition of tabs and a sidebar for plugins. The UI is not great and we noticed a few hickups, but the integration with web 2.0 services is very impressive - at least from a purely features point of view. Consistency is achieved by placing all integrations into the sidebar and adding a vertical control for toggling between them. Besides these plugins there are many other features - perhaps too many, which could also be the cause of slow page loads.

Pros: Impressive integration with the latest web 2.0 services.
Cons: Too many features, lacks coolness factor, slow.
Faceoff bottom line: Need to apply Occam's Razor (i.e. make it simpler), but definitely could be a contender because of solid service integration.

Summary

In one of his recent posts on ZDNet, Richard published statistics on the current browser market share. According to his post, IE still maintains a strong lead but Firefox is gaining ground - particularly in US. Looking at the browsers reviewed in this post, we can be certain that a lot more innovation will come over the next few years. Each of these browsers brings a unique, interesting approach - which will fuel the competition between them. 

Whatever happens, we as users are certain to see better browsers that are focused on productivity and web services. Even though IE and Firefox are far ahead today, we see that other browser like Flock and Maxthon are ramping up support for the latest web 2.0 services - making themselves stand out and attracting early adopters.

Faceoff bottom line: This round of browser competition is going to be at least as interesting as the Netscape vs. IE ten years ago. And hopefully less one-sided!

Google Re-Org Rumors: Google Maturing As Media Business

There's an interesting rumor doing the rounds about Google doing a re-org of their advertising business. Jeff Molander wrote:

"Three of my most credible resources, including DM News’s Giselle Abramovich, are indicating plans for a significant re-organization at Google (Nasdaq: GOOG). [...] On the re-org, says Ms. Abramovich,

“What this means is that there would be one global account director per account, that pulls in resources to sell as needed - PPC (pay-per-click), Print, Radio, Video, Display, etc.”

As of yet nobody can confirm with anyone at Google but the leaks are emanating from Google itself according to all three of my sources."

The significance of this is that it's similar to what Microsoft and IBM already do - extract maximum revenue for each customer (in this case, the larger advertisers on Google). This means Google will utilize different types of ads (CPC, CPM, CPA, etc) over all media channels - search, mobile, video, audio, etc.

The benefit for Google's customers is that it enables them to target certain leads across different types of media. They can do that from one 'console' and they will work with 1 Google salesperson/account manager on their account. Of course will the large advertising agencies be happy with this scenario of Google providing a one-stop shop? Of course not...

One interesting sub-plot here is that Google needs more "inventory" to sell the different flavors of advertising. Jeff mentions adsense for podcasting in his post - and that is certain to be one way Google will increase their inventory. Also this puts the likes of Feedburner, Meebo, edgeio and Commission Junction squarely in Google's sights as potential acquisitions. All of those 'web 2.0' startups have no shortage of inventory!

In terms of Google's overall goals, as summarised at Google Blogoscoped, this rumored re-org falls under the "push their ad system" category. It really makes sense for Google and shows not only that they are innovating in technology - but maturing and expanding as a media/advertising entity.

MySpace, Now With Random Crap

I've joined the cacophonous masses and created my very own page on the Great Mother MySpace. Join me in part two of my online odyssey as I embed random detritus from the net and annoy my web page visitors. Commentary by Lore Sjöberg.

Saving Democracy With Web 2.0

Mashing maps and tagging data can transform American politics for the better. Web 2.0 wizards, America needs you! Commentary by Jennifer Granick.

A Tale of Two Web Browsers

A couple of the year's most-anticipated releases -- new versions of Internet Explorer and Firefox -- arrive within a week of one another. So which one is best? By Michael Calore.

Yahoo Bookmarks Enters 21st Century.

Yahoo is unveiling an entirely new Bookmarks product this evening at new.bookmarks.yahoo.com - new interface, new back-end, the works. A screencast created by Yahoo developer Tom Chi is here which gives an excellent overview of the service (Chi also created the background music for the screencast). Compare that to the existing Bookmarks product (screenshot is [...]

Social Media Club Initiative on Blogging Ethics

I am a blogger with a lot of opinions, and because of that I’ve been involved in a number of heated discussions around journalistic integrity and ethics. Mainstream media defines journalistic integrity as a lack of financial interest in the subject matter of their reporting. I think integrity goes far beyond financial interests; in our [...]

Inside Facebook - Read it for Free

Karel Baloun, one of the first engineers to join Facebook, recently wrote and self published a tell-all ebook on his experiences there called “Inside Facebook.” Early reviews are mixed, although I found the book to be an insightful look at a successful startup from a key insider. The language is rough and unpolished, but the [...]

Roll your own Google Search (Om Malik/GigaOM)

Roll your own Google Search  —  Not a day passes by when someone or the other bemoans the fact that they cannot find anything on Google anymore.  Well, they can stop complaining, because Google is doing something about it.  The company has announced Google Custom Search tools …

Source:   GigaOM
Author:   Om Malik
Link:   http://gigaom.com/2006/10/23/google-custom-search/

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Edgeio gets $5 million to expand Web 2.0 classifieds site (Matt Marshall/VentureBeat)

Edgeio gets $5 million to expand Web 2.0 classifieds site  —  Edgeio, a Menlo Park start-up trying to redefine the way people list classifieds, has raised $5 million in a first round of venture capital, and may raise more.  Here is the release.  —  The round was led by Intel Capital and included an investment from Transcosmos.

Source:   VentureBeat
Author:   Matt Marshall
Link:   http://venturebeat.com/2006/10/23/edgeio-gets-5…

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Google Co-op Launches (Michael Arrington/TechCrunch)

Google Co-op Launches  —  Google just launched a customized search service called Google Co-op (screen shots below).  Co-op allows a user to create and launch a search engine with just a few specific websites included.  Searches will return results from only that website.

Source:   TechCrunch
Author:   Michael Arrington
Link:   http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/10/23/google-custom…

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Bush says he uses "the Google." (Judd/Think Progress)

Bush says he uses "the Google."  —  Watch it:  —  Digg It!  —  Transcript:

Source:   Think Progress
Author:   Judd
Link:   http://thinkprogress.org/2006/10/23/bush-says-he-uses…

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Google launches Custom Search Engines

http://www.google.com/press/Google launched a customizable search engine today. This is a program where both individuals and organizations can build a search that will produce results that accommodate their audience requests better, in no time at all. Not only will the searches be tailored to website visitors with prioritized results and the ability to allow other user contribute to the search index, but the results can be monetized with Google AdSense. Thus displaying advertisements where site owners can make money. The customizable search engine will also be modifiable so that it is branded for users s pecific applications. Google built the Custom Search Engine to make it easy for anyone to create a search engine about their favorite topics.

In order to begin creating a search engine, users go to http://www.google.com/coop/cse/ and select the websites or pages they would like to include into their index under their Google Account username. Users can then have the opportunity to restrict or increasing ranking for results. And in order to better fit the engine into their website, users can customize the look and feel.

Some examples of the Custom Search Engine can be seen at JumpUp.com, and RealClimate.org.

Googleholic for October 24th, 2006

googleholic
In this issue of Googleholic we cover:

  • Google stock value is ramping up
  • Google isn't moving much in the print, radio and television markets
  • New Google Finance charts
  • New Google Web Toolkit readying for release
Continue reading Tuesday's Googleholic...

Google stock value is ramping up
It hit a nine month high on Friday!

Google isn't moving much in the print, radio and television markets
$116 billion is up for the taking in the offline ad market, when will Google move in?

New Google Finance charts
Google released a new stock chart version, with a few new features.

New Google Web Toolkit readying for release
The finishing touches are being made, and support for MacOSX is hot on the list.

The past week in Google news

Make sure to check in for Friday's Googleholic Google news report.

If you have any tips, tricks, or anything Google, you can always drop us a line!
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