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Weekly Wrapup, 25-29 Feb 2008


Here is a summary of the week’s Web Tech action on ReadWriteWeb. Highlights include analysis of Adobe AIR and its apps, recommendation engines, Google Sites, the ‘free’ theory of the Web, Twitter vs mainstream media, Etsy vs eBay, and much more. Don’t forget to click through to our website and leave a comment on our posts, for a chance to win a daily $30 Amazon gift voucher. We’re giving one voucher away every day for a month!

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Web Trends

How Microsoft Can Beat Google on the Web: Take User Data to the Bank by Marshall Kirkpatrick

The times are changing, Microsoft is losing and Google has won as computing moves to the web – right? That’s not necessarily the case. In fact, Microsoft has a clear opportunity to come from behind online and dominate the future, albeit in a radically different way than they dominated the past.

Look to the bank, as metaphor, for one vision of how it could go down. Microsoft could beat Google by embracing services the same way Google has but simultaneously building a strong bond of trust with users around protection and proper use of user data. Like a bank, for user data. I’d call this an emerging theory that not only I hold – what do you think?

Earthquake in UK? News Broken on Twitterby Josh Catone

It would appear that an earthquake was just felt across the UK (hopefully not a major one!). Where did the news first break? Well, we heard about it over Twitter. It’s all over the site, including being broken on Twitter-based news organization BreakingNewsOn, which is reporting a 5.3 magnitude earthquake in the UK with minimal damage reported so far. Where didn’t we hear about the quake? The mainstream press.

Google Sites the Next Sharepoint? Maybe Not….Why Google Apps Could Lose the Enterprise Marketby Sarah Perez

This week Google announced Google Sites, a wiki product built from JotSpot. The blogosphere is already comparing the product to Sharepoint and trying to drive nails into Microsoft’s coffin. Sarah argues that it’s far too soon to claim that Google is offering anything that really has a shot at making a dent in the enterprise world.

Related: Technology Populism: Risks & Rewards
Social Tools Go to Work…Facebook, MySpace, Netvibes, iGoogle, and More in the Enterprise

Rethinking Recommendation Enginesby Alex Iskold

Over two years ago, Netflix announced a Recommendation Engine contest – anyone who invents an algorithm that does 10% better than
their current recommendation system will win $1 Million dollars. Many research teams raced to attack the problem, excited by
the unprecedented amount of data available. Initially quite a lot of progress was made, but then slowly
the progress stalled and now teams are stuck at around the 8.5% improvement mark.

Related: 10 Recommended Recommendation Engines

Beware of Freeconomicsby Alex Iskold

A few weeks ago we published a piece on this blog entitled The Danger of Free, in which we discussed the rise of free – a marketing strategy where digital products are given away. This month’s issue of Wired magazine features a cover story
on the topic by editor-in-chief Chris Anderson. The article is a preview of his forthcoming book, called (you guessed it) Free. However in this post we look at two issues that make this new economic model rather worrisome: monopolistic markets and complex transactions.

Social News: Can the Digg/Mixx/Buzz Model Hold Up Against FriendFeed and Sphinn?by Marshall Kirkpatrick

The social news space is developing at a mind-boggling pace. There are two ends of a spectrum emerging – Digg,Mixx and Buzz are offering general interest social news about a variety of topics and fueled by large groups of users, whereas services like FriendFeed, the social media marketing site Sphinnn and sites like the Twitter-sliver Pulse of Open Source offer news from a targeted group of users and/or on very specific topics.

SEE MORE WEB TRENDS COVERAGE IN OUR TRENDS CATEGORY

Web Products

6 Adobe AIR Apps to Check Outby Sarah Perez

This week Adobe launched out of Labs the Adobe Integrated Runtime, or AIR. AIR is a really exciting platform that combines qualities of the web with a presence on the desktop by making it easy to build attractive Internet connected applications that live outside the browser. Now that AIR has dropped the beta tag (see our previous coverage), it’s time to look at some of the AIR apps you can use today. Did your favorite app make the list?

Related: The Best Things About Adobe’s AIR Platform by Marshall Kirkpatrick

10 Recommended Recommendation Enginesby Richard MacManus

As a complementary post to Alex Iskold’s analysis Rethinking Recommendation Engines, we presented 10 recommendation engines that we like. And we didn’t include the obvious ones, such as Amazon, Netflix, last.fm, Pandora. So it’s not a ‘top 10’, don’t panic! We invite you to add your favorites in the comments.

Web-to-TV Show ‘Quarterlife’ Bombs in NBC Debut – Or Did It?by Josh Catone

Last November we reported that the web-based scripted drama “Quarterlife” was making the unlikely jump to primetime television. Last night, Quarterlife debuted on NBC in the 10pm time slot, and the results were disappointing by television standards. The web-turned-TV show pulled a 1.6 share among 18-34 year olds, and averaged just under 3.9 million viewers for the time slot, good enough for third place. Interestingly, one of the shows it trailed was the CBS drama “Jericho,” which was rescued from cancellation due to a massive grassroots web campaign to save it.

Distributed Mass Customization: Is Etsy the Next eBay?by Bernard Lunn

A lot of people scratched their heads when Etsy raised $27 million. What on earth? Handmade goods, that’s about as low tech as you can get!

Then Umair Haque, a well respected blogger and strategist – albeit one who is known for being a bit “out there” – asked Is Etsy the next Google? Maybe Umair was just saying that this is big. One of his commenters pointed out: “not Google, but maybe the next eBay”. That makes sense. When eBay came out, the first reaction was “huh, Pez Dispensers and junk from garage/attic?”. eBay was an online garage sale and Etsy is an online street fair.

SEE MORE WEB PRODUCTS COVERAGE IN OUR PRODUCTS CATEGORY

Digital Lifestyle News at last100

This week on last100 there was a hands-on review of Nokia’s latest Internet Tablet, the N810. Last100 editor Steve O’Hear wrote: “The first thing to notice about the N810 – beyond its good looks and very solid feeling build – is how Nokia is pitching the device. Despite its relatively high price and Linux foundations, the N810 is being pitched as a consumer-friendly device for those who want to stay connected to the social Web.”

Next up, in a post titled From “Alfred Hitchcock” to the “A-Team”, where to find classic TV on the Web’, Daniel Langendorf examines recent efforts by the U.S. television networks to offer up their classic content on the Web.

In other digital lifestyle news, iTunes has overtaken Best Buy to become No.2 music retailer in U.S., and DivX has shut down its online video service Stage6.

That’s a wrap for another week! Enjoy your weekend everyone.

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