free html hit counter August 2004 | Page 7 of 10 | John Battelle's Search Blog

Kottke on The Platform Web

By - August 12, 2004

Nice post about how the various strands we’ve created in our digital life might be rewoven into a personal web space.

To put this another way, a distributed data storage system would take the place of a local storage system. And not just data storage, but data processing/filtering/formatting. Taking the weblog example to the extreme, you could use TypePad to write a weblog entry; Flickr to store your photos; store some mp3s (for an mp3 blog) on your ISP-hosted shell account; your events calendar on Upcoming; use iCal to update your personal calendar (which is then stored on your .Mac account); use GMail for email; use TypeKey or Flickr’s authentication system to handle identity; outsource your storage/backups to Google or Akamai; you let Feedburner “listen” for new content from all those sources, transform/aggregate/filter it all, and publish it to your Web space; and you manage all this on the Web at each individual Web site or with a Watson-ish desktop client.

Think of it like Unix…small pieces loosely joined. Each specific service handles what it’s good at.

Very Web 2.0.

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Yet Another GOOG S1-A

By - August 11, 2004

What’s new? Beats me, I don’t have time to read it right now. It should be law that all changes from the previous document are highlighted. Sheesh.

Kozoru

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KozurujpgRemember when I predicted that there would be a company claiming to be the new Google every month or so this year? I was wrong. It’s more like every two weeks, and it’s either the new Google, or the “Google of” (insert vertical here – travel, shopping, etc.).

Latest to get the spin is Kozuru, which just got three million dollars and is based in Kansas. They plan to take the natural language approach to search and are basing their stuff on structured taxonomies in the English language – in other words, the dictionary and the encyclopedia. I dunno…

When I saw Jeff Weiner yesterday, he mentioned that he thought we’d see a lot more small companies getting snatched up by larger ones, once the small ones proved their merit (as Fare Chase has, by the way). I’m not going to get the quotes right, but he said something to the effect that “If you’re a great chef, you need a great kitchen to cook in.” Three million dollars ain’t gonna buy a lot of Viking stoves, but it’s a start.

(Thanks Gary and Tara)

G-Metrics

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g-metricsI’ve always thought it’d be great, and ultimately very important, to have some kind of time axis in search – to be able to search not only the web as it is now, but as it was at some point in the past. The Internet Archive is a start toward that goal. Today I learned about “G-Metrics” – a Google hack which allows you to track the results for queries over time. Another small step…

(thanks, ResearchBuzz)

A Lunch At Yahoo

By - August 10, 2004

yahoo.gifToday I took a break from writing and drove down US 101 60 or so miles to Yahoo, a trip I’ve made at least a dozen times in the past few years. The ostensible reason for the visit was a casual, no agenda lunch with Yahoo communications chief Chris Castro and Yahoo search chief Jeff Weiner. But it quickly turned into that wonderful digressive riffing which continues to make braving Bay area freeways a worthy endeavor.

I’ve found the folks at Yahoo to have an increasing appetite for new ideas, quite a switch from a few years ago when the company was hunkered down in protect mode, like much of the Valley. They want to grok RSS, blogs, mobile, desktop search – and beyond. Jeff is on fire about where his unit is going, and I have to admit the things he spoke of and showed me, much of which unfortunately I can’t report on yet, were pretty damn cool. Suffice to say Yahoo is continuing and strengthening its approach of driving search results based on intent of the user, and in particular discerning what the “task” is the user is attempting to do, then helping complete that task. Such a focused goal has pretty significant implications for where the company is going next, and how it will handle platforms in general (beyond the web) and commerce in particular. Its integrated approach requires a lot of threading of disparate data feeds into one grand unified experience, and I think after so many years of banging on this problem, Yahoo’s experience is starting to bear some fruit. One example is their recently debuted local search – which incorporates a platform approach that allows users to create reviews and such, another is their product search (which has cool narrowing features – doing that is not as easy as it looks), not to mention their shortcuts.

More to come when I can say more…

RSS and Business Models: Everyone Is Talking…

By - August 09, 2004

moneyA lot of talk lately about how to make money off RSS. And well there should be, it’s more than half of most popular blogs’ traffic, and so far it’s avoided any pat approach to monetization. Scoble discusses the topic again over at his site, and points to a meme that I’ve been kicking around with a few folks, including Andrew over at Six Apart and some others. Scoble:

So, there’s the condundrum. How do we serve the “users” and the “branders” at the same time?

Simple: we need a new advertising model. Content providers should have a way to get paid for linking to things. Actually, Amazon.com is showing the way here. Its associates program is paying webloggers back for linking to Amazon. That’s an effective way to make money (note: I do not use affiliate programs on my blog — if I link to something I am not getting paid for doing so).

The problem is that there’s a large amount of money chasing a limited amount of content. So, there’s pressure on both the professionals to put ads on pages and force users to come to a Web page where an advertisement can be served, as well as on amateurs who need to find ways to pay their bills and get a little bit of cash out of the blogging hobby.

Who will win? Well, here’s the rub: users today have so many choices about where to get their content that they have a chance this time around.

The users are readers, the branders are advertisers and publishers (including some bloggers) who want you to come to their site instead of read full text in their RSS feeds. I think the affiliate model is interesting, and worthy of paying attention to. (Ross has posited a related “Cost Per Influence” but I don’t really understand it yet, though we promised to talk about it as soon as we can…) But we still need good ol’ fashioned ads in our RSS feeds if we are going to tap the market which is already in place to support content.

Earlier I pointed to RSSAds, but I’ve not heard anything new on this. And I know some companies, like Kanoodle or Industry Brains, are starting to support inserting ads into RSS feeds, but this can get irritating if not done with the reader in mind. And because most of these types of solutions are networks, sites can’t be bought individually, which breaks my endemic model.

In the end, I sense that readers will be fine with ads and RSs comingling. Jarvis has done some work on this, but we’re not there yet. Also, It’s interesting how the design, branding, and control which publishers are so used to having is lost through RSS, and it’s no wonder they refuse to allow anything more than headlines and excerpts out into the world. With RSS, at least in this early stage, it’s all about the voice. I rather like that. Kind of like radio before TV.

Over at Boing Boing, we’re thinking through this issue. I’d be interested in developments or further thoughts in this space, if anyone knows of any.