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Google To Expand Video Search on the Web

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Stefanie has the goods at Cnet.

Google’s planned service will let visitors find free short-form videos such as the popular “Star Wars” video spoofs, according to sources who asked to remain anonymous. The engine will complement the search giant’s existing experimental site that lets people search the closed-caption text of television shows from PBS and CNN, among others, and preview accompanying still images. The new capabilities will let people watch roughly 10 seconds of Web video clips for free before shuttling visitors to the video’s host site, sources say.

Sources said the new video search engine will be unveiled within the next two months.

Blodget on Google's Value

By - June 13, 2005

326841774Interesting take from the fellow who made the famous Amazon $400 call. Net net: Google’s valuation makes sense, but diversification in coming years is key to maintaining it.

The simplest way to frame the relative valuation question is to ask whether Google’s existing and future assets will generate more future cash than Time Warner’s existing and future assets. If one assumes that Google’s only significant revenue stream will be search, this seems a stretch: search may be mind-boggling, but it’s hard to believe it will generate more cash than television, magazines, cable, movies, and AOL combined. When one also factors in the value of Google’s traffic, brand, and market cap, however, the proposition seems reasonable. In 1998, when online “bookseller” Amazon surpassed Barnes & Noble’s $2 billion market cap, many deemed this absurd. Now, with Amazon selling everything under the sun, the disparity between its $15 billion and Barnes & Nobles’ $2.5 billion couldn’t seem more sane….

So Google investors can safely ignore the hysterical Time Warner comparisons. What they can’t ignore is the risk that, at some point soon, search growth will decelerate and Google’s FCF multiple will compress as momentum investors race for the doors.

MSN Bans "Democracy" in China

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Slashdot chews through it.

From MSN’s own news feed:

Microsoft’s new Chinese internet portal has banned the words “democracy” and “freedom” from parts of its website in an apparent effort to avoid offending Beijing’s political censors.

Gannett, Pointroll, and All That

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One of the oldest push/pulls in the journalism game has to do with what business you’re in – is it editorial, or is it advertising? Ask a publishing exec this question, and you’ll usually get the same answer: News. But pick that answer apart, and pay attention to what publishing execs do, rather than what they say, and you often notice a distinct lean toward the “advertising” part of the equation. “Content” is the draw for audience, and audience is what the publisher is selling.

Which is why I found Gannett’s recent purchase of PointRoll an interesting move. PointRoll is an innovator in online advertising, so the analysis, at first, seems pretty obvious: Gannett, a mainly old media company, is making a play to be relevant in the new media world.

But if that were the case, why isn’t it buying content companies, like, er, Salon or something? Because content companies are not growing the way advertising companies are. PointRoll is on a roll; according to reports I’ve seen the company is growing at 40% a year.

So with PointRoll, Gannett makes a declaration: “We are in the advertising services business.” Well, of course they are. You need to take care of both sides of your house. I only hope, as old media companies turn their attention, and their cash, to the Internet, they see the long term value of editorial as well.

Web 2.0 v. 2.0: Your Input Needed

By - June 12, 2005

Web205Logo-1Last year around this time (well, a bit later, we were running a bit late…) I posted a plea for input on the new conference I was to chair called Web 2.0. You responded in spades, and it really helped me figure out a spectacular program, one that I am still quite proud of.

This year we’re doing it again, and again I need your help, your input, and your ideas. The conference will again be in San Francisco October 5-7, this time at the Argent Hotel, and once again I am teaming with Tim O’Reilly and MediaLive to produce the event.

The program for the sophomore edition of Web 2.0 is inspired by the simple observation that while last year was all about declaring the web as a platform for new and innovative business models, this year it’s all about showing what can be done on that platform, and uncovering the innovative companies, ideas, and models from which all of us can learn. I’m (loosley) focusing on three areas that are truly taking off in 2005: Media & Entertainment, Communications (ie, the Web goes mobile and swallows telecom along the way), and the Web as OS.

To that end, we’re adding few new elements to the event. Last year the “High Order Bit” was a hit – we had a dozen or so great presentations, all ten minutes or so, where a bunch of Big Ideas were unveiled. Bill Gross introduced Snap, Joe Kraus took the wraps off JotSpot, Kim Polese launched SpikeSource, and a bunch of other folks blew our minds with the future of gaming online, the real stats behind web usage (including porn), and the rather scary future we might be building ourselves if we continue to support, witting or not, a closed system of intellectual property development.

This year I’ve already got a bunch of great folks lined up for similar gigs – Tom Barton of Rackable, for example, on the bare metal of Web 2.0, and Bran Ferren on, well, whatever is turning him on in October. But I want more. That’s the first thing I’d ask you for – input on great new ideas, people, and companies to debut in October. I was very proud that we had nearly a dozen new product or company introductions at the event. If you’ve got one coming out this Fall, or you know of one, let me know.

I’ve also expanded the High Order Bit into a new element I’m calling “Show Me.” The idea here is to show something that is going to change how we understand the web, rather than just talk about it. Sky Dayton, for example, is going to show what it’s like to live in South Korea, where they’ve have full 3G “web in the air” for more than three years. And Mark Phillips is going to show what a web-enabled fully immersive 3D battle simulation looks like – something that is informing US strategy right now across the world (and may just trickle down to all our businesses in the near future). Speaking of immersive web apps, Rolf Harken, whose company did the renderings for The Matrix, is going to show his RealityServer. Prepare to have your mind blown. (One of the coolest apps he told me about was for…WalMart!)

But I want more! So if you’ve seen something amazing, or want to see something amazing, let me know about it!

I’m also adding little croutons the Web 2.0 salad which I’m calling “UI Minutes.” These are elegant, smart, and often jaw-dropping user interface hacks which have the potential to inform all of us how best to design web experiences. Google Maps would have made the list (we did show Keyhole right before it was acquired), as would the Flickr Color Wheel. Got any ideas around this? Let me know!

We’ve already got a wonderful set of speakers for this year (some I can’t announce yet, but a full list will be posted this week when the site officially goes live). But I’m always looking for more, so tell me if you or your company is interested.

And finally, the heart of Web 2.0 may well be the workshops. This year we’re going to do them again, and they are included in the price of admission (last year we charged extra for them). We had such a killer lineup last year, it’ll be hard to exceed it. But I want to try. This is where we can really drill down into a topic, like RSS business models, tagging, vertical search, and the like. If you have an idea for a workshop or want to do one, you know what to do….

Hope to see you in SF this Fall!

Mobile's Inching Closer to Web Models

By - June 10, 2005

One of my favorite current gripes is how the mobile world lives in a walled garden, and fails at the basic test: Can I build on my mobile device what I can build on the web? I’m not talking about pure functionality, of course, I understand that there are device- and context-specific constraints. I’m talking about presumptive ecologies here – the web is open, mobile is closed. That means you have to go through carriers to get anything done, or have a business model of any kind. That means development is limited, and, well, mobile apps are constrained.

This could be changing. SEW notes that Yahoo has signed a deal with Mobile Commerce to provide keyword ads for a WAP-based travel search play. Not exactly revolutionary, but it shows the bleeding over of web-based models (paid search) into the mobile space. I am not very mobile savvy, but I yearn for the day I can have a device which has, at its core, the equivalent of “Naked DSL” built in, so folks can deliver cool applications and business models to my mobile device without having to cut Verizon, Sprint, or someone else in on the deal. Will it ever happen?