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Web 2, A Few Highlights

By - October 07, 2005

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It’s hard to both post and run this event, but a few things have been so interesting I wanted to note them.

First, Terry Semel, who I interviewed yesterday morning, had some choice words for Google. In essence, he suggested that if Google and Yahoo were to be judged as competitors, perhaps they should be judged as portals, since that’s what both companies are now. And by that measure, SemelGoogle is “number four.”

I also got to ask Terry a question suggested by Indeed CEO Paul Forster. If Google does jobs.google.com (which is expected by many shortly), would Semel let Google crawl hotjobs.com?

“We will always be more open than Google,” was his response. Innaresting.

Second, I interviewed AOL CEO Jonathan Miller yesterday, and got a chance to ask him about the persistent rumors of a MSN or even Newscorp acquisition (I also asked MSN honcho Yusuf Medhi,more on that later). He deferred, but did say that all things worth considering will be considered. I then played off my favorite AOL idea of the moment. It goes like this: AOL was critical Jmillerin Overture’s rise, when Overture got the AOL deal, it made the company. Then, when Google stole AOL with Adwords, that deal (which many said Google overpaid for) was critical to Google’s future success (according to Eric Schmidt, who told me as much for my book).

So, I asked Jonathan, might not MSN try to steal AOL’s business from Google? MSN can afford to overpay, and a hundred million or more in guaranteed profit to Time Warner’s bottom line can’t hurt, right?

Miller had a great answer: “We’re kind of the swing vote,” he said. “I think people have noticed that.”

Indeed!

More, I hope, when I get a chance.

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Google Merges Maps, Local

By - October 06, 2005

Long time readers know I am a fan of Google Maps but think Google Local has a bit of work to do.

Now the two have been mashed up by Google.

From the release:

Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) today

announced the official launch of Google Local, merging the technologies

behind Google Local and Google Maps. No longer in beta in the U.S. and

Canada, users can visit
http://local.google.com to find local search

and mapping information in one place.

“With today’s launch of Google Local, users will be able to go to one

location to find all the local and mapping information they need,” said

Marissa Mayer, director, Consumer Web Products, Google Inc. “Whether

it’s directions to the nearest pharmacy or reviews of nearby dim sum

restaurants, we will continue to develop innovative technologies that

enrich our users’ lives.”

As far as I can tell there have not been any improvements in Local, but that is coming, the release says. My suggestion remains: harness user feedback like Yahoo has….

Google Appts Princeton President to Board

By - October 05, 2005

TilghmanFrom the release:

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – October 5, 2005 – Google Inc. (NASDAQ:

GOOG) today announced that Shirley M. Tilghman, Princeton

University’s President and Professor of Molecular Biology, was

unanimously elected to join Google’s Board of Directors. Dr. Tilghman

is a world-renowned scholar, an exceptional teacher, and is respected

worldwide for her pioneering research and advocacy of women in science

“It’s an honor to welcome a woman of Dr. Tilghman’s reputation to

our board,” said Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google. “Google

is a company born out of university research, so we look forward to

tapping into her extraordinary talents as an accomplished academic, and

as a champion of discovery.”

Web 2.0 Time

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Web205Logo-3I’m heading into the conference this morning, and very much hope to have time to post, but it’s going to be iffy – so much is happening. Check out the lineup, and the workshops. Amazing….lots of news coming from here, I sense….you might check out a Technorati or Feedster search for coverage….

Google-Sun – The Toolbar, Ay, There's the Rub

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I have been trying to grok this Sun/Google announcement, and beyond a lot of handwaving about sharing and working together, I’ve not seen much to really dig my teeth into.

Then I saw this passage in a Bloomberg story, including a quote from Eric:

At Google, Schmidt is pushing further into Microsoft’s territory. The company has moved beyond Internet search, where it leads Microsoft and Yahoo! Inc., into desktop search, allowing users to plow through all files on their PCs. About 78 million individual users visit Google sites each month, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.

The Google toolbar, which sits on the desktop and links users to Web sites, e-mail and other products, is a linchpin in the company’s challenge to Microsoft. Google could add “tens of millions” of customers through Sun’s downloads, Schmidt said. That will help Google “monetize” its toolbar by selling more advertising, Schmidt said.

He wouldn’t say if Google’s toolbar would link to OpenOffice.org.

Hmmm, I thought. That reminds me a search I did recently, for a GoogleWhack “Sally Girger“. I’d been meaning to post on it, but have been so busy….

ToolbaradThe result was a blog page (had to do with my Q&A at the Guardian newspaper, never mind that….) but what I found interesting was the ad Google placed at the bottom of the page for its own Toolbar. I had been wondering how Toolbar downloads were going, given how important they are to Google’s future (it’s where all the marbles are, really, having a direct relationship with a person, a search history, a preferences set, you name it). The Toolbar, in the end, is how Google pushes out Microsoft.

Seems the push is on to get more Toolbars downloaded. And now, I see why Google is doing this Sun deal. It’s the Toolbar, of course! From the Cnet coverage:

Details about what exactly that will entail were vague at best, with the only nugget offered being that Sun, in the immediate future, will make Google’s toolbar a standard part of the package when users download Sun’s Java Runtime Environment from the server seller’s Web site.

In other words, Google really, really wants more Toolbar distribution. Watch this space.

Beer, The Search, and Amazon

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Quite a few readers have emailed me asking why the heck Amazon is suggesting a book on beer might be what they want next. I think it may be that the Author, Steve Hindy, has written about technology in the past, and folks who bought those books also bought The Search.

But this next book he’s written is pretty far off the mark: “Steve Hindy’s Beer School : Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery.”

I take no credit for this. I drink far more wine than beer as of late….

Here’s the Amazon email:



We’ve noticed that customers who have purchased The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture by John Battelle also purchased books by Steve Hindy. For this reason, you might like to know that Steve Hindy’s Beer School : Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery is now available . You can order your copy at a savings of 32% by following the link below.

Blodget on MSFT v GOOG … And Role of AOL

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Check it out. Highlights:

So the big story these days is that Google and Microsoft are going to war and that either could win. This is a big story because it’s a great story: two undefeated heavyweights preparing to bash each other’s brains out. Alas, it’s also fiction.

….In the absence of disastrous mistakes by Google and Yahoo!, Microsoft’s best chance to win with MSN is to merge it with AOL and spin it off. This would be extraordinarily challenging, and it would not guarantee success: the merged company would still run third behind Google and Yahoo!. A combined MSN-AOL, however, would be far stronger than either company alone.

Blodget has a longer report (from which this post is summarized) available for free on the site, which marks his entry into the b’sphere…wlecome!

Google And Sun

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As most have probably read elsewhere, Google and Sun plan an announcement today – the speculation is that Google will host an “Office Killer” on its infrastructure, featuring StarOffice from Sun.

Why Google needs to directly poke Microsoft in the eye, is beyond me, but I’ll wait for the details….clearly Sun and Google have a long co-mingled history (in people and financiers) …

Update: It’s a pact for Sun’s desktop and office, alright. I really don’t understand why Google wants to do this. But I’ll keep staring at it. T’rati search.

Ning Is Live

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This is the super secret project from Marc Andreessen and friends. It’s called Ning. It’s a social app/mashup/remixing “playground.” Wish I had more time to grok, but Web 2 starts tomorrow….