I’ve been pretty quiet here lately, and I’m sorry for that, between work and travel….you know the drill. I will be at Ryan Carson’s The Future of Web Apps this week (Sept 13-14) in SF, if any of you are going to be around for that, please come say hello. It looks like a good event, speakers include Kevin Rose, Jeff Veen, Evan Williams, and many more.
Over at LiveSide. From an excerpt of a memo sent to them:
Goodbye MSN Search, Hello Windows Live Search!
The beta, or pre-release, testing of Windows Live Search is nearly over so if you’ve used it or sent us feedback we salute you – don’t worry no group hugs or anything, just a genuine thanks from the team.
The new Windows Live Search allows for far more customisation, control and accuracy than ever before and is now a lean mean searching machine with many new features such as the ability to determine how much information you want displayed on your query results and the new in-site search.
I remember going down to see Eric early in the process of reporting the book, when Google News was just starting. He asked me how I liked the new service, and I said it was cool, but my chief complaint was that it had no memory – it was all about the present, and you could not slice the news by date.
Looks like Google is finally addressing that issue with the release today of an archive version of Google News, created in cooperation with major news outlets like the Post and Times, and folks like Lexis Nexis. This announcement strikes me as consistent with a new tone at Google with regard to media companies – “we’re your partner, we’ll help you make money.”
I’m looking forward to using this. WSJ has a public story on this. From it:
Google News Archive Search includes articles that have been difficult or impossible for users to find through search engines. Google’s regular news service, for example, includes content only from the previous 30 days. Consumers can access some archival news databases free online through libraries, but not everyone is aware of how to do that.
Google declined to say how many content owners were included or exactly how many articles would be available.
I still wish for a real archive of Google News as it stands today, but this is a start.
I sense we’ve seen this movie before, at least a variant of it. But then again, plenty of last decade’s ideas are flowering again. From SFGate:
The value of a service like ChaCha lies in its ability to connect users immediately to a knowledgeable guide, who has experience or background a particular field. Think of it as calling 411 directory assistance on the Web.
“When people try us, they’re blown away,” said Jones, the founder and chief executive officer of ChaCha. “The results are significantly better because we’re incorporating human intelligence into the mix.”
Users will connect to a live guide via instant messenger from the ChaCha home page.
ChaCha’s CEO has been around the entrepreneurial bend a few times, with Gracenote and early voicemail technology. Worth watching.
WebWorkerDaily will track the world of working the way, well, most of us work these days. Congrats, Om.
Tom Mohr, who used to run Knight Ridder’s digital efforts and is now ensconced at ASU and Charles River Ventures, calls out the newspaper industry in a major piece in Editor & Publisher. He posits that the newspaper industry needs the equivalent of a “Marshall Plan” and needs to get over its internal disputes and work together.
It is instructive that after twelve years of the consumer web, not a single example of breakthrough online innovation has emerged out of a newspaper company. Not in recruitment. Not in auto. Not in classifieds. Not in shopping, directory, new ad models, or content aggregation.
He imagines a company, Switzerland Inc., that works on behalf of all newspapers.
But what if 2/3 or more of the U.S. newspaper industry sits on one platform, managed by Switzerland Inc.? What if Switzerland Inc. decides to deny Yahoo! and perhaps Google access to newspaper industry content for three months, followed by a negotiation for better terms?
That’s the power of a network.
I can’t imagine it ever happening, but Mohr’s got a point. Federation is the way to go….
Earlier this month the news broke that Brazilian officials have demanded very specific information on suspected criminals who have been using Google’s Orkut service (it’s very popular in Brazil, who knows why…).
Google’s initial defense was to say that the data in question was stored in the US (both quotes from the first link, a Reuters story):
Google officials in Brazil have said all clients’ data is stored on a server in the United States and is subject to U.S. laws, which makes it impossible for them to reveal the data in Brazil. They also said the local affiliate only deals in marketing and sales and has nothing to do with Orkut.
But a Brazilian judge disagreed:
“The fact that the data are stored in the United States has no relevance as all the photographs and messages investigated by the prosecutors’ office were published by Brazilians using Internet connections on the national territory,” the judge said in his ruling.
I find this interesting because it might potentially set a standard for other international cases where data is stored in the US but originates in what we might call less than democratic countries – China comes to mind. And lo and behold, today brings news that Google bowed to pressure and will provide the data to Brazil.
One of the first to cover the story is the People’s Daily in China. A banner day, for them.
Some of you may have noticed the new classified/text link ads on the right side. I’m experimenting with them, now that FM has the ability to sell them via its platform. I have a sense that readers of this site might have things to say to each other in a commercial voice, and this is a way to do it, pretty darn cheap ($140 a week, for a permanent ad). If it works out, we’ll make a marketplace section on a second page, for now, we’ve limited the number of ads that can run to seven. Check it out!