free html hit counter October 2008 - John Battelle's Search Blog

Web2 Comments Winners!

By - October 31, 2008

I couldn’t pick three, so I went with four winners. I learned a lot from the hundred or so comments that came in, and I am busy preparing for the show next week. It was hard to narrow them down, but I had to. If you won, congrats!

I’ll be reaching out to the winners via email for their free We2 passes, but here are the comments!

* Dominic Son says:

* # October 22, 2008 11:57 PM

“Besides Yahoo, how’s everything going?”

(On Jerry Yang)

* Ian Kennedy says:

* # October 28, 2008 2:53 PM

Do you forsee a time when Intel will embed social features into its hardware? Microsoft tied it’s activation to Windows activation. Would Intel ever offer the ability for users on Facebook and other social networks be able to uniquely identify itself to a social graph and the associated permissions via the Intel chip?

(On Paul Otellini)

* Mike Johnson says:

* # October 28, 2008 2:03 PM

The Live Strong movement (and they visual representation of the yellow bracelet) almost defined “virality” and community for this decade. The copy cats are rolling in to this day. What did you learn from that experience? What does it take to truly engage people to the point of action?

(On Lance Armstrong)

* Narendra says:

* # October 28, 2008 6:41 PM

While we’d like to think that all successful entrepreneurs have the fearless composure of a poker player like Phil Ivy, most of us behind a closed office door have found ourselves exhaling the words “holy shit.” You’ve had quite a ride so far and it isn’t over.

For fun, rewind just a bit, and tell us, what you might be doing right now if your were *not* building Facebook?

(On Mark Zuckerberg)

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Yahoo and Google Falling Out of Tree?

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Just in time for my interview with Jerry Yang next week at Web2, this report from the Journal (via Reuters):

Google Inc (GOOG.O) and Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O) could announce a decision to walk away from their search deal by the middle of next week, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The two Internet companies have so far failed to reach an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice on implementing their search advertising partnership.

I spent a very engaging hour or so with Jerry earlier this week and we discussed this deal, among a lot of other things. I wonder if we’ll get confirmation by the time he and I have our chat Weds. afternoon.

The LowJack Self-Perpetuating Road Warrior

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I am really, really busy. So why did I just spend 20 minutes making a dream PC? Because I really want this machine.

From my description:

This is the continuation of my “Lowjack PC” idea, but now with bells and whistles. One of the things I am most worried about is someone stealing my laptop. It’s got ALL my key info on it. I want my PC to know that I’m using it – ie, that it’s ME, and not anyone else. Keystroke analysis, camera-based pattern recognition, anyway…. Sure, I can always encrypt, etc. but that is a pain and can be foiled. Key feature is integrated cloud-based mirroring so if this thing is stolen, dropped, etc. I can just get another machine, verify my ID, and BAM, I have the same machine back. I want a computer that knows when it’s been stolen, connects to the web, reports it to the authorities (and to me!), knows where it is via GPS (a lowjack PC!) and perhaps, just for fun, it plays with the mind of the person who stole it through subtle system errors (oh, and yes, I want the ability to “tune” these hijinks!).

The key here is to work Road Warrior features into the OS of the machine itself. Not bolted on, but part of the machine’s “personality”. I think the key to the next generation of machines is to innovate on top of Windows (or the Mac OS, but I’m a realist there), just like folks innovate on top of the “Web OS”. This is a netbook, in a way, as well as a notebook, and it’s tuned for folks who travel a lot and have a lot of valuable data on their machine. For us, it’s not about the machine, it’s about the data. Protect it, but not at the expense of flexibility and power!
(Oh, and publicly bust the crook and humiliate him/her on a site like LOLCats).


By - October 30, 2008

I’m watching this unfold, OpenID, Facebook Connect, Y!OS, Microsoft support, Google support…it’s supposedly a big group hug, but it feels like a war, folks. And it’s not pretty. Note this:

A couple of hours ago, the Google Security Team posted an article claiming that Google’s made the switch to OpenID, joining Yahoo! and Microsoft in the ranks OpenID providers.

But it looks like someone may have been a bit to hasty to pull that switch (perhaps itching to get some of the limelight Microsoft has been receiving for adding OpenID to all Live ID accounts just the day before yesterday)… because whatever it is that Google has released support for, it sure as hell isn’t OpenID, as they even so kindly point out in their OpenID developer documentation

I hate to say it but watch this space.

O'Reilly Launches "Found" Conference

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Check it out. From the conference site:

The way to online success is through being easily found in search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft Live Search. While developers have historically thought of search as a marketing activity, technical architecture has now become critical for search success. Found is the authoritative place to discover best practices for this nascent industry and gain a thorough understanding of why search-friendly architecture is absolutely mission-critical to businesses of all sizes. No spammy tricks. Just solid foundational coding tactics and actionable data that will ensure search engines can easily crawl, index, and rank your site’s content.

Web2 Conversations: Shai Agassi

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Continuing my crowdsourcing of Web2 conversations (and this is nearly the last one), on the third day, and just a few hours after Elon Musk, I’ll be talking to Shai Agassi, founder and CEO of Better Place, and former President at SAP. Agassi is yet another example of a tech executive who left the IT industry to boil a new ocean, in this case, the automobile industry. Wired recently put Shai on the cover, his plan to “sell cars like cel phones” is audacious, and some say impossible.

Remember that I’m running a contest for best comments: I’ve decided to take three of my personal complementary passes to Web 2 – yes, even the Program Chair only gets so many – and give them to those who comment on my site about these Web 2 conversations. My decisions are entirely subjective, but I plan to pick the three best questions, and reward them with a fress pass – a street value of nearly $4000 each. Yes, commentators from the past six posts are already eligible:

Mark Zuckerberg

Jerry Yang

Larry Brilliant

Paul Otellini

Lance Armstrong

Elon Musk

So what would you ask Shai?

I Support Barack Obama

By - October 29, 2008

…which should not be a surprise to regular readers of this site. I am on a list of “CEOs for Obama” and have been donating to Obama’s campaign. Why am I posting this now? To a media/tech site? Well, I was inspired by Tim.

Faced with these problems, we need a president who can harness the best and brightest our country has to offer, a president who is conversant with, and comfortable with, the power of technology to assist in solving these problems, a president who is good at listening, studying, and devising solutions based on the best insight available, rather than on narrow ideology. We need a president who can forge consensus, not just among the partisans in our own fractured democracy but around the world. We need a president who can inspire our citizens and our global partners to forgo narrow self interest and embrace the possibilities that we can achieve if we work together to build a better future.

The Conversation Interface Pushes On

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I’ve been on about this one for years, my most recent post is here.

Mashable reports on another advancement in the conversation interface:

Vlingo is an application that lets you perform various tasks on your mobile using your voice. Earlier this year, the company launched an application for Blackberry, allowing users to perform basic tasks like voice dialing, composing emails, and sending text messages, all through speaking. Today, that application is getting an update, allowing users to do a lot more, including update their Facebook Status and Twitter

Reminds me of my rant on “texting is stupid.”

WePc.Com Launches

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For the better part of a year, we at FM have been working on an innovative new project with Asus and Intel. Today it launched. is an experiment in crowdsourcing an entirely new piece of hardware, and I’m very proud of the work we’ve done together.

Check out my first submission – the LowJackPC. The idea here is to gather the collective intelligence of PC users to help build a smarter, better machine. We’ve integrated all sorts of tools to help create a platform for ideas, including Grafitti, so you can draw it. But I’m terrible at drawing, so for now, my PC doesn’t have any pictures. I should fix that.

Anyway, here’s the release on the program. From it:

Consumers become product designers at, a Web site launched today by Intel Corporation and ASUS. is where consumers can collaborate with each other and with Intel and ASUS to design innovative new products. The plan is for the two companies to deliver to market what could be the world’s first community-designed PCs.

This site is a very real example informed by a lot of thinking and theory around conversational marketing in the past few years. I remember my first even “aha” moment – nearly four years ago – when I suggested to a major computer manufacturer that perhaps it should consider gathering input from its customers before creating the next rev of its machines. The blank stares were palpable. We’ve come a long, long way since then.

Trend or Normal Variance?

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Yahoo search share was up (that is new), Microsoft down (not new), and Google down 1/10th of a percent (that too is new), according to Comscore via B’berg.

Trend or hiccup?