free html hit counter The Conversation Economy Archives | Page 16 of 28 | John Battelle's Search Blog

The 2010 Web2 Summit Theme: Points of Control

By - March 21, 2010

web22010.pngEach year at the Web 2 Summit, Tim and I try to focus our program on an overarching theme that we believe best sums up the year ahead. This is never easy to do – the event is still eight months away. But this year I feel better than I ever have about our focus, because it’s a return to our roots, as it were.

If you know my work, you know I’m fascinated by the interplay between the entrepreneurial culture of our industry and the giants who have emerged from within it – Google, Facebook, Microsoft, to name a few – as well as those who have joined it from other industries – Comcast, GE, and Newscorp come to mind.

For 2010, Web 2 will focus on the chess game in which all of these companies are now engaged, a battle to gain the upper hand in crucial “points of control” across the Internet Economy. The idea sprang from Tim’s “War for the Web” post last Fall, but we’re taking that riff and broadening it, identifying chokepoints on an increasingly crowded chessboard.    

Fifteen years and two recessions into the commercial Internet, it’s clear that our industry has moved into a new competitive phase – a “middlegame” in the battle to dominate the Internet economy. To understand this shift, we’ll use the Summit’s program to map strategic inflection points across the Internet landscape, identifying key players who are battling to control the services and infrastructure of a websquared world.

The stakes are high. As the Web and the world intertwine through mobile and sensor platforms, the decisions we make – as leaders of this industry, as entrepreneurs, and as consumers – will determine the fundamental architecture of our society.

Will distribution, for example, be locked in, or left open? While the Web was once considered to be an open distribution platform, access to content is increasingly becoming a key point of control. The rise of iTunes and Hulu, the vertical integration of the iPhone and iPad, and the promise (or threat) of paid content have brought the model of free media into question.

Another battle is brewing for control of the social graph. While we’d argue that no one “owns” your social graph, Facebook may beg to differ, at least in practice, and Google has clearly laid down its own gauntlet in the form of Buzz and social search. Related, of course, is control of identity services – will Facebook become the one ring to rule them all? And is that a good thing?

Throughout the program, we’ll be talking to leaders, upstarts, and unexpected new players in these and many other key “points of control.” Payment systems, location services, voice recognition, hardware and mobile platforms, content management, data transport, commerce and advertising ecosystems: We’ll unpack them all.

We’ll look at the calculus behind entrenched platforms like Google, Facebook and Microsoft, of course, but we’ll also feature companies who are changing strategy and moving into new fields of battle. Apple as an advertising channel? Comcast as a content network? Cisco as a social network? Adobe as an online marketing company? And of course, as we do every year, we’ll feature the insurgent upstarts and disruptors who hope to replace them all.

I’m proud of the role that the Web 2 Summit plays, once each year, in gathering leaders of the Internet Economy to debate and determine business strategy. With this year’s program we’re redoubling our focus on this critical discussion. I hope you’ll all join Tim and me this November 15-17 in San Francisco – we look forward to the conversation. Early registration for those of you who have invitations can be done here. If you want to come, simply fill out a request here. See you there!

  • Content Marquee

Thursday Signal – Repeat After Me: Apps Are (Currently) Myopic (Or…We've Seen This Movie Before…)

By - March 10, 2010

Screen shot 2010-03-10 at 8.26.08 PM.png

I’m not claiming to be deeply informed about the app marketplace, which Google stirred up today (and, to my mind, the market could use a few more spoons). But I do use apps. At least, I use enough of them to feel like a nearly typical member of the species (as compared to a few of my peers, who are so deeply involved in AppWorld that they have – just maybe – lost a bit of perspective.)  

So, here’s my beef with AppWorld. In short, it reminds me of computing back in about 1987. Yeah, 24 years ago, back when I was a cub reporter for MacWeek, I covered the burgeoning world of Apple and Apple developers. And trust me, I’m getting a pretty strong sense of deja vu. I guess being old counts for something.

Back in the late 1980s, folks who developed applications for the new Macintosh OS had two very strong sentiments about Apple. One, they LOVED the company and its Macintosh development environment. They loved it for what it was, for what it could be, and for the opportunity it presented to them – a newly fallen bowl of virgin powder, into which clever and entrepreneurial programmers could strap it on and push off to lay fresh tracks. Imagine the possibilities! A program that let you paint with your mouse! A program that let you visualize otherwise mute spreadsheets! A program that taught you how to type by watching actual fingers move on a keyboard on the screen! Holy cow, the possibilities were limitless!

But then there was the second strong sentiment. I’ll sum it up in a phrase: F*cking G@#$%damn Apple! The company was impossible to work with, utterly controlling, miserly with its developer tools, overbearing in its demands, myopic in its decision making. In fact, an entire organization sprung up, the Macintosh Developers Network (I think, not the current MDN, which is a UK org), seemingly driven by its members need to console each other in the face of the inscrutable Cupertino. (Apple never did really embrace the MDN, though I found in its members some very good sources…).

So let’s fast forward to today. Once again, Apple has created an extraordinary new environment for developers and entrepreneurs, and once again, it has fostered pretty much the same two sentiments.

But unlike the late 1980s, this time the world is different. It’s connected. It’s web-driven. The Web is the World, and the world demands connections.

But so far, what I’ve noticed most about apps in AppWorld is that they are, for the most part, all about themselves. They’re not connected to the greater web, and they don’t encourage you to move seamlessly from one app to another, depending on your intent.

And that, to my mind, can’t stand.

Just a thought. Now, onto some good linkage:

Google Launches the Google Apps Marketplace (Mashable) As I said….

comScore Reports January 2010 U.S. Mobile Subscriber Market Share (Comscore) Because you can’t get enough datapoints about something that confuses us all.

Engage your users to survive, Google tells newspapers (Guardian) Google, lecturing publishers on engagement. The world is truly upside down.

Gen Y Goes for Online Banking (eMarketer) Take heed. Are you offering your services online? Why not?

ARM sees over 50 new iPad-like devices out this year (Computerworld) Thank God.

Why MySpace Co-Presidents Aren’t Worried About Growth (PaidContent) Well, I doubt that will last.

FTC Said to Ask Google Rivals for Statement on AdMob, May Signal Challenge (Bloomberg) My my. Hmm. My.

Corporate Branding Goes Rogue (AdAge) “Social media is not just another tactic to be tacked onto the proverbial backside of a corporate identity system. It needs to be recognized for what it is — the disruptive technology that radically changes the game. So much of what operated in the old corporate branding model simply does not apply anymore.”

RealNetworks’ Rob Glaser on why Apple’s model must be stopped (TechFlash) ….and as long as I’m on the hobbyhorse…comScore: Android Shows Strength As Mobile Web Usage Grows (SEL)

Announcing The Fifth Annual CM Summit: Theme and Initial Lineup (FM blog) I had to remind you of this, didn’t I? Great lineup….

Ad Publishing Tool Bridges Traditional And Online Media (MediaPost)

Google Gains Traction In Display-Ad Push (WSJ via ATD)

Announcing The Fifth Annual CM Summit: Theme and Initial Lineup

By -

summit-arrow-color-2.png(cross posted from FM blog )

I’m very excited to announce the theme and line-up for our fifth CM Summit, to be held in New York June 7-8 (it’s the kickoff conference to New York’s annual Internet Week).

We’ve got a lot to talk about this year – our theme is “Marketing in Real Time.”

2009 was the year the web went real time. Twitter grew five fold and became a major online player, tens of millions of us learned how to live out loud in public. Facebook responded by changing its approach to user data, making its more than 400 million user profiles publicly searchable. And Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo began integrating Facebook and Twitter’s real time signals into their search offerings, creating an ever-circulating ecosystem of conversation across the web.

2009 was also the year the web went mobile and local. The “broadband of mobile” – 3G – became ubiquitous. As Apple’s iPhone consolidated its grip on the smart phone market, Google and its partners introduced the open-platform Android, Palm introduced its Pre and Pixi, Verizon its map, and AT&T responded in force, kicking off what is sure to be a multi-year, multi-party marketing war. “There’s an app for that” became a cultural catchphrase, and even Intel prepared to become a player in the new app economy, driven by the rise of a new class of devices, including netbooks. By year’s end, Morgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker had predicted that the mobile web will far exceed the current web in scope and opportunity.

Mobile, local, real time, social – in its second decade, the web has matured and taken a central position in our culture, one that no longer relegates the Internet to role of “other.” The web is now a part of every aspect of our lives, and as marketers, we must integrate this fact into our strategy and our execution. That means rethinking what we’ve grown accustomed to calling “traditional media” and imagining new ways to blend offline and online. It means developing the skills and practices of a publisher, and taking a platform-based approach to connecting with customers. And it means rethinking some of our “best practices” – including measurement, research, and the agency-client relationship.

So what can we learn from the past year as we enter a decade where the real time web will become ubiquitous? What worked, what failed, and why? What platforms have emerged as steady new partners? What startups are lurking in Silicon Valley’s wings, poised to once again change the game and offer new channels of communication with our customers?

At the CM Summit you’ll hear cross-platform case studies from senior marketers at brands like Starbucks, AT&T, Adobe, Paramount, and many more. You’ll meet the leaders of platform companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Bing, and Yahoo. And as always, you’ll discover the next wave of disruptors – companies like Foursquare, Boxee, and AdMob.

Here is the initial 2010 speaker lineup – expect more announcements in the coming weeks. Register now (while the early bird price is still in effect!), and I look forward to seeing you in New York!

Omar Hamoui – Founder & CEO AdMob

Ann Lewnes – SVP of Corporate Marketing and Communications Adobe

Chris Schembri – VP Media Services AT&T

Henry Blodget – EIC The Business Insider

Avner Ronen – CEO boxee

Ken Wirt – VP, Consumer Marketing Cisco

Deanna Brown – President and COO Federated Media

Dennis Crowley – Co-founder foursquare

Rob Norman – CEO Group M North America

Bradley Horowitz – VP, Product Marketing Google

Susan Wojcicki – VP, Product Management Google

Dennis Woodside – VP, Americas Operations Google

Arianna Huffington – Co-founder & Editor-in-chief Huffington Post

Joel Lunenfeld – CEO Moxie Interactive

Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. – Chairman The New York Times Company

Amy Powell – SVP, Interactive Marketing Paramount Pictures

Bob Lord – CEO Razorfish

Chris Bruzzo – VP- Brand, Content& Online Starbucks Coffee Company

Dick Costolo – COO Twitter

Hilary Schneider – Executive Vice President Yahoo

The CM Summit thanks its sponsors:

Premier: Adobe Diamond: American Express Platinum: Blend Interactive, Intel Gold: Dell, HP, Verizon Media Partners: IAB, Internet Week NY

PS – If you’re interested, follow us on Twitter, fan us on Facebook and join our Linked In Group. We look forward to shaping this conference together.

Database of Intentions Chart – Version 2, Updated for Commerce

By - March 07, 2010

There are many, many signals in the Database of Intentions, as my readers have pointed out, but the one I feel compelled to add to the chart I created Friday is the Commerce signal. This signal emerged before search, really, and has remained a constant, though honestly it has yet to become a signal that others can truly leverage into an open ecosystem (unlike the signal of search, or status update, or the social graph). I expect that to change, and shortly. So here you go, an updated version of the chart, for the record. I expect this chart may well evolve into a pretty complicated ecosystem in its own right, over time….

  DBoI v 2 3.07.10.png

The Database of Intentions Is Far Larger Than I Thought

By - March 05, 2010

Screen shot 2010-03-05 at 9.01.41 AM.pngWay back in November of 2003, when I was a much younger man and the world had yet to fall head over heels in love with Google, I wrote a post called The Database of Intentions. It was an attempt to explain a one-off reference in an earlier post – but not much earlier, as the “DBoI” post, as I call it, was just the sixty-third post of my then-early blogging career. (This is the 5,142nd, by comparison…)

I had, in fact, been ruminating on this concept for over a year, driven by an Holy Sh*t moment in late 2001 when Google introduced its first ever Zeitgeist round up of trending search terms. Scanning the lists of rising and declining terms, I realized that Google – not to mention every other search engine, ISP, and most likely every government – had in their grasp a datastream that, were they to just pay attention, could quite possibly be the most potent signal of human intentions in the history of the world.

Zeitgeist, it struck me, was proof that Google was indeed paying attention. I went on to write The Search, and Google went on to become, well, Google. My study of Google also led me to start Web 2, with Tim O’Reilly, and Federated Media, which I positioned as a media company that leveraged the impact of The Database of Intentions.

But over the past few years, as I’ve labored in the fields of digital media and marketing – mostly through my work at FM – I’ve come to revise my concept of what The Database of Intentions truly is. In my initial description, I limited the concept to web search and web search alone:

The Database of Intentions is simply this: The aggregate results of every search ever entered, every result list ever tendered, and every path taken as a result.

At the time, that certainly seemed like a big enough idea. No such artifact had ever existed, and its implications were massive. In my 2003 post, I continued:

This information represents, in aggregate form, a place holder for the intentions of humankind – a massive database of desires, needs, wants, and likes that can be discovered, supoenaed, archived, tracked, and exploited to all sorts of ends. Such a beast has never before existed in the history of culture, but is almost guaranteed to grow exponentially from this day forward. This artifact can tell us extraordinary things about who we are and what we want as a culture. And it has the potential to be abused in equally extraordinary fashion.

Search was a pristine signal, an eruption of oxygen in the anoxic ocean of the early web, and an entire ecosystem grew in its bloom. The first implication was already manifest: Google had launched AdWords and AdSense, Overture (later to become Yahoo Search Marketing) was thriving, and a burgeoning paid search ecosystem was in the early stages of becoming a multi-billion commercial expression of the Database of Intention’s power.

But as anyone who’s been reading this site already knows, web search as a pure signal has been attenuating of late – overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of data on the web, for one, and secondly by our own increasingly complicated expectations.

Nature abhors a vacuum, and so does the Internet. In the past year I’ve come to the conclusion that “web search” was just the first of many fields in the Database of Intentions. For those of you who are not database geeks, and to further pad the metaphor, a field in a database is colloquially defined as a specific type of information in that database. Sets of fields are called records, and sets of records make up the database.

My mistake in 2003 was to assume that the entire Database of Intentions was created through our interactions with traditional web search. I no longer believe this to be true. In the past five or so years, we’ve seen “eruptions” of entirely new fields, each of which, I believe, represent equally powerful signals – oxygen flows around which massive ecosystems are already developing. In fact, the interplay of all of these signals (plus future ones) represents no less than the sum of our economic and cultural potential.

By now you’ve probably already guessed what these new signals might be. I’ve made a rudimentary chart, but to narrate:

(NB: i’ve updated the chart here with a field for commerce…)

Fields in the DBoI 3.2010.png

The first signal, of course, was The Query. A query was a declaration of a very particular intent: What I Want from the web. Sure, it has many permutations – navigation, commerce, informational, etc. etc., but in essence, the goal was to find something you wanted. Hence the name search, after all.  

The next signal to emerge is The Social Graph. With this signal we’ve declared not only Who We Are, we’ve also declared Who We Know. Both are powerful intent-driven declarations, and both have deep interplays with search. By manifesting who we are and who we know, we can find and be found by others.

The third signal emerged almost simultaneously with The Social Graph – The Status Update. This is a personal declaration of what we deem important, noteworthy, shareable: What’s on our minds, what’s happening, what’s worthy. Again, a powerful search signal, in particular in real time.

The latest signal is The Check-in – or Where I Am. This is a crowning declaration of intent, in a fashion, because it connects the physical to the virtual, securing the Database of Intentions to the terra firma of the Real World. As with the other three fields, the check-in – which I expect will soon become automatic via our mobile devices – is a vastly powerful signal of intent: “I am here. So what you got for me?”

Taken together (and honestly, there’s really no other way to think about it, to my mind), these signals form a Database of Intentions that is magnitudes of order larger, more complex, and more powerful than my original concept back in 2003. And while the current players in each category are clear, what’s also clear is that the battle is on to control each of these critical signals. Google, if you include its Local services, already plays in all of them, and I expect Microsoft will as well. Facebook may never play in “The Query,” nor will Twitter, but expect both to play in The Check-in, and soon. The newcomers? Well, most of us expect them to be acquired. Then again, that’s what we thought of Google in 2000, and Facebook in 2005. Why should Foursquare in 2010 be any different?

All of this begs a new definition of Search. I’ve often said that Search should not be defined by web search, but rather, by what a search is in the abstract. To my mind, each tweet or status update is a search query of sorts, as is each check-in and even each connection in the social graph. A more catholic definition of search would allow for a reconciliation of all these fields in the Database of Intentions. Regardless, it’s ever more obvious that while “traditional search” is reaching a plateau of sorts, at least in regards to how we understand its potential, when you add the new signals of social, status update, and check-in, we’re still in the very early stages of a distinctly punctuated phase of the Internet’s evolution.

I’m on the lookout for new Signals. I’m quite certain we’re not nearly finished creating them.

——-

NB: As a creator and publisher of media, one very strong conclusion can be drawn from all of this. If you’re not viewing your job to be a curator, clarifier, interpreter, and amplifier of the Database of Intentions, you’re soon going to be out of business. The Database of Intentions is the fuel that drives media platforms, and as I’ve argued elsewhere, every business is now a media business.

NBB: My thanks to the folks at Adobe and Omniture for the forcing mechanism of my keynote earlier this week, where I first organized the thinking above.

Google Rolling Out Social Search: But Does It Leverage Facebook?

By - January 27, 2010

Screen shot 2010-01-27 at 1.56.59 PM.png

Forget the iPad, today Google is taking another step toward its stated goal of “making search more social.” There’s a lot of goodness in here, in terms of features and approach, but it’s just silly to pretend you can do any of this without directly addressing the 400 million-person elephant in the room called Facebook. Put simply: I can’t figure out if this new service uses my Facebook social graph. And to my mind, that’s a problem.

From the blog post announcing the public beta of social search (first announced at Web 2 late last year):

We think there’s tremendous potential for social information to improve search, and we’re just beginning to scratch the surface. We’re leaving a “beta” label on social results because we know there’s a lot more we can do. If you want to get the most out of Social Search right away, get started by creating a Google profile, where you can add links to your other public online social services.

Indeed – a lot more, like make it really easy to use your Facebook social graph, the way tons of other sites and apps do. Why not just use Facebook Connect? Hang on a tick, the video giving us an overview of the service says once you create that Google Profile, you can add connections via Blogger, Twitter, and “any other online networks you might be a part of” (45 seconds in). Might that include Facebook?

OK dear readers, I’m going to do it. I’m gonna make a Google Profile, just to find out…. Well, I’m still a bit perplexed. You can add any URL as a “Link” in your profile, so I added my Facebook pages. However, once I got through the initial form (which was not simple – I had to fill out all the info I already did with Facebook and LinkedIn, and my own name is not available as a profile URL, not /johnbattelle, not jbattelle. Darn! I picked /johnlinwoodbattelle, so now you all know my middle name…) Er, anyway, there *was* a prompt to “Share It On Facebook” after all that…

Aha! Maybe this will get my Facebook social graph goodness into Google Social Search?

Not that I could tell. Just a simply “share on Facebook” implementation, declaring my profile to my FB pals. But no deep integration. As far as I can tell, my Facebook social graph will not inform my social searchin’ on Google. As I understand it from reading previous coverage of the product, Google social search *will* leverage FriendFeed, recently purchased by Facebook. But as far as I can tell, it does not leverage Facebook proper.

And that, to my mind, is just silly. Silly in the main, because as a consumer, clear, direct, and transparent integration with Facebook would be a huge *win* for my understanding of Google’s social searching. Wouldn’t it? Or am I missing something? (Besides the competitive issues, of course…)

I’ve pinged Google and other sources to find out if I’m just deeply in the dark….

Update: Google has provided me an answer to my initial question:

“If someone links to his Facebook account from his Google profile, Social Search may surface that user’s public profile page. These are the same public profile pages already available on a search of Google.com and other search engines today. While we’re interested to continue expanding the comprehensiveness of Social Search, we do not currently use your Facebook connections as part of Google Social Search.”

What I’d like to know then is this: Why not?

Predictions 2009: How Did I Do?

By - December 29, 2009

Screen shot 2009-12-21 at 10.35.33 PM.png

Related:

2009 Predictions

2008 Predictions

2008 How I Did

2007 Predictions

2007 How I Did
2006 Predictions
2006 How I Did
2005 Predictions
2005 How I Did
2004 Predictions
2004 How I Did

First of all, it’s either silly or sublime that when you type (or maybe, given Google now personalizes all results, when *I* type) “predictions 2009” into Google my predictions from a year ago are ranked first.  

Of course, when you say “predictions for 2009” it’s second.   

But I’ve already ranted about how the personalization of search is screwing up our collective cultural conscience (search was our social glue, but it’s dissolving). Is anyone out there agreeing with me? Anyone?

Anyway. Welcome to my review of how I did in my predictions for 2009. It’s been a fun year, because I made some seriously big predictions a year ago, so tracking them is a bit easier than in the past.

So let’s get to it.

1. Macro Economy. I predicted: We’ll see an end to the recession, taken literally, by Q4 09. In other words, the economy will begin to grow again by the end of the year, but it won’t feel like we’re out of the woods till next year at the earliest.

I think I got that one right. Not very hard to predict, in hindsight, but remember, this was Jan. 09, and things really, really, really sucked eggs at that moment.

2. The online media space. I predicted: ….will be hit hard by the economic downturn in the first half, but by year’s end, will have chalked up moderate gains over last year in terms of gross spend. I think it’s possible that Q1 09 will be lower than Q1 08, marking the first time that has happened since 01, if I recall correctly.

Right again. Spending in fact declined year over year in the online space overall. But it has rebounded in the second half.

3. Google. OK, here’s one of the biggies. I predicted: Google will see search share decline significantly for the first time ever.

Now, I know many of you will say that I whiffed this one, because Google’s search share is higher now than it was a year ago. But before you toss me in the dustbin, remember this: Google did lose share in the middle of the year, though it gained it back. And to my mind, any lose of share is significant. So … call this one a wash. It didn’t last, but it did happen, for a while. Now, watch for my predictions in 2010. Because a lot of deals are up for grabs, and Microsoft does NOT like to lose. AOL, Ask…there’s about ten points right there that are a jump ball.

#3 goes on to declare: The media business is more than a demand fulfillment business, and Google must learn to create demand if it’s going to diversify. That means playing the brand game – a game that has long been owned by what we call “traditional media companies.” Google has become a significant brand advertiser in 2009, in fact, it’s a client of FM’s in the brand space. And if an ad on the home page isn’t about creating demand for a new product, I dunno what is. I go on to prognosticate: Google has a unique opportunity to become a new kind of branded media company. It will fail to do so, mainly for cultural reasons. I think the jury is still out on this. Google is trying to be so many things to so many people, it’s hard to say where it’s going to land. OS provider? Check. Browser vendor? Check. iPhone competitor? Check. Office suite player? Check. But brand that means anything but search? No check. Yet.

4. In this one I predicted: Google stock will soar in by Q3-4 of 2009, mainly because demand will pick up, and when demand picks up, it’s like rain on a field of newly sown wheat.

Well, here’s the chart:

Screen shot 2009-12-29 at 6.11.48 PM.png

I think this one is a big “check.”

5. Big one. I predicted: Tied to #3 above, Microsoft will gain at least five points of search share in 2009, perhaps as much as 10. This is a rather radical prediction, I know, but hear me out. I think Redmond is tired of losing in this game, and after trying nearly every trick in the book, Microsoft will start to spend real money to grow share (IE, buying distribution), while at the same time listening to the advice of thoughtful folks who want to help the company improve the product.

Well, it depends on how you do the math, but given the Yahoo deal, I think this one came true. Microsoft did indeed buy share, by doing the deal with Yahoo.

However…

6. I next predicted: Yahoo and AOL will merge.

Oops. I whiffed here. It was a stretch. There’s always next year. I could have predicted that AOL would spin out, but that was so damn obvious I decided against it…

7. This one was predicated on #6, so another whiff: in the second half of the year, Microsoft will buy its search monetization from the combined company.

Microsoft in fact is doing search monetization FOR Yahoo. It could have gone the other way, but it didn’t. Sometimes the river card doesn’t turn your way.

8. OK, my big Apple prediction: Apple will see a significant reversal of recent fortunes. Well, it sure didn’t happen in sales or the stock, but I think it’s happening with Apple’s arrogant attitude toward its app store and network choices. I’d say this one was a push, not wrong, but not entirely right….yet.

9. I predicted: Major brands will continue to struggle with the best way to interact with “social media.” They will take budget reserved for media spending (IE buying banners and building out branding campaigns) and start to become publishers in their own right. This was kind of a gimme, in that my company (FM) is doing this for scores of brands, and 2009 was certainly a banner year (no pun intended) for brands as publishers. Open Forum, Starbucks, Microsoft Exectweets, Intel’s Lifescoop, P&G’s Petside, Asus WePC, and on and on….I’m sure I’m missing a bunch of examples. But I am quite certain this is a major trend and one that is only gaining steam.

10. An agency/publisher prediction: Agencies will increasingly see their role as that of publishers. Publishers will increasingly see their role as that of agencies. ….. It takes both agents to get good media made. A very subjective prediction which again, I think is truly happening. Of course, I can only state that as anecdotal fact. But if you’re in the agency or publishing business, I’d love your thoughts in the comments….

11. OK, the Twitter prediction. Now remember, on Jan 1 2009 it was not a slam dunk to say this: Twitter will continue its meteoric rise. This is a very hard prediction to make, because so much depends on the company’s ability to execute two crucial – and exceedingly difficult – new features: The integration of search into the service, and the monetization of that integration.

Now, Twitter did have its year of years, growing extraordinarily, but traditional measure of growth flattened and petered out by the second half of the year. Why? Well, third party clients, for the most part, and a failure of the company to convert its media darling status into long term usage. But Twitter has rolled out a cavalcade of new features in the past few months, most aimed at fixing the initial use case problem I’ve pointed out time and time again.

In this prediction I also said: By the middle of 2009, the integration of Twitter’s community and content will become commonplace in well-executed marketing on third party sites. Again, I think this one has occurred, many times over.

12. This is one of my favorites, the Facebook prediction: Facebook will do something entirely shocking and unpredictable. I am not certain what, but it won’t have a “status quo” year. It might be a merger with a traditional media company, a major alliance with Google, hiring a head scratcher as CEO, or something else at that level of “WTF!?” As I think about it, it might be as simple as making Facebook Connect truly open, and changing its policies to make it drop dead easy to get data out of the service.

Ummm….check.

However, I also predicted: Facebook will “friend” Twitter and the two companies will become strong partners. Well, you can now updated Twitter from Facebook, so that’s a start. But they’re not pals yet, so this one is not exactly a hit.

13. My mobile prediction: Lucky #13 is reserved for my eternal mobile prediction: 2009 will see the year mobility becomes presumptive in every aspect of the web. I’m not even going to try to defend this one. I think 2009 was the year mobile eclipsed the PC web in terms of what matters to our industry. If you disagree, I’ll see ya in the comments.

14. OK. My last one, well, I whiffed on it – mostly. It was my book prediction. I said: “Lastly, I promise, I will have sold my book and will be hard at work on it. And yes, still running FM too. I think I have a way to do both.” Well, I didn’t sell the new book to anyone, mainly because once I do, I have to write it. And I can’t do that till I feel like FM is really, really in great hands. And guess what…it is. I am still running it as CEO, but now I have a wonderful President/COO, Deanna Brown. And she is a true partner and pro, and I am feeling very, very good about 2010. So give me half a point there…

So, adding it all up, I’d say I did a 10.5 out of 14. What do you think? Did I do alright? And do you agree with my interpretations?

Happy Holidays and New Year to all of you. I can’t wait for the next year. I really think it’s going to be a big one for all of us.


Twitter is .. Developing

By - December 09, 2009

Screen shot 2009-12-09 at 4.15.42 AM.png

Twitter is rolling a ton of features and announcements this week, coinciding both with Le Web in Paris and its own ongoing development as a platform. A roundup:

- Twitter is opening up its “firehose” of tweets to all comers “in early 2010″. This is a very big deal. Before, developers had limited access to the Twitterverse. This means the ecosystem has tons more oxygen to work with.

- New sign up approach. This fixes a problem where it was hard for developers to sign up and in folks from third party sites (you had to send folks back to Twitter before). This will aid in Twitter sign ups from third party developers. A big deal.

- Twitter is embracing its own developer community by underwriting a developer conference, Chirp, which has been key to nearly every major tech platform in the history of the Valley.

The company is clearly gearing up for a big 2010 in terms of features, and had decided that developers and the developer ecosystem is key to its growth. I agree completely.

Google Embraces Twitter, Some More. In a Non Facebook Kinda Way.

By - December 02, 2009

Screen shot 2009-12-02 at 8.56.08 PM.png

From the Google Social Web Blog (I have to admit it’s hard for me to see those four words together without busting out a silly grin):

Today, we’re bringing Twitter and Friend Connect even closer together. Now you can join one of over nine million Google Friend Connect sites using your Twitter login. Once signed in, your Twitter profile will be automatically linked and you can tweet your new site membership, share discussions from the comments gadget, and invite your friends via Twitter.

So what to make of this?
The snarky approach might be to rewrite the news this way:
Today, we’re bringing Not Facebook and Friend Connect even closer together. Now you can join one of over nine million Google Friend Connect sites using your Not Facebook Connect login. Once signed in, your Not Facebook profile will be automatically linked and you can Not Update Your Facebook Status with your new site membership, share discussions from the comments gadget, and invite your friends via Not Facebook Connect.

But that would be very snarky. And usually my snarkiness is so damn buried in inference and linked nuance that no one gets it. I’m not trying to infer that Twitter integration isn’t important, it is. But honestly, if Google really wants to get social, why doesn’t it do what Yahoo’s already done, and admit Facebook pretty much owns the social graph? After all, Facebook has already admitted Google owns search. And it’s using Google to leverage its own platform, in many ways. Google might do the same…
It’s interesting that the ouroborosphere seems relatively unmoved by this news – it didn’t make Techmeme, like nearly everything else that Twitter or Google does. Coverage so far has been pretty straightforward.
But I do think this move marks another play in the ongoing chess match between Google and Facebook. What I’d like to know is whether anyone is really using Google Friend Connect in ways that matter? Or is it on its way to becoming for social what Yahoo is to search?