Neat: IM Interview

The folks over at the Alarm Clock IM'd me and ran the transcript as a feature on their site. Neat idea – IM as interview. Subject is Web 2.0…….

The folks over at the Alarm Clock IM’d me and ran the transcript as a feature on their site. Neat idea – IM as interview. Subject is Web 2.0….

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Google’s Web 2 Demo and the UI Plunge

As many have already noted, last week at Web 2.0 Peter Norvig, Google director of search quality, demonstrated word clustering, "named entities," and machine translation technology to the audience. The translation software was impressive, but somehow lacked zing – "good enough" translation doesn't seem like much of a revelation anymore….

labs_logo2As many have already noted, last week at Web 2.0 Peter Norvig, Google director of search quality, demonstrated word clustering, “named entities,” and machine translation technology to the audience. The translation software was impressive, but somehow lacked zing – “good enough” translation doesn’t seem like much of a revelation anymore. That in itself is an extraordinary achievement – Norvig showed translations from Arabic and Chinese – both significantly distinct languages compared to English. Google already has translation features built into its engine (from a third party), but this hand-rolled stuff was far more powerful, it seemed to me.

In any case, the demos that really got the audience going (and me, to be honest) was the named entities and the clustering technology. Seeing anything behind the veil of Google’s real research and development is of course a revelation, but seeing something that was so clearly ready for prime time felt rather close to a declaration of where Google is heading, in particular given the recent moves in the personalization and clustering space from Amazon, Ask, Vivisimo, and Yahoo.

“Named entity extraction” is a relatively new project called which Norvig said Google had been working on for about six months. As Norvig explained the concept – essentially identifying semantically important concepts and the meaning wrapped around them – I couldn’t help but think of WebFountain and my wish (near the end of the post) that Google would add a bit of IBM’s semantic peanut butter into its PageRank chocolate.

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Some Caution In Web 2.0

Jason Fried of Basecamp/37 Signals reminds us to stay lightweight, and don't believe the hype. I very much hope the conference, which certainly was upbeat, was not considered hype. It's true, I focused on that which I found interesting, astounding, important, and new…which really does create a bit of novelty…

Jason Fried of Basecamp/37 Signals reminds us to stay lightweight, and don’t believe the hype. I very much hope the conference, which certainly was upbeat, was not considered hype. It’s true, I focused on that which I found interesting, astounding, important, and new…which really does create a bit of novelty exhaustion, as Kottke puts it, over the course of a three-day event.

In any case, I certainly agree with Jason Fried’s advice:

My advice to these new companies with their new products and fresh-faced enthusiasm… Keep it small. Start small and stay small. Borrow from yourself before you borrow from someone else. You can have an impact with just a few people. You can build great products with a small team. You can do it on your own. You can.

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Thanks, Feedster!

Really cool of the folks at Feedster to give the Web 2.0 feed such prominence on the home page, and to create an XML feed for coverage! Here's the link, and thanks guys…It's been a great event so far….

Really cool of the folks at Feedster to give the Web 2.0 feed such prominence on the home page, and to create an XML feed for coverage! Here’s the link, and thanks guys…It’s been a great event so far.

feesterweb.2

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Web 2.0 Day One

Wow, what a first day. Amazing workshops, and then really fun sessions. Bill Gross unveiled Snap, a very cool new engine that you can check out here (yeah, Snap, uh huh, in an earlier incarnation it was a failed Web 1.0 portal from CNet and NBC). And then early Google…

web2Wow, what a first day. Amazing workshops, and then really fun sessions. Bill Gross unveiled Snap, a very cool new engine that you can check out here (yeah, Snap, uh huh, in an earlier incarnation it was a failed Web 1.0 portal from CNet and NBC). And then early Google investor and Board member John Doerr, in a great interview with John Heilemann, let us know that Google was not going to sit on its hands w/r/t personalization, in fact, he said there will be announcements very shortly about Google’s next phase of personal search. Also, Rojo debuted, and we still have Marc Cuban to go tonight…

More to come, and much more on the web 2.0 site, where coverage is aggregated….

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Searchblog: Tumbleweeds Ho

I won't promise it, but I'll wager Searchblog will be looking pretty unlived-in this week, as I'll be focused on producing Web 2.0. When I am doing a conference, I tend to get in a kind of zone, and I forget about pretty much everything else. It's three straight days…

web2I won’t promise it, but I’ll wager Searchblog will be looking pretty unlived-in this week, as I’ll be focused on producing Web 2.0. When I am doing a conference, I tend to get in a kind of zone, and I forget about pretty much everything else. It’s three straight days of live stagecraft, and we have more than 60 speakers presenting, which is the most I’ve ever managed in one event. We also have evening events, from Google, Morpheus, and Yahoo, so the usual burst of late night items might be slow as well.

We invited a lot of press and bloggers, so I expect there will be plenty of places to grok the goings on. In fact, you might start with Google News, and perhaps check out who’s linking to us over at Feedster. Andy, Ross, Jeff, Wade, and I am sure others will also be blogging it. We’ll also put a link to all the coverage on the main site, once the event gets going.

I’m excited that this event, which began as an idea Tim and I shared nearly a year ago, is actually happening, and is so well attended. We hoped for 400-500, and we have more than 550 registered (yes, you can still come, but today is the deadline for the pre-show price. Walk in tix are quite dear). We hoped for 5-6 sponsors, and we have 15. And much of the support came in the last couple of months, as momentum built. It’s been a great education preparing for this. Thanks to everyone who is coming, and to all you Searchbloggers for putting up with my absence. There will be a killer search panel on Weds afternoon, and some news on search from Bill Gross, Yahoo, and others – so stay tuned!

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Good(man) Point

Andrew Goodman makes a fine point: with all the hype around Google's possible entry into the browser wars, many have missed the fact that Yahoo looks more than ever like a player in the Web-as-Desktop field….

traffickAndrew Goodman makes a fine point: with all the hype around Google’s possible entry into the browser wars, many have missed the fact that Yahoo looks more than ever like a player in the Web-as-Desktop field.

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The MS Hegemony Erodes?

Thanks to Gary's pointer, I'm looking forward to trying out this new Opera-based tool, the Opera Show Generator, which allows you to use your browser as a web-based slide player, a la Powerpoint. Again, a very Web 2.0 development….

opera_logo_smallThanks to Gary’s pointer, I’m looking forward to trying out this new Opera-based tool, the Opera Show Generator, which allows you to use your browser as a web-based slide player, a la Powerpoint. Again, a very Web 2.0 development.

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Web 2.0 Draws Near

Over at O'Reilly, Tim's posted his thoughts on why Web 2.0 is a meme with legs, and he's inviting feedback from his readers on what they'd like to see asked of all the speakers we have coming to converse. I'd like to do the same – you guys have always…

web2Over at O’Reilly, Tim’s posted his thoughts on why Web 2.0 is a meme with legs, and he’s inviting feedback from his readers on what they’d like to see asked of all the speakers we have coming to converse. I’d like to do the same – you guys have always kept me honest, and the conference is really shaping up to be something else again. As Tim puts it:

I’m talking about the emergence of what I’ve started to call Web 2.0, the internet as platform. We heard about that idea back in the late 90s, at the height of the browser wars, but that turned out to be a false alarm. But I believe we’re now starting the third age of the internet — the first being the telnet-era command line internet, the second the web — and the third, well, that tale grows in the telling. It’s about the way that open source and the open standards of the web are commoditizing many categories of infrastructure software, driving value instead to the data and business processes layered on top of (or within) that software; it’s about the way that web sites like eBay, Amazon, and Google are becoming platforms with rich add-on developer communities; it’s about the way that network effects and data, rather than software APIs, are the new tools of customer lock-in; it’s about the way that to be successful, software today needs to work above the level of a single device; it’s about the way that the Microsofts and Intels of tomorrow are once again going to blindside established players because all the rules of business are changing.

Time and again as I report in this space, I’m struck by how different this time round is from the late 1990s. For example, today I spoke with Jeff Weber, who runs USAToday’s digital publishing efforts, and we had a robust conversation about publishing models, new and old. I was part of the first wave of “new media” in the 90s, and we were convinced that the world was changing, but wrong in the timing and execution. Now, a whole host of “lightweight publishers” have sprung up, and they are challenging and undermining the entire cost structure and business model of old line publishers. This time, it’s real. Weber pointed out to me that Yahoo News, which is twice as big as USAToday.com, and has just 11 employees. Then there’s craigslist, with more traffic than nearly anyone, and only 20 or so employees. How do they do that? They’ve got a very Web 2.0, lightweight business model, that’s how (and Yahoo aggregates content, then creates interfaces, of course). Over and over, in so many aspects of industry, we see this happening – travel, finance, media, entertainment, retail. It’s exciting, and it’s fun.

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Tim Berners Lee Interviewed

On Internet.com (image credit to them as well). Interesting to note that ever Sir Tim breaks the web into pre and post Google eras. Speaking on the state of the Semantic Web, he says: I suppose it's a lot like where we were in 1992 and 1993. Back then, the…

berners-lee-articleOn Internet.com (image credit to them as well). Interesting to note that ever Sir Tim breaks the web into pre and post Google eras. Speaking on the state of the Semantic Web, he says:

I suppose it’s a lot like where we were in 1992 and 1993. Back then, the Web wasn’t stable, but we knew it was there and it held a lot of promise. We knew it would grow and mature, but there were a lot of things that we needed but didn’t have. This was pre-Google. Around 1991, you would go on the Web to look for something that wasn’t there. Today, that information is there and we can find it easily. So, I think that’s where we are with the Semantic Web. We know it will mature, but we’re not quite there yet.

(Thanks, Gary)

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