News: Yahoo Says: 2 Gigs to You, Google

Well, the ante's been upped in the user registration – er – mail wars. Yahoo will announce Tuesday that it has revamped its mail products, increasing the storage on its paid and free products to 2 gigabytes and 100 mbytes, respectively. Is this a big deal? Yes. Why? Well,…

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Well, the ante’s been upped in the user registration – er – mail wars. Yahoo will announce Tuesday that it has revamped its mail products, increasing the storage on its paid and free products to 2 gigabytes and 100 mbytes, respectively.

Is this a big deal? Yes. Why? Well, it’s the first shot in a long war of attrition that will benefit consumers and pave the way toward a true platform web. It’s very exciting, in a way, if you’re into this kind of stuff.

Yahoo mail chief Brad Garlinghouse (OK, formally, vice president, Communications Products ) gave me a quick overview of the strategy shift and said that Yahoo Mail is “getting a new coat of paint” on the UI side, and that “basically, storage is now a commodity.” He notes that this is consistent with Yahoo’s “life engine” theme – that mail is now a main way many manage their life, and Yahoo wants to create a mail program that understands that mail is more than text – it’s photos, calendar, etc.

The upgraded premium product will cost $19.99 a year and include 2 gigs of storage. This doubles Gmail’s one gig limit, I am sure quite intentionally. Also, the premium product will lose graphical ads…

A full list of features is in the extended entry of this post, or I imagine by the time you all read this you can just search Google – er – Yahoo News for more. Well shit, I was told to embargo this till midnight, but the frigging world already has it…The Times story misses the search piece altogether…but does point to an issue Yahoo is testing in a trial ballon fashion – that of privacy.

The main thing I think is missing from this ante-upping play is full featured search – the release simply says “Faster search – Yahoo! Mail inboxes are easier than ever to manage, thanks to even better search capabilities at faster speeds.” That sounds like a whole lotta nothing, compared to what Gmail does. I’ll ask for more details and post on it here when I hear.

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Pay Per Call: Bypass the Web, Make the Call

NYT Monday had this story on a "trend" in search – pay per call. Idea is that marketers will create a market in which calls become the performance metric. I can see it, but not devoid of a website and not without some troubling implications for organic search results. I…

phoneNYT Monday had this story on a “trend” in search – pay per call. Idea is that marketers will create a market in which calls become the performance metric. I can see it, but not devoid of a website and not without some troubling implications for organic search results. I do think the integration of search, voice and web is a big story, especially w/r/t mobile platforms. …

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Andrew Anker Joins Six Apart

My friend and past co-worker Andrew Anker has taken a role at Six Apart as EVP, Corp. Dev. This means a lot to me, not only am I a big fan of both AA and SA, I take it as a sign that SA is getting serious about building out…

imagesMy friend and past co-worker Andrew Anker has taken a role at Six Apart as EVP, Corp. Dev. This means a lot to me, not only am I a big fan of both AA and SA, I take it as a sign that SA is getting serious about building out their a platform to grow as this nascent industry grows, and that’s a good thing. There is tons of work to be done on both the revenue and product side of blogging, and it’s heartening to to know the team at Six Apart will be on the case.

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USA Today Panel: Very Web 2.0

Marc A. and a number of other notables gathered for a panel last week sponsored by USA Today, and one thing Marc said neatly summarizes one of the key trends that makes Web2.0 so different from Web 1.0: Andreessen: In the middle of what was a pretty horrific recession we…

marcaMarc A. and a number of other notables gathered for a panel last week sponsored by USA Today, and one thing Marc said neatly summarizes one of the key trends that makes Web2.0 so different from Web 1.0:

Andreessen: In the middle of what was a pretty horrific recession we now have 10 times more people on the Internet now than we did five years ago. We’ve got 10 times or a hundred times more broadband. We’ve got Internet advertising, which is a real phenomenon. We have a whole generation of citizens now used to doing business online, used to buying things online, and used to communicating online.

On the technology side, we’ve had over that period about a 10 times reduction in price in a lot of components that go into building the Internet and building services on the Internet, like servers and software and networking equipment.

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Metadata Tagging The Social Grid Via Search

Interesting idea. Social Grid. Does this violate the Google API? (I've sent the owner an email.) This is, however, a good example of how others can build on top of the search platform. From Internetnews.com: The idea is simple. Registered members turn their own personal or business Web pages into…

gray_logoInteresting idea. Social Grid. Does this violate the Google API? (I’ve sent the owner an email.) This is, however, a good example of how others can build on top of the search platform. From Internetnews.com:

The idea is simple. Registered members turn their own personal or business Web pages into free personals ads.

Members that sign up with the Orange County, Calif.-based firm get a string of HTML to put on their personal or business Web pages. The SocialGrid Search System then translates information that members enter into their SocialGrid profiles. Then Google and other search engines index not only the page but also the profile.

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The Incubation Platform

I was thinking about what Google might do with the huge platform it has and is continuing to build. What might be a profitable and deeply cool use of such a platform? Something Wayne Rosing said in Alex's piece struck me, when crossed with Simson's Akamai insights: Engineering Vice-President Wayne…

I was thinking about what Google might do with the huge platform it has and is continuing to build. What might be a profitable and deeply cool use of such a platform? Something Wayne Rosing said in Alex’s piece struck me, when crossed with Simson’s Akamai insights:

Engineering Vice-President Wayne Rosing has on several occasions emphasized that Google’s primary expertise is in so-called distributed computing. That’s a fancy way of talking about delivering applications to a computer user’s browser or to remote locations.

So, what if Google becomes an application server cum platform for business innovation? I mean, a service, a platform service, that any business can build upon? In other words, an ecologic potentiality – “Hey guys, over here at Google Business Services Inc. we’ve got the entire web in RAM and the ability to mirror your data across the web to any location in real time. We’ve got plug in services like search, email, social networking, and commerce clearing, not to mention a shitload of bandwidth and storage, cheap. So…what do you want to build today?”

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Lunch With Pierre

For some time I've been meaning to hook up with Pierre Omidyar, the founder and Chair of eBay. We finally got together at lunch earlier this week in Redwood City, where his foundation is based. I'd heard Pierre is just about the most down-to-earth, "normal" fellow one might want to…

Photo 6For some time I’ve been meaning to hook up with Pierre Omidyar, the founder and Chair of eBay. We finally got together at lunch earlier this week in Redwood City, where his foundation is based. I’d heard Pierre is just about the most down-to-earth, “normal” fellow one might want to meet, it in fact it turned out to be true. He kicked out of Valley life in 1999 and moved to the desert outside Las Vegas (he also spends a lot of time in France). He comes back every so often for eBay meetings and to meet with his foundation staff, and it’s this foundation that really gets him up in the morning these days. He’s made news recently by announcing a new strategy for the organization, one which blends a bent for social change with capitalism – in other words, he’s expanding from philanthropy into the investment game, but he plans to focus on businesses that connect people to each other to create the kind of wholesale change that eBay did. Omidyar repeated to me a very repeatable observation: that eBay has been the vehicle for millions of strangers to establish relationships of trust with each other.

Hence his investment in Meetup, for example. It’s the first business Omidyar has seen with the same ability to connect folks for social good. Good for Scott!

Pierre and I had a good lunch, talking over many issues for the book. But really, our conversation always came back to community, the core driver of value at eBay. We discussed Tim’s concept of the “architecture of participation” and how critical it is in the Web 2.0 world, and how much of the media world has yet to grok it. You can’t outsource participation to the ghettos of discussion threads, in other words. The online media world is still looking for its Pong, as Martin says, but I think we’re getting close. Publications are essentially reflections of communities. And I believe the best blogs are publications, in a very classical sense.

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Simson’s Piece on Akamai and Google: Good Reading

I finally got around to reading Simson's piece in Tech Review. I knew it would be worth the wait, not another me-too package on the IPO but some original reporting and thinking. And I was right. The piece points out that Akamai is in a similar business to Google…

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I finally got around to reading Simson’s piece in Tech Review. I knew it would be worth the wait, not another me-too package on the IPO but some original reporting and thinking. And I was right. The piece points out that Akamai is in a similar business to Google – the distributed computing business. Then he thinks through the implications. Very Web 2.0, web-as-platform kind of stuff here.

Fun excerpts:

“These numbers are all crazily low,” Farach-Colton continued. “Google always reports much, much lower numbers than are true.” Whenever somebody from Google puts together a new presentation, he explained, the PR department vets the talk and hacks down the numbers. Originally, he said, the slide with the numbers said that 1,000 queries/sec was the “minimum” rate, not the peak. “We have 10,000-plus servers. That’s plus a lot.”…

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Microsoft: Built From Scratch, The Interface Migrates to the Web

Three things struck me as I reflect back on my trip to Microsoft Tuesday. One, it's not wise to dismiss the company as being "at the first grade level" or "behind" the rest of the pack. Second, the fact that Microsoft came late to the search game just might be…

msft_118x35Three things struck me as I reflect back on my trip to Microsoft Tuesday. One, it’s not wise to dismiss the company as being “at the first grade level” or “behind” the rest of the pack. Second, the fact that Microsoft came late to the search game just might be an advantage. And third, I need to get some face time with the Windows team, because I went into the day wondering if MSN isn’t becoming MSFT’s future interface/platform play, with Windows relegated to a supporting role (as DOS was to Windows) and, well, nothing I heard convinced me otherwise. And that certainly can’t be right. Or can it?

cole-1I met first with David Cole, who runs MSN and has a long history at the company, in particular with Windows and web technology. Much of what we discussed I need to save for my column, but suffice to say we covered a broad range of topics, including Longhorn integration (yes, MSN and search are being built with an eye toward that eventuality), the Web OS meme (while not dismissive of the idea, Cole thought it was just one of many approaches to solving computing and information service problems), and of course, competition with Google and the rest of the field. Cole began by outlining how MSN has shifted to its current strategy, based on building scaled software services that break into two major buckets: communications services (MSN Messenger, Hotmail, etc) and information services (search, content, etc.). Yusuf Mehdi, who I met with next, runs information services, and we had a pretty detailed chat about the present and future of search. That conversation was for the book alone, due to timing issues. I can report, however, that Yusuf was pretty charged up about what they are building.

So why did I leave thinking that MSFT’s late start in search could be an advantage? Well, think about it. The company has massive resources, and the folks in charge are pretty smart. So they get to tackle the search problem with no legacy issues and no presumptions with regard to approach. There are any number of hurdles in search – starting with how to scale your infrastructure and moving into how to integrate results with personalized data – and many of these might best be tackled by starting fresh. Plus, on the talent side, MSFT is really the only viable player that can offer engineers unlimited resources and the chance to start from scratch. I know, the Valley mill says MSFT is having a hell of a time hiring, but when I asked that question up in Redmond, I got quite the opposite answer.

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Good Evening. More IPOs For You…Including a Mapping Giant…

Salesforce seems to be finally going ahead, an amended filing is here. They apparently had to deal with a bunch of SEC stuff, but it's on again. Lead banker: Morgan. Revs in 2003: Close to $100 million. Profits around $3.5mm. And Navteq filed while I was at MSFT, the docs…

Salesforce seems to be finally going ahead, an amended filing is here. They apparently had to deal with a bunch of SEC stuff, but it’s on again. Lead banker: Morgan. Revs in 2003: Close to $100 million. Profits around $3.5mm.

And Navteq filed while I was at MSFT, the docs are here. Navteq, you say? Who the f*** are they? Well, the provide the mapping info for Yahoo, auto nav systems, et al. The CDDB of maps! OK, revs in 2003…ready? $237 million. HOLY SHITE! But wait, they have operating income of nearly $65 million. And some odd tax stuff (any CPAs out there?) which put their net income at … $235 millon! Oh my goodness….Bankers Credit Suisse and Merrill.

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