Thursday, February 24, 2005
Kottke.org reports on Vimeo, a folksonomy site that promises to do for video what Flickr has done for images.
It's still in closed beta, but eventually you'll be able to organize and share clips, check out your friends' clips, and assemble multiple clips into what they call "automatic movies."
Check out an automatic movie about 'funny things' here.
del.icio.us is generally recognized as the first folksonomy on the web and is significant for a number of reasons, particularly because it helps push users down the tail to find sites within their interest segments that they might not otherwise be able to locate. Think of it as Friendster for websites.
The real power in folksonomies, particularly the image and video versions that Flickr and Vimeo offer, lies in the creation of rich meta-data. As the role of the search engine evolves from helping users locate flat .html pages to providing access to content pages across multiple categories (images, RSS, video, SKUs, local info, etc.), there needs to be some mechanism to help the search engines interpret what these sites are about.
Of course, with the good comes the bad, with more dubious results stemming from the perceived vulnerability of folksonomies to some awkward naming conventions and spam, particularly once the public adoption curve kicks in.
Rumors are flying thick and fast in Silicon Valley: Yahoo is all set to buy Ludicorp, the company behind the hot photo blogging web service Flickr, for an undisclosed amount of money. Its not the first time rumors of these talks have made the rounds. Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake told my colleague Michael Copeland, that they had received buyout offers from both Google and Yahoo. (Read the story here. )
Google and Yahoo want to buy it outright, while venture capital firms are flooding it with all kinds of creative proposals. "We get four or five calls a week from VCs," says Stewart Butterfield, who co-founded Flickr with his wife, Caterina Fake. "We even had a health-care fund call recently. I guess they wanted in on the excitement."
Most of the deal-related chatter is coming from blogging world insiders who have said that Flickr might have inked the papers last week, but Yahoo is holding off on an announcement until March 1. At this point, it could all just be that--chatter. Yahoo's spokesperson said the company doesn't comment on rumors and speculation. In other words, take a hike. I could not reach Butterfield and Fake, the husband-wife team who started Flickr. I have dropped them an email, but have not heard back from either of them.
Flickr, which allows you to upload and share photos on the Internet, has been a big hit with the blogging community. Often described as "Friendster of photo blogging," Flickr allows folks to upload photos directly from their camera phones to the Flickr website. The service has inspired a whole slew of copycats. The service has more than 250,000 members and 3.5 million photos on its website.
Friday, February 18, 2005
Firefox announced yesterday that there have been over 25 million downloads of Firefox! You GO Firefox.
The news is out that the NYT will spend $410m buying About.com from Primedia.The New York Times Co., whose newspapers include the New York Times and the Boston Globe, said it will expand About.com's content and visibility and use the site to market its products. The Times Co. said it paid a multiple of 23 times About.com's estimated 2005 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Thay also claim to have the Google Suggest functionality for adding keywords, but it did not work on my browser. Here is a blog entry about this feature, the picture looks very familiar:
Friday, February 11, 2005
Unlike general purpose search engines, become.com avoids providing users with search results composed of information unrelated to shopping or merchants. Rather, they direct users to research-related information.
Some breaking news this morning for those of you who follow the hosted site search space. Web analytics firm WebSideStory has announced that it plans to acquire Atomz (aka Avivo Corporation) in a stock and cash deal. A conference call is scheduled for later today.
Under the terms of the agreement, WebSideStory will issue approximately 3.1 million shares of common stock and options to purchase common stock and will pay approximately $4.3 million in cash, in exchange for the outstanding capital stock and options of Atomz.
This news release has more info about WebSideStory's plans.
It appears that Primedia is looking to sell About.com. Primedia, of course, seriously overpaid for About.com a few years back and then did very little with it, other than to make it less and less useful, on the theory that if they put more and more ads on it, it would somehow pay for itself, rather than driving users away. Especially in an age of blogs, the whole reason for About.com seems to make less and less sense. However, apparently some people think it's actually worth between $350 and $500 million -- which is almost scary. The article says that Google, Yahoo, AskJeeves, the New York Times (who, it appears, broke the story) and AOL are all bidding for the site. Of course, Google already supplies ads to the site (they bought About's advertising service a while back) so it may be a protective move. Still, isn't it interesting that search engines and media plays are bidding on the same property? It certainly suggests the business model convergence that's happening between media and search these days. Either way, if they were smart, they'd save their money. The various attempts at blogging "media empires" are probably much cheaper, and a better long term deal.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Don't miss Forbes' review of answer.com here
Today, Ask Jeeves is announcing that they've acquired Bloglines, a well-known, critically acclaimed, and free web-based RSS aggregation tool for an undisclosed sum of money. The move confirms rumors that have been around since Saturday.
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Check it out, use the following syntax "tag:keyword" at www.technorati.com
Tags are a simple, yet powerful, social software innovation. Today millions of people are freely and openly assigning metadata to content and conversations. Unlike rigid taxonomy schemes that people dislike, the ease of tagging for personal organization with social incentives leads to a rich and discoverable folksonomy. Intelligence is provided by real people from the bottom-up to aid social discovery. And with the right tag search and navigation, folksonomy outperforms more structured approches to classification.
Friday, February 04, 2005
Here is what they do:
Feed Me Links stores all your bookmarks so you can use them on any computer or browser. Tag your links to keep them organized. Share tags (example) via email, super-compact URLs, and XML/RSS, spy on your friends' links, subscribe to favorite tags and stay on top of recent links.
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
When MSN rereleased their search beta last November, they joined several other general purpose web engines offering direct answers on search results pages. At that point, these types of results seemed to appear for very few queries but with today's official launch, I'm noticing many more direct answers.
Direct answers and search shortcuts continue to gain momentum as way that can an search engine can save the searcher effort while at the same time delivering them an answer or a direct link from a trusted sources. In many ways, this is a prelude to search engines becoming answer engines for certain types of "ready reference" queries.
Shortcuts and direct answers were first introduced by AltaVista in 2002. Since that time, Ask Jeeves (they regularly add Smart Search options), Yahoo, Google, and most recently AOL have joined in. We have an overview and links to what each of these services offer in this blog post.
MSN offers direct answers for several types of queries on search results pages. Material comes from their Encarta encyclopedia. Here are a few examples:
+ Mathematical (via their web calculator)5x2
+ DefinitionsDefine baseball
+ ConversionsHow many feet in one mile
+ Geographical DataCapital of CanadaWhat is the mass of Pluto?
+ SportsWho won the World Series in 1979?
+ HistoryWho was Jimmy Carter's Vice President?
+ Popular Culture BiographiesWho are the Rolling Stones?
+ NutritionHow many calories in a strawberry?
A brief story in The Register mentions that AOL has stopped providing access to newsgroups. AOL tells users who want to search or browse these groups to visit Google Groups.
An AOL spokesman said the service is being withdrawn because so few people use it: "Google does a very good job of hosting newsgroups and the typical AOL user probably doesn't use newsgroups that often."
Yahoo! Video Search will allow you to search every word spoken during television news broadcasts from the BBC, Sky News, and Bloomberg. You'll be searching the closed captioning associated with the broadcast and then can click to view the full-motion video of your search terms being spoken.
It's worth pointing out that video search databases like BlinxTV and audio search database, Speechbot, use speech recognition technology to create a searchable transcript that you search by entering keywords into the search box. BlinkxTV offers content from many television and radio broadcasters (including the BBC) while Speechbot offers more than 15,000 hours of keyword searchable radio programming.