Time for a look back at the week that was in Web 2.0. In no particular order...
1. Gizmodo's 4-part interview with Bill Gates ended with Bill insisting that DRM is a good thing because it protects your medical records (or something like that). In part one of the interview, Gates mentioned blogging - said it was "super-important". Part two was probably the most relevant to Web 2.0-watchers, because it covered the topic of "Windows Post-Longhorn" (in Gizmodo's words). I remember discussing a similar topic with Tim O'Reilly in November - Tim said that "Microsoft will continue to dominate on the PC, but the PC is going to be a smaller and smaller part of the entire business." Bill Gates in the Gizmodo interview continued to hype the PC, but I think the following quote indicates that Microsoft is at the same time branching out from the PC significantly:
"From the SPOT watch, to the phone, to the set-top box, to the car—we write
software for everything."
My take: in the Web 2.0 world, Microsoft wants its software to control as many internet-connected devices as possible. While Web 2.0 companies such as Google and Yahoo look to dominate on 'the cloud' (i.e. the Web), Microsoft is aiming more at the device-level (PC, phones, set-top box, etc).
2. Talk this week of other browser-based RSS Aggregators - i.e. some competition for Bloglines. Robert Scoble mentioned two recent beta products: Lektora and Onfolio. Also someone in Robert's comments pointed out Pluck (which I must check out, because it sounds awesome).
btw whatever happened to Lucmo? In mid-2003, they were the only one apart from Bloglines building a browser-based RSS Aggregator. But now they've fallen completely off the radar. Pity, because their vision sounded very promising at the time (and Bloglines has of course since proven it was the right strategy to do a browser-based aggregator).
3. The biggest Web 2.0 news this week was Feedburner's release of their statistics for RSS Aggregator market share, prompted by my post on the same subject in December. I discussed Feedburner's stats in detail here and here. Mainstream geek media site Internetnews.com ran a story about it, quoting yours truly! SiliconBeat also had a good take on it, focusing on how big Bloglines is getting.
The upshot of it all? The stats are extremely interesting and clearly show that Bloglines has a significant lead in the RSS Aggregator market, however there are a number of caveats about the data. I think Dick Costolo, CEO of Feedburner, said it best in the comments on my blog: "...it is still a young market very much in flux, and one shouldn't draw enormous conclusions from the single data point." Dick also mentioned that they "will be posting lots of other slices of the data over time" - cool!
4. Wired editor Chris Anderson is posting a lot of great nuggets about The Long Tail. If you want to get an understanding of how niche markets are taking over the media landscape, I strongly recommend you subscribe to Chris' blog. He's writing a book about it and the blog is one method he's using to gather information. Choice quote: "Practically every time there's been an expansion of access to a wide variety of goods, we've seen shifts in the demand curve toward niches."
David Jackson over at The Internet Stock Blog also has some fascinating theories on this subject - for example he predicts that the likes of CNET and Yahoo! are at risk from "niche, category-killing, advertising-supported Web sites that get high placement in algorithmic search engine results and, once discovered, attract repeat-readers."
5. News of a promising new open source project called The Dojo Toolkit. It aims "to create a UI toolkit that allows a larger number of web application authors to easily use the rich capabilities of modern browsers." Lucas Gonze likes the sound of it. I'm not entirely sure what it's all about yet, but I found this description on the mailing list:
"Dojo isn't necessarily about doing new things, but rather getting the DHTML community all pointing in one direction and backing a single set of widgets, tools, and core code which is liberally licensed."
Sounds good to me! Well that's it for another week. Hope you're enjoying these weekly summaries of Web 2.0 news, views and ideas. :-)