This week: An International Web 2.0 Special!
In this week's Wrap-Up, I'm going to focus on international (read: non-US) Web 2.0 activities. The US and San Francisco in particular will always be the center of Web Technology business, but it's good to take notice of the rest of the world every now and then too.
Korea - Broadbandland
When it comes to broadband and wireless technologies, Korea is far ahead of the rest of the world. Check out these figures from Chief Executive magazine (April 2004):
"Of the nearly 16 million Korean households, 78 percent now have a broadband connection—or more than four times the home broadband penetration rate of North America."
Not only is broadband penetration high, but the speeds are very fast ("on average four times faster" than in the US) and broadband services are well-used by Korean people.
One of my Korean readers, Taewoo Danny Kim, pointed out some popular Korean web services in a recent comment on Read/Write Web. He mentioned Cyworld (a social networking site - good write-up here), bugsmusic (a music streaming service) and Ohmynews (the world's premier citizen journalism website). Of Cyworld, Danny said it's extremely popular with Korean teenagers and is superior to the likes of Orkut and Friendster "when it comes to UI and the range of functions provided".
Other Korea Web 2.0 links:
- Danny's blog, which I understand is the equivalent of Read/Write Web in the Korean language, in terms of its focus on Web 2.0.
- Broadband: Lessons from South Korea
- Wired: Seoul of a New Machine
- TechDirt: Korea, The Test Bed
- Marc Canter: "I'm becoming a Korea-phile."
Vancouver - alternative center for Web 2.0 business?
As I mentioned this week, it's my goal to live and work in Silicon Valley. But if I can't work there, maybe I'll head over to Vancouver in Canada. It seems to be a hotbed for innovative Webheads and in particular Web 2.0 people. Roland Tanglao, Boris Mann, Will Pate, Richard Eriksson, Kris Krug and all the other fine folks from companies like Bryght and Raincity Studios.
Malta - using Web 2.0 to define itself
I recently came across an interesting post by Toni Sant from the little country of Malta (just off the coast of Italy). Its population is not much over 400,000 - yet according to Toni the Internet is helping to "re-map" the country:
"Although Malta is a tiny nation dominated by majority rule, embodied in the major political parties and the Roman Catholic church, a small digital community is about to embark on a path of social change which potentially has a much larger effect than any other effort the same social network could attempt without the benefit of the electronic networks of digital telecommunications."
Toni goes on to specifically mention Web 2.0 and "the power and potential of the read/write applications" that are enabling Malta citizens to express themselves and work towards social change.
New Zealand - well, we're good at rugby and golf!
The movie business has helped New Zealand become known as MiddleEarth, but in terms of Web Technology we're more like BackwaterEarth. Nevertheless there are pockets of innovation down here. A company called Eurekster is making Web 2.0 products from Christchurch (home of the Peter Jackson of programmers, Phil Pearson). Eurekster is a kind of social networking search engine. It bills itself as "the first truly democratic search engine platform" - take that Google!
Eurekster is one of many companies around the world exploring the personalized search frontier, like Findory and PubSub. It has links with Friendster and is generally doing very well for itself for a little kiwi company. Go you good things!
I hope you enjoyed this mini-tour of Web 2.0 in the international community. I didn't even mention India, China, Britain, or the other countries I wanted to talk about. But never fear, I will aim to write more of these kinds of posts - even when I'm living and working in The Valley ;-)
That's a wrap for another week!