This week: eBay-Skype: Web 2.0 Ramifications, The Real World - Katrina response, Microsoft PDC - Start.com extended, Yahoo Shopping API and Shopify, New apps on the block.
eBay-Skype: Web 2.0 Ramifications
- One reason eBay bought Skype is to upgrade its communications platform. It will continue to run Skype as a standalone Internet Telephony business, but it will also use Skype's telephony and IM product line as a platform to extend its own e-commerce business.
- eBay is also building up its community platform. With 157 million customers and a thriving buyer and seller community, eBay probably sees IP telephony and IM as the next level of functionality - much like Google recently releasing Google Talk.
- eBay is expanding its global presence, or its "global footprint" as they termed it. Skype is used worldwide, whereas eBay has limited worldwide presence.
- Let's not forget that Skype is a desktop app and so eBay automatically gains a foothold on some 54 million PCs (the number of registered users Skype has).
- Also this brings eBay up to a new level. They're now playing polo with Google, Yahoo and Microsoft - instead of kicking a soccer ball around with Amazon and Ask Jeeves.
- So all up, I think the deal has a fair amount of promise for eBay to extend itself as a Web Platform company.
Interesting to note the dot com-like merger theme continued throughout the week, with rumours of an MSN-AOL deal. Or even more bubbleicious, an outright purchase of AOL by Microsoft, Google or Yahoo. Don't do it! Anyway that should hopefully be settled by the time I get to next week's Wrap-Up ;-)
The Real World - Katrina response
The response to Hurricane Katrina on the Web has been huge. Doing some research for the book I'm co-writing with Joshua Porter on Web 2.0 this week, I came across many examples of Web technologies used to help respond to the disaster. Wikis and blogs were set up, including the Katrina Help blogspot site and Wiki - created by several founders and members of the SEA EAT (South East Asian Earthquake And Tsunami) blog & wiki.
The Hurricane Katrina relief effort also included:
- mobile weblogs (aka moblogs); eg http://www.missingkatrina.com and http://www.safekatrina.com
- a webcasting portal offering streaming media
- public galleries and multimedia websites - e.g. http://katrina05.blogspot.com/
- photo-sharing sites
- Donation websites
- News digests using RSS
- Aggregators - e.g. http://homepages.cwi.nl/~cilibrar/projects/a/aggs/
- Volunteer websites - e.g. www.hospitalreliefefforts.org
- Message Forums
- People and Shelter Finders
- And much more no doubt (please add to the comments if you know of other things - I'm researching for the book)
It's heartening to see the Web used in so many ways to help respond to natural disasters. That's what I call a Real World benefit of Web 2.0.
Microsoft PDC - Start.com extended
At their annual developers conference (PDC), Microsoft wowed a lot of developers with details of Office 12, Vista, RSS integration, and web APIs for four MSN sites. The highlight for me was its Start.com developments, as I've been following progress on Microsoft's web-based RSS Aggregator since the beginning. In fact Start.com went live on 1 September and during the PDC they announced extensions to it.
The new Start.com is extensible and offers tools for developing what Microsoft is calling "web gadgets" - DHTML-based components. The idea is that these "gadgets" will be created by external developers and used within Start.com. There are more details at the Start Developer Center website and more thoughts from me here.
Yahoo Shopping API
This week Yahoo! released a Shopping API. Developers can use this API "to create applications and Web sites that search Yahoo's comparison shopping database, which contains millions of offers from thousands of merchants."
As Tim O'Reilly pointed out: "...the real test of whether this is interesting is going to be whether people start building new services in which Yahoo! shopping is just a component, rather than the main point."
On the topic of shopping and web apps, I discovered a promising new app being built currently - called shopify. It hasn't been released yet, but it aims to be a Web 2.0 e-commerce application. I think that means it'll include community and collaboration features. It's described more here:
"Shopify is a hosted e-commerce solution that removes the traditional barriers that have kept many individuals and small business from selling online. It is a Web 2.0 product that focuses on providing buyers and sellers with the features essential to completing e-commerce transactions."
Bonus link: Charles Coxhead has been thinking about "feed commerce", using Yahoo! stores XML feeds.
New apps on the block
Some new web apps that popped up this week:
- Pete Freitag has been busy developing neat stuff - dealazon uses Amazon's API to find deals and has RSS feeds too; dailymashup remixes Flickr, Del.icio.us, furl, and Yahoo; and tagbert is a tag search aggregator.
- Netvibes: a "web 2.0 home page solution" powered by Ajax, with RSS feed reader. Looks like a cooler version of Google's personalized homepage. Not sure what the business plan is with Netvibes, as they're basically competing for non-geek users with Google, Yahoo and MSN! TechCrunch profile here.
- goowy media: "goowy (re) is a set of solutions optimized for broadband users that offer an innovative fresh look at traditional web services including email, contacts, calendar, games, widgets and more".
- Yahoo Instant Search: "gives you answers as you type -- no more waiting!" Neat to play with, but not sure how useful :-)
- Google Blog Search (yawn!)
That's a wrap for another week!