It's Saturday morning for me, Friday afternoon in Silicon Valley. Before I go off to the horse races this afternoon (because you needed to know that), here's a quick re-cap of the past week on Read/WriteWeb and in the Web world in general. I'll also highlight some of the great comments we got this week from our readers.
Next generation Web Interfaces
If there was a main theme on R/WW this week, it was next generation Web interfaces. On Monday we explored 3D interfaces and asked whether they are useful, or mere novelty. We pointed out that 3D interfaces at their current stage seem best suited to virtual worlds like Second Life - and things that complement that (like 3B's shopping inside SL). But we also noted some innovative use of 3D in product management (NZ's Right Hemisphere) and as a value add for communications and photos. Most people seemed to agree with this. As Art Wells of the company Rejuvenation commented:
"As "mass customization" and "build to order" increase their share of the market place, and more and more manufacturers learn how to allow customers to create their own products, 3d will become more and more critical."
Tony Parisi also agreed the future is bright for 3D, but warned:
"I predict a lot of gaffes along the way in terms of applications and UI design, especially if people fall prey to the conceipt of 3D beign an artificial representation of RL (real world). The "virtual mall" is a case in point."
Later in the week we checked out IBM's new visualization service Many Eyes, which promises to open up new ways to view and collaborate on datasets. We also wrote about the new 'Web 2.0' face of Amazon.com - their use of tags, Ajax, blogs and wikis. The latter feature received a boost yesterday, with the release of a product wiki called Amapedia. As Eric C remarked about Amazon's design improvements:
"Amazon is doing the right thing but wall st. will not care. If you don't improve someone else will make a better user experience and eat your lunch eventually. Might seem hard for someone like amazon to have that happen, but think of Yahoo before Google exploded. On the other hand, if you keep up with the times, no one knows who you saved from taking your market. If it can't be seen then what did amazon really do?"
Hashim also made an interesting observation, suggesting that Amazon could monetize their window shopper traffic through targeted advertising. In another comment, jon rahoi pointed to endless.com, which is an Amazon-built (but separately branded) website devoted to shoes and handbags. There are a lot of other informative comments on that post, so check it out.
The Mobile Web continues to be full of activity in 2007. This week we covered the re-vamp of MyStrands, an excellent example of integration between the mobile-online-physical worlds. We noted Irishman Pat Phelan's mobile hacking websites, Roam4Free and AllFreeCalls. We also recently wrote about a new mobile 2.0 directory, and initiatives from Dada, Nokia and Vodafone. It's all happening, as Bill Lawry would say (cricket reference).
Our poll this week asked what type of RSS Reader do you use the most? Browser-based RSS Readers led the voting by a huge margin, with desktop Readers seemingly going out of fashion (at least amongst R/WW readers). As Jared Hanson commented:
"NetNewsWire was my choice in feed readers for a long time, but the web-based readers have won me over. I tried to use Bloglines, but the interface never sat well with me. Then, when NewsGator bought NetNewsWire, I switched to using NewsGator Online."
Nick Lothian remarked that this isn't great news for RIA fans:
"Not a good statistic for those who believe that rich-client applications (Apollo etc) are going to take off. People are migrating away from traditional desktop apps to the web environment. 71% of respondents are using some kind of web based feed reader (ie, Web-Based + Portal + Start Page)!"
However Marshall Kirkpatrick and Pradeep Sethi both pointed out that different types of RSS Readers can be complementary - e.g. using a start page for your top feeds and a specialist RSS Reader for the heavy lifting. Plus there are options like IM. Once again, some other excellent comments in that post (and the original post) if you want to explore more.
But wait there's more....
Some other highlights from the week include the conversation in the comments to our post on Zoho/Omnidrive and the great discussion from our first Point/Counterpoint post (not the Saturday Night Live skit, but a new feature in which two R/WW authors argue different sides of a tech issue). In this week's P/C we explored the theory of whether Google can take over the Internet. Wil Schroter commented:
"I think people conveniently ignore the fact that the whole reason Google won the search business was because the switching costs of going from previous searches was zero.
The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.
I'm consistently amazed at how many tech veterans don't seem to realize the volatile and short-lived positions of number one companies."
btw ideas welcome on new topics for Point/Counterpoint!
Finally, I want to point you to a couple of posts which I feel didn't get their due attention (maybe y'all were busy or something...I'm kidding). Anyway Emre Sokullu's post about Collarity, a next generation personalized search solution which may well challenge Google, is well worth a read. Also check out Red Swoosh, an interesting new P2P service that aims to challenge BitTorrent (Mark Cuban is an investor).
That's a wrap for another week.