Here is a summary of the week's Web Tech action on Read/WriteWeb.
Top Web News
Earlier this week we reported that Yahoo's mobile social networking experiment Mixd had closed, after two months of testing. Actually it had shut down at the end of February, but it wasn't noticed by bloggers at the time. What certainly caught peoples attention though was the announcement of a new beta version of My Yahoo on Thursday. Our headline for this was: My Yahoo! Gets Web 2.0 Makeover. Essentially it's Yahoo finally upgrading its long-running personalized homepage, with a new design more closely aligned to yahoo.com, splashes of Ajax and dollaps of personalization. Ex-My Yahoo Boss and now Pageflakes CEO, Dan Cohen, responded to the My Yahoo Beta with a sharply-worded quote (great comments thread on that post!). And some geek users remained unimpressed. Said digg user rishep:
"My concern is, there is no additional functionality. It is just prettier and slower."
Fellow digger 'space4thepoppa' was more positive:
"I've been using my.yahoo.com for years ... I stick with it because I am familar with it. But, I can't get the beta - it won't let me. I'd switch in a second - I love the new mail client."
That's not the end of the personalized homepage news. Another 1.0 vet, My.Netscape, also re-designed this week with Ajax.
In other news, Wordpress and 37Signals jumped onto the rapidly growing OpenID Bandwagon.
R/WW's authors came up with some excellent analysis posts this week.
IBM has Many Eyes
First up we had a guest post by two of the researchers behind IBM's Many Eyes app, Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda B. Viégas. The looked at the first month of Many Eyes' beta, showcasing some of the best visualizations and discussing the future of "social data analysis" on the Web.
Incidentally my initial headline for this post was: IBM Many Eyes After One Month. This caused some confusion over at Slashdot (and a lot of bad 'eyes' puns). So I edited the headline to something that made more sense!
Where is Technorati's White Knight?
"The one thing that Technorati clings to is its authority, and that's based on ranking the blogs based on inbound links. If Google implements that (based on how Google Blog search looks right now, they don't plan it anytime soon), Technorati is superfluous, unless they do some major changes to the service."
Zoli Erdos also pointed out a rather cruel (but all too familiar) irony about the post:
"Technorati was down again today. They clearly ar an IP company that cannot cope with the infrastructure requirements of the growing Blogosphere. Need a White Knight to save them - and us."
A few commenters felt that Yahoo is the ideal 'white knight' to buy Technorati. Check out all the comments, because there's some great "user-generated analysis" going on there :-)
On a related topic, Alex Iskold published Technorati 100: What's Hot in the Blogosphere right at the end of this week. Good weekend reading material!
IPTV Killed the TV Star
New R/WW author Josh Catone debuted with a detailed review of some rising IPTV stars: Joost, Babelgum, Zattoo, and More. Some comments...
Mike Levin of HitTail remarked:
"These services are nothing compared to what will be possible after IPv6 with IP-multicast really kicks in. It will allow services like this to broadcast, probably full HDTV quality video, at a fraction of the bandwidth. There will be some rules about when you can start watching a stream, but everyone will be tuning into efficient simulcast streams with some local ability to displace time."
Jeremy Toeman wrote:
"It's taken me almost 2 years to understand where companies like Brightcove and Minerva have a chance, and now I think it's getting a little clearer.
In the IPTV world, the winners will be determined by content library, price, and video quality..."
In a related post, I shared some notes from my day at New Zealand broadcaster TVNZ, where they are rolling out an ondemand service later this month.
Amazon's killer web services
Your favorite metaphor specialist John Milan was back in action this week, with another compelling post called Amazon's Series of Fortunate Events. It's all about how Amazon is leading the way in web services infrastructure.
"Who would have thought an online bookstore would emerge as one of the most innovative tech companies on the planet?".
Bruce Judson wrote:
"This is a terrific and important article. Although many skeptics remain, the world is increasingly moving toward a "plug and play" model, as ever more sophisticated services become accessible as low-cost subscription components in a business system."
Not everyone thinks Amazon is the bee's knees though. eamonn wrote:
"I just don't see a mass market opportunity for amazon in this. Hardware is cheap and bandwidth is cheap. Why would any company start off relying on an Amazon's infrastructure when they can build their own and not pay any rental."
Some new web apps or services to check out:
- FeedBlendr - Feed Remix Service
- ClearSpring Gets $5.5M from AOL Founders
- Segala Wants To Be The VeriSign Of Web Trust
- MyStrands Links Music Recommendations To Wikipedia Info
- Rearden Commerce Shows The Way For Contextual Services
- ShoppingPath's Unique Product Comparison UI
Our poll this week asked, in the wake of the user dissatisfaction after the USA Today re-design, should a newspaper be a social network? Here are the results:
Yes, newspapers will morph into social networks 32% (61 votes)
No, leave the social networking to MySpace, Facebook, et al 15% (29 votes)
No newspapers won't become social networks, but social software features are welcome 51% (97 votes)
Bring back the old Netscape! er, I mean USAToday... 2% (4 votes)
It's clear that most R/WW readers think social networking features are a good value add for newspapers, with only 17% of respondents saying otherwise.
That's a wrap for another week! Enjoy your weekend everyone.