2007 has been a very busy year for ReadWriteWeb. We started the year with just one daily writer (yours truly!), a couple of regular feature writers (Alex Iskold and Emre Sokullu) and the occasional guest writer. We ended the year with 2 new lead writers and 3 more blogs (more on that below).
Of course we have more plans for expansion in 2008. But as we're nearing the end of 2007, I thought I'd pick out 12 of my favorite posts over the past year - one for each month. These weren't necessarily the ones with the most page views, but they were significant to me and for RWW. I hope they also show the flavor of this year.
As I mentioned above, in 2007 RWW ramped up. We got two new Lead Writers: after a couple of guest posts in March this year, Josh Catone came on board as a Lead Writer in April; then in September Marshall Kirkpatrick joined RWW in the same role. We also started a blog network: on May 20 we launched last100, a blog covering the digital lifestyle (edited by Steve O'Hear); on June 4 we launched AltSearchEngines, covering the hundreds of alternative search engines taking on Google (edited by Charles Knight); and on August 28 we launched ReadWriteTalk, our podcast show (hosted by Sean Ammirati).
So here are my picks for 2007 from the RWW team:
This was the post that spawned a new network blog. Published Jan 29, Charles Knight wrote:
"Ask anyone which search engine they use to find information on the Internet and they will almost certainly reply: "Google." Look a little further, and market research shows that people actually use four main search engines for 99.99% of their searches: Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and Ask.com (in that order). But in my travels as a Search Engine Optimizer (SEO), I have discovered that in that .01% lies a vast multitude of the most innovative and creative search engines you have never seen. So many, in fact, that I have had to limit my list of the very best ones to a mere 100.
But it's not just the sheer number of them that makes them worthy of attention; each one of these search engines has that standard "About Us" link at the bottom of the homepage. I call it the "why we're better than Google" page. And after reading dozens and dozens of these pages, I have come to the conclusion that, taken as a whole, they are right!"
Alex Iskold tested out and explored the emergent world of Yahoo! Pipes. He saw some interesting parallels with Relational Databases in the 90's, concluding that with pipes, the Web essentially becomes a giant database that can be queried and remixed in any number of ways.
I had the pleasure of interviewing the head of Google's Webspam team, Matt Cutts. The topic of our conversation was Next-Generation Search. We discussed personalization, semantic technologies, alternative interfaces, structured data, and much more.
Josh Catone set out to discover a new online TV guide. He found 10 services with all the web 2.0 bells and whistles - but was he satisfied?
2007 was a year in which desktop apps made a comeback, thanks to technologies like Adobe's Apollo (which was later re-named AIR). During a visit to the US in April, I popped into the Adobe office in San Francisco to find out more about Apollo - the company's new RIA (Rich Internet Application) runtime and development platform. I learned what Apollo is and checked out some of the latest Apollo apps.
Alex Iskold explored an important, growing trend:
"The basic concept of the Implicit Web is simple. As we touch information, we vote. When we come across an article we like, we spend time reading. When we like a movie, we recommend it to our friends and family. And if a piece of music resonates with us, we listen to it over and over again. We do this automatically, subconsciously or implicitly. But the consequences of our behavior are important. The things that we are paying attention to have great value to us, because we like them."
Emre Sokullu took a closer look at the paradigm shifts of the web, especially for the near future. What approaches have dominated the web over the years and which ones failed; and why? Also, since Facebook is already widely accepted as the next big thing, the new question is: what is the next "next big thing"? Is it already out there?
Josh Catone explored the Web in politics - e.g. how the CNN/YouTube debates and the MTV/MySpace candidate's forums have been (and presumably will be) great ways for voters to genuinely connect with candidates on issues that matter to them. He concluded that this form of user generated politics can only be good for the political process in the long run.
We're well into the current era of the Web, commonly referred to as Web 2.0. Features of this phase of the Web include search, social networks, online media (music, video, etc), content aggregation and syndication (RSS), mashups (APIs), and much more. Currently the Web is still mostly accessed via a PC, but we're starting to see more Web excitement from mobile devices (e.g. iPhone) and television sets (e.g. XBox Live 360). This post looked at the near future of the Web.
My review of the latest Web 2.0 Summit. In some ways a companion post to the Future Web Trends post in September...
The most comprehensive comparison of the top Twitter interfaces that you're likely to find, courtesy of Marshall Kirkpatrick.
An appropriate way to wrap up the year, looking forward to the next. The above post has 67 comments as of now, so why not add your own predictions (if you haven't already)?