In this edition of the Weekly Wrapup, our newsletter summarizing the top stories of the week, we give you a blow-by-blow account of the Twitter replies policy debacle this week, explain why the new Google Search Options and rich snippets are so significant, analyze what 'Web 3.0' means, and more. We also update you with the latest from our new channel ReadWriteStart, dedicated to profiling startups and entrepreneurs.

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Introducing the ReadWriteWeb Guide to Online Community Management

Our First Premium Report for Businesses

This week we released our first premium report: The ReadWriteWeb Guide to Online Community Management. It's been in the works for more than four months and we believe it's unlike anything else you've seen. Businesses seeking to engage with online communities on their own websites or all around the social web will find the guide invaluable in getting up to speed on the state of the art and making sure their employees have the foundation they need to be effective.

The end product is in two parts. Part one is a 75 page collection of case studies, advice and discussion concerning the most important issues in online community. Part two is a companion online aggregator that delivers the most-discussed articles each day written by experts on community management from around the web. The Guide is available for purchase at a price of $299. (You won't be charged until you complete a few simple steps on that page.) You can download a free sample section of the report here.

Web Products

Twitter Puts a Muzzle on Your Friends: Goodbye People I Never Knew

It's not exactly a silent spring, but a change made to Twitter's settings this week greatly reduced the tweets its users are witness to. In what the company called a small settings update, users no longer saw public replies sent by friends to people they themselves are not following. (Fragmented conversations, they are called.) This isn't a small change at all; it's big, and it's bad. The new setting eliminates serendipitous social discovery. Fortunately in less than 24 hours, Twitter changed this policy. Read our coverage to see what all the fuss was about.

Google Search Evolves: Adds Search Options and Rich Snippets

At this week's Google's Searchology event, which we live-blogged, the search market leader announced two significant features to its search product: Search Options and Rich Snippets. It also previewed a new fact-finding search product called Google Squared. The first two features are already live on google.com and they've notably extended Google's core search product. As we sit back and reflect on the meaning of this, one thing is starkly clear: the core Google search experience is now much more than a simple search box on a plain white background, which it was for so long.

ReadWriteWeb had an opportunity to talk with Marissa Mayer, VP Search Products and User Experience at Google, about the new products the company announced this week. We've embedded Mayer's video below, it runs about three minutes.

Amazon Opens a Kindle Store for the iPhone

This week, Amazon finally released an iPhone-specific version of its Kindle eBook store, which makes it a lot easier to browse and buy books while on the go. Sadly, though, Amazon did not release a new version of the Kindle app with a built-in browser (yet). So users are still being kicked out of the iPhone app and taken to Safari in order to browse the store and complete transactions. A button that takes users back to the Kindle app only appears after a purchase in Safari has been completed.

OneRiot: Web-Wide, Real-Time Social Search

OneRiot, a social search engine, announced this week that its search results pages now update in real time with content from Twitter, Digg and the wider social web. Results are prioritized based on an algorithm of about 26 factors, filtered for spam, and unduplicated if links are shared through multiple URL-shortening services. There are two search modes: Users can browse real-time results or (in "pulse" mode) see links ranked by social relevance. We spoke with a caffeinated and exuberant Tobias Peggs, general manager at OneRiot, about 20 minutes before the new release went live at 9 a.m. "We're trying to get a sense of current social relevance; what are people talking about right now," he said. And more than any competing product currently available, OneRiot succeeds.

SEE MORE WEB PRODUCTS COVERAGE IN OUR PRODUCTS CATEGORY

A Word from Our Sponsors

We'd like to thank ReadWriteWeb's sponsors, without whom we couldn't bring you all these stories every week!

  • Mashery is the leading provider of API management services.
  • Smub, a bookmarking and link posting tool for the iPhone.
  • Web 3.0 Conference, semantic web and linked data, May 19-20 NYC
  • Semantic Technology Conference, the future of the Web, IT, search, business.
  • Crowd Science gives you detailed visitor demographics.
  • hakia is a semantic search engine.
  • Rackspace provides dedicated server hosting.
  • Socialtext brings you 5 Best Practices for Enterprise Collaboration Success
  • Calais brings semantic functionality into your website or app.
  • Aplus provides web hosting services for small business hosting needs.
  • MediaTemple provides hosting for RWW.
  • Eurekster is a custom social search portal.
  • SixApart provides our publishing software MT4.

ReadWriteStart

Our new channel ReadWriteStart, sponsored by Microsoft BizSpark, is dedicated to profiling startups and entrepreneurs.

VC Cash Is April Showers on Web Startup Flowers

Do you remember the headlines about VC investment "falling off cliff" after some data was reported by NVCA in early April? We took a contrarian view, saying the trend was down, but challenging the doom and gloom that was jumping from the headlines. This was based on our own online research and some anecdotal data from interviews. Fred Wilson at Union Square Ventures also dug a bit deeper. The more we looked into this, the more we saw that the underlying data was not as authoritative as one might imagine. Many people popped up in the comments offering additional data. One was a New York City-based startup research firm (founded as recently as February 2009) called ChubbyBrain (great name!), which tracks this kind of data for a living. So this month, we relied on ChubbyBrain to help us dig deeper and get you the facts.

SEE MORE STARTUPS COVERAGE IN OUR READWRITESTART CHANNEL

Web Trends

Understanding the New Web Era: Web 3.0, Linked Data, Semantic Web

We've been following a fascinating 3-part series of posts this week by Greg Boutin, founder of Growthroute Ventures. The series aimed to tie together 3 big trends, all based around structured data: 1) the still nascent "Web 3.0" concept, 2) the relatively new kid on the structured Web block, Linked Data, and 3) the long-running saga that is the Semantic Web. Greg's series is probably the best explanation we've read all year about the way these trends are converging. In this post we highlight some of Greg's thoughts and add some of our own.

Introduction to the Real-Time Web

Real-time information delivery is fast emerging as one of the most important elements of our online experience. This week alone: Google declared real-time search to be one of the biggest unsolved challenges it faces; the NYTimes put a link to a new real-time view of all its news stories on the front page of its site; Facebook announced a new feature that will let users be notified instantly when their friends interact with media related to themselves on the site. This is big stuff, but what does it all mean? We offer a collection of readings on the real-time web. Give these articles some time and you'll have a solid foundation to understand, discuss and act on this emerging paradigm.

Hulu Keeps on Growing, But the Big Winner in April was MTV

According to the latest data from Nielsen Online (PDF), overall online video usage in April declined slightly compared to March (-2.3%), and all the major players, except for Youtube (+0.2%) and Hulu (+7.1%) saw the number of video streams on their sites decline. The real winner here, though, is MTV, which streamed 15.7% more videos in April than in March, and which has grown 359.6% year-over-year. Interestingly, Disney-owned ABC.com, which just struck a deal to syndicate its videos on Hulu, saw the largest decline in streams since March, with a 15.9% drop in total streams.

BIGOmaha: The Little Conference That Could

Recently in the gorgeous Nebraska sunshine, about 300 techies, entrepreneurs, and creatives from all over the country gathered in a large but simple room to learn, listen, and make connections. The one-day, one-track show was just a hashtag to some and entirely unknown to others; still, the pre-show buzz on Twitter and in various blogs had resonated with freshness, immediacy, and inspiration. A week before it opened, the first-ever BIGOmaha conference was sold out. Our own Jolie O'Dell was there to check it out...

SEE MORE WEB TRENDS COVERAGE IN OUR TRENDS CATEGORY

Enterprise

Google Apps Continues Push Into Enterprise: 30,000 New Users at Valeo

This week marked another step forward for Google in pushing its web office suite Google Apps into large enterprises. Valeo, a leading automotive supplier company, is deploying Google Apps to 30,000 of its employees.

Overall, business is good for Google Apps. Google noted in the annoucement that "more than a million businesses" are now using the Google Apps suite - which includes Gmail, shared calendaring, collaborative word processing and spreadheets, and private video sharing and websites (internal and external). As Google continues to tap into the enterprise market - competing against the desktop office software monolith Microsoft - deals like the Valeo one show that its web office suite can scale for large businesses.

That's a wrap for another week! Enjoy your weekend everyone.