Weekly Wrapup, 9-13 June 2008

Here are some of the highlights from the week’s Web Tech action on ReadWriteWeb. On the product side we covered the iPhone 2.0 announcement, reviewed 6 Adobe AIR apps for work, checked out the new MySpace and Last.fm re-designs, looked at Coke’s social media play, and interviewed the co-founder of Mobile Web startup Skydeck. On the trends side, we provided real-time notes on the Future of the Web debate (featuring Tim Berners-Lee), looked into Google’s data mining, analyzed the latest social networking stats, checked out the NYC tech scene, and explored the future of novels.

Web Products

iPhone 2.0 Announced – Revolutionary or Behind the Times?

This week the latest version of the iPhone was announced at Apple’s WWDC event in San Francisco. Our network blog last100 posted an excellent overview of the news. The new version iPhone supports 3G and faster data networks, has GPS, has a few cosmetic changes and is thinner, carries a (dramatically) lower price ($199 for the 8 GB iPhone, $299 for the 16 GB model) and will be available in 22 countries starting July 11. It also features Microsoft Exchange and full enterprise support out of the box. These are all great features, but some people question: is the iPhone really that revolutionary compared to products available internationally? For example 3G has been available in many mobile devices for 2-3 years now in places like Japan. Check out the robust discussion in the comments to our post, as well as the results of the poll we ran:

See also: iPhone 2.0, Video Highlights and iPhone-less? Try Tiled Browsing Instead

Adobe AIR Goes to Work: 6 Apps for the Corporate Desktop

By now, you’ve heard of Adobe AIR – the cross-OS runtime that lets you run rich internet applications on your desktop. We’ve covered several of our favorite apps in the past, as well as places to find new ones, but so far all we’ve seen are consumer applications. What about the business world? Will companies ever be using AIR apps on their desktops? As it turns out, many already do and they’re as easy to deploy as Adobe Reader.

See also: Where Are We in The Enterprise 2.0 Wave? and SharePoint To Run Enterprise 2.0?

MySpace is a Good Website and You Should Stop Complaining About It

MySpace announced this week that a new design will be launched next Wednesday. The army of MySpace haters is sure to kick into high gear, with exclamations that it’s about time – even though they’re unlikely to be satisfied with the changes. When Newscorp bought MySpace nearly three years ago for $580 million, people laughed at the acquisition. It’s now recognized as a steal and yet people still complain. It’s for user-experience reasons, though, that they should stop complaining.

See also: First Google Friend Connect Spotted in the Wild

Last.fm Re-design: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

One of our favorite online music services Last.fm is currently ungoing a semi-public re-design, available to Last.fm subscribers ($3 per month) at beta.last.fm. Bearing in mind that last.fm is now owned by mega media company CBS, it is great to see last.fm continuing to evolve fast. In this post we review the new design and see if it’s ready for primetime. The short answer is no. The beta feedback so far has been mixed and comparisons to Facebook have been common.

A Smart Social Media Play From… Coca-Cola?

Coca-Cola quietly launched one of their first social media applications last weekend, a bookmarking widget for Facebook called CokeTag. (Coke Singapore also has a Facebook application out, promoting a tie-in with UEFA EURO 2008.) CokeTag is not only a smart play from the company, but also a fairly useful app as far as profile widgets go. The app allows users to create customizable Flash bookmark widgets linking to link collections on any topic they’re passionate about.

People in Tech: Jason Devitt, CEO/Co-Founder of Skydeck

“…someone is going to build a billion-dollar company around the implicit social graph. And I’m betting on Skydeck.” Jason Devitt

In this second installment of our new People in Tech series, we interview Jason Devitt, CEO/Co-Founder of Skydeck. It’s a mobile web startup built on the premise that “you ought to be able to manage your cell phone records the same way that you manage your email.” The second big idea of Skydeck is that your true social network is hidden in your communication records. Read on for more insights…

SEE MORE WEB PRODUCTS COVERAGE IN OUR PRODUCTS CATEGORY

Web Trends

Future of the Web Debate

The Rensselaer interactive debate on the future of the Web happened this week and it was webcast live. ReadWriteWeb was a media partner for the event and we also live blogged it. Topics included:

  • Is the Semantic Web a Dream?
  • AI’s Role in the Web’s Future
  • Multi-lingual Web
  • Democracy and the Web
  • what’s the difference between Web Science and Computer Science?
  • Multi-modal Data; Can Semantic Web Capture Nuances?

Check out our post for full notes from the webcast.


Deborah McGuinness from Rensselaer introduces the debate, including a mention of ReadWriteWeb as part of the debate’s “social media twist”.

Do You Trust Google to Resist Data Mining Across Services?

Google’s breadth of services is truly awesome and the amount of information the company touches concerning our lives and world can sometimes feel downright frightening. While almost no one takes the old phrase “Don’t Be Evil” seriously anymore now that there are billions of dollars on the table and Chinese autocrats to satisfy – regular evaluations of Google’s ethical positions still seem advisable. One of the big questions being asked with increasing frequency is this: Is Google using data it collects through particular services and using it for its benefit in other services? We know the company scans our GMail and uses the text there to sell ads, but is this a tactic being employed across services? Some people appear to believe it is.

Social Networking: Taking Off or Taking a Dive?

Recently, there have been a few conflicting reports about the current popularity of social networks in the U.S. On one hand, you have reports that point toward the growth of social networks and their continuing crossover into mainstream use. On the other hand, recently released stats on visitor data show that these networks are maturing and plateauing. So, what’s really going on here?

See also: 10 Mobile Social Networks to Check Out

What’s Holding Up the New York Tech Scene?

Since moving to New York from London in 1990, Bernard Lunn has become a firm convert to the idea that New York is the center of the universe. London, Paris, Berlin, Mumbai are all pretty great, but if you like cities, New York is it. So it has always been a source of frustration for Bernard – and other New Yorkers – that their great city is such a slouch when it comes to high tech startups compared to boring suburbs like San Jose and Palo Alto, and even provincial towns such as Boston and Austin. Bernard thinks the problem is Wall Street.

Will the Future Novel be More than Text on a Page?

We all know what it looks like when a novel is adapted for film or television. But what would it look like when the novel format is adapted for the Internet? We reported in March that more and more reading is being done online, especially by the younger generation, but because of the distractions of the media rich world in which we live, most reading on the web is actually just skimming. So how do you create a compelling novel format for the online world? Canadian author Nicola Furlong thinks the answer is a new web publishing format she’s calling a “Quillr.”

SEE MORE WEB TRENDS COVERAGE IN OUR TRENDS CATEGORY

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

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