Home Weekly Wrapup, 11-15 Feb 2008

Weekly Wrapup, 11-15 Feb 2008

Here is a summary of the week’s Web Tech action on ReadWriteWeb. For those of you reading this via our website, note that you can subscribe to the Weekly Wrapups, either via the special RSS feed or by email.

Easily the biggest tech story of the past two weeks has been Microsoft’s unsolicited $44 billion takeover bid for Yahoo!.

Here at ReadWriteWeb we’ve written about how the merger would ultimately be a good thing for users. We wrote about the effect the acquisition might have on OpenID. We wondered if Google had made a mistake to go hostile about the proposed merger. We suggested a plan B for Microsoft. We wrote about how publishers would fare under Microhoo. And when a rumor surfaced this week that perhaps Microsoft was considering buying Facebook instead of Yahoo!, we wrote about why we thought that was actually a good idea.

We’ve currently running an ‘open thread’ post asking: how would you fix Yahoo!? Would you take Microsoft’s offer? Hold out for more money? Or explore one of the other options? Or do you have a completely new idea that no one has talked about yet? Let us know in the comments below, and remember that the best daily comment on RWW (as chosen by our editors) wins a $30 Amazon gift card.

Web Trends

Comparing Six Ways to Identify Top Blogs in Any Niche

Identifying top niche blogs is invaluable knowledge for anyone wanting to enter, study or market to people in a particular field. It’s one of the fastest and most effective ways to learn the lay of the land and get involved in the community of successful artists, real estate agents or 4-H club leaders using social media. We’ve been seeing a lot of demand for this information lately so we wrote up some quick pros and cons of the options. We invite you to add some of your own favorite methods in comments.

R.E.M. Releases New Videos Under Open Source License

R.E.M. this week released 11 videos for the first song from their forthcoming album, all in MP4 format in HD and under an open source license. “Supernatural Serious,” is the first single from the band’s next album, “Accelerate,” due to be released April 1st.

Viewers are encouraged to remix the videos and share them on the song’s YouTube page. The band will not be doing a Radiohead and offering the album for free, but this is an interesting twist somewhere in between that approach and the standard industry practice.


Web Products

Delver Reinvents Search

The most impressive thing about the new search engine Delver is that it knows who you are and who
your friends are even if you don’t import your address book or add your social
networking profiles. Instead, Delver leverages the social graph to map out a
user’s social connections. Since everyone’s social graph is unique, like a
fingerprint, the same query will yield vastly different results for each user.
The results are more personal and meaningful to users than a generic search
using “normal” search engine.

37Signals’ Backpack Getting Major Upgrade – Losing Focus?

This week, 37Signals started to preview the upcoming update to their Backpack service, which received its last major update in July. Though most of the new features seem very useful, they also seem to transform the app from a simple organizational tool into something else entirely. We can’t help but wonder, considering the company wrote the book on keeping things simple in software development, has 37Signals lost focus with Backpack?

The Resume, Rebooted: A Look at Web-Enabled Job Hunting

Traditional resumes are boring. They become stale and out-of-date, they can’t really showcase your work or achievements, and they end up just sitting in the bottom of someone’s inbox. A paper resume, while professional, doesn’t really let an employer get to know you. Many sites are trying to solve the problems of traditional resumes by providing job seekers a new way to stand out in the crowd.

Feng-GUI: “Visual Attention” Heatmaps

Feng-GUI is an interesting heatmap creation service. Unlike click-based heatmaps from Crazy Egg, FuseStats, and others, Feng-GUI creates heatmaps based on where it thinks the human eye would most likely be attracted. Eye tracking is something that designers have long used to measure the effectiveness of advertising, or design more usable web sites (among other commercial applications). But Feng-GUI doesn’t use real eye tracking, which would require that humans look at each object being measured and would hardly scale very well. Instead, the site uses an algorithm that attempts to guess what a real human would be most likely to look at.


Digital Lifestyle News at last100

This week saw the Mobile World Congress (MWC) take place in Barcelona, and as a result there was lots of news and announcements related to mobile – covered by last100. The biggest was Microsoft is purchasing Danger Inc., makers of the consumer smart phone known as Sidekick. The move is a clear signal by Microsoft that, perhaps following the success of the iPhone, the company is to enter the consumer smart phone market. Whether this will be through rolling out a software platform for existing hardware partners or involve Microsoft building a device of their own is yet to be seen (Zune phone anyone?).

MWC also saw lots of GPhone buzz as a number companies unveiled prototypes of Android, Google’s highly anticipated, open-source operating system. But rather than showing off sleek, sexy cell phones, with a super-fast OS running groundbreaking applications, attendees were treated to reality. Daniel Langendorf writes: “Android, for now, is mostly a bunch of circuit boards, displays, solder, prototype phones, and alpha applications intended to show the mobile world that yes, in fact, Android and the so-called Gphones do exist and, to some degree, work. They’re not vaporware.”

However, somewhat ironically since Apple wasn’t actually present at the event, MWC was, to some extent, dominated by talk of the iPhone.

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

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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

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