Home Weekly Wrapup, 12-16 March 2007

Weekly Wrapup, 12-16 March 2007

Here is a summary of the week’s Web Tech action on Read/WriteWeb.

Analysis Posts

Google Interview

This week Read/WriteWeb finally got an interview with Google, something I’ve been
wanting for a long time. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s web spam operations,
talked to me on the topic of next-generation search
. Unfortunately I published it
just as news of the $1B Viacom
against YouTube hit (the Techmeme ‘Scrum of the Week’), so my interview with
Matt didn’t get the attention it deserved. However there is a lot of great info in this
interview, so I encourage you to read it – maybe print it out and read it in bed on
Sunday morning, along with the Sunday paper 🙂 Also check out the follow-up post: Video PageRank: Google
Searches for The Holy Grail

The interview post got some good comments, for example Steve said:

“The personalization of search is great for local companies competing in global
markets. It will be interesting to see the evolution of natural language in search. If i
was google, i would be doing my best to purchase Wikipedia. They are sending them most of
their traffic… so why not?”

Why not indeed? Apart from the fact that Wikipedia is non-profit, so there would be a
major outcry from people about a commercial company taking it over – especially a company
like Google that already controls so much access to information on the Web.

Phill Midwinter commented that he
isn’t so impressed by Google’s search engine strengths:

“It’s a nice interview – but again I’m not seeing anything new here beyond what I’ve
been hearing for the past two years. Google is looking increasingly stagnant from my
point of view as a search engine developer. If they are truly keeping to release often,
release early; then they haven’t actually done much of importance for quite some time to
improve search.”

My feeling is that Google is innovating a lot, but it hasn’t necessarily integrated
those things into the main search.

Finally, web 2.0 innovations

“…the site that would potentially undermine Google’s dominance in finding
information on web will be anything else but not Google-style search engine.”

Indeed! Hence Read/WriteWeb’s Alternative
Search Engine list

Alt Search Engine Mashups

Speaking of which… this week a couple of mashups of our Top 100 Alt Search Engine
list came up. Check out:

Also we’ve created a kind of sub-list of weird search
– I think you’ll agree, an entertaining list to play with! 

Yahoo Personal Finance review

I recommend reading Sramana
Mitra’s excellent analysis
of Yahoo’s new Personal Finance site, from earlier this
week. It’s a good illustration of where Yahoo’s strengths and weaknesses are in its web

Other Analysis Posts


Early this week the annual SXSWi (South by Southwest Interactive) conference was held
in Austin, Texas. This has a reputation for being one of the most fun conferences on the
Web tech circuit, so I was sorry to miss it again. Maybe next year! Luckily though, Sean
Ammirati was there to cover the event for Read/WriteWeb. I particularly enjoyed his Web App Autopsy
report and the follow-up The
Figures Behind The Top Web Apps
. Here is a list of all Sean’s posts from

Startup Action

Some interesting startups crossed our path this week. I was particularly enamoured
with an online video site called We Dig TV. My review: We Dig TV Brings Television
Game Shows To The Web
. Also I recommend Alex Iskold’s review of Summize, a search
engine with heatmaps
. Lot of innovation in that app.

Other startup posts this week:


We actually ran two polls this week. The first asked: How many RSS Remix
feeds do you subscribe to?
. The results:

I’ve subscribed to hundreds of remix
feeds          5% (11 votes)

Somewhere between 51 to
5% (12 votes)

11 to
50                                                          13% (31 votes)

1 to
10                                                            24% (58 votes)

I haven’t subscribed to any remix
feeds              44%
(106 votes)

I don’t know what you’re talking
10% (25 votes)

There was a bit of confusion about what RSS remix feeds are. And it’s clear from the
results that filtered feeds are still very early in the adoption phase. Only 23% of
respondants have subscribed to more than 10 remixed feeds, while 10% of people don’t
even know what a remix feed is. Lot of work to be done here (including by blogs such as
R/WW, to explain them). 

Our other poll asked: Why is there no
advertising with YouTube videos?
The reason for asking this was that Mark Cuban had
commented in a previous
that the only reason for no advertising on YouTube is the copyright issues. So
we decided to find out if others agreed. The results:

The Mark Cuban choice — Google is concerned about legal
exposure 37% (57 votes)

The R/WW choice — Google hasn’t cracked digital
relevancy 22% (33 votes)

Both — Google is running scared of big media AND hasn’t found a VideoRank formula
yet 41% (63 votes)

It looks like a small majority think it’s both a technology and copyright
issue, but a good percentage agree with Cuban that it’s all down to copyright.

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

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