Home Weekly Wrapup, 14-18 Jan 2008

Weekly Wrapup, 14-18 Jan 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.

Highlights this week: we covered the big news coming out of Apple’s annual conference, Macworld; ReadWriteWeb co-hosted the Crunchies on Friday, recognizing the best in Startups over 2007; Alex Iskold wrote about ‘The danger of Free’; we provided in-depth reviews of Earthmine (a Crunchies winner), Sharpcast, Xobni; we took a look at the burgeoning lifestreaming market.

Crunchies & Macworld

This Friday the first annual Crunchies awards was held. The ceremony took place at the historic Herbst Theater in downtown San Francisco. Over 100,000 votes were cast, and many of the races were very tight. Check out our post listing the winners.

Also this week was Apple’s Macworld expo. Check out our overview post! Probably the most anticipated announcement that Apple CEO Steve Jobs made was that of the MacBook Air: a 13.3″, LED backlit notebook computer that pushes the concept of “thin” to its boundaries. But the one that Jobs spent the most time on, and seemed the most excited about, was the announcement of the iTunes Movie Rentals store in conjunction with the revamp of his maybe-no-longer-a-hobby-project Apple TV.

Our network blog last100 was also busy pumping out a lot of great coverage and analysis. In their follow-up posts last100 asked how movie rentals on iTunes fare?; called for the AppleTV to be opened up to third-party developers; and looked in more detail at the iPhone/iPod Touch updates and how they point to the future.


The Danger of Free

Everyone loves to get stuff for free. We line up to get a free drink, we sign up for free checking accounts,
and we’re happy to get a free gift with the purchase of our next car. We love free stuff, even though we all know
and understand that free is an illusion. After that free drink, we pay for the next three. The bank is making money by investing what we put in that checking account. The car dealer can afford to give away a small gift because the profit on the car
is large. But none of this seems to bother us – free things still have a certain allure. But is the concept of free taking us down a dangerous road?

Perspective: Myspace Still Kicking Facebook’s Ass in Traffic

While the media and Silicon Valley have lost our collective minds over the rise of Facebook over the past year, traffic analysts Hitwise released numbers today indicating that things are not as they might seem. Apparently, all the Facebook hype has not translated into a huge growth in social network market share among US users. Hitwise says that Myspace received 72.32% of US visits to the top ten social networks in December 2007, while Facebook received just over 16%.

Examining Feeds in Social Networks

In mid-december, we interviewed Kevin Marks (Developer Advocate, Google Open Social) on ReadWriteTalk. One of the areas we spent considerable time discussing was Open Social’s Activity Streams. Since that interview, we’ve noted the increasing number of social networks that create ‘feeds’ around user activity within the site.


Web Products

Exclusive: Sharpcast Launches SugarSync – Full Sync Between Web, PCs & Mobile

This week Sharpcast launched an invite-only private beta of it’s much-anticipated Project Hummingbird product, with full public launch to follow this Spring. The product has been re-named SugarSync and with it you will be able to sync and backup your files and media across all of your computers, the web and mobile phone. Sharpcast CEO Gibu Thomas described this to me in an interview as “the holy grail”.

ReadWriteWeb was given exclusive early access to the beta of SugarSync. As well as the first look, we have 1,500 beta invites for our readers (details at the end of the post).

Earthmine: Building a 3D Datamine of the Urban Environment

Earthmine, the Best Technology Innovation/Achievement category winner at the Crunchies, is a company that might seem uninteresting at first glance. When we first saw earthmine we assumed that it was just a Google Maps Streetview knock-off. We were wrong.

This startup is doing something far more interesting than that. While Google Maps and related consumer products have whetted the public’s appetite for visualization of specific places on a map, earthmine is making those places machine readable.

Lifestreaming: a ReadWriteWeb Primer

Lifestreaming, according to Wordspy, is “an online record of a person’s daily activities, either via direct video feed or via aggregating the person’s online content such as blog posts, social network updates, and online photos.” In this post we review some of the top lifestreaming web apps: Onaswarm, Lifestrea.ms, Soup, Jaiku (the service Google bought), and perhaps the most popular of them all, Tumblr.

Xobni: Social Network in Your Inbox

Xobni(that’s inbox backwards – cute!) is the next big idea in productivity enhancements for your inbox. The Xobni software is an add-on for Microsoft Outlook that offers email management and quick access to important information in your email. But more than that, Xobni claims to “expose the hidden social network” in your email. That’s ingenious because everyone we know is in our email…somehow, somewhere…but they may or may not be our friend on MySpace, Facebook, flickr, YouTube, etc. This is especially true for family members over 40!


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

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

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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