Home Weekly Wrapup, 14-18 July 2008

Weekly Wrapup, 14-18 July 2008

It’s time to review the week that was on ReadWriteWeb. On the product side we continued our ongoing analysis of the iPhone 3G and its accompanying App Store, we looked closely at a Gmail update to its contact management system, covered the US launch of Microsoft Live Mesh, and reported on a developer revolt with Google’s Android. On the trends side we revisited the Facebook platform, asked whether startups need Community Managers, looked into mainstream usage of the browser address bar, and told you a story about how Twitter’s “Fail Whale” was created.

Web Products

Gmail Tries to Be Less Creepy, Fails

Gmail, Google’s powerful web based email service, announced some changes to its contact management features this week. Contact management has for some time been a contentious matter among Google Account holders – the company does strange and mysterious things with your email contacts, including tying them in to some other applications without anyone’s permission. This week’s new changes failed to alleviate those concerns, perhaps making the situation even less clear than it was before.

See also: Google Gears Coming to Gmail and Google Calendar Soon

iPhone: The New Personal Computer

When Apple first announced the launch of its iPhone platform, we wrote here that it is a game changer.
Even the core of iPhone is a major advance in mobile computing, but with
the platform iPhone
the new personal computer. The desktop from now on will be for professional and business work.
Laptops aren’t
going away, but will get increasingly less personal use.
The reason is that iPhone with its application platform is a better
computer and it’s widely accessible.

See also: RWW Predictions: iPhone Sales in 2008

Apple’s App Store: 10 Million Downloads Later

Apple’s App Store for the iPhone and iPod touch has been growing quickly since last weekend. As at Monday, close to 250 applications had been added. As Medialets reports, at the same time, the average price of those applications has dropped. Interestingly, free applications are getting higher average ratings from their users than paid apps.

See also: iPhone Apps For Social Networks and News Apps for the iPhone: NYTimes, AP, Bloomberg

Live Mesh Now Open to All of U.S.

Windows Live Mesh is Microsoft’s software+services data synchronization platform. Because of its complex nature, most people assume that file synchronization is all there is to Live Mesh, but in reality, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Microsoft has big plans for the service and syncing files between computers and the cloud is just the start. When Live Mesh launched, it was currently a closed “technical preview” (that’s Microsoft for “beta”). But now it appears that the Live Mesh guys have quietly opened up the platform for all of the U.S.

gPhone? Just a Rumor – The Real Story Is The Android Developer Revolt

Of course, we all know that the event of the past week (or perhaps we should say the event of the year, given the news coverage), has been the launch of the iPhone 2.0. Yet even amidst the iPhone news frenzy – the lines at the stores, the activations, the failures, theapps! – there was another phone getting some press too – the Google Phone. The rumor was that Google was going to build its own phone after all. Yet while that rumor was catching the headlines, the real story was taking place within the developer community itself.


Web Trends

Facebook Platform: The Fanfare Revisited

When the Facebook platform debuted last year it was touted as the next big thing.
Media, VC, startups and big companies shared the enthusiasm for its future.
And no wonder: Facebook enabled access to 50 million users.
You no longer needed to bring the audience to your app. Instead your app could be
delivered to one of the largest audiences around the web. And not just delivered,
but injected into a massive social network. While it started great, it turns out things are not that simple. Three fundamental issues
surfaced (read on for the details).

Do Startup Companies Need Community Managers?

You know what little startup companies need these days? They need to hire more people! It may be a frightening thought, but in an increasingly social world – being social is becoming an important full time job. “Community Manager” is a position being hired for at a good number of large corporations (see Jeremiah Owyang’s growing list of people with that kind of job) but what about smaller companies? We asked a number of people what they thought and the following discussion offers some great things to think about, pro and con.

See also: Do Facebook Users Care About Commenting On Mini-Feeds?

Will Mainstream Users Ever Learn About The Browser’s Address Bar?

Traffic analytics company Hitwise released search market share numbers for dating websites in June this week and two things were striking about the data. Ad supported free site PlentyOfFish is trouncing everyone in the dating game and huge numbers of mainstream users are still afraid to navigate there directly using their browser’s address bar. The economics of user ignorance are serious and could have big implications for online innovation. Also check out the great discussion on this in the comments – we may have been convinced that this isn’t such a bad thing after all.

See also: Google Getting Close to 70% of U.S. Search Market

The Story of the Fail Whale

How An Unknown Artist’s Work Became a Social Media Brand Thanks To the Power of Community

Twitter users are very familiar with the iconic image of the Fail Whale. This social object has been latched onto by Twitter fans not just as a representation of Twitter’s downtime, but also as a representation of the community’s love for the service and their hope for its triumph over their many struggles. Despite Twitter’s troubles, most of its users stayed true, watching and waiting as the team began the long process of recoding the application in order for it to scale up. As Twitter succumbed to the strain of running their under-provisioned service, the Fail Whale “over capacity” image would appear. And this image began to take on a life of its own. This is the story of the Fail Whale.

See also: Cartoon: Twitter Dating


RWW Live

This week we did our fourth RWW Live podcast, which we’re running fortnightly on the TalkShoe platform. RWW Live is where a group of the ReadWriteWeb Network writers and editors get together to discuss the latest in web technology.

This week we devoted the whole episode to the iPhone. Participants were: ReadWriteTalk host Sean Ammirati, Steve O’Hear from our network blog last100, RWW founder and editor Richard MacManus, RWW Feature Writer Bernard Lunn and RWW Lead Writer Marshall Kirkpatrick, who joined about halfway through. You can listen to the podcast below (email readers click through).

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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