Home Weekly Wrapup, 17-21 March 2008

Weekly Wrapup, 17-21 March 2008

Here are some of the highlights from the week’s Web Tech action on ReadWriteWeb. This week includes social networks and lifestreaming analysis (Facebook, FeedFriend and more), a look at new Semantic Apps, and a new service from Amazon. And don’t forget to click through to our website and leave a comment on our posts, for a chance to win a daily $30 Amazon gift voucher.

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Web Trends

Long Tail Missing from MySpace Platform, Just Like Facebook

It’s early in the lifespan of the MySpace platform but a week after the first apps went live we did some counting and the user spread seems just as imbalanced towards a tiny percentage of top players as the Facebook platform is, despite concerted effort by MySpace to democratize things.

According to a recent premium O’Reilly report on Facebook, 1% of the applications on that platform see 74% of total use and the top 20% have 98% of usage. MySpace tried to combat that trend so that developers would be more engaged in its platform, but that platform’s numbers so far aren’t looking much better.

Social Networks Will Be Tomorrow’s iTunes

We all know by now that social networks aren’t a passing fad. They’re no longer used solely by early adopters, young adults, or tech enthusiasts – social networks are now mainstream. However, a recent UK study conducted by media research company, Entertainment Media Research, reports some figures that point toward the fact that social networks could do even more. In fact, social networks have the potential to be the content distribution platforms of tomorrow. See you later iTunes, I’m gonna sync with MySpace now…

Does FriendFeed Solve a Problem, or Highlight One?

Lifestream aggregator-turned-social network FriendFeed is the most hyped thing since sliced bread — or at least the most hyped web app since Twitter. Among the scads of lifestreaming apps, FriendFeed has garnered the lions share of recent press and hype among early adopters. The promise of lifestreaming is that it can bring all the various activity streams from the friends that you follow at multiple services under a single umbrella, vastly simplifying your information overloaded Internet existence. But do services like FriendFeed really solve the problem, or just highlight it? Can they even add to it?

See also: MyBlogLog Launches Topical Meta Lifestreams
Twitter Is The Tech Water Cooler


Web Apps

Facebook Improving Privacy Controls, Creating Chat App

This week, Facebook announced an update to privacy controls to make use of the friend lists feature, among other enhancements. The new privacy features increase the granular control that Facebook has been known for. Users now have the option of showing private information, including photos, to only specific friends (entered one at a time or by utilizing a pre-made list), or to “friends of friends” (i.e., your friends and the people they are friends with — not unlike how LinkedIn works).

See also: New Facebook Privacy Options Go Live – May Overwhelm Users
Facebook Could Use a Little FriendFeed

Amazon’s Newest Web Service: Shipping Center APIs

Amazon wants to do for physical product shipping what it’s done for web storage and computing power – leverage its surplus infrastructure built up by Amazon.com to offer cheap and easy infrastructure for all kinds of other activities. This week Amazon announced the newest addition to the Amazon Web Services suite: Amazon Fulfillment Web Service (AFWS).

Swotti – A Semantic Opinions Aggregator

Swotti is a new semantic search engine that aggregates opinions about products to help you make purchasing decisions. With Swotti, you can learn from the good and bad experiences of others as the site gathers together reviews and feedback from across the web and categorizes them to provide you with more information about the product you’re interested in. What’s unique about this search engine is that it uses semantics to do so.

See also: Semantify – Automate Your Semantic Web SEO in Five Minutes
SemanticHacker Offers Cynical Bounty for Semantic Apps
Hakia Licenses its Semantic Search Technology

Aggregate Knowledge’s Content Discovery – How Good is it, Really?

Aggregate Knowledge, which operates a content discovery network under the brand name Pique, today announced a deal with BusinessWeek to deliver “user-driven content suggestions” on their website. It’s the latest in a string of similar deals – Aggregate Knowledge powers “discovery” of both editorial content and product recommendations for over 100 websites, with a particular focus on retail and media. In this post we take a closer look at the implementation at BusinessWeek – and ask if the results come up to scratch.


RWW Poll

This week’s poll asked: Are you using FriendFeed?. FriendFeed is a lifestreaming app that aggregates all of your social feeds together; and it appears to have recently ‘tipped’ in popularity amongst early adopters. Our poll results:

Yes, I started using it before March 08 36% (241 votes)

Yes, I signed up after all the hype this month (SXSW etc) 15% (100 votes)

No, I use a competing lifestreaming app 8% (56 votes)

No I don’t use these products 27% (180 votes)

Friend-what? 14% (91 votes)

So over half (51%) of our readers have signed up for FriendFeed. Interestingly though, 41% of respondants either don’t use lifestreaming products or claimed they’d not heard of FriendFeed – which indicates that lifestreaming is still fairly niche and by no means as prevelant as social network activity.

Digital Lifestyle News at last100

This week last100 wrote an analysis of Flash on iPhone. Editor Steve O’Hear asked: Is Adobe committing itself to building the missing version of Flash that Jobs demands? Or does Adobe really believe it can go-it-alone? “Without Apple providing the hooks to enable Adobe to tap into the iPhone’s Safari web browser,” Steve contended, “it’s hard to see how a Flash plug-in could be implemented. Instead, Adobe might be able to create a work around: some kind of stand-alone Flash Player that opens full screen to play certain content.”


AltSearchEngine’s editor Charles Knight was out of town this past week attending the Search Engines Strategies (SES) conference in New York. The highlight of the week was the Search panel on Thursday where alternative search engines EveryZing, OrganizedWisdom, HealthPricer, Surf Canyon and ChaCha each gave presentations. Kevin Ryan, Chrysi Philalithes, and Charles were the judges, and the winner was a tie between ChaCha and OrganizedWisdom. “But of course”, says Charles, “all five are excellent, Top 100 Alts. Also there were Eurekster, Slifter and Hakia – and a nice dinner with Philip James of Snooth, the wine search engine!”

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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