Home Weekly Wrapup, 19-23 May 2008

Weekly Wrapup, 19-23 May 2008

Here are some of the highlights from the week’s Web Tech action on ReadWriteWeb. On the product side we explored: next gen apps outside the browser, uses for wikis, Facebook’s usefulness (or lack thereof), the public launch of Google Health, and 4 promising mobile social networks. On the trends side we analyzed: the Mobile Web, how to utilize Social Media in education and social change, and the state of the URL. Last but not least we covered this week’s SemTech conference, about the Semantic Web.

Web Apps

Next Gen Apps Won’t Be Pushed Around By the Browser

The invention of the browser was a huge boon to the internet and a substantial amount of computing now goes on through that interface we’ve grown to love. The internet is not a place where innovation takes a break, though, and a new generation of applications are emerging that have a different relationship with the web browser.

From taking control of the browser to connecting to the web outside of it, there are a number of new strategies being implemented by startups these days. In the following post we discuss seven different ways that new apps are telling browsers “you ‘aint the boss of me now!” Some you’ll be familiar with, but some you may not be.

Wikis Are Now Serious Business

Only a handful of years ago, it was common to hear people laugh at Wikipedia. Anyone can edit it! How could you take it seriously? These days, just as blogs are, wikis are on their way to winning a reputation as serious publishing platforms.

Free hosted wiki provider Wetpaint announced last night that it’s now raised a total of $40 million in venture capital. To celebrate this major financial validation of the wiki world, we thought we’d offer a brief survey of some of the most interesting ways that wikis are being put to serious use today.

How to Make Facebook Useful Again

Oh the heels of some of Facebook’s missteps (ahem, Beacon) and the proliferation of a myriad of useless, silly, and time-wasting apps, someformer Facebook users decided to quit the site for good this year. However, a handful of early adopter angst doesn’t have Facebook worried. Why is that? Because Facebook has a whole generation of users who grew up using their site for everything social back when it was just a way to network with their high school or college friends. So what are the everyday Facebook users doing that keeps them engaged in the service? It’s not throwing sheep, apparently. For many Facebook users, there are still useful apps to be found and ways to use the service that the rest of us could learn from.

See also: Why There Should Be Web Search on Facebook and Facebook Censoring User Messaging: Spam Prevention or Unaccountable Control of Conversation?

Google Health Launches – Cautious, Non-Innovative Entry into Health 2.0

This week Google announced the public availability of Google Health, after initially launching as a closed beta back in February. It is described as “a safe and secure way to collect, store, and manage [your] medical records and health information online” and is being positioned as a way for users to control their own medical records.

Google Health is a decent entry into the game-changing (and potentially hugely profitable) world of health 2.0. But in comparison with other health startups, Google Health has a limited scope and is not as innovative a service as we’ve come to expect from Google…

The Future of Mobile Social Networks: 4 Promising Services

Recently we discussed some of the problems plaguing mobile social networks. These problems include location, marketing strategies and compatibility issues. Our readers also contributed their thoughts on hardware compatibility and GPS. While no network is perfect, in this post we profile some of the key players in the market. Here’s a look at four mobile social networks that may have what it takes.


Web Trends

Report: The Mobile Web is the New Hangout

According to Opera’s survey of the more 11.9 million Opera Mini users in March, almost 41% of mobile traffic now goes to social networking — up to 60% in some countries, including the US. Compare that to about 6% of total web traffic for social networks outside of the mobile web. That’s not overly surprising, though, given the recent proliferation of new smartphones aimed at consumers (or at least phones that can view the full web), made ultra-chic over the past year by Apple’s iPhone. Says Opera, 3/4ths of mobile web traffic is now to the full web, rather than WAP or .mobi sites, which are quickly becoming out-moded.

See Also: To Beat Google, Beat Google to the Mobile Web

Do you use the mobile web? Remember to vote in our poll below.

Social Media U: Take a Class in Social Media

Social media. Web 2.0. You know what these things are and you take advantage of them every day on the net. Whether you’re socializing on Facebook, updating Twitter, or just adding a new bookmark to Ma.gnolia, social media has become an integral part of our daily lives. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s something that everyone innately understands or knows how to use – especially when it comes to using it for marketing, PR, or other business-related purposes. That’s why many of today’s colleges and universities are now offering “social media” classes as an option for their students.

How to Use Social Media for Social Change

Did you participate in the Twit-Out this week? Do you even know what that is? To get you up to speed, a handful of Twitterusers, fed up with the regular outages of their favorite service, decided to band together to show Twitter some tough love by boycotting the service for a day. (Unfortunately, despite having fewer users on the service, Twitter still went down). However, in light of recent world events, it’s a shame that the cause the tech community has chosen to rally around is that of Twitter’s instability. Aren’t there more important things going on right now?

The URL Is Dead, Long Live Search

Last week Josh Catone was watching TV and saw something that really caught his eye. It was a commercial for Special K, the breakfast cereal from Kellogg, and rather than end with a plug for the product’s web site — SpecialK.com — it advised people to search Yahoo! for “Special K” instead. He started to wonder two things: 1. is Yahoo! paying Special K for tack-on advertising? and 2. has searching really become so natural that it is more effective to tell people to search for your site than it is to tell them to visit directly?

SemTech Panel: Taking Semantic Technology to the Masses

How will the Semantic Web make the jump to the mainstream? That was the topic of a panel at the SemTech 2008 Conference that happened this week in San Jose. The panel was moderated by Carla Thomson from Guidewire Group and featured Josh Dilworth from Porter Novelli,
Tom Tague, who heads the Calais initiative at Reuters, and Mark Johnson, who is a product manager at Powerset.
This post is based on notes from that panel.

See also: SemTech Panel: Investor Opportunities and Pitfalls


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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