Home Weekly Wrapup, 21-25 Jan 2008

Weekly Wrapup, 21-25 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: Marshall explores the viability of a web with decentralized, open standards-based IM at its center; Marshall also analyses the MyBlogLog API and the Future of Leveraged User Data via ReadBurner; Josh covers the latest online music news from last.fm and Songza; Alex analyses the “Work From Home” generation; Bernard comes up with a formula for the Startup Magic Quandrant.


Could Instant Messaging (XMPP) Power the Future of Online Communication?

Enterprise collaboration company Jive Software posted this week about a theory it’s advancing on the rise of XMPP (called Jabber in IM) for powering communication services hosted in the cloud. The company also announced that it will include what it says will be the first XMPP-powered document sharing and collaboration tool in the forthcoming 2.0 release of its product Clearspace.

If you think AJAX changed the web experience, imagine a web with decentralized, open standards-based IM at its center. That’s an exciting thought. This post introduces the concepts at issue in accessible terms, discusses some of the possible impacts of such a trend on innovation and offers some counter-arguments to Jive’s rosy picture of the future.

The “Work From Home” Generation

For decades in American households the most dreaded morning sound
was that of an alarm clock. Sometime between 6 and 7am a beep or radio music
signaled that it was time to get up and head to work. But in the early 21st century
two things have begun to change. First, the alarm clock is going off a little bit later. And second,
instead of putting on suits and driving to work, people are heading to the basement in their pajamas
and turning on their personal computers. These are the early days of the new Work From Home generation.

Viral + Monetizable = StartUp Magic Quadrant

Hotmail is credited with inventing online viral marketing. Most of the Web 2.0 success stories have been viral. Apart from Hotmail, this was not true in Web 1.0. The game at that time – hopelessly flawed in retrospect – was raising tons of money to advertise (online and offline) to get traffic. Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook type services don’t need to advertise to get mass scale.

Humans Interupting Algorithms: Wales v. Calacanis on Human Powered Search

A large group of international tech rock stars were at the Digital Life Design conference in Munich this week and friend of RWW Martin Källström of pre-launch search startup Twingly sent us a rough transcript of a particularly interesting panel. In the discussion, titled Humans Disrupting Algorithms, WIkipedia founder Jimmy Wales talks about his new search engine Wikia Search, Jason Calacanis talks about his human-powered search service Mahalo and there are cameos by Google bigwig Marissa Meyer and international man of mystery Michael Arrington. Wikia Search and Mahalo are taking very different approaches to search.


Web Products

The Significance of the MyBlogLog API

If you could capture and use the names, ages, genders and demonstrated interests of the specific people who visited your website – would you? A whole lot of people providing services online would. While we’ve covered the movement for standards-based Data Portability a lot here lately, the newly announced MyBlogLog API is an alternative path to similar ends being taken by a proprietary company. Announced last week just before the Yahoo! OpenID announcement, the MyBlogLog API could end up being of even greater importance. Really.

Songza, Last.fm Expand Music Libraries

Music sites Songza and Last.fm separately announced major upgrades to their streaming music libraries. In Songza’s case, the additional tracks came via partnerships with competing web sites, while Last.fm snagged the support of major labels for their new streaming music services. The Last.fm news ends days of rampant speculation after the company sent out cryptic invitations to press conference, which had some betting the company would morph into a video service.

ReadBurner and the Future of Leveraged User Data

ReadBurner is an interesting new project that displays the hottest URLs at any given time according to the Google Reader “shared items” feeds users have submitted for tracking. It’s a relatively simple concept but it just makes sense and the possibilities for the future are exciting to consider.

One way to describe ReadBurner is that it’s adding value by and on top of aggregating explicit attention gestures. In this post are some thoughts on ReadBurner and what it could do to be even cooler.

We7: Getting Closer to a Workable Model for Free Music Downloads

The music industry is in desperate need of new models and an interesting one got some financial support this week. We7 announced that it’s raised $6 million from Peter Gabriel and Spark Ventures.

The UK site offers DRM-free MP3 downloads with super-short ads preceding each song – for the first 4 weeks after download. Once a month you can select 20 tracks to remove the ad clips from, any additional ad removal will cost 20 pence (about 39 cents) per song.

SetYourRate.com is Priceline for Local Services

UK-based SetYourRate.com, which officially launched out of private beta on Tuesday, is attempting to bring Priceline-style economics to the local services industry. The site is cultivating a services marketplace that matches buyers to services providers with a catch: buyers are allowed to name their own price, while service providers compete with one another to meet that price. To us that sounds similar to the service Priceline offers for airline tickets, hotels, and car rentals.


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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