Home Weekly Wrapup, 4-8 Feb 2008

Weekly Wrapup, 4-8 Feb 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: Josh explores Super Tuesday on the Web and pinpoints why Obama and Paul are the Internet kings; Marshall dives deep into the MySpace and Facebook platforms, and ponders the privacy implications of Google’s Social Graph API; Alex analyses Reuters’ new Semantic Web initiative; Sarah looks at MySpace’s partnership with web browser Flock; and Bernard tells us why the current recession isn’t our bubble.

Web News

This week Microsoft’s $44.6 Billion bid for Yahoo! continued to make headlines and keep bloggers busy with pontifications on what may or may not eventuate. So far there is no official word on whether Yahoo will accept the offer, but probably the most telling development of the week was Google raising questions about the deal. In a blog post, Google wondered whether Microsoft could “now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC?”. Specifically Google is worried about a potential monopoly in web email, IM, and web-based services. The search giant claims that the Microsoft bid for Yahoo! threatens “the underlying principles of the Internet: openness and innovation.”

In a RWW poll, we asked whether Google had lost the plot. 33% of respondents said that Google is fear-mongering, and a further 24% said that it smacks of desparation. So public opinion seems to be against Google on this one, although not overwhelmingly so.

See also:Microsoft, Yahoo! and the Effect on OpenID

This week was significant because it was ‘Super Tuesday’ in the US presidential race. There are a number of tools on the web to make election watching easier, and we rounded up some of our favorite Super Tuesday websites.

Josh Catone also wrote an analysis of why Barack Obama and Ron Paul are the kings of US politics on the Internet. Josh wrote that “they both command the lion’s share of their party’s attention online and seem to dominate social networking and social media sites.” But he wondered: why is only one of those campaigns actually working?

Web Trends

Web 3.0: Is It About Personalization?

On the UK’s Guardian newspaper site today, writer Jemina Kiss suggested that Web 3.0 will be about recommendation. “If web 2.0 could be summarized as interaction, web 3.0 must be about recommendation and personalization,” she wrote. Using Last.fm and Facebook’s Beacon as an example, Kiss painted a picture of a web where personalized recommendation services can feed us information on new music, new products, and where to eat. It’s a marketers dream and it’s really not far off from the definitions we’ve come up with in the past here on ReadWriteWeb.

NOTE: check the comments of this post, as it sparked a very interesting discussion.

Is Google’s Social Graph API a Creeping Privacy Violation?

The new Google Social Graph API lets developers draw connections between your friends on one service and your friends on another. It indexes XFN (XHTML Friends Network) and FOAF (Friend of a Friend) data, standard microformats that publishers like Twitter or Facebook can append to your friend relationships inside their services.

Though in most cases the API pulls in publicly available information explicitly marked up with one of two microformats, there is no standard yet developed for user opt-in or opt-out. Google’s Social Graph API is also not limited to XNF and FOAF data. MySpace CTO Aber Whitcomb told Marshall Kirkpatrick this week that the API includes a custom mechanism to extract social connections between friends on MySpace, though that social network does not yet publish XFN/FOAF.

This Is Not Our Bubble

Back in early October Bernard Lunn posted about coming economic storms and what entrepreneurs could do to prepare. Given recent news, it is now almost certain that we are in recession. The bad news from financial institutions and credit markets is like a steady drumbeat, so it would be easy to write about “battening down the hatches” or even jumping for the lifeboats.

Far from it, wrote Bernard. These are great times for entrepreneurs. Really. This is not our bubble. We had our bubble and it burst in March 2000.


Web Products

MySpace Platform Aims to Pick Up Where Facebook Left Off

MySpace launched its developer platform this week and is went to great lengths to highlight the ways it’s different from the Facebook Platform. That’s ironic given that the dominant reaction to the Facebook Platform, from users at least if not the press, is that it’s made the site too much like MySpace.

None the less, there are some very interesting details available about the MySpace Platform. After all, that is where the action is – there’s far more traffic to MySpace than Facebook.

See also:Your MySpace Web Browser Is Coming

Facebook to Punish Stupid Applications, Reward Good Ones

On the same night the sophisticated MySpace Application Platform was released to developers, Facebook announced an important forthcoming development that should make FB apps a whole lot less annoying. Let the Platform Wars begin!

Starting next week, Facebook apps that get good user responses from Newsfeed messages (clickthroughs, app installs) will be allowed to send more notifications and apps that get fewer user responses to their notices will have the number of notices they can send cut down. Metered messaging based on user engagement could save the Facebook Platform from a growing sense of app fatigue.

See also: When Facebook Ads Go Wrong

Reuters Wants The World To Be Tagged

As we recently predicted, in 2008 we’ll witness the rise of semantic web services. From the native support for Microformats in Firefox 3,
to the New York Times’ utilization of rich headers metadata, to this week’s release of the Social Graph API by Google,
semantics are starting to slip onto the web. The impact is being felt because large companies are really starting to focus on structured information.

In the same vein, last week Reuters – an international business and financial news giant – launched an API called Open Calais. Alex Iskold analyzed it in this post.


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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