Monthly Archives: March 2011

Amazon App Store for Android Now Open for Business

I actually didn’t see this coming. An off-site non-proprietary app store. This is really interesting.

Because Amazon is online shopping. That’s where you buy most everything else. So why wouldn’t you buy your apps there? After all, for those of us who still prefer navigating on a bigger screen, it’s easier to find new apps. And with Amazon’s App Store, I can purchase an app and have it automatically start loading on my mobile device. It’s seamless. So, why would I learn a new retailer? The Android App Store. The Apple App Store. No, I’m already at Amazon for everything else.

Is this a sign that Amazon has officially Walmart’d the Web?

But just in case this convenience isn’t enough to get those already sold on the propretiary app stores, Amazon is also releasing original content as well, including Angry Birds Rio for the Android device. Yeah, that ought to do it.

Semantic Text Technology: Cliffs Notes for Cliffs Notes

Isn’t Web design already supposed to be about abbreviated content?

Regardless, as we become more and more busy, we’re looking for ways to save as much time as possible. And TopicMarks has developed a semantic text technology that essentially creates Cliffs Notes for Web content. The technology analyzes the text and is able to extract the most important information.

I don’t really understand how this can be as good as we all want it to be. And I watched Watson on Jeopardy. I get the power of computing these days. And that’s why I’m skeptical. Watson isn’t close to a human yet, in terms of speed or creative ability. And the latter is how Cliffs notes are made – understand the true essence of Website information, and reducing it to an abstract for easy digestability.

I can see how TopicMarks will assume that repeated words and phrases are more important. But if that’s its main strength, I don’t think we’re ready to start burning down libraries just yet.

Is the New Browser War Ignoring Mobile?

With the newly released Mozilla Firefox 4 outpacing the also newly released Internet Explorer 9, industry experts are making long-term browser market share predictions. But, I wonder if they’re forgetting one big thing – that none of these browsers are super mobile-friendly?

And the one browser that is –  just released a new version of well. Opera 11.10 beta, codenamed “Barracuda” is fresh full of new mobile features, including sync, which allows a user to have a seamless experience across both platforms, with shared bookmarks and other elements.

Perhaps that’s a better gateway into the browser leadership position? Becoming the mobile leader that people get used to, and decide they want for the desktop experience as well – simply because of the information share. Alas, it seems like only Opera is playing the game that way. But as the only player with chips in this post, they’re going to get them all if they’re right.

Does Your Phone as a Remote Control Make Sense?

While Google TV‘s current lack of content partners has prevented them from really taking off in this niche as quickly as Roku, Boxee or even Apple TV, their ‘Android phone as remote control’ concept is pretty ingenius. All of your standard remote items, plus voice control, online programming search and more.

It’s one of those things that just makes sense. Yes, of course, my mobile phone should control my television. I don’t need another device. And while you would think that those with Google TVs would primarily have Android phones, Google has just released a remote control app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod as well, just in case.

There have been some heated online debates in the past year regarding what the future forward design of the remote control should look like? Perhaps Google has already invented it. It’s an app.

What Google Search Results Can Teach Us About Economics

What’s the future economic outlook look like? You can rely on financial analysts, and standard trends. But, how about looking up search engine results to see what users have been researching for future purchases?

Experian Hitwise has released a report on what hybrid vehicle searches can teach us about economic trends and future behavior. With the cost of gas reaching new global highs, the term ‘Prius’ has increased by 200% month-over-month. And other hybrid models have also been trending high recently.

What does this mean? Well, it’s important not to confusion correlation with causation. After all, it’s Springtime. So, that might account for some of it. But gas mileage-related Web searches reached a 12 month high last week, so it’s more than that. So, the data means something. But, what economic suggestions can we take from this? After all, if gas prices are moving upward and people are looking to save money, will they really take the short-term financial plunge of  a hybrid for the long-term potential cost savings? I’m not sure search results can tell us that.

Mainstream Media Looks for Original User Content

Does it weird anyone else out that more and more mainstream media outlets are trying to become Web 2.0 friendly? Integrating social media within their programs and such. In fact, ESPN and YouTube have publicly made a call for your user-generated content, including children’s original sports highlights and more.

Will ESPN turn into Fail blog or America’s Funniest Home Videos? This “Your Highlight” promotion will consist of a winner picked from a selection of favorite entries, with the winning video shown on SportsCenter itself.

What are we to make of this evolution? Is this simply a way for mainstream media to vamp up their Web content, more than actually evolving their real content? Or are we seeing a cataclysmic evolution in the way users help create programming?

Is Social Networking Growth Tapering Off?

Is social media moving from the next big thing, to simply, the thing? After all, it’s here. And it’s mainstream now.

After double-digital growth rates year after year, a new report from eMarketer looks like U.S. social networks are about to reach their peak. After all, with nearly 150 million people on social networks this year, that puts the U.S. at 63.7% social media saturation. And the realities of income differences may be putting that near the peak of what it may ever be.

While the younger generations launched social media, the boomer and senior demographics have now fully embraced the world of Facebook. In fact, more than half of Internet users between 45 and 64 are now regular social network users. Of course, this pales in comparison to the 90% rate for 18-24 year olds.

But, now that social media growth is slowing, what are the networks going to do to expand their offering, without just expanding one’s connections?

YouTube Person Finder Helps Connect Disaster Victims

Following the tsunami in Japan, YouTube has stepped up to help connect lost people with their family and friends. The YouTube Person Finder lets users update the most current information on those affected by the Japanese tsunami disaster.

A major Japanese television system, The Tokyo Broadcasting System has been shooting video at shelters around the affected areas of Japan. And these short video messages are being uploaded to the YouTube Person Finder. This search tool lets you search victims by name, home location or shelter. And although English is not supported, Kanji, Katakana and Hirgana character formats are.

Right now, user-submitted content is not integrated in the finder. Supposedly, the thought is that homeless victims wouldn’t have Internet access and web cams anyway. But, this is the start of something big. Imagine adoptees using this tool to find their birth parents. Romantic strangers looking for lost loves. And most importantly, as in the case here, victims and their families.

Way to go YouTube. Here’s to the future.

Will the Social Internet Democratize Elections?

Yes, I understand the irony in the headline. But, there’s always been the question of whether or not money buys elections, or if people are sensible enough to come to their own conclusions, based on more than whose name they saw more during the election cycle.

As its done with everything else, the Internet could be changing the old school traditional media blitz politicians take on every 4 years. Just think about how cheap you can run a campaign for this day in age. After all, 73% of American Internet users went Googling to research and communicate about the candidates and campaigns.

Who are you going to listen to? A billboard or your friend? The social Internet has democratized elections. You don’t have to listen to one-sided debates via 30 second television clips anymore. The real story is just a mouse click away. And it’s going to change everything, including helping those with low budgets actually have a shot.

New York Times Updates Subscription-Based Pricing

The New York Times was the first publication to successfully pioneer and profit on an online subscription system, wrongfully giving small media hope that they could do the same. That the system alone worked, not the fact that the New York Times is one of the most desired international news publications.

This market leader is updating their subscription-based plans, offering readers the ability to read up to 20 articles a month completely free of charge. The idea behind this was that many sites were linking to New York Times articles that their readers weren’t able to look at, since they didn’t have a subscription.

This new change hopes to engage new online prospects without angering them with a locked article, as well as making sure that their die-hards end up paying for a subscription. I like the idea. But I do want to know if it causes some moderate readers to read a little less, and avoid the subscription fee altogether?

The new subscription plans include a $15 package that includes unlimited web and mobile app access. The $20 package includes unlimited web and iPad app access. The $35 package is digital all-inclusive. And, every digital option comes free with an actual paper subscription.