Web 2.0 Weekly Wrap-up, 14-20 Feb 2005

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts richard macmanus A look back at the week that was in the world of Web 2.0. This week: Google’s AutoLinks feature, IE7, NY Times buys About.com, more Big Media blogging coverage, Bloglines hacks.AutoLinks and AnnotationEver since Google made it big, many people have been looking for a chance to pin the‘evil’ label on them – especially as one of their company philosophies is to‘do no evil’. This week some folks pounced on Google for adding an AutoLink feature to its GoogleToolbar. The issue? It has similarities to a controversial old Microsoft featurecalled SmartTags. According to Google, AutoLink is this:“The online review of a great new restaurant has the place’s address but no map. Youcould type the restaurant’s street, city, and ZIP code into the search box, but whybother, when clicking the Toolbar’s AutoLink button will automatically create a link toan online map (US addresses only)? AutoLink can also link package tracking numbers todelivery status, VIN numbers (US) to vehicle history, and publication ISBN numbers toAmazon.com listings.”What’s getting folks riled up is that AutoLinks enables Google to create links totheir own content, using your webpage as the context. According to CNet News:“…trademark attorneys and security experts say that AutoLink could face problems,because Google modifies the underlying HTML of a Web page to deliver the addedlinks.”There’s a beauty of a conspiracy theory attached to this too. Slashdot explains:“Jeff Reynar – was the lead SmartTag Program Manager while at MS and is reportedly nowa Google Product Manager who’s being credited as AutoLink’s creator.”The most interesting thing about this for me is the annotation angle.Annotation has long been a desired feature for web browsers – e.g. the W3C’sbrowser/editor Amaya has extensive annotationfeatures. Anil Dashis one person keen on annotation in this manner – he suggested on his blog (also quoted by CNet) that “once your HTML page gets to my machine, it’s mine to rip, mix andburn.”.Is That IE7 In Your Pocket, Or Are You Just Pleased To See Me?Speaking of browsers… the much anticipated Internet Explorer 7 was announced by Microsoftthis week. Only trouble is, there’s little evidence of innovation. The upgradeseems to be mostly about improved security. Also the beta IE7 won’t be available until“this summer” (US summer that is). So, like, what’s to get excited about? Or as Imentioned in Scoble’s commentssection: “What, no read/write browser? No RSS aggregation? Where’s the innovation,c’mon…”To be fair, maybe there will be some innovation in the backend – as Jeremy Wrightsuggests. But I’d like to see some real ground broken, for a change…NY Times Buys About.com – Gains Web 2.0 Street CredThe New York Times announced they will buy About.com for$410 million. There was a great meme going round the week leading up this: About.comrepresents blogging 1.0, whereas the likes of weblogsinc and Gawker are blogging 2.0. Mytake on that theory ishere. Nevertheless lots of people think the NY Times deal was a good one for the venerable newspaper. Mypicks for in-depth analysis: SusanMernit, paidcontent.org(plus audiointerview), VC FredWilson, John Battelle(great headline too! “About The New York Times: Deep Into Web 2.0 Now”), JayRosen, NY Times article.Key Quotes:MartinNisenholtz, CEO of New York Times Digital: “The model we’ve acquired is a web 2.0model; it’s not a centralized model, it’s a decentralized model where the content iscreated by passionate individuals who have a competency and a desire to reach the publicand that scales into many, many categories and it scales potentiallygeographically.”(emphasis mine)Fred Wilson nailsit: “If the content that is created on the edges starts to show up in the middle and thecontent that is created in the middle starts to show up on the edges, that will be a bigdeal.”John Battelle: “I thinkmicrocontent is key to winning in the Web 2.0 publishing world.” [and] “As Martin told mewhen I pinged him after the deal: ‘We’re deep into Web 2.0 now.’”JayRosen: “The second life of content, made possible by search, is of criticalimportance to journalists whose work is on the Web. (That’s almost all journalists.)”Big Media Blogging Coverage – Chicken Bloggers OutedAhhh, a warm fuzzies AssociatedPress article about SixApart: “The couple’s odd chemistry cooked up Six Apart Ltd., astartup that has helped popularize the “blogging” craze, with millions of peopleworldwide maintaining online personal journals that dissect everything from politics topoultry.” Poultry??In other news Weblogs Inc was named as one ofBusinessWeek’s FiveNet Names to Watch in ’05, which founder Jason Calacanis wasobviously chuffed about.Commenting on the above two stories, Slashdot notes: “Business Press Pays Attention To Blog Industry”.Techy Web 2.0 HighlightsRather than a single techy post, it was two bits of Web 2.0 hackery that caught myattention this week. Firstly, Erik Bensonmanaged to convert his entire weblog into a Bloglines API-powered site:“I made a folder in Bloglines that has all of the RSS feeds around the web that havestuff that I’ve written/done. Then I used the Bloglines Web Service to get an aggregated,normalized feed of all my content in one stream…”He explainshow he did it in a later post (nb: I noted in the comments that it’d be cool to makethis available to us non-programmers via an easy-to-use web service).Speaking of Bloglines (which I nearly always doin these weekly wrap-ups), Joshua Tyler has created a neat app called Chameleon, built using the BloglinesWeb Services. It’s basically an alternative interface to Bloglines and has some niftypersonalization features, such as keeping track of “which feeds you read, how often, andwhen”. I’ve had a play round with it and it’s a great example of value-add using a publicly available API.SummaryThat’s it for another week. As always, I value your feedback. Please leave a commentor send me an email at readwriteweb AT gmail DOT com. 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