Google-Pyra Deal

NYTimes has an interesting article on the Google-Pyra deal, stating that one of the objectives may be to ensure Google’s links get updated faster, increasing their “freshness”.

In fact, Google could set up a simple service wherein, like weblogs.com, sites ping it when they are updated, thus notifying Google when to do its botting.

One thing the deal has done is to push blogging into a bit more mainstream consciousness, which can only be good for the bloggers.

Another interesting discussion is by Ross Mayfield, who writes about “Bloogle’s Annotated Web”.

Browsers on Cellphones

Rafe Needleman writes about Opera in his article aboutthe new generation of web browsers. He provides the wider perspective of how the action is moving to devices like cellphones.

The PC was where the action was in 1996, but it’s not where it is today. Today the most interesting technological developments are happening in game consoles, handhelds, and cell phones. That’s also where the money is: Some 400 million cell phones are sold worldwide each year, yet only 137 million PCs will be sold in 2003, according to Gartner. What’s more, only a miniscule percentage of the cellular-capable devices currently available (mobile phones and cellular PDAs) run a Microsoft operating system.

It’s true that, at the moment, a Web browser isn’t critical software for a cell phone — not the way it is for a PC. People talk on their phones, send text messages, and, increasingly, retrieve e-mail, play games, and take pictures. None of these applications requires a Web browser. Yet the browser opened the door to a new kind of commerce on PCs, and it could do the same on mobile devices.

The game here is also more interesting than it was on the PC, because of the way cell-phone software is distributed. Wireless carriers ship their phones with pre-installed software, for the most part, and support software can be downloaded only from their own cellular portals, which means that users are unlikely to seek out new browser programs for their handsets.

BlogStreet Top Books

Continuing with our new features addition on BlogStreet, we now have Top Books.

Imagine if you could walk around the world unobserved and snoop into what people are reading and talking about…Now you can. BlogStreet’s Top Books features the Top 20 books in the blog world for the week gone by. Rank and popularity is based on the number of links to the Amazon online bookstore.

The current top 5 books:
1. Pattern Recognition
2. The Threatening Storm
3. Fast-Food Nation
4. What Liberal Media?
5. Smart Mobs

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Blogging and Journalism

Dave Winer, as quoted in a News.com interview on the impact blogs are having on journalism and how we get news:

People now get the information from each other and for each other using Web logs. There are still professional journalists writing, but a lot less. Web logs are journalism. Have they had a big impact? Absolutely. When a big story hits, I don’t necessarily trust the professional journalists to tell me what’s going on. If I can get the Web logs from the people who were actually involved, I’ll take that.

The typical news article consists of quotes from interviews and a little bit of connective stuff and some facts, or whatever. Mostly it’s quotes from people. If I can get the quotes with no middleman in between–what exactly did CNN add to all the pictures? Maybe they earned their salaries a little bit, but Web logs have become journalism, and it’s much richer. Journalism is a high calling, but it’s really no more than points of view on what’s taking place. I think the pros are going to use this tech, and they are doing it more and more.

TECH TALK: RSS, Blogs and Beyond: RSS and News Readers (Part 2)

JD Lasica has more on RSS and News Readers:

Instead of the hunt and peck of Web surfing, you can download or buy a small program that turns your computer into a voracious media hub, letting you snag headlines and news updates as if you were commanding the anchor desk at CNN.

The programs, which are just now moving out of the techie world into the mainstream, come in a variety of shapes and flavors: Newzcrawler (PC), AmphetaDesk (cross-platform), Radio Userland (PC or Mac), NetNewsWire (Mac), and others. Look beneath the hood and they’re all powered by XML, a souped-up form of HTML. The programs check each site to see if they contain RSS tags, a set of HTML-like instructions for sharing news.

Here’s how it works. You fire up one of the news readers (also called news aggregators), subscribe to certain sites from a directory of thousands of choices say, BBC Online, ESPN, Salon, the Chippewa (Wis.) Herald and Bangkok News and bingo, you’re in business. Whenever you sign on, a directory pane lets you see the most recent updates for each channel you’ve subscribed to. Within each channel you’ll typically see a half dozen headlines and perhaps a summary, the entire item, and occasionally an accompanying photo. Want to dive in further? Click on a link and you’re transported directly to the source’s Web site. Some programs run through a Web browser, others through a standalone program. Most are free.

From the same article comes a quote on the future of RSS:

Shayne Bowman, a freelance journalist and designer, makes two predictions: “I think that RSS feeds will start replacing e-mail newsletters because they do a better job of providing structure and a more efficient means of parsing through data.” And he sees revenue possibilities here. “RSS could be a great way of distributing and reading classified ad information, customized to the user’s preferences.”

RSS and News Readers are not restricted to just news sites and weblogs. Any information that can be represented using the RSS format can be made available as a feed for subscription. For example, consider stock quotes and cricket scores. Both have rapidly changing information. Today, to just check a few bytes of information we download 100-1000 times the useful content (the page graphics and ads). In fact, when cricket matches are on like now, with the World Cup it is very difficult to access most websites because of the huge volume of traffic. This is where having an RSS feed could make a difference – users could subscribe to it to get the latest information, saving bandwidth for everyone.

Another area where RSS could be extended is for enterprise events. Databases could provide updates in the form of an RSS feed. Users could subscribe to feeds which provide alerts on inventory levels, accounting information or customer support calls.

I believe that RSS and News Readers can be disruptive when it comes to accessing information. Ponder this comment by Jon Udell: Inbound RSS feeds needn’t be only internal or external weblogs. They can also deliver customer feedback, system status reports, business intelligence — you name it. And the output needn’t be a weblog….Think of it, instead, as an internal [knowledge blog, or k-log] that selectively exposes team activity to the larger organization.

Tomorrow: Blogs

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