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TECH TALK: Random Musings (Part 3)

September 24th, 2003 · No Comments

Skype and Friendster

The two services which are creating plenty of buzz have one thing in common: contact. Both Skype and Friendster connect people. Skype is a P2P telephony service, which is seeing rapid growth in downloads and usage since its recent match. Friendster represents a breed of new social networking software built around the six degrees of separation between people. It will be interesting to see how these services shape up and evolve. The business model for both is not yet clear.

In both cases, bloggers have played their role in helping promote the services. We are living in a world now where lots of individuals can create for rapid viral marketing based on their own personal decisions.

Search and Beyond

Search was one of the first things we did on the Internet with Yahoo, Altavista, Lycos and Excite. And then suddenly, search became cold. It no longer seemed to be the most important thing. Until Google came along and made search relevant an excellent example of how technology can breathe life into something. Now, search is again at the heart of the browsing experience. Little wonder then that the battelines are drawn with Microsoft throwing its brightest along with the bucks to take on Google.

I think that the entire search process is still in its early days. Theres a lot which can be done to improve on the process. I keep thinking about the Memex, and how one can build it. There is a need for a personal knowledge management system which learns. This is also linked with the thoughts expressed by Ben Shneiderman in his book, Leonardos Laptop. The one statement that keeps coming back it is time to stop thinking about what computers can do, but what users can do. This is the thinking that is likely to be at the heart of many of the innovations we are going to see in the coming years.

Sun and Network Computing

Last week, Sun launched its Java Enterprise System and Java Desktop System. Sun wants to be the Dell of software. Pricing its software at a fixed price per employee (USD 100 and USD 50 respectively for the two solutions) and providing for planned upgrades, Sun is looking to bring about a shift in its business model. It is hard to say if it will succeed. I wish they had launched these products not in the US, but in one of the worlds developing countries and at lower price points. What Sun is offering is a disruptive innovation in the world of software. The users are going to be the new users, and not necessarily the existing users. Sun has the right ideas (a single server to do it all, server-centric computing, open-source software on the desktops), but is applying them to the wrong markets.

Tomorrow: Random Musings (continued)


TECH TALK Random Musings+T

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