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TECH TALK: India.com 2.0: The New Information Platform (Part 2)

January 22nd, 2004 · No Comments

The New Information Platform consists of:

  • Publishers: These can be news websites, corporate websites or weblogs. Each of them needs to put out an RSS feed. If they do not, then an RSS-ifier needs to take the content being updated and make it into an RSS feed. When content is updated, the Cloud needs to be notified.

  • Cloud: This manages information on the subscriptions of RSS feeds that users have, and when Publishers update their RSS feeds. Users who have subscribed to an RSS feed need to be notified when a feed has been updated.

  • Info Store: A users personal aggregator, which fetches the RSS feed when notified by the Cloud, and applies the appropriate filters and rules set by the user for notifications.

  • Subscribers: The users, who set up subscriptions on the sites they want to receive updates from. The Info Store manages the content received and arranges for it to be delivered to the users.

  • RSS Viewers: This is how users view the feeds that they receive. RSS viewers could be built into web browsers, integrated with email clients, or can be special applications on PCs and cellphones.

  • Weblogs: These are writing systems that can automatically generate RSS. Alternately, RSS feeds can be aggregated together to create weblogs. They can be publicly available, set up for private use, or be limited to groups.

    Creating the New Information Platform requires co-ordinating various entities. Information publishers need to be convinced of the need to add RSS to their websites, users need to be convinced to start using RSS viewers, service providers need to offer the Cloud services. All of these activities need to happen in parallel for a positive feedback loop to happen in terms of adoption. The challenge lies in bootstrapping the process.

    Luckily, much of this has already been happening in the world of weblogs. What is now needed is to take these ideas and apply them to the mainstream world of Indian content. There is very little legacy, so it should be possible to speed up a change in the way users consume content.

    In fact, Indian portals have little choice but to think of disruptive innovations which can help build out the new information ecosystem. Google looms as the ultimate competitor, offering a platform for small advertisers to connect to those who use the search engine. Google has shown that is it possible to create microcontent (its search results) which can be targeted to lots of small advertisers paying micromoney (a few cents per click). Unless the Indian portals think creatively, they will realise that the advertising revenues which will increase in the coming years will no longer be theirs when the time for monetisation comes.

    There are three ideas built around the New Information Platform which can help them counter-attack and launch the next generation of activity in the Internet space: NINE, PIN and STIM.

    Tomorrow: Three India Portal Ideas


    TECH TALK India.com+T

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