Phones as Multmedia Clients

Ramesh Jain writes:

People started realizing that mobile phones are becoming very powerful and are likely to become a dominant device for CCC ( communication, computing and content). Computing people got into action and now you have started seeing increasing number of computer like phones appear in market. These devices even have full keyboards for interfacing with Internet and for e-mail. What is equally interesting is that these devices are suppose to be used for browsing Internet, in addition to regularly getting your e-mail, and getting even documents on these devices. I have nothing against people using inappropriate devices in some situation like using a knife as a screwdriver – so we should not be surprised about people trying to use phones for accessing their e-mail. In general, however, a phone is a poor substitute for a lap top computer. But more and more phones are taking exactly the form of a laptop. Just try putting a modern phone, particularly the clam models, next to a laptop and you will see that the phone is nothing but a smaller version of a laptop.

Google’s Long Tail

Chris Anderson writes:

What Google has done is to find and monetize the Long Tails of both advertisers and publishers. These include millions of small companies and individuals who may never have advertised before, at least not nationally. They were considered sub-scale–too small to be worth a call or visit from an ad salesperson, possible too small to even think of themselves as an advertiser at all. But Google ads are self-service, cheap, and performance based (pay-per-click), which all combine to dramatically lower the barrier to entry.

Matching these advertisers are hundreds of thousands of previously sub-scale “publishers”, from blogs to niche commercial sites. Most are too small to have their own ad sales business, but they can now run relevant Google ads by just adding a few lines of HTML to their site. About half of Google’s business now comes from such “partners”, rather than from ads sold against search results themselves.

Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO, explained how these millions of small-to-midsized customers represent a huge new Long Tail ad market. “The surprising thing about The Long Tail is just how long the tail is, and how many businesses haven’t been served by traditional advertising sales,” he said. Google now has revenues of more than $1 billion a quarter, a least half of which is made up of Long Tail advertisers by this definition. This is, needless to say, just a glimpse of what’s still to come.

Enterprise RSS

Charlie Wood writes: “By fitting the sources of information in the enterprise — both people and automated systems — into a common network with ubiquitous clients, you unlock a lot of power. That happened with email and the web. By adding machine-readability, subscriptions, and notifications to that network, you unlock a lot more power. That’s what I see happening with RSS.”

US Health Industry Under Pressure to Computerize

The New York Times writes:

Across the ideological spectrum, health care experts and politicians agree that the nation’s hodgepodge of paper medical files needs to move into the digital era, so that eventually each person has an electronic health record that can travel across networks and be read by doctors, hospitals, insurers and the patients themselves. Doing so, the thinking goes, would reduce medical errors, improve health care and save money.

By now, the need to computerize a health care system that is choking on paper is beyond dispute. Health experts say that moving to electronic records, which would reduce paper handling and eliminate unnecessary or duplicative tests, could cut 10 percent or more from the nation’s $1.7 trillion a year in health care spending. And a digital system should sharply reduce medical errors, which are estimated to be responsible for 45,000 to 98,000 deaths a year – more than breast cancer, AIDS or motor vehicle accidents, according to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

The electronic patient records could also open the door to a national health information network in which patient information, stripped of personal identification, could be used for national health research projects, impartial assessments of drugs’ effectiveness and other data-mining possibilities.

Search Feeds

Mary Hodder writes about her reaqding habits have changed:

…about a year ago, I started adding Technorati watchlists, as well as Feedster and Pubsub search feeds, and, Furl and flickr feeds on tags, and looking up terms on Blogpulse and Bloglines, to see who linked to my blog, wrote about key words I cared about or were on a topic, project or company I was tracking. Sometime last summer, I realized that more than half my 300+ feeds were search feeds — key words, URLs and in some cases other focusing information like say, the middle 50% of bloggers based upon inbound links. I would put these search criteria into any one of these services, on myself and my blogs, topics and people I’m interested in, companies and institutions I work for, and that I most often went to read those first. If I were working on something, I’d read the 20 or so search feeds that matter, maybe one or two bloggers that matter… and later go back and read the rest of my RSS feeds for more general use.

Then, after a while, I started reading all the search feeds first, and a few blogger’s feeds, but the rest of the single blog feeds have become less important. Often, I see those blogger’s (whose single feeds I subcribe to) posts in my search feeds, because they do blog on those topics I care about, though not all their posts are on those topics fit those search criteria. With a finite amount of time, increasingly defined information needs, and a desire to raise the signal to noise ratio, I rely more heavily on the search feeds, than other traditional RSS feeds that send me a single blog’s or legacy news feed.

TECH TALK: The Future of Search: Perspectives (Part 2)

Scientific American writes:

New search engines are improving the quality of results by delving deeper into the storehouse of materials available online, by sorting and presenting those results better, and by tracking your long-term interests so that they can refine their handling of new information requests. In the future, search engines will broaden content horizons as well, doing more than simply processing keyword queries typed into a text box. They will be able to automatically take into account your location–letting your wireless PDA, for instance, pinpoint the nearest restaurant when you are traveling. New systems will also find just the right picture faster by matching your sketches to similar shapes. They will even be able to name that half-remembered tune if you hum a few bars.

Future search services will not be restricted to conventional computing platforms. Engineers have already integrated them into some automotive mobile data communications (telematics) systems, and it is likely they will also embed search capabilities into entertainment equipment such as game stations, televisions and high-end stereo systems. Thus, search technologies will play unseen ancillary roles, often via intelligent Web services, in activities such as driving vehicles, listening to music and designing products.

Another big change in Web searching will revolve around new business deals that greatly expand the online coverage of the huge amount of published materials, including text, video and audio, that computer users cannot currently access.

Ironically, next-generation search technologies will become both more and less visible as they perform their increasingly sophisticated jobsEventually it will be difficult for computer users to determine where searching starts and understanding begins.

Charles Ferguson in Technology Review: Until now, competition in the search industry has been limited to the Web and has been conducted algorithm by algorithm, feature by feature, and site by site. This competition has resulted in a Google and Yahoo duopoly. If nothing were to change, the growth of Microsofts search business would only create a broader oligopoly, similar, perhaps, to those in other media markets. But the search industry will soon serve more than just a Web-based consumer market. It will also include an industrial market for enterprise software products and services, a mass market for personal productivity and communications software, and software and services for a sea of new consumer devices. Search tools will comb through not only Microsoft Office and PDF documents, but also e-mail, instant messages, music, and images; with the spread of voice recognition, Internet telephony, and broadband, it will also be possible to index and search telephone conversations, voice mail, and video filesAll these new search products and services will have to work with each other and with many other systems. This, in turn, will require standards.

Tomorrow: Perspectives (continued)

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