Samung is the New Sony

The New York Times writes:

Samsung has become what Sony could once claim – the competitor with both the breadth of products and the appeal of a premium brand.

This rapid reversal of fortunes illustrates the highly competitive world of consumer electronics that Sir Howard, a media man, is entering. Complacency and coasting on best-selling products have contributed to a nearly 75 percent decline in Sony’s stock value since its March 1, 2000, peak. The invincible “factory of ideas” founded almost six decades ago by Akio Morita, the company that brought the world the transistor radio, the Walkman and the Trinitron television tube, seems to have lost its way.

“Samsung is now the anti-Sony,” George Gilder, an American technology analyst, said here Wednesday. “Sony is layered with bureaucracy. The amazing thing about Samsung is that it is like Apple with Steve Jobs involved in designing the iPod, it is like Sony with Morita deeply involved in developing products.”

A9 and Small Businesses

[via Andy Beal] Clickz has an interview with Amazon.com’s Barnaby Dorfman, VP of A9.

We’re encouraging businesses to provide information to us. The yellow pages industry has a problem of data becoming stale. We’ve created an interface that allows businesses to visit the site and update that information directly on the site. In addition to making changes, they can add a link to their site. Businesses can also upload their own images, pictures of the menu, marketing collateral, whatever they want.

With the click-to-call service, consumers can either talk using their PC or we can do a third party call. It’s all about reducing the friction.

We need a similar service for India.

Personalised Search

Kshitij Chandan writes:

1. ID Mechanism:
Yahoo made it infamous! One ID, many services. Convergence play, carry your settings wherever you go. The next search engine’s personalized configurations for a user should be transportable and ID mechanism is the only way I currently feel can achieve this. So like Amazon’s a9 search. Log on and keep your settings active. Yahoo and MSN are just a step away from this, Google has to start IDs soon. Well seems like it already has maybe.

2. Search history and Drill down searches:
This may sound already ‘in the fray” to many. Search within results is already done by many right? Well that is just the basic of what I have in mind. Data has to be classified into many verticals by the search engine itself and along with the initial search results, give the users options of how they can be filtered out or grouped. Like a search on an artist might throw up groupings based on Shopping for albums, Searching for Lyrics, Fan sites, Chronological grouping etc. Filters might be site based, country based or even Page Rank based where Page Ranks are influenced by the user too e.g. I treat CNET’s articles as highly important/informative etc. After the user gets into a group, provide a drill down. Grouping on chronology might be further drilled downed and wrapped up as Decade-Year-Month-Week-Day. Groupings on Shopping might be further classified on particular vendors, geographical locations etc. Also search history to go back and forth and ofcourse the famous – “I saw that link yesterday, now I dont remember the search string”. Bookmarking is also useful.

3. RSS feeds and AI:
Blog generate loads of content. While users may often subscribe to many, why not provide a way for them to use your search engine to read them. The latest from their subscriptions, filtering for them might be good services. Also classifying the huge data (not how the blogger classifies it) requires great AI. Topix is a start. Further down one might keep track of the likes and dislikes of a user (perhaps by pages rated by them or content filtered out by them) might be useful to classify/auto filter data relevent for the user. AI is the basis of future classification and the less the user has to do to make it work, the better the AI algorithm used.

4. Desktop not the only market.
Almost all users have WAP browsers in their cells and with Java getting embedded, users use them more n more for entertainment stuff. If the WAP world is targetted by the biggies, customers will search while on the go, and those searches would normally very high localized, personalized, quickly delivered content. Also unlike the desktop, people may be even willing to pay for mobile searches, something they are already doing for games/ringtones/WAP access.

Annotating the Planet

Jon Udell writes:

In the very near future, billions of people will be roaming the planet with GPS devices. Clouds of network connectivity are forming over our major cities and will inevitably coalesce. The geoaware Web isn’t a product we buy; it’s an environment we colonize. There will always be markets for proprietary data. But the real action will be in empowering people to create their own services, with their own data, for their friends, family, and business associates. Google Maps isn’t just a service, it’s a service factory.

Radical openness is the key. It’s been only two weeks since it launched and already the colonization has begun. Thanks to open XML data formats and open Web programming interfaces, people have figured out how to animate routes, create custom routes with their own GPS data, and display GPS data in real time.

What’s Google’s secret? Web DNA and no Windows tax.

When the world becomes a 3D bulletin board, anyone can post a message to a latitude/longitude/elevation coordinate, and anyone else can read it. But the most interesting scenario involves the sender and receiver actually being at the location, albeit at different times. Here’s a mundane example. You’re in the woods, you see a bear, you report it. Conversely, you’re in the woods, and you check your immediate surroundings for recent bear sightings. There are zillions of scenarios like this one. Individually none is a killer app. But collectively they’re huge.

TECH TALK: The Future of Search: Events

The Reference Web is built on the work of others. The other three Webs (Incremental, Archived and Community) is built by us. The Reference Web is a database of all that has happened (and been published). The other Webs are a snapshot of whats happening more of a real-time datastream rather than a database, more here and now than then and there.

The Reference Web is like the ocean of information that is out there. It is free like oxygen. The other Webs are the oxygen of our personal and social lives. The Reference Web, like oxygen, is a pre-requisite for life and something we take for granted. It is the body of knowledge that has been created over the centuries. The other Webs are necessary for living for making life worthwhile. It is being created continuously by us and our interactions with the world around us. The Reference Web is about information. The other Webs are about Events, Insights and Experience.

Ramesh Jain outlined the ideas of the Event Web in an interview with Gartner:

It started to become more and more clear that because of Gutenberg’s revolution, systems designers generally think in terms of alpha-numeric information, but in our lives, there are lots of different data sources – audio, visual, tactile. So if you can explore and find the information you are looking for on your own terms, combining audio, video and other elements, that’s experiential computing.

What if you put events on the Web? That means that in place of writing an article about our meeting here and posting it to a page on the Web, we start by placing multiple cameras here, along with some other sensors, and you put the recording on the Web so that people can explore this conversation in the same way as the football game I described. So that at any time they could experience what you and I are doing, see how we are doing it, choose their perspective. So this is the concept that I’m trying to advance. It requires very interesting technological challenges because each search that is done becomes different. Time becomes the most important factor because you are more interested in what’s going on right now, or what happened in the near past, etc…In Event Web, the focus is, in place of a document about it, the event itself. Documents provide you information. Event Web gives you the experience.

The idea of events has been championed by Tibcos Vivek Ranadive for enterprises. Om Malik wrote about Ranadives ideas a few years ago: Vivek real-time Ranadive could just be the Peter Drucker of the 21st century. While Mr. Drucker and later Tom Peters management principles helped reform the global business landscape, Mr. Ranadive is preaching a new technology mantra – real-time computing – that promises to revolutionize the way global giants conduct commerceHe sees a world which imitates the NASDAQ stock exchange like the traders responding to the events like demand for certain shares, or stocks movement to news related to a particular company, say for example Juniper Networks. He believes that companies should be responding to the changing chaos of business today in such a manner as well. New information about bloated inventories should result in real-time discounts on products or special offers to customers. Mr. Ranadive describes this as zero-lag, cash-to-cash business, where the time delay between cash spent on producing goods, and the cash received from customers is nearly zero.

A series of developments in the recent past now has the potential to bring the event-driven, publish-subscribe world to our lives.

Next Week: The Future of Search (continued)

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