Google’s Next Act

WSJ writes that for a soaring Google, the next act will not be as easy.

There are growing signs that Google is finished with the easy stuff. Its attempts to search other information — starting with books, TV and scholarly works — promise to be more costly and time-consuming than the simple Web searches that propelled its first years of growth.

For starters, what Google wants to do will be more labor-intensive. Its Web searches have been mostly automated, keeping staffing down and profit margins fat. Now it may have to undertake the costly conversion of older TV programs and other material into digital form, although new material is increasingly available digitally. It has already begun employing humans to screen content such as video for objectionable material.

More problematic is the issue of copyrights. As Google moves onto turf where companies are more protective of their intellectual property, it faces the prospect of getting sued or slogging through negotiations with thousands of rights holders.

MSN Inside Story

Paul Thurrott writes: “Here is the story of MSN’s rebirth as an Internet services powerhouse. In part one, I quickly examine the convoluted history of MSN, which has been repurposed and re-imagined repeatedly during its decade-long life. In part two, you’ll learn about the internal reorganization that finally put the division on the right path, the new customer-centric mantra that drives all of its product development, and its historic decision to take on Google in search. In part three, I’ll examine MSN’s other services, including MSN Messenger, MSN Spaces, and MSN Music, and Hotmail.” [1 2 3]

Technologies of Cooperation

The Feature has an article by Howard Rheingold who has co-authored a report and visual map of technologies of co-operation.

Although we report about technologies, the power of these tools derives from the social practices they amplify — specifically the ways people, machines and institutions can cooperate. These emerging digital technologies present new opportunities to change the way people work together to solve problems and generate wealth. Central to this class of cooperation-amplifying technologies are eight key clusters, each with distinctive contributions to scientific, economic, social and political forms of collective action:

Group-forming networks support the emergence of self-organized subgroups within a large-scale network, creating exponential growth of the network and shortening the social distance among members of the network.

Social software makes explicit, amplifies and extends many of the informal cooperative structures and processes that have evolved as part of human culture, providing the tools and awareness to guide people in intelligently constructing and managing these processes to specific ends.