P2P as Killer Broadband App

Om Malik writes about a talk he had with Andrew Parker, chief technology officer of Cambridge, UK-based CacheLogic:

Parker was in town promoting his report on the state of P2P nation, and a new service called Streamsight monitoring network, that would be an array of CacheLogic appliances spread worldwide, that will collect information on the type of network traffic, which will then be available to carriers worldwide to get a better idea about whats flowing on their pipes. Parker, a reserved Englishman on best of days was sluggish because of a pesky wisdom tooth that has been taking its time coming out of hiding. Despite the pain, we got into a spirited discussion, and came to a not-so-pleasant conclusion: P2P is driving consumer broadband demand.. and broadband is driving P2P uptake.

Parker told me that many television and old line television companies are experimenting with P2P technologies for video distribution. BBC and Sky are the most public about their plans, but there are others who are looking to use P2P to get more viewers for their content. I think on a more longer term, this is an interesting situation and brings up some niggling questions about Silicon Valleys concept of the moment: The Long Tail. I guess, as niche content finds it footing, one has to wonder who is really footing the bill for the distribution.

Impact Media

Fred Wilson writes:

For the past 50 years, the media equation has most often been solved for the largest audience.

That is changing and its happening pretty quickly, brought on largely by digital media.

I think the media equation is going to get solved for attention, passion, relevance, and meaning going forward.

I need a good word for the combination of all of those metrics, but for now I am going to use impact.

37Signals

Salon writes:

37 Signals is named after the number of radio waves we’ve received from space that scientists consider potential signals of intelligent life. Its creators build the kind of applications you didn’t know you needed until you use them for the first time, at which point you wonder how you ever did without. Last year the company created Basecamp, a Web-based project-management tool unlike any project-management tool before it. If you’ve got a many-person task to do — any big project, from redecorating your house to redesigning your home page, planning your wedding to planning your wake — Basecamp gives all participants a central spot on the Web in which to plan and discuss the endeavor. The software has been adopted by hundreds of advertising firms, law firms, Web designers and book publishers.

More recently, 37 Signals launched Backpack, a program that does just what its name suggests — it gives users an easy, casual storage location on the Web, a place to scratch down important notes, draw up to-do lists, and store important files organized around specific tasks (say, all the stuff you need for a business trip). The Wall Street Journal has praised Backpack as the best tool of its kind, and perhaps more important, bloggers have been jumping for joy over it. Lifehacker, a blog that offers tips to help keep your life in order, calls the software “a perfect online replacement (or supplement) to that fancy notebook you’ve been scribbling in.”

Basecamp and Backpack represent the future of software on the Web not just because they’re elegant, easy-to-use programs that will likely make your life better. The two applications are also interesting because they were created in a novel way, using a new programming model that allowed 37 Signals to build each program very quickly, and with very few people. Indeed, this method of creating applications — doing it fast and on a tight budget — might well be called 37 Signal’s animating philosophy, its central mission.

TECH TALK: Internet Tea Leaves: Googles Googlies

August saw four announcements from Google, which set off a flurry of speculation and discussion. It announced the acquisition of Android, a start-up working in the mobile space. It then said that it is planning to raise $4 billion in a secondary offering to add to its $3 billion cash. It launched Google Desktop (version 2) and Google Talk last week. The Google Desktop comes with a sidebar takes up screen real estate on the desktop and provides a view of items of interest to users, automatically learning about the user. Google Talk is the companys foray into instant messaging and broader person-to-person communications.

Business Week summarised it as follows: Talk about ambition. Google appears to be contemplating forays into everything from Wi-Fi Internet access and mobile devices to operating systems and e-commerce.

The New York Times led the chorus of dreamers:

A Google-branded smart phone has long been a personal pet project of Page, and this year Google invested $2 million in a project by Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the MIT Media Laboratory, to develop a $100 wireless laptop. The smart-phone idea would be a way to extend Google’s reach and give it a more extensive connection with its users by offering Google on a multipurpose mobile device.

Google has also attracted wide attention in other communications fields, both with its purchase of fiber optic cable capacity and with several quiet moves it has made in experimenting in wireless technologiesThe idea that Google might try to build an independent national Wi-Fi network has been discussed, but network industry specialists say such an idea is far-fetched.

Another article added: Google has already added free e-mail, mapping, news aggregation, and digital-photo management to its offerings, bringing it into competition in each case with two or more rivals. On Wednesday, it announced the introduction of an instant-messaging system. And its plans for a new stock issue are fueling speculation that it is preparing to enter any number of other markets, from services for mobile phone users to an online payment service that would compete with PayPalAdd to that list an Internet-based phone system and several products that would be directly aimed at Microsoft, including a Google browser and a software offering that would compete with Microsoft Office.

So, even as the China events were being digested, Google turned on the heat on its rivals with its offerings. What is Google up to? What is the companys masterplan? In reading about what people have to say, we can get a good idea of the future of the Internet in its next decade. From the Indian Internet point of view, the two Chinese events will have greater importance. But from the overall evolution of the Internet, what Google can and will do will perhaps be more far-reaching.

So, as August gives way to September and the rains slowly ebb away in Mumbai, well start a journey looking first at what the talk of the [global] town is around Google, and then put that thinking in context around what it means for us in India.

Tomorrow: The Metaphor

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