You are not about to send fewer email messages, watch fewer movies, or download fewer songs. Demand is unceasing. It is up to us to meet it.
The majority of the world will first experience the Internet through their mobile phones. In round numbers, there were a billion wireless devices sold last year and around 100 million PCs. The odds are much higher that you’ll watch broadcast-broadband content on your phone than on your PC.
Simplicity changes the world. Convenience is a force multiplier.
Chris Anderson writes about a conversation with Bram Cohen, the inventor of BitTorrent:
Unlike music and movies, where the industry is terrified of piracy and lost revenues, TV could easily use P2P to extend its “free-to-air” ad-driven business model.
The logic goes like this:
1. Most TV is already free, so nothing is being “stolen” in file-trading.
2. Most television content owners want to reach more viewers for their advertisers.
3. One way to do that is via more distribution, which is expensive in broadcast
4. BitTorrent provides distribution for free
So if there were a way to let the content circulate on the P2P networks with advertising intact, this would seem like a Good Thing for all involved.
There are, however, another four reasons why this isn’t quite as neat a fit for the networks as it appears at first glance.
“We are not about being snobby – we just want everyone to be compatible,” said Erik Wachtmeister, founder of the site, www.aSmallWorld.net. “Our members are people with large personal networks, frequent travel and highly active socially.”
“In traveling extensively to the world’s social hot spots for many years, I realized there was a community of global nomads who hang out together,” he said. “I decided to make a business out of helping them meet and find solutions to their common problems.”
Those problems, judging from postings on the Web site last week, are not like those found in your average tech-heavy chat room. One member posted a query for the best tailor in Hong Kong; another query, about traveling from Paris to Monaco, prompted telephone numbers for helicopter services from the airport; and one posting revealed how to circumvent the Cuban embargo in New York: “There’s a cigar store right in front of Cipriani downtown. It has the biggest selection of Cuban cigars, but it’s very hush-hush.”
Unlike other social networks, aSmallWorld, which says it has 75,000 members, allows them to interact with people in a purely social context, according to some who have joined.
Joi Ito adds:
Idea behind the site is that there is a group of interconnected people around the world who have similar interests, concerns and problems. These people are wealthy, well-traveled and well-educated. They smallworld is the invitation-only community for these people.
Could gated communities grow more common on the Internet?
Counterintuitive for an open medium, but it does allow creation of self-selected target groups for advertisers, kind of like luxury magazines. Could almost be seen as the next generation of online publication.
MercuryNews talks to John Battelle as his book releases.
Battelle’s highly anticipated book, “The Search,” will hit bookstores Sept. 12. He chronicles the history of Internet searching, documents the rise of Google and ruminates on the future of searching and its implications for society.
Battelle concludes in his book that the growth of Internet searching has profound implications, as search engines amass ever-expanding and permanent records of society’s mouse-clicks — our “desires, needs, wants and preferences.”
Unexpectedly for him, Battelle’s book ended up being mostly about Google, the Mountain View company that has enthralled the tech and financial worlds and is expanding into seemingly every aspect of online life.
He reveals the company’s internal hand-wringing over doing business in China, and Chief Executive Eric Schmidt’s realization — after years in the valley — that winning is often more important than being nice.
n his book on Internet searching, he envisions the day when most things of value will carry electronic chips tied to a searchable index of some kind. You’ll be able to use Google (or the equivalent) to locate just about anything you want, he says, “your dog, your kid, your purse, your cell phone, your car.”
“We are going to get to the point where, if it can be found, it will be found through this infrastructure of search,” Battelle says. “The search infrastructure allows for the connection to be made between the physical object and the question in your mind.”
NYTimes writes: “In the new suite of programs, called Microsoft Dynamics, the company will include features for some 50 business tasks and incorporate new technology, which has been in development for the last few years under the code-name Project Green.”
Robert Cringely differed from many and wrote that Google is raising money because it is there. He added:
What Google WILL do is roll-out incremental products at a blinding pace. Not long ago, PayPal co-founder Max Levchin explained to me that rapid development is an important key to market dominance.
“What you want to do,” he said, “is listen to your customers and bring out every two weeks improved versions that would each take your competitor two months to complete. That’s when you are on a rocket — they can’t keep up so they can’t compete. They lose hope and pretty soon you have the market pretty much to yourself.”
What if everyone is mainly wrong? What if search and PageRank and AdSense are Google’s corporate apex. Most companies would be content with that, but Google isn’t supposed to be like most companies. But what if they are? I hear a lot of talk about Google doing deals for video and music distribution, but where are those deals? So far it is all just talk.
I think Microsoft’s clearest threat still comes from Apple, though not the way most people expect. Yes, Apple is about to take Microsoft to the woodshed when it comes to Internet movie distribution. Yes, Apple already super-dominates the music player market where Microsoft doesn’t even really exist. But the real jewel is one Microsoft has to lose, not gain — the PC platform, itself.
What could Apple do to take down Windows, with or without the help of Intel? What if Apple introduces OS 10.5, its next super-duper operating system release, and at the same time starts loading FOR FREE the current operating system version — OS 10.4 — on every new iPod in a version that runs on generic Intel boxes? What if they also make 10.4 a free download through the iTunes Music Store?
So, one company, one month, four actions, and plenty of opinions. In fact, amongst all this, the New York Times even had an article suggesting that Google was starting to replace Microsoft as the new evil empire. One thing, though, is clear. Just as Microsoft shaped the desktop era and then Netscape, Yahoo, eBay and Amazon shaped the first part of the consumer Internet era, Google is now in a dominant position to shape the next phase of the Internet.
Rather than focusing only on Googles actions and wondering about its motives, we need to understand the opportunities that the new Internet is opening up. This New Internet will also be somewhat different in the worlds emerging markets from that in the developed markets. By looking at how this Internet is different, entrepreneurs can create innovative solutions and successful companies Google or no Google!
We will start next week by considering what this New Internet is shaping up to be. Googles actions have only made the tea leaves that much clearer to read. Acting on what the August tea leaves foretell and working to build the future is what we need to focus on.
Next Week: Internet Tea Leaves (continued)