Search Engines and Websites

Jakob Nielsen writes: “Search engines extract too much of the Web’s value, leaving too little for the websites that actually create the content. Liberation from search dependency is a strategic imperative for both websites and software vendors.”

There’s no doubt that search engines provide a valuable service to users. The issue here is what search engines do to the companies they feed on — the companies that fund the creation of original information. Search engines mainly build their business on other websites’ content. The traditional analysis has been that search engines amply return the favor by directing traffic to these sites. While there’s still some truth to that, the scenario is changing.

In the dot-com bubble days, it was fashionable to discuss website stickiness. Now, stickiness must be reconceptualized for the real world rather than the bubble. It’s not a goal to make users spend hours on your site. Let them go about their business.

The real goal is to make users come back, and to have them come directly to your site instead of clicking on expensive ads.

Broadband as Electricity of 21st Century

Robert McChesney and John Podesta write:

Two decades ago, the chattering classes fretted about economic upheaval rising from Japan and the Asian Tigers. They feared an invasion of cars, microchips, and Karaoke that would take away American jobs, take over U.S.-dominated industries, and shift cultural norms. In the 1990s, America responded with a boom in high technology and Hollywood exports. But a revolution is again brewing in places like Japan and South Korea. This time it’s about broadbanda technology that, in terms of powering economies, could be the 21st century equivalent of electricity. But rather than relive the jingoism of the 1980s, American policy makers would be wise to take a cue from the Asian innovators and implement new policies to close the digital divide at home and with the rest of the world.

Most people know broadband as an alternative to their old, slow dial-up Internet connection. These high-capacity data networks made of fiber-optic cables provide a constant, unbroken connection to the Internet. But broadband is about much more than checking your email or browsing on EBay. In the near future, telephone, television, radio and the web all will be delivered to your home via a single broadband connection. In the not-so-distant-future, broadband will be an indispensable part of economic, personal, and public life. Those countries that achieve universal broadband are going to hold significant advantages over those who don’t. And so far, the United States is poised to be a followernot a leaderin the broadband economy.

AllPeers for Firefox

TechCrunch thinks it could be the killer app for Firefox.

AllPeers is a simple, persistent buddy list in the browser. Initially, interaction with those buddies will be limited to discovering and sharing files – If you choose to, you can share any file on your network with one or more of your friends. They will be able to see what files you choose to share (even getting an RSS feed of new files you include), and with a single click download it to their own hard drive.

AllPeers will work even when the sharer is offline – AllPeers is a bittorent client, and will allow files to be pulled from multiple sources. When downloading, the file may be grabbed partially or fully from others you have shared it with (or who shared it with you). So a user just clicks on a file, and waits for it to eventually download.

Edge 2006 Question

Edge asked 117 people the question: “What is your Dangerous Idea?”

The history of science is replete with discoveries that were considered socially, morally, or emotionally dangerous in their time; the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions are the most obvious. What is your dangerous idea? An idea you think about (not necessarily one you originated) that is dangerous not because it is assumed to be false, but because it might be true?

Ajax Update

Dion Hinchcliffe provides an update on the Ajax story:

Ajax has been the other big software story of 2005, along with Web 2.0. An optional ingredient to Web 2.0 software, Ajax has changed the perception of Web-based software as being horribly clunky, page-oriented, and boring when compared to native computer applications. Ajax describes a set of techniques that makes Web software quite the opposite. A quick visit to Google Maps and its live scrollable map tiles or NetVibes and its drag-and-drop reorganization of your personal data both show how potent and compelling Ajax techniques really are.

TECH TALK: 2006 Tech Trends: SaaS, Emerging Markets

10. Software-as-a-service is happening.

Yet another old model is being reinvented. Google did it to Search and online advertising, while Salesforce.com is doing it for software delivery. The traditional model of licencing software is giving way to making applications available over the Internet for companies to use. This is especially useful for small- and medium-sized enterprises who can now automate business processes without necessarily having to make big upfront investments in expensive hardware and software.

Mercury News: The office moves to the Web Documents, e-mail and spreadsheets move off your desktop computer to the Web. A host of companies big and small are building new ways to transfer the computer desktop experience onto the Web, and we expect that trend to accelerate in 2006. On the small side, companies such as Writely, Jotspot and Silveroffice are demonstrating that creating word processing documents and spreadsheets can happen just as easily on the Web as on the desktop. And having the documents on the Web makes it easier for people to collaborate.

Internet News: On-demand software, also known as hosted or software as a service (and formerly known as the ASP model), received nods from analysts who forecast significant penetration into the enterprise software market. Scalability issues, such as Salesforce.com ‘s recent outage, will continue. But small to mid-sized companies will continue to be attracted to the low monthly fees and outsourced administration that hosted applications offer. Thanks to the availability of platforms and tools from companies, including Salesforce.com and Microsoft, with its Windows Live, hosted applications will continue to proliferate and worm their way closer to basic enterprise systems.

IDC: IT delivery has been shifting from products to services over the past several years. But in 2006, IDC expects this model shift to accelerate. The most obvious evidence of this shift reaching a tipping point will be the announcement in 2006 of next-generation versions of applications delivered as an online service (e.g., Salesforce.com) from one or more of the packaged application leaders (SAP, Microsoft, Oracle).

11. Emerging markets are where the action is.

Because their infrastructure has been so pathetic, emerging markets will leapfrog to the new world faster. We have already seen this in India with the mobile infrastructure. Emerging markets are going to decide technologys next big winners (and losers). Even companies like Vodafone are now betting on emerging markets for their own continued growth. The next billion people are finally getting integrated into the marketplace and that will create its own challenges and opportunities. I believe that the next Google will come from the worlds emerging markets.

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