Mobile Web 2.0 Service Example

Ajit Jaokar elaborates on a specific example as part of his ongoing series:

The service we are considering here is a mobile version of a combination of del.icio.us and flickr

As you probably know, both del.icio.us and flickr are based on tags. However, note that in a mobile context, a tag would have a different meaning to the term on the web. People do not like to enter a lot of information on a mobile device. Thus, a tag in a mobile sense, would be explicit information entered by the user(i.e. a web tag) but more importantly information captured implicitly when the image was captured(for example the users location).

The service would enable you to
a) Search related images and get more information about a camera phone image using historical analysis of metadata (including tags) from other users. This bit works like del.icio.us i.e. searching via tags BUT with a mobile element because the tag could include many data elements that are unique to mobility(such as location)
b) Share your images with others (either nominated friends or the general public similar to flickr but as a mobile service)

From a user perspective, the user would be able to
a) Capture an image using a camera phone alongwith metadata related to that image
b) Gain more information about that image from an analysis of historical data (either a missing element in the image or identifying the image itself)
c) Search related images based on tags
d) Share her image with others either nominated friends or the general public

Information Exchange Patterns

Salim Ismail of PubSub (in which I am in investor) writes:

There are three fundamentally important patterns of exchanging information between people, or between applications, or on a network. The first is called Messaging, which is a one-way transmission of information from A to B. Examples of this include e-mail, postal mail, text messages and so on. You address a piece of information, send it and trust the system to deliver it for you.

The second is called Request/Response. Here, we are going up one level of complexity to one question followed by one answer (A to B and back to A). Examples of this are what time is the train?, database queries, client-server architectures, etc.

The third pattern is called Publish/Subscribe. This is again one more level more complex and consists of one question, but many answers. The form of the question is tell me whenever. If I ask you Can you tell me whenever youre free, Im subscribing to a condition that may occur in the future. All alerting systems are based on publish/subscribe, including Google news alerts, eBay auction alerts and so on.

The New Boom

Chris Anderson writes:

why is the froth missing from the wave this time? Because the underlying economics are so much healthier, in three main ways.

First, technology adoption has continued at a torrid pace (and even accelerated at times) despite the bust.

The second reason that this boom is so different from the last is that the sunk costs of the dotcom era make the economics of entrepreneurship more favorable.

In this new environment, startups can grow organically. That means less venture capital is needed – and that’s the third reason this boom is different.

Kosmix and Vertical Search

SiliconBeat writes:

Meet Anand Rajaraman and Venky Harinarayan, two of the co-founders at Junglee, and who twice seriously considered acquiring Google in its early days, but decided their friend Brin was too bold, if not arrogant, to deal with.

Now they plan to officially launch an ambitious search engine company, Kosmix at the Demo conference to begin the week of Feb 6 in Phoenix. They’ve also raised $7.4 million in venture capital.

They are making an audaciously risky bet that they can crack the code on a vexing problem in search: finding the meaning, or at least the topic of a Web page. “This is an unsolved problem on the Web,” says Harinarayan.

TECH TALK: Rethinking Newspapers: Better Times?

Indian newspapers have to focus less on reporting and more on journalism. What I mean is that there needs to be a greater emphasis on doing in-depth stories about the changing India. (One would have thought that magazines like India Today would probably have focused on that but the weeklies have also dumbed down their coverage much like some of the newspapers.) I still find that some of the more insightful trend-capturing stories on the changing India come in the international publications.

Indian newspapers could also engage their readers a lot more. One step in that direction would be to enable their journalists to blog so that stories can have discussion and follow-ups. There are times when, for space reasons, stories are edited for the print version. It would be nice to read about the writers thoughts and experiences and that may be better done on the web than in print. In addition, newspapers can also showcase some of the writings from bloggers. There is now a growing base of Indian bloggers and the commentary is getting smarter. [To its credit, Mumbai Mirror does feature a couple blog posts daily on a specific topic.]

Taken together, a lot of these changes will make for a better product. Will it increase circulation? I dont know. But I do know, that it will make for a better reading experience every morning for many of us. India is changing and we need our newspapers to change with it for the better. Of course, the newspapers could argue that they are changing. And their real customers are not us but the advertisers who pay money to reach their reader base and those revenues are rising. What I am not sure of is how long this trend will continue. In the next 2-3 years, India will see a significant increase in both always-on and broadband Internet connections, and data-enabled mobile handsets. That is the world newspapers will have to prepare for. It is a world where search engines will rule and users will be able to subscribe to the topics (and ads) of their interest. It is a world where each of us can get our Daily Me. It is also a world of multiplying media options as video becomes a reality on the Internet and the mobile.

Despite all the futuristic talk, I still think there is a distinct charm in holding the newspaper in your hand. Or, maybe, I come from the old school where habits die hard. I just wish for the days when the newspaper would open minds and expand thinking. Or, maybe, the world of media and technology has moved too far ahead, and we better accept the wisdom of the crowds. Whatever it is, I hope to get a better product in the months and years to come, and spend more time, not less, with the newspaper. Or, maybe, that is wishful thinking. Only time will tell.

Continue reading