Mobile vs Computer

Russell Buckley writes:

I was thinking that an interesting test of how advanced mobile phone evolution has got would be to ask if there was anything you used your mobile for, when your computer was readily available.

Of course, I know that mobiles are generally used when youre out and about and dont have a computer with you. But if you were to put them head-to-head, what would happen?

Personally, heres where mobile wins:

Alarms
Voice call (even then Ill use Skype if the other person is available on their computer)
SMS (again if I cant see theyre there on IM)
Calculator (but spreadsheet wins if its more complex)
Camera (I can take still shots with my computer cam)

Metered Web Services

Jon Udell writes in the context of Amazon’s S3:

Id like to find out whether metering infrastructure services in this way will prove technically and economically viable. When we talk about a grid of Web services, we like to compare it to the power grid, but the analogy is deeply flawed in at least one way. My electric bill isnt itemized. I dont know what it costs me to run each of my appliances, or how long it will take to amortize the cost of replacements. Lacking this feedback, we make poor individual decisions that, collectively, add up to a tragic misallocation of resources.

Creating whats called the energy web — a marketplace where smart producers and consumers of power exchange price signals in real time — will require a massive overhaul of our legacy power grid. Theres just no way for us to start from scratch. But in the realm of Web services, were just now building the grid. Given a clean slate, perhaps we can figure out how to aggregate demand, meter usage, and value services for what they do rather than just for the eyeballs they attract.

Helio and MVNOs

Wired writes:

Helio is a mobile virtual network operator. MVNOs sell phones and service plans just like ordinary mobile network operators, but they don’t own cell towers and spectrum and all the other baggage that makes up a network. Instead, they lease all that from companies that do, creating virtual networks. They’re hot because established mobile operators like Cingular and Verizon Wireless have been too busy selling plain-vanilla plans to Middle America to worry about niche markets. With a virtual setup, a startup can pick any market that’s not adequately served, rent capacity from an existing network operator, come up with phones and services that appeal to its niche, and go.

Helio, set to begin service this spring, is going after a niche that’s broader in age – 18 to 32 – but narrower in focus: trendsetters, gadget geeks, gotta-have-it-now guys with credit to burn. It will operate on the high-speed 3G networks that are essential for music, video, and games. It’s also promising handsets that haven’t been seen in the US and services that go beyond the basic music and video offerings from Sprint Nextel and Verizon. And while the company is as much a marketing ploy as any other MVNO, it feels almost like a cause.

Online Advertising Future

Business Week writes:

The race is on to find new ways to track customer behavior. Advertisers and agencies are progressing far beyond the standard arithmetic of counting clicks and page views. They’re tracking the to-and-froing of the mouse on Web pages, and they’re finding new ways to group shoppers by age, Zip Code, and reading habits. CEO David S. Rosenblatt of DoubleClick Inc., which serves up some 200 billion ads a month for customers, says that every campaign now allows for 50 different types of metrics. One New York advertising company, TACODA Systems Inc., is set to wire a group of web surfers with brain scanners to see which ads register in their minds.

This flood of new measurements is likely to roil the Internet ad industry. Until recently, the data have primarily shed light on the ads customers see and click. But the details pouring in are sure to provide a far more thorough understanding of the Internet players themselves: which ones assemble the best overall portraits of customer behavior, and which ones fall short.

Google Report

Richard MacManus writes about a new Jupiter Research report:

Google has what Jupiter calls “the most powerful ad network online”, with $6 billion in advertising revenue in 2005…Compared to Yahoo’s $4.6 billion, this makes Google the premier online advertising network. So despite the relatively small time spent per user, Google still comes out top in online advertising. More than anything, this points to the value of the distributed nature of Google’s ad network – the ads don’t just appear on Google’s web properties, they are also displayed on millions of external websites and blogs. This is a portal circa 2005/6, not the old-style ‘MyYahoo’ portal.

TECH TALK: The MySpace Story: The Future

Newsweek wrote about whats ahead for MySpace in a December 2005 story:

In November, they teamed with Interscope to create MySpace Records, a label that will release a few albums each year from bands discovered on the site. In coming months they’ll launch a MySpace satellite-radio station, new features that let users access their MySpace accounts from mobile phones and, soon, MySpace Films. With help from their new owner, News Corp. (which bought MySpace parent company Intermix in July for $580 million), Anderson and DeWolfe plan to back a few independent films each year and flood openings with MySpace members. “It costs us nothing to get millions of MySpace users to show up at events,” DeWolfe says.

It almost sounds as if they’re building a rival to Viacom’s MTV. “I think MySpace already means something to its audience in much the same way that MTV meant something to its audience during its early years,” says News Corp.’s Internet chief, Ross Levinsohn.

MySpace announced a tie-up with mobile company Helio in February:

News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch hopes to extend MySpace’s influence beyond the PC. [The] popular site [has announced] a partnership with Helio, a wireless carrier backed by Internet service provider EarthLink and SK Telecom, a Korean wireless carrier which operates what’s viewed in the industry as the world’s most advanced cell-phone network. This spring, MySpace and Helio will launch a service that will let users access MySpace from their mobile phones.

For MySpace, the deal is another move to keep its users bound tightly to it, communicating with friends or listening to music from artists featured on the service. Such innovation should help MySpace avoid the fate of social-networking pioneer Friendster, whose users ended up going elsewhere when it failed to introduce new features.

The move also gives News Corp a foothold in the rapidly growing mobile market. More than 60 million teenagers now carry cell phones, and most take them everywhere they go. MySpace Mobile, which is a free service, could turn into another lucrative advertising venue for News Corp.

A number of moral issues have been raised around MySpace. Danah Boyd writes about the future and the importance of MySpace:

If MySpace falters in the next 1-2 years, it will be because of this moral panic. Before all of you competitors get motivated to exacerbate the moral panic, think again. If the moral panic succeeds:

1.Youth will lose (even more) freedom of speech. How far will the curtailment of the First Amendment go?
2.All users will lose the safety and opportunities of pseudonymity, particularly around political speech and particularly internationally.
3.Internet companies will be required to confirm the real life identity of all users. At their own cost.
4.International growth on social communities will be massively curtailed because it is much harder to confirm non-US populations.
5.Internet companies will lose the protections of common carrier which will have ramifications in all sorts of directions.
6.Internet companies will see a massive increase in subpoenas and will be forced to turn over data on their users which will in turn destroy the trust relationship between companies and users.
7.There will be a much greater barrier for new communities to form and for startups to build out new social environments.
8.International companies will be far better positioned to create new social technologies because they won’t have to abide by American laws even if American citizens use their technology (assuming the servers are hosted outside of the US). Unless, of course, we decide to block sites on a nation-wide basis…

Friendster was a fad; MySpace has become far more than that. If it doesn’t evolve, it will fade, but MySpace is far better positioned to evolve than Friendster was. That said, i think we’re seeing a huge shift in social life – negotiating super publics. I kinda suspect that MySpace teens are going to lead the way in figuring this out, just as teens in the 60s and 70s paved the way to figuring out globalized life with TV. I just hope law doesn’t try to stop culture.

So, go to MySpace.com and create your space. In doing so, try and understand what makes it tick. And think about what it takes to do a MySpace for India.