Mobile Web Dreams

WSJ writes: “Too many of the Internet’s more-advanced functions still aren’t truly mobile. Sure, the Net is exploding with wonders and is increasingly good at offering local information — but for our purposes those wonders remain largely caged in PCs and laptops. Sit at your computer and you can study up on bars in the West Village, Revolutionary War landmarks in lower Manhattan or Chelsea antique stores. But take that knowledge out into the real world and you’ll probably be stuck with scrawled notes or a sheaf of printouts — which instantly become useless if there’s a change in plans or you come across something unexpected in your travels. After researching and planning online, being cut off from the Net is painful: It’s as if your home and office PCs are air pockets you wind up swimming between, hoping you can hold your breath long enough.”

The Former Audience

Jay Rosen posted this on his blog recently:

The people formerly known as the audience are those who were on the receiving end of a media system that ran one way, in a broadcasting pattern, with high entry fees and a few firms competing to speak very loudly while the rest of the population listened in isolation from one another and who today are not in a situation like that at all.

Once it was your radio station, broadcasting on your frequency. Now that brilliant invention, podcasting, gives radio to us. And we have found more uses for it than you did.

Shooting, editing and distributing video once belonged to you, Big Media. Only you could afford to reach a TV audience built in your own image. Now video is coming into the users hands, and audience-building by former members of the audience is alive and well on the Web.

India Venture Bubble?

SiliconBeat writes:

Similar to Silicon Valley’s boom in the late 1990s, the Indian tech world is in full frenzy.

Things are looking bubbly. Several other Silicon Valley venture firms have made moves to invest in India, and [Ram] Shriram says such announcements “certainly appear to be the leading indicator of a bubble in equity values.”

Wired 40

Here. Infosys is at no. 11. “Infosys made Bangalore the software outsourcing capital of the world. But globalization is a two-way street, and now companies like IBM are descending on India, scooping up talent and cutting margins. CEO Nandan Nilekanis response: Upgrade to full-service IT consulting.”

WiFi and LBS

Om Malik asks if WiFi can help jumpstart location-based services.

With WiFi becoming common place, and the upcoming entrance of city-wide wireless, companies like (Loki from) Skyhook Wireless, Plazes, and Meetroduction and its Meetro service, are starting to make major deals and find a significant user base. Meetro, for instance is building an interesting social aspect based on its technology, and it could actually catch on, once it expands beyond the classic early adopter user base. A new function that imports Myspace info could help on that front.

Skyhook Wireless location technology uses a database of WiFi access points to deliver user location. The company has Loki, its browser plug-in that is starting to bring in users, but it could go farther in licensing its technology to big players. The company says its talking to IM-providers, search companies like Google, and even the video game companies Sony and Nintendo for their portable devices. Sony and Nintendo were rumored to have checked out embedding GPS for the PSP and DS, but the feature was just too darn expensiveon that end Skyhook would be much cheaper.

TECH TALK: Video on the Internet: User-Generated Content

One of the themes that Ramesh Jain discussed was the emergence of user-generated content. Jeff Jarvis takes this idea to its logical end, suggesting that each of us is a network.

In the future of media, which is now, everybody is a network. In the past, networks were defined by control of content or distribution. But now, you cant own all distribution and content is controlled where its created. So, I wonder, wheres the value and wheres the money in the fully networked world?
What is a network now? Your friend pointing you to something to read or watch is a network. The collection of people putting a YouTube video on their blogs makes a network. BlogAds bringing together 800 blogs for an MSNBC.com ad buy is a network. When you subscribe to a collection of feeds, or when you publish up a blogroll, or when you put a tag on your blog post, or when you use a Flickr tag that others use, you are a network.

Networks are about sharing now; they used to be about control. Networks are two-way; they used to be one-way. Networks are about aggregation more than distribution; they are about finding and being found. Networks are now open while, by their very definition, they used to be closed. You join networks and leave them them at will; you can join any number of networks at once and content can be found via any number of networks, there is no practical limit. Networks used to be static. Now networks are fluid.

On the business side, the old networks have no end of new competition. The scarcity economy is over; networks cannot continue to raise their rates even as their audiences shrink, because they no longer control the clock; there is always somewhere else to reach audiences somewhere more efficienct and less expensive, by the wayOn the consumer side, the people formerly known as viewers have taken control of what, when, and how they watch and they do it without commercials.

Dan Farber wonders if the Web is the new Hollywood:

“The audience is taking over the programming,” according to Ted Cohen,senior vice president of Digital Development and Distribution at EMI Music. “A few years ago we looked at litigating it, now we are looking at how to monetize it.”
In the last several months, hundreds of video sites have shown up on the Web. However, the big entertainment companies, who fear loss of control, will need to let go to participate in the new media world, Cohen said. With or without permission, users are playing with the video and other content assetsfrom trailers to full length featuresof entertainment companies.

One major difference with the Internet is that reduction of scarcity is happening on a massive scale, [Brightcoves Jeremy] Allaire said, and it is becoming more efficient to serve micro-markets. The issue of distribution control came up. Allaire said the most networkssuch as MTV, Discovery, and Turnerwould rather distribute themselves than ceding it to another gatekeeper. “How to get syndication and aggregation is not figured out,” he said.

Tomorrow: YouTube

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