Web Platform Primer

Alex Iskold writes: “I’ve categorized the Web platform into 6 infrastructure building blocks and I will briefly outline some of the products that define each one. The common thread is that each product mentioned has an API, which means it can be integrated as a part of other services.”

Pinger for Voice Mail

SiliconBeat writes about a US-based service:

Here’s how it works: Pinger gives you a local number that you store in your phone under “speed dial.” Whenever you want to use the service, you press “p”, and it dials a local number. So far, you have just pressed one button.

Pinger then gives you a prompt, and then you simply say the name of the person you want to call (your phone must have the person’s contact details stored, such as email address and/or phone number). Pinger uses voice recognition (from Tellme) to look up their details. Pinger then gives you a second prompt, and you speak your message into the phone. Pinger then sends the audio message to the person’s email account, or to their phone via an SMS audio file. So the person on the other end can listen to it immediately or later — but the main point is, you’re not locked into actually talking with them.

Next Billion Mobile Users

David Kirkpatrick writes:

Despite the fact that more than two billion people worldwide already have cellphones, everyone agreed the growth opportunities are massive. “Most people are still not connected,” said Padmasree Warrior, CTO of Motorola.

The design challenges to reach the unconnected are great, she said. “The next billion are in China and India and places like that. And many of them can’t type or even read.”

Kamal Qadir is CEO of CellBazaar, a Bangladeshi company which operates an online Craigslist-like buying-and-selling service that rural businesspeople access exclusively over mobile phones. His company charges nothing for the service, making its money by sharing the revenues that cell carrier Grameen Telecom, the country’s largest, gets from carrying the calls.

Ramesh Jain Interview

DevSource has an interview with Ramesh Jain, with whom I have co-founded SEraja:

We’re all slaves to the keyword, Jain says. “This is a very primitive and poor mechanism” for finding information, he believes, and our understanding of what people are looking for is still very poor.

Today’s Web, says Jain, is a document Web. Everything is presented as a page. Yet, audio and video are becoming easier to store and disseminate, what Jain describes as an “event.” Figuring out how we’ll search through “events” is only one small piece of the problem. For example, as mobile phones become the primary client, people will use the devices to look for information: how do you design search tools for that platform?

TECH TALK: The Now-New-Near Web: Reference and Incremental Webs

It is important to first understand the different between the Reference Web and the Incremental Web. This is from a post by Rich Skrenta of Topix.net from February 2005:

Search has become the dominant navigational paradigm for goal-directed reference queries. But search is a poor way to stream new developments around a topic.

Google searches the reference Internet. Users come to google with a specific query, and search a vast corpus of largely static information. This is a very valuable and lucrative service to provide: it’s the Yellow Pages.

Blogs may look like regular HTML pages, but the key difference is that they’re organized chronologically. New posts appear at the top, so with a single browser reload you can say “Just show me what’s new.”

This seems like a trivial difference, but it drives an entirely different delivery, advertising and value chain. Rather than using HTML, the delivery protocol for web pages, there is a desire for a new, feed-centric protocol: RSS. To search chronologically-ordered content, a relevance-based search that destroys the chronology such as Google is inappropriate. Instead you want Feedster, PubSub or Technorati. Feed content may be better to read in a different sort of client, such as Newsgator, rather than a web browser.

While there’s been considerable deployment of goal-directed services, there has been little technology development around automated aggregation of relevant topic streams. Until now, this hasn’t been a problem. Most of the growth on the web over the past 10 years has been reference services. But now we’re seeing an explosion in the number of sources publishing new incremental content every day. Blogs certainly — but other sources too, such as news organizations, companies, and our increasingly web-enabled governments are pumping out gigabits of fresh news online every day. There is a vast proliferation of new incremental content underway.

The Reference Web started off more than a decade ago. Various publishing tools made HTML publishing easy. It took a second-generation search engine like Google to convert the publishing that had taken place over the years into rich material that we could browse on-demand. One can thus think of Google as an information refinery for the Reference Web. This Web has grown to billions of pages and has all kinds of stuff that one could spend a lifetime looking over. This Web is now going multimedia with broadband networks now supporting the transmission of video.

Tomorrow: The Potential

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