Can you spot the apps in the clouds? Smell the AJAX in the canopy of startups? It’s ok folks, it's only the O'Reilly Web 2.0 Summit, where the man himself comes back to survey a bit of the marketing mayhem he was instrumental in creating. Our takeaways from this year's conference left us tremendously positive, and over all, we've determined we will always be suckers for John Batelle's sexy librarian looks mixed with that just-the-right-amount of sarcasm delivery method.
The wisdom of crowds was put to good use in true luddite fashion when applause were used to measure the Launch Pad winners but, lest we forget, Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley shared a couple of web metrics that put things back in perspective:
- Consumer IP traffic should surpass that of the Enterprise for the first time in 2008.
- Consumer/Business IP traffic together will be doubling every two years through 2011.
In short we are all having a great timing being connected, and user-gen, web-democratization is going to be driving growth and innovation in the business sector. Some of the strong contenders are those playing in the fields of SaaS, and products or services in smarter online information management and personalization.
On MySpace and Facebook
Following up on rumors of a partnership between Microsoft and Facebook – it looks we can now put these to rest, as Microsoft has announced they will be putting up a $240 Million contribution to the social networking site’s next round of funding. Was Google beat, and by how much? Guess it doesn’t really matter much now, but needless to say Facebook’s blocky no-nonsense aesthetic will fit well with Microsoft’s marketing…both are boring.
When Murdoch spoke about plans for MySpace, he actually called Facebook “cool” – which by our estimation gives them about a month tops, before every young professional jumps over to LinkedIn (now with added picture functionality!) and starts trading CVs in place of cartoon drawings of car rims.
It’s clear that MySpace will stick with the path of content delivery to those eyeballs it already has trafficking. But will content like “Roomates” appeal to Gen Y enough to switch off MTV 8 (the ocho!) where they can already get as much “reality” as they can possibly stand? Time and lots of really bad reality acting will tell.
Bride of the User Re-aggregator
All of the big web trends concerning two-way APIs and widgets are putting users at the driving seat of the social web, with increased emphasis on the adoption rate of 3G and mobiles as standalone Internet devices. Widgets are a fragmented web experience, allowing all of us to decide which pieces of what data we want to receive and when – so OS functionality and the upcoming announcements behind feature improvements in Leopard are being watched closely.
A beautiful phrase to hear coming out of O’Reilly for everyone in technology PR: “As the web evolves, no one player or web site fits all needs."
Web 2.0 is knocking on the door of the financial service industry and change is afoot. So says Paul Kedrosky, a VC who blogs under “Infectious Greed,” who moderated a quick overview of Web 2.0 sites in the financial service area. It was presented largely with the buy-side in mind, with Paul's conclusion that there is a huge opportunity for services implementing social web strategies aimed at financial professionals.
Wall Street wants to keep their identities hidden for now – as illustrated by Paul in a chart showing the increase of “Dark Pools,” or traders online guarding info sharing practices. Luckily, everyday retail investors have resources at their disposal through Web 2.0, like our client Wikinvest.
The Semantic Web and Growth for Social Graphing
The semantic web cometh, and when it gets here, we’ll be able to do what exactly? I don’t know, save time I guess. This is big news to the academic and scientific community, because it means that data being published online in such things as The Neurocommons (an open RDF database for scientific collaboration) can actually be applied and shared easily, but it also has implications for intra company projects.
The thought process behind the semantic web involves enabling software to find and share information within the World Wide Web (you know the series of tubes) through a formal description of concepts and terms across formats. Our computers can, and should be able to carry out more elaborate, multi-step tasks…like the Wikipedia entry example of finding the Finnish word for “Car” in order to reserve a library book. Now, with natural language search engines, and programs that can read and tag all of Wikipedia (Powerset, and Freebase) we are on our way to Nordic literary car adventures…wow.
Social apps need access to the Social Graph! Sing it again. O’Reilly is sweet on LiveJournal founder Brad Fitzpatrick, and David Recordon from SixApart. Well, he’s sweet on their idea and implementation for a social graphing concept that allows web users to control their data interoperability between social networks online.
The HTML microformat XFN is already being put into practice by Word Press, Twitter, Pownce, LiveJournal, Google Profiles, Typepad, and MovableType. XFN outlines the relationships between individuals by defining a small set of values that describe personal relationships. If you take a step back to remember that the web itself is a platform (and therefore already wins for user count) what the social graph will do is of immense importance assuming they can get past the privacy hurdles.
David and Brad are trying to introduce a system that will give people choice and control over their information, their profiles, and their relationships online, and a lot of the right people are listening.