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Posts Tagged ‘google’

The Ultimate Goal of Digital Branding

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Now that was a surprise!

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15 simple ways to search Google for an instant answer

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When it comes to life expectancy the world is not flat yet

July 10, 2010 2 comments

I recently discovered that Google shows Life Expectancy graphs for many countries around the globe.

I assumed a big gap between the developed and the third world countries in their average life expectancy,  the data did confirm my assumption, but it become way more apparent when I actually saw it using Google graph.

In Japan, the country with the highest average longevity in the world, based on the World Bank, World Development Indicators data, people lives up to 83 years old.

On the other end of the world, in Afghanistan, the average life expectancy is only 44 years.

ALMOST HALF!

Life expectancy - ranges

It is also very interesting to see the growth rate. In Japan LE grew from 68 to 83 during the years 1960-2008 (~22%) whereas in Afghanistan, LE grew from 31 to 44(~41%) during the same period. Yet, I as you can see from the graph above it is harder to add more years as the average grows.

It is important to monitor the growth rate for each country, as an indicator for improving health condition in each region.

Here is another picture showing more countries and their corresponding Life Expectancy graphs:

Life expectancy - all

Here you can see a huge growth for China during the 60th, and sadly, a huge drop for some troubled areas in Africa mainly due to HIV/AIDS infections. – some hope here.

Finally, average life expectancy does not seem to be totally correlated with financial success as you can see in the next picture for Iceland and Greece two recently troubled economies.

Life expectancy - EconomyJPG

Probably beyond initial crucial conditions, other factors like work life balance, health care system, crime rate, dining habit, and others contribute to the health of the entire population increasing the average life expectancy.

Other source of Life Expectancy data is Wikipedia – List of countries by life expectancy. This page shows data for the years 2005-2010 and the country with the lowest LE average is Swaziland with 39.6 years.

The world is getting more flat over time, but there are still huge gaps between different regions in the world due to lack of basic human needs.

Google’s search engine is the 21st infrastructure.

June 11, 2010 5 comments

Google’s search engine is the 21st infrastructure.

Search is infrastructure

When we think about infrastructure on a large scale we think about roads, train tracks, ports, and utilities – all things that are essential to the smooth running of our economy. Online searching has become so essential to our lives today that I think that we should add it to the traditional world infrastructure list.

Building and maintaining a search engine is so expensive and labor intensive that it requires the same kind of planning and upkeep that, say, the Golden Gate Bridge does.

I see two similarities between traditional infrastructure and search engines. The first is that a search engine is a mission critical system. The second is because the cost required for building and maintaining a good search engine is enormous—just as the costs are for ports, railroad tracks, and the electrical grid.

Mission critical system

Can you imagine a week without Google? Think for a moment how many times a day you use a search engine for a task. Life would be much harder without it. We are using a search engine to find a place, a person or a job. It is the same case when looking for information about a disease, a company or a product. Modern search engines also help to find directions, contact info, stock quotes and innumerable other things. I can’t think of a day without using a search engine (mostly Google but others too). Metaphorically search engines take us from one place to another (like planes, trains and boats), and if well designed and maintained they can save us an enormous amount of time and energy. But if that is not the case, they can be a big waste of time!

The mighty task

The web is big and expanding. In February of 2007, the Netcraft Web Server Survey found 108,810,358 distinct websites (not pages). In March of 2009 (only two years later) the number had more than doubled, to 224,749,695. The number of web pages is more accurate than the number of websites but I think that the numbers above tell us enough about the size of the web.

New blogs are popping up every day, and blogs can post in some cases multiple times a day. With the recent introduction of microblogging services like Twitter and other personal life streaming tools, content is growing even more rapidly. The information is also dynamic: websites go down and pages are being constantly modified. Blogs allow people to leave comments over time. Content is much more than text and can include video, audio, and images.

A search consists of many steps. It usually starts with crawling – getting the data. This is a mighty task that requires building an army of web crawlers to spider the web. It requires a crawling plan using sophisticated algorithms looking for new content and also for keeping the stored ones up to date. It necessitates an immense amount of storage space and heavy computation resources.
The other tasks include indexing, lingual processing and ranking (for relevance and popularity). (If you are interested in learning how Google scales this process by breaking down tasks even further, read the following blog post about Google Architecture)

It is impossible to compare entirely, but it seems like building and maintaining a large-scale search engine is as hard as building a new power station and probably costs as much too.

Living with Monopoly

The purpose of this section is to get you thinking about my analogy and what it might mean.

The Monopoly question – do we need more than one search engine?

In some ways, a search engine industry might fit the definition of what’s known as a “Natural monopoly” (wikipedia):

  1. “…it is the assertion about an industry, that multiple firms providing a good or service is less efficient (more costly to a nation or economy) than would be the case if a single firm provided a good or service.”
  2. “It is said that this is the result of high fixed costs of entering an industry which causes long run average costs to decline as output expands”

Google could be defined as a natural monopoly.  It now has more than a 70% market share.
The first definition raises the question: why do we need to more than one search engine provider? The second could explain why only one provider may survive.

Why we don’t need more than this one?

I’m personally not concerned about Google’s monopoly power to set rates. As a consumer I don’t feel any pricing power:) but maybe the companies that pay for ads do.

I do have a couple of concerns: The first is about the cost to the country and the world of maintaining a search engine or duplicating the effort in a large scale.
The second is that because it is such an important and world critical system, more stakeholders around the globe should be paying attention.

High Energy cost

Here is an excerpt from Data Center Energy Forecast – Executive Summary – July 29, 2008.

“As of 2006, the electricity use attributable to the nation’s servers and data centers is estimated at about 61 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), or 1.5 percent of total U.S. electricity consumption. Between 2000 and 2006 electricity use more than doubled, amounting to about $4.5 billion in electricity costs. This amount was more than the electricity consumed by color televisions in the U.S. It was equivalent to the electricity consumed by 5.8 million average U.S. households (which represent 5% of the U.S. housing stock). And it was similar to the amount of electricity used by the entire U.S. transportation manufacturing industry (including the manufacture of automobiles, aircraft, trucks, and ships)”

Google is making an effort to reduce the cost of their data centers’ energy bills. My concern is that having multiple Google size search engine companies around seems as wasteful as pooling multiple power lines to every home. I also think that the energy consumption should be distributed across the globe since the search engine serves the entire world and not only one country.

What will happen if Google goes belly up?

I know that this seems radical and almost unimaginable at this point, but what if one day advertisers find another place to buy ad-space other than SERPs? Our lives are so dependent on Internet search technology that if no one can pay for the cost of maintaining one, that would have a direct impact on the world economy.

Maybe we need a different solution?

To reiterate:
-Search is a very large task
-Search is costly
-Search has become essential to the modern economy
-Google is effective but it is a monopoly
Yet today it is so mission critical that we need to watch it closely or maybe even break it up.

Regulations

One way to deal with a mission-critical natural monopoly is to turn it into some sort of government-granted monopoly. In this case it is not the government but some sort of world organization that can enforce regulations and demands like:

  • More energy efficient data centers
  • Better storage solutions
  • Crawl to cover more ground – deep web
  • Accounting governance and building cash reserves.

I know that this might sound like a radical idea. Please remember, the purpose of this article is not to support a return to a controlled market but to get us aware of the cost, power and dependencies associated with search engines.

Explore alternative search technologies (similar to exploring alternative energy sources)

In addition to possible regulations, there are other ways to address the functions that a natural monopoly like Google currently serves:

  • Split the search task like crawling, storage and indexing and distribute them across multiple venors.
  • Create better crawling algorithmsCuil claimed to find a more efficient and scalable ways to crawl the web (it is not about Cuil it is about the idea).
  • Real-time search (conversational search) – If you believe that real-time search is the future than you already know that maybe there is no need for deploying such a huge crawling tasks in order to find great content. Let the crowd do the job.
  • p2p - distribute the the crawl, indexing, ranking and storage, across many search users. This technology mitigates the single point of failure risk and leverages existing unused computational resources.

Summary

The new president of the United States, Barack Obama, is leading his 21st Century New Deal with the hope that big investment in the country’s infrastructure will spur economic growth and prosperity. Online search has become a mission critical task in our lives. It has an impact on the world economy and energy consumption. I think that it should not be overlooked. To the traditional infrastructure list of transportation, telecommunication and energy we should add the 21st century infrastructure – online search engine.
In the same way that nations monitor the condition of their infrastructure, they should be looking at search engine implementations and technologies.

A few points that I like you to take from this post are:

  • A search engine is more than software
  • The tasks of building and maintaining new search engine on a large scale have an impact on society
  • Search is a global objective
  • We are heavily dependent on this technology
  • Google is a monopoly – for better or worse.

Do you share my opinion that search engines have an impact on the world economy?
Do you agree with me that Google is a mission critical system today?
Should we be worried if someone might duplicate the task of keeping a large portion of the web crawled, stored and indexed?

**This blog post was published before on AltSearchEngine.com (my guest post) and it is no longer available so I decided to publish it here again.

Picture credit to my favorite artist Ron Shoshani

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On a blogging break – playing with Google App Engine

April 7, 2009 1 comment

GoogleAppEngine I took my head out of Twitter and I’m taking a short break from blogging. I’m playing with Google App Engine. So far Google‘s documentation is very helpful so getting started was fairly strait forward.

Here are my ramp-up tasks:

  • Read through the Getting Started section
  • Ramped up on Python – very cool and easy to use scripting language
  • I learned to JSON using simplejson- it works nicely with python
  • I’m now adopting new Web Framework django for Python
  • And I’m getting up to speed with a new data storage concept

All are great technologies.

I’m also testing the PyDev plugin for using eclipse IDE to develop for Google App engine – here are the instructions – so far so good.

Useful links:

Google App Engine and misc

Python

If you have additional useful links relevant to the technologies listed above please let me know.

*I plan to update the additional useful sources from time to time as I find more content

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Do you think that you can live without Google?

March 25, 2009 1 comment

InfrastructureHere is my latest guest post on AltSearchEngines blog.

Google’s search engine is the 21st century infrastructure.

A quick summary:

  • Search is a very large task
  • Search is costly
  • Search has become essential to the modern economy
  • Google is effective but it is a monopoly

It is similar to infrastructure on a large scale like roads, train tracks, ports, and utilities – all things that are essential to the smooth running of our economy.

Today it is so mission critical that we need to watch it closely or maybe even break it up.

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Twitter killed the RSS reader

March 20, 2009 1 comment

First, I stopped using my favorites, then Digg, Delicious and other social rating/bookmarking websites,  now I found myself using less and less the RSS reader, Google or Netvibe. I find great content on Twitter, Twitter search Trending Topics and recently even greater quality content using Twitter based search tools. These are services that mine links from Twitter updates, using different algorithms and post them in an organized fashion. I will refer to these as real-time news search services like Feedly, Microplaza and others.

RSS readers limitations:

Limited selection – it takes time to find and build selection of great blogs.  What if the selected blog did not produce any good content lately?

Scalability – it requires the time to organize feeds into tabs or folders. Also some readers, after adding more content grew slower (some more than others).

Social rating/bookmarking websites

I do use delicious for bookmarking of great information and some time for search but I rarely visit the Popular Bookmark page. Submitting content to Digg is too slow and I think that rating is not as powerful as retweeting.

Email subscription

There are some blogs that I follow constantly and I find the email subscription option to work best. This way I know for sure that I’m not missing new content on a daily basis.

The new feed

I now count on Twitter and a growing number of real-time news search websites to feed my curiosity with links.

Feedly – the irony is that Feedly is actually taping into your Google Reader feeds and tags, but it also brings content from other sources including Twitter. You can even see Hot topics via Twitter i.e. trending tags and hashtags. Read more here

MicroPlaza – this service looks at popular links posted on Twitter by the people I’m following (my timeline view). You can also see popular links posted on the public timeline. There is a new feature called Tribe, it is in the work but this option allows me to filter/organize popular links by grouping (enrolling) different people whom I follow on Twitter, into different Tribes. I wish I could use Twellow or WeFollow to speed up organizing my personal list into categories and use them as Tribes in MicroPlaza but this is still better filter than TweetDeck grouping option. In MicroPlaza I only see the popular links from the tribe and not other useless chatty noise – this is a great filter . There are more features and I do plan to cover this service more thoroughly in another post but here I want to focus on the new Trend.

MicroPlaza

There are growing number of similar services out there. I’m monitoring an additional one but I won’t mention the name yet (giving them a chance to improve). The key feature for me is the quality of the links. How good is the information that the service successfully managed to mine from all the noise on Twitter. The speed is important too. So far the two mentioned above are doing fantastic job.

Using Twitter timeline for the content source pool, employing millions of human web crawlers, filtered by the people I trust (follow) and other mining technics seems like an improved method for finding the best content out there. It truely gives me an edge over RSS feed reader.

Did you stop using your RSS reader too?

I owe it to Sagee Ben-Zedeff for helping me to become aware of this change in my habits and the new Trend. This is another great thing about Twitter – I now reflect more rapidly:)

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Search Engine is the 21st century infrastructure!

March 17, 2009 Leave a comment

Search is infrastructure

IndustrialNight Should we start looking at investments in building and maintaining search engines similar to other investment in infrastructure systems? I see two similarities. The first is that it is the next important thing in our digital lifestyle today after the hardware and software that connect our computers together. The second is because of the huge cost required for building and maintaining one.

The next most important thing

If you stop for a second to think about how many times a day you employ a search engine to accomplish a task you’ll notice that life could be way harder without it. If you need to find a place, a person or a  job online search is your starting point. It is the same case when looking for information about a disease, a company or a product. Modern search engines also helps to find directions, contact info, stock quotes and many more. I can’t think of a day without using a search engine (Google or others). When I think about infrastructure on a large scale I think about roads, train tracks, ports, and utilities. Metaphorically search engines take us from one place to another and if done right can save us a ton of time and energy. If done poorly it is a big waste!

Do you think like me that search engine have an impact on the world economy?

The mighty task

The web is big and expanding. In February of 2007, the Netcraft Web Server Survey found 108,810,358 distinct websites (not pages). In March of 2009 Netcraft found 224,749,695. New blogs are popping up every day and blogs post in some cases multiple times a day. Recently with the introduction of microblogging services like Twitter and other personal life streaming tools, content is growing even more rapidly. The information is also dynamic: websites go down and pages are being constanlty modified. Blogs allow people to leave comments over time. Content is way more than text and includes video, audio, and images.

Search consists of many steps and usually it starts with crawling – getting the data. This is a mighty task that requires building an army of web crawlers to spider the web. It requires a crawling plan using sophisticated algorithms looking for new content and also for keeping the stored ones up to date. It requires huge number of storage place and heavy computation resources.

The other tasks include indexing, lingual processing and ranking (for relevance and popularity). If you are interested in learning how Google scale this process by breaking down tasks even further read the following blog post about Google Architecture.

It is impossible to compare but it seems like building and maintaining a large scale search engine is as hard as building a new power station and probably costs as much too.

Do you think like me that search engines have an impact on our energy resources and our environment?

Question and concerns

The purpose of this section is getting you thinking about my analogy and what it might mean.

The Monopoly question – do we need more than one?

In some aspect the search engine industry fit the Natural monopoly dual definitions:

  1. “…it is the assertion about an industry, that multiple firms providing a good or service is less efficient (more costly to a nation or economy) than would be the case if a single firm provided a good or service.”
  2. “It is said that this is the result of high fixed costs of entering an industry which causes long run average costs to decline as output expands”

Google could be explained as a natural monopoly.  It now has now more than 70% market share.

The first definition raises the question: why do we need to more than one?  The second could explain why only one may survive.

If you noticed in my language here I leave plenty of room for alternative options – it is on purpose. I know software and technology too well to surprise me. IBM was almost invincible at the time, Sun was not far from it too. Even Microsoft does not look as intimidating as it use to be. And if you believe that real-time search is the future than you already know that maybe there is no need for deploying such a huge crawling tasks in order to find great content.

I personally don’t have much concerns about Google as a monopoly now. As a consumer I don’t feel any pricing power:) but maybe the companies that pay for ads do.

I do have concerns about the cost of maintaining a search engine or duplicating the effort in a large scale.

High Energy cost

Here is an excerpt from Data Center Energy Forecast – Executive Summary – July 29, 2008.

“As of 2006, the electricity use attributable to the nation’s servers and data centers is estimated at about 61 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), or 1.5 percent of total U.S. electricity consumption. Between 2000 and 2006 electricity use more than doubled, amounting to about $4.5 billion in electricity costs. This amount was more than the electricity consumed by color televisions in the U.S. It was equivalent to the electricity consumed by 5.8 million average U.S. households (which represent 5% of the U.S. housing stock). And it was similar to the amount of electricity used by the entire U.S. transportation manufacturing industry (including the manufacture of automobiles, aircraft, trucks, and ships)”

Google is making an effort to reduce the cost of their data centers’ energy bills. My concern is that having multiple search engine companies around seems as wasteful as pooling multiple power lines to every home. I also think that the energy consumption should be distributed across the globe since the search engine serves the entire world and not only one country.

Yet, what will happen if Google goes belly up?

I know that this seems radical and almost unimaginable at this point but what if one day advertisers will find another place to buy ad-space other than SERPs? Our lives are so dependent on Internet search technology that if no one can pay for the cost of maintaining one that could be a big regression with direct impact on world economy.

Should we do something?

Regulations

One way to deal with Natural Monopoly is to turn in into some sort of Government-granted monopoly. In this case it is not the government but some sort of world organization that can enforce regulations and demands like:

  • More energy efficient data centers
  • Improving crawl technics (Cuil claimed it has one)
  • Crawl to cover more ground -  deep web
  • Accounting governance and building cash reserves.

I know that this is radical – please remember, the purpose of this article is not to support going back to controlled market but to get us aware of the cost, power and dependencies associated with search engines.

How to break Google the right way?

I read somewhere that maybe Google should be broken up by the functionality it provides like search, email, maps etc… Another way to break Google is to take away the crawl and leave the rest. Something like the Yahoo BOSS model. The crawl should be done by a single non profit organization founded by multiple governments (i.e. tax money). In the same way as we pay for our education system (I know…it is not that great). Again, just think about it differently for a moment:)

The New Deal

I know that this is the most radical idea in this post but if search engine is such an important part of our infrastructure should our president, Barack Obama, include it in his 21st Century New Deal? At the least listing maintaning search engine as another infrastructure system. Maythe one that function relativly the best at this point.

Summary

The points that I like you to take from this post are:

  • Search engine is more than software
  • The tasks of building and maintaining new search engine on a large scale have an impact on society
  • Search is a global problem
  • We are heavily dependent on this technology
  • Google is a monopoly – for good and bad.
  • Maybe it is time to rethink the old way of crawling the web
    • How much data is collected but never used (SERP #200)?
    • Can people replace crawling (Social search engines/Twitter)?

Picture credit to my favorite artist Ron Shoshani

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Eight good reasons for using headup (Firefox add-on)

January 25, 2009 6 comments

Headup – the semantic web Firefox addon

I recently started using Headup. I’ve been looking for this kind of addon for some time now. When bits of information are missing from peoples’ profile pages, product specs, media, and other online content it is crucial to combine multiple data sources to piece together a complete picture. Headup does this!

Using its smart semantic mapping of entities and relationships Headup gathers and links information from multiple online sources. To complete the picture it then personalizes the results using your presence on multiple web services like Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, Digg, etc.
Headup is not only innovative in its semantic approach to linking data, it also integrates nicely with your Firefox browser and offers you a few ways to access the data it discovers. One example is Google searches: After installing Headup you can expect to see your search term annotated “Headup:[search term]” with a thin orange underline at the top of Google’s results. When your mouse hovers over the term a click-able circular plus sign loader will allow you to open Headup’s overlay  interface.

headup-topserp 

The starting point – googling eagle eye.

headup-eagleeye

The complete picture – headup-ing eagle eye

I recommend you visit Headup‘s website to learn how to use it but as a whole it’s pretty intuitive and I prefer dedicating this post to the reasons you should get it:

My eight reasons for using the Headup Semantic Web Firefox add-on :

  1. Because hyperlinks simply aren’t enough – Relying merely on arbitrarily selected outbound links that send you to find info related to the page you are browsing is limiting. There are more relationships among the different entities on the page that could be leveraged to retrieve associated information. Headup already mapped out these semantic links and makes them available for you in a neat and accessible interface. The experience doesn’t end with search results.
  2. Because you can save valuable search time - Both the user interface, and the way information is presented, require less clicks to complete an in-depth search through multiple search sources.
  3. Because the information comes to you – Search can be an exhausting task. In many cases it involves either a recursive drilling down into multiple levels, or traversing the search vertical up and down for additional information. Google itself is aware of this potentially laborious process and is making an effort to bring associated information to the first SERP: Recently when I googled the term “movie” I got three results that were movies playing in theaters in my area. Headup provides multiple data types as a default: Using Headup on the “Pink Floyd” will get you a summary relating to the term, the bands albums, see photos depicting it, listen to the bands songs while reading their lyrics, find news blogs and web activities related to it, and much more.
  4. Because it brings down the chances you’ll miss key information – “Headuping” people is a terrific way to learn more about them. I “Headup-ed” my friend Bill Cammack on Facebook and immediately discovered that he’s a video editor with an Emmy award to his name. In this case the extra information regarding the Emmy award was brought in from Bill’s LinkedIn profile.
  5. Because you can learn and find information you didn’t expect -  If the example from my previous item wasn’t proof enough here’s anoter example: I ran Headup on “Kill Bill” (what can I say? – I’m a Tarantino fan) and discovered this blog post published today (1-2-2009): “More Kill Bill on the way” – Tell me this isn’t cool!!
  6. Because it’s personalized – When configuring Headup after download, or later via the “Settings” option, you can choose to connect Headup to the online services you are subscribed to. Headup connects to a wide variety of web services like: Gmail, Delicious, Twitter, Facebook, FriendDeed, Digg, Last.fm etc. The information Headup retrieves from these services allows it to personalize the info it discovers for you: If you Headup a firm you’ll get friends of yours that work there. If you Headup a band you’ll see who in your network likes them. This is another example of how Headup is not just a search tool but a browsing experience.
  7. Because you don’t lose your starting point – Headup is designed as an overlay window that keeps your starting web page, and anything else you have open on your desktop, visible beneath the interfaces’ SilverLight frame. Inside Headup you can drill down endlessly, but when you’re done you are back where you started.
  8. Because your information is safe – from Headup’s Privacy Policy – “In plain English”:
“We here at Headup treasure our privacy and that’s exactly why we made every effort to create a browser add-on that would live up to user privacy standards we would be comfortable with. We’d be embarrassed to let you download an add-on we wouldn’t download ourselves.”
 
**You don’t need to sign-up for using Headup and your information is stored on your machine only**

 **Bonus: one additional reason – because on some pages it ROCKS! Try it on last.fm and you’ll see why it ROCKS…literally! By the way, the Headup user interface lets you watch videos and listen to music like a regular media player.

My questions for the Headup team

I plan on occasionally checking Headup’s blog for updates. At this point Headup supports Firefox on Windows and on Macs but I know that they plan to support more browsers in the future. I think that at this point the key thing to focus on is that the Headup concept works.

I do have few questions for the Headup team:

  1. Do you plan on adding vertical derived classifications? I can see some use cases for health (and maybe even for software development). Just as headup was able to map out “Actors”, “Films by the same director”, “Web Activities”, “Related News”, “Trailers”, etc. for a “Film” type entity. I can see it applied in a similar fashion for a “Health” type entity – retrienving things like: “Case”, “Treatment”, “Clinics”, “Pharmaceuticals”, “News Groups” etc…
  2. Do you see enterprise usage for Headup? I still need to give it more thought but having Headup in my email could be cool. Another possible implementation is supporting corporate CMS tools.

Epilogue – Is Headup’s “Top Down” approach the face of the future Semantic Web?

The Semantic web promises to make information understandable by machines. If you follow Alex Iskold‘s excellent series on Semantic Web on ReadWriteWeb you are aware of the multiple approaches to make this happen. The top-down method implemented by Headup helps brings the future to us a little sooner. I think Headup is giving us a taste of what future browsers will look like in an age when they, and other tools, will be able to understand more than just hyperlinks. When using Headup it feels like I’m doing more than “browsing” or “searching” I feel like I’m experiencing a new web!

One last thing: using Headup for some objects didn’t yield complete results. Don’t judge them too harshly for it, instead please focus on the concept. My experience with Headup so far is that in most cases the relevancy of the information provided was more than reasonable. I think that for a small company just out of Alpha what has been accomplished in the short time the company has exited is impressive and promises that improvements will be fast coming.

I’m using Headup and gave you the eight reason I have for doing so. If you are using it too I’d be happy to hear why…

The six true leaders of the new web world

September 19, 2008 2 comments

I keep reading lately about Supper Influencer and others with a vast online presence in the context of leadership. I agree that these figures are helping us adapt to the new power that lies in social media. Yet, I think that we need to put things in perspective.  Just because they have 4,000 followers on Twitter and a great blog doesn’t mean that they have enabled millions to do things they couldn’t do before. In other words: they haven’t necessarily led us to a new world online. But here are the six true leaders of the new web world in my opinion, because they have helped to shape this new world. 

Sir Tim Berners-Lee

The World Wide Web inventor, the director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and more. Sir Tim is my first choice for a true leader of the new web world not just because of his past contributions, but also for his vision of the way information will be linked going forward. In his Giant Global Graph blog post, he speaks about making the web smarter using standard semantic formats like FOAF, RDF, OWL and SPARQL.

“It’s not the documents, it is the things they are about which are important.”

We can already see the benefit of using these semantic annotations in web pages that support microforamts. One example is HCard in Google Maps:

“By marking up our results with the hCard microformat, your browser can easily recognize the address and contact information in the page, and help you transfer it to an address book or phone more easily.”

I don’t know how much (if at all) Sir Tim is using Twitter, but in my opinion he is a true technology leader. The standards that the W3C organization is setting keep changing our lives.

Dave Winer

The man that gave us RSS, podcasting, and taught us what blogging is all about.From his blog post The unedited voice of a person about blogging:”If it was one voice, unedited, not determined by group-think — then it was a blog, no matter what form it took. If it was the result of group-think, with lots of ass-covering and offense avoiding, then it’s not. Things like spelling and grammatic errors were okay, in fact they helped convince one that it was unedited.”I don’t know what Mr. Winer is up to these days but in my opinion his contribution to the weblog world helps to empower millions in sharing their lives, knowledge, and thoughts online.

Jeff Bezos and Amazon.com

What Amazon is doing in recent years for small businesses is what that Microsoft did in the 80’s and 90’s.

Amazon Web Services(AWS) enables web-scale computing by providing access to an established infrastructure that gives you flexibility to run your business at “web-scale” — uninhibited by growth and demand. In other word it saves a new online business from building the costly scalable infrastructure to support it. The fee structure is also a big advantage with its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) your initial cost is minimal and it only grows with your business success. “

The results:

“A growing community of 330,000+ developers, start-ups, and established companies are building robust applications using AWS solutions.”

One of my favorite quotes came from the My Other Computer is a Data Center sticker story. If Microsoft is now building tools for cloud computing then people will follow. You can also see what Mr. Bezos has to say about AWS here.

I know that Amazon is a business but when I see a company that shares infrastructure originally built to serve its own business with others who otherwise couldn’t afford to build it, and thereby enable new businesses to emerge,  I see a leader.If the direction of web app development is into the clouds, Amazon was the pioneer and will be the leader taking us there.

Jimmy Wales and Wikipedia

Wikipedia founder. Can you imagine a day without visiting this web site for learning a new technology, buzz word, persona, or millions of other terms? My Wikipedia sequence starts with Google-ing a term, finding the right Wikipedia page on the Google search results list, then clicking. After a few minutes I’m in the know. Based on the fact that Wikipedia always is on top of Google SERP I can only guess that I’m not the only one dancing this little dance. I can’t thank you enough, Mr. Wales.

Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Google

It seems lately that Google is becoming the next Microsoft: big, ubiquitous, too powerful, some may even say a monopoly. I agree with some of these claims, and I like to see any of the Alts taking market share away from Google. Yet can you see any other company today that knows how to treat data the way Google does? Can you see any other software company that does such an amazing job in building product usability?  Sometimes I think that Google is inside my head predicting the next move.  Recently Google launched Chrome, a new web browser that shows again how this company leads. The web world of today is not the same as it was few years ago. Web applications nowadays offer no less functionality than desktop applications running on our personal computer. It was a time for a new browser and Google was the one building it. I’m sure now that Google, using Chrome, and having access to our desktop will lead us to an even more organized world of information.

The people on this list have a lot in common. They are superb engineers and business people. They are not new leaders actually–they led us before–but they are not about to stop. They built technology that enables so many of us to do things that could only have been done before by large organizations, if at all. They understand the digital world and adapt to changes faster than anyone else. Unless they happen to be the very ones that catalyze the change themselves.

Do you agree? Did I miss others (probably)? What other forms of leadership on the web do you see today?

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