Archive | Tech News RSS feed for this section

What I Learned (or Didn’t) @BlogWorld: An Authentically Cynical Review

9 Nov

“Be authentic and passionate.”

“Be an authority for your niche.”

“Listen to your audience.”

“Know your deepest intent.”

“Eat your fears…they will sustain you.”

Did I accidentally miss BlogWorld (LA Convention Center West Hall) and stumble into Tony Robbins’ “Unleash the Power Within” event (LA Convention Center South Hall)?

During the two days I spent at BlogWorld, these jargon-heavy phrases kept coming up over, and over, and over, and over. As a three-day expo in Los Angeles dedicated to promoting all things new media, blogging, social media and digital innovation, needless to say I was underwhelmed.

These nuggets of wisdom represent the newest, cutting-edge information that blogging and new media thought leaders have to offer? When did blogging turn into a self-help-athon? And when did blogging also become about reiterating what everyone else said as if it’s gospel?

Maybe I’m not listening, or maybe I’m being really cynical. Or both.

It’s not that I disagree with these sentiments–I absolutely agree that authenticity, transparency, and narrow authority are all keys to success in any business venture, especially social media. As someone who actively reads blogs but has no intention of trying to earn a living from one (authenticity at work right here), I wanted to come away from BlogWorld with a wealth of new information that I could incorporate into building social media strategies for brands. I certainly got some good insights, but generally felt, well, the information was too general and top line.
Here are the highlights (or not) of my experience:

THE GOOD

As opposed to asking “What’s the best time to post a press release,” for example, the better question is “does the date/time of posting a press release matter?” Tom then walked through statistics that showed how 1) it doesn’t matter what time you post, just as long as you do and 2) the time/date question is industry and brand specific – hence “do your own work.” You should know best when and where your readers are accessing your content. When companies post content that suggests best times and places to post, they are relying on what works for them.

In Tom’s words, “data generated for the purposes of content creation is inherently incurious.” The best, most helpful phrase of the conference. Thanks Tom!

  • Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere address: The blogging curation giant revealed some great new data here, including:
    • The #1 influencer for bloggers is other bloggers: influencers influence influencers.
    • LinkedIn is the 3rd largest social media traffic driver.
    • Sixty-one percent of bloggers are hobbyists, and seventy percent of bloggers blog to share their expertise and experiences with others.

However, the woman read the slides verbatim. Not exactly engaging. I could get the same info if Technorati posted the deck on SlideShare.

  • Have Bloggers Replaced Radio Programmers as Curators of Pop Music Culture?: I attended this music panel out of sheer interest as a music fan. The bloggers’ attitude and approach were refreshing–as opposed to overarching statements about passion and authenticity, they shared specific ways on how they find music, the pros and cons of creating music in a new media world, and attracting audiences to their niche music blogs. Straightforward without the fluff. Thanks guys. (Are there any female music bloggers out there, BTW?)

THE NOT-AS-GOOD-AS-I’D-HOPED

  • Chris Brogan & Guy Kawasaki’s panel on Google+: Authenticity FAIL. This felt like a giant infomercial paid for by Google. I truly admire these guys and thought I would leave with pages of notes on Google+ best practices. Granted, I arrived late, so perhaps they covered this in the opening. Or, instead of giving away the goods in the session, perhaps they just want us to buy their book on Google+.
MY TAKEAWAYS & RECOMMENDATIONS
  • Let’s move beyond the obvious and lose the jargon, people! If I hear about “opening the kimono,” “engage your audience with passion and authenticity,” “leverage your online relationships to build offline strategy” or whatever, I’m going to lose it. Can we think of any more creative ways to communicate how social media works? I’d love to go to a panel where these words are used MINIMALLY or NEVER.
  • Leverage the Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced tracks more specifically. There was no consistency or explanation by the event organizers as to what constitutes experience level. Perhaps directing attendees according to experience could eliminate the bouncing between sessions (like I did).
  • The more specific, the better. Sessions should include specific case studies that demonstrate the general takeaways.
Thanks for letting me vent.

10 Things I Like About the Internet: April 14th, 2010 Edition

14 Apr

Here we go again. Week 3 of my Top 10 List. As always, lots happening online, particularly on Twitter (check out #9).

1. This Week’s Viral Video: Sarah Palin Network. Tina Fey reprises her classic role as Sarah Palin in this week’s SNL.

2. Location, Location, Location: CauseWorld

I know the net is buzzing with changes from Foursquare, though I wanted to give a shout out to a new check-in based location service that does good for the world. CauseWorld, an app for the iPhone and Android, allows you to check in and get “karma points” to donate towards a variety of charitable causes. According to ReadWriteWeb, the mission of CauseWorld’s parent company Shopkick is to bring virtual and physical shopping worlds together. In addition to checking in, CauseWorld allows users to scan products for extra karma points. What a great amalgamation of brand marketing, local communities, social media and philanthropy.

3. There’s an App for That: A Site for Apps

I love my Droid, and now I love the user-friendly site 101 Best Android Apps that lets me search the 101 most popular apps by time frame (today, yesterday, this week, this month, and all time) and by subject matter (business, education, entertainment, etc). As opposed to lists that are published weekly by Gizmodo, Mashable, Techmeme, etc (which are incredibly helpful), this is a dynamic site that changes daily.

4. Exploring Online Communities: Lostpedia

This is neither a new site nor one that implements any novel technology, but I have to give a shout out to Lostpedia, the user/fan-generated wiki for LOST, one of my all-time favorite television shows. The site is an incredibly comprehensive encyclopedia of all things LOST, from detailed episode, character and actor synopses to literary references, trivia and mythology questions.  I recently added my own two-cents for a new LOST episode:

“Penny asks Desmond to meet her at a coffee shop on Melrose and Sweetzer in Los Angeles. There is no coffee shop on Melrose and Sweetzer. However, there is an antique shop called ‘Thanks for the Memories.'”

I’m not a World of Warcraft gal, but the WoWWiki is also a fabulous community resource.

5. A Stumble from StumbleUpon: Mark and Angel Hack Life

I found this helpful, informative and fun blog written by a married couple who write lists about practical tips for practical living. While these are their personal opinions, I like the authenticity and personality of their blogging voice. I was particularly drawn to their blog because of this post. I’ve only read 1/3 of these…better get cracking.

6. Apple News: iAds

Also known as “Mobile Ads with Emotion,” Apple this week announced iAd, its new mobile advertising platform, part of the new iPhone OS 4.0. The platform will be built directly into the iPhone OS interface. Steve Jobs claims that iAd differs from Google Ads in that the ads will keep users within an app, rather than redirecting users to a browser window. TechCrunch provided detailed play-by-play from Jobs’ iAd demo, and emphasized that both ad agencies and app developers will be able to create interactive ads for Apple.

7. My Geek Factor: Penn Olson Infographics

Following my love for all thing beautiful, informative and cool, below are some relevant infographics from digital marketing consultant Penn Olson about various aspects of social media. These are just a handful of neat statistics — on Google Facts and Figures and Social Media Demographics — this site provides in graphic form:

8. Online Legal News: The FCC Loses Ruling on “Net Neutrality”

A federal appeals court denounced efforts by the FCC to create standardized rules for the Internet, claiming that the agency cannot require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic. Edward Wyatt writes in the New York Times that “the decision will allow Internet service companies to block or slow specific sites and charge video sites like YouTube to deliver content faster to users.” The court ruling, which came after Comcast asserted that it had the right to slow cable customers’ use of BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer services to view free streaming of shows and channels normally relegated to paid subscribers. The principle of “net neutrality,” in which Internet providers must provide the same speed to everyone who wishes to access whatever websites users wish to see, is central to maintaining an open Internet. Austin Schlick, General Counsel of the FCC, said the ruling would affect it’s plan, announced in March, to connect 100 million homes to broadband by 2020. TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb and Big Think provide good commentary on the court’s ruling from a tech industry perspective, highlighting a general consensus that the laws regarding telecommunications need to be updated to reflect the current state of the digital age.

9. Getting Excited For…The Future of Twitter

Lots of big announcements about the future of Twitter on the heels of Chirp, the Twitter developer conference in San Francisco. Besides declaring some major milestones, there’s already drama brewing between Twitter and developers. Twitter’s impressive growth indicates that social media is not only growing more powerful technologically, but also as a business tool and cultural phenomenon:

  • Twitter Statistics from Chirp: Twitter has over 105 million registered users, receives 180 million unique visitors per month, 75% of Twitter traffic comes from third-party apps, and there are 600 million search queries on Twitter per day.
  • Promoted Tweets: Twitter’s much-anticipated program for making money off advertising, Promoted Tweets will show up when Twitter users search for keywords that advertisers have bought to link to their ads. Although Twitter argues that this program differs from ads, Twitter users seem to be confused about the value and nature of promoted tweets. What do you think — are promoted tweets equivalent to spam?
  • Library of Congress To Preserve Twitter: In what I personally think is a very cool move to that validates new media as important cultural literature, the Library of Congress has announced that it will digitally preserve ever public tweet since the site launched in March 2006.
  • Twitter Acquires Atebits: In its third major acquisition, Twitter acquired Atebits, the start-up that develops Tweetie apps for Mac and iPhones.
  • TweetUp: A new venture that aims to make money by allowing Twitter users to bid on keywords to give their posts top ranking. The service will organize posts according to popularity as measured by how often readers retweet and click on links contained in the posts.
  • Points of Interest: Twitter’s new feature that will use geo-tagging to identify physical places. The feature will show a map and a stream of Twitter activity nearby: a real-time view of what’s happening at a particular place at a particular time.

10. Just For Fun: Create Your Own Google SearchStories

I absolutely loved Google’s SearchStory ad that aired during the Super Bowl. Now, YouTube has a channel where you can create your own Search Story. Can’t wait to play around with this!

10 Things I Like About the Internet: April 4th, 2010 “iPad” Edition

4 Apr

Here is the second weekly installment of my soon-to-be viral hit list of 10 cool things I found on the Internet this week. Bold? Ambitious? Why not! Bring it on, Internet! And bring it on, iPad!

1. This Week’s Viral Video: IT’S A TIE, with a theme. Boys Will Be Girls and He’s Not a Single Lady.

LMAO. The Ivy League comedy sketch troupe Harvard Sailing Team shows how Boys Will Be Girls. They had more than 600 new YouTube subscribers within a day after posting this video. The girl’s response is worth watching, though not as funny in my opinion.

And here, a boy cries because he’s not a single lady. Oh, if he only knew the tears of real single ladies.

2. Location, Location, Location: SimpleGeo

As the explosion of location-based apps continues, one of the coolest new startups that launched out of private beta this week is SimpleGeo. The service offers a suite of geo-data products for purchase and is positioning itself as the single access point of geo-data for app developers. Robert Scoble reported on SimpleGeo’s buzz from the Where 2.0 conference (the fact that such a conference exists for developers says plenty). According to articles on TechCrunch and Mashable, SimpleGeo will offer two products – the SimpleGeo Storage Engine and a Marketplace – for companies and developers who are looking to capitalize on the geo-data trend. SimpleGeo offers different pricing models depending on the API call usage. SimpleGeo’s founder Matt Galligan mentions in an interview that the products will also work with non-profit and business sectors. I’m looking forward to seeing the proliferation and different uses of geo-data across industries. Should be interesting.

3. There’s An App for…lots of things…on the iPad

There’s an overwhelming amount of news about yesterday’s iPad release. Gizmodo had a great app review marathon liveblog and also has a list of essential iPad apps. I was lucky enough to play with an iPad yesterday, and I must say that Plants v. Zombies and Marvel Comics looked AMAZING. The graphics are unbelievably beautiful. The only apps not readily available for the iPad? Microsoft Office. Surprise surprise. See #6 and #9 for more on the iPad.

4. Exploring Online Communities: GOOD and GlobalGiving

I recently signed up for a subscription to GOOD Magazine. I’m in love with GOOD’s mission: “a collaboration of individuals, businesses and nonprofits pushing the world forward.” The website is an incredible collection of articles and message boards where people can post and comment on ways to make “good” in the world, whether through government, business, art, design, education, green initiatives, etc. As an experiment, GOOD is offering people to “pick their price” of their subscription. Granted, they only offer two choices – $20 or $5o. Both offer one year subscription to GOOD magazine, full access to Good.is website (which can also be accessed for free), and a GlobalGiving credit in the total amount of your subscription. (With $50 you also get a t-shirt and your name mentioned in the magazine). Why donate 100% of the subscription fees to GlobalGiving? GOOD offers two reasons: “1) it’s smart business and 2) we believe in this.” GOOD acknowledges that most magazines don’t make money off subscriptions or newsstand sales. The subscription model reflects GOOD putting their “money where our mouth is and empowering people who are driving change in the world.” GOOD reflecting Good business practices in a 360-degree fashion.

What is GlobalGiving? It’s an organization that connects donors with community-based projects that need support. GlobalGiving has pre-screened over 700 grassroots charity projects and gives donors the ability to connect with these projects in a positive, transparent way. You can filter causes by issue (women, education, technology, etc) or location, and GlobalGiving ensures that your tax-deductible donation will be available to the project within 60 days, and donors have the option of covering the 15% administrative fee, after which the entire donation goes to the charity. GlobalGiving is a great site to list grassroots projects and have donors find you, and a great example of crowdfunding.

5. A Stumble from StumbleUpon: We Are Hunted

A very cool site that tracks the 99 most popular emerging songs in the world. You can create your own chart of favorite songs and the links allow you to play full versions of the songs (as well as purchase them). There is also a filter showing the 99 most popular songs mentioned on Twitter and 99 most popular remixed songs in the world. You can also filter by genre and date (popularity today, this week, this month). A great new way to find music!

6. Apple News: Get Your iPads! Hot of the Presses! And at Best Buy!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock and/or without the Internet, the news, live blogging, discussion, discourse and overwhelming excitement over Apple’s iPad release on April 3rd was, well, overwhelming. Here are some articles I found informative and interesting.

New York Times Live Blogging iPad’s Release and a summary of the blogging

iPad By the Numbers: statistics on prices, percentages, and estimates for iPad sales

How Green Is My iPad? Op-Ed Chart in the New York Times. Let’s just say books are still in play.

Is the iPad Magical?

iPad Gets Half-Hour Product Placement on “Modern Family”. The show is really funny and worth watching, by the way.

Mega A-to-Z list of iPad Reviews

My favorite business idea for the iPad:

7. My Geek Factor: Things for Twitter

Now that I’ve figured out Twitter, it’s like a new toy. Here are some blogs, apps and info I’m exploring to help with my Twitter usage:

TwiTip: A blog to getting more out of Twitter

Top 10 Twitter Trends This Week from Mashable

5 Big Twitter Trends to Follow Right Now: how Twitter is shaping journalism, television, and business

MonkeyFly extension for Google Chrome: A client interface built-in to the Twitter homepage. Add columns to show @mentions, DMs, RTs, etc. MonkeyFly has customizable capabilities like TweetDeck or HootSuite, but you don’t have to leave the Twitter site.

Helpful people to follow on Twitter: @Twitter_Tips, @SocialNetDaily, @CleverAccounts, @kikolani, @jeffjarvis

8. Online Legal News: Google Earth to the Rescue!

So this isn’t real online legal news as much as an example of how online technology and social media are helping the legal system. Mashable reported how Google Earth helped a Deputy in Florida arrest a man charged with dumping his one-ton boat. The Deputy found an archived satellite image of the boat in question parked near the suspect’s house. Mashable also has a list of ways law enforcement uses social media to fight crime. While I’m pleased about the positive use of these applications, how “Big Brother” are we going to get? Where do we cross the line between safety and invasion of privacy with surveillance?

9. Getting Excited For…Subsequent Generation iPads

I was lucky enough to play with a friend’s iPad yesterday. It’s cool and beautiful, and certainly, the upcoming emergence of tablets will forever change personal computing. Personally, as much as I love Apple, I will never buy their first generation products. We all know that, within the next 6-12 months, a much better, faster, functional, cheaper version will be on the market. I understand the hype and excitement of being “the first” to have a new toy (though I wouldn’t wait outside starting at 3 AM to buy ANYTHING), but why not be patient and spend money on a better piece of a equipment with better software in a few months? Everyone who got the first generation iPod and iPhones were miserable in the long run (slow, short battery life, expensive, etc). The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over with the expectation of a different result. There’s no difference with the iPad. I will want one eventually, but I’m waiting it out. Cory Doctorow lists several reasons why he isn’t even interested in buying an iPad. Sure, it may be gadget of the zeitgeist, but it’s still cool.

10. Just for Fun: GroupÖupon Exclusive

With the plethora of online April Fool’s jokes, my favorite by far was from GroupOn, or should I say GroupÖupon, “an invitation-only, private sales site offering designer apparel and accessories to the consumer elite.” There is a place to “Assert your exclusivity” and the list of titles is just hilarious. Prospective members must supply documentation proving their net worth, along with other proofs of status, including sex tapes or domestic organizational charts. I’m not sure what a Dowager Marchioness is, but that would be a fun title to have. Good luck getting approved!

New York Times Chatroulette StumbleUpon!

29 Mar

Check out this cool application created by a journalist who works for The Guardian in the UK. It’s a Chatroulette, StumbleUpon-style application for New York Times articles. Press on the button and it will take you to a random Times article posted in the last 24 hours. RSS reader be gone! (OK, not really).

http://nytimes-roulette.appspot.com/

10 Things I Like About The Internet: March 28th, 2010 Edition

28 Mar

I’m going to try something new this week. People love reading lists online, and with the overwhelming amount of news relevant for online communities, technology and business, I decided to aggregate what struck me as Useful, Cool and Funny (to borrow Yelp’s categories) from these areas this week into a single blog post. While categories may change from week-to-week, I intend to write about topics and issues that I believe will have staying power both for upcoming class discussions as well as in the broader Internet world. (“Staying power” is a relative phrase in this space). Clearly, it’s impossible to touch on everything, and that is not my goal here. Since the list will make the post long, I’ll keep each topic short.

1. This Week’s Viral Video: Merton, the Chatroulette Viral Improv Piano Player

Chatroulette is dominating the news: from Andrey Ternovskiy’s interview in the New York Times to the development of My Chance Romance, a new dating site founded on Chatroulette’s technology, the randomized video chat site has exploded into a major discussion point for businesses and social psychologists alike. We previously discussed in class what makes a video (or marketing campaign) go viral, and Merton, the Chatroulette Improv Piano Player, is an excellent example. He tapped into the online zeitgeist in a fun, accessible way. Way to go for self-branding and self-publicizing!

2. Location, Location, Location:

SXSW demonstrated the continued explosion of location-based and check-in apps and features, which are also coming to Facebook (see #8 below). Robert Scoble wrote an excellent blog post about what’s to come with the “location war,” including the pros and cons of “mini mobs,” malleable social graphs, and how Facebook may soon dominate the current check-in leaders (Foursquare, Gowalla, Twitter, etc). Check out the mini-mob video from SXSW that shows check-ins by apps over time:

3. There’s an App for That: Location to the next level, literally: Earth to Mars!

Tech news sites were abuzz this week about how participants at EclipseCon2010 created a new iPhone app allows users to control the Mars rover from their iPhone. How cool is that. Here’s a video demonstration:

4. Exploring Online Communities: Self-Organization as Art on WeFeelFine and PostSecret

These aren’t new sites or communities — I’ve heard and looked at both of them previously — though I explored them more deeply this week after a classmate brought them to my attention.

WeFeelFine is “an exploration of human emotion on a global scale.” First published as a book, the authors began collecting data on feelings and emotions from blogs and social networking sites beginning in 2005. The book — and now a live website — allows users to slice emotional data into demographics (location, gender, age, etc). The authors label their experiment as “a self-organizing particle system…an artwork authored by everyone.”

PostSecret is “an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard.” There is also a message board where people can anonymously post, discuss and comment on “secret” topics.

Although these sites are rooted in the the “early” use of the Internet as a way to connect and communicate, they are still relevant in terms of how people turn online communities to both hide and be seen. Plus, I love the visual representations of dynamic data.

5. A Stumble from StumbleUpon: Box of Crayons

StumbleUpon is my recent procrastination tool of choice. My favorite site that I stumbled upon this week was Box of Crayons, which has two beautifully made videos — The Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun and The 5.75 Questions You’ve Been Avoiding — that highlight the company’s mission of working with organizations worldwide to “do less Good Work and more Great Work.” Sure, the site may get a bit preachy about management coaching, but it has a great message and I truly enjoyed the videos.

6. Apple News: Designing dynamic magazine covers for the iPad

With the iPad selling out through pre-orders and the excitement over a leaked image that Best Buy will sell iPads on launch day, print magazines and newspapers are gearing up to present their digital versions. Here is a link to a video for Sunset Magazine’s iPad mockup, and below is VIVMag’s iPad  demo interactive feature spread. Introduced in the New York Times and discussed at length in ReadWriteWeb, VIVMag will feature interactive content and video in every issue, and will continue to exist as an all-digital magazine. There is much debate over the cost of creating such elaborate features, however, and whether publishing for the iPad and tablets will be too expensive for “micro-publishers.” Regardless, the future, here we come!

7. My Geek Factor: Factual: visualizing Big Data

I’m a geek for statistics, especially visualizations about statistics (see #4 and my blog post about film and tv time travel). TechCrunch recently reported that Factual, an open-wiki platform that allows anyone to share and mash data, has added visualizations to organize and structure “big data.” Looking for restaurants? Here’s a map view. They also have visualizations for Hiking Trials and Video Games. Although it’s still in beta, I’m hoping that developers will take advantage of Factual’s API to integrate such visualizations into future applications.

8. Online Legal News: Facebook Privacy Issues (aka Facebook shit storm), continued

Facebook is making headlines once again with upcoming changes to its privacy policies. Here are the proposed changes and why people are already up in arms:

  • Facebook will allow third-party sites to automatically sign you into Facebook Connect based on your browser cookies. Although Facebook states you can “opt-out” of these sites, by default, you’re in entirely. While convenient for those who use Facebook Connect, this is a huge potential privacy breach. Why would Facebook assume to provide such information without explicit consent on a case-by-case basis? TechCrunch provides a good discussion of the pros and cons of this feature.
  • New location features. Facebook is getting into the location game. Just as Twitter has adopted geolocation functionality, Facebook will allow users to tag location with status updates, photos, etc. Do I want people to know where I am on Facebook? Not really. Though I’m sure it will take off.
  • Syncing Facebook contacts with those on your mobile phone. My Android already gives me the option of doing this. I certainly don’t call everyone in my Facebook circle, nor would I want to have their contact information overloading my phone. When it comes to my contacts, less is more. But I’m sure for others (business, people who like showing off numbers of friends, etc) this will be a welcomed feature.

9. Getting Excited for…Spotify

I love music. I love streaming music. I am excited about Spotify, a music-streaming service from the UK that will soon be launched stateside. Already used by more than 7 million people across the pond, Spotify lets you choose from millions of tracks in the (all legal) database and created web-based playlists that are stored under your username. No more searching ad nauseum for random songs. According to this fan on Gizmodo, after downloading Spotify, which will also have iPhone and Android capabilities, she hasn’t touched her iTunes in a year. I’m looking forward to this as a user, and it will be interesting to see how it impacts the music downloading market.

10. Just for Fun: Japanese version of “We Are the World”

So this isn’t exactly new, but I had to share a video posted on BuzzFeed this week. The Japanese have done it again with another amazing, inspirational video that channels the spirit of the original “We Are the World.” Enjoy Tina Turner’s brilliance all over again.

I’m Buzzed

15 Feb

I’m sure this is what Google hoped its users would say about it’s new social networking service. According to Google, more than tens of millions of people had tried the service within the first 48 hours of its launch. Like Apple, whenever Google introduces a new product or application, the hype will draw serious and immediate attention. But Google is fallible too. A New York Times article discussed how, after intense criticism, Google altered an initial Buzz feature that automatically connected people based on email contacts on the grounds that it compromised privacy. Critics believed that users’ email addresses would be exposed and that Google was forcing its social networking tools on to users, since the company didn’t initially offer the choice to turn off Buzz. It has since added a tab in Gmail to eliminate Buzz and also turned off the auto follow feature. Now that Google has entered the social networking space, it will need to continually update and tweak its privacy settings like Facebook or Twitter or any other platform that involves sharing personal information. In my opinion, then, such brouhaha over Buzz isn’t surprising or far-fetched. Social networking is fluid and dynamic. Not every tool will appeal to everyone at every time. If people choose to use a tool, then they should familiarize themselves with the privacy settings and choose carefully what information to put online.

Although Buzz is limited to Gmail users (176 million versus Facebook’s 400 million+), and I don’t believe that it will replace Facebook and Twitter’s expansive networking capabilities, Buzz offers unique features that are detailed by Saad Fazil in VentureBeat. Here are some of the highlights (and a link to the full article):

  • Since Buzz is immediately available to all Gmail subscribers, the platform already has an audience at its fingertips.
  • Gmail users tend to keep an email tab open, which will likely encourage Buzz use.
  • Buzz has the seamless capability to integrate standalone apps, such as Picasa and Google Latitude, which differentiates itself from Facebook.
  • A potential downside is that Buzz is the “jack of all trades, master of none”: it can be Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare at the same time, and users may be turned off by it’s broad (versus niche) capabilities.

Here is a video that demonstrates how Google Buzz works:

And here is a great parody of that video:

And one more for good luck:

High Concept Hardware

7 Feb

With all the hullabaloo about the iPad and tablet/slate hardware hitting the market, it’s already time to think ahead to what the next big thing will be in hardware design. Given Apple’s clear domination in the hardware “hype” market, any new device will need to combine functionality, portability, application support and aesthetics in a new way. I was sent this video of a concept called the Rolltop, made by German designer Evgeny Orkin. At first I thought it was a yoga mat. It aims to work as a laptop, tablet and monitor, with it’s own power source and camera. Personally, I don’t think something like this would catch on like a tablet – it’s difficult to envision hordes of people carrying around a roll-up computer. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting thought experiment to brainstorm about the post-iPad world. And please forgive the cheesy elevator music – it comes with the video.