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April, 2007:

Web 2.0 video explanation…

Sometimes video truly is better than any written explanation. Web 2.0 Expo this year was kicked off with a video by Michael Wesch, an Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University. It really needs no explanation but to summarize it shows the true value and power that the web, and more specifically Web 2.0 creates. It demonstrates the value of people and the power of data, check it out:

I’m sure Professor Wesch has gotten a lot more coverage of the video since the Expo, such as the follow-up post on O’Reilly and Somewhat Frank. In fact, I’m quite late in posting about it, there are tons of posts in the b’sphere on the video and its appearance at the conference. There is also a very good interview with John Battelle. Many of the attendees had already seen the video (I must admit, I had not) but doesn’t that alone shows how the web enables us all to find important, or simply interesting information. You have to ask though whether the creator ever imagined it getting over two million views globally when he created it.

Desktop Convergence

Right after Web 2.0 Expo, I posted regarding Adobe Apollo and the ability of web applications to work online or off-line in ““Are you not connected?” There are some very good posts on this topic today as to whether web applications have finally one the battle for the desktop or is it simply a full more into a more hybrid app.

Nick Bradbury posts in agreement with Brent Simmons’ post “The end of “desktop vs. web apps” It is true that the ongoing debate has been taking place as to the web was going to take over the desktop or would desktop apps would win the world due to their supreme control the OS. It was only two years ago where you could find a proponent that Microsoft would still reign with their complete control of the desktop; you do not hear that often anymore. There really is a move to what Brent refers to as the “hybrid application”. And Brent goes even further in his post to point out some good examples on where the lines have ALREADY blurred quite a bit.

It is interesting that this is not the first time the concept of “hybrid” has been come up in a discussion for me this week. At the Search Engine 2007 meeting earlier this week, the topic of the “hybrid application” came up as a key discussion point instigated by Sue Feldman of IDC. However, in that context, it was around hybrid applications that do both search and other value engineered capabilities that solve the user’s problem to find things. But the premise still holds true, we no longer live in a world where an app is going to do one thing.

It is the “world of hybrid” (and we won’t even discuss hybrid vehicles) where web connections are made through web services, REST API transactions, hybrid online/offline applications and where search does more than what we know today. I know longer look at it as which paradigm wins, I’m more interested in watching/participating how the technology evolves and how we are all collectively smart to not try to be all things to all people with our applications. In that, I believe there is a lot of risk for companies moving forward who will try to do too much, will lose focus and miss the mark at being good at their core competency.

Search Engine 2007 Meeting

Still in Boston as we just completed the Search Engine 2007 meeting. The last two days have been a jam-packed information session and dialogue around some of the most interesting innovations taking place in the search industry. The structure of the two days was really made up of two different lenses. The first being product demos. The second, and more interesting, was study presentations where industry experts presented their findings around technology, strategic approach and overall philosophy. Many of the players were quite specialized which really shed light on some of the distinct thinking taking place in the industry.

The conference overall was quite technology focused but there was a good mix of a business/solutions focus as well. On first blush, part of me wants to say that a lot of the search players in attendance are trying to be “everything to everyone”, doing everything ranging from analytics, mining, entity extraction, clustering and search. Even so, the level of advanced analytics and technological approach was quite impressive. There are certainly a number of companies that I now have on my mental radar that I plan to follow over the coming months and year to see how they do. Several I believe will make their mark in some fashion on the industry commercially.

Here are some (not all) of the players that had representatives at the event, took part with speaking roles and contributed greatly to the collective intelligence of the event attendees:

There were simply too many too mention and this list above is not exhaustive. I did not exclude anyone intentionally. Also in attendance were Sue Feldman from IDC and Stephen Arnold from AIT, both of whom took part in a panel conversation to close the session. I will post again shortly with some summary notes that I found interesting from the conference.

Speaking Appearance at Search Engine 2007

I will be speaking at Search Engine 2007 in Boston next week. Should be a good conference run by Infonortics with a full list of speakers on a variety of different search topics ranging from search experience, collaborative search, business intelligence and generally where search is going. Speakers will be from a variety of organizations in the space including Google, Fast and Endeca to name a few.

My topic for discussion will be “Beyond Search: Visualizing Emerging Intelligence” and will cover:

This presentation discusses the current state of search, the advantages to text mining in extracting meaning from unstructured data as well as the future of search such as a move towards a role-based search environment, which will likely be one of the biggest technology trends to affect the enterprise. The concept of “role-based” search is about systems intelligent enough to understand the totality of what you do: your industry, your job and the daily tasks you undertake, and then help you accomplish those specific things more effectively. Effective role-based search applications will use technologies that uncover trending, comparison, discovery and determination of sentiment, which will then feed into applications that present the information using visualization and analytics. The session will also address business searching and how search networks will realign themselves to help all types of professionals find better information, faster.

To be honest, I’m as interested in attending to hear the variety of search topics from others in the industry as I am to share my experience and speaking at the event. The event should be very informative and any opportunity to get a bowl of New England Clam Chowder at Union Oyster House is a plus as well.

Are you not connected?

I’ve been out in San Francisco this week at Web 2.0 EXPO. The element I find most fascinating about these type of conferences is simply the environment and dynamic of the people, their passion and enthusiasm about the incredible things happening on the web. Interestingly, the thing that jumped out at me this week was not from a small start-up trying to make a name for itself but from a large company that continues to innovate, Abobe. And the question that jumped out at me from their Adobe Apollo presentation is “Are you not connected?”

Of course, the selling points of application-like interaction, jazzy flash with drag and drop and full power that the desktop brings was an intriguing platform concept. However, the ability to run elements of web-based applications off-line is incredibly powerful. Check out the demo of the eBay application built on Apollo.


(Original here) TechCrunch also covered Adobe Apollo back in January.

The concept of off-line applications, particularly office-base productivity tools has been all the rage of late with Zoho, Zimbra and Google Docs to name a few. But for me, the ability to run critical features of web sites that matter whether I am connected or not, and then simply synchronize with the web when you are online I find ground-breaking. You plug in, you synchronize with a site, you work/read/interact with that site off-line and then you plug in again with your updates going out to the site and the site updates coming to you.

You can see that Apollo is starting to get more coverage Adobe Apollo per day for the last 30 days.
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, I only think it will continue to increase. And I believe the number of developments on the platform will only continue to increase as well.

It did bring up a very healthy debate with a colleague of mine. He asked the interesting question, “Is this going to matter since everyone is soon always going to be connected?” It is a great question in the world where mesh networks, mobility, WAN, home wireless networks and Google deploying free wireless to whole cities. However, my counterpoint to that is:

  • Do people want to be ‘plugged’ in all the time? I feel people may simply want to take a break from being connected. What better way to do that than use a web site off-line? :)
  • Sometimes there are huge advantages to productivity and personal work-flow by being able to operate on web based apps and content “off the grid”. Bloggers do it all the time and then upload later.
  • Is it plausible that a connection will truly be everywhere? It will extend including airplanes which has already started but I think everywhere is a bit of reach for anything.
  • How long is it going to take for connectivity to truly be ubiquitous? And that you will have a connection without hopping networks in a disruptive way? I think there is still time.
  • Kbr>

  • My instincts simply tell me you need both.

Again, with all things, time will tell. I see the need and I’m intrigued as to the level of applications that begin getting created on these type of platforms, whether Apollo or the next one to come out.