Sunnyvale, California.Image via Wikipedia

OK, I’m not too old (yet) and I’ve been doing this internet thing for a while…for example – when I came on the scene Yahoo! was h-hot.  Then the portal search giant took a bit of a nap.  When they woke up Google had eaten their lunch and now Microsoft is outside trying to repo the GTI.

But have you taken a look at what they guys have been up to lately?  I mean seriously – these dudes are on a roll.  I know – you tell me they are too big, old school and on the way out…but I tell you, Yahoo! still have some gas in the tank.

I give you cool stuff from Yahoo!

  • Yahoo! Open Strategy (Y!OS)
    Imagine a world where you can write code that will meaningfully reach millions of users in a single bound. That’s the promise of an open Yahoo!.  A world that invites developers to take advantage of our huge scale to write applications that build on our existing properties (think Mail, Sports, Search, our front page, mobile, My Yahoo!, etc.), tap into millions of loyal users, and make Internet experience more relevant and useful.

  • The Yahoo! User Interface Library (YUI)
    The Yahoo! User Interface (YUI) Library is a set of utilities and controls, written in JavaScript, for building richly interactive web applications using techniques such as DOM scripting, DHTML and AJAX. The YUI Library also includes several core CSS resources. All components in the YUI Library have been released as open source under a BSD license and are free for all uses.
  • Yahoo! AMP
    AMP! from Yahoo! aims to transform the online advertising industry by dramatically simplifying processes for advertisers, agencies, ad networks and publishers
  • del.icio.us redesign
    “We’ve refreshed the UI, built an entirely new (and faster) search engine, and added numerous improvements based on your feedback.”

    I’m just saying – when I have to reinstall firefox…the first extension is my del.icio.us buttons.  I’m still telling you, in my opinion del.icio.us is a model of the next version of search.  Don’t believe me?  See Mahalo – human power search.

  • code.flikr.com
    In the last week we deployed new code to Flickr 50 times, including 546 changes by 16 people. We issued over 2,000 new API keys, and third party developers made an average of 704 API calls per second, across 109 public API methods. We added 1 new API method, and updated 7 others. There are approximately 10,000 lines of open source code in our public subversion repository. And our new developer site, code.flickr.com, is where you keep up with all that.

    Seriously – I cannot live without my flikr.  And now video too.  I’m not saying I don’t like me some YouTube, but if I can do both pics and vids in once place – flickr me please.

  • Yahoo! Local & Maps Blog
    We have seen countless users struggle to find what they’re looking for in a specific area or neighborhood using current local search and online maps products (ahem…ours included). The results may be spread over too wide an area or not in a specific enough area.
  • ycombinator.com
    Y Combinator is a new kind of venture firm specializing in funding early stage startups. We help startups through what is for many the hardest step, from idea to company.  We invest mostly in software and web services. And because we are ourselves technology people, we prefer groups with a lot of technical depth. We care more about how smart you are than how old you are, and more about the quality of your ideas than whether you have a formal business plan.

    * I’m not saying the y combinator is new or currently innovative…buy it has to be one of the most public version of this concept.

So what’s my point?  I guess a couple.  Some one needs to buy these guys or quit talking about it.  I’m not sure if it should Google, Microsoft or Wediaup.  But Yahoo! is getting ready to really crack it open again.

What do you think?

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Taking it off-line

April 23, 2008

Chefs in training in ParisImage via Wikipedia

So the big hubbub in computerland is taking cool, spiffy web apps and allowing them to work on and off line.  This is a pretty cool concept really – because we all love our gmail, but it’s hard to connect to the net when we’re on a plane.  But it would be nice to write email and then send it once we connect again (like traditional email) but with all the coolness of web based email.  Goog is using a tool they developed called Google Gears to help out.

A post (or really a slide deck) over at Ajaxian describes this:

We also discussed reasons to be excited about Web development, some of the ideas that are out there in the community, and how AIR and Gears can be seen as complementary.

So, what’s that got to do with me!  If you take that concept and apply it to social networking – you get what we’re calling wedia here at wediaup.

We want to combine all the coolness of web based soical networking and mash that up with the standard, “old school” soical stuff we all do with out friends and family – then, to spice it up…we add some wholesome media to taste.

What do you get?  Wedia – or community base, information, cooked the way you like with special sauce and extra cheese!   See, its all in how you prepare it – if you want the same old froze, “go to the freezer and get the box”, we’ve been fed for a while now…forget about it, its still there.

But if you want fresh, organic news and information – you want wedia.

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Riders waiting at a U.S. bus stop with a shelter.Image via Wikipedia

Taking my familiar walk down Ashland Ave in Chicago, barely noticing the familiar Taquerias and boutiques, I passed scores of newspaper boxes. They were all at intersections, bus stops, and coffee shops. I walked confidently, knowing that at any point I could pick up the same content that was on the previous corner. At some point, my brain fired up it’s desire engine, focused in on the need for some El reading material, and propelled my hand towards a couple boxes containing the Chicago Journal and the RedEye. Thanks be to the person who invented the newspaper box and the method of placing them ubiquitously in high-traffic areas (a quick wikipedia search failed to tell me who that person was, and then I gave up).

The newspaper box was a successful attempt at distributing newspapers everywhere. And now, in our crisp new digital world, a similar innovation must be spun up. The makings are already there. We’ve got digital high-traffic areas, we’ve got links and widgets, we’ve got RSS Feeds, and we’ve got people who like fresh/relevant content. What we don’t have is a reliable way to monetize all of the grabbing and reading.

The game today seems to be “get the reader to come back to my controlled site so I can pop some ads up and monetize their pretty blues.” But, truthfully, I don’t want to read your content on your site. Just as much as I don’t want to go downtown to the Chicago Tribune to peep some news. I want to grab a tiny slice of your content in places I’m already walking past.

More and more, my digital walk takes me past Google Reader, WordPress, Technorati, the NYTimes, EveryBlock, Twitter, and Facebook. I don’t walk past the LoMediaCo Daily News very often, so it needs to place it’s content at the high-traffic intersections of the web. Don’t lock me in to your user interface. Don’t interrupt my EveryBlock experience by making me open a link in a new tab. All of the mechanisms exist to provide me with a great content experience, but the business model for using them is nascent. It’s gonna be all about aggregating content and sharing benjamins. And that’s gonna take a beautiful database that knows about content ownership (no matter how atomized), place of viewing, stats, revenue generated, and algorithms for how much value the venue brings to the table and how much value the content brings to the table. Some will make money by making super-boss venues (e.g., Google), and some will make money by pumping out the freshest (e.g., TechCrunch) and best (e.g., NYTimes) content.

I’m not asking for anyone to give up their desire to place the “I Made This” stamp on their content. I’m asking you to give up your desire to make me see your content in your house. I’m asking you to give up your desire to be the only one to distribute your content (i.e., let it go viral).

I’ll be happy when my digital-walk content grabbing is as simple as my Ashland-walk content grabbing.

Thanks to Jeff Jarvis over at BuzzMachine for writing many thoughtful posts that got me thinking about this.

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Wedia All Over

April 3, 2008

A license plate seen in the Googleplex parking lot.Image from WikipediaWith a little Google and a little patience, I culled through the top references to Wedia in the…ummmm….Wedia. Here’s what I found out:

  1. Jim Treacher is the front runner for inventing (or at least being the first to use in a blog) Wedia back in March Ought-Five.
  2. Wedia.tv is a sweet organization. To crib their site directly “Wedia is a non-profit media company that connects volunteer journalists and filmmakers with non-profits to generate media, awareness and donations for important humanitarian causes.”
  3. Wedia.fr is in France (where they speak French). Lucky for me, their tagline is in English and goes like this: Brand is Media. Not sure I agree, but then again, I couldn’t read the explanation. They make content software.
  4. Wediabuzz.com is a close cousin to our little site here. Not hard to see how we influence each other.
  5. NowPublic, a classic example of Wedia, does a little shout-out to Wedia, but makes the mistake of putting it in quotes, thereby de-wording it.
  6. And then there’s our dear friend and colleague, Tom Altman, who is the originator of Wedia in our circle. Congrats.
  7. The big question, which Google failed to preemptively answer, is; who has Wedia.com? Turns out it’s some sort of Japan/China office planning company. They do make the nice point that Wedia can mean both We Media and We Dialogue. Props.

Let’s see if we can plant the term and concept of Wedia elsewhere.