April 3, 2009
Google Buying Twitter?
The rumors abound, and they may be based on some form of truth out there. Google's forays into social networking haven't been that successful. It's Orkut product has never taken off save for South America, and even there it was mired in criminal actions involving drugs, child pornography, you name it. YouTube has quietly added social features where individual accounts can interact with each other. That's successful, but low key compared to the major social sites.
Google and Twitter may be a good fit. YouTube is still trying to figure out how to make money off of YouTube, and Twitter is still trying to make money off itself. The biggest question seems whether Twitter users will abandon the site if Google becomes the owner. The same question came up when Google bought YouTube. As it turned out, YouTube is still the largest video site for web distribution. Google's ownership of Twitter may lead to the same result. Certainly in a day when the Microsoft courtship of Yahoo remains in slow motion, the concept of Google buying Twitter has piqued the press. Read more commentary in PCWorld, the Los Angeles Times, eWeek, and Computerworld. Some suggest that the purchase is attractive for the search technology growing under Twiiter's hood. Then there is the Microsoft angle, as in anything Google does, Microsoft apes, until they figure out that they can't do it as well and nobody cares. See book scanning as an example.
Online Education Becoming Attractive in Tough Economic Times
One of the conundrums of education is online coursework, or specifically taking a class online rather than in a classroom. The problem is how to evaluate purely online pursuit of degrees via schools without that physical campus. The established universities that look askance at the online only competition are dipping into that same territory. Major universities have exploited the web in this way for years. With far flung campuses, it's sometimes easier to offer one class through the web within a program than bring in students from hundreds of miles away just for that purpose. These schools, however, balance face time with online time and have a close relationship with their students. The web is attractive as it is inexpensive, and the faculty talent is there no matter what the medium.
Now online education may be attractive to the general public because the current economic conditions make attending a physical university prohibitive. Newsweek covers this trend in an article called Online Education Offers Access and Affordability. Online education has been around for awhile, and as such, is becoming a legitimate alternative to college in the eyes of the public. The article is worth a look.
March 31, 2009
Wikia Search To Be No More (for now)
The economic downturn has claimed another tech victim. This time it's Wikia Search, the open search engine started by Jimmy Wales. Given the lack of users and contributors, it became untenable to pour resources into it. It seems as if most people are satisfied with Google and the others. Wikia Search didn't penetrate the way Wikipedia did. Then again, none of other so-called Google killers did either. Wales has said he may start the project up again when the economy improves. More in TechCrunch.
Microsoft Shutters Encarta
And really, why does anyone need this product with so many information sources looming at one's fingertips. I remember stories from the start of Encarta when Microsoft allegedly approached Britannica about collaborating on a product. As most print publishers believed back then, selling your content on CD-ROM devalued the information and cannibalized print sales. No deal. The result was Encarta, with Microsoft successfully eating into sales for EB. The lesson was not lost as Britannica channeled their reputation into a successful subscription based web site with licensing terms for schools. Now, as ever, Microsoft needs to figure out what businesses it's in, and the encyclopedia business is apparently not one of them. Ironically, in light of their first encounter, Britannica lives. More in PC Magazine.
March 30, 2009
Cloud Computing Manifesto Available
2. Cloud providers must not use their market position to lock customers into their particular platforms and limit their choice of providers.
This document does not intend to define a final taxonomy of cloud computing or to charter a new standards effort. Nor does it try to be an exhaustive thesis on cloud architecture and design. Rather, this document is intended for CIOs, governments, IT users and business leaders who intend to use cloud computing and to establish a set of core principles for cloud providers. Cloud computing is still in its early stages, with much to learn and more experimentation to come. However, the time is right for the members of the emerging cloud computing community to come together around the notion of an open cloud.