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Individuals from Plaxo, Google and Facebook join Workgroup

Added on by Chris Saad.

We are proud to announce the inclusion of Joseph Smarr (Plaxo), Brad Fitzpatrick (Google) and Benjamin Ling (Facebook) to the DataPortability Workgroup.

Plaxo, Google and Facebook together represent the key players in the competing approaches to Social Networking platforms and Data Portability.

Their joint support of the DataPortability initiative presents a new opportunity for the next generation of software - particularly in the fields of social software, user rights and interoperability.

The DataPortability Workgroup is, among other things, actively working to create the 'DataPortability Reference Design' to document the best practices for integrating existing open standards and protocols for maximum interoperability.

This means users will be able to access their friends and media across all the applications, social networking sites and widgets that implement the design into their systems.

We look forward to their contribution to the conversation.

More about the DataPortability initiative:

Our Philosophy: As users, our identity, photos, videos and other forms of personal data should be discoverable by, and shared between our chosen tools or vendors. We need a DHCP for Identity. A distributed File System for data. The technologies already exist, we simply need a complete reference design to put the pieces together.

Our Mission: To put all existing technologies and initiatives in context to create a reference design for end-to-end Data Portability. And, to promote that design to the developer, vendor and end-user community.

Besides these new additions, the WorkGroup includes, among others, Chris Saad (Faraday Media), Stephen Kelly (Peepel), Ben Metcalfe (Consultant to Seesmic and Myspace), Chris Messina (Citizen Agency, Microformats), Daniela Barbosa (Dow Jones), Phil Morle, Ian Forrester (BBC), Kristopher Tate (Zooomr), Paul Keen (NineMSN), Brian Suda, Emily Chang (eHub), Danny Ayers (Talis), Robyn Tippins (Yahoo!), Robert Scoble (PodTech).

For more information:

Please visit the DataPortability site.

Read/Write Web Coverage

Techcrunch Coverage

Google reader set to abuse more of your Attention Data

Added on by Chris Saad.
Cross Post from the Engagd Blog:

The recent leak of Google's plans for its Google Reader product are interesting. Particularly the following point:

Very soon, Google Reader will recommend feeds to the user, based on previous subscriptions and other Google activity.

Every day, more and more applications - particularly Google Apps - are starting to use and abuse your Attention Data.

This is a growing concern that I have been tracking for some time.

From that previous post:

Are you so willing to give up your rights so easily? You are, in effect, saying that you are happy for Google to absorb all your personal data - your digital identity (incidentally your digital identity is quickly becoming a large proportion of your overall identity) - and you're going to TRUST them to be completely benevolent about it? Forever?

You want no leverage? None? You don't want any accountability? Ownership? Mobility? Economy? Transparency? Because while I love Google as much as the next person - they are not transparent. And they do not respect your Attention rights.

This brings me to my next point. Economy implies that something (property) has value (in this case your Attention Data and Attention Profile). It also implies that you can transfer your property (and its value). You can sell it and leveraged and do all sorts of fancy things. It also requires multiple participants in an ecosystem.

So to dig deeper into Sam's original question "Is Google Building the Attention Economy?" the answer is no.

Google is not building the Attention Economy. They are using their huge surface area to try to grab as much of your Attention Data as possible to target and sell ads on TV, Radio, Web and Print. They are increasingly becoming an 'Attention Aware Advertising Company'.

Another key question now is, if you have an application that displays RSS/ATOM, do you have a Personal Relevancy/Attention Data strategy? If not, your software will quickly become obsolete.

Join the APML workgroup and add Engagd functionality to your feed reader today (as others are) to make sure your feed reading efforts remain relevant (pun intended).

Google video - where to next?

Added on by Chris Saad.
Jeremiah Owyang (Fellow Media 2.0 Workgroup Member) has a great post about his predictions for the future direction of Google Video.

For me, and from the perspective of an aggregator, it still surprises me that Google does many of the things it does. There are plenty of obvious reasons for any company to buy YouTube, but Google started its life doing things differently. I am not clear why they are letting themselves become so distracted.

Buying YouTube will never be a bad idea. It has awesome potential in almost every way. Traffic, branding, buzz, revenue, partnerships, distribution. You name it. It's hard to say no to that sort of revenue potential.

What it doesn't have, however, is the key ingredient that made google a killer. Open Search. Searching YouTube brings back YouTube results.

Google was an aggregator, their goal was to 'get you off the site as quickly as possible'. Yet they are increasingly building or buying destination sites/applications.

While I agree with Jeremiah's assessment of their strategy - it seems to me counter productive to a long term strategy as a benign aggregator of the worlds information.

If you want to organize the world's information, it is, in my assessment, best to avoid conflicts of interest.

MaaS - Media as a Service

Added on by Chris Saad.
Jeremiah - my friend and fellow Media 2.0 Workgroup member wonders out loud if media is becoming a service much like software.

I think it's an interesting question. I have recently re-downloaded the Joost Beta and started playing with it. A lot has been made about Joost's platform and how it is actually based on an elegant combination of on open standards technology.

It occurred to me that Joost (or something like it) could become for TV what the browser is for the Web.

While they are focusing on content deals with premium content providers right now - they have an opportunity to become the generic user interface for loading, remixing and socializing around streaming video content.

This would seem to me a step closer to Jeremiah's premise of Media as a Service (MaaS). If Cable TV is replaced by Joost, and Joost becomes an open service for the distribution of high-quality video content on scale, then we are indeed creating a series of tools, platforms and services that give us enormous capacity for media creation and distribution on demand.

Other companies like Microsoft, SplashCast and others are working towards similar services with very different implementations.

How can up and coming artists, enterprises and established media players take advantage of this emerging trend?

If media services are on tap, what are the implications for user choice and Attention Scarcity.

CBS getting attention for Jericho using AdWords

Added on by Chris Saad.
CBS is using AdWords to great effect to thank the fans for their show of support for the recently cancelled (and then saved) TV show Jericho.

Learn more about it on TVSquad.

I think it's a great attempt to reach out to fans and use the back channel to generate good will and publicity.

Well done CBS!

Attention based workplace

Added on by Chris Saad.

Greg Yardley posts about Google as an 'Attention-based workplace' because they have:

  • infrequent meetings;
  • no project management cruft;
  • no management directives;
  • the ability to switch projects at will;
  • an utter lack of date-driven releases;
  • motivation created through incentives.

They allow their staff to focus (or pay attention to) the things they care about.

He goes on to say:

I’m sure they think of it in different terms, but I suspect Google’s become so successful because they’ve brought the rules of the emerging attention economy back into the workplace.

However I disagree with Greg on this point - I am all for the Attention Economy, but I think Google is so successful not because of its focus on an Attention based workplace, but rather because it serves and monetizes everyone's ads for them.

However, that specific business (like search) is actually Attention based. Context Sensitive ads are actually about looking at what your giving attention to and determining your Intentions.

If I am looking up a movie, then chances are I want to buy the DVD hey?

Don't get me wrong though - I agree Google has a great workplace. That being said, our monitors are better than Google's - most of our team have dual 24' Dell monitors. All we need now is free laundry services and a gym.

Creating passionate crowds

Added on by Chris Saad.
I've posted before about Digg and its deep underlying philosophical difference to Google. To recap, while Digg uses explicit 'Wisdom of crowds' approaches to generating a front page, Google uses an algorithm (which takes into account implicit votes based on links) to generate its Google News front page.

These are fundamental and philosophical differences and when the issue of Digg gaming came up (and will come up again I'm sure) it was an important discussion to have.

In fact, I recently came across a wonderful article from Kathy Sierra called 'Dumbness of Crowds' where she rightly states that the term 'Wisdom of Crowds' was actually meant in sarcasm. It was supposed to highlight that crowds (read: mobs) are actually quite stupid. Real intelligence comes when measuring individual actions in aggregate (and even then in some applications and not others - e.g. designing by committee produces bland or Frankenstein results) - rather than giving individuals collective and visible control over a process.

As I've stated before, the problem with both Digg and Google is that in an era of hyperchoice and information overload these engines only show 'What's popular' instead of 'What's Personally Relevant',

Today, however, DayLife launched, to a little criticism from one of its investors (who just happens to be Michael Arrington). It has been a long time coming and, as a result, seems to have felt a little 'over anticipation' from some in the community.

Worse still (shock/horror/sarcasm) it does not use the "Wisdom of Crowds" OR a Popularity Algorithm to generate its front page. It in fact proudly and loudly declares that it uses a 3rd, age old technique - human editors.

I'm sure the DayLife founders are very passionate about their company and I wish them best of luck with their plans. Maybe in a noisy media landscape, A site that shows simple, visual and effective headlines on the front page will be a refreshing change?

Personally though I look forward to the 4th 'front page' philosophy/technique. Using a Personal Relevancy engine to generate a front page.

Congratulations to Google - Attention Data Matters

Added on by Chris Saad.
I have said a few negative things about Google recently - it seems like they have had a run of bad luck. But this post has made me happy - Mihai and Google have caught onto the idea of Attention Data (although he never quite calls it Attention Data) - and has created a 'Reader Trends' page for us all.

FeedDemon has actually been doing something along these lines for a little while though. I'd like to think that Mihai and the rest of the Google Reader team knew this? Why not give them credit?

In any case, seems like 2007 really will be the year of Attention Data. Lucky we at Touchstone are one step ahead of Attention Data and have moved onto Attention Profiling and Attention Management.

Via Micro Persuasion - Thanks to Marianne for pointing this out for me.

Since when does 'Search' translate to 'Hosting Video'

Added on by Chris Saad.
Google's original mission was to help the world find information. So why, in recent developments (yes including the Google/YouTube buyout) are they so intent on hosting all that information as well.

"They need to diversify to stay competitive"

Diversity is one thing. Straying so far from your original business and philosophy so that the brand is diluted and your partners are alienated is another.

Search is not the end of line for information discovery and management. The fact that Touchstone, Attensa, Digg, BuzzLogic and Techmeme exist is testament to that. They are all products and services that aim to help organize the world's information so that users can find the signal from the noise. With so much diversity in approaches and usage models, it is obvious that there is plenty of room to innovate and monetize products inside the original problem domain.

What's more, these forays into various other product categories are alienating the partners who use their ad network. Instead of keeping their ‘do no evil’ image and remaining the benign partner of choice they are becoming just as 'evil' as Microsoft trying to own and run everything (note: I don’t actually think Microsoft is bad, but it is a common perception).

They are making mistake after mistake by going after 'wow look at me' projects instead of focusing on what they do best.

So why isn't Google doing its job? They have lost focus, lost good will and are now finding themselves competing against Microsoft in areas they have no expertise.

Microsoft still can’t compete with search.

It is obvious they can’t do smart information management systems. Products, hosted apps and distribution they can do. But they can’t do maths. Google should be taking advantage of that fact by building better algorithms and visualizations that make information accessible. Not hosting video. They could have achieved the same revenue result simply by cutting a deal to run YouTube’s ads. They don’t need the headache of running the whole company.