June 21, 2008

Weekly Wrapup, 16-20 June 2008

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Here are some of the highlights from the week's Web Tech action on ReadWriteWeb. On the product side we explored Yahoo's ongoing troubles, reported on Firefox 3's record-setting week, covered a new "universal edit" wiki offering, and checked out some Mobile Web apps. On the trends side, we looked at what could disrupt Google search, explored the issue of 'info overload', analyzed lessons from Flickr, polled you about IM clients, and interviewed VC Brad Feld.

Web Products

Yahoo's Product Strategy

There's been a lot of hand wringing in the media lately about Yahoo's rejection of Microsoft's takeover bid. Most of the coverage has focused on the (very serious) financial and people issues that Yahoo! CEO Jerry Yang is now facing. But this week RWW focused on the impact on Yahoo's product line. Yahoo's key properties remain yahoo.com, email, myyahoo, and even Answers can be considered special. In short, content is what continues to drive Yahoo and those core properties are still enormously popular. It's just a shame Yahoo got bumped out of the way in social networking and online video -- two high growth content segments in recent times. Click through to read our recommendations for Yahoo.

See also: Yahoo Clings to Its Leading Web "Starting Points"

Firefox 3 Sets Download 'Record'

This week Firefox set out to break a record for most downloads in a 24-hour period. It surpassed the 5 million download mark it set out to meet well within the time limit - and ended up with 10.1 million downloads! We polled our readers: are you using Firefox 3? Do you plan to upgrade? Here are the results:

Are you using Firefox 3?
( polls)

See also: Get Firefox and Vuze is Another Good Download

Wiki Providers Come Together to Offer Universal Edit Button

editb2.jpgLeave it to people in the wiki market to know how to collaborate. Nearly 20 different wiki providers have teamed up to offer a new Firefox extension that will notify users whenever they are on a page that is publicly editable, using a standard icon that sits in the same place the RSS autodiscovery icon appears. Clicking on the icon (img. on the left) will take you to that page's editing interface. It's a great little idea that could help breath new life into the wiki community. We would love to see the extension become a standard part of Firefox.

Loopt: Another Mobile Contender

Loopt is the third location aware mobile social network to become available for the majority of U.S. smartphones . It joins fellow competitors Whrrl and Brightkite, both of which have already started to gain traction (see our coverage of Brightkite here). However, this is not a market where the first one to debut on the smartphone will be the ultimate winner. Instead, in the wild west of the mobile social networks, the key will be adoption. This is an area where Loopt is making headway, having recently announced deals with all the major U.S. carriers and support for Blackberry smartphones.

See also: Fring API Could Shake Up the Mobile Web and Mobile Banking on the Rise


Web Trends

11 Search Trends That May Disrupt Google

Bernard Lunn's first post for ReadWriteWeb (nearly a year ago) started with the premise that search was "game over", that Google had won and the only opportunity left was (re)search - i.e. what one does after the basic search. Unfortunately, none of the search start-ups since then has made a dent in Google's relentless march towards search market dominance. In this article, we outline 11 search trends that may change that.

Info Overload: The Problem & Solution

This was a 2-part series on today's information overload problem and how we can cope. Part 2 is here.

Information overload is no longer a joke. For those who suffered with this affliction, it never was, but now that there are real numbers attached to the problem, it has finally prompted companies to take action. Those numbers come from a recent study by a research company called Basex and they are to the tune of $650 billion in wasted productivity. Ironically, the time wasted comes from use of applications and technologies that are supposed to make workers more productive. Unfortunately, they seem to have the opposite effect.

Learning from Flickr's Co-founders on Their Way Out of Yahoo

In June 2005 Yahoo! acquired upstart Canadian photosharing web site Flickr and the web hasn't been the same since. Yahoo, on the other hand, didn't change nearly as much as everyone expected it to. Pre-CEO Jerry Yang told then-Business 2.0 writer Erick Schonfeld six months after the deal "I look at Flickr with envy, it feels like where the Web is going." Flickr co-founders Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield have now cashed out and officially left the company. Though Yahoo! doesn't appear to have internalized many of the lessons of Flickr, it's not too late for the rest of us to look at those same key lessons for inspiration in our work on the web.

See also: 72Photos Offers a New, Sleek Alternative to Flickr

Why IM Interoperability May Just be a Dream

Interoperability between instant messaging (IM) clients is something a lot of users have wished for. More specifically, we wish it was standard and provided right out of the box instead of having to turn to third parties such as Adium, Digsby, Trillian, or Pidgin. Yet there seems to be a problem with the concept of interoperability for the companies of the more popular IM clients.

Also see the results of our poll on IM clients:

Which Instant Messaging client(s) do you use? (multiple choice)
( surveys)

Note: 3 IM clients were added belatedly to the poll, due to demand in the comments of our post. Therefore the numbers for Pidgin, Miranda, and Apple's iChat are under-represented.

People in Tech: Brad Feld, Foundry Group

MIT Alumni, technologist, venture capitalist, marathon runner, Colorado dweller, thinker, blogger, and all around super human, Brad Feld (LinkedIn, Twitter) has made a huge impact on startups. With posts on his personal blog, Feld Thoughts, and on Ask The VC (a must read for anyone interested in venture funding) Feld has played a major roll in lifting the curtain on the traditionally mysterious venture process. We recently caught up with him for a quick interview.


Finally, check out the latest episode of RWW Live, in which Sean Ammirati from ReadWriteTalk, Richard MacManus from ReadWriteWeb, Steve O’Hear from Last100 and Charles Knight from AltSearchEngines discuss a number of big events over the last week.

That's a wrap for another week! Enjoy your weekend everyone.

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