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Showing posts from October, 2009

Is Facebook Graph a Counter to Google Wave Federation? Absolutely.

From Beta, to Alpha to Roadmaps - recent moves by Google, Facebook and Twitter demonstrate that platform release is accelerating.

Facebook and Google have me convinced that they're among the most foresighted of companies in the social media space.  Understanding the value and nature of prosumers, developers, structured content, open source, and broader tech-info convergence, the gargantuan yet speedy pair (+ quickly growing thirdborn Twitter) are jockeying to connect to more data, brains and meaningful partnerships.  The result is fierce, healthy competition that's accelerating the pace and manner of social software platform releases.


Yesterday, Facebook announced a set of smart maneuvers clearly spurred on by Google's aggressively open strategy, including one called Open Graph (you can tell just by the name that this is a Zuckerberg baby) that will allow website builders everywhere to build Facebook-style pages, complete with many of the platform's bells and whistles…

Google Navigation = I'm Getting a Droid

I've been sitting on the iPhone:Android fence for a while now, but no longer.  The impending release of Google's100% free, absolutely rocking Navigation System has tipped me in the direction of the Motorola Droid.




The new service is an awesome demonstration of the potent products that can spring from Google's rich, structured data core.  Could the company monetize this directly?  Absolutely.  But they won't because it's even more important for Google to 1) encourage Android phone purchases by offering this amazing feature (expect this to last a short while then migrate to iPhone as well), 2) popularize a new platform that sucks in structured data (much like the free and similarly sweet 1-800-GOOG-411) and 3) generate good will toward the G-Brand.

Expect increasingly more babies from Google's fertile data womb in the near future. 

Facebook Keeping Pace With Google's Open Platform Maneuvers

Not content to simply rely on its explosive growth curve (as MySpace did under NewsCorp prior to the shakeup), Facebook yesterday made three big announcements aimed at wooing more high-end and low-end developers:
 Facebook Platform: A rich and well-thought out suite of developer-facing support code, information and services including a heretofore unprecedented 6-month developer roadmap and a major focus on simplicity (similar to Google's maneuvers).
Open Graph: Part of Facebook platform, a vague announcement about a new API that will allow website builders everywhere to build Facebook-style pages, complete with many of the platform's bells and whistles.  A logical follow up to Google Friend Connect, this lines up with Mark Zuckerberg's January comments on the decentralization of the platform and follows Google's strategic open API lead, reinforcing that walled graden large scale social media is on its way out.
Developer Access to User Email Addresses: A minor move with m…

Carving Up the Social Graph Turkey

After much deal-making and jockeying in the previous quarters, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Google at last revealed their near-term Social Search plays at today's Web 2.0 Summit.
Facebook announced the impending launch of its own social search platform + a deal with minority investor Microsoft that brings FB status updates to Bing.  Google announced a new Social Search capability that pulls friend-relevant data from most core social networks with the notable exception of Facebook + a deal with Twitter to bring real-time tweets to the search engine.Microsoft announced the Facebook/Bing deal + a Twitter deal virtually identical to Google's.Twitter stuck to its open-expansion-uber-alles strategy, announcing it's willing to play nice with anyone who will help it fend off Facebook from its niche.
The moves clearly demonstrate the increasing value of structured social data (aka the emerging social graph) to search services and should silence skeptics that have complained about…

Control Over Perceived Environment (COPE)

What is intelligence?


"Intelligence" is a pervasive and useful, yet problematic term with no true measure, despite the fact that psychologists and other cognitive scholars having been working on this non-stop for roughly 150 years.  It's a readily understood, good-enough meme that helps us put labels on brains and to organize them, yet remains a crude, dull operating tool that leads to much confusion, miscommunication and errant simulation among its bipedal, meme-hoarding user junkies.


The highly elastic meaning of the word is especially irksome in technical discussions.  Note how difficult it is to ascribe definitions of intelligence to various systems: 
individuals - are we talking about g, social intelligence or Gardner's multiple intelligences?groups - is the group stifling individual excellence? how can one effectively measure crowd wisdom? are cultures more or less intelligent in different environments?AI - when does an AI truly become intelligent? how do we acc…

Finland: Connectivity is a Human Right

Following in the footsteps of the French, Finland's Ministry of Transport and Communications has decreed that as of July 2010 every Finnish citizen will have"the right to a one-megabit broadband connection" as an intermediary step toward 100 Mb/person in 2015.

If one views brains as supercomputer-equivalents critical to the convergent growth of technology, information, communication and human capabilities, as I do, it becomes obvious that such national policies are beneficial and necessary -- and maddening that we've not made more progress on these issues here in the United States.

Connectivity is not just a stabilizing social force, as Thomas Barnett has pointed out, it is a glue that's critical to convergent growth.  It's now high time for more nations to get hip to the idea that their full network of brains makes possible regular value creation and should be optimized for higher use.  Hopefully emerging models of individual/social "intelligence&qu…

Google's Long Prosumer March Continues as Building Maker for Google Earth is Unveiled

As usual, Google is keeping it's eye on the (rapidly expanding) prosumer prize, this time strengthening the base of its Geo-Quantification efforts through the public release of Building Maker, a program w/ complementary toolkit that encourages citizens like you and me to add renderings of buildings to any of 50 designated Google Earth cities.
We like to think of Building Maker as a cross between Google Maps and a gigantic bin of building blocks. Basically, you pick a building and construct a model of it using aerial photos and simple 3D shapes – both of which we provide.When you're done, we take a look at your model. If it looks right, and if a better model doesn't already exist, we add it to the 3D Buildings layer in Google Earth. You can make a whole building in a few minutes.
Here's a demo video from the Google beta:




Google lists some additional consequences of participating in the program:
Building Maker is an online tool, and it runs entirely in your web browser (Goo…

Laser-Generated 3D Maps

Great Britain's national mapping agency, Ordnance Survey, has posted a beautifully detailed 3D map of Bournemouth that was generated through the use of accurate laser technology.  The organization says this map "is made from 700 million individual points of light."

Take a look at the elegant results:




Experts at Ordnance Survey are optimistic that geographic laser scanning technology will "revolutionise the future of personal navigation, tourism and the planning process as well as aiding architects, and the emergency and security services", but I'll be watching to see how their technology scales and performs versus competitors, particularly Google Earth's flesh-out-our-scaffolding approach.

It's also interesting to note that this forward step in 3D quantification is being pushed through a government agency.  Expect increasingly more governments to get serious about such initiatives because of the short and long-term value they can produce for the na…