Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Key to the Magic Quadrant of Social Software

A few posts back I did a quick comparison on Microsoft MOSS 2007 and IBM Lotus Connectins to see which one is best suited for Enterprise 2.0, for Corporate Social Networking. One of the criteria we've developed in our TeamPark approach at Sogeti is that the software needs to be S.O.C.I.A.L.

In this comparison I also showed the Gartner graph on Social Software;

In their review, Dogear Nation rightly pointed out that for instance Yammer, Facebook, Twitter and so on are missing. So where have the Garter researches been?

However, the graph also shows that none of the currently available platforms moves into the socalled 'Magic Quadrant';

The Gartner Magic Quadrant is a proprietary research tool developed by Gartner inc., a US based research and advisory firm. It is designed to provide an unbiased qualitative analysis of a “markets’ direction, maturity, and participants

Time to work magic

In the upper left quadrant we see both Microsoft and IBM named "challengers" with a great capacity to execute (read established corporate penetration), in the lower right quadrant we see a number of "visionaries" like Atlassian, Jive and Socialtext. The majority however falls into the lower left quadrant of "niche players" and no solution has made it to the magic quadrant yet.

What does it take to get into the magic quadrant? In blunt translation of the Gartner graph it should be Microsoft buying Atlassian for instance to combine 'completeness of vision' with 'the power to execute'. But that is not the correct answer.

If we mix up Jive with IBM or Atlassian with Microsoft it does not create a winner, it will not be a magic quadrant recipe, because it will undoubtedly be a functional cocktail from a technical point of view, not from a social point of view. It will result in a (probably very good) platform which offers everything you would want, but in the end won't work.

The 'ppp' Protocol

What does it take to get into that magic quadrant? Basically this is an identity management based issue. In my opinion we use the web in three ways:

  1. Private
  2. Personal
  3. Professional

Probably we should rename 'www' to 'ppp' ;) .You could argue the terminology though, it could just as well be personal, social and professional. However, I think theseare the three domains to which we use the internet and with the current cloudcomputing trends this will create a new paradigm for identity management (IdM) and this will be the key in stepping inside the magic quadrant.

In the 'old days' we had our home pc to facilitate our 'private need', meaning we used it to store our documents, photos and accessed the internet to find information for our hobbies. We also had a corporate pc on which we stored our work related documents. And in the Web 2.0 age we started to use the internet for social interaction.

Nowadays, more and more is shifting towards webbased functionality. We use Google Docs for our documents, share our photo's on Picasa, Webshots, Flickr, Paintbucket or wherever. We started blogging, and we started Tweeting...

Each of these three domains is becoming more and more webbased and it confuses us, it frustrates us. We're constantly putting up content on a variety of sites, distributing our lives through various media to various audiences and we often find the content should move beyond the boundaries of just one domain and we end up duplicating the same information to another blog or wiki.

IdM Divergence is Key

The current trends on aggregation, the creation of lifestreams is convergence; pulling the content of various media into one single lifestream distributed to all our contact. Regarding the three domains however, we want - no, NEED - divergence; one single point of entry and the option to distribute it to different audiences, across the boundaries set by these domains. One of the functional prerequisites is the ability to organically group contacts (there are more ;)) regardless of the domain they are confined to.

This is, what in my opinion, will make it impossible for each of the platforms mentioned in the Gartner graph to truly claim the Magic Quadrant. Each of these solutions focus on one particular domain; social / personal or professional. The Magic Quadrant platform needs support all three domains in one coherent mashup of these multiple online identities we have fostered with ample mechanisms to guard our privacy, with the appropriate tools to include and exclude people to see certain types of information. It needs to be able to discern who is allowed to see which part of a certain domain

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Google unfit for Social Web

Over the past years we have seen two major trends on the internet; one is the so-called web 2.0 stuff, social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace etcetera and the second trend is Google taking ousting one rival after the other, gaining dominance on the web. Today a new study says these two trends are incompatible:

"NEW YORK Google doesn’t care about social networking. But perhaps it should, since social-networking platforms are gradually making search less relevant.Those are just two of the more pointed conclusions found in a report issued today by Pali Research analyst Richard Greenfield, who examined MySpace’s business and its long-term ad relationship with Google. In the report, Greenfield reiterated a contention he made last July that the underperformance of search ads in MySpace is not simply a product of the non-responsive nature of these sites’ users. Rather, according to Greenfield, Google’s algorithm isn’t well-suited to social-networking sites -- and that’s something Google isn’t necessarily concerned with."

I'm not sure Google isn't concerned with social networking sites, but it certainly is an interesting statement. What is particularly interesting is why Greenfield things Google is not suited for Social networking;

"The reason the company doesn’t care, said Greenfield, is that the basic functionality of social platforms like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter is "diminishing the importance of search.” He points to users’ growing inclination to search for specific information by tapping into friends’ and colleague's knowledge through platforms like Twitter’s own search product, as well Facebook’s status update tool."

The rise of the social web brings people together. Friends and professional networks are the way to provide the necessary information, as these are sources you trust and value.

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

The business value of real networks

Today I came across an interesting video on Open Forum. In their series "Inside the Entrepreneurial Mind " bestselling author and thoughtleader Seth Godin made a few interesting remarks about Twitter and Facebook: "They're useless"
The particular video I'm referring to starts with a marketing guy asking what the benefit of networking is for business.
Seth's answer is pretty straightforward:

"The internet is a giant cocktail party of people swarming around, connecting as much as they can and keeping score...but one day you need to ask them to authorize a 100,000 dollar contract... it doesn't matter"

His conclusion:

"Networking is always important when it's real and it's always a useless distraction when it's fake"

Real value comes from real connections. No wonder why Twitter is still looking for a business model, other than just selling a person database and why would people value Facebook in the billions of dollars?

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

WYP taking over the world

A virtual world from Germany is taking over the real world. What's Your Place (in short WYP) is not exactly a virtual world, but more of a mirror world, one that reflects our own space and time. It is not a replica of Berlin, like Twinity, but a Google Maps Mashup that lets members own and showcase their favorite places.

Yesterday I received the press anouncement that is released today. In Germany WYP has been up and running for more than a year, but today WYP has launched the English language version to target the global market.

People with an emotional attachment to any spot on the earth can now stake a virtual claim on it. Each place has its own URL and profile page („land register records“), and the land owner alone is entitled to edit that unique place profile. Hence, virtual land ownership is an exclusive way for expressing attachment to a place and to showcase that spot to the world. Editing means include picture upload, tagging, geo-marking, adding notes, or adding time stamps. As these features are embedded into a social community environment, other members will bookmark a parcel, comment on it, or even share their own pictures or related experiences with the land owner. More advanced community features include grouping places and inviting residents to a private area.

Membership to the community is free of charge, virtual land ownership comes at 9.95 USD an acre. Ownership is without time restriction and entails full reselling rights. All features bound to land ownership can be tested for free buy obtaining a “trial parcel”, which will be removed after 30 days. So far, over 25.000 acres have been sold. The entire world is for sale, the only exception being parts of the globe that Google Maps does not yet cover well. It is the philosophy of WhatsYourPlace that places must be absolutely unique, such that per place, there is only one owner worldwide. What sounds natural entails that English speaking users may see German content when visiting places owned by German members. We strongly believe that language diversity enhances the cosmopolitan aspect of WhatsYourPlace.

Full press release at the WYP website.

The two images I used in this blogpost come from the promotional folder, which explains a bit more about owning your virtual speck of land in WYP and other features. Especially the combination of Google Maps, Facebook functionality into a social world looks an interesting format.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

MySpace blocks sexoffenders

One of the largest social platforms, MySpace announced it has discovered and removed 90,000 sex offenders from its network. The number almost doubles the estimates MySpace made last year, according to the Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. They might be blocked, but where did they go?

MySpace is in the spotlight today because it revealed that 90,000 registered sex offenders have been kicked off its site in the past two years. But where did all of those sex offenders go? Some evidence suggests that a portion of them are now on Facebook.

The Techcrunch article cited above has a nice description of how MySpace detects sex offenders and what Facebook could learn. It also includes reactions from Facebook officials.

One of the possible avenues to explore, according to some, is that Social Networking sites block profiles of minors to older members. I'm not sure that solves the problem. We've seen reports of people lying about their age with several networking sites. It's easy to register with false information.

The problem is, we haven't got a certification authority on the web for websurfers. We've got certificates to prove the identity of websites, like those of VeriSign, but no one can vouch for the identity of surfers. This is, in my opinion, one of the priority issues to solve on the internet in the coming years.

One thing we need to be carefull about is what kind of information do we actually put up on the internet. We need to be more aware of our online Identity and our privacy. Especially youngsters should be carefull in using these sites and be taught and guided in using them. Parents need to get involved in what their kids are doing online. They have to show an interest in their kids online social life.

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Friday, January 09, 2009

What is Social Webdesign ? Is it dangerous?

In my post yesterday I briefly mentioned a potential danger of social webdesign. But what exactly is social webdesign?

Social webdesign is not about website builders building websites for social networks. Well, not entirely. Social Webdesign is more than putting together a social network, making a site design and putting bits of code into the website. Social Webdesign is about the features on these websites that create communities and addiction.

It's actually about psychologists designing mechanisms that get you hooked, that pull you in hook, line and sinker untill you can't get out anymore.

From a graphical design point of view you could argue that the Facebook design is rather boring, maybe even unattractive. From a technical design point of view you may fuzz about their ecosystem and from an Interaction Design point of view you may freckle over the layout of the interface, but looking at it from a Social Webdesign point of view, it's a different ball park. Social Webdesign is about what makes Facebook work, about the widgets, the features that have attracted millions of users almost overnight.

Let's go S.O.C.I.A.L.

Social webdesign works around several key principles, which we at Sogeti have neatly called S.O.C.I.A.L;

  • Socialness: The measure in which a platform stimulates social interaction and gives social incentives.
  • Organicness: The ability of a platform of self organising communities.
  • Collaborative Intelligence: Mechanisms to make talents explicit and converge
  • Aliveness: Necessary signs of live, buzzcreators and talk of the town to create a vibrant community to which people can easily connect.
  • Linkedness: ‘no social platform is an island’…

These principles are the foundations to our Teampark experiments, an enterprise solution to utilise the power of the community inside corporations. Social Webdesign can benefit companies to leverage the creative forces inside.

The hidden danger to Social Webdesign

There's a side to social webdesign though. Yesterday I blogged a little on how Authority based filtering for example can bring about the danger of creating an elite, a dominant opinion in which new and refreshing ideas are taken out of the equasion.

First class social webdesign can have the power to play the masses. It can ignite emergent behaviour and lead groups of people into doing things they would normally not do individually (or are even strongly opposed to). It may well bring about the tools to mass manipulate.

Further reading tip:

One site you might want to check out is Joshua Porter's blog called Bokardo. It is a blog about interface design for social web sites and applications, about recommendation systems, identity, ratings, privacy, comments, profiles, tags, reputation, sharing, as well as the social psychology underlying our motivation to use (or not use) these things.

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Friday, December 05, 2008

Is it Web 3.0 time?

Aside from Pownce shutting down , today looks a pretty fine day as both FaceBook Connect and Google Friend Connect emerge from closed beta into the wide public. Both these projects will undoubtedly boost social networking immensely. John McCrea of Plaxo posted quite a nice blog today on "the birth of the Social Web" as he called it:

December 4, 2008. Today may be remembered as the birth of the Social Web, as two major projects aimed at turning the Web social emerged from their restricted beta periods for general availability, Facebook Connect and Google Friend Connect. Together, these two major events sound the death knell for the walled garden phase of social networking. Early reactions to the news are quick to frame this as a head-to-head battle between Google and Facebook, but the truth requires a look at the details…

read full article here.

But, does today live up to its outlook? One the one hand I welcome these projects as they may bring some sync into the countless social networking accounts I have, but on the other hand I fear the widespread grip Google is starting to gain on our digital identities (see this blogpost for instance).

The image above is from Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels" and depicts Gulliver being tied up by the people of Lilliput. As their ropes are mere strands of hair to him, he would have no trouble whatsoever in tearing these ropes apart.... at least, one or a bunch at a time, but the vast amounts of ropes will hold him tied down, captive.

This analogy was used by professor Vincent Icke in the Dutch talkshow "De Wereld Draait Door" yesterday on how the government is getting a grip on our online identity with all sorts of new files and registrations, but I think this is even more true for Google. It is time for a new web, and yes it is time for the Social Web, but that would require a thorough redesign, a proper 'new web' with a different architecture supporting it; An architecture which can provide privacy and security when it comes to Identity Management

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Connect - Again?

It's been around for a while, but somehow it hasn't reached critical mass yet in Europe. It was not untill yesterday that I noticed Yahoo had a nice new app out on the web: oneConnect. It was launched as early as februar this year.

Yahoo has upped the ante in its campaign to rule the mobile Web.

On Tuesday, the company announced at the GSMA Mobile World Congress here OneConnect, a new tool that allows mobile phone users to aggregate their social-networking updates and messaging in one spot on their phones. The service integrates directly with a phone user's address book and allows people to share status updates and messages from a variety of messaging and social-networking platforms. This means it can provide status updates from Facebook or as well as provide access to e-mail and archived instant-messaging chats. [Read full article here at CNet]

Okay, here we go again. Time for yet another tribal migration, another MeToo social networking app where we can leave our personal data up for grabs. Right now every new web 2.0 app is about converging streams, plugging things into something else, creating more of the same data stream, to pretty much the same people. Why is this different than say Facebook, or Plaxo?

Let's have a look at some of the features.

There is a distinct difference. oneConnect does connect. It doesn't require building a new profile like Facebook, LinkedIn and Facebook. It simply leverages my existing social networks in their current states which saves me going through the hassle of importing contacts and extensive profiling once more.

oneConnect services the usual stuff, converging contacts and lifestreams from multiple sources, but also adds some new features into the mix.

This is what I consider oneConnect's biggest advantage over the existing competition, it allows you to post across different platforms. Better yet, it let's you select which platform you want to push your content to. And although we often use these platforms for specific purposes, often we'd like to update our status to all of our networks, or just to announce a new blogpost without starting up Pownce, Twitter and Jaiku.

Another new one (to my knowledge) in the social space is the integration with Instant Messaging applications making oneConnect one of the most versatile communication platforms out there at the moment.

Now does this all make oneConnect the next killer app for the web? Not yet. It isn't stable yet, it's buggy and has performance issues. It doesn't support enough feeds or services yet and you're pretty limited in the amount of contacts you can add.

Aside from the number of feeds and sources to leverage, there are a few other things that are still lacking to get the next revolution going. We still need some innovation to make the next level of social networking. Yes, oneConnect has some nice extra features over other lifestream aggregators and social portals but it isn't enough to herald a new massive tribal migration on the web just yet.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Integrate or wrap up

Many will agree that Virtual Worlds are wonderful tools when it comes to visualising hard to explain stuff and offer a range of quite useful possibilities. Yet NVE's are still a niche market and have obviously failed as marketing tools. They don't hold the power to overturn the internet yet and become mainstream applications.

In my opinion the key lies in integration with mainstream and social networking tools. Virtual Worlds such as Second Life are still mainly social worlds, used for social interaction for certain special interest groups and in this regard they are a mere 3D Chat addition to social networks. In this day and age these social networks are in charger of the internet with Facebook, Myspace etc. holding vast communities. If Virtual Worlds are to stand more than a "snowballs' chance in hell" in this web 2.0 battle for numbers they have to bridge the gap.

I think I've mentioned Kaneva in the past as pioneering this with their user profiles with blogging, etworking features etc. to enhance the social power of their virtual world. I've mentioned integration a number of times in the articles here on MindBlizzard and in presentations I did in the past year and a half.

Just over a year ago I wrote:

"One of the great features of Kaneva is the personal homepage that you get as a resident - a good start to integrate Web 2.0 and Web 3D into one environment. Think of the power of integrating Second Life with Flickr, Blogger, YouTube, Twitter/pownce and Facebook all in one!"

We've seen a small Facebook widget appear last year in which you could linkup with your Second Life friends, an attempt to integrate Second Life with Joomla, but now the integration takes a step forward as Tribal One integrates Facebook and OpenSim in a first step towards a new approach to 3D/Web integration

As usual, UgoTrade, has a very extensive and thorough blog on this integration:

The picture above shows the in the left pane fetched pictures from Stefan’s Facebook photos. As Stefan explains a hybrid web app is talking to the region to change the picture accordingly and pull the photos into frames on the wall (for a more detailed technical explanation see here).

read more at: UgoTrade.

More to come

There's bound to be more to come on cross platform interfaces and 3D/Web integration. Check out Digado for example with it's accounts on the "Second Life Interface Debate", and here's a vid from Smashing Magazine on "Futuristic Interfaces"

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I, You and Wii trends 2007

It's december now and a spectacular year of booming business is coming to an end. Here and there the first anthologies are starting to appear. You may have guessed; it's been a good year for Apple. No big surprises here, aside from the smash hit "Guitar Hero"

From: The Year of I, You, and Wii
  1. YouTube
  2. Wikipedia
  3. Facebook
  4. iTunes
  5. iPod
  6. iPhone
  7. Nintendo Wii
  8. Xbox
  9. Sony PlayStation 3
  10. Guitar Hero
Another list with no real surprises is the Celebrity Downslide list, also by Yahoo
  1. Britney Spears
  2. Paris Hilton
  3. Anna Nicole Smith
  4. Vanessa Anne Hudgens
  5. Nicole Richie
  6. Amy Winehouse
  7. Rosie O'Donnell
  8. Tara Conner
  9. Michael Vick
  10. Owen Wilson

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Your expectations of the Metaverse in 2007 (2)

Yesterday I blogged about my expectations for the Metaverse in 2007 in answer to Rick's question. His reply to my answer (part of it) was:

"My problem is that, imho Second Life isn't a business platform at this moment
in which these goals can be achieved."


"Then it comes to waiting for the next 'killer app' which really draws the
crowd into the metaverse. However, I'm having difficulties in formulating the
needs in which this 'holy grail' should provide. Is it mass collaboration, the
digital long tail, outsourcing or will the virtual economy grow to such an
extent that retail goes 3D because of efficiency? In other words, what is your
vision of a businessmodel that goes beyond the limitations of Second Life, which
added value can a 3D environment have for entrepeneurs and how will crowds be

These are easy questions, much like "Why are we here? How does the universe work?" The answer is similarly hard. If I had a straightforward answer, I'd probably be a millionaire soon.
It's the X-million dollar question.

As a Metaverse Evangelist, or sr. Networked Virtual Environment Consultant I could talk about the potential of metaverses forever. To be honest though. We have to be realistic.

  1. We're at the early stages of the industry. Many companies are still having difficulties in understanding web 2.0; seeing blogs and wiki's rise but don't know how to implement it in their corporate strategy, let alone we can convince companies to adapt to the Metaverse overnight. It's a process.
  2. There's a couple of industries that can make quick wins with metaversal presence (like real estate), but not every product is suitable for a 3D environment (like mortgages)

Desinging the Metaverse Killer App

When it comes to designing the metaversal killer app I'd say it's too early to tell. We still don't have a web 2.0 killer app. Every day new sites, new worlds and new functionality emerges. The killer app will have to be a mashup of the best of both worlds; 3D Facebook, Google virtualisation or whatever. I've got tons of unformulated thoughts on this but what it comes down to is that we have to move from technology driven design to social design; step out of the binary limitations and explore the realms of psychology and communication to understand human needs for interaction and information and only then move on to functionality on demand. 2007 is a year of options. We see variation, we see diferent platforms, technologies and cultures emerge. Now is the time to explore, the time of veni vidi vici. Observe, Asses and Implement (though by by trial and error). To Incorporate, that's 2010 and beyond for the majority of companies.

Time for bed now. A few more points need to be addressed tomorrow...

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Collector 2.0 and Tribal Migration on the Web

Tonight I was adding some books to my Visual Bookshelf on Facebook. Right now the number of books on my shelf is 229. I stopped when I added David Baldacci's "The Collectors" and reflected some on my web 2.0 lifeystyle.

The thing is, I remember this isn't the first time I'm doing this. I remember me making a list of my CD's and Books in WordPerfect 5.2 to keep track of my stuff after I'd lend it to friends (some stuff didn't return-and some still doesn't).

Later I entered my CD's into CD-Collector, my DVD's into MovieCollector (both by the Dutch That was fun. It connected with several online bookshops, like Amazon and it downloaded covers, synopsis and reviews.

The thing is, I don't wanna do this over and over again. I've been talking with a Sogeti colleague of mine on this yesterday. We talked about the future of the web. One of the things is that NOW we have customized content. We choose what we want, what we like. We decide what gets in and what gets out. The next step will be customized functionality. We choose which functionality we want to have at the time we need it. It's basically cloud computing.

Today I discussed Tribal Migration with another (Sogeti) colleague. People move from site to site. Let's join MSN spaces, it let's you do stuff. Then move to Hyves as it lets you do more stuff, now we all migrate to Facebook as it provides even more functionality. We're sitehoppers, application addicts.

We migrate, but our content doesn't. Our account doesn't and in the mean time all our stuff (the personal info we registered and the content we've added) stays put. Our stuff is all over the web. This is soooooooo wrong. I just want one single point of entry for the web. I want to register with one site folks. And I want functionality when I need it.

None of the aforementioned applications; Word Perfect, MovieCollector and Facebook's bookshelf did for me what it has to do eventually: create a single complete database with portable content. I have to go to enormous lengths to get a complete database of my stuff. I've got about 500 CD's, 200 vhs/dvd's and 30 meters of bookshelf filled to the brim (yeah I'm a bookworm). What the killer app has to do for me is make it easy. Be smart, be intelligent. Now I've got an API with Amazon and I have to choose which book I've read. I've got to choose the edition. No, just give me a barcode scanner and let me scan my books, you fill in the details...

The second thing it needs to do for me is give me a standardised output file. Give me an xml file which I can upload to the next application. For instance, I'd like to have my collection of books insured. If it can't be done in a single app, then at least let me upload it. The house burns down, I can tell the insurance company which books I owned and they can cover for the damage.

I must admit I just discovered that added a barcode scanning feature... Now add portability and I'm back as customer ;)

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Yesterday I stumbled upon yet another Web 2.0 application, that looks cool, but really doesn't do much: Wakoopa. Okay, it does a few things.

Let's have a look:

"Wakoopa tracks what kind of software or games you use,
and lets you create your own software profile. Ready for you to share with the
world. Why? Because what you use on your desktop is who you are"

Wakoopa is a little program you install from a slick looking website:

Once installed Wakoopa tracks which applications you use. Why? Because what you use is who you are so the site says. Why would I want to track what applications I use? Haven't we furiously tried to ban all sorts of trackers and other malware from our PC's?

Here's the next level: I can see which programs my friends use through the Facebook Widget.

I crossed out the face of the one Facebook friend who also uses this software. He's definately geek.

For what it's worth, here are my most used apps, including my background thingies. Now, this is a business tool. My boss will make this mandatory software and see what I do all day. Can anybody tell me why we would like to use this? Judging from the usage of Internet Explorer and Firefix I'd say probably around 15.000 people.

I must say: The website looks cool and slick, very professionally web 2.0. As far as website technology goes, it's a sound piece of work. The technology behind the app... the tracker is pure evil in my opinion. I'm going to ban this sooner or later.... (like the first time I'd start up strip-poker or some other 'private' application I don't want my wife or boss to know about - but probably sooner)

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Metaverse news august

Last week has been very busy with pressing Real Life projects, so I've not been following the news properly. Here's a round up of some interesting news from the virtual world blogoshphere:

Ambling in Second Life:

  • Brand Protection in Virtual Worlds

    The topic of branding should be close to the heart of any organisation setting up in a virtual world. In theory, this new environment should not pose any greater problem than existing communications channels, such as the web, TV or the printed word. However, there is one key difference between this and existing channels: it is an unknown.
  • Another Second Life Conference is Cancelled

    I have just received news that SLCC 2007 - Deutschland, due to be held from 21st to 23rd of September in Dusseldorf has been cancelled.

Virtual World News:


  • 15 Things You Should Know About vSide, The New 3D Facebook

    The Grid Safari group got the grand tour of recently launched vSide today by Doppelganger founder Andrew Littlefield. We took a long look around the entire system, and learned a whole truckload of new tricks in what has to be one of the best looking 3D social environments, if not the best, I've been in. vSide is a beautiful space for teenagers to hang out, socialize and listen to music. As Littlefield puts it, if Second Life is Myspace, then vSide is Facebook.
  • Google Earth + Skype + Multiuser = Unype

    Created as a free project by Holoscape Inc. founder Murat Aktihanoglu, Unype allows multiple users to interact with the Google Earth API together and speak to one another through Skype. While there has been much speculation about Google's plans for future virtual worlds, Unype demonstrates how easy it might be to put something really interesting together. It's in a very early beta stage, but at a tiny 210K download it's definitely worth taking a few moments to look at. (Unfortunately, Windows only at the moment.)


  • Conduit Social Gaming World Gets $5.5m Round

    Susan Wu, who was instrumental in arranging the Virtual Goods Summit I moderated a panel at in June, emailed me some embargoed news earlier today, and though I begged and pleaded, she asked me wait until midnight to post it. However, I see that the news is already out there, so I have to apologize to Susan and jump the gun, if only slightly: The news is that Charles River Ventures, where Susan is a partner, has just co-led a $5.5 million Series A financing of Conduit Labs,
  • Metaverse Roadmap to Singapore

    The fifth annual State of Play conference on legal and social issues in virtual worlds is under way this week in Singapore. I had to cancel my trip out there, which is a shame, since SoP is consistently one of the most interesting gatherings of VW thinkers. Jerry Paffendorf is there, though, and reports that the chin-wagging is already gathering steam.


  • Beastie Boys live in There

    Beastie Boys live in There. That’s live as in appearing in real-time as opposed to living in There, just in case you were wondering. As part of their recently agreed partnership, Capitol Music Group and brought The Beastie Boys in-world on Monday night to hang-out with the residents. Other planned event sclude Korn, Yellowcard and Lily Allen.
  • HiPiHi announces global strategy

    HiPiHi announces global strategy. The Chinese 3D virtual world HiPiHi announced its global strategy on 20th August 2007 in Singapore,and has confirmed their strategic investors, including ngi group.


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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Genealogy meet Web 2.0

Welcome to the 21st Century! This is the age of fast, slick webapplications. The first half of this decennium we've had the Web 2.0 boost and now we're getting ready to rock on Web 3D.

Aside from playing with new cool apps I've got about three hobbies which are so 20th century:
  1. Model trains
  2. Stamp Collecting
  3. Genealogy
Especially when looking at Genealogy many people are under the impression that it is soooooo boring, dusty archive work. That's gonna change though: Genealogy meets Web 2.0 in the new Geni app (currently in Beta)
Geni is a cool app that has a very neat interface and lets you add people directly, elevating Genealogy to a social bookmarking and networking gig.
In this first shot you see your startingpoint, the person of the year 2006: YOU
Easily add relatives, preferably by email to get the social networking on a roll.
There's lots of Profiling to do on this second screenshot. To really get it kicking it would need widgets and it'll be up for Facebook and Myspace competition.
The third screener is about localising your friends and family

As for social bookmarking, it's got potential, but for genealogy freaks it's a start. The real genfreaks are desperately waiting for a GEDCOM interface.

GEDCOM is the standard format for importing and exporting family trees and works with known programs such as Aldfaer, phpGedview and TNG and every other thinkable Genealogy software. Imagine I've got to retype all 5,000 family members (back to 1500) into this app when I've already have them databased!

As far as the forums are a good thing to go by, Geni is offering a GEDCOM export (in alpha stage), but GEDCOM (v. 5.5) import isn't sorted out yet. It was planned for this release, but is delayed.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Kaneva Expedition

Who thought Second Life was just a hype at the start of 2007 has to rethink. Yes, perhaps Second Life is a little hyped with an absurd amount of media attention, but 2007 looks to be the year that Virtual Worlds are going mainstream in the Western World (emphasizing Western, since Cyworld already seems to be a bare necessity in Korea)

Among the many Metaverses there's Kaneva, which I visited today.

Registration was quite easy and since there are no family names, like in Second Life, I was able to register myself as VeeJayBurns.

After the registration it's time to download. The first download, the install wizard is just 2Mb, but then the full engine is downloaded, 250 Mb, after installation about 500Mb.
One of the great features of Kaneva is the personal homepage that you get as a resident - a good start to integrate Web 2.0 and Web 3D into one environment. Think of the power of integrating Second Life with Flickr, Blogger, YouTube, Twitter/pownce and Facebook all in one!
Character creation is very limited, compared to Second Life, same pretty much goes for content creation.
Uploading textures, or patters works from webpages, which is actually a better interface than the inworld upload that Second Life offers.
Another great thing about Kaneva is, besides you getting your own 'homepage', you also get your own 'home'. That does bring back memories of First Land in Second Life (which I missed out on :-( )
A thing that surprised - in a good way - was the speed of Kaneva. Movement was quite fast. On the downside, as in SpaceStage I did not meet any people or found an easy way to wander around the world.

Kaneva does have some benefits to offer, some addons that may help to create a Metaversal identity, but is lacking in other parts compared to Second Life. For instance, Second Life really has the upper hand when it comes to content creation and the openness of the world. Also the 'mandatory' orientation island exerecises may seem to be a bit overdone, but when entering a world for the first time - without any practise, does leave you at a loss sometimes.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Pownce, Facebook and iPhone

Okay, here's a non SL post again. I've finally gotten into POWNCE!
Thanks to Vincent Shore of Squawknest.

Pownce is still in Alpha, but looks like it's gonna be the next big thing.

Pownce is a way to send stuff to your friends. What kind of stuff? You can send just about anything: music, photos, messages, links, events, and more. You can do it all through the web site, or install the desktop software that lets you get out of the browserbox.

The past weeks there's been a lively discussion at twitter on Pownce, which is seen by many as an enormous improvement to twitter (or as someone said: "if Twitter upgraded the things that users wanted, you'd kinda have pownce ")

(sorry couldn't grabcapture the client, but trust me, it looks slick)

The other thing that's taking up some of my time is Facebook. It's originally a Harvard Who's Who but is rapidly expanding and replacing myspace in some ways.

"Facebook isn't about college stuff anymore. I have no college network and enjoy the software as an organizational tool. "

If you'd like to know more, Danah Boyd wrote an excellent article on Facebook.

Finally, it seems like every US based friend I have on twitter has been suckered into the iPhone craze. Again, I'd have to admit it looks slick but I wouldn't buy one immediately --luckily it isn't available in Europe yet, so I'll have time to see how it develops.
It seems heavily overhyped at the moment in my opinion, though Steve did a good Job on fuelling it by stating that there might not be enough iPhone's available.
Here's a little reader question:
If you're reading this blog, could you tell me if you've bought one?

Finally, if you'd like to know more on iPhone or Pownce I'd recommend you'd visit Scobleizer's page at FastCompany magazine. Todays bloglinks give you an excellent overview on these apps / sites.
His current column is titled The New Web War.
"Perhaps the hottest debate in my circle today centers around the technologies we'll use inside, or outside, the browser to build a new kind of rich Internet application. We're talking mostly about video, because that's where the action is."
Part of his column is on Adobe's Apollo platform which is used for Pownce as well.
Robert Scoble is one of the leading ubergeek bloggers. Scoble is best known for his popular blog, Scobleizer, which came to prominence during his tenure as a technical evangelist at Microsoft.
So, again Web 2.0 which should be about integration is getting diversificated again.

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