Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What about Orkut?

These days, I am wondering what Google plans to do with Orkut, one of the older socializing platforms with about 30 million users worldwide. While about two thirds of the users seem to be located in Brazil (with about 9% of the country's population being registered), about 15% of the users are located in India, and only 10% of the users are from the US.

Related to the rising number of users are also attempts to create fake accounts, which may be a general problem with socializing platforms - as the issue of fictional identities is well-known. With the acquisition of YouTube and its much larger user base than Orkut, I am wondering if Google has any plans to merge both platforms, perhaps also including Dodgeball, which it had acquired in May of last year and is apparently integrating dodgeball accounts into their service portfolio.

With all those socializing services around, we seem to need a meta-integrator of user profiles. Which reminds me of Apple that received a patent for portable user accounts.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Nokia acquires smart2go

As announced yesterday, Nokia has just acquired smart2go, a company focusing on mobile navigation solutions. As I read in their milestones section, they built a location-based social networking portal as early as 2000. Their navigation software is included in Nokia's brand-new N95 device. What's even more interesting is that Nokia plans to continue to support multiple platforms for Gate5 products, including Symbian, Linux, Windows Mobile and Palm. Combine this with personalization and social interaction and there you have your digital vade mecum.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Beyond text search

Watch out for Polar Rose, a startup in Sweden geared towards image search. Where conventional search works on text patterns, this is a next step - probably followed by video. However, that's just a guess for now.

Who is going to acquire YouTube?

After lots of rumors, it seems clear that someone is going to buy YouTube in the near future. That could be Google, or it could be Yahoo. Or perhaps, another company that has at least 1.6 billion US$ to spend and is wanting to get more customers for ad-business. The Chicago Tribune has an interesting article about this. No official comments on this yet, though.

Update: Google's official press release says it all: the strategy is to "offer a compelling media entertainment service to users, content owners and advertisers".

Update: I am wondering what the implications will be, given that YouTube just signed content distribution deals with CBS, Sony BMG Music Group and Universal Music, as read in a CED magazine article.

Sell your music via SMS

An interesting collaborative service for musicians to sell their music via (premium) SMS seems to be textango, as noted here. So far, it is only available in the US, but it seems only a matter of time for this service (or a similar one) to be usable elsewhere. Seems fairly easy to use, as artists only need to

sign up for an account, confirm a 3-8 letter keyword, upload digital files, and start selling. Unless expedited, there is a 14 day approval period before the selling process can begin. All digital files are subject for approval by TexTango.

That means that anything in digital form is a potential candidate to sell media: videos, ringtones, games, as long as people are willing to pay for it. On the other hand, as a potential customer,

Simply text message the keyword that corresponds with what you wish to purchase to 23333 and follow the easy instructions. Your purchase will be billed to your following months cell phone bill

While the idea of peer-to-peer selling by artist is definitely interesting, I am wondering what the music industry will have to say about this. Will this accelerate the evolution of the web as a pay-per-content medium?