Scobleizer Weblog

Daily link Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Acquisition week continues. Yahoo buys Interesting! I keep hearing the rumor that Google will announce its own calendar soon (maybe even this week).

I wonder what will happen to Eventful, which is a service from the events and venues database?

11:28:07 PM    Mudpit 

I want you to do something. Search on PLAY on Yahoo, Google, and MSN. Here, I made it easy.

PLAY on Google.

PLAY on Yahoo.


Here in a nutshell is why Google continues to get hyped by everyone including me (notice who I work for). Google suprises you. Delights you. Gives you what you want (not always, but more often than the other engines).

Now, quick, tell me why I was searching for PLAY? Was I looking for a fun game to play? No. I was trying to get the stock price for PLAY, which stands for PortalPlayer, Inc.

Hey Steve Ballmer, you want me to switch from Google to MSN? It's these little things that make it very difficult.

Now, here's the rub. Doing these kinds of things are pretty tough for search engine companies, which is why you don't see them on every query. They require development time to do, and they require processor power to produce, integrate, and display (and they potentially could slow down display of search results which would be a bad thing). MSN is doing them too in some searches. Here, search the three for "Ichiro Suzuki."

Google for Ichiro Suzuki.

Yahoo for Ichiro Suzuki.

MSN for Ichiro Suzuki.

Now here is a place where MSN is a clear winner.

So, I've been thinking about this a bit today and talked with Dave Winer and he said "why don't you open up the search engine?" and let developers build these tiles/experiences that could plug into the engine for specific results?

It would be fairly easy for MSN to open up its engine to let me hook into these spots. Now, let's say MSN would pay for the best tiles? How would they do that? Well, if I built a tile, for, say, New York Hotels that got a lot of business, we could do a revenue sharing thing. Sorta like how Google pays Chris Pirillo to put its ads on his blog.

MSN could even rotate tiles and keep only the ones that actually get users to click on it.

If you owned Google/Yahoo or MSN, how would you get more of these little info tiles into your search engine?

Oh, one thing that Google is missing on PLAY? Where's the RSS feed? I'd like to subscribe to that tile and get notified at the end of every day what the stock price is.

9:26:47 PM    Mudpit 

See part II of the Computer History Museum tour. We tell lots of Apple, NeXT, Cray, DEC, Microsoft, and even Google stories (part of Google's first datacenter is in the museum) and get a look behind the scenes at a few computers that the general public doesn't get to see. Oh, and look at the joy on Gordon Bell's face as he tells you about the various computers, particularly the ones he worked on at DEC. Really great stuff.

This was a really special interview/tour for me. I hope you appreciate it and please do visit the museum. Oh, and if you have some special piece of computer history (particularly in software since the museum is working on a software collection too) please donate that.

I loaded part I of the tour up yesterday.

5:55:13 PM    Mudpit 

There's a guy over on MSNBC named Will who is doing a blog. The funny thing is that Will has linked to me several times. Each time he links he sends me more people. That tells me that Will is getting a bigger and bigger audience. Why? Cause he's good.

If you check my referer list, you'll see Will is at the top of the page today.

5:11:21 PM    Mudpit 

Autodesk does the acquisition thing and buys Alias. Shaan Hurley, AutoDesk Blogger, has the details.

5:08:01 PM    Mudpit 

Don Dodge: Newsgator - Innovation Leader.

I LOVE NewsGator.

Now they have a synchronization story that goes cross platform.

Does anyone else?

Greg Reinacker just built an RSS Empire. Now it'll be interesting to see what they do with it.

One thing? They need a more simplistic Web experience. They have a TON of value in the feeds that are in their system.

What's the secret thing they are hiding from the world? Great blog search. Great services that could be built on top of their model.

Oh, and what does a single acquisition do? Just study what Greg did. Last week his company was a producer of pretty nice Windows-based news aggregators. Today he's the owner of an RSS empire.

He's learned a few tricks from Microsoft. Take four pieces that by themselves aren't worth that much. Integrate them together, though, and now he has an ecosystem that's gonna be very hard for anyone to compete with.

Let's put it this way. There have been other RSS Aggregators that have come out for Outlook. I haven't switched because of Greg's integration model that I saw him building.

Bloglines used to be the most used aggregator out there. Today I only have about 9,000 users on Bloglines, but 15,000 on NewsGator (and that's before NetNewsWire gets added to the mix).

Well done Greg. Oh, and kudos to Brad Feld who is probably just as responsible as Greg is (Brad is the investor behind NewsGator).

The Apple Weblog has an interview with Brent Simmons who just got acquired (he's the founder of Ranchero Software).

Oh, Brent Simmons and I were coworkers when we both worked at UserLand Software.

Oh #2: Rick Segal, you crack me up. The image of Don "dumpster diving" is a pretty funny one. But, I agree that Don is a nice guy and has lots of interesting stories about his navigations through the high-tech world. One story you might ask him is the one where he tells you how he made a mistake that probably cost him $100 million. And he has the perspective to laugh about it now.

4:45:31 PM    Mudpit 

Don Dodge has a couple of great posts. He was an executive at several startups, including Napster, and has the inside story and lessons for entrepreneurs that he learned from his Napster experiences.

4:24:47 PM    Mudpit 

Apple Insider is reporting that Apple is going to introduce a Video iPod next week.

That is driving the price of PortalPlayer up (about 8% today). Jim Cramer, of CNBC's Mad Money, yesterday opened his show saying to buy this stock. Why? They make the processors for the iPod and Associated Press is reporting that PortalPlayer is already making the chips for the video iPod.

Other readers of mine are sending in other info that Apple will announce a media play of some kind.

One thing is gonna be clear, though. We're all gonna be staring at Steve Jobs' pockets during the introduction next week. That guy is a master of theater and getting us to pay attention.

4:16:51 PM    Mudpit 

Om Malik: Cheap Publicity Ploy. Om writes for Business 2.0 magazine and is one of those guys who seems to have a better view into Google than almost anyone (he broke the Google Net story).

"The Google-Sun announcement in the end turned out to be nothing."

Joe Wilcox had a different take -- Google: It's Not About Search. "My advice to Microsoft: Stop following Google. When Microsoft obsesses, it makes reactionary decisions and releases reactionary products that mimic its competitor. That's not how Microsoft can succeed here." Oh, I totally agree! Every Microsoftie should tape this to the top of their monitors!

I'll stay out of this one. I'll say this, Google continues to control the PR. It seems everyone is writing about this.

2:43:49 PM    Mudpit 

Greg Reinacker just wrote me and confirmed the rumors that NewsGator is acquiring Ranchero Software, makers of NetNewsWire. More tonight, gotta run to another interview.

Here's an article about the NetNewsWire acquisition on eWeek. Congratulations to Brent Simmons and everyone involved.

Greg Reinacker now owns three of the most popular RSS aggregators. I have 15,000+ subscribers on NewsGator's online service alone which is the most subscribers on one service I know about, so know that his system is getting very popular.

Greg Reinacker writes more.

12:45:44 PM    Mudpit 

A few of my readers have noticed that I'm caught in a condundrum: that I praise both Web Services and Windows Apps at different times. Rick Segal sorta hones in on this too and says he's looking to fund great apps, period, but isn't scared of non-browser-based apps (maybe he noticed that Skype sold for about $3 billion).

Some see my condundrum as being one brought upon by where I work. OK, it certainly is a possibility that I'm drinking the Redmond Koolaid, but I've noticed something deeper:

1) I LOVE Web apps when I only need to use them occassionally. Like maps. I've only used Google Maps or Virtual Earth maybe 10 minutes out of the past week.

Also in the past week I've filled out expense reports. Those were Web based and it worked fine, for the most part (although wait until you see what the InfoPath team is working on there!). And there are tons of little apps that I use often that the Web is awesome for.

2) I LOVE Windows apps when I need to use them more than an hour a day. For instance, when my blog reading went over an hour a day, I switched over to using a Windows app. Recently I've been playing around with NewsGator online (they make both an online service and several Windows apps for different uses). The online service is far less productive for me. And, yes, I've tried some RSS aggregators that have been "AJAX-ized." Better, but not even close to the productivity you'll get from, say, FeedDemon or NetNewsWire on the Mac.

So, why is this? Well, just think that if you needed to install a piece of software just to read a new blog. Wouldn't that be frustrating? Yes. So, having things available in a "no install" way is very important, and very cool. It's what's driving businesses like Amazon, Google, Yahoo, eBay because you can get incredible reach and volume very quickly. Jonathan Schwartz is right about that.

But then, there's the issue that if you really want to use a Web app for more than an hour a day it just feels unstatisfying (and, is provably less productive than having a full-blown application).

Anyway, just my condundrum of the day. Continue on...

9:52:25 AM    Mudpit 

Erik Selberg, a program manager on MSN's Search team, answers us back about why they don't use human editors to improve search results.

"while we used to have lots of nifty features on previous (and some still living) search engines, we still havenít begun to tap into searching human knowledge. Itís just that tough of a problem."

Here's to all the geeks who are working to bring us better search!

9:29:38 AM    Mudpit 

Giles Turnbull, a Mac user who writes over on O'Reilly: "There's something that Microsoft is doing much better than Apple."

"Not only doing it better, but improving with each and every day that goes by. It is a cutting-edge activity for large corporations, something that few businesses today have even tried, let alone got right. But Microsoft has got it right and is reaping the benefits.

"What is this mysterious activity I'm talking about?"

You'll have to visit his post to find out.

I notice that his readers give the usual "Microsoft doesn't deserve credit" kind of reactions. That's OK. I'm seeing that our products are getting better thanks to a better conversation. I'm noticing that many many more program and product managers are wondering what their audience will think about their products and services. That's massively good and I don't really care if anyone notices externally.

He's right that most other companies are terrified of this new world. I just got another note from one of my readers who says an organization he's on the board of directors on is freaked out that he has a blog and is going nuclear.

I can smell the fear when I go in a room of PR or C-level executives. Personally, I like working at a place where I don't have fear of telling you what I think at 1:42 a.m. without checking with PR first.

1:33:01 AM    Mudpit 

Om Malik reports a rumor that NewsGator is buying NetNewsWire.

NetNewsWire is a popular RSS aggregator on the Macintosh. NewsGator is my favorite aggregator. NewsGator already own RSS aggregators on:

1) Outlook (their original client).

2) Windows (FeedDemon, which they acquired earlier in the year).

3) The Web (they have a pretty comprehensive service that you can read, and rate, in your browser).

4) Windows Media Center (getting a LOT more important with HDTV and Xbox 360).

5) SmartPhone and PocketPC through Web service.

Greg Reinacker, founder of NewsGator, is pretty smart and has been building a synchronization story for all the above. Click a feed as "read" on one of the above, and it'll mark it as read on all clients.

Anyway, I'm trying to confirm this one, but Om's rumors have been very correct lately. He's the one who broke the "GoogleNet" story.

Oh, reading Greg's blog I see that they just shipped their Enterprise Server. Congrats!

1:15:42 AM    Mudpit 

Frederico Oliveira, of TechCrunch, is excited by Ning from 24 Hour Laundry.

"Ning is a free online service (or, as we like to call it, a Playground) for building and using social applications. Social apps are web applications that enable anyone to match, transact, and communicate with other people."

Diego Doval has more on his blog.

Ning was started by Marc Andreeson, and Gina posts more on the Ning blog.

12:59:02 AM    Mudpit 

It is ironic that Google and Sun are making their announcement today in the computer history museum. Well, now you know what the museum looks like.

I didn't plan this out, honest!

12:14:44 AM    Mudpit 

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© Copyright 2005
Robert Scoble
My cell phone: 425-205-1921
Are you with the press?
Last updated:
11/27/2005; 1:45:39 PM.

Robert Scoble works at Microsoft (title: technical evangelist). Everything here, though, is his personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. No warranties or other guarantees will be offered as to the quality of the opinions or anything else offered here.

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