Saturday, August 30, 2008

Google Map Maker: User-Driven Innovation of Content and Evolution of the Product Itself

How to tap into local, distributed user-expertise to create high quality content? Google Map Maker is an interesting example of a product that is in the spirit of collective user-generated content. It is also an example of a product created by specific local need to have high quality, rich data in countries like India that may not have reliable digital data sources.
It is now available in about 57 countries. I see it as an example of emergent user-driven innovation where the product itself may evolve as users in these 57+ countries experiment and adapt the Map Maker. As Google's own blogpost indicated:
We hope Google Map Maker will result in rich local data which will benefit Google users both on the web and on mobile. The creation of base maps where there were previously none will encourage many mashups, mapplets and other cool applications that make use of this data. We're also excited to see Google Map Maker create a new breed of local map experts who bring their passion for their neighborhoods and communities into the online world, adding to local commerce, tourism and investment.
In the network era, customers and consumers are not external to the business system--but integral to it--continually shaping and evolving product characteristics and user experiences. And, corporations like Google create economies-of-expertise by leveraging local innovations for global advantage.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Widgets for Television: Can Yahoo and Intel Control the Architecture?

One of the holy grails of Web 2.0 is about the integration of television and Internet. The reason is obvious: the currency for monetizing Web 2.0 is advertising and major players are jockeying to be part of the shifts underway in the advertising business network. Microsoft's interest in Yahoo is part of this broader transformation underway.
Intel and Yahoo announced a new business relationship focused on creating the Widget Channel. It is a "TV application framework optimized for TV and related consumer electronics devices that uses the Intel architecture."

Why is this development interesting?
The Widget Channel will allow consumers to enjoy rich Internet applications designed for the TV while watching their favorite TV programs. The Widget Channel will be powered by the Yahoo! Widget Engine, a fifth-generation applications platform that will enable TV watchers to interact with and enjoy a rich set of “TV Widgets,” or small Internet applications designed to complement and enhance the traditional TV watching experience and bring content, information and community features available on the Internet within easy reach of the remote control. The Widget Channel will also allow developers to use JAVASCRIPT, XML, HTML and Adobe® Flash® technology to write TV applications for the platform, extending the power and compatibility of PC application developer programs to TV and related CE devices. In addition to supporting the Yahoo! Widget Engine, Yahoo! will also provide consumers Yahoo!-branded TV Widgets that are customized based on its category-leading Internet services.

It can allow for the creation of new formats and new models for TV viewing.
Underlying the Widget Channel will be a powerful set of platform technologies, including the Yahoo! Widget Engine and core libraries that expose the powerful functions enabled by the Intel Architecture. The Widget Channel framework will use established Internet technologies to dramatically lower the barrier of entry for developing applications optimized for TV. To help create new TV Widgets for the Widget Channel, Intel and Yahoo! plan to make a development kit available to developers, including TV and other CE device makers, advertisers and publishers. The Widget Channel will also include a Widget Gallery, to which developers can publish their TV Widgets across multiple TV and related CE devices and through which consumers can view and select the TV Widgets they would like to use.

Intel and Yahoo! are working with a range of industry-leading companies that are planning on developing and deploying TV Widgets, including Blockbuster*, CBS Interactive*, CinemaNow*, Cinequest*, Comcast*, Disney-ABC Television Group*, eBay*, GE*, Group M*, Joost*, MTV*, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.*, Schematic*, Showtime*, Toshiba* and Twitter*. These and other companies and individuals will be able to innovate, differentiate and deploy TV Widgets across multiple TV and related CE devices using the Widget Channel framework.
Here's a good overview video on the Next-Generation TV Experience.

The other attempts at integrating Internet and Television seem to be mor closed and proprietary--different from the business logic of Web 2.0.

For example, as Walt Mossberg reviewed in WSJ, Sony Bravia
"adapter is the Bravia Internet Video Link. This is a $300 module that attaches to certain Sony HDTV models. It can either be set up beside the TV or snapped onto the back of the set. Once it's connected to your TV and to your home network for Internet access, a new menu appears on the TV allowing you a choice of videos from numerous online sources, including YouTube, Yahoo, Blip. TV, Sports Illustrated, AOL, Wired, and the Web sites of CBS, Showtime and more.
But more important is that it does not work on non-Sony TV sets. Do we need another proprietary format from Sony?
Mossberg also reviewed the Netflix player by Roku.
The Netflix Player by Roku is much simpler. In fact, it was the simplest set-top box I have ever tested. It costs just $100 and does just one thing: It allows Netflix subscribers to view its movies and TV shows via the Internet on a television set instead of on a computer. It can't get you any other video content from the Internet.

Again, closed connections in an era where the consumers clamor for openness.
Apple's iPhpne 3G App Store is leading the way to create a broader network of applications from third-party developers. What Intel and Yahoo are trying to do is create a compelling Widget Channel for integrating TV and Internet. Will that succeed? It's too early to say but we will surely see lot more initiatives to influence the way we access, consume and share rich multi-media content.
Yahoo and Intel may have launched this as a way to establish their technical architecture. There will be other competing architectures and the shape of the business system will evolve, morph and shape over time.

From Bluetooth and WiFi to WiTricity: Will It Happen Soon?

I am not a big fan of wires (especially for charging electricity). There are just too many of them--different ones for different devices. Just as we have now taken WiFi for granted at many places, I have often wondered when might we have wireless charging of devices. NY Times is reporting that a demonstration may be forthcoming tomorrow.
On Thursday, the chip maker plans to demonstrate the use of a magnetic field to broadcast up to 60 watts of power two to three feet. It says it can do that losing only 25 percent of the power in transmission.
“Something like this technology could be embedded in tables and work surfaces,” said Justin Rattner, Intel’s chief technology officer, “so as soon as you put down an appropriately equipped device it would immediately begin drawing power.”
The label WiTricity come from the MIT project.
The MIT group refers to the idea as WiTricity, a play on wireless and electricity. Both the M.I.T. group and the Intel researchers are exploring a phenomenon known as “resonant induction,” making it possible to transmit power several feet without wires.
We are evolving towards a network era with Bluetooth, WiFi and WiTricity!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sliderocket--an interesting presentation tool for the network era

Sliderocket seems to be an interesting application to create compelling presentations--particularly suited for the collaboration requirements for the network era. It is in private-beta stage now.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


From a market capitalization point of view, Apple and Google are roughly equal in value (around $159 billion). That is a creditable achievement for Apple for sure. I doubt few could have made this prediction a year or so back.

John Henderson and I derived a typology of business model innovations in the network era. For that typology, Apple is prototypical of Design-and-Dominate approach and Google as reflecting the Explore-and-Exploit approach.
It is interesting to see that these two companies pursuing two different approaches to crafting winning strategies in the network era have arrived at the same level of market capitalization today. I expect to see Apple do well in the coming months with further enhancements to its design-and-dominate strategy with Macs, iPhone and iPod. I also expect to see a rejuvenated Google dominate the online advertising and related areas (and finally develop monetized business models with YouTube and Android mobile phones).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Apple's Product Launch Cycle in the Age of Blogosphere

This is an interesting description of the hype (and reality) of Apple's product launch cycle in the age of blogosphere!. Enjoy reading it here.
So what will Jobs announce in September? or in January? If you cannot wait, here are two places to track--AppleInsider and Macrumors. Or watch one of many videos of new product launches and mock-ups created by enthusiasts eager to be part of the web 2.0 movement!


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Olympics-Opening Ceremony

Rise of China as a Global Power--Opening Ceremony 2008 Olympics

Exclusive Summer Olympics news & widgets at NBC!

Global Collaboration: Emergent Tools (1)

One of the biggest opportunities and challenges in the network era is global collaboration--not just standard outsourcing of structured tasks but unstructured tasks involving pooled interdependence of tacit knowledge among workers distributed globally. This tool provides a glimpse of how network-based global collaboration could happen.

Aurora (Part 1) from Adaptive Path on Vimeo.
I am looking forward to seeing future parts of this series.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Yahoo's 'Hanging Chad'

The final result stands but the credibility of Yang and Bostock weakened by the recount. Under ordinary circumstances, such error-corrections are footnotes and not news. But, Yahoo's Aug 1 meeting was supposed to be anything but ordinary. With Icahn and Yahoo settling beforehand, the meeting was supposed formality of re-electing the Board without much fanfare.
So what happened after the recount? Yang got 65% instead of 85%. Bostock got 60% instead of 80%. While both got re-elected, they hardly got the mandate to lead Yahoo with strong support from the shareholders. What Yang and Bostock needed on August 1 was a mandate and endorsement from the shareholders to lead Yahoo in the coming months and years. The recount puts further pressure on Yahoo to come up with a credible strategic plan and execute it to unleash shareholder value--a tall challenge given the stock is hovering around $20.
Time to focus on the future and regain shareholder credibility.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Yahoo: One Chapter Ended; Has a New Chapter Begun?

As I expected, there were no fireworks at the Yahoo meeting on August 1. Yahoo shareholders approved the expanded slate of directors. My guess is that they figured that this expanded Board has the best knowledge and mandate to get Yahoo going again after the Microsoft saga. I think the Microsoft saga is mostly over although some words were exchanged over whether or not Microsoft was really seriously interested in taking over Yahoo.
What Yahoo needs is to deliver on the financial guidance for 2008. It is interesting that Yahoo is now capitalized at less than $20 Billion. At this price, will Yahoo get any new suitors? Only if Carl Icahn can orchestrate a different coalition to boost up the market value and make sure that his investments are not in the red.