“Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people” — Eleanor Roosevelt
Archives for February 2006
The Googleverse keeps spinning and expanding ever larger. Today while talking with Paul Connolly, I did a quick search on Google for “Jane Siberry”. The top result showed a thumbnail photo of Jane, a list of her albums and songs and a link to “more musical results for jane siberry.” Having never seen this style of link before, I clicked through and discovered Google Music.
Google Music gives a discography, track listing, and snippets of lyrics (with links to the full lyrics off-site, no doubt to cleverly side-step RIAA and copyright issues). On at least some albums they also include ‘buy album’ links with direct links to purchase the music from one of several online retailers. I’ve seen iTunes, Sony Connect, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, ArtistDirect.com, Amazon, MSN Direct and CD Universe all offered, depending on the album. And sometimes (but not always) you can see at a glance who has the best price.
Google has done a nice job of connecting to their other services, including Google News, Google Groups and Google Images, but the artist data is far from complete. Some artists are missing, or their discography is incomplete.
Google Music doesn’t have any obvious iTunes-killer quality. They seem content to index all the reviews, artwork, prices and other info that’s already out there and just collect it in a single place. There are no social features such as Last.fm, nor are there suggestions (“if you like Jane Siberry, you might also like…”). And the interface is true to Google’s typical plain-jane, minimalist style. Also notably missing is the ability to actually listen to tracks. For that, you’ll still have to visit one of the online retailers.
I liked the fact that Google Music draws from a wide range of sites, exposing views that I might not otherwise get at a single site (particularly for album reviews). But at the same time, it Google Music doesn’t distinguish the authority of the content.
What’s the bottom line with Google Music? Ultimately it’s a finely-tuned vehicle for selling and serving contextual text advertising. If they added a social network aspect, allowing me to specify my favorite artists and genres and discover related music, I might get excited. For now, it’s merely interesting.
“Life should be a little nuts. Otherwise, it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together.” Beau Bridges in Rumor Has It.
I recently switched from the old AT&T Wireless to Cingular, and upgraded to an iPAQ hw6515 PDA phone. The next day, I get an email from Sprint inviting me to join something called the ‘Sprint Ambassador Program’ (via my work on BigBlueBall). The program is designed to put the latest technology into the hands of people willing to put it to good use, give them feedback, and if all goes well, the ambassadors become evangelists.
Since there was no cost at all, I signed up. What did I get? A free Samsung A920 phone and six months of free ‘Power Vision’ service — with no strings or commitment beyond providing feedback. So far I’m liking the deal. Today, Fedex delievered the phone (it’s charging) and I’m sorting through the features. The Power Vision service sounds interesting. Theoretically I can watch live TV, listen to streaming radio via Sirius, download music and surf the internet all at the broadband speeds of Sprint’s EV-DO network.
The phone itself is very nice. A clamshell design with a 1-megapixel camera, bluetooth support, and even a memory slot (a necessity for this thing to really be functional for storing music). Samsung is making great products these days.
So the phone looks exceptional, and the service is interesting. The real question is whether Power Vision will change the way I use my cell phone. I’ll keep you posted.
Thanks to Ludwig Gatzke for photoshopping this wonderful collection of logos. This Part II image includes a bunch of new Web 2.0-ish companies that were missed in the first iteration, including (in alphabetical order):
30daytags, 3bubbles, 43 People, 43deals, 43Places, 8by1, 9rules Network, AidPage, AjaxWhois.com, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, askeet!, Asoboo, Attensa, AttentionTrust.org, Avvenu, BitBomb, Bitty, BlinkList, Blinksale, blo.gs, BlogBridge, Blogdigger, BlogMarks, blogSpirit, Blogtronix, Browster, Bryght, BubbleShare, BuddyMarks, Bunchball.com, ButterFly, Buzznet, CalendarHub, Campaign Monitor, Campfire, Central Desktop, Chuquet, Citadel, claimID, ClickCaster, CLOSO.com, Cloudalicious, Clusty, co.mments, coComment, Consumatin, Current, CustomScoop, Dabble.com, Diggdot.us, Dodgeball, Doostang, Douban, Dropcash, DropSend, EchoSign, Edgeio, egorrss, elgg, eMessenger, eSnips, Etsy, Eurekster Swicki, Eventful, EventSniper, EvolvePoint, Favorville, Feed Pile, Feed2Podcast, FeedBlitz, FeedButler, FeedFeeds, FeedLounge, Feedpath, FeedPing.com, FeedXs, Flock, Fluxiom, Fold, Fotki, FotoFlix, Friendster, Fuzz, GiveMeaning, Glendor Showcase, Gliffy, GooTodo, Goovite, Gravatar, Grokker, hanzo:web, HipCal, Hubpages, IceRocket, Immedi.at, Inbox.com, Indeed, iNetWord, iOWEYOU, ispott, Jamendo, Jobazaar, Joyent, Judyâ€™s Book, Jyve, Kaboodle, Kajeet, Kosmix.com, Kratia, Krugle, Kulando, LibraryThing, LifeLogger, LifeType, LinkedIn, Listal, LiveJournal, Loomia, Lovento, Mabber, Magnoto, MailBigFile, Meetro, Megite, mightyv, Mint, Mofile, Mologogo, Mooflex, Muiso, Multiply, My Tickler File, MyBlogLog, MyEmail.com, MyMe, MyProgs, MyStickies, Near-Time, Newroo, NewsIsFree, NewsMob, Nooked, NowPublic, Odeo, Ondergrond, openBC, OpenID, Orkut, Pageflakes, PAGUNA, Pbwiki, Peerflix, Performancing, Photobucket, Photocase , PicPix, Placeopedia, Plum, Plurn, Podbop, Podserve, Podtrac, PreFound, Prosper, PureVolume, putfwd.com, Qumana, Rabble, RateItAll, RawSugar, Readio, ReminderFeed, Revver, Rojo, Rrove, RSS MAD, Seekum, SendSpace, Sharpcast, Shutterbook, SimpleTicket, Six Apart, Skype, Slawesome, Slide, Socialtext, Sonr, Sphere, Sproutit, Spy Media, Squeet, STICKAM, Stickis, StikiPad, Surf Tail, SWABBA , Swagroll, Sxip, Tagalag, TagCloud, Tagzania, Talk Digger, Talkr, Tangler, Textamerica, The Form Assembly, ThePort Network, ThinkFree Office Online, TimeTracker, TitleZ, TracksLife, TRACTIS , TravBuddy, Trulia, Turn, Userplane, V4S, Video Bomb, VideoEgg, Vongo, Wallop, Weblogs, Inc., Weblogs Work, WideWord, Wikalong, WikiMatrix, Wikispaces, Windows Live, Wists, WordPress, Xanga, Xmail Hard Drive, YackPack, Yahoo! 360Â°, Yellowikis, YouSendIt, Zaadz, Zingee, Zipingo, Zoho, Zoho Chat, ZoomTags, Zooomr, and Zopa.
Part 2 takes a more liberal view of what is Web 2.0 (is there a conservative view?), choosing to include Web 2.0 applications, products and websites rather than companies.
A few things struck me as I looked at these names. First, it’s probably bad karma to use the word “bubble” in your Web 2.0 startup. Second, there are a lot of companies that made the picture mostly because they had a logo, and Ludwig was kind enough to include them. They really don’t rate such attention.
So what companies are worth your attention? You tell me. Which of these new ideas, if any, strike a nerve with you? Have you used any of them?
I’ll admit, I put a lot on my plate. More than I should, at times, but there’s a lot that I want to do. Yesterday I read how scientists are developing new drugs that will allow people to survive on only two hours of sleep a day. These ‘lifestyle’ drugs will supposedly deliver sleep that is deeper and more refreshing than the real thing in a fraction of the time.
The idea of a pharmacological solution to the ‘problem’ of sleep isn’t so far-fetched. We already have drugs like Modafinil which allow people to wake up refreshed after just four hours of sleep. It’s regularly dispensed to soldiers and pilots, and though it’s intended use is to curb the symptoms of narcolepsy, business travelers have been known to use it to counteract jet lag.
Does this sound good to you? How about the story of a Vietnamese farmer who hasn’t slept in 33 years. I’m skeptical of the authenticity of the report, but it does raise an interesting question. We love to joke about wanting a longer day. "There just aren’t enough hours in the day…" But if we could radically reduce the amount of sleep we required, with no adverse physical impact, would our lives be richer?
If you could live on just two hours of sleep, what would you do with the ‘extra’ hours?