Archive for the ‘what others are doing’ Category

Amazon’s A9 BlockView Search Discontinued

October 18, 2006

I am working on a web service mash-up, and I wanted to integrate with Amazon’s BlockView technology (part of the A9 Yellow Pages). BlockView allows you to type in a business address and see a picture of the actual storefront. Well it turns out at the end of September Amazon scrapped BlockView along with all their Yellow Pages. Doh! Interestingly enough, the CEO of A9 was snatched up by Google. I think BlockView would compliment Google’s other local search and mapping initiatives whereas it was an odd thing for Amazon to put such effort into.

The New Facebook — So Good It’s Bad?

September 5, 2006

facebookrevolt.JPGIt is fun to watch, not to be watched… Today Facebook enabled a feature that allows users to see, in a single condensed stream, individual changes made to friends’ profiles. You can read more about it here. This is really innovative. One reason Facebook has been so popular is that people become obsessed with reading the “Recently Updated” profiles of their friends. The difficulty however is that it is not always apparent what changed— even fanatics become aware that they are wasting more time than they would like by sifting through the same information for the umpteenth time. The new feature allows you to get at exactly what you want in real time. As a result users are going to be logging in even more often for to tap this instant source of gossip. With hundreds of friends, the average user will have a limitless supply of entertaining information.

Wait, there is a flip side to this. Every tweak you make to your profile (a favorite activity of many users) will be readily apparent to everyone. When other users tag you in a photo or post on your wall, your friends may know before you do, before you can censor it. Those flirtatious comments you’ve been leaving/receiving are going to be seen by a whole lot of people. This is out of control! To be fair, it is simple to remove an item from this published stream, but that hasn’t stopped users from protesting by joining a Facebook group entitled “The New Facebook creeps the shit outta me.” The group currently has 1000 members with over a hundred joining per hour. Is this the start of a damaging revolt? Will users stop updating their profiles frequently and adopt stricter privacy settings?