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Jul 17, 2008 - Spotting things you'll want to see today.

Attack of the phones
Google Android Gphone prototype (Gizmodo.com)

In its first three days the iPhone 3G connected for $330 Million in profits for Apple, with a promise of much more to come. Despite a few glitches the mobile breakthrough was well received. Read Write Web reviewed the phone and proclaimed it as nothing less than the first real personal computer. Gigaom paced the 3G network and it felt like the first truly broadband mobile connection. Apple opened up the App Store to demonstrate the pervasive consumer benefits of the phone's semi-open architecture (although Louis Gray heard from small developers who felt that competing against Apple's own apps was a bit reminiscent of competing against Microsoft in the 1990s). Silicon Alley Insider noted that the iPhone's ability to connect with Microsoft Exchange servers presents a clear challenge to RIM's BlackBerry.

Meanwhile, on Thursday MediaWeek wrote up an impromptu press conference given by Google co-founders Larry Page, Sergei Brin and CEO Eric Schmidt in which they spoke of progress in creating a Google branded phone. Local Mobile Search felt certain that we will one day see a Google branded headset running the company's Android system and Gizmodo even came up with a picture of the prototype (see image, left). MocoNews supported the conventional logic that Google is only interested in owning a handset if it advances the cause of location specific search. Google's top brass is apparently feeling some pressure from a potentially embarrassing project driven by marketing over technology. Ars Technica described a mini revolt by 3rd party developers impatient with Google's lack of support on the project.

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Search. Socially.
Long Tail

"Social will replace search" has been a popular prediction for months as personal recommendations battled complex algorithms. This week saw two developments indicating that we might be witnessing a marriage rather than a contest. A Scour.com beta launch seemed to combine just about everything. Rotorblog took a look at the revamped product that gives users results from the three major search engines, the ability to add their input to the results and to get paid in the process. Pandia downplayed the paid aspect but felt that the social functions could cut through the noise ratio found often found on native sites.

The social boom seems to be moving Mountain View. TechCrunch reported on Google tests of a new interface that also allows votes and comments on search results. Many bloggers saw the resemblance to Digg but Web Metrics Guru made the argument that the testing was also an incursion into FriendFeed territory.

see related posts      

Amazon streams

The New York Times today described Amazon's move toward offering on demand video. The Digital Content Blog pointed out some significant advantages that Amazon would have over Apple as well as improvements over its own (poorly received) Unbox program. One aspect that Last 100 deems significant is the 'cloud library' meaning that Amazon will store your library on its own servers allowing flexibility in how you can view it. TechCrunch seemed to welcome Amazon's efforts but questioned their ability to find enough room on the living room couch alongside NetFlix, Tivo and Apple.


Tools: New and/or improved

Radar Screen: Opera 9.5 sounds like a mobile browsing winner

The explosive growth of web enabled smart phones is paralleled by advancements in mobile browsing. This week the popular Opera browser released an update that may move it to the top of the pack.

  • Mobile browsing gets a makeover (Opera.com)
  • Opera Mobile 9.5 Beta Might Give Safari a Run for its Money (Mashable)
  • First Look video: Opera Mobile 9.5 beta (Webware)
  • The wait is (almost) over (Opera Mobile)
  • New Opera 9.5 Beta Version.! The Ultimate Browser! (vhxn.com)


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