The best and the worst of Web 2007
Ruchi Hajela & Puneet Mehrotra, Hindustan Times
January 01, 2008
First Published: 20:58 IST(1/1/2008)
Last Updated: 21:12 IST(1/1/2008)
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Things that rocked…
It was certainly the year when the Internet turned from a geek and business affair to a social revolution--thanks to Facebook. From Boozemail to online scrabble, independent developers chipped in with their fare. Need we
Online video site Youtube.com has a new kid on the block that takes its concept and delivers the perfect punch. Joost.com gets TV on your computer. It combines the best programming on TV and gets it on your desktop. For Indian TV lovers there are episodes of Passage to India, MTV, Songs, AXN and a choice of over 20,000 TV shows, and over 400 channels. The saas bahu serials still aren't featured here yet but that's just a matter of time. Currently it's free of cost but, as the company says,"Joost isn't just video on the Internet – it's the next generation of television for viewers, content owners and advertisers everywhere." It further says "It's a completely secure platform for content owners that respects their rights, while protecting and enhancing their brands. And it's an incredibly flexible way for advertisers to reach a truly global audience, in ways that really work." Let us see how far the claim works.
Suppose you are not a tech lover and yet want to use content from several sites and serve it in a way you like best. The answer lies is creating a cocktail of RSS feeds – called a mashup in the tech world. With Yahoo! Pipes, doing this becomes as simple as clicking and dragging. One of the best applications to have come out from the Yahoo! Stable, Pipes has the potential to take content integration to the next level. Pipes allows you to remix popular feed types and create data mashups using a visual editor. You can use Pipes to run your own Web projects, or publish and share your own Web services without ever having to write a line of software code.
Nivio Virtual Desktop
Imagine having access to your personalized desktop (even if your computer is off) with its wallpaper, My Docs and other items on your desktop anywhere in the world and on any computer connected to the internet. That's exactly what Nivio.com does. In other words you needn't carry your laptop and yet get your virtual desktop experience. All you need is a Wweb browser and Internet access, and you'll find all your files and software just as you left them.
The entire world is getting online and speeds are becoming better and better. Internet is becoming pervasive. All of a sudden on 31st May 2007, Google decided to shift gears literally and get into an offline mode. The search giant launched a technology called Google Gears, an open source technology for creating offline Web applications. In layman's terms Google Gears will ensure availability of data and applications when there's no Internet connection available.
Social networking acquired a new dimension with Shelfari.com. You could now connect to your friends and talk about books you are passionate about. Thanks to Shelfari.com, you could know about the latest books besides what your friends were reading and also what others with similar tastes have enjoyed, and even get and give book recommendations.
This addition to Google Earth allowed users to view the sky with its various stars and constellations in a 3D mode. Apparently, one can view about 100 stars and 200 million galaxies on Google Sky.
… and things that didn't
The 3D Mailbox is an e-mail client that represents your mails in 3D form and animations. So while you receive an email you will have an avatar representing the sender. Users say that the application is very slow and buggy. And you certainly don't want to see a genie dancing when you receive your e-mail from boss. Right?
Google has a knack for launching applications with a bang. Thereafter some end with a whimper. In October 2007 OpenSocial was launched with much fanfare to compete with Google's archrival Microsoft's investment in Facebook. Fireworks were expected. Alas, nothing happened. Facebook was the event of 2007 for its ability to allow a myriad software applications link to it from independent developers. OpenSocial gets comments like this from VentureBeat: "OpenSocial is half-baked and Google execs don't seem to care."
Microsoft, long known for its proprietary software, takes a 180-degree turn and under the claim of openness tries its hand at community based innovation through its Open XML Developer Community.
However, community-based innovation in Microsoftspeak means 30-odd Microsoft partners from India as a part of the "community". Will Microsoft's OpenXML – an attempt to standardize office documents and the like -- finally become a standard? Nobody seems to really know.
Though Microsoft does insist OpenXML is really an open standard. The jury, as they say, is still out.