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The Proud Legacy of the New Web

My weekly column for the Loose Wire Servce. A few things I had to do this week brought me to the same conclusion: Companies that don’t get simplicity are struggling. First off, I have been writing a paper on social media. What we used to call Web 2.0, basically. Now that everything we do is Web 2.0 it’s kind of silly to call it that. And nerdy. But next time you use Facebook, or Twitter, or any web service that uses a clean, simple interface—nothing ugly, no bullying error messages—then you can thank Web 2.0. Every time you are pleasantly surprised when the service youContinue readingThe Proud Legacy of the New Web

Google and Penguin: Bookending a Revolution

By Jeremy Wagstaff (my syndicated Loose Wire column.) As I write this two significant events are taking place: Google has said it will tie up with the American Booksellers Association—the U.S. trade group for independent bookstores—to sell ebooks. And there’s a conference in Bristol celebrating 75 years of the Penguin paperback. Both are milestones. And both carry with them great innovation in the book industry, though one sees the future and one doesn’t. Penguin was set up by a guy called Allen Lane in 1935 because he couldn’t find something decent and cheap to read on the train. So he came up with idea ofContinue readingGoogle and Penguin: Bookending a Revolution

AboutFacebook

This is a copy of my weekly Loose Wire Service column for newspapers, hence the lack of links. By Jeremy Wagstaff A few weeks ago I talked about Facebook’s brave new world of connecting your profile to all the other bits and pieces you leave on websites. I erred, and I apologize. I thought that people wouldn’t mind the reduction in privacy that this would involve. At least I didn’t think they’d mind as much as a couple of years ago, when Facebook tried something similar. But people did. And Facebook has been forced to respond, simplifying the procedures that allow users to control whoContinue readingAboutFacebook

The Future: Findability

We only noticed three months later, but we passed something of a milestone last December. I’m hoping it might, finally, wake us up to the real power of the Web: findability. According to Ericsson, a mobile network company, in December we exchanged more data over our mobile devices than we talked on them. In short, we now do more email, social networking, all that stuff, on our mobile phones and mobile-connected laptops than we do voice. Quite a turning point. But a turning point of what, exactly? Well, the conventional wisdom is that we will use our cellphone (or a netbook with a cellphone connection)Continue readingThe Future: Findability

The New Normal: Constant Flux

(This is a copy of my Loose Wire Sevice column, produced for newspapers and other print publications. Hence the lack of links.) I was reading a blog by a World Banker the other day—now there’s a phrase I wouldn’t have thought I’d use a few years ago—about our old favorite in this column: Twitter. Now don’t get me wrong. It’s good that the World Bank is blogging, and talking about Twitter. And one shouldn’t judge the thinking of the Bank from the words of this World Bank employee—who is not part of the banking part of the Bank. But it does reflect, I suspect, aContinue readingThe New Normal: Constant Flux

Into the Light

Part of my job is explaining the world of new/social media to old media veterans. It’s not easy, either because they’re very resistant to change, or because they tend to see the changes  being wrought on their industry as somehow different to the much bigger changes taking place. It’s not a bunch of separate revolutions—it’s one revolution. For want of a better description, it’s not unlike the transition from the Dark Ages to the High Middle Ages. That’s perhaps overstating it, but compare, if you will, this small vignette. I was chatting with a friend on Skype just now; he had returned to Canada toContinue readingInto the Light

The Big Chill Hits Google

So is Google, like, the new Yahoo? Google is closing some of its services, or at least no longer supporting them. Which for me is a tad sad, since I’ve always loved prodding around inside the Googleplex, convinced that one day all these disparate services would come together in the same way Google Docs, Calendar and Gmail have. I thought Chrome would be the centerpiece of all this. Now, maybe not. But no. Jaiku is now open source, meaning it’s not going to become Google’s competitor to twitter or anything like that. For me Jaiku had tons of potential because it seemed to understand thatContinue readingThe Big Chill Hits Google

Facebook Scams: Not Out of the Woods

Facebook may have just won a theoretical warchest from a spammer, but it’s not put its house in order when it comes to scams. Indeed, I suspect they’re getting worse. Now you can get infected without even having to visit your Facebook account. What happens is that, if you have set your profile to receive email updates when someone sends you a message on Facebook, these trojan scams actually make their way direct into your inbox. Facebook is just the vector: Here’s a message, as it looks in Gmail: Click on that link and it takes you, not to the Facebook message page, but straightContinue readingFacebook Scams: Not Out of the Woods

Backed Up? Or Cracked Up?

There’s quite a commotion online about a program called g-archiver that promises to back up your Gmail account, but in the process apparently harvests all users’ Gmail usernames and passwords, and mails them to a separate Gmail account. This is indeed scary, although it’s possible that the person behind it wasn’t collecting the passwords for nefarious purposes. But it highlights some important issues that we tend to overlook in this Web 2.0, mashup age: Your online email account is more vulnerable than an offline one (by which I mean, storing your old emails online, rather than downloading them to your computer and deleting the onlineContinue readingBacked Up? Or Cracked Up?

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