Archived entries for Social Web

Upcoming.org, Welcome to Yahoo!

The great news continues to flow. Just a few hours ago it was announced that Upcoming.org is now a member of the Yahoo family.

(I stole the “family” phrase from Upcoming.org’s own Andy Baio. I must admit, it’s great to hear people are as excited to join the work here as we are to already be doing it. There is great work going on here, and and it is a great place to work.)

For those that haven’t been playing with Upcoming yet, here’s their blurb:

Upcoming.org is a social event calendar, completely driven by people like you. Manage your events, share events with friends and family, and syndicate your calendar to your own site.

As a side note, I’ve been playing with Microformats for a few things at work. “Designed for humans first and machines second, microformats are a set of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards.” Upcoming.com was an early adopter of these semantic markup structures, so I’m excited to have the experience around now. Of all the types, “events” are the perfect use case for this emerging technology.

Read more about Yahoo!/Upcoming on the ysearchblog, or any of the Upcoming.com guys’ blogs: Andy Baio, Leonard Lin or Gordon Luk.

Yahoo! My Web improves Search

If you’re not using Yahoo!’s My Web yet, allow me to recommend it. The value of My Web is what it does to your experience on Search.

At first glance, most see similarities between My Web and del.icio.us. It’s true, My Web contains a full featured social bookmarking service, complete with tags and RSS-love.

But My Web is much more than that: My Web is relevant search. Human-verified search. Better search.

Here’s a screen shot of a Yahoo! Search results page for javascript, with My Web enabled.

Y! My Web SERP

Over on Flickr, I’ve extensively annotated that screenshot. In short, it shows the following:

  • Of the about 265,000,000 results for javascript, 1,569 have the unique distinction of being personally saved and annotated by people in my community.
  • For each link, My Web shows who and how many people saved it, what they said about it, and if they’re currently online.
  • Lower on the page, the normal search results are enhanced and show which links have been saved by either me or my community, and any notes I may have made about the link.
  • For every result, there’s an quick way for me to save it to My Web. Thanks to the goodness of some AJAX DHTML, clicking Save brings up an on-page editor that lets me annotate and save the link without leaving or refreshing the page.
  • (As a bonus, Yahoo! Search also tells me if the site in question has an RSS feed, and if so gives me access to the XML feed, and a one-click “Add to My Yahoo!” link.)

In addition to an improved SERP, My Web also offers what I’ll call the “Browse” view (screenshot below, again annotated). The Browse View lets you surf the data in interesting and useful ways. There are three objects you can explore: Pages, Tags and Contacts. Pages are my favorite, exposing tons of interesting and relevant links. You can scope your exploration to My Pages, My Community’s Pages, or Everyone’s Pages. I spend most of my time on the My Community page, since these are the people I’m most interested in, who’s interests I care about, and who’s expertise I value. If Jeremy comments on MySQL, I know it’s a quality link. If Douglas Crockford saves a link on Javascript, I know it’s a must-read.

The pages — links — are arranged chronologically, with the most recently saved toward the top of the page. (You can sort by popularity, title or URL too.) The most common tags in my community are listed on the left. Clicking one limits the pages to those with that tag. Selecting multiple tags is an AND operation, so I can quickly see all My Communities links that deal with “CSS” + “Hacks”.

Y! My Web - Contact Page

I actually have this My Community page (not Jeremy’s page as in the screenshot above) set as my browser homepage. Each time I look at this page, I’m seeing the web sites my friends and colleagues have recently deemed worthy. I see high quality, fresh links, and get insight into what coworkers are thinking about at this very moment. More than once I’ve pinged somebody on IM to talk about something they just saved. It’s great for staying in-the-know.

There’s much more to My Web — invites, cached pages, a sweet API, RSS feeds for each facet, optional search history, tag clouds — but the two I described are the most important to me. I’ll let you discover the rest on your own, that’s half the fun, right?

If you want more information, there’s no place better than the official My Web blog or FAQ. Of you could read what Michael Nguyen, Yahoo!’s Jeremy Zawodny, or the blogosphere had to say.

Be on the lookout for new features all the time. In the last few weeks, the team has improved the auto-complete tagging features and the RSS feeds, and provided slick inline editing capabilities. 2.0 is lightyears better that the 1.0 product, and it’s getting even better every few days.

Have you tried it? What do you think? How do you use it? What features are most important to you?

PS: If you’re interested, it’s API is ready and waiting.

Local Is Simply You – best description yet of Web 2.0 and Glocalization

This is excellent. Over the last 36 hours, I’ve been chewing on these intersections, not quite seeing how they’re going to end up fitting together. Then along came this new essay by Danah Boyd, “Why Web2.0 Matters: Preparing for Glocalization“, and I’m totally there.

Well, not totally — as she says, it’s “bloody tricky” — but she did give me more than one epiphany moment and the motivation to dig deeper. As I read it, I also started to see answers to questions like these:

  • Why does Friendster (nearly all social networking sites) not hold interest?
  • Why is Google (inbound-link-based search) broken?
  • Why don’t I like some of my friends restaurant recommendations?
  • Why do I care what some blogger’s lat/long is?
  • Is it OK that I have 20 different tag maps tag clouds?

Still with me? Cool, go check it read it. I’m quoting several sections below (taking notes as I read basically), but her piece is lengthy and broad in scope, and worth reading in full.

(emphasis mine):

During the boom, there was a rush to get everything and everyone online. It was about creating a global village. Yet, packing everyone into the town square is utter chaos. People have different needs, different goals.

A global village assumes heterogeneous context and a hierarchical search assumes universals. Both are poor approximations of people’s practices. We keep creating technological solutions to improve this situation. Reputation systems, folksonomy, recommendations. But these are all partial derivatives, not the equation itself. This is not to dismiss them though because they are important; they allow us to build on the variables and approximate the path of the equation with greater accuracy. But what is the equation we’re trying to solve?

But on a personal level, no one actually wants to live in a global village. You can’t actually be emotionally connected to everyone in the world. While the global village provides innumerable resources and the possibility to connect to anyone, people narrow their attention to only focus on the things that matter. What matters is conceptually “local.”

In business, the local part of glocalization mostly refers to geography. Yet, the critical “local” in digital glocalization concerns culture and social networks. You care about the people that are like you and the cultural elements that resonate with you. In the most extreme sense, the local is simply you alone.

When the web started, the hype was that geography would no longer matter. Of course, we know that now to be utterly false. But the digital architecture did alter the network structure of society, allowing interest-driven bonds to complement geographically-manifested ones. Web1.0 created the infrastructure for glocalized networks.

Yet, the responsibility of big Web2.0 companies is to provide flexible glue to all of this innovation, to provide the information infrastructure that will permit glocalization, to allow for openness.

Those are just a few pull quotes. I know I missed numerous great one. If you read it, feel free to quote your favorite sections in my comments, as I’d love to hear what you got from it too.

OK, off to bed.

Thanks,
Nate

Update:

(I didn’t know it until I went back through this post to add links that Danah is a researcher at Yahoo! Research Berkeley.)

Tonight’s a big night for news!

C|Net is reporting New Yahoo Mail beta unveiled. I’m so excited to see this.

Yahoo was set to unveil on Wednesday a limited public beta of its new Yahoo Mail service, featuring a new desktop e-mail application-type interface and faster response time.

I’ll wait to say more, but I’m excited is an understatement.

Update: Charlene Li’s blog has the most thorough review I’ve seen so far, including several screenshots.

Meanwhile, I’ve been hearing a bunch about Memeorandum. On the way home yesterday, I listened to [yet another] great ITConversations podcast. This one was a recent interview of Microsoft’s Robert Scoble by Rob Greenlee. The most interesting part was about search, and specifically ways to search the social web and the live web. Ways to make sense of all this new user generated content, and the relationships between it all. He mentioned Memeorandum, then still in private beta. I saw it only in three or four other places when I got home, even before…

…I noticed that he’d just blogged it’s launch. From Scoble:

OK, so, it looks like a lame boring blog site, right? Look again. It’s a news page for blogs. It tells you what bloggers find important. Right now. . . . Well, remember that I read 1,389 RSS feeds? Well, it takes a weirdo like me hours to go through all of those and finding trends in that is pretty difficult.

What is important to the bloggers? You won’t know unless you read all those blogs and keep track mentally of when various bloggers link to something or talk about it. Memeorandum chews through thousands of blogs in minutes and tells you what’s important. It does this every few minutes. It is dramatically faster than I could ever be. It’s all machine based. No humans involved.

And finally, John Battelle gets the scoup tonight on the new Google Blogsearch tool. (It’s 3 hours after his reported press embargo, and the url is still 404-ing. Man, I feel for the engineers over there – they must be scrambling right now.)

Update: it’s live now: http://blogsearch.google.com/

It’s fun these days. Multiple cool products launching every day. Change all around. A renewed focus. Stimulating competition. Integration. Powerful tools. New mediums and models. Collaboration. And it’s all about users.

Thanks for sticking with me

OK, if you’re seeing this it means you’re subscribed to the correct RSS feed, and/or you’re reading the new site. Thanks for tagging along. I’ll be tweaking this blog a bit more, but mainly I’ll be writing.

Cool things are afoot. My world is full of exciting topics that I’m lookig forward to thinking about out-loud on this blog.

There’s the whole Ajax/DHTML/Rich Internet Application (RIA) thing which is everywhere, and presents both fantastic opportunities to create a more delightful user exerience (faster, more interactive, more familiar) and also new challenges that must be tackled (accessibility, affordances).

I’m excited about browsers too. While there are more browsers on the market than ever before, they’re also of the highest quality we’ve seen. IE7 is around the door, and the word on the street is pretty good. Firefox continues to innovate, and I’m excited to begin developing to the DHTML Accessibility work that IBM has contributed, with the W3C, and that is already live in the alpha’s of Deer Park.

Mobile is still exciting to me, though unfortunately I missed the Mobile Monday event tonight.

And don’t forget about Web Services, the opening of API’s, and the whole so-called Web 2.0 thing. This is, I believe, the beginning of a new phase of design and development of tools and products, as well as a democratization of the same. It’s hard to even imagine at this point how people are going to mix and match to solve problems.

And then there’s the tagging thing, the notion of folksonomy, and the general rise in user generated content and distributed organization.

What excites you these days?

Three Weeks of W3C

Below are pointers to about a dozen activites coming out of the World Wide Web Consortium over the last three weeks. You can follow along on their homepage or with their feed. Standards-based design and development can be about more than using existing standards; in the best cases, it’s about helping to create the standards in the first place! By being aware of the work underway at the W3C, you can have a good sense of where the industry and technologies are going, even if you don’t get your hands dirty in any of the working groups.

Three Weeks Worth

Working Draft: SVG’s XML Binding Language (sXBL)

2005-04-06: The Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Working Group and the CSS Working Group have released a third Working Draft of SVG’s XML Binding Language (sXBL). The sXBL language defines the presentation and interactive behavior of elements outside the SVG namespace. The XBL task force welcomes comments and seeks feedback on three issues outlined in the status section. Visit the SVG and CSS home pages. (News archive)

Last Call: XQuery, XPath and XSLT

2005-04-04: The XML Query Working Group and the XSL Working Group released twelve Working Drafts for the XQuery, XPath and XSLT languages. Seven are in last call through 13 May. Important for databases, search engines and object repositories, XML Query can perform searches, queries and joins over collections of documents. XSLT transforms documents into different markup or formats. Both XQuery and XSLT 2 use XPath expressions and operate on XPath Data Model instances. Visit the XML home page. (News archive)

Working Draft: Compound Document Use Cases and Requirements

2005-04-04: The Compound Document Formats Working Group has released an updated Working Draft of Compound Document by Reference Use Cases and Requirements Version 1.0. A compound document combines multiple formats, such as XHTML, SVG, XForms, MathML and SMIL. This draft introduces compounding by a reference like img, object, link, src and XLink. Compounding by inclusion is planned for a later phase. Visit the Compound Document home page. (News archive)

Last Call: Web Services Addressing

2005-03-31: The Web Services Addressing Working Group has released two Last Call Working Drafts. Web Services Addressing – Core enables messaging systems to support transmission through networks that include processing nodes such as endpoint managers, firewalls, and gateways. SOAP Binding defines the core properties’ association to SOAP messages. Visit the Web services home page. (News archive)

XML Binary Characterization Notes Published

2005-03-31: The XML Binary Characterization Working Group has released its evaluation, recommending that W3C produce a standard for binary interchange of XML. Published today as a Working Group Note, XML Binary Characterization is supported by use cases, properties and measurement methodologies. Optimized serialization can improve the generation, parsing, transmission and storage of XML-based data. Visit the XML home page. (News archive)

Upcoming W3C Talks

2005-03-31: Browse W3C presentations and events also available as an RSS channel. (News archive)

Last Call: XML Schema Component Designators

2005-03-29: The XML Schema Working Group has released a Last Call Working Draft of XML Schema: Component Designators. Comments are welcome through 26 April. The document defines a scheme for identifying the XML Schema components specified by the XML Schema Recommendation Part 1 and Part 2. Visit the XML home page. (News archive)

Working Draft: RDF/Topic Maps Interoperability

2005-03-29: The Semantic Web Best Practices and Deployment Working Group has released the First Public Working Draft of A Survey of RDF/Topic Maps Interoperability Proposals. The document is a starting point for establishing standard guidelines for combined usage of the W3C RDF/OWL family and the ISO family of Topic Maps standards. The group expects to publish Survey and Guidelines Working Group Notes based on this draft. Visit the Semantic Web home page. (News archive)

RDF Data Access Use Cases and Requirements Updated

2005-03-25: The RDF Data Access Working Group has released an updated Working Draft of RDF Data Access Use Cases and Requirements. The draft suggests how an RDF query language and data access protocol could be used in the construction of novel, useful Semantic Web applications in areas like Web publishing, personal information management, transportation and tourism. The group invites feedback on which features are required for a first version of SPARQL and which should be postponed in order to expedite deployment of others. Visit the Semantic Web home page. (News archive)

C

all for Participation: W3C Workshop on XML Schema 1.0 User Experiences

2005-03-23: Position papers are due 20 May for the W3C Workshop on XML Schema 1.0 User Experiences to be held 21-22 June in Redwood Shores, California, USA. Schema authors and users, developers and vendors of schema-aware code generators, middleware, validators, and the W3C XML Schema Working Group will gather to discuss user experience with XML Schema 1.0. The workshop goal is to arrive at plan of action for XML Schema 1.0 interoperability, errata and clarification. Read about W3C workshops and visit the XML home page. (News archive)

Last Call: Timed Text Distribution Profile

2005-03-21: The Timed Text (TT) Working Group has released a Last Call Working Draft of the Timed Text (TT) Authoring Format 1.0 Distribution Format Exchange Profile (DFXP). The format enables authors and authoring systems to interchange style, layout and timing associated with text. DFXP helps to transform and distribute subtitles and captions to legacy systems. Comments are welcome through 11 April. Visit the Synchronized Multimedia home page. (News archive)

Working Draft: Compound Document Use Cases and Requirements

2005-03-15: The Compound Document Formats Working Group has released the First Public Working Draft of Compound Document by Reference Use Cases and Requirements Version 1.0. A compound document combines multiple formats, such as XHTML, SVG, XForms, MathML and SMIL. This draft introduces compounding by a reference like img, object, link, src and XLink. Compounding by inclusion is planned for a later phase. Visit the Compound Document home page. (News archive)

Working Draft: Timed Text Distribution Profile

2005-03-14: The Timed Text (TT) Working Group has released an updated Working Draft of the Timed Text (TT) Authoring Format 1.0 Distribution Format Exchange Profile (DFXP). The format enables authors and authoring systems to interchange style, layout and timing associated with text. DFXP helps to transform and distribute subtitles and captions to legacy systems. Visit the Synchronized Multimedia home page. (News archive)

Call for Participation: W3C Workshop on Frameworks for Semantics in Web Services

2005-02-10: Position papers are due 22 April for the W3C Workshop on Frameworks for Semantics in Web Services to be held 9-10 June in Innsbruck, Austria. Participants will discuss possible future W3C work on a comprehensive and expressive framework for describing all aspects of Web services. The workshop’s goal is to envision more powerful tools and fuller automation using Semantic Web technologies such as RDF and OWL. Read about W3C workshops and visit the Web services home page. (News archive)



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