ARCHIVE: August, 2006

Flickr’s Geotags Feature: Wow!

Flickr, the popular photo-sharing web app, continues to innovate with their latest feature, geotagging. Geotagging allows people to attach location-based coordinates to photos they’ve taken, essentially adding location metadata to the picture so that everybody knows where it was taken. This is a great social feature, and one that I think is worth inspecting in-depth.

At first glance, geotagging doesn’t seem that exciting. You’re simply adding coordinates to pictures, right? But after taking one look at some of the early activity that Flickr users are doing with it, combined with the additional magic of mapping and search that the Flickr folks have included, and you might wonder why every site isn’t clamboring to add tags and geotagging to their arsenal. (I bet many will soon be considering it)

Here’s the skinny on the feature…

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Are Social Web Apps Here to Stay?

In Why I Don’t Use Social Software, Ryan Carson of Vitamin magazine (where I published The MySpace Problem), asks some tough questions about the rise of social web apps. The biggest question is: Are social web apps here to stay?

Using his own tendency to shy away from them as evidence, Ryan wonders if the excitement of social networking apps is a bit over the top. He asks: “is the market already saturated with products that no-one yet uses?”. His reason for not using social networking apps is a good one: he doesn’t have time because he’s busy getting work done. But even if he were to use them there are still too many services out there competing for our limited attention. So how would we find out about them in the first place?

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Sims Creator on the Social Aspects of Computers

In Dream Machines, Wired guest editor and gamer extraordinaire Wil Wright, whose Sims games have become the most popular video games ever, ruminates on how computers were originally thought of as enhancing our nerdier side:

“Most technologies can be seen as an enhancement of some part of our bodies (cars/legs, house/skin, TV/senses). From the start, computers have been understood as an extension of the human brain; the first computers were referred to as mechanical brains and analytical engines. We saw their primary value as number crunchers that far exceeded our own meager abilities.”

To this day, we still hear computers talked about in this sense. When Apple recently announced their new Mac Pro line of computers, for example, they touted it as the “fastest Mac ever”, how it can do so much more in so much less time

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Ugliness, Social Design, and the MySpace Lesson

I’ve been attempting the impossible: trying to get a clear picture of the whole MySpace/Ugly issue.

But before I continue, if you haven’t seen Ze Frank’s Piece on Ugly, go watch that. In it, he says:

“Ugly when compared to pre-existing notions of taste is a bummer. But ugly as a representation of mass experimentation and learning is pretty damn cool. Regardless of what you might think, the actions you take to make your MySpace page ugly are pretty sophisticated. Over time, as consumer-created media engulfs the other kind, it’s possible that completely new norms develop around the notions of talent and artistic ability.”

In addition to Ze’s point of view there are several other viewpoints floating around…

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Apple Making Huge Social Software Push?

Update Added several points about upcoming Leopard features.

Several recent Apple developments suggest that the company is ramping up for a huge push of social features in its software:

Wiki Server

A wiki server? Yes, a wiki server. From the preview site:

“Leopard Server includes a Wiki Server to make it easy for teams to create and distribute information through their own shared Intranet website. For the first time, all members of a workgroup can easily create or edit content right from their browser. With a few clicks, or by dragging and dropping, they can upload files and images, track changes, assign keywords, hyper-link pages, view and contribute to shared calendars and blogs, and search for content on the group Intranet.”

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Why Netscape Will Succeed

Didn’t anticipate the power of network effects…

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My Number is Bigger than Yours

A short rant about lying to customers.

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