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Solo show today… I talked a bit about this:
Bill calls for better tracking of faster broadband
How fast is U.S. “broadband” service, anyway? The FCC says 200 kbps is good enough to count, which sets the bar kind of low. Then again, it lets the government claim that broadband service is available in 99 percent of all ZIP codes (another fairly useless measure). A bill introduced in the Senate last week requires broadband providers to use smaller geographic areas than ZIP codes to report statistics, and force the FCC to think again about whether a 200 kbps pipe is all that broad. The Broadband Data Improvement Act was introduced by Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye, chair of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
And everyone seems to be jumping on this story… my analysis… Google probably has little to worry about:
The Federal Trade Commission has opened a preliminary antitrust investigation into Google’s planned $3.1 billion purchase of the online advertising company DoubleClick, an industry executive briefed on the agency’s plans said yesterday.
The inquiry began at the end of last week, after it was decided that the Federal Trade Commission instead of the Justice Department would conduct the review, said the executive, who asked not to be identified because he had not been authorized to speak. The two agencies split the duties of antitrust enforcement.
An F.T.C. spokesman said yesterday that the agency did not comment on pending inquiries.
And in other Google news, something else Google might not need to worry about:
Look Out Google – Here Come the Aussies
The only word that describes what happened to our inbox tonight was “spammed” – no less than eleven links were sent to this Australian article which talks about new stealth startup MyLiveSearch.
Dubbing itself the “world’s first live search engine” it promises to show us the 4/5 of the web that Google doesn’t index – this includes the grey web of dynamically created web pages as well as real time indexing of more traditional pages.
The article says “Google is keeping a close eye on a small, suburban Melbourne start-up that claims to be developing a search engine that improves on the world leader” and goes on to quote founder Rob Gabriel as saying his startup “gives better, more relevant results” than Google and “this technology could be snapped onto any of the major search engines and improve them.”
Those are big words for a startup that is yet to launch into private beta. We’ll be taking a look at MyLiveSearch at the end of June when they launch, and looking for a little backup to their website claim of “searching the internet will never be the same…” It’s certainly true that Google isn’t perfect, but it will take more than words to take them down. These guys are feisty, though, and I like that.
In dumb engineering news:
Nissan is going around warning a bunch of US drivers of either the Nissan Altima or the Infiniti G35 to be careful with their mobile phones. However, it’s not, as you might expect, about driving while using those mobile phones. Nope. It’s about keeping those mobile phones away from the car keys that open and start the cars. Like many newer cars, these cars use a wireless key system. Unfortunately, they’re discovering that mobile phones receiving calls while in contact with the keys can scramble
the electronic code on the keys… making them into useless paperweights. This would seem like a pretty big problem — and simply telling drivers to keep their phones away from their keys isn’t likely to work very well, considering phones and keys very often end up together in people’s pockets or purses.
A good alternative to Joost, for those without invites:
Joox.net is an online repository for videos–mostly television shows and movies that seemingly elude copyright agreements.
You can find quite a few episodes of The Simpsons, or Grey’s Anatomy, and the second half of Pirates of the Carribean 3: At World’s End. Content is added by Joox users, in what looks to be a somewhat complicated process. You’ll have to first play your video in the provided player, and add it to Joox directly from the player. The clip will need to be confirmed before becoming part of the Joox library, but you can still watch these upcoming videos. As Joox is probably not based in the U.S. (the domain is reportedly registered in Sweden), Joox may manage to avoid a few copyright infringement suits for a while. Also to keep in mind, you’ll need to download a divx file as Joox does not operate in flash, and doesn’t have the best quality either.
Others in this space include Pirate Bay, which has confirmed its upcoming streaming service, and front runner Joost, the Internet television provider that has landed copyright agreements with nearly every major network, studio and brand in creation, BitTorrent, which has recently launched a video store, and Jalipo, which could be considered a paid version of Joost.
Google’s slow pace contributes to this more than anything else, in my opinion:
One of the aspects largely overlooked in Google’s recently unveiled Hot Trends is the prominent link on a topic’s page to ‘Discuss with others’. While the feature is currently flawed, and as such is basically useless, it could signal a move by Google towards unifying their services with a more social approach.
Clicking on the ‘Discuss with others’ link (found immediately below the Hot Trends ‘Peak’ information), takes you to a Google Group entitled ‘Google Trends Hot Trends‘. Despite being prominently displayed, this link garners little in the way of actual discussion on the Google Groups page – a total of 34 messages, 20 total members, and an activity rating of ‘Low’ for a group that is linked to on every single Hot Trend item.
Instead of this rather pointless broad group, Google should create a Google Group for each individual topic found in the Hot Trends. Furthermore they should make it so that at least some of the discussions will load right within the Hot Trends Topic page itself rather than redirecting you to the Google Groups page. This would show that there are others who are actively participating in discussions and entice more readers to contribute as well.
If Google could get this very basic social feature working in the Hot Trends area, they could expand the idea to their other services as well. This could particularly be interesting in Google News, where a single discussion thread on an article might be preferable to some over multiple discussion threads on sites like Digg, Netscape, Reddit, and the like.
Google Groups already keeps track of users posts and gives the option to have an avatar and profile just like the social news sites. Why Google isn’t making any moves to utilize these tools already in place is a bit baffling to me. It reminds me a bit of the Google Toolbar/Dice situation with StumbleUpon. In that situation, Google had the elements in place to create a service that would have been very much like StumbleUpon before it was popular, yet they lacked the foresight to do so. Here again, they have just about everything in place to unify some of their services into a more social network, but they still have yet to act upon it.
A really neat link (pay attention to this, could be a possible ARG (alternate reality game) alert):
Batman Dark Knight viral campaign.
Want to be part of the Rizzn-ite army? Indoctrination instructions here.