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web 2.0 for development


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Monitoring 2008 US elections using web mapping

How GoogleMaps mapped the 2008 US elections:

2008 US elections


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Google and knowledge management

As described in a post on TechCrunch called “Is This The Future Of Search?” and as appearing in this Video proposed by Adrian Pike, Google is getting closer and closer to amplifying its core activities, the Search, with some Knowledge management flavor.

Google screenshot

Google digg-style screenshot

As you can see from the image above, this approach will offer users the opportunity to: manage search results, rate them, redefine the list of results, cancel results and add comments.

So doing, it seems like the “next” search will be deeply influenced by KM activities, precooked by other surfers on the same keyword. Google by definition is an engineer company: automation and machine-driven activities have been a given approach until now. Things seem to be changing and a new “victory” of collaboration is on the way!


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Prices are going down. Are we ready to exploit new possibilities?

iPhone 2Last year we discussed about the value of the iPhone and the most common doubts were about the price of the device. Yesterday Mr jobs launched the version 2 of his jewel and ops!!!, now the price is right!! The suggested price is now 199 USD, that is to say around 130 EUR. It was 499 USD last year…

In the meantime, almost half of the population of the world has a mobile phone. The numbers are incredible and the increasing rate is astonishing: 3,3, billion subscribers (this number does not indicate the number of people but the number of lines). The first billion was reached 4 years ago and the second billion, only 2 years ago!

I really think we have to start thinking about the ways to move our applications and competencies to mobile. And I see that other influential people agree on this idea!

We have to re-think communication in terms of mobile devices, instant and everywhere access. The idea is that we will be able to exchange (information in my case) everywhere and in every moment. Are we ready to exploit this possibility? So far, haven’t we been too much conservative due to the lack of connectivity for PCs? have been our applications planned with the possibility to be delivered through mobile phones, as well?

I hope so. I don’t think so. I want to work on this from now on!

p.s. iPhone is the hardware AND Android, the software, is coming out pretty soon. I see so much in front of us!!!


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Mobile and desktop PC: today married

Pc and mobile phone can easily go together. Take your desktop pc, add a small Bluetooth USB adapter (with a laptop you don’t need it), download the software from the site of the mobile phone company (if you have a Nokia as I have, you find it here), get the two devices connected!

At this step you can start synchronizing data in the two devices. You have two options: an easy way if you just prefer to manage the mobile phone on the big screen and comfortable keyboard of your PC; or  in a more sophisticate way, if you want to move up and down different kind of files.

Let’s see them:

– if you stored on the phone images got in the field, voice interviews made during meetings, videos recorded while visiting sites of interest, data collected in the field, etc., then, whenever in front of the desktop, switch on the Bluetooth connection (or you plug-in your connecting cable) and move the items from the phone to the hard disk of the pc. Once everything is there, you can start sharing the material with people who were not in the field;

Gphone – on the other side, you can think about connecting the mobile to the Internet and distribute your material directly from the phone. To do that you need some software on your phone. Skype for mobileSome example? You want to access your mail box on Gmail? Today you can with the Gmail application. You want to verify if the stock of products created by artisans you support have been sold already? Download the eBay client from here. You need to chat and exchange files with partners? Use the Skype client for mobile devices. You want to verify your colleagues’ willingness for a meeting next Tuesday? Connect to the office common calendar and book the afternoon or check with the GMaps application where the meeting is.

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Gapminder sw

I found this very interesting application, Gapminder, to show dynamic data evolution in time and in comparison with other data. I have already seen it in action in a quite famous video of Professor Hans Rosling speaking at the TED-conferance 2006 about “Myths on Developing World“.

Some more notes about it: Google, always them, acquired the software few months ago and will add it to their free sw package pretty soon. Let’s reflect on this approach.

Google’s mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. Distributing software for free helps doing that. Google will redistribute it for free as it is doing with other tools like Picasa, Analytics, Google Earth, etc. This can be considered good or bad, according to the point of view.

At the moment my judgement is positive: having this software for free means that we can transfer knowledge and capacities in an easier and faster way. Obviously there a price to pay. It is not visible, and not quantifiable, but there is: our data will be known, analysed and used by someone. At this point of the reasoning, the question is still open: I can considered myself “supported” or “spied” according to pros being more or less of counts. I have not yet formulated my idea as, until now, I’ve seen only the first and not yet the second…


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Power of community

As just announced, yesterday Google acquired YouTube, the most popular steaming video site and the 10th most popular online destination. I found very interesting the analysis of some blogs around about one of the main reason for Google to spend 1,65 billion dollars…

“Why would Google buy YouTube? To start, 35 million users in the US and 100 million daily video views. But it’s not just the sheer numbers that grabs Google’s attention. YouTube is a gem because it figured out what Google, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, and all of the other video players in the marketplace couldn’t – that it’s not about the video. It’s really about the community that’s around the video.

Take a look at the screenshot of the same “Extreme Diet Coke And Mentos Experiment” video on YouTube and Google Video. You’ll notice that YouTube has many things you can do with the video – rate it, save it to favorites, comment on it, share it, see other related videos, and view the user’s playlists, etc. I think you get the idea.”

Charlene li

and

Community: YouTube enjoys a much more active, enthusiastic and loyal following than any video service which has been launched by a search engine company, even more active in terms of uploading and sharing by netizens than Yahoo Video.

With 35 million users in the United States alone, YouTube has proven that the success of online video is based upon sharing, commenting, ranking, embedding and suggestions… in other words: community.”

Search engine journal

and

Rupert Murdoch famously claimed that Google could have purchased MySpace for half of the $580 million he paid for it but the search engine passed — if he’s to be believed. Assume, however, he’s telling the truth and that Google miscalculated badly in passing on MySpace. They then went on to do the $900 million ad deal with News Corp./Fox.

They wouldn’t have had to make those sorts of pricey commitments had they bought the social networking site for the $290 million and owned all that traffic themselves.

Greg Sterling

I think these articles suggest many things like: how powerful a community can be, how much a simple function like “Edit”, “Send it”, “Share it” can add to any kind of content and how important is to establish a two-ways communication channel using a web site.