Longtail Recommendations

long tail on last fmSupersmart Ged (who I know from Yahoo!) pointed me to the longtail recommendations engine on last.fm. I’d been to the page but I’d never noticed the slider: have a play, it’s really good (you might need to be a user to access it). It’s a really good and simple way to demonstrate in real terms the notion of ‘long tail’ to someone who hasn’t ever seen it before.

And on the topic of all things with long tails, Chris Anderson‘s book about it is on pre-order at Amazon now.

RSS what?

marketing sherpa logo
According to a report from Marketing Sherpa:

Currently at least 75 million consumers and businesspeople in the USA and UK use RSS on a regular basis. However, depending on which study’s stats you believe, only 17-32% of RSS users actually know they’re using RSS.

I don’t find this at all hard to believe. I use RSS all the time, lots of people I know use RSS, but without knowing what RSS actually is or how it works. Before trying to write a definition of RSS I did about 10 minutes of fruitless searching, attempting to find a definition that you didn’t have to be a techie to understand. I couldn’t. I’m sure that there are simple definitions out there. But all the ones I found tended to stray off into scary things like XML definitions.

Having tried (and in most instances failed) to tell clients about RSS feeds the most useful description of RSS I’ve found is something like this:

“Using RSS you can make your website content very portable. It takes the most important information: titles, text, links and images. And makes it easy for you, or other people to display it in the way they choose. An RSS feed enables people to view your site content on their phone, on their computer, on other websites (MyYahoo, Google personal home page, etc.). It gives you extra distribution channels for your content with almost no extra effort.”

That’s the fundamentals (as I see them). Of course there’s loads more you can do with RSS, but as a basic description this sort of works for me. If my dummies definition misses lots of important things please let me know.

Videos From the Googleplex

Google have released a heap of videos from their internal archives:

In addition to helping distribute content from across the world, Google would like to share videos featuring our company.

Some great stuff in there, especially the ever-brilliant Seth Godin doing a presentation that seems to cover the central themes of a selection of his books in under 50 minutes. I saw Seth present years ago when he was at Yahoo! and he’s always stuck in my mind as one of the most natural and compelling presenters out there.
Visit Videos From the Googleplex

FON backed by Skype and Google

Yahoo News Story details how Skype, Google and a load of the usual VC suspects are backing FON. FON is a startup that aims to create a global community of wi-fi sharers. Members are either Bills (who charge a small amount for access) or Linuses (who just share for free). There were a couple of startups doing this previously and I don’t know where they are now. At least these guys have got some cash in their pockets

Why Google Rule

Something that makes Google so cool is the fact they recognise that their competitors (or deadly rivals), have an important part to play in peoples’ lives. See how they’ve listed Ask Yahoo! in fun. Most other sites would rather kill themselves than link to a competitor.

Yahoo gets Flickrd

yahoo flickrBusiness 2.0 – The Flickrization of Yahoo. It’s a long article, but makes for interesting reading about how social software is begining to spill over into many aspects of Yahoo!s business.

One point that they make that particuarly resonated with me is the difference between Yahoo! and Google. I’ve always felt that Yahoo! is more ‘human’ than Google – probably because in the good old days Yahoo! was structured around directories, picked by human editors. And now, if you start adding human tags to search (as Yahoo! MyWeb v2.0 does) – it goes back to becoming a much more human window onto search. Yaaaaaaaaaahoo!

Yahoo! and MSN up a tree…

…K.I.S.S.I.N.G. (well maybe). Interesting report on
MSN and Yahoo! joining forces on the IM front
to present a united front against the ‘Google-Threat’. Interestingly they appear to be leaving poor old AOL out. Almost makes me feel sorry for them, a bit.