Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0

Archive for the ‘INN347 – Web 2.0 Application’ Category

Lightweight Models and Cost-effective Scalability

The Internet has become the fastest growing medium and the most famous distribution system. According to NUV (2004), there were 605.6 million Internet users worldwide in the September 2002, having increased from 30.6 million users in 1995 (Flew, 2005). In 2010, there are 205,368,103 sites on the Internet and 940 millions Social Network users worldwide (Ries, 2010). Today, the web service is growing at the phenomenal speed on the Internet. There are many major Web 2.0 companies such as Amazon, Youtube, eBay, Flickr, del.icio.us and Google, which are providing their own web Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to encourage use of their web services and data in the development of mashups, plugins, widgets and gadgets to use as the tools on any website. Web APIs offered by the Google, eBay, or Amazon make once mundane and expensive business processes cheap (Malik, 2007).

Tim O’Reilly, who is credited with coining the term Web 2.0 and “Lightweight Programming Models” has a big concept from his one of seven principles inherent with Web 2.0. Architect Michael Platt of Microsoft explains it this way, “With Web 2.0 techniques, users can easily create applications specific to their own needs (Johnson, 2008). In other words, in Web 2.0 programming, applications are built with lightweight programming models and standards-based services, so users can easily use the Web APIs to build their own application in minutes. Therefore, lightweight programming made Web 2.0 much easier and simpler to use than Web 1.0.

O’Reilly in his article “What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software“, stated that “Lightweight business models are a natural concomitant of lightweight programming and lightweight connections. The Web 2.0 mindset is good at re-use” (O’Reilly, 2005). In other words, as Web 2.0 technology is increasingly embraced by businesses (IBM, 2010), the Web 2.0 applications are using the lightweight programming model to create Web 2.0-style mashup. Mashup is a web page or application that uses or combines data or functionality from two or many more external sources to create a new service (Wikipedia, 2010). 

There are some technical characterics of Web 2.0 application with lightweight programming models

There are some lessons of lightweight programming models

  • Simplicity and organic web-based
  • Support lightweight programming models that allow for loosely coupled systems – Easy to make changes with less risk. Small pieces of applications/plugins are also less specialized, more reusable, shareable, and hackable.
  • Open source software – reuse easy and more cost-effective
  • Think sybdication, not coordination – RSS feed or REST-based web services
  • Design for hackability and remixability – an important goal for web services

This week i am going to look  into a Web 2.0 application that is characterized by “Lightweight Programming Models and Cost-effective Scalability”. One of the best examples for an application is MailChimp (see Figure 1.0).

MailChimp Logo Figure 1.0 – MailChimp

MailChimp is a leading do-it-yourself (D.I.Y.) online email marketing service. It is a product of a web development company called The Rocket Science Group. MailChimp is a Top-Rated social media tool (see Video 2.0). It is also a distributed application which provides easy-to-use web based tools to over 300,000 users worldwide, from a single user to Fortune 500 corporation. It offers free marketing service which allows its customers to design professional HTML emails, send emails with confidence, manage email list and track their own marketing campaigns in minutes with its simple tools. MailChimp delivers more than 200 millions emails per month from over 70 countries and in 26 languages, including Cyrillic, Mandarin and Japanese (MailChimp, 2010). It has flexible plans for every budget as well as the forever free plan. It offers user-friendly web services interfaces and content syndication as well as re-using the data services of others.

Video clip shows the Overview of MailChimp

Video 1.0 – MailChimp Overview

Video clip demonstrates how MailChimp integrates with social media and becomes a social butterfly

Video 2.0 – Social Media Tool

MailChimp is built around an open programming language that makes it easy to sync with outside applications and databases, and supports the most common programs and applications available (MailChimp, 2010). In other words, it built its business around a very scalable product. MailChimp is using web 2.0 technology, RSS to develop the tool, called RSS-to-Email tool. This tool enable its users to automatically send a newsletter whenever they update their blog (or any RSS feed). It also offer two web services which are MailChimp API and MailChimp Plugins to MailChimp users. It has used MailChimp API as its lightweight programming business model which provides a high-level of integration between these applications and creates a more seamless experience for its customers (The Small Business Web, 2010). In December 2009, MailChimp had more than 19,000 MailChimp API users. In May 2010, it has over 27,000 people who access MailChimp’s email-marketing platform via third-party integrations (MailChimp, 2010).

Two web services:

  • MailChimp API is a way for people to “sync” your customer database, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Content Management System (CMS), or e-commerce shopping cart with MailChimp (MailChimp, 2010). There is a version of the MailChimp API for PHP, .Net, Ruby, and XML. It is open and free, which encourages the third party developers to link their applications to MailChimp. Therefore, MailChimp API can be integrated with other applications like Drupal, WordPress (see Video 3.0), Zen Cart, and more. It is even compatible with Google’s Open Social platform, and allows people to interface MailChimp with MySpace, Ning, and other social networks (MailChimp, 2010). These will enable users to extend MailChimp functionality and make it cheap, and reusable and remix and share with others.
  • MailChimp plugin is allowing MailChimp users to connect MailChimp to their own favorite web applications such as CMS, blog, e-commerce shopping cart, and more. It is created by some crafty MailChimp users using MailChimp APIs.

Video clip demonstrates how MailChimp integrates with WordPress

Video 3.0 – MailChimp and WordPress

In conclusion, the development of technology on the Internet affects people and ways of business greatly. MailChimp is a great example of Web 2.0 application with lightweight Models and cost-effective scalability, as well as innovation in assembly. It also opens its APIs to increase the spread of its web service (email marketing) and to encourage the third party developers (co-developers) to be part of the development team. In the future, the Internet will have more Web applications and the Web probably will offer more and more free and open web services.

References:

T. Flew. 2005. “The Internet”, in New Media. An Introduction (2nd Ed). Melbourne: OUP.

M. Johnson. 2008. Human Resources Executive magazine announces 2008 Top 10 HR Products selections.

April 2010 Web Server Survey. Netcraft Ltd. 2010.

O. Malik. 2007. Small is The New Big.

Web 2.0 Technology for Business. IBM. 2010.

 T. Ries. 2010. 940 Million Social Network Users Worldwide.

The Small Business. The Small Business Web. 2010.

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Leveraging the Long Tail

The Long Tail is one of the most important business economic models of the 21st century, especially for online retail business. It first appeared in Wired’s article “The Long Tail”  in October 2004 and expanded into The New York Times bestseller book in July 2009 on the subject entitled, The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More. The phrase “The Long Tail” was coined by Chris Anderson who is the editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine and a former jounalist for The Economist. In his book, “The Long Tail” (2006), he defined “The Long Tail” (see Figure 1.0) as a statistical curve showing the edge that digital sellers with infinite goods for niche markets have over retailers with limited goods for mass markets and he also used this term to describe the potential opportunity missed in traditional product development.

This video clip shows how Chris Anderson identifies the business model of “The Long Tail”

There are some characteristics of the Long Tail business model

  • More (unlimited) selection – provides a wide range of items/products from “niche markets” as well as “on-demand markets”
  • Lower price – more profitable due to the lower cost for digitial automated delivery and on-demand creation
  • Hits matter – items/products can be easier found by search engine and even online social community (Facebook, Twitter). In other words, more product promotion
  • Scale – more feasible compared to traditional retail stores. It can sell more items and provide online delivery
  • Low fulfillment costs – using digital storage to store data; storage itself is getting cheaper and online devlivery totally automated

The Long Tail Curve

Graph for The Long TailFigure 1.0 : Graph for The Long Tail Curve

In the graph – The Long Tail Curve (see Figure 1.0), the vertical axis (Y) represents the popularity or mass market appeal for an item and the horizontal axis (X) represents a particular product. The red area of the graph represents the traditional markets – the Head. The orange area of the graph represents the Long Tail.

In 2005, Tim O’Reilly in his essay What is Web 2.0, coined the popular term for new Internet services (next generation of Web) – “Web 2.0” and also defined “The Long Tail” as one of the core design patterns of these Web 2.0 Internet business models. O’Reilly describes it as, “the collective power of the small sites that make up the bulk of the web’s content.” AuctionInsights (2008) states that eBay was one of the world’s first “Long Tail” markets. Therefore, eBay is a good example of an organisation “Leveraging the Long Tail” through customer self-service.

eBay LogoFigure 2.0 : eBay Logo

eBay (see Figure 2.0) is owned by eBay Inc. which is an American company and was founded as AuctionWeb in September 1995 by Pierre Omidya. With more than 90 million active users globally, eBay is the world’s largest online marketplace, where practically anyone can buy and sell practically anything (eBay, 2010). In other words, eBay is the world’s leading Internet online auction and shopping website. It brings together millions of people worldwide every day and creates an online sales platform/marketplace for the sale of goods through the Internet and provides services for and by a dedicated community of individuals and small business owners. Since 1995, eBay has grown to have a presence in 39 markets (including partnerships and investments) with more than 90 million eBay.com users worldwide. The total worth of goods sold on eBay was $ 60 million, trading more than $2,000 worth of goods each second (eBay, 2010).

In Web 2.0 era, eBay has stayed successful by continued leveraging of The Long Tail through servicing numerous micromarkets and data management to reach out the entire websites, to the long tail and not just the head. The following items demonstrate how eBay does that :

  • enabling transactions of only a few dollars between single individuals; acting as an automated intermediary (Jim Petrassi, 2008)
  • millions of products not just from “on-demand market”, but also “niche market”
  • providing its services as a sales platform with traffic for other small business retailers to build their own e-businesses
  • compelling participation mechanisms like Feedback, Reviews & Guides and Rating system
  • extending functionality such as combining with traffic from search ads of Google and Yahoo to increase hits
  • acquired Skype to leverage its services to advertise eBay product listings
  • a search mechanism (search function) for consumers to purchase their interested Long Tail products
  • a venue for Long Tail sellers to sell their products to this marketplace

In conclusion, technology and the Internet are making the world a smaller and more connected place (Terry Semel, 2009). The Long Tail theory is changing the e-commerce economics model with shifting from the Mass-Market to Niche Economics.

References:

O’Reilly, T. 2005. What is Web 2.0.

The Long Tail. New York Times Ad. 2009.

eBay: Long Tail Marketplace or Commodity Exchange? Part 1. 2008. AuctionInsights.

eBay. 2010. eBay.com

The Long Tail. 2010. Wikipedia.

eBay. 2010. Wikipedia.

Perpetual Beta

Today, with the technology development, the Web has changed the economics of software development and the Internet has also changed the way of the software developers on how they look at the traditional software development and delivery process.  In 2005, the term “Web 2.0” was proposed by respected developers’ handbook publisher Tim O’Reilly and “perpetual beta” is one of the key design principles of Web 2.0.

Tim O’Reilly defines the concept of perpetual beta by stating that “there is never a definitive version and software remains under development and improvement as long as it exists. Following this concept, the software is commercialised before it is ‘feature complete’ or free of programming bugs, ‘developed in the open, with new features slipstreamed in on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis’” (Efthymios C  and Stefan J, 2007 ). In other words, in Web 2.0 era, software has become a service, which is always refound and improved continuously based upon customer feedback. Users become co-developers or real-time testers and make operations (24/7 ongoing daily care and feeding of online services) a core competency. This is a new way of thinking about software development and a new perspective on the software business.

 

Home page for Remember the MilkFigure 1.0 : Remember the Milk

Remember the Milk (RTM) was found by Emily Boyd and Omar Kilani and developed by an Australian/International team. The RTM is an application service provider for web-based task- and time-management (Wikipedia, 2010). In another words, RTM is a  free online Web-based Cross-platform application (see Figure 1.0) which can help users to simplify and organize all their daily tasks in one place. Its beta version – Remember the Milk beta – was publicly launched in October 2005 (see Figure 2.0) and stayed in beta for 4 years until October 2009 (see Figure 3.o).

Beta Logo for Remember the Milk 

Figure 2.0 : Beta Logo for Remember the MilkCurrent Logo for Remember the MilkFigure 3.0 : Current Logo for Remember the Milk

RTM allows users to create multiple tasks lists, manage their tasks, prioritize their tasks, and share their tasks with others  from any computer as well as offline with Gears. It also integrates with various other products, web services and third parties such as Netvibes, iGoogleGoogle MapsTwitter, Jott and more. RTM’s users can also create categorized task lists, send out reminders via email, SMS, instant messenger (AIM, Gadu-Gadu, Google Talk, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Skype and Yahoo! are all supported)  and Twitter and even access it by mobile device and phone (iPhone/iPod touch, Android phone, BlackBarry and Windows Mobile).

In 2005, O’Reilly described the concept of perpetual beta as part of a customized Internet environment with these applications as distinguishing characteristics (Wikipedia, 2010):

  • Release early and release often and continuously improved –
    Microsoft was one the first companies to request users for a beta program (Diana, 2009). Afterward, many development organizations like Google adoped the same concept “the use of the “beta” tag on many “web 2.0″ products” to release their products/services such as GMail early to the market. RTM used the same concept to lanuch its application with the “beta” tag which means that Remember The Milk is a work-in-progress. RTM development team is still working to add new features (lanuching Pro Tester Program), developing other projects (Twitter and Jott integtation), improving services (Data center maintenance).
  • User as a co-developers and real time testers –
    Tim O’Reilly stated that “Real-world user behavior provides a much more accurate model for assessing new product features than marketing requirements documents, prototypes, or any other form of non-production feedback (Musser, 2006) .” In March 2008, the RTM development team decided to launch the Pro Tester Program (or PTP for short) to do testing on every browser and operating system combination and even every mobile device/portable device. PTP members will be given pre-release versions of new RTM features to  and will be invited to provide feedback and help us by reporting any problems encountered with said new features (Remember the Milk, 2010). In February 2010, RTM development team has also did a Survey for the Mobile devices (see Figure 4.0) to help them to prioritize mobile development for 2010. Over 3,300 lovely Remember The Milk users were kind enough to provide their input (Remember the Milk, 2010). The RTM development team would also like users to send a suggestion/feedback to them directly, posted on the  forums. Therefore, RTM could produce the service/feature which could always meet current customers’ needs and preferences.

Survey - Mobile Devices

Figure 4.0 : Survey – one of Graph Results – Mobile Devices

  • Software above the level of a single device –
    In the Web 2.0 world, Internet/Web 2.0 applications are not limited to a single device or a platform. They need to be worked everywhere. RTM is a Web 2.0 multi-platform application which can be run and can support different platforms including Windows, Mac, and Linux. As well it can be accessed by mobile devices and phones.
  • Make operations a core competency –
    The RTM development team loves to use low-cost/open source software to develop applications and to leverage large support communities and resources. They try to open source as much as possible. They also actively integrate users’ feedback into the the core product. For example, in February 2010 mobile survey, users chose “Improve the existing iPhone app” as your #1 mobile request. The RTM development team made improvements and released the latest version of the Remember The Milk app.

 Beta Logo for Remember the Milk

Figure 5.0 : Remove “Beta” Logo for Remember the Milk

Today, for Web 2.0 applications, the “beta” label is an iconic symbol which can be realized instantly and presented to the public as a beta-version. For RTM, “beta” label means that Remember the Milk is a work-in-progress (Remember the Milk, 2010). The RTM development team is still working to add features, and there might be a bug or two here and there. However, in October 2009, they decided to finally leave beta (see figure 5.0); because web applications (web apps) did not need to be in beta anymore to continue to evolve. (Remember the Milk, 2010)

In conclusion, Remember the Milk demonstrates the Web 2.0 principle of ‘Perpetual Beta’ which enables the softwares/applications continually to improve and continuous release processes allow users to instantaneously benefit (Toby Segaran, Colin Evans and Jamie Taylor, 2009). The perpetual beta has made operations as a core competency. It has also become a process for engaging customers or prospective customers.

References:

Efthymios, C  and Stefan, J. 2007. Web 2.0: Conceptual foundations and marketing issues.

Diana, R. 2009. Alpha: When Beta Is Not Good Enough.

Remember the Milk. 2010. Wikipedia.

Segaran, T, Evans, C and Taylor, J. 2009. Programming the Semantic Web – Perpetual Beta. p 17.

Musser, J. 2006. Web 2.0: Principles and Best Practices.

Software above the Level of a single device

In the earier stage of the Web 1.0  development (1990), the webpage was the only interaction between browsers and servers and the web content information was downloaded from the server to the local desktop Personal Computer (PC). Today, Web 2.0 has arrived and it changes the way of traditional Web communication from uni-directional to bi-directional and also allows many websites to interact with their users by providing valuable services such as the case of applications like Microsoft and Google.

“Software above the level of a single device” is one of the principles of the Web 2.0. At the EclipseCon 2005 conference, Tim O’Reilly stated that “The PC is no longer the only access device for Internet applications, and applications that are limited to a single device are less valuable than those that are connected”. Therefore, Internet/Web 2.0 applications are not limited to a single device or  a platform. At the same time, they are able to be accessed by handheld devices, PCs and the Internet. As well, they need to be worked everywhere (Figure 1.0 – Internet/Web 2.0 application work everywhere).

Internet/Web Applications Work Everywhere

Figure 1.0 – Internet/Web 2.0 Application work everywhere

New Web 2.0 applications such as Microsoft Live Mesh and Google Documents (Google Docs)  are not limited to the PC platform. This week I am going to look  into a Web 2.0 application that is characterized by “Software (that operates) above the level of a single device”.

What is Microsoft Live Mesh?

Live Mesh is a ’software-plus-services’ platform and experience from Microsoft that enables PCs and other devices to ‘come alive’ by making them aware of each other through the Internet, enabling individuals and organizations to manage, access, and share their files and applications seamlessly on the Web and across their world of devices (Mary Jo Foley, 2008). In other words, Live Mesh is a “software-plus-services” platform plus a new kind of Internet Oriented Operating System (utility computing) which can do folder synchronization, file share, cross-platform access and complete with 5 GB of free storage and unlimited peer-to-peer data on the web. It also helps to synchronize files across PCs and devices. It is currently a beta application.

What Does Live Mesh include :

  • A platform that defines and models a user’s digital relationships between devices, data, applications, and people—made available to developers through an open data model and protocols.
  • A cloud service providing an implementation of the platform hosted in Microsoft data centers.
  • Software, a client implementation of the platform that enables local applications to run offline and interact seamlessly with the cloud.
  • A platform experience that exposes the key benefits of the platform for bringing together a user’s devices, files and applications, and social graphs, with news feeds across all of these.

From Microsoft First Look at Live Mesh, 2008

What Features do Live Mesh have :

  • Devices page – Mesh Management
  • Live Desktop – Users’ Windows PC on the web, complete with 5 GB of free storage space.
  • Mesh bar – helps users manage their files and members are invited to share the files.
  • Notifier – lets people see news about what’s happening in your mesh.
  • News – continuous feed detailing activities in users’ mesh.
  • Live Mesh Remote Desktop – Transports users to another computer in your mesh.
  • Mac – Adds a Mac to users’ mesh. Sync and share folders between their PC and their Mac.
  • Mobile – Takes users’ mesh with others wherever they go.

From mesh.com, 2009

The following behind the scenes video clip shows what is Microsoft Live Mesh.

Live Mesh is part of Live Services, one of the building blocks of Microsoft’s Azure Services Platform – a “cloud” platform hosted at Microsoft data centers (AbsoluteAstronomy.com, 2010). According David Chappell (2008), “Azure Services Platform can be used by applications running in the cloud and by applications running on a variety of local systems such as Windows, mobile devices and others.” Therefore, Live Mesh is a cloud computing platform which connects all the devices (mobile, computer, laptop) together in the cloud (Figure 2.0 – Mesh Ring) and stores data on servers in Microsoft data centers, as well as, remote access computers.

Mesh Ring

Figure 2.0 – Mesh Ring

 The following video clip shows the Microsoft data center and cloud computing.

Live Mesh is also a client software run-time Mesh Operating Environment (MOE). MOE is a service composition runtime that provides a unified view of all Live Mesh services and a simple way for applications to interact with Live Mesh (Microsoft Blog, 2008). Currently, Live Mesh is available for Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Mac OS X (Some Live Mesh features not yet available for the Mac), as well as Mobile (Windows Mobile 6.1 or later). In the future, it will become a platform that allows developers’ use to connect both online and offline programs.

Microsoft has also integrated a feed (one of social networking elements) or collection of feeds (member feeds, news feeds, custom feeds) into Live Mesh to keep track of activities in the mesh (Figure 3.0 – Live Mesh News). It allows Live Mesh users/members to invite other users to share a file or folder and access on devices (Windows PC, Mac OS, mobile phone, xBox and more) in their Live Mesh network.

Live Mesh News

Figure 3.0 – Live Mesh News

There are some other similiar Web services that offer remote desktop or file-sharing capabilities or online backup storage. They are allowing users to keep in sync across multiple platforms such as Apple MobileMe, Box.net, Dropbox and Mozy. However, some of applications need fees, for examples Apple’s MobileMe which costs $119 AUD person/year with 20GB web-storage and Box.net is $119.4 USD person/year with 1GB web-storage.

In conclusion, with the technology development today, the new Web technology allows all applications to have more ability to access the various PCs that connect to the Web. As well, the marriage of Web applications and mobile (portable) devices gives the users applications that allow more effective bi-directional or even multi-directional communication. At the end, the future of the operating system (OS) will increasingly rely heavily on Web-based files rather than the local drive files.

References:

D, Chappell. 2008. Introducing the Azure Services Platform. Retrieved April 15, 2010.

EclipseCon. 2005. Open Source Business Model Design Patterns. Tim O’Reilly. Retrieved April 15, 2010.

Microsoft. 2008. Microsoft First Look at Live Mesh. Retrieved April 15, 2010.

Microsoft. 2009. What’s inside Live Mesh? Retrieved April 15, 2010.

Microsoft Blog. 2008. Behind Live Mesh : What is MOE? Retrieved April 15, 2010.

M, Foley. 2008. Ten things to know about Microsoft’s Live Mesh. Retrieved April 15, 2010.

Live Mesh. 2010. Absolute Astronomy. Retrieved April 15, 2010.

Live Mesh. 2010. Wikipedia. Retrieved April 15, 2010.

Rich User Experiences

As technology has developed, so too has the web and it is expanding constantly. Currently, we are in the Web 2.0 era and “Rich User Experience” is one of the key design patterns of the Web 2.0 which is the successor of the traditional web 1.0. According to O’Reilly, “A success in the Web 2.0 world depends on a successful experience.” Therefore, a key success for the Web 2.0 application depends on a dynamic and successful user-driven experience.

Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) is part of the Web 2.0. RIAs can be defined as web applications and have been used to design experiences for people. There are two key elements in developing RIAs :

  • User Experience (UX) 
    According to Hassenzahl and Tractinsky, “UX is about technology that fulfils more than just instrumental needs in a way that acknowledges its use as a subjective, situated, complex and dynamic encounter. UX is a consequence of a user’s internal state, the characteristics of the designed system and the context within which the interaction occurs. ”  (InspireUx, 2010) In other words, designing the interface and developing the applications which are simple, interactive, universal and engaging the users to participate in creating the contents.
  • Usability – According to Nielsen, “Usability consists of five parameters: learnability, efficiency, memorability, error avoidance, and subjective satisfaction.” (Sitepoint, 2010) In other words, usability eliminates unnecessary confusion for the users.

The following video clip demostrates the web revolution – Rich Internet Applications

There are some open source platforms, components and programming languages such as Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, Sun JavaFx, Ajax, and Ruby on Rails,  Adobe Flex and others have been developed for Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) development. They allow application developers and designers to make amazing tools, design user-friendly interfaces and express their creative ability. They also enable more interactive user actions such as the drag-and-drop of user interface elements, mashups and dynamic information gathering.

Etsy is one of social ecommerce websites built by RIAs applications in Adobe Flash. It is an online market place and also a global community which allows communication between makers and buyers and reconnects makers with buyers directly for buying and selling products. It offers a new way of online shopping experiences.

The following video clip shows what Etsy is and provides a vision of it.

Etsy has also developed some unique tools and functionality to allow the users to have more interaction with web page elements. For example, colors, connections and more.

  • Colors – allows the users to click on  a color – any color. Etsy will find the items or products to match the color.
    Etsy Colors

     

 

 

  • Connections – allows the users to find the items by knowing who likes what and comparing that with what they like.
  • Etsy Connections
  •  
  •  
  •  

 

The following video clip demostrates how to shop at Etsy with their unique tools

In conclusion, with the technology development and web revolution, RIAs web application changes the world of retail commerce works and human to human relationships.

References:

Interview – Jakob Nielsen, Ph.D. Sitepoint. 2010.
Retrieved March 24, 2010 from : http://articles.sitepoint.com/article/interview-jakob-nielsen-ph-d/4

InspireUX. UX is about technology that fulfils more than just instrumental needs. 2010.
Retrieved March 24, 2010 from : http://www.inspireux.com/2009/07/29/ux-is-about-technology-that-fulfils-more-than-just-instrumental-needs/

Innovation In Assembly

National Public Radio (NPR) is a media organization, an online radio application that produces, distributes and delivers breaking national and world news. It is also a privately supported, not-for-profit membership organization, NPR produces and distributes programming that reaches a combined audience of 26.4 million listeners weekly. With original online content and audio streaming, NPR.org offers hourly newscasts, special features and ten years of archived audio and information (NPR, 2010).

NPR is one of Media Convergence – an example that offers a new digital distribution communication platform to deliver broader public service to their world-wide listeners (international, national and community) and also engages and interacts with their audiences. According to Jenkins, media convergence is more than simply a technological shift. Convergence alters the relationship between existing technologies, industries, markets, genres and audiences. Convergence refers to a process, but not an endpoint. With this, media convergence will come a new trend in consumption.

NPR stated that “Open, distributed access to public radio content will result in much greater usage than if we require everyone to come to our portals” (Dennis Haarsager, 2008).  Therefore, to increase distribution opportunities, NPR has announced the release of their APIs at O’Reilly’s Open Source Convention (OSCON) 2008.

The NPR Application Programming Interface (API) has enabled developers and more tech-savvy users to build complex applications (See picture below).

NPR API

NPR’s API is a content API, which essentially provides a structured way for other computer applications to get NPR stories in a predictable, flexible and powerful way (NPR, 2010). For example,  podcast directory – mix your own podcast – is one of NPR’s content APIs created by NPR to allow developers to remix and reuse any podcast content created by the network. NPR Addict and NPR Backstory are mashups that are created by third party developers (tech-savvy users) Therefore, NPR opens APIs which make APIs more transparent and opens them to its users. As well as, it provides an interaction platform to allow users to innovate and be creative with its podcast content.

The following video clip shows how people use NPR Addict on their iphone:

In conclusion, NPR provides a secure platform for application developers and tech-savvy users through assembly and innovation. NPR is also open its APIs to increase the spread of its digital material. In the future, the Web probably will offer more and more open web services. As well, more and more companies will allow their APIs to be open to attract more drive traffics. In other words, allowing more people to visit NPR website.

References:

Haarsager, D. 2008. NPR’s digital distribution strategy.
Retrieved March 19, 2010 from : http://technology360.typepad.com/technology360/2008/09/nprs-digital-di.html

Jacobson, D and Neal, H. 2008. Open Content – National Public Radio.
Retrieved March 19, 2010 from : http://www.npr.org/images/api/NPR_OSCON_open_content_for_insidenprorg.pd f

NPR. 2010. API Documentation – API Overview.
Retrieved March 19, 2010 from : http://www.npr.org/api/index.php

Jenkins, H. 2004. The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence’ International Journal of Cultural Studies, Vol. 7 (1), 33-43.

Data is the next “Intel Inside”

Data is the next “Intel Inside” is one of the key characteristics of Web 2.0. The term was first coined by Tim O’Reilly at Conference  in 2005. O’Reilly describes data (managed by the software) as the data driving force behind web 2.0 application (web 2.0 service combines with function/software).  He states “Database management is a core competency of Web 2.0 companies, so much so that we have sometimes referred to these applications as “infoware” rather than merely software.” Therefore, in Web 2.0 applications, data is a valuable asset and without the data, the web 2.0 applications are useless.

Today, the successful Web 2.0 applications inevitably have been used as a specialized SQL database system to store a body of specific data such as Amazon’s product reviews, Google’s links, eBay’s products and sellers information, IMDB’s movies information and more. According  to J. Gordon Daines III and Cory L. Nimer, “The goal of Web 2.0 is the creation of unique content/data which drives website traffic and the overall usefulness of the site.” (Society of American Archivists, 2010) Therefore, the Web 2.0  is different to Web 1.0. Web 1.0 is more about presenting information to the users,  just lik a word processor or a tool with no data.  Today, I am going to analyze how the data management system has played in the success of  Google.

Google is currently the most used search engine. It has one of the largest databases of Web pages, including many types of web documents like blog posts, wiki pages, group discussion threads and document formats such as PDFs, Word or Excel documents and PowerPoints. (University of California, 2010)

Many Google products and projects, including Google Map, Google Earth, Goodle Analytics, Google Fiance, Personalized Search and Orkut, are using Bigtable which is a distributed system for storing data on Google’s own servers.

Here, a video clip shows how Google stores its own data inside the Google Data Centre:

Google Maps is a web mapping service with a Web 2.0 application. It offers users the ability to search location, street maps, a route planner for travelling by foot, car, or public transport and an urban business locator for numerous countries around the world. (Blippr, 2010) It also allows users to how customise their own map, embedded on their (third-party) websites via the Google Maps API. All users’ preferences (address search, store locator, distance calculator, satellie photos, make your own Google Earth KML, biking directions and custom your own Google Map) will be stored on Google’s own servers. Google “owns” the data (information and links), but it does not own the mapping data, because that mapping data is often owned by other (third party) companies such as NavTech and NAVTEQ.

Here is how you can plan your biking directions via Google Map:

In summary, that mapping data is the “Intel Inside” of NavTech and NAVTEQ and the users’ preference data is the “Intel Inside” of Google. In other words, data makes those applications/services a success.

References:

O’Reilly, T. 2005. What is Web 2.0.
Retrieved March 14, 2010 from : http://oreilly.com/pub/a/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=3

Blippr. 2010. Google Maps.
Retrieved March 14, 2010 from : http://www.blippr.com/apps/337264-Google-Maps

Gordon, J. and Cory, L. 2009. The Interactive Archivist. Case Studies in Utilizing Web 2.0 to Improve the Archival Experience.
Retrieved March 14, 2010 from :  http://www.lib.byu.edu/sites/interactivearchivist/

University of California. 2010. Recommended Search Engines. UC Berkeley – Teaching Library Internet Workshops.
Retrieved March 14, 2010 from : http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/SearchEngines.html

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