Friday, May 29, 2009

Google Wave Reinvents E-mail, Instant Messaging and More

E-mail predates the inception of the Internet, and was in fact a crucial tool in creating the Internet. Yet, it is the most common form of communications on the Internet. What would email look like if we set out to invent it today?

Google plans to reinvent hosted communications. Google Wave which has been unveiled today is a new model for communication and collaboration on the web.

Google Wave was developed by the Sydney-based Google team that created Google Maps, used by millions of people worldwide. Led by Lars and Jens Rasmussen and operating as a remote start-up within Google, under the codename "Walkabout", the Aussie team focused on improving the way communication and collaboration works for users on the web. They developed Google Wave, equal parts conversation and document, where people can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.

What is a wave?
  • A wave is equal parts conversation and document. People can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.
  • A wave is shared. Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process. Then playback lets anyone rewind the wave to see who said what and when.
  • A wave is live. With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time.
Open Communications Platform

The Google Wave API is an open platform allowing developers to extend the functionality of Google Wave itself, or extend other applications with waves. The Google Wave Federation Protocol enables sharing waves between wave providers. Check out the introduction on the Google Wave Developer Blog for more details.

It's time to reinvent communications!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Web Hooks and the Programmable World of Tomorrow

"I guess that Web Hooks are now officially the Next Big Thing." - Tim Bray

What are Web Hooks and why are they the "lightning bolts of cloud computing"? Web APIs and mashups have been popular in the world of Web 2.0. In fact at the time of my last post on the Top 10 APIs for Web Mashups in 2007 there were ~500 APIs listed on ProgrammableWeb. Today the number of APIs listed are more than 1.300 and mashups has passed the milestone of 4.000!

Web hooks are user-defined callbacks over HTTP. They’re intended to, in a sense, “jailbreak” our web applications to become more extensible, customizable, and ultimately more useful. Conceptually, web applications only have a request-based “input” mechanism: web APIs. They lack an event-based output mechanism, and this is the role of web hooks. People talk about Unix pipes for the web, but they forget: pipes are based on standard input and standard output. Feeds are not a sufficient form of output for this, which is partly why Yahoo Pipes was not the game changer some people expected. Instead, we need adoption of a simple, real-time, event-driven mechanism, and web hooks seem to be the answer. Web hooks are bringing a new level of event-based programming to the web.

Jeff Lindsay ( ) at Google talking about Web Hooks. Slides here.

His talk introduces the concept of web hooks: simple HTTP callbacks with huge implications. This model allows web services to be customized by the user and tightly integrated with each other unlike anything before. Chock-full of demos and real world examples, this talk also shares an under-appreciated vision of the web that most of the experts have missed: a vision of user-generated functionality and the *real* programmable web.

Who is using web hooks today?

A rapidly expanding list of some of the companies or projects which provide Web hooks in their applications.
  • DevjaVu
  • BitBucket
  • GitHub
  • Shopify
  • SurveyGizmo
  • Versionshelf
  • PayPal (Instant Payment Notification)
  • Jott (Links)
  • PBwiki
  • Google Code
  • PubSubHubbub
The concept of webhooks is another innovation milestone on our way to the world of Web 3.0.

Eric Schmidt @ Google I/O 2009: It's Time

In his Google I/O keynote Eric Schmidt said that it is just the beginning for the new computing model enabled by cloud computing, the open web and mobile devices. As the CEO of Google he has defined Web 3.0 in 2007. Now it is time for make it happen!

"It is the beginning of the real win of cloud computing, of the real win of applications, of the real win of the Internet which is changing the computing paradigm ... so it just works. And it works no matter what device you're using, no matter what operating system you're using... That is the promise of our new web computing model."

Google I/O is a developer gathering focused on pushing the boundaries of web applications using Google and open web technologies. Google engineers and web development leaders will lead you through two days full of in-depth breakout sessions on the latest technologies, and informal Q&A at Fireside Chats. The sessions include topics about AJAX and Data APIs, Clients, Google Web ToolKit (GWT), App Engine, Enterprise, Mobile and Social applications.

Interesting Google I/O sessions:
There is great innovation happening at Google! Check out the Google Code Channel on YouTube for more insight.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rovio Wi-Fi Home Security Robot

Ever wanted to be in two places at once? Now you can.

WowWee Rovio Wi-Fi Enabled WebCam Robot is a groundbreaking new Wi-Fi enabled mobile webcam that lets you view and interact with its environment through streaming video and audio, wherever you are! It is a new challenger of the remote control Spykee bot that you have seen on my blog earlier.

The Rovio has an impressive list of features that makes it useful as a home security robot, telepresence device or a just for fun toy gadget:
  • Easily remote control from any web-enabled device: PC or Mac, cell phone, smartphone, PDA or even your video game console.

  • Head-mounted moveable camera and wide range of vision

  • Indoor GPS

  • MPEG4 video

  • Self-docking capabilities for auto recharge

  • Built-in LED headlight

  • Wi-Fi connectivity (802.11b and 802.11g)
The Internet of Things is happening as innovations like remote control wifi robots are becoming connected devices. Roveo is a pioneer and it could probably be improved but it shows the possibilities and is fun to play with.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Why is the Internet Disruptive? What Industries will it Disrupt Next?

Fred Wilson has given a recent Marketing Talk@Google Mountain View. He is a VC and principal of Union Square Ventures. Here's how the talk was described in the email that was sent around Google announcing it:

Fred will be talking about "disruptive industries". Media/entertainment has taken the brunt of the disruptive force of the internet and internet technology but that’s just the start. What industries are next? Energy, education, consumer finance, and health care all seem ripe. What are those industries going to look like in 20 years, 40 years, 60 years?

So what industries are next to be disrupted by the Internet innovations after media? Fred argues that any business that is End To End Digital is a good candidate. He suggests the following list:
  • Consumer Finance
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Health Care?
  • Government?

The Disruption Talk is also available on Fred's blog

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Amazing SSD and Hard Drive Deals on Amazon

The first terabyte hard drive had been introduced 2 years ago. Nowadays you can buy 1 TB hard drives for less than $100. Great capacity at an affordable price!

2009 will be the year when Solid State Drives (SSDs) will become mainstream by offering faster disk performance and greater durability than traditional hard drives. Since they use NAND flash memory instead of spinning platters for storage, there's no waiting for disks to spin up, and there are no moving parts to worry about breaking down.

Amazon offers great deals (up to 64% discount) on traditional hard drives and SSD storage. Have a look at these selected bestsellers of Western Digital Hard Drives and Intel SSDs:
These are the top hard drives and SSD for now. Can they keep up with the huge storage requirements of HD video content?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

PlanetInAction Ships 3D Ship Simulator Using Google Earth Plugin

Thanks to the ever increasing detail in Google Earth it has now become feasible to write high quality applications and games for the Google Earth API. hosts such virtual environments where the world is your playground. Their first installment is "Ships" - a 3D ship simulator which will take you past the World's incredible scenery at a leisurely pace. All you need to play Ships is a browser and the Google Earth plugin. Many more exciting applications will be added soon.

"Ships" is a case study / Technology show piece that demonstrates what can be achieved with Google Earth. While map data has a tremendous value for practical purposes, it can also be used as a backdrop for a range of games. Google Earth proves extremely capable to handle many overlays with alpha transparencies which enables developers to create intricate and graphically rich instruments. Proof of that can be seen in the Compass/rudder instrument which consists of 5 layers of bitmaps.

When you start "Ships" you will be looking at this screen. By default you are in control of a closed river barge located at "Waal haven Noord" in the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. This location is chosen because Rotterdam is one of worlds largest ports and is shown in great detail in Google Earth. You are looking out across the "Nieuwe Maas" river towards the city of Rotterdam. On the horizon you can see the "Euro mast" tower. From this vantage point you can see some of the other ships you can sail on in "Ships" and yes, the Airship Hindenburg is also part of your fleet.

Check out the gallery for more screenshots or click here to play ships now.

Ships was developed by Dinther Product Design. They have other innovative project such as Virtual Windows. It will turn your monitor into a true window onto a 3D world. Head tracking and special screen management will one day make for the next generation of simulator equipment. Have a look at this video on YouTube.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wolfram|Alpha Launch Webcast

Watch a live webcast of the Wolfram|Alpha system being brought online for the first time today on Friday, May 15, beginning at 7pm CST.

Check out my earlier post for an overview on Wolfram|Alpha or this new introduction screencast by Stephen Wolfram.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Best of the Web 2009 - 13th Annual Webby Award Winners

Webby Winners truly represent the best of the Web. With nearly 70 categories, Website entries make up the majority of Webby Awards Winners, Nominees and Honorees. Some are beautiful to look at and interact with. Others are a testament to usability and functionality. And a handful excel across the board. To be selected among the best is an incredible achievement worthy of praise.

Webby Award Winner Websites in 2009 by category:
Congratulations! Check out the full list of 2009 Webby Award Winners, People's Voice Winners and Nominees on

Monday, May 11, 2009

Web Trend Map 4 by Information Architects

The 2009 Web Trend Map is the fourth edition of this awesome annual publication by Information Architects. Web Trend Map 4 visualizes the 333 leading web domains and the 111 most influential Internet people on the Tokio Metro map.

Domains are carefully selected by the iA research team. Each domain is evaluated based on traffic, revenue, age and the company that owns it and is assigned to an individual station on the map.

The soon to be published 2009 version of Web Trend Map 4 includes the following lines:
  • Application
  • Publishing
  • Opinion
  • News
  • Identity
  • Creativity
  • Money
  • Broadcasting
  • Knowledge
  • Advertisement
  • Sharing
  • Entertainment
  • Filter
The map also includes Web Trend Ranking with the Top 50 most influential domains:
  1. Google
  2. Yahoo
  3. MSN
  4. Apple
  5. Wikipedia
  6. Amazon
  7. YouTube
  8. Facebook
  9. Twitter
  10. The Pirate Bay
  11. The New York Times
  12. Firefox
  13. Adobe
  14. Digg
  15. Reddit
  16. eBay
  17. LinkedIn
  18. Flickr
  19. craigslist
  20. deviantART
  21. WordPress
  22. The Huffington Post
  23. Drudge Report
  24. The Daily Show
  25. CNN
  26. The Guardian
  27. The Washington Post
  28. TechCrunch
  29. The Wall Street Journal
  30. TED
  31. vimeo
  32. FriendFeed
  33. hulu
  34. PayPal
  35. StumbleUpon
  36. Blogger
  37. Bloomberg
  38. Dailymotion
  39. MySpace
  40. O'Reilly
  42. Delicious
  43. Drupal
  44. Ask
  45. Blizzard
  46. CNET
  47. Skype
  48. Fotolog
  49. mixi
The final beta version of the map is available as a PNG image on flickr.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Amazon Launch Kindle DX 9.7" Wireless Reading Device

Today is the launch of the Kindle DX, the large 9.7" screen addition to the Kindle family.

This is the customer letter by Jeff Bezos:

Dear Customers,

A strange thing happened on the way to the paperless society. We humans created more paper than ever before. Computer printers (and their evil companion, the ink-toner cartridge) have proliferated, and most of us routinely print out and lug around loads of personal and professional documents. Why? It's not that buying printers or changing ink-toner cartridges is fun. It's because reading on paper is better than reading on traditional computer displays. Printing has been worth the hassle.

Kindle starts to change that. People who see Kindle's display for the first time do a double-take. It looks and reads like real paper. People who swore they would never read books on computers are reading books on Kindle in numbers far greater than we ever expected. And they're now starting to ask: If I can carry my whole library around on my Kindle, how about I carry all my personal and professional documents there too?

We're excited to announce Kindle DX, the large screen addition to the Kindle family.

Kindle DX's display is two and a half times the size of the Kindle display. The display is large enough that you can read PDF files natively without scrolling, panning, or zooming, and without re-flowing, which destroys the original structure of the document. Text and images are amazingly sharp, and you can carry all your personal and professional documents with you in one slender package.

Kindle DX is also terrific for reading books, magazines, and newspapers. The Kindle Store has more than 275,000 books to choose from, including 107 of 112 New York Times bestsellers. Thin as a magazine, Kindle DX holds up to 3,500 books. The larger screen size especially benefits highly formatted books like cookbooks, computer books, and textbooks.

Kindle DX is wireless so you can think of a book and start reading it in under a minute. Email personal documents to your Kindle DX, and they too will be delivered wirelessly. Our vision is every book ever printed, in any language, all available in less than 60 seconds. Inching a bit closer to a paperless society sounds good too.

We hope you enjoy this new addition to the Kindle family.

Jeff Bezos

P.S. To have Kindle DX shipped the day it becomes available, preorder today to reserve your place in line. The Kindle DX page has a side-by-side comparison with Kindle so you can choose the right one for you.

Some additional details from Wired Gadget Lab:

Among the new feature are an auto-rotating screen, technology iPhone users will be familiar with, and a native PDF reader, finally adding support in that ubiquitous digital format.

The device measures one-third of an inch thick. Its 9.7-inch screen offers 1200 x 824 pixels at 150 dpi, and 16 levels of gray (like the Kindle 2). The screen is held within a plastic housing that measures 10.4″ tall by 7.2″ wide; the unit weighs about 1 pound 3 ounces. Like the two earlier Kindles, the Kindle DX has wireless download capabilities via the Sprint EVDO network.

It contains about 3.3GB of usable memory for storing books, and can display or play a wide variety of text and document formats — including, significantly, at least three open formats: PDF, MP3 and TXT.

Shipping this summer, the Kindle DX costs $489 and is available for pre-order from

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

EON ICUBE - Amazing 3D Immersive Technology

EON Reality, Inc. has amazing immersive solutions such as the ICUBE, a revolutionary PC based multi-sided immersive environment in which participants are completely surrounded by virtual imagery and 3D sound.

The EON ICUBE consists of 3, 4 or 6 walls according to the users requirements, and that can be setup in any configuration. Thanks to the rear-projection of the images and the flawless image continuity in the corners, the illusion of a complete sense of presence in the virtual environment is created. On top of that, the system is fully compatible with tracking and input devices. It is built on PC technology whereby several PCs are synchronized together to generate simultaneous images in stereo (stereoscopic visualization) on multiple walls seamlessly.

Using a series of infrared emitters, high-end projectors, and stereoscopic active lightweight shutter glasses and position trackers, the result is complete immersion of the user in a virtual world where objects float in space with high quality graphics. Electro magnetic 6DOF trackers are implemented to monitor the user's position and orientation and are used to calculate a stereoscopic perspective view while allowing the user to freely move into and around the objects floating in space. The stereoscopic visualization is supported by an integrated audio surround system. Peripheral devices such as force feedback devices, and gesture gloves are optionally integrated into the system.

Innovative solutions such as large immersive displays, 3D and holographic displays, tele immersion systems, and mobile 3D stereoscopic and augmented reality systems can be the next step in user interfaces and the web.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Minoru 3D Webcam - The First 3D Web Camera

Minoru is the Worlds first 3D webcam. Your friends and family can now see you in 3D over your favourite messaging program like Windows Live Messenger, Skype, AOL instant messenger, OoVoo and many others. Minoru can also take 3D photos or even shoot 3D videos for YouTube or other video sharing sites. Minoru = Reality (at least in Japanese)!

The red and cyan anaglyph image produced by Minoru can be viewed by anybody who is wearing commonly available red and cyan 3D glasses (five pairs included with Minoru). It is not HD quality for 3D HDTVs but it is fun nevertheless. Minoru can also be used as a standard 2D webcam for anyone who doesnt have the 3D glasses at hand.

Minoru 3D Webcam is available on for $89.95.

Another innovative step for the coming 3D Web.