Friday, October 26, 2007

iGoogle vs. Gmail (and I guess Facebook)

Reading an article about why Google didn't win the minor hand in Facebook sparked a thought. The columnist Evelyn states that Google has an interest in making iGoogle a similar platform to Facebook. That's a great idea, and I would love to know the user count for iGoogle and Gmail (haha, wouldn't we all) because I use Gmail to iGoogle on a 365:2 ratio. I use Gmail and Facebook synchronously albeit separately.. so why not make e-mail social networking? They are the same thing, communication. So annoying that I have to click onto "X sent you a message on Facebook" and follow links (that's kinda evil..). Cumulatively, do you know how many hours have collected which I could have been doing something more productive via click reduction? Forced stickiness induces inefficiency, but obviously efficiency isn't Facebook's goal.

I think I've discovered Facebook's new secret: better e-mail.

And btw, what's getting old? Social networks not hinged on behavior-changing technology. icandy is not going to do it, no duh.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Yelp is persistently on my radar

Ever since last year, my eyes have been on Yelp. There's a stickiness to it that's undeniable (community, common interest (mostly food), local search, positive feedback circles via votes, compliments). I really like writing on it. I like going back to read my entries. And I use it heavily once out of college (i.e. started doing things other than work!). With the growth spurt of location based services, if not at least the buzz, I'm expecting this one to be in the ball court, along with the Google Maps and Jaiku realm. Just checked out Yelp on Alexa and Compete. Site traffic has steadily increased, and there's a spike this month. Lookin' good, Yelp!

Three terms I have my eyes glued to:
Presence technology
Local Search
Location-Based Services.

And by default, "social mapping", which I am helping define and will be talking more about.

Be it fixed location or mobile, location certainly is the "in", in continuing to make the web, and also mobility, more useful, usable, and one thing even big companies are starting to get -- sociable.

I just remembered something. While interviewing with Google for a products position last year, the interviewers asked me to envision the next hot product. I was thinking about a globe and being able to see where your friends are in real time. Well, hello! :) Alanis Morissette's Ironic is playing in my head...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

FriendFeed is in Private Beta

This is Bret Taylor and Jim Norris' product after months of healthy incubation at Benchmark Capital. It is Facebook Newsfeed but open to the world. The simplicity of a Google with the characteristics of a Facebook. Upon some initial usage, I think it'll be sticky. They made it drop dead simple to use, and I imagine this to only be the start. You can already see the characteristics of the distributor model. I am at

Bret Taylor and Jim Norris were the guys who paved out Google Maps (try it full screen!). Bret interviewed me for a position at Google a while back, and I remember our interview well. His blog post about Google resonated with me. I will write a post soon about this, as this issue strikes a chord.

And welcome, readers from Stanford's Blog Directory! source

My life has expedited since I joined Loopt. One of my newly found joys? Posting to the Loopt Blog :) Nice and fun release out today about Loopt's collaboration with Our City Forest. wo0t!

p.s. See NYT article about friendfeed (and yes, I am full of links today.. notice how jim norris' wearing a white shirt completely skewed the contrast of the photo.. oh no! :)

add, 4:21am: why is this product so important? from a sv perspective, this is a product released by renowned googlers who are no longer a part of google. you will see this trend continuing in the valley. precursor to my next post.. saturation.