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Eric Schmidt On Web 3.0

Google CEO Eric Schmidt was recently asked at a conference what Web 3.0 would look like. After acknowledging that Web 2.0 is more of an overhyped marketing term that vaguely means practically nothing, he did give a good answer of what he thinks the future architecture of web applications will look like:

(via Richard MacManus)

August 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | 3 comments

Google Checkout Back To School Savings

A number of Google Checkout stores are offering some nice back-to-school savings, with shoppers getting $5-$20 off on certain purchases. The biggest saving is $20 at USA Notebook, but it has to be on a purchase of laptops of $50 or more. I’m not sure what’s more confusing, that they think twenty bucks off a laptop is tempting, or that they might have a laptop that costs less than fifty dollars.

At other stores you save ten bucks off purchases of $30 or more (Bluefly & Comp-U-Plus),ten off $40 at, ten off $60 (Aeropostale, Zales, Ritz Camera, Boaters World), five dollars off $30 (, SuppliesNet, CostCentral). Also, will take off five bucks off a $150 purchase or ten bucks off $300.
(via Google Checkout blog)

Photo by BgKahuna under Creative Commons

August 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Checkout, Services, General | no comments

Hosting sponsored by GoDaddy Users Using Advanced Features

One of the biggest challenges search engines face is getting users to take advantage of their advanced features. These great features can be a great way to inspire customer loyalty, but users rarely even know they exist. This problem is compounded by the fact that almost the entire industry copies Google’s white space heavy design, which greatly discourages the promotion of features and fancy UI. took a risk with their Ask 3D interface, tossing white space out the window in favor of features, features, features, and it was a risk worth taking. MediaPost has an article about how Ask’s users are discovering and using the advanced features, and customer loyalty ratings are slowly rising. Of Ask’s 51 million unique visitors last month, 5 million, or 3% of the entire internet, used their search suggestions feature.

Traffic for Ask is at its highest point in a year, up two million users since the rollout in June. The University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index rated ask 75/100, up from 71 last year, while the rest of the competition suffered drops in satisfaction. Although Windows Live Search is seeing gains from its Live Search Club game, Ask is taking a serious look at possibly overtaking Microsoft for third place, a huge deal.

Congratulations to Ask, which has spent years improving relevancy, the interface, and putting the emphasis back on the user, instead of the advertiser. They’ve been doing amazing work, and they deserve some success.
(via Jordan)

August 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Ask, Search, General | one comment

Google Cuts Off Marratech

Rikard Stenberg, one of the Marratech guys who came over to Google when their company was acquired in April, said on a forum posting that Google has no plans to continue developing the software. Google bought the product, took over the core team, and will not be developing the Marratech products past the current release. Shame, because if the product was good enough for Google to want it, maybe they could have had a good software product for the rest of us.

What has happened is that Google has bought the product (the Marratech client and server software) and the rights to that plus has taken over the core team of old Marratech. So there will be no further development of the “old Marratech” products and the 6.1 / 3.5 release will be the last.

What will happen with the products under Google wings then? Well, time will tell - there are no further information available at this point.

/Rikard Stenberg, ex. Marratech, now @ Google…

August 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | 2 comments

Google Invests In Chinese Portal

Google today announced an investment in Chinese internet portal, part of its renewed effort to reverse losses in China. Google bought anywhere from 10-60% of the website, according to conflicting reports, hoping to close the gap with Baidu, which holds 58% market share lead in China over Google’s 22.8&. Google had invested in Baidu in recent years, an investment it eventually sold off.

TechCrunch explains the overall plan:

As reported August 17, Google stated its intention to acquire 1 or 2 China focused internet companies and invest in 5 over the next 12 months. The investment in would appear to be the first of those 5 investments.

UPDATE: Google is using Tianya as an ICP (Internet Content Provider), that is a company registered with the Chinese government as an authorized internet company. For censorship and other reasons, a company must have an ICP number to provide internet services in China, a problem for foreign companies. Those companies usually partner with Chinese companies that have ICPs, and in this case, Google actually bought part of the company.

Google also launched two services under the Tianya brand: Tianya Laiba (a sort of social network) and Tianya Wenda (a question-and-answer site).

August 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Search, General | no comments

Best of YouTube - August 20, 2007

Here are some good videos I found today on YouTube. If you’d like to suggest a video, leave a comment or message me on YouTube.

August 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | YouTube, Services, General | one comment

GrandCentral Users Lose “Number For Life”

GrandCentral, a company Google acquired last month, promised users a single phone number “for life”. The idea was that you’d give out this one phone number, and GrandCentral would forward calls to that number to all your phones. You’d only have a single number, and you’d give that number to all your contacts.

So, if you’re using only one phone number, to the exclusion of all others, it’d really suck to lose that number, right?

Well, GrandCentral/Google did exactly that, changing the numbers of a few GrandCentral users. The users were informed by email that in five days, their old number will change to a new one, because the old number was “not performing to our quality standards and are being replaced with higher quality services”.

I don’t get it. They’re just forwarding calls, right? So there shouldn’t be issues of call quality, and there shouldn’t be a difference in costs depending on the phone number (the new numbers and in the same area code). What’s the real reason hidden behind the PR bull?

No matter what, it’s a huge insult to your customers to do this, and it really destroys a lot of the reliability, credibility and reputation of your service. You can’t claim a phone number “for life” and then just change it. You can’t tell your users to give out a single phone number, then change it and force them to call everyone they know to give out a new phone number.

Unless they can guarantee that this is an isolated incident and won’t be repeated, how can you trust them anymore?
(via John Battelle)

Photo (which I love) by massdistraction under CC license

UPDATE: GrandCentral co-founder Vincent Paquet explained what happened to Om Malik. According to Vincent, a carrier they used before the acquisition decided to cut off service to an area at the end of the month, cutting off the numbers assigned to that area as well. Normally, you can transfer a number to avoid losing it, but I’m guessing that company didn’t give a crap about their customers.

I guess you can’t blame GrandCentral, unless the company involved had a terrible reputation from the get-go. Hopefully they learned a valuable lesson and will choose better partners in the future. At least only 434 users were affected, but I know I’ll be concerned about this sort of thing before I sign up for “number for life” in the future.

August 20th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General | 2 comments