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Googlenomiks (or Googlesaurus)

So, I had been late on commenting on other attempts of the big octopus, but I cannot refrain from commenting on this.

Google officially announced a Wikipedia killer: it is called KNOL. Under the seducing title of Encouraging people to contribute knowledge, Google is, actually, directly attacking Wikipedia.

I have never been a big fans of Wikipedia, also. 
I just think Wikipedia is useful and is something that is important in the panorama of the Web; but I still think that I prefer to know who is providing me the information. As I often say, I try to teach my children not to get the free press, because behind the fact that they do not spend money for getting it, some hidden messages can be delivered. And I am using this same argument in my posts against Googlesaurus…

Now, KNOL actually proposes something that I consider interesting and, in principle, more robust and accountable than Wikipedia:

The key idea behind the knol project is to highlight authors… We believe that knowing who wrote what will significantly help users make better use of web content…

…We hope that knols will include the opinions and points of view of the authors who will put their reputation on the line. Anyone will be free to write. For many topics, there will likely be competing knols on the same subject. Competition of ideas is a good thing.

Knols will include strong community tools. People will be able to submit comments, questions, edits, additional content, and so on. Anyone will be able to rate a knol or write a review of it. Knols will also include references and links to additional information.

A way in which people will sign what they write; a system where there will be competing opinions. And where people can comment on something that has a signature. I like this!

But:

A knol on a particular topic is meant to be the first thing someone who searches for this topic for the first time will want to read. The goal is for knols to cover all topics, from scientific concepts, to medical information, from geographical and historical, to entertainment, from product information, to how-to-fix-it instructions. Google will not serve as an editor in any way, and will not bless any content…

…At the discretion of the author, a knol may include ads. If an author chooses to include ads, Google will provide the author with substantial revenue share from the proceeds of those ads…

…Once testing is completed, participation in knols will be completely open, and we cannot expect that all of them will be of high quality. Our job in Search Quality will be to rank the knols appropriately when they appear in Google search results. We are quite experienced with ranking web pages, and we feel confident that we will be up to the challenge.

Ok. Once again, behind the seducing sentences of “We are very excited by the potential to substantially increase the dissemination of knowledge” or “Google will not ask for any exclusivity on any of this content and will make that content available to any other search engine“, the Googlesaurus shows its aspect and its intention: Wikipedia is out of its control and is, potentially, an incredible source of revenue! It cannot be left there as it is, like an unexploited goldmine.

And, once again, a Big Brother (Google Search Quality) will rank for you what you better read as your primary source of information.

Sorry. The idea is good, but it will turn to be another arrow that will make Google more powerful and, all of us, less free.

I think that some parts of the Internet will need some control. Leaving control to Google is not good. Leaving control to other may not also.

Let’s say NO TO GOOGLE and to its enormous ego! Internet search is too important to be left in the hands of a private company.

P.S.See the Read/WriteWeb article for more information

The Power User wears Prada

The Devil Wears PradaYesterday I saw the movie “The Devil wears Prada“.

You remember when Miranda asks for the yet-to-be-published copy of Harry Potter?
The way in which Andy manages the situation, by delivering two copies of the book to the twins before they take the train and giving an additional copy to Miranda, anticipating her objection and exceeding her expectation, is so great that I could not resist from immediately thinking to a sentence that I often use in my presentations for Lotus Connections or Web 2.0:

It’s not what work you expect Employee #1234 to accomplish per person-month of work……
It’s the work you never expected would happen, that suddenly creates new business

I hope that no one has to do impossible things in order to really create a new opportunity, but the example was so sharp and sticky !
It really, I think, makes it clear that it is important, today, to be innovative and clever in whichever action we do, in order to apply the passion that is inside us.

Papybook

Yesterday, on my way back from Paris where I got a wonderful long week end with my wife, I was reading these sentences from the book “The Tipping Point“:

In general, people chose friends of similar age and race. But if the friend lived down the hall, then age and race became a lot less important. Proximity overpowered similarity….
We’re friens with the people we do things with, as much as we are with the people we resemble. We don’t seek out friends, in other words. We associate with the people who occupy the same small, physical spaces that we do.

I remembered those sentences when, this morning, a colleague sent me an email pointing me to this site: SAGA Zone.
It is a social site for people over 50. Hey, next year I can subscribe to it! There is also an interesting article that explains what the site is for.

Communities are springing everywhere, now that the new synthetic universe is giving the possibility for people to share. The proximity, the possibility to occupy the same space is no more limited by the typical dimensions where we live (space, time). The new universe gives the possibility to “do things together” with people that “live down the hall“…

There is, though, a sad side of this story, in my opinion; it is the sense of loneliness that these initiatives bring together. Apparently, it is more and more difficult to have normal relationships with other humans.
Don’t get me wrong. Technology is opening new frontiers that are certainly enhancing our “social attitude”. It should be “enhancing”, though, more than “substituting”. At least, this is what I would think of myself in the 3rd age…

Mashups, web2.0 and the SOA cake

I read a commentary around the recent Gartner 10 Strategic technologies to watch in 2008.
In this commentary, Evan Data Corp. Joe McKendrick and Software AG Miko Matsumura say, very high, that even in SOA is not explicitely spelled in the recent Gartner’s report, SOA itself is the basis for what we are building today and in the future. There are some interesting quotes from the commentary that I wanted to highlight here, as they have really a lot to do with what we do everyday.

  • The consumption patterns of Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 are made possible by SOA in this view.
    “The architecture has no value until it’s expressed in consumptions patterns. …The underlying service is just a generic-kind of service, but it comes to life when you put an Ajax interface in front or some kind of cool mashup in front of it. Once you’ve got a platform of business services, you can make mashups or Web 2.0 or a ton of really cool things.
  • “Turning to another goodies metaphor, …SOA is invisible in the same way the recipe for a cake is invisible. Even the most proud baker wouldn’t stop people from eating his cake while he read them the recipe. The consumers of cake or Web 2.0 applications want to enjoy them not hear a dissertation on how they were made, he said.
  • The status of SOA today is similar to where e-commerce was in the late 1990s. At that time everybody was building e-commerce applications using e-commerce tools. “Now, we’re doing the same thing with SOA. We’re saying this is an SOA project or this is an SOA tool. Today, you still use content management and application servers and Java as a language and Web interfaces, but you no longer call it e-commerce because now it’s just apps. It’s just how we do it. We don’t really think of it as e-commerce any more, it’s just the typical pattern for applications these days. I think exactly the same thing will happen with SOA.”
  • “When you say SOA no longer matters, it’s everything that SOA enables that matters, I totally think that’s right because SOA is a way to achieve certain things from an architecture and an alignment and agility point of view,”

I like all these quotes, because they really make the point!

Going back to what Gartner asserts, I obviously like the presence of the following 3 items in the top-ten list:

  1. Business Process Modelling
  2. Mashups and Composite Applications
  3. Web Platform and WOA

My readers know how much I consider “Business Process Modelling”, at the point that I did not hesitate to say that it is the glorification of any SOA, the way in which Services could become useful from a Business Point of view. I am not sure, though, that BPM will emerge (finally!!!). Not because it should not deserver a shining place, but because of the power implications it brings into a company’s organization (who owns the process owns the power….).

In this context, though, the emergence of the Mashups and Composite Applications, may slightly change the picture. “They allow you to rapidly tailor the functionality you want in one place, without having to re-create the original”  is the quote from Gartner. I still think what I wrote last year in “Composite Applications, Mashups and Portals: relay race or team spirit?” . Through Mashups and Composite Applications, the user will become an actor in the SOA. SOA will not stop anymore at the beginning of the HTTP pipe on the server…. it will continue, it will encompass the desktop.

The user will be allowed to integrate what the “portal” gives him with tools and content coming from elsewhere. The “portal” will provide the official company process and the mashup will provide the creativity, the differentiator by which a user would tailor the standard process and add his own touch !

IBM Lotus Connections Demo – The Real Thing!

I want here to promote the excellent article of my friend Luis: IBM Lotus Connections Demo – The Real Thing .
This post introduces Lotus Connections, the new Social Networking product that IBM announced at Lotusphere.

In this quote from Luis’s post, please find the details about how to get to the live screencast that IBM made available:

As you may be able to see from the Web site where the screencast is stored, you can watch the demo live or rather download it
so that you can view it a later time offline. Whatever is easier for
you. And also for those folks who may be looking for the script of the
screencast you can also download it from here.

Thus without much further ado and without taking too much time off from you for the demo itself, I would strongly encourage you all to take a look into the screencast on Lotus Connections and find out some more as to how IBM
is planning to progress further into adopting social computing within
the Enterprise and beyond. I bet that you will find it quite
entertaining and enlightening. Because, above all, you will be able to
see something very important and which may not be just related to
Connections, nor to IBM itself: the fact that you can conduct effective business
using social computing to address real customers issues and find
solutions for them in the shortest time possible by empowering people
to reach out for information and connect with other knowledge workers.
Yes, that is right. Putting together the best of both worlds: knowledge and the people behind that knowledge. Can social computing get better than this? I doubt it.

Are Mashups Web-based only offering?

An interesting article “Barrelling Through The Web 2.0 World” highlights parts of a recent Gartner’s report on Web2.0. The article features my friend and IBM colleague Dan Gisolfi.

I extrapolated the sentence

Who is to say the mashup has to remain a Web-based offering ?

because I think that it is very interesting… Not because of its “Web 2.0” bias (as the article implies) but because of the implications that the mashup technology could have well outside pure browser-based technologies.

Web-based technologies go well beyond their utilisation in browsers. I think that they have their place in Rich Client applications also.

I am thinking here to technologies I know, such as Lotus Expeditor or Lotus SameTime. Where the Composite application model actually allows the integration of content and application delivered over the internet with content and application aggregated from the enterprise SOA.

BPM **is** a mashup

Wow! I think this is an interesting quote from the BPM and Enterprise 2.0 panel:

My favourite quote from the panel, from Phil Larson when speaking about mashing up BPM data: “BPM *is* a mashup”.

I never thought in this way, but this is certainly very stimulating as a concept. It is the way in which I always thought to this topic (BPM) in my mind; taking services and visually composing them together in a network in order to create a Composite, Multi-Role and Multi-Step Application.

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