Archive for the ‘networks’ Category

Crowdsourcing the Dictionary

Monday, November 19th, 2007

LingoZ logoNew start-up LingoZ has an ambitious goal in mind. They’re looking to build a dictionary from scratch. Thanks to the new concept of crowdsourcing (or user-contribution), LingoZ plans to harness users in an attempt to redefine the traditional ‘dictionary’ space.

Why would anyone want to enter an area dominated by such big names as and Merriam-Webster? Simply put, they don’t plan on competing in the same way. The traditional players function in a stagnant manner. They are not dynamic. Obviously, definitions do not change much over time, but context, slang, and new words are appearing all the time. This is the reason for being for LingoZ. As the company puts it:

“We aim to prove that a user contributed dictionary who is subject to the community moderation can be as accurate and of high quality as a “regular” dictionary, while evolving and being updated faster than any other source.”

Registered users can do one of a number of things, including:

  1. Add a new term
  2. Define an existing term
  3. Vote on definitions

Currently, the site supports 8 languages. They include English, Hebrew, Portuguese, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Dutch.

So why would anyone want to edit or contribute to the site? Notoriety is key. As is the case with most sites that do not offer monetary compensation, LingoZ has done a good job of outlining the main incentive of participation:

“Users who are highly praised will gain credibility and enjoy visibility within the LingoZ community.”

The way I see it, LingoZ is to dictionaries as Wikipedia is to encyclopedias. Both will hail their criticisms, due to sourcing from so-called amateurs. Opinions and personal angles may be taken, but a community-controlled and -patrolled system should essentially weed out all the discrepencies. What’s also interesting to note is that SEO will probably be a main traffic driver, somewhat akin to Wikipedia as well.

Negatives aside, many will embrace these new dynamic mediums. Definitions, phrases, and references do change from time to time. Furthermore, new additions and words are appearing all the time, especially in this new era of technology and science. A reluctance to accept or accommodate for these trends may ultimately lead to the demise of traditional giants.

Defensio Vows to Thwart Comment Spam

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Defensio logoMontreal-based Defensio launched on November 7th to much fanfare. The company promises to “end annoying comment spam”. This is a great goal that we can all get behind (except the spammers, of course). The Akismet rival cannot guarantee better results than its popular counterpart, but early testing has indicated that performance is high and improves over time.

Defensio touts an average accuracy of 99.56% and product characteristics such as:

  • Easy management
  • Personalized filtering
  • Transparency through statistics

Blogging platforms supported include:

In addition, developer plug-ins are available for:

An API allows developers to integrate Defensio into their own application(s). Specifications are available here: Defensio API Specifications

To follow company progress, visit their blog and/or add the feed to your reader. I have yet to download the plug-in for this Wordpress blog, but once I have I will give you all an update. Until then, feel free to try it on your own blog and let me know how it goes…

New Blog Search Engine Needed

Friday, November 9th, 2007

Technorati logoWhen you think “blog search engine”, you think Technorati. This is unfortunate. The way I see it, the space is in desperate need of a new leader. Although Google Blog Search is a superior service to Technorati, I still believe that an innovator is needed to step in and push the boundaries.

Simplicity is key. Technorati riddles result pages with endless amounts of clutter. What ever happened to the days of simple, clean result pages?

In my opinion, the homepage should contain a search box and a simple text navigation bar. If I want to view the most recent posts or most popular search terms, I am willing to dig a bit deeper.

The interface and navigation are mind-boggling. I really think they need to go back to the drawing board on this one. Although blogs are categorized as “web 2.0″, Technorati is making an overt attempt at “web 2.0″-izing the site and service. The faded background, large fonts, and ocean of tags are overkill. I’m also not convinced that elements such as the author name, “Authority” level, and blog screenshot need to be present with every result. In fact, the blog screenshot is completely useless, as it is too small to view clearly.

Dig around…navigate the site… come to your own conclusions. I’m sure some will disagree with my view, but many will recognize the oversights.

Are there any other blog search services out there that you would recommend?

When Will the Google Reign End?

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

Google logoGoogle has been on a tear recently. The stock closed at a 52-week high today (just over $740 a share). The announcement of OpenSocial catapulted the stock to new heights. The upward climb has been fueled constant earnings blow-outs. But these can’t last forever. With every consecutive positive surprise, more and more pressure is placed on the company. Mark my word - one of these earnings reports will fall short of expectations and will stock will get absolutely hammered. A $300+ drop in a day is not out of the question. As they say, nobody stays at the top forever.

What are some potential flaws, faults, concerns, or dangers that the company needs to address or guard against?

  • Revenue diversification - still completely dependent on advertising
  • New search players and search technologies
  • Click fraud issues

Their long-term strategy is still an enigma, although the platform move may give some indication. Nevertheless, it may also simply be a move to take the spotlight away from Facebook and regain superiority status. Google’s ability to work together with other companies and services is crucial. This brings us to another piece of news - or lack thereof. There is no GPhone. However, the announcement of Android may ultimately be a smarter move in the end. Finally, the integration and strategy surrounding recent acquisitions will be interesting to watch.

As I say, Google will not be at the top forever. What brings the company down is still a question mark. My gut tells me Google may even experience a similar fate to Microsoft - user backlash. The Internet giant used to be the wonder child of the net. Now, users are starting to voice their concerns with the bureaucratic Googleplex that has emerged. 

My Favourite Blogs and Why

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

Being a blogger, people always ask me which blogs I read. More specifically, some ask which are my favourites. Today I had a look at my feed reader and narrowed the list down to a handful. Let me preface by saying that I am biased to web 2.0 blogs that focus on analysis (rather than up-to-the-minute news). Furthermore, I tip my cap to those who choose to express personal opinion and take a clear stance on an issue. Simply regurgitating TechCrunch or Mashable news is lame. Providing a wishy-washy, unclear vantage point that tends to support both sides of a story or issue is lame as well. Having set the stage, here is my list:

Mathew Ingram’s Blog - This is perhaps my favourite blog of them all. Mathew Ingram is a technology reporter for the Globe & Mail - and it shows. His professional style, research, and compelling story lines are unmatched. Add to that a clever sense of humour, and Ingram has created an impressive style that cannot be found anywhere else.

Deep Jive Interests - DJI is all about web 2.0 and opinion. Tony Hung holds nothing back when he expresses his take on the new-web world. Frequently posting about social media, his honest, insightful style is truly unique.

Read/WriteWeb - All bias aside (I blog occasionally for R/WW), this blog provides high-quality, comprehensive start-up and trend analysis. The blog is the mastermind of Richard MacManus and takes on a more technical perspective when compared to other web 2.0 heavyweights.

Maple Leaf 2.0 - This Canadian web 2.0 gem is written my Mark Evans, a former writer at the National Post. His informative, yet quirky style produces a one-of-a-kind read for those looking to find out what is going on in the world of Canadian web 2.0 start-ups.

Solution Watch - Solution Watch is quite possibly provides the most complete, in-depth analysis of all web 2.0 blogs. It was one of the first to profile new companies and has remained very focused on this area. The only downfall is that posting is infrequent at best. Nevertheless, kudos to the author - Brian Benzinger.

Center Networks - Center Networks combines the best of analysis and news to churn out some really interesting articles. Allen Stern digs into issues and provides no-holds-barred opinions. Truly, CN is a good read.

At the end of the day, a blog is only as good as the writer. I have true admiration for all of the writers above. Their creativity and passion have sparked my enthusiasm on countless occasions and provided me with a new perspective.

Don’t be upset if I didn’t list your blog. I read a lot of feeds day to day. Perhaps I just missed it. Maybe I don’t even know about it yet… If you do take it to heart, be sure to e-mail your squabbles and death threats to aidanhenry (at) hotmail (dot) com:).

What are you favourite blogs and why? Are there any others out there that I should be reading?