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June 12, 2007

tu.tv Breaks the Top 100 in the Alexa Rankings

spanish free - video gratis

Free video site tu.tv is in the throes of viral uptake. Since launch Christmas, traffic has grown to millions of unique users a month.The service is currently the number two free video service in Spain, behind youtube.com.

tu.tv alexa rank graph
The Alexa service ranks tu.tv number 88 in the its Spanish Top 100 list for today. Following its current trend, it will enter the top 50 by the end of the month. A look at the traffic graphs shows the doubling period is around a month; a worthy contender in the list of present day web2.0 success stories.

Jon Elosegui, head of innovation, is no stranger to viral growth; with half a dozen viral growth services to his credit in the 1990s and early 2000, he has detailed insight into how to create a thriving online communities. One of his salient themes is that it is about the product, not the promotion. The tu.tv service has had little uptake in the mainstream press, or among the blogosphere elite, the A-listers. Viral marketing has other vectors with which to access the target internet users.

When you have a hit product, promotion is often not necessary, and sometimes undesirable. The world is getting smaller. In the rush to improve the product and infrastructure in the face of ferocious uptake, marketing must take a backseat.

The innovation team is currently incubating new projects. You will see no press release, nor blogosphere comment on launch. Just straight launch into the young spanish internet user segment. A somewhat perplexing view of PR and "how to influence internet users", but you cannot argue with the traffic numbers.

[Disclosure: We are invested in tu.tv]

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June 11, 2007

Flat Rate Mobile Internet Arrives in the UK

orange

vodafone

Orange mobile, together with other UK mobile networks, have launched flat tariff for internet browsing in the UK. The orange offer is 5 a month, or 8 to be able to browse during the day too. An improvement on Vodafone's offers flat rate of 30 a month. Orange's tariff extends to pre-pay customers for the first time.

Both offers have capped total daily data consumption to 30 and 15Mbytes respectively. Bandwidth quality remains uncertain, which impacts VOIP applications and skype-mobile, but email and texting should not be affected. In spite of the initial limitations, once users start browsing on their mobile, the mobile flat rate fight will no doubt drive prices down.

As with home connections, mobile flat rate internet changes mobile usage. Myself, for instance, I use my browser and web bookmarks more, plus I download application like free text messaging, hotxt, and other Instant Messaging services to replace my SMS.

Mobile operators, stand to loose significantly if users bypass their voice and SMS services. Just like land-line operators are loosing to skype and VOIP services. In an attempt to control mobile usage, operators pre-install their own web services on phones, the same way Microsoft pre-installs Internet Explorer on windows. Google's mobile department has been fighting to get Google mobile search pre-installed on phones, with mixed success.

[The Register]

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June 2, 2007

Google Developer Day London

dibona

Chris Dibona keynoting Google Developer day in London. Open Source program manager at Google, Chris is ambassador at large among the Open Source and Free Software community. He is in charge of the Google's summer of code program, and also the legal framework of licenses under which the Google releases and uses FOSS code.

As expected, the Semantic Web (with capitals) came up during Questions & Answers; Chris is candid regarding the intellectual ambition and scope of SW, and is skeptical of its practical application and adoption among web developers. Given the volume of content and wide-ranging approaches to developing the web, he thinks standards will evolve organically rather than be dictated top-down. A widely held view considering Tim Berners-Lee's difficulty in forging concensus even within working groups at the W3C.

Google Maps Platform

Ed Parsons, Andrew Eland and Peter Birch, geo-spatial technologists, gave a sweeping view of the geographic data in corporate networks and User-Generated data waiting to be collected and exploited. Excellent work integrating Google Earth and Google maps through KML files, the new standard for encapsulating geographic and viewing data together with the multimedia information.

Mapplet is the term for Google map widgets. A mapplet deploys data and functionality on a users' Google map. Users can submit and select mapplets from Google's mapplet open directory. The same as Google gadgets. Google Maps is fast becoming the platform to render and present geographic multimedia information AND functionality. With 200m downloads of Google earth and the strong Open Standards emphasis, the commons community seems to be adopting the platform rapidly.

Google Maps Mashups

Mike Astle, from online estate-agent Nestoria, was forthcoming about working and organizing a Google mashup company. Nestoria's added value is geo-locating and processing estate agent information, either scraped or XML fed, onto Google Maps. Mashup business models are inherently fragile, as they depend on the whims of Google's rapidly evolving Map/Mymap/Mapplet platform, and Mike sternly fielded the inevitable questions during the Q&A.

Whether Google's creative commons ecosystem can also support businesses is still an open question. Only a few of the 50,000 Google mashups have revenues at present. Tellingly, Nestoria has built a buffer interface to Google maps, so as to allow swapping it out for Yahoo's map service.

Google Developer Day

Google Mobile Search

Gummi Hafsteinsson described the ease with which mobile web can be developed nowadays. The new converging xhtml standards allow a KEEP IT SIMPLE approach which eases targeting a particular mobile device/mobile user for a particular service. Google's mobile index is becoming the focus of conversation, as it is central for accessing mobile internet users. Gummi described how the newly relaunched index combines so-called transcoded and true mobile web sites to provide optimum results for the mobile user.

Google Gears

The big announcement was Google Gears. The ability to use Google spreadsheet, Google documents, Gmail and Google Reader while not connected to the internet. Google's office suite can now be used in lieu of Microsoft's Office suite. Google has stepped out onto the desktop software arena, no question.

Members of the Hispavista innovation team were present, with their boss Jon Elosegui, to hear the latest update on Google's APIs for the various mashup projects in incubation. User Generated content is increasingly geo-tagged and Google maps renders such tagging best at present. With Google Developer day ongoing in 10 cities, we were not alone.

[Ian Forrester provides a good interview of Chris Dibona over cubicgarden.com... ]

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