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August 2006

Gawping in amazement: Flickr & Upcoming

Prelude: TechCrunch says 'Flickr continues to rock along, with 4.5 million registered users and 17 million unique visitors per month. They have just under 230 million total photos uploaded and 900,000 new photos are uploaded daily on average'.

And after that, the stats for geo-tagging (launched 28 August) are still amazing! '24 hours in, there were 1,234,384 geotagged photos (and now more than 1.6 million geotagged photos as I write this, about 9 hours later)' — Stewart Butterfield, Flickr blog.

But how much more impressive is this (all from Stewart Butterfield's posting):

One of the "little" things that was incredibly complex technically was the integration of location-based searching into our existing tag and text-based search technology. That means you can do things like search for photos matching "food" in southern Asia or architecture in South America. … marrying "traditional" search with spatial search in a real-time context is extremely hard, especially at our volumes and rate of growth. More than 228,000,000 photos have been uploaded, with over a million new photos being added on a good day. There are billions of bits of data that go into the search (more than half a billion tags alone), along with privacy controls, group membership, and so on. This is one of the largest real-time search indexes in the world. In contrast, nearly all web search is done in a "batch" mode with periodic updates, while nearly all real time search is done on a small set of items which "expire" after a short period. But new or updated Flickr photos are typically searchable in under a minute.

And:

… today we're also releasing extensions to Flickr's API to enable adding and retrieving geo information, setting privacy permissions, and searching by location: everything you need to roll your own. … This also means: "hey, if our maps don't work for you, use whatever maps you'd like!"

Finally:

… if you take a photo "near" an Upcoming.org event (in time and space), it'll automatically get tagged with the correct Upcoming event and show up on the corresponding event page without you doing anything.

For developments at Upcoming (also 28 August), go here: undiscovered events ('a very deep well of events that Upcoming members haven't added yet, collected from around the web and updated daily by our friends over at Yahoo! Local. To put this in perspective, we increased the number of upcoming events by 3000% overnight'), event filters, Flickr photos for events, buddy icons, new event pages.

All this is already old news on the web. I blog it because the value of this to anyone involved in education is immense and the achievement it represents (on the part of Flickr and Upcoming staff, but also, of course, the user communities) is the kind of stuff about which we should be telling our students — the next generation of innovators and co-creators.

Best overview of Flickr's geotagging I've seen to date? Thomas Hawks', here. (Hawks is the Chief Evangelist for the photo sharing site, Zooomr — 'We would be seen as a competitor to Flickr'.) A 'Go Read'.

Update:

1) Bokardo has posted on it, too: 'With geotags, Flickr pushes the envelope that much forward. I think it’s a great social feature, and one whose surface has only been scratched so far. I’m excited to see what other views people will come up with, given what we’ve seen in the first few days'.

2) Google Earth Blog: Better Method for Geotagging Photos for Flickr Using Google Earth/Picasa.

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Some thoughts on mobile viewing

Ben posts about some developments on this front:

Om Malik and Michael Arrington are pondering Dave Winer’s move towards mobile-enabling the blogosphere. Specifically, his product OPML Editor will allow users to view content they’ve subscribed to on their mobile phone. This is definitely a useful feature; I certainly spend a fair amount of time viewing my Gmail on my phone (in lieu of a Blackberry or similar device), and the ability to subscribe to content and take it with you is brilliant. Similarly, Winer’s Yomoblog.com service for posting to weblogs by phone looks like it could be great.

Take a look at Dave's portable river ('published by my desktop computer, every night at 1am' — OPML Editor support page).

As Om Malik says, 'there are a lot of tools out there' that enable (or attempt to enable) our mobile lives. On a list of things I've played with and found useful, I'd include Litefeeds and Delicious Mona. On the blogging front, TypePad has just announced TypePad Mobile for posting to your TypePad blog from a mobile device (though there's this route, too). And Gmail on the phone (link) is something I also use a lot.

Ben goes on to recommend Opera Mini, 'an excellent browser that goes through Opera’s proxy server which automatically provides content-squeezing functionality'. I agree: it's very good.

Google has its own functionality for mobile search and reading websites, of course, which currently comes, *I think*, in these forms:

  • Google Mobile Web Search (access your phone's mobile web browser, type http://www.google.com in the URL field, type your search query and select Mobile Web); for UK users, www.google.co.uk is another option.   
  • www.google.com/wml (see here: 'offers Web Search and Mobile search. Mobile search restricts your search to the mobile index which contains sites that are specifically written to fit your mobile screen').   
  • Google's own mobile proxy (where you enter any URL and get a stripped-down version of the page — with the option of having images or not).

I can't speak for the following, not having made much use of them yet, but here they are:

  • Google personalised homepage for your mobile: set it up on your PC — US link here, UK here.   
  • Google Local XHTML — US here, UK here.

And there's the Gmail-for-mobiles that I mentioned above.

Google seems to advertise (ha) its specifically mobile services very little and I may have missed some obvious ones or have got some of the above wrong (it's a bit of a rabbit warren to investigate). Please add/amend accordingly.

Concerning mobile access of websites, I take to heart Chris Heathcote's view that 'well-written sites win' (link — ppt: slide 27). We don't need separate mobile sites and, although I use the Opera and Google proxy services, I wish sites didn't "have" to be re-purposed.  As The Man said, web pages ought to be designed to be read across platforms, across browsers and across devices: 

The Web is designed as a universal space. … The Web must operate independently of the hardware, software or network used to access it, of the perceived quality or appropriateness of the information on it, and of the culture, and language, and physical capabilities of those who access it. Hardware and network independence in particular have been crucial to the growth of the Web. In the past, network independence has been assured largely by the Internet architecture. The Internet connects all devices without regard to the type or size or band of device, nor with regard to the wireless or wired or optical infrastructure used. This is its great strength. … For a time, many Web site designers did not see the necessity for such device independence, and indicated that their site was "best viewed using screen set to 800x600". Those Web sites now look terrible on a phone or, for that matter, on a much larger screen. By contrast, many Web sites which use style sheets appropriately can look very good on a very wide range of screen sizes. Tim Berners-Lee

That's from a document Sir Tim wrote about the .mobi TLD proposal. He concluded: 'Dividing the Web into information destined for different devices, or different classes of user, or different classes of information, breaks the Web in a fundamental way'. The road ahead in teaching, with staff and pupils using their own mobile devices and their own desktops/docking stations, depends upon the web keeping this integrity:

The Web works by reference. As an information space, it is defined by the relationship between a URI and what one gets on using that URI. The URI is passed around, written, spoken, buried in links, bookmarked, traded while Instant Messaging and through email. People look up URIs in all sorts of conditions. It is fundamentally useful to be able to quote the URI for some information and then look up that URI in an entirely different context. ibid.

It's quite clear that teachers will need to be on top of the developing options for mobile viewing (and understand the arguments about web integrity). Is there a site (wiki) which collates and maintains links like these, preferably along with comments and reviews about user experience? If not, we ought to get together and create one.

*****

Update (31 August). For the sake of something like Google-completeness, I should perhaps add here:

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SpiralFrog

My first thought when hearing of SpiralFrog? Same as Publishing 2.0:

You’ve got to pity the poor advertiser faced with figuring out how to allocate ad dollars across all these new media.

But I was also excited. Anything that appears to break the ridiculous status quo of the music industry is bound to set expectations going. However ... questions certainly remain.

BBC News reported:

'Vivendi Universal, the world's biggest music group, has signed a deal to make its music catalogue available on a free legal downloads service. Under the agreement, Spiralfrog will offer Universal's songs online in the US and Canada. New York-based Spiralfrog will launch its service in December and make its money by carrying adverts on the site. Spiralfrog aims to take on market leader Apple's iTunes service, which charges 99 cents per song in the US.'

And CNET:

The downloads could be played on the PC or transferred to a portable device, though notably not Apple Computer's iPod.

(The FT also has a piece.)

Nice to see Apple, iPod and iTunes under pressure, and it was easy to take Universal's move as heralding more of 'content … at no cost'. But there's cost and cost, and this does appear to cost — in DRM:

Spiral Frog will offer a desktop downloader for Windows Media Files (no iPods!) that can be listened to on one PC and two portable devices. Here’s the kicker - you must log in to the Spiral Frog service at least once per month, and see their ads, or your files will stop playing! The details aren’t fully set in stone, but it will be something like that. There will be links to third party sites of the record labels’ choosing if you’d like to buy your freedom to at least skip the ads. TechCrunch

I'm also wondering how SpiralFrog will deal with payment to artists, but more than anything else I can only second what TechCrunch says: 'It will be an exciting day if the major labels come up with something truly more compelling than piracy on one hand or coercion on the other - but I don’t think this is it'.

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Frank Kermode

John Sutherland interviews Frank Kermode in today's Guardian:

Looking back over the field he has dominated for half a century, Kermode's words are unminced. Universities, he says, "are being driven by madmen". And education in general "is being run by lunatics". The recent A-level and GCSE statistics, I point out, would indicate that at one level, at least, his subject is increasingly popular. "Well," he replies, "I don't know what they call 'English' now. I can understand the attractiveness of it. But I don't hold the view that reading English is a soft option, or at least it shouldn't be. It should be a severe option, restricted to those people who are qualified to do it." … Is he suggesting that English should be re-engineered to be more in line with currently unpopular "hard" subjects - like physics? "Yes. I discovered just today, for example, that it's no longer compulsory at GCSE to take a foreign language. This seems to me to be a monstrous decision." I remind him of a staff meeting at UCL where, gloomily, he acquiesced to the administration's instruction that O-level Latin be dropped as a requisite for incoming students. "We had no choice. Latin has been getting abolished now for two generations."

In one of his recent LRB pieces he recollects a period in the 1950s when studying English literature was not just regarded as important, but as the most valuable intellectual and moral activity a civilised man or woman could pursue. What went wrong? Does he feel any personal responsibility? "I don't suppose I could claim either credit or blame for the collapse of my subject. It's partly the extinction - no, that's too strong a word - the fading of the influence of figures such as FR Leavis [the Cambridge critic]. The notion that the study of English had powerful ethical implications, powerful social implications, has gone. We just don't have it any more.

"Looking back at the study of English in universities over the years the first thing that occurs to me is how very important the subject once seemed. In America the New Criticism - a school led by Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren - argued that the close study of poetry was a supremely valuable thing. This was a view that was then accepted generally. And the leading academic literary critics were, in those days, very famous people. Think, for example, of Northrop Frye. Frye's is now a name that you never hear mentioned but which was then everywhere. CS Lewis, who is now famous for fairy stories, was then famous for being a scholar. Tolkien too was famous for being a scholar, not for elves and so on. There is no prestige associated any longer with being a good critic. There are people writing now who seem to me likely to be as good as those critics I've been mentioning but they won't be as famous nor as influential. There's some very good scholarship in the subject still going on. There's also an immense amount of rubbish. …

"[Theory] attracted quite a lot of opprobrium. I never thought it should be taught to undergraduates. In those days teaching graduates what was then essentially French theory was exciting, as long as you were in control of what you were doing. I'm reminded of what Wayne C Booth (another of those once-famous critics) said: 'The really difficult thing is to understand why one has to work so hard to understand something that you do every day without the slightest difficulty' - reading a book, that is.

"I don't at all think that the time we spent on Theory was wasted. One of the great benefits of seriously reading English is you're forced to read a lot of other things. You may not have a very deep acquaintance with Hegel but you need to know something about Hegel. Or Hobbes, or Aristotle, or Roland Barthes. We're all smatterers in a way, I suppose. But a certain amount of civilisation depends on intelligent smattering".

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More on the Google "Office"

Substantial, thoughtful post from Anil Dash — needs to be read in full, but here are some bits that struck me:

Google Apps will be used by companies that are relying on an in-house tech fan as their IT department, where larger companies who have a consultant or IT person on staff will stay with Microsoft solutions for these tasks. The truth is, Microsoft Office is great at traditional document creation, but it's lousy at collaboration, and that's the space that Google Apps, Office Live, SharePoint, and lots of other competitors are going after.

He goes on to review the non-Microsoft competitors of Google Apps (Office Live being the Microsoft "app" with which Google Apps is competing): Joyent, Zoho, 37Signals, Yahoo and Best of Breed Apps.

In all, the strength of these competitors bodes well for the entire space. In every case, these independent competitors are charging money for their products.

Information Week's report on Google Apps brought out the way Google is presenting its "relationship" with Microsoft:

"The right way to view Writely and Google Spreadsheets, especially in the context of a larger business, isn't necessarily as a replacement for Word or Excel," says Matt Glotzbach, head of enterprise products at Google. "They're the collaboration component of that."

That bit from Information Week, and a Reuters piece, led Nick Carr to say, 'Google is competing with Microsoft's nascent Live services more than it's competing with Microsoft's existing office suite'. Check. (Anil Dash: 'A key to success here will be to position Spreadsheets and Writely as complements to Microsoft Office'.) But Carr concludes his posting: 'it appears that the long-time monopoly in office applications may not be dismantled but rather replaced by a duopoly, and that the expected wave of innovation in web-based productivity applications may die long before it reaches shore'.

'In all, the strength of these competitors bodes well for the entire space': I hope so. Nick Carr's posting made me think of Don's warning earlier this month: 'useless to ask whether Google is the new Microsoft. Ask instead how can small companies survive the chaos to come'.

However the market pans out, here's some of Anil Dash's conclusion:

… there has been active resistance (to 'web-based hosted services') by large corporations and enterprises, and adoption was led by small companies or by independent workgroups and remote offices within a company. Google Apps is going to mirror that adoption, and will take hold primarily in organizations where the culture isn't based around an existing process of mailing Word memos as attachments, but instead on IMing links to relevant resources.

In Anil's words, in order to grow Google Apps need 'a mixed environment where many core services are hosted, but in an informal … model instead of the structured ASPs that large enterprises use'. Schools with IT departments whose zeal is not misguided are likely to be places where users will experiment with such application utilities — and students will be amongst the leaders, of course. Handheld and other devices that are wirelessly connected to the net independent of the organisation's gateway will, evidently, greatly assist the viral spread of such apps and, in the best of all possible worlds, IT departments and schools will recognise this and focus their efforts on encouraging both good and innovative practice.

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Google and Office-on-the-web

So, the launch today of Google Apps for Your Domain and Google Apps for Education gives us something else to explore in this area — along (for example) with the Zoho range of products. Office-on-the-web is attractive for reasons of collaboration, cost-cutting and productivity (Richard MacManus, responding to Rod Boothby's paper — HTML version here) and, self-evidently, you can use the same system to have access to your own documents, for your own use, on any machine, anywhere.

Google doesn't yet have an Office 2.0–a full suite of hosted productivity applications aimed at the Microsoft Office crowd, especially the small- and medium-sized firms–but starting tomorrow companies or organizations can deploy Google email, calendar, chat and Web page (Page Creator) hosting for free (ad supported). The set of Google communications applications is an extension of Gmail for Your Domain, and has some limited UI customization and administration features. Later this year, Google will offer a subscription service with additional storage and support options. …

Microsoft's base of Office users–most of the business users in the developed world–aren't going to defect to Google or other products like Zoho's suite overnight. And, Microsoft is developing its own suite of hosted Windows Live applications and looking forward to Vista improving the overall Windows applications experience. But, there is disruption in the air, and the Microsoft Office monopoly is definitely going to face a major competitive threat in the near future…  Dan Farber, ZD Net (writing yesterday)

Connectivity remains an issue:

Another pressing issue is how Google (and others in the Software as a Service game) will adapt their applications for offline use. I’d be willing to bet that when most Gmail users need to draft a message offline they use…MS Word. I just got back from a weekend on the Chesapeake Bay, and I can tell you that there wasn’t a hot spot for miles — accessing Web apps just wasn’t an option. And now that Boeing has infamously pulled the plug on its inflight Internet service, airline flights remain the great offline terrain that challenges SaaS to accommodate business travelers. Publishing 2.0

'Occasionally connected': not good! Another article from ZD Net:

Computing is about using standalone smart devices (PC's, PDA's, cellphones today and intelligent peripherals - smartTV, media centers, home appliances, etc. tomorrow) which are "occasionally connected" to the Internet. Ok, the more accurate phrase is probably "usually" or "almost always" but the key is that sometimes they are not connected. Once you accept that, you immediately acknowledge that a browser-only solution is not viable. One needs both online and offline (PC) solutions and applications. … I'd rather bet on Microsoft (and 3rd parties) solving the technical challenges of offline synch and "occasionally connected" services than betting on Google providing me with 100% 24x7 connectivity that leaves me without anything when (and not if) it goes down.

Then there's privacy (as ever with Google) — GigaOM baulked at this — security, confidentiality … all aspects of 'my data'. And here's Kent Newsome:

Bold but troubling is word via InformationWeek that "Google's plans include prompting people who send Microsoft Office documents using Gmail to translate those files into Google's formats for editing on Google.com, presumably in a forum where ad space is up for sale." One of the great and valid fears of IT managers is data spread- when your data is spread all over the place, it becomes harder to protect and manage.

(At this point, by association, I looked up Eric Norlin's piece from June of this year, Google's authentication vs. Microsoft's Live ID: '… one company is clearly advancing the cause of "identity 2.0", "web 2.0", "Net 2.0" — call it what you will — and that company is Microsoft. The other company is deepening the silo and building the walled garden'. Worth clicking through to.)

More interestingly, we have to ask what we need from web-based "Office" apps. GigaOM comments (elsewhere), 'Web Office should not be about replacing the old, but inventing the new web apps that solve some specific problems'. Via that last posting, I got to Red Herring's piece, 17 MS Office Killers, and here's what caught my eye:

The traditional Office suite is an old idea, said Jason Fried, chief executive of Chicago-based 37 Signals. “That’s 15-year-old thinking,” he said. “The modern office is more about real-time collaboration and group chat, and not just a spreadsheet and processor.”

To that end, 37 Signals created an online word processor called WriteBoard to offer—along with project management software called Basecamp—a group chat product called Campfire, as well as shareable to-do lists called Ta-da Lists. WriteBoard, said Mr. Fried, is a simple online word processor. … “Microsoft Word seems like complete overkill for sharing text here and there,” he said. “You don’t need tables or formatting all the time. You need a place to write text, make changes, and pass around.” So far, 350,000 WriteBoards or web-based documents have been created.

So, '37 Signals positions its product as complementary to Microsoft’s':

WriteBoard has its shortcomings, Mr. Fried is not above admitting. “It is not for writing your 300-page functional specification document or long manuscript,” he said. WriteBoard also lacks familiar formatting functions like font, paragraphs, or text point size. Users can take the text and then move it into a Word document or a PDF file, or publish it as HTML.

And back in June, Richard MacManus said: 'the main benefit of web-based Office products is that they'll extend the functionality of desktop office products in many useful ways'.

I use Basecamp, but I'll be watching Zoho for sure (see Zoho Projects and Zoho Virtual Office) — and the promise of a single sign-on. As ever, Richard MacManus has a finger on the pulse.

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Education and the virtually real: Second Life

From the same posting by David Weinberger that I just mentioned comes this:

Nikolaj Nyholm talks about how Imity.com uses Second Life to prototype user interactions. 

Matt Bidulph has been doing Second Life mashups. You can use http, he says, to pipe out info from SecondLife, including what people are saying. Cory Ondrejka, Second Life CTO, says that there's been an explosion of interest and development since they put in http requests. (Someday, he says, they'll make every object a Web server.) He says that there are 100 classes a week inside Second Life in how to use the API and scripting language. He looks forward to the day when there is a Second Life renderer inside a Web browser.

Now, I don't (yet) use Second Life but I am interested in ways of prototyping things (there's more than one feed-in here to using similar ideas in education). Up until recently, I was prepared for things like this: 

Video scenarios present people interacting with fictional technology by faking the actual functionality through the use of film techniques. … the idea of making little movies that demonstrate interaction ideas is really liberating. Orange Cone

That's exciting, but now I'm suddenly aware of Second Life being used by designers and businesses in similar, or near similar, ways — see here for two examples: W Hotels ('opening a virtual hotel in Second Life to test out "virtual architecture"  for ALOFT, a new hotel idea') and American Apparel ('opened a virtual store … people can outfit their avatars. That gives American Apparel an inside look at what they want in the real world'). Amazon seems to be going SL-wards, according to Business Week online, and Jeff Barr, Amazon's Web Services Evangelist, reports he has been working on 'a prototype for a developer relations “outpost” in Second Life' — see the images he's posted there. 

There's going to be a lot of this and very soon we'll be using Second Life (etc) in teaching, too. Some have got there already. Here's an example from NMC Campus Observer, focusing on the work of 'Lorenzo Stork (a.k.a Larry Miller, from University of Tennessee)', interviewed (of course) in SL itself: 

Lorenzo/Larry went on to talk about his first in world project, a Continuing Medical Education class … in cooperation with the University of Illinois, Chicago Medical College Library. … Doctors will get a small dose of content, but they will then have to address a patient scenario related to hypertension and diabetes. In the scenario, they will be required to use some of the Second Life library resources accessed via Info Island, then return at the end for some in world discussion. Participants will be practicing doctors working on their CME credits, and it is Lorenzo/Larry’s hope that the doctors build some of their experience in Second Life before the workshop.

NMC Campus Observer is one site to watch closely. This from their About page

The NMC Campus is an experimental effort developed to inform the New Media Consortium’s work in educational gaming.  In early 2006, the organization made the decision to create a space for experimentation in a virtual 3-D world  and began a search for suitable platforms, with a special interest in massively multi-player environments. 

Ultimately, Second Life was chosen, and working with an advisory board drawn from its membership, the NMC began designing a space within Second Life expressly to support collaboration, learning, insightful interaction, and experimentation — and to encourage exploration of the potential of virtual environments.  (See the Concept document for the NMC Campus for additional background.)

Other SL-centred developments I've noticed recently include the communal writeboard facility in Second Life and (going back to the opening idea of mashups) the ability to listen to Last.fm stations within SL. 

Mitch Kapor is reported recently as saying (this via his own blog): 

Second Life is a disruptive technology on the level of the personal computer or the Internet. “Everything we can imagine and things that we can’t imagine from the real world will have their in-world counterparts, and it’s a wonderful thing because there are many fewer constraints in Second Life than in real life, and it is, potentially at least, extraordinarily empowering.”

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GPS puzzle ... cleared up?

I've wondered why GPS isn't embedded in cellphones. Charlie Schick said both there and on his own blog that he couldn't be certain but 'I am sure there is a reason related to size of chip-set, power issues, usability, licensing, pricing, target users'.

David Weinberger's just posted this:

Nikolaj says that it'll be at least five years before we can programmatically and ubiquitously locate someone in terms of latitude.longitude based on their phone positions, but we can already (see Imity) see who is around a particular phone number. GPS will take that long to get put into cellphones because of battery life...

(Nikolaj is Nikolaj Nyholm of Imity — whose app impressed me so much at Reboot.)

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Clouds

Metaphore de nos jours:

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers. Just as Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) enables storage in the cloud, Amazon EC2 enables "compute" in the cloud. Amazon

… data services and architecture should be on servers. We call it cloud computing – they should be in a ‘cloud’ somewhere. And that if you have the right kind of browser or the right kind of access, it doesn't matter whether you have a PC or a Mac or a mobile phone or a BlackBerry or what have you – or new devices still to be developed – you can get access to the cloud …

… cloud computing and advertising – go hand-in-hand. There is a new business model that's funding all of the software innovation to allow people to have platform choice, client choice, data architectures that are interesting, solutions that are new – and that's being driven by advertising. Google CEO, Eric Schmidt

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Web 2.0: 'what the Web was supposed to be all along'

Tim Berners-Lee, interviewed by Scott Laningham for IBM developerWorks

BERNERS-LEE: … the original World Wide Web browser of course was also an editor. I never imagined that anybody would want to write in anchor brackets. We'd had WYSIWYG editors for a long time. So my function was that everybody would be able to edit in this space, or different people would have access rights to different spaces. But I really wanted it to be a collaborative authoring tool. And for some reason it didn't really take off that way. And we could discuss for ages why it didn't. You know, there were browser editors, maybe the HTML got too complicated for a browser just to be easy. 

But I've always felt frustrated that most people don't … didn't have write access. And wikis and blogs are two areas where suddenly two sort of genres of online information suddenly allow people to edit, and they're very widely picked up, and people are very excited about them. And I think that really for me reinforces the idea that people need to be creative. They want to be able to record what they think. … 

LANINGHAM: You know, with Web 2.0, a common explanation out there is Web 1.0 was about connecting computers and making information available; and Web 2 is about connecting people and facilitating new kinds of collaboration. Is that how you see Web 2.0? 

BERNERS-LEE: Totally not. 

Web 1.0 was all about connecting people. It was an interactive space, and I think Web 2.0 is of course a piece of jargon, nobody even knows what it means. If Web 2.0 for you is blogs and wikis, then that is people to people. But that was what the Web was supposed to be all along. 

And in fact, you know, this Web 2.0, quote, it means using the standards which have been produced by all these people working on Web 1.0. It means using the document object model, it means for HTML and SCG and so on, it's using HTTP, so it's building stuff using the Web standards, plus Java script of course. So Web 2.0 for some people it means moving some of the thinking client side so making it more immediate, but the idea of the Web as interaction between people is really what the Web is. That was what it was designed to be as a collaborative space where people can interact. 

Now, I really like the idea of people building things in hypertext, the sort of a common hypertext space to explain what the common understanding is and thus capturing all the ideas which led to a given position. I think that's really important. And I think that blogs and wikis are two things which are fun, I think they've taken off partly because they do a lot of the management of the navigation for you and allow you to add content yourself. 

But I think there will be a whole lot more things like that to come, different sorts of ways in which people will be able to work together. 

The semantic wikis are very interesting. These are wikis in which people can add data and then that data can then be surfaced and sliced and diced using all kinds of different semantic Web tools, so that's why it's exciting the way people, things are going, but I think there are lots of new things in that vein that we have yet to invent.


Transcript here. Podcast here. (Found via Read/Write Web.)

There is something so generous and inspiring in this originating vision of Sir Tim's — made all the more so because it was there at the outset. Had the Web been widely understood in this way from the start, many walled gardens (I'm thinking particularly about schools) would have resisted it vigorously. But now, or (at least) for now, walls have been breached.

I spoke about the-web-as-the-read/write-web, and its implications for education, at Reboot and MicroLearning: see here.

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