Google phone: The tongue wagging just won’t stop.

ImageWhich mobile phone does not exist, but continues to generate almost as much hype as the iPhone? The answer is the Gphone, Google’s supposed mobile-phone-in-development. We keep hearing rumors, and more rumors about google coming out with its own phone. Now Rediff reports that Google is in talk with Indian carriers regarding the imminent roll out of the Gphone. Gigaom calls the report speculative, and we tend to agree.

Google started tongues wagging when the put their hat into the ring for the 700 MHz spectrum auction , for which it is prepared to shell out $4.6 billion. So news of Google’s upcoming foray into the mobile space continues to do the buzz rounds.

According to Google spokespeople “Google is committed to providing users with access to the world’s information, and mobile becomes more important to those efforts every day. We’re collaborating with partners worldwide to bring Google search and applications to mobile users everywhere.”

Google has, of course, come out with a lot of handy applications for the mobile phone, such as icalendar. I understand, though, why companies would want to keep mum about their upcoming launches these days. Gone are the times of the quick releases, followed by endless patches. These days a product has to be perfect, please everybody, and work straight out of the box. It is little wonder then that even small websites take great pains to indicate when they are in alpha or beta, lest their star rise too pre-maturely, and be followed by a fast crash and burn.

Google has developed a reputation of producing apps that work. I am sure they would be as cautious when (and if) they decide to release any hardware - specially a mobile phone.


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nTag - push networking and Social Sensor Technology

ntagNetworking is hard! It is not uncommon for people to ‘attend’ a networking event (arrive late, leave early) and when they are at the networking event, they tend to migrate to familiar faces. Thats not what networking is about.

I remember going to a conference a while ago and a stranger asked me for my card. I looked at him with puzzlement because I didn’t know him and we hadn’t even exchanged greetings. He sheepishly told me that his boss had made a condition that he had to come back with 20 business cards from the conference for him to get reimbursed for the conference expenses. He had attended all the talks at the conference but did not have the aptitude for ‘networking.” I started to chat with him about his work and it was clear that he was a very sharp guy - just not very outgoing.

To some networking comes easy, to others, it is a constant struggle.

Enter Social Sensor technology. Using the infrared sensors, nTag is doing something to make the networking task a tad easier with their electronic badge product.

These are excerpts from their website:

Greetings
Get attendees talking with nTAG’s Greetings features. Using profile information provided at the time of registration, nTAG lets attendees know what they have in common so it’s easier to start conversations. When two attendees meet, their nTAGs compare profile information and suggest topics of mutual interest—professional attributes, hobbies, areas of expertise, personality type, or even home town. This information helps break the ice and provides common ground for starting conversations with new people that could become valuable contacts.

Networking Games
Jumpstart the networking process with nTAG’s fun and interactive games. In the Secret Partner game, you’re assigned a partner and the goal is to locate that partner with the help of the nTAG. During the game, nTAGs provide clues and keep track of who has met whom and when. For example, when you approach another attendee, her nTAG will display a greeting such as, “Hi. I met your Secret Partner.�? This clue prompts you to ask the attendee to introduce you to all the people she met recently, thereby creating lots of person-to-person interaction.

Business Card Exchange
Make sure meeting participants capture complete, accurate contact information. When two participants (two attendees, an attendee and an exhibitor, an attendee and a sponsor, etc.) meet, each nTAG automatically logs the name of the other person and displays it at the top of the nTAG menu. Once the name is logged and displayed, nTAG enables the exchange of contact information with a single click. nTAG’s touch-screen keyboard lets you add notes to the contact information for easier follow-up, or in the case of exhibitors, more accurate lead qualification.

When the meeting is over, attendees receive a link to their personalize myntag web page where they can download contacts or have them e-mailed. No more keeping track of business cards or retyping addresses. For exhibitors, lead information can be automatically sent to sales offices and CRM systems for immediate action and improved follow-up.

Of course, nTag maintains the event schedule and related information, so its always at the fingertip of the attendee.

I can see that this could be useful in certain types of events.

ntag_device

nTag could be the next “Power Point”. Before power point, many had difficulty giving presentation; now with the Power point, it is a lot easier. You get a lot of boring talks and various presentations but at least it is a bit easier for the presenter.

nTag, founded in 2002, by Rick Borovoy (an ex-MIT Media Lab PhD) and George Eberstadt, is a wireless badge worn by conference attendees that allows them to communicate with each other as well as the conference organizer. The nTag, uses an infrared sensor to detect other badges when two people communicate with each other.

It seems that it rents for $40 to $100 per conference. There is another competing product called SpotMe; it seems that the pricing of SpotMe is on the higher side of nTag pricing. It is little pricey for sure! Here is a picture of Spotme device.

spotme_device

From the pictures, it seems that SpotMe has a better solution. But at $100+ for a conference use, the market is probably limited.

In my view, the device has to be one of those throw away items that people can take home with them before it takes off. I am not concerned, those days will be here soon!

nteractive Corp., a Boston-based provider of real-time event data management solutions, has raised $8.3 million in Series B funding. Return backers include Sevin Rosen Funds and Pilot House Ventures. The company has now raised over $21 million in total VC funding.

Via Alarm:Clock


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Accoona: An IPO amongst the bric-bats

accoona logo

The insults keep flying at search engine Accoona, which filed recently for an IPO. It will be listed on Nasdaq for an offer price of about $80.5 million. According to VentureBeat, the search engine is little more than hype and the Acoona IPO smells like a dog . The “search engine” actually derives most of its revenue not from search, but from an electronics retail business.

Image

Accoona, formed in 2004 by a partnership of two Chinese companies China Daily Information Company (CDIC), and China Communications Corp (CCC), claims to use Artificial Intelligence for its search engine (whether this is true AI or just database matching, is not clear).

When they launched in December of 2004, there was a lot of buzz about Accoona. They actually invited President Bill Clinton to do the first search at their launch.

The general consensus on the Accoona IPO is, just because it quacks like an IPO, doesn’t mean it is. Take for example, the fact that the company has consistently posted a loss - 14.8 million for the last quarter, and the search engine has very little traction. Accoona is also using a Google like auction process, according to John Batelle, who has scrutinized their S1.

In 2005, Chinese search engine Baidu.com made a spectacular entry on Nasdaq. Similar to Acoona, Baidu was a relatively small deal but ended up quadrupling from its $27 offer price to $122.54 at the end of its opening day. So it happened that a company with only $8 million in revenue ended up carrying a price tag of $4 billion at the end of its first quarter.

Also Baidu had stalwarts Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse First Boston and Piper Jaffray as its underwriters. Accoona is listing Maxim Group LLC (who are they??) as its sole underwriters.

We might be proven wrong, but so far, Accoona is no Baidu!


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Web 3.0 : Are we there already?

web_3.0_logo

People have been discussing Web 3.0 for at least a year now! Jeffery Zeldman talked about it but more in the sense of “lets get off this Web 2.0″ merry go round and move on to the next ride in this amusement park that we call the web.

Andy Carvin said:

First, we had Web 1.0 - the read-only web. Then came Web 2.0 - the read-write web - all of these services that make it easy for us to contribute content and interact with others. If you keep up the programming analogy, the next phase would be Web 3.0 - the Read-Write-Execute Web.

And Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google discussed it a few days ago. He said that while Web 2.0 was based on Ajax, Web 3.0 will be:

“applications that are pieced together” - with the characteristics that the apps are relatively small, the data is in the cloud, the apps can run on any device (PC or mobile), the apps are very fast and very customizable, and are distributed virally (social networks, email, etc)..

Not sure why he defined Web 2.0 as “based on Ajax”; I presume it is a euphemism for “interactive” and not a technical term.

If this is what the definition of web 3.0 is, then we are here already! We are already doing mashable things and using web 2.0 to distribute it.

Honestly, this numbering scheme troubles me; every time a vendor releases software that is deemed as “major upgrade” I keep thinking that somebody just fixed some bugs in the previous version, got some more stickers to put on the box and now wants more $$$ for the new version.

I hope thats not the case for Web 3.0.

If you have any doubt, check around: how many of the Web 2.0 applications that you know are still in beta phase? Shouldn’t we wait till they are out of beta testing?

It’s either that, or the whole Web 2.0 was really Web 3.0 in Beta testing.


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