Paul Lopez Unwired

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Results tagged “twitter”

AndroidTwitter.jpgThere's a lot of commotion lately about Twitter launching its own client applications of what I would call "house apps" for platforms like the iPhone, Blackberry and today the Android. While many developers have outstanding Twitter clients, the better ones come with a price. Now that Twitter has introduced more of its own client apps free of charge, those early third-party apps quickly lose their value proposition. Some believe the trend could hurt companies like Seesmic or Twitterific. Developers will need to come up with ways to structure their applications to offer other benefits besides just connecting APIs. This is no different than what Microsoft did in the early days. Microsoft grew to domination in the desktop market on the backs of third party developers. Old applications like Harvard Graphics, WordStar, VisiCalc and dBASE were the early pioneers before we had MS Office. No one should be surprised with Twitter's actions, it's part of the software growth lifecycle. Developers will adapt and Twitter will do what fuels its own business growth. I see no problem with that.

The next "Wave" of Collaboration?

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Lars Rasmussen and his brother Jens, the creators of Google Maps, trotted out a first look at their latest development, Google Wave, at the I/O developer conference last week. The audience gave them a pass on a few mishaps, but overall the new application was quite impressive.  Wave introduces new concepts in communication by thinking of conversations as container objects where you can drag and drop people, threads, links, documents, images and even robots that enable the content to instantly appear on connected clients over the Internet. Wave is written entirely in the Google Web Toolkit (GWT "Gwit"). The developer codes in Java and the tool converts to HTML5 & Ajax automatically. For developers, Wave stores updates to UI state in the local XML of your gadget. Then Google transmits that state over the network where the other instance of your gadget updates in real-time. Google estimates only 5% of the code needs to be adapted for mobile device browsers; most of which involve just a layout change. Wave removes the structure found in email replies by creating a hub of conversation trees where users can chime in at any level, playback what they've missed and leave replies for others to see. There is even support for Twitter using Twave to merge wave posts to and from the popular micro-blogging platform. My main concern is the amount of network traffic generated by hundreds or thousands of users in a real-time, collaborative web application. Another open issue is federated identity; Google requires users to have an account to access any of their applications. OpenSocial gadgets will be supported natively in Wave and I expect to see more consolidation in the social web authentication space this year. No wonder Google was quiet about Twitter acquisition rumors, they've got bigger ideas.

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When Facebook Connect launched last year, there was much criticism that still lingers today. Providing the status.get API method is not enough, they still keep everything in a locked box. A Wall Street Journal article says Facebook will be announcing new developer access to photos and videos, but I believe it will be something more. What we may see is access to the crown jewels of Facebook - Feeds and Shared Items. This would allow users to access their Facebook services from potentially a different site altogether - quite a risky idea. Twitter has taken a different approach from the beginning by opening core features to developers without requiring a customized programming language like Facebook FMBL or Facebook Connect. Most observers agree that Connect doesn't necessarily generate new users but increases the level of engagement with your existing ones. The value of opening up "Shared" is that Facebook enforces network location whereas Twitter does not. You could filter stories based on geographic location more accurately because "Dallas, TX" and "DFW" mean the same thing on Facebook but not on Twitter. We need to see how they open up Feed. The default privacy settings are too restrictive to be useful to developers unless it is set to "Everyone." This is a critical time for Facebook and its 200 million members; they could become just another service connection hub by accident.

Twitter Viva la Vida

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According to Comscore data, Facebook added 40 million members in February. Meanwhile, MySpace is half the size today where a year ago both were serving over 115 million people per month. Today, Facebook serves over 275 million monthly unique visitors. While Steve Rubel claims Twitter is peaking as it recently jumped to 4 million monthly visitors from 2.6 million in one month, I don't see it. Many corporations have recently included their Twitter handle in their press releases, and it's getting more business users. There are an estimated 520 Twitter applications. The only thing that would slow them down is persistent service outage or lack of a viable monetization plan. They recently raised $35 million at a $250 million valuation, not bad. The key difference I see is their phenomenal success with the Twitter API proliferation. They got this right from the get-go as opposed to the starts & stops of Facebook. Twitter has a live of its own and is rapidly reaching critical mass.

Twitter Bowl

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Super Bowl advertisers kept the connection going after the game using Twitter. New Media Strategies estimated there were over 49,000 post-game posts. Pepsi, E*Trade and Overstock used Twitter for feedback. H&R Block asked users to guess who the voice of Death was in their commercial. One software engineer from North Carolina won a free copy of TaxCut after responding "Abe Vigoda" within minutes of the question. Even with the weak economy, NBC sold a record $206M for the 69 TV spots. Combining traditional media advertising with live hash-tagging provides a high level of real-time feedback on the ads. The question now is whether advertisers will utilize the Twitter community to tailor or change their messaging strategy given the fact that not all the feedback was positive.

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There's been much hype around FriendFeed recently as users get frustrated with constant outages from Twitter. According to Compete.com; Twitter is getting over a million users per month compared with Friendfeed with less than 150,000. Sites like Friendfeed have potential and gain early interest because they offer data portability. You can migrate easy access to your other accounts such as YouTube, flickr, twitter and yelp for example. Some early complaints about distributed identity and social sphere openness have been addressed by some of the newer sites. What's not understood very well is that fact that these sites perform very well when they are small. When their user base grows up to over a million or more, they start running into infrastructure brick walls. These sites are not designed for scalability up front and have to cross the chasm in terms of monetizing their assets so they can invest in real data center and web performance capabilities. Everyone wants to have Amazon or Google class performance but that's not something that can grow from a second bedroom server farm. Outages and service interruptions are becoming more commonplace, even with larger operations such as Google YouTube or Blackberry networks. Microsoft Live has suffered outages too. This is the only business where you can be the victim of your own success.

About Paul Lopez

Paul Lopez Paul Lopez is a 20+ year technology veteran whose career has spanned multiple disciplines such as product management, software development, engineering, marketing, business development and operations... read more

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