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Feb 9 2006
SkypeWeb, Presence Management and PPCall
eBay-owned Skype today launched "SkypeWeb":

Skype, the global Internet communications company, today announced SkypeWeb, a Web presence feature that is already integrated into more than 50 Web sites in 20 countries around the world. SkypeWeb allows people to see Skype users� online status and call or chat with them from any Web site as well as Skype people from each site with the simple click of a mouse.

�With just a few simple steps we were able to incorporate SkypeWeb into our AppExchange platform,� said Adam Gross, vice president, developer marketing, salesforce.com. �In addition to free Skype voice calls, the SkypeWeb presence feature gives our subscribers the ability to know when their contacts and colleagues are available and online � all directly from within Salesforce."

SkypeWeb integrates Skype seamlessly and into any Web site. With SkypeWeb, Web administrators can easily enable all site visitors to talk for free over the Internet.


Here are the buttons.

There are potentially many things to discuss about this. One is the rapid "mainstreaming" of VoIP. But the thing I want to focus on is the local/PPCall aspect. There's no PPCall system in place yet (it's VoIP click-to-call) but a system like SkypeWeb could become an advertising vehicle for local businesses at some point. (ContactAtOnce distributes "presence management" icons/chat windows as an advertising tool today.)

According to the Skype release, "DBA.DK the number one Danish classifieds portal, is using SkypeWeb to show the Skype status of people who have posted classified ads."

This is the kind of functionality that eBay promoted when it bought Skype to enable communication between buyers and sellers. But as the classifieds forum I moderated last night made clear, calls are much more important to local sellers than to e-commerce vendors. Thus the local business implications of click-to-call (and the potential business model layer of PPCall on top of that) are immediate.

Microsoft suggested integration of VoIP as a layer on top of its Windows Live Local product when Live was launched last year in San Francisco.

It could well be that every Web site or landing/profile page associated with every local business will one day have such functionality. It could be free, subscription-based or performance-based (PPCall).



Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Greg Sterling at  09:32 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 9 2006
Classifieds Search Forum
I was invited by SimplyHired's Dave McClure to moderate the SDForum's Search SIG event last night on classifieds and search.

Panelists were:


  • Bindu Reddy, Product Manager Google Base, Google
  • Craig Donato, Founder/CEO, Oodle
  • Keith Teare, Founder/CEO, Edgeio

The discussion was very candid and informal and revolved around the transition from traditional classifieds to online, the online classifieds business model (a question that wasn't fully answered to my satisfaction) and the coming impact of self-publishing and RSS on online classifieds (could be revolutionary).

To that latter point, this was the first time I got a look at Edgeio, which uses the tagline "listings from the edge" ("the edge" might be a fresh and worthy substitute for the somewhat tired term, "the long tail"). Among other things, Edgeio allows people to self-publish "listings" (stuff/services for sale) on their own sites, which then get picked up via RSS and distributed to Edgeio and beyond.

It has pretty significant implications if it catches on. Teare described the site as a kind of "middleware" in the process of publishing and distributing listings/advertising across the network (this is a cousin of former Tribe CEO Mark Pincus' vision articulated in his keynote at ILM:04). But the site's not public yet and so I won't go into it further.

The initial question I asked was, "What are classifieds; is there something fundamentally different about classifieds vs. other types of online advertising?" The answers were quite interesting, with Keith Teare arguing essentially that classifieds were just one form of "listings." Craig Donato (who wore a fabulous chartreuse shirt) made a powerful case that there were essential characteristics that distinguished classifieds (they're "perishable," they're local, fulfillment is offline). He argued that these traits required and justified a specific approach.

Bindu Reddy, who sought to emphasize that Google Base accepts classifieds content but is not "Google Classifieds," (I agree) said some fascinating things about how Google is experimenting with Base (e.g., tagging) and how the organization of content there may have broader implications for the next generation of Google search. (I also had another "vision" of Google's vertical future during her demo.)

Reddy and Donato agreed that PPCall was a model that would have more and more resonance and application in the local market, including with classifieds (and the Jambo deal reflects that in a traditional publication).

This was my first such event and I think they're very valuable (here's the calendar), though unfortunately only available to people in the Silicon Valley area. They were recording it for podcast, but I don't yet have a link. I'll post one if I discover it.

Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Greg Sterling at  08:38 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]



Feb 9 2006
Google Desktop Upgrade
Google launched an upgrade to desktop search/Sidebar. There were a number of feature enhancements (remote PC/file access, "undocking" of plugp-ins and sharing functionality). That's a very "quick and dirty" summary. The most interesting feature of the new enhancements from my point of view is the "social" or sharing dimension.

Users can send articles and "Web Clips" to one another via e-mail or IM or directly to each other's Sidebars. And there's some "wiki-like" functionality in that, in a few cases, people can be in the same module at the same time (think shared "to-do list"'). Right now that wiki/collaborative element is very limited, but it will likely evolve quickly as developers build more of these modules (which have become much more like Yahoo!'s widgets in this version).

Yahoo! has made huge bets on "social search" and other community functionality and Google has to date not done much in this realm. But the company is moving into tagging rapidly (e.g., Google Base) and these new "social" features of Sidebar create a community/viral dimension that Google hopes will boost adoption.

It's also interesting to start seeing many elements coming together with intersecting or overlapping functionality: the personalized home page, personal search history, the upgraded toolbar, Gmail + IM, Google Talk in Sidebar, etc.

You can start to see some set of these functions closing in on some sort of "center," although there won't ever be a single application I don't believe. But over time Google will get a sense of where the concentration of its users are and what they're doing and will emphasize those tools and applications accordingly.

_____________

Here's the official Desktop Google Blog statement.
Blog: Local Media Blog
 
posted by  Greg Sterling at  01:16 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]





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