Introducing NewNet

Today, we’re introducing our fifth topic page: NewNet, an ongoing look at the social, real-time web of tomorrow.

Is Tiered Data Access Unfair, or the American Way?

Caught up in a wave of pressure to make the banking industry pay for wrecking the economy, the SEC and a few prominent politicians have turned their collective gaze toward high-frequency trading (aka algorithmic or electronic or flash trading). Among the major criticisms of the practice is that it is unfair – the haves pay for milliseconds-early access to market data and use expensive computing systems to make voluminous trades before pending trades complete, while the have-nots are left playing catch-up. The kerfuffle has prompted some to ask: What would happen if Facebook decided to sell its mountains of data to the highest bidders, which could in turn launch targeted marketing or intelligence strategies that would leave their competitors in the dust? But in a capitalist society where winner-takes-all tends to be the name of the game, is unfairness really that bad a thing?

What Twitter Airfare Sales Tell Us About Real-Time E-Commerce

JetBlue and United are giving their Twitter followers first crack at discounted airfare in an effort to fill seats that would otherwise go empty. Though airlines have already been doing this through email, Twitter fares (“Twares” or “Cheeps,” depending on which areline you follow) are a whole new ballgame. First, they likely allow airlines to reach a broader audience. But more importantly, since email is generally not engineered for real-time interaction, Twitter’s dynamism – and more broadly, that of the real-time Web in general — could enable new ways of selling time-sensitive products and services.

Will Yahoo Use Xoopit’s CloudQuery to Help Usher in the Real-time Web?

xoopit_logo_c1While Xoopit’s flagship email product is being touted as the reason why Yahoo (s yhoo) agreed to buy the company, I think the underlying technology used by Xoopit is far more interesting. Xoopit has even exposed this infrastructure technology as an on-demand service, which it’s dubbed CloudQuery, with the tagline “Search as a Service.” But I suspect that, once the acquisition closes, CloudQuery will get buried deep in the bowels of Yahoo. Read More about Will Yahoo Use Xoopit’s CloudQuery to Help Usher in the Real-time Web?

Why Big Data & Real-Time Web Are Made For Each Other

[qi:gigaom_icon_cloud-computing] There’s been a lot of discussion lately about the real-time web and the problems it poses for incumbent search companies and technologies. Fast-moving trends and the availability of up-to-the minute updates mean that purely historical answers are missing crucial information. Dealing with constantly growing information streams causes performance and scalability problems for existing systems and calls into question the mechanisms for compiling, vetting and presenting results to users.

While these challenges may sound new, game-changing performance and scalability problems are also being faced in the more traditional realm of data analytics and large-scale data management. Driven by network-centric businesses that track user behavior to a fine degree, there has been an explosion in the speed and amount of information that companies need to make sense of, and an increasing pressure on them to do so faster than ever before. What needs to be recognized is that the inadequacies of existing systems in these two seemingly different environments stem from the same source — infrastructure built to handle static data simply doesn’t scale to data that is continuously on the move. Read More about Why Big Data & Real-Time Web Are Made For Each Other

Google vs. the Real-Time Web

Just how big a threat is the real-time web to Google (s goog)? As Om has pointed out, real-time content marks a still-amorphous but important new phase of evolution in the web, allowing for the instantaneous discovery of newly added information. And Twitter and Facebook are emerging as an alternative to the traditional engine, which presents a big challenge to Google’s core business. As Larry Page admitted this week, the company finally gets that. Read More about Google vs. the Real-Time Web

As It Turns Three, What Is Twitter To You?

Jack Dorsey, one of the founders of Twitter, today reminds us that it’s Twitter’s birthday. Michael Arrington, too, writes about the third birthday of the service that everyone is tweeting about. It was three years ago that a chance meeting with Noah Glass led me to write about Twitter, aka Twttr.
Since then, the service that’s estimated to be valued at $250 million has received a $500 million dollar buyout offer from Facebook, and when that failed, made Facebook change its game. It has inspired many books, blogs and a slew of startups that are betting their future on Twitter, the platform. In these depressing times, it is one of a handful of consumer web services people want to write about, talk about and actually really use.
What makes Twitter interesting: It is many things to many people. For some it is a microblogging platform. Max Levchin, founder of Slide (and PayPal), compared it to radio — it doesn’t stop and you listen to (read) what you can. To some it is a content discovery platform. In an interview with The Guardian, I labeled it the megaphone for everyone. It’s also the tool that has kept me connected to everyone who reads our blog. So what does Twitter mean to you?
Follow me on Twitter.

Who’s Worried About Facebook? Not Twitter

nullOn Friday, Facebook released a series of upgrades to its platform, allowing developers access to many core functionalities, such as Facebook Video and Notes, and giving them the ability to integrate them into their applications. But it was the opening up of a Status API that got the most attention. Given that Twitter had rightfully rejected a $500 million offer from Facebook, it’s been perceived as a Twitter-killer. VentureBeat did a good job of explaining why the Facebook vs. Twitter meme was a case of severe hyperbole.

In reality the decision to give broader access to its status application programming interface (API) is a recognition by Facebook that status and presence are core to its future as a real-time web company. Facebook developers I spoke with explained that, by allowing third-party developers access to Status, Facebook is hoping to compete with Twitter, which has slowly started to steal developer mindshare away from other platforms. Read More about Who’s Worried About Facebook? Not Twitter