November 14, 2006

Two from O'Reilly Radar

Two interesting posts via Tim O'Reilly:

  • O'Reilly quotes Sarah Milstein, co-author and editor of Google: The Missing Manual about the State of Search:
    Assuming search winds up lasting 100+ years, it's still in its infancy. Still, it surprises me that the presentation of Google's main search results pages barely changed in the two years from one edition of the book to the next. The main difference is that now, onebox results with specialized information appear more frequently (though randomly) at the top of results listing. At this point, I'm ready for a better results interface.


    Moreover, it's no longer clear that Google is a search company. They're certainly an ad-brokering network (I'm sure everyone saw the announcement last week that they're reaching into newspaper ads now, with plans for basically all major media). And they're a provider of (mostly) Web-based productivity tools of all kinds. But a lot of those activities seem to have little to do with their mission of "organizing the world's information and making it universally accessible and useful." They do seem to have organized the world's top search experts. But as a customer, I'm not sure I'm feeling the benefit of that in my everyday searching.
    And quite a few more interesting points, mostly about Google.

  • Web 2.0 Principles and Best Practices is a post about a book of the same name prepared by O'Reilly and John Musser.
    Web 2.0 is here today—and yet its vast, disruptive impact is just beginning. More than just the latest technology buzzword, it's a transformative force that's propelling companies across all industries towards a new way of doing business characterized by user participation, openness, and network effects.

    What does Web 2.0 mean to your company and products? What are the risks and opportunities? What are the proven strategies for successfully capitalizing on these changes?

    O'Reilly Radar's Web 2.0 Principles and Best Practices lays out the answers—the why, what, who, and how of Web 2.0. It's an indispensable guide for technology decision-makers—executives, product strategists, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders—who are ready to compete and prosper in today's Web 2.0 world.
    There's an excerpt here. Sounds interesting, doesn't it? Well the pdf will cost you us$375 and print+online us$395. The comments on the post are quite interesting, mostly about how the whole Web 2.0 thing is just a marketing bandwagon invented by O'Reilly.

    O'Reilly responds:
    I'm sorry that folks reading this blog are upset about the price -- it's a good sign that you guys want to read what we have to say -- but those commenters who noted that you aren't the target audience are exactly right. The document is targeted at the Forrester/Gartner customer, and believe me, the report is cheap by those standards.

    One of the things that we've noticed at O'Reilly is that because of our exclusive focus on the "alpha geeks," we tend to abandon markets as they mature -- just as the money starts coming in with corporate adoption. We're trying to pitch more products to this audience, so we don't remain solely early stage. It's still a work in progress.

    That being said, those of you who said we'd have done much better at, say $99, might well have been right. Pricing is always a bit of a crapshoot, where you're trading off volume against price.

    And those of you who are looking for something free, please note that my What is Web 2.0? article has been read by hundreds of thousands of people. (And Steve (the first commenter), you clearly need to read that article, since it makes clear that Web 2.0 is NOT Ajax.)

    It's an interesting idea. Good information costs money and if you really need to know what somebody has to say, you may very well be willing to pay a lot of money for the privelege. Kinda like scholarly publishing used to be...
More from Tim O'Reilly, maybe later today or tomorrow.

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