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Books & Articles I wrote.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


GData - another company creates a distributed protocol

Update : I was maybe a little hypercritical of what Google are doing. Don't post after a long day and a screaming 3yr old! I do still wonder though whether a Google + Community driven effort would have been a better suit. I still don't see their competitors going for this, but if they let the community go wild with it, then it may have a chance of impacting outside of just Google.

I don't believe companies can now single handedly create successful web service protocols that are to operated in a openly distributed fashion. RSS and Atom were community driven and so no-one owned them - the result is that most major companies supported them ... after most of the community had decided to long beforehand (sure, i'll glady give Microsoft as a good example as they've done great in their support after a slow start).

But now Google has GData.

My general view is that company specific protocols will nowadays find it very hard. RSS works well because no-one owned it. I find it hard to imagine Google's competitors adopting it and more likely to create something else. It will work well for Google, but as their desire is to organize information globally, how they can do that with a closed protocol is beyond me.

They also have a "Google-specific authentication system" when there are already a load of emerging protocols out there too (not to mention 8000 ways of logging on to various services as it is).

If Microsoft had done this they would be hammered in the media.

War of the syndication formats? I think this may be the start of Collaborative v Company Driven web service protocols. Expect to see a backlash from the people creating data and schema and Google, trying to control it from the centre outwards.

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The dead web - Google + Archive.org?

This was something i posted on an old blog some years back, but recent discussions have made me re-post just in case there is some new opinion!

Over the last 2 months I have been conducting research almost exclusively on the web.
What has really became obvious to me is the amout of dead material out there.

From web pages, that contain out of date information, to whole sites that stopped running years ago with no indication, to projects that seem to have been in flux for years, businesses that stopped trading years back and left their site on and even stuff written by people whom i'm almost read to email, only to find the passed away a couple of years back.

So is a new web needed to get us out of this? Can we see Google work with Archive.org and create a diary of the web? A time-aware searcheable web which allows some kind of time scale on the information out there, without requiring everyone to annotate their documents! Could i say "Only search content added/updated in the last year" ?

I hope so, because frankly it's getting ridiculous. 10 years ago i did some research on solitons for a Physics paper i wrote. Today some of that material returns seelingly as relevant as ever despite things continuing to evolve over the last decade. My File Exists article on 15 seconds at http://www.15seconds.com/issue/990401.htm is now over 5 years old, but still comes 8th in Google when i type "FileExists".

I don't know how many replies i have had indicating some academic moved on 3 years ago, or some project research was finished, or even links to other sites that closed their doors, re-organized or just changed their content to make it completely useless.

Could a hyped up archive.org challenge something like Google? I think so. Coudl we "Diff The Web" to make the content more relevant - noting that getting dublin core on everything is highly unlikely.

Anyone got answers?

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