Second Life Going Open Source

Wow. Linden Labs, the owner, creator of online gaming smash Second Life have announced that they’ll be placing their front end software, The Viewer, under an open-source GPL license.
Second Life Going Open Source
We think it’s a pretty brave move, which Linden Labs will lead to innovation in the front end – highly likely, given the passionate and highly technical nature of a large number of their players, or Residents, as they call them.

The move marks Linden Lab’s continued commitment to building the Second Life Grid as an open, extensible platform for development, rather than a closed proprietary system.

Linden Labs are right to recognise that their income comes from the $9.95 subscription fee, not the software that is used to access the ‘world.’

Going open source was inevitable and vital in the view of Linden Labs, as CTO Cory Ondrejka explained, “Open sourcing is the most important decision we’ve made in seven years of Second Life development. While it is clearly a bold step for us to proactively decide to open source our code, it is entirely in keeping with the community-creation approach of Second Life.”

Second Life’s open source code
Linden Labs blog entry

Google Zeitgeist 2006 – Social Software Rules

Google have just released their top searches in 2006 for their normal search and news service.

Social software rules the roost in their standard search with BeBo beating MySpace and video sharing sites also doing very well.

We find it amazing that people use search engines to search for a site, when all they needed to do was to type .com after it to gain direct access to the site, but ho, hum. The only comfort that we can draw from this is that at least people aren’t entering in the whole domain for the search, as many used to.

What are we to think of the top search in the news – Paris Hilton? Who knows, and we guess we can’t ask her as she doesn’t call any more, after that Oscars party at Soho House in LA.

Here’s the full list … – Top Searches in 2006
1. bebo
2. myspace
3. world cup
4. metacafe
5. radioblog
6. wikipedia
7. video
8. rebelde
9. mininova
10. wiki

Google News – Top Searches in 2006
1. paris hilton
2. orlando bloom
3. cancer
4. podcasting
5. hurricane katrina
6. bankruptcy
7. martina hingis
8. autism
9. 2006 nfl draft
10. celebrity big brother 2006

Google Zeitgeist

MySpace Mobile Announced For Cingular

MySpace Mobile Announced For CingularMySpace and Cingular Wireless have pressed the flesh and announced an exclusive partnership to offer enhanced MySpace functionality to all Cingular mobile users.

The deal, MySpace’s biggest-ever mobile partnership, gives users on Cingular’s network the ability to post photos and blogs, access and edit MySpace profiles, view and add friends and send and receive MySpace messages.

The functionality is provided through a downloadable MySpace Mobile application for Cingular handsets, which lets users select photos taken or stored on their mobile devices and then upload them to their MySpace profile.

Fearful of yet more law suits from The Man, MySpace has already pointed out that the same terms of service apply to the mobile service, with inappropriate content and copyrighted material strictly verboten.

Cingular users will be able to read and reply to their MySpace messages as well as view and manage friend requests (let’s hope the interface is an improvement on the hideous full web version).

MySpace Mobile Announced For CingularMySpace Mobile also lets users post to their MySpace blogs when they’re on the move, as well as add friends to a contact list for quick bookmarking.

All this fun won’t come for free though, with the service charging a $2.99 per month premium (plus standard data usage charges, which could turn out to be considerable if the user isn’t on an unlimited data deal).

Back in March, Cingular and MySpace first teamed up to create the MySpace Mobile Alerts service, which sends out text alerts to mobiles when the user receives a MySpace message or update.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the service has already notched up 75 million alerts which suggests the new service should be a veritable cash-spinner.


MySpace to Kick Off Sex Offenders

MySpace to Kick Off Sex OffendersMySpace has announced that they will be scanning the user accounts on the service, deleting those of registered sex offenders.

They’re teaming up with Sentinel Tech Holding Corp to create Sentinel Safe, going even further to block convicted sex offenders from accessing the site.

They’re using all publicly available sex offender databases, converting them into a real-time searchable system, which MySpace’s Chief Security Officer, Hemanshu Nigam labeled, “The creation of this first-of-its-kind real-time searchable database technology is a significant step to keep our members as safe as possible.”

Shockingly there’s 550,000 people on these registers, which will be compared against the 320,000 accounts that are currently being signup daily now. It will also compare against the 135m accounts that already exist.

MySpace to Kick Off Sex OffendersMySpace has had to juggle with the fear of parents that their children are making themselves targets for unwelcome attention from those wishing to do harm to them.

John Cardillo, CEO of Sentinel Tech said “Before todays announcement, no efficient method existed to identify convicted sex offenders online,” which given the work done by Kevin Poulsen of Wired, when he created a perl script to do a very similar thing to what is being announced today. His work resulted in the arrest of Andrew Lubrano, a sex offender.

As the NYTimes points out,

The system, by MySpace’s admission, is not fool-proof. If registered sex offenders sign up but do not give their real names, physical attributes, locations or post their real picture, they could elude detection.

We assume that given the news, many people within the affected category will be deleting their accounts sharpish. It will be interesting to see how many accounts disappear.

Google Buys JotSpot Wiki Company: The Why

Google Buys JotSpot Wiki Company: The WhyGoogle has bought Palo Alto, CA-based Wiki/collaborative working company, JotSpot for an undisclosed amount.

With this move Google continues its habit of buying companies that produce high-quality, hosted Web-based application, before the rest of the market realises that they should be getting involved with it. JotSpot was founded in 2004 by co-founders Joe Kraus and Graham Spencer.

JotSpot is a king amoung Wikis with a very easy to use AJAX-driven interface, providing incredibly smooth editing. A large leap from where most Wikis are, which are clumsy text command driven beasts that require the mastering of strange syntax’s to get working.

JotSpot was built by some of the best known names in the AJAX business, including Digital-Lifestyles chum Alex Russell, one of the people behind the increasingly popular Dojo toolkit.

Google Buys JotSpot Wiki Company: The WhyWith the release of JotSpot 2.6 back in May this year, making “editing is as fluid and natural as reading,” by using AJAX components wrapped into a Dojo widget.

Wikis provide the ability for many people to edit information on Web pages, and generally for the editing to be carried out by anyone. The philosophy behind the Wiki is the sharing of a collective knowledge. The best known example is Wikipedia, where anyone can start a page on Wikipedia about any subject with the knowledge that they have on that subject, this can then later be added to and amended by those who also have supplementary information on it.

Google Buys JotSpot Wiki Company: The Why

Not Just Wikis – JotSpot Tracker
JotSpot isn’t just about Wikis, it’s about sharing information live on the Internet. Released at the end of last year (Dec 2005), JotSpot Tracker give users real-time editing of spreadsheets on the Internet, without the need for Excel.

Watching the video they made available when they integrated it into Salesforce, will give you some idea of the power the idea, and how components like this will make Google the online working company that Microsoft is trying to be with its Windows Live product.


PICNIC06 Review: A Very Biased Report

PICNIC06 Review: A Very Biased ReportSo, there I was at the first ever PICNIC – a cross media conference taking place in Amsterdam last week…

Highlights included John Underkoffler, Minority Report advisor, demonstrating his gestural interface technology. You had to be there to appreciate it…

Craig(slist) Newmark came across as really caring about his users and not wanting to sell out. He answers customer service emails and takes down unwanted content. He’s more interested in making his website run faster than Web 2 point doh!…

Marc Canter told us about OpenID – an open standard that will enable Net users to have one login account for all the websites that use OpenID. Cool! He also vigorously pushed his new, open source, Digital Lifestyle Aggregator software. He’s a performer.

PICNIC06 Review: A Very Biased ReportIn a break, Marc and I talked around my (Kendra like) pet subjects of ‘service clouds’ and ‘user-centric computing’. If you can have an open API for IDs then why not have one for dating or addresses or photos or anything? Hence we see more ‘mashups’ using these open APIs. Doesn’t it seem that many websites will end up being portals to these ‘service clouds’?

The ‘Web 2.0’ travel session promised much but was really a ‘let’s save the posterior of KLM’, the sponsor (ahem). If we add a blog, wiki, forum or whatever Web 2.0 thingy to our site, will you buy more tickets from us? I proposed that people just wanted the best deal and are using price comparison websites to find them and, oh, that brands were dead. I think that last part was the hardest bit for the panel to swallow – the Dutch are very loyal to their national airline.

Tune in for PICNIC06 Review: concluding part on Friday.


AOL Launches ‘MySpace’ For Extreme Sports Types

AOL Launches 'MySpace' For Extreme Sports TypesYo! Boom Boom! AOL’s produced a book* new ‘Action Sports On Demand’ website designed for skateboarders, snowboarders and other action sports athletes.

Their new ‘extreme’ site is being billed as a “MySpace for 12-34 year-old male BMX riders and snowboarders,” letting sporty types send in their own videos for sharing.

According to AOL, visitors to the site will also be able to look up action sports events, equipment and athletes, while skateboarders and snowboarders can swap tips and look up local info using AOL’s instant messaging and blogging tools.

Named after the company’s Los Angeles location, the venture is a joint operation between AOL and video production company Fusion Entertainment.

AOL Launches 'MySpace' For Extreme Sports TypesTaking a sniff around the suitably “yoot” style website, we clicked on the ‘About Us’ section, only to be greeted with one of those really annoying, pretentious dictionary-style definitions:
Main Entry: lat·i·tude
Function: noun
Pronunciation: ‘la-t&-“tüd, -“tyüd
1 angular distance from some specified circle or plane of reference
2 : freedom of action or choice

Yeah, whatever, AOL.

AOL Launches 'MySpace' For Extreme Sports TypesSpots! Yeah! Rad!
Back to the site – which is still in beta – there are currently three extreme sports options on offer: Skate, BMX and FMX (which seems to involve motorcyclists flying through the air upside down).

Billed as ‘coming soon’ are new sections entitled, ‘Spots,’ ‘Gear,’ Water,’ ‘Snow,’ and ‘More’ (we’ve no idea what Spots means, but we’re sure the kids will be waaaay down with it. Whatever it is.)

In an interview with Reuters, CEO Jeff Howe bigged up the MySpace-esque values of his new website: “Our whole focus is blending traditional media values with … social networks, instant messaging, blogs and wireless.”

The full site is expected to roll out “later in the summer.”

(*‘book’ is used to mean ‘good’ amongst the hip kids after they realised that the predictive text of some phones spelt out ‘book’ instead of ‘cool.’)