Making Sense of the Noise

The Internet and everything can be a lot of white noise to some. Understanding it can be a problem for people that don’t understand the technology. Yet it is this technology that is shaping our future and that of our children.

This would have to be the best video that I have ever seen. It embodies nearly every aspect of where we have been, where we are and where we are going. Sure it has been floating around for a while now but I think it is great, inspiring and very well done. I have seen it about 10 times now, but you need to watch it more than once; the pace is quick.

I am not saying that it explains everything or that it has any answers for you. Yet it might send you on a path of discovery or just help to put things into perspective. The concepts that this video encompasses is the basis of RSS, Web 2.0, content, delivery, community and heaps more. The implications of the principles that this video depicts are wide and far reaching. While I think I understand what is happening around me I still learned a few things by watching it.

It is time to rethink a few things…

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Consumers are in Charge, Got It?

Pete Cashmore said this today in relation to the fact that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences pulled all the clips of the Oscars from YouTube:

“Here’s the problem for you, content providers: you’re no longer in charge. The consumer is. And they’ll watch your content where and when they want, or they won’t bother watching it at all.”

YouTube Viewers Would NOT Like to Thank the Academy

Totally 100% agree, now how long do think till they actually get what that means? Right now I am not seeing that they do or are even close to even knowing how it can affect them. Nice one Pete.

StumbleUpon Video… Yep It’s Good

StumbleUpon Video LogoStumbleUpon, is a great service that allows users to install a toolbar in their browser and “stumble” around the web. But rather than being random it sends you to sites that are A: Tailored to your preferences and interests and B: Where you go is constantly adapted and modified according to what you like and don’t like. The result is custom made surfing, good stuff. And them came video.

StumbleUpon is approaching 1.6 million users, most are fans. Although I have had my reservations. Now they are sure to add more to this number with the addition of video. You can log into the video page using your StumbleUpon log-in. Logging in means that your history is remembered just like with the original and the results get more in tune with your taste over the time you use the service. Although you do not have to log in to use the service, once you clear your cookies your results are reset.

The videos are sourced from YouTube and Google Video and I am sure that more services will follow. You can choose from different “channels” ranging from The Arts to Video Games. Watch a video and see which other users liked it as well, plus you can watch from their favourite videos as well. Can’t remember a great video that you watched? Have a look at your own history; what you have watched and if you liked it or not. There are options to share a video and send it to someone straight from the page. In my opinion there should a link that you can cut and paste into whatever communication that you wish to use, such as Instant Messaging.

The other thing that shines with StumbleUpon Video is the fact that you stop moving the mouse, everything but the video showing dims down giving you that “Cinema” feeling. Tops, I can’t wait to try it out tonight… That’s the kid in me. Nice touch though and attention to detail. There are no ads no commercials (so far). The fact that you don’t have to go anywhere and great content is “pushed” to you is the best thing of all. All making for a great user experience.

I agree with //engtech that to go to Google Video and YouTube is tedious in so much as the signal to noise ratio is way to high. Meaning that you have to sift through hours of rubbish to find gems. That has been much more the case as time goes on, if I ever see two teenage girls lip-syncing some crappy song again I’ll scream. With StumbleUpon Video that is hopefully a thing of the past. This is the cream of the crop from YouTube and Google Video in one place and not only that; as you watch and rate it, it gets better!

This is a sure winner. Video is the hottest thing on the Internet right now. People want this type of experience. Users like me avoid YouTube for all the rubbish but this makes it worthwhile and I am sure that my usage is going to go up because of it. The best ways to watch on-line video to date.

StubbleUpon Video Screenshot

Project

I am thinking of taking on a personal project. I say thinking because it is a one year commitment to something and I won’t take it on unless I will complete it.

I have read a bit about people that do a photo a day for a year of themselves, or something over a specific time-line. So I was thinking what about a photo a day for a year of anything. I have enjoyed taking photo’s generally as long as I have had a camera. I would not call myself a “photographer” or anything like that because I don’t think I am. But a photo a day for a year would definitely tell a story.

So I was thinking a photo every day then post it on Flickr, it would roll through the RSS feed in the side bar over that time but would be on Flickr for all to see. If I get really adventurous I could paste them altogether into a video and post it on YouTube. But that would be getting ahead of myself and assume that I would finish it.

The biggest challenge for me would not be taking the photo but doing it every day and something a bit different each day. I was thinking of all the ways I could do that. For example have headings such as; friends, love, family, nature, hate, loss, travel etc. But limit “topics” so that I would cover different aspects of my life. Similar to what Yahoo! is doing with their time capsule at present (worth checking out by the way) in regards to categories. I think it would then definitely tell a story and would be interesting to look back on. So I am more for it as a test for myself than anything and the sense of accomplishment that it will give me.

But I will flesh out the idea and come to some conclusions before I decide but I have almost convinced myself that I can do it. I never start something and don’t finish it. Total commitment or none at all.

I know it has been done before but hey, not by me. So has anyone else done it or in the process of doing it? Anyone want to join me?

Google Acquires YouTube

YouTube LogoThis is hot off the press, I am listening to the conference call press release as I write this. It was announced today that Google has indeed acquired YouTube.

It has been reported that once finalised YouTube will retain it’s unique brand identity. YouTube willGoogle Logo continue to be based in San Bruno, CA, and all YouTube employees will remain with the company. There is a lot of talk in the conference call press release about the advertising potential of YouTube and the reach of the YouTube brand.

Eric Schmidt, Chief Executive Officer of Google:

“The YouTube team has built an exciting and powerful media platform that complements Google’s mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,”

and

“Our companies share similar values; we both always put our users first and are committed to innovating to improve their experience. Together, we are natural partners to offer a compelling media entertainment service to users, content owners and advertisers.”

Chad Hurley, CEO and Co-Founder of YouTube:

“Our community has played a vital role in changing the way that people consume media, creating a new clip culture. By joining forces with Google, we can benefit from its global reach and technology leadership to deliver a more comprehensive entertainment experience for our users and to create new opportunities for our partners…”

This was a stock deal and the final number of Google shares that will be distributed is yet to be finalised.

“The number of Google shares to be issued in the transaction will be determined based on the 30-day average closing price two trading days prior to the completion of the acquisition.”

Also announced are new relationships with big brands like SONY, Universal and CBS along with existing deals with the likes of Warner. The aim is that these partners will be to track their content with digital fingerprinting and taging. We have been advised to expect keyword and content searches within one month. As to how these partners will be involved with YouTube was not disclosed. I also thought it ironic considering Universal’s opinion of YouTube.

“…Universal Music Group has taken a rather dim view of YouTube’s activities. CEO Doug Morris has painted YouTube and MySpace with the copyright-infringer brush, saying that they “owe us millions of dollars” for infringement.”

Perhaps they are going to make it up to them, a sweetener perhaps?

Integration of powerful searching within YouTube is touted as one of the benefits of a relationship of YouTube and Google. This was repeated numerous times in the press release conference call and it appears that it will be one of the priorities in the development of YouTube.

Google’s response as to why they have acquired YouTube when they already have video: Google video is doing very well and maintains good partnerships, volume and content that will be enhanced with YouTube. Added was the fact that YouTube offered a more social community that was being done in a way that was unique and open to further development. This hints that it may come to pas that YouTube content will be available on Google Video. The attraction of the social aspect of YouTube is one that certainly appeals to Google as they have executed social networking quite poorly in the past.

In the last twenty four hours the two parties have formed a long list of potential integrated changes, these ideas were not made public. However, advertising systems and the expertise that Google will bring to the deal in this regard was mentioned repeatedly. Google’s advertising platform would create a new model for content delivery and that video offered an excellent opportunity for advertisers. It was clarified that much experimentation is required in regards to advertising strategies and making YouTube a profitable business. Don’t look now but this clearly states that we can expect the advertising to be far more aggressive on YouTube with this acquisition that previously. But will Google do it right? Time will tell.

When asked where is the bulk of profit was expected to come from after the deal has been finalised: No comment.

When asked what the expected revenue share or outlook as to partners benefiting from the deal: No comment.

When asked as to the valuation of the deal: No comment.

Copyright came up only once during the press conference. It was asked what influence copyright had on the acquisition for Google. The stock standard answer was regurgitated from both parties. That they respect the rights holders rights and they will focus on it with the added resources that Google brings, working with content owners to protect their work. Nothing further. They also “protected” both Google video and YouTube under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The act is a large document but they are referring to the section that protects them as hosts of user submitted material. That means that the business or host of the material is not liable but the infringer of copyright is, that is the person that put it there. This response seems to suggest that the status quo will remain and that content will not be torn down. Having said that, if it was taken down I doubt that there would be much left.

It is reported by Google that the deal will close within this fourth quarter as all approvals have been meet and there is nothing preventing the deal going through.

YouTube has long said that it is not up for sale and that they are not in talks, when questioned about this they responded by saying that they wanted YouTube to remain independent and develop it to be better for users in the way that they wanted. Google they believe and the structure of this deal will enable them to “…sharpen focus”, and the combined experience and resources of Google would give them what they needed to accomplish this goal.

When asked about the integration of Google with YouTube they responded very strongly that the brand “YouTube” would remain as it was a known brand that brought with it power and strength. It was this that added value to the community, users, and advertisers, said Google. I suggest you to add to that advertising potential and with it money.

In closing I was taken by the phrase referring to the deal that this was:

“…next step in the evolution of the Internet.”

It might be Google’s next step and at this time both parties are quite excited about the potential. But with the rather large stick that Google wields, I would suggest that YouTube has changed forever in ways that only time will tell. according to the press release, expect something within the next month. But it might not all be good.

Will Google Buy YouTube?

Rumours are flying that Google and YouTube are talking turkey. Or is it just hype?

Google is probably one of the few Internet heavy-weights capable of pulling it off. The 1.6 billion dollar price tag is out of my reach, but not Google. In addition to the price tag you would have to assess your ability to pay the 2 million dollar bandwidth bill every month. So in part it makes sense when Google has the infrastructure and the capital to prop up YouTube. However, there are other considerations that any investor is going to have to think about before signing on the dotted line, such as profitability and copyright problems that seem to follow YouTube like the plague.

To say that YouTube is:

…notoriously unprofitable…

Seems a little misguided as you need to be trying to make money in order to be labeled unprofitable. I have long maintained that YouTube is making poor effort on this front, great for users not much good for paying the bills. Without a doubt YouTube has huge potential for profit and marketing opportunity. With over 100,000 downloads per day, excluding straight “hits” to the homepage; there has to be the potential to be profitable. With Google’s extensive advertising base they have the tools, knowledge and skills to make it happen. Perhaps where there has been no substantial business model Google sees “virgin” opportunity and dollars, maybe enough to fight off the lawyers that will turn up.

The copyright problems that are plaguing YouTube at present are a definite deterrent to any potential investor as they would inherit these problems. We all know that there is bugger all on YouTube that is not copyright in one way or another and with record companies saying things like:

“…Universal Music Group has taken a rather dim view of YouTube’s activities. CEO Doug Morris has painted YouTube and MySpace with the copyright-infringer brush, saying that they “owe us millions of dollars” for infringement.”

Investors are going to be more than cautious about snapping up YouTube if it means inheriting a lawsuit for millions of dollars. Having said that they also inherit a deal with Times Warner that could lead to bigger and better things. I’d love to put that into perspective but the details are still a big secret.

So rumour it might be at present, but that is my take on what it all might mean and only time will tell as to if Google will shake on any deal with YouTube.

Check out The Global Geek Podcast this week as we touch on YouTube and it’s future.

Another Potentially Stupid Statement

I could not pass this up, the guys that are at the wheel of MySpace are really quite full of their success and are trying very, very hard to look stupid. Although this statement from the CEO of MySpace might not be on the scale of his colleague, he runs the risk of being wrong – in a big way.

This from Mashable:

“News Corp. CEO and chairman Rupert Murdoch says that he expects MySpace Video to overtake YouTube in 60 to 70 days. The statements, made at the Communacopia XV conference in New York…”

Now that is a big call. Sure not entirely beyond possibility but a big call all the same. If he is wrong it just makes him look stupid. He should have read CEO Tip Number 1 before sprouting that statement.

The statement was made with reference to a YouTube like service being introduced to MySpace. As I have said before I think that users have made their choice and it will take something really special and big to make a difference. Good luck Mr Murdoch… I hope you don’t end up with egg on your face. Which given my opinion is highly likely.

Mashable has the take on the whole statistics being very confusing and contradictory, so only time will tell in the long run.