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Panpa Bulletin : May 2006
"There is a lot of junk and a lot of redundancy on the web," said Rakesh Mathur, ex- plaining the thinking behind Webaroo, a software technol- ogy that lets you view 'the es- sential internet' without being online, reports John Markoff in The New York Times. Rakesh is a co-founder of Webaroo, along with Brad Husick, who said, "People are addicted to search, but there are lots of times when internet access is inconvenient." Webaroo excerpts just 40 of the internet's 1,000,000 giga- bytes of data, or "a reasonable sample of the information that might otherwise yield thou- sands or millions of answers in a Google or Yahoo search." Webaroo's designers note that most web searchers never make it further than the first page or two of results from a typical query anyway.The serv- ice is not available for Macin- tosh, but if you are a Windows user you can download a beta of the software. Webaroo have announced a deal with Acer, a leading maker of personal computers to begin selling laptops pre- loaded with Webaroo and 40 gigs of the web. In addition to offering sub- sets of relatively permanent internet information, the sys- tem will update itself when the laptop is connected to the internet, so that the user can use Webaroo to capture recent informationfromawebsitethat changes frequently, like a news site, for later viewing offline. In addition, Webaroo will of- fer slices of web information on special subjects, like news, sports or about such major cit- ies as New York, London, and Mumbai. From Cool News of the Day, Fairfax Digital now has access to all four major mo- bile carriers, with its recent agreement with Optus to distribute news and infor- mation content across the Optus Zoo mobile portal. Mike Game, chief operat- ing officer at Fairfax Digital said, "Today's agreement with Optus Zoo is a mile- stone for Fairfax Digital. theage.com.au and smh. com.au are now the only newspaper brands to cover all four major carriers. "As important is this comes at a time when mobile content adoption and consump- tion is growing throughout Australia as 3G technology becomes more prevalent." The content now avail- able via Optus Zoo is 100 per cent controlled and dis- tributed by Fairfax Digital. A sub-set of theage.com.au and smh.com.au, the Optus Zoo content will encompass the latest local and interna- tional news, business, sport, opinion, entertainment, travel and weather. Later this year, Fairfax Digital will be expanding the content available on Optus Zoo to include a full suite of 3G content plus two of its sports sites. Chris Lane, group director, products & delivery, Optus Consumer said, "With up to 100 new stories added each day, Optus Zoo will experi- ence the same update fre- quencyastheage.com.auand smh.com.au themselves. As such, Optus Zoo customers will have access to Australia's most independent and cred- ible news and information, anywhere, anytime." Fairfax Digital content is currently also distributed across Vodafone's 2G and 3G network, the Hutchinson 3 network and Telstra's 2G, 3G andi-modeplatforms. "Blogs by themselves just aren't that interesting," says Jim Nail of Cymfony, commenting on what makes Squidoo something else again, in a New York Times article by Bob Tedeschi. "But if you combine them with other features and keep them to specific topics, you could make the idea of consumer-gen- erated media even more mainstream than it is now." You might also make it a lot easi- er to write and maintain web pages dedicated to your favourite subjects. About 21,000 such pages - or 'lenses,' as they're known in Squidooian, have been created since Seth Godin and his team launched Squidoo, in beta, last December. Squidoo is now out of beta mode, and its fast growth is at least partly because a 'lens' is simpler to write and maintain than is a traditional blog. You build a Squidoo lens, lego-style, snapping together various modules of links, text, pictures, and videos, for ex- ample. It literally takes just a few min- utes to get started - or a lot longer, if you get hooked.You can also make modules of RSS feeds, Amazon and eBay - all of which update themselves automatically. That makes it easy for the 'lensmaster' to keep a Squidoo page fresh without touching it, which of course helps keep visitors coming back to see what's new. It is also key to how Squidoo makes money. Suppose you were to create a Squidoo lens about your favourite band. YoucanincludemodulesofAmazonlinks, where their CDs are sold, or eBay, where their artifacts are being auctioned, for ex- ample. If a visitor buys something as a re- sult, Squidoo collects a commission, typi- cally 5 to 15 percent, and gives half to the author whobroughtabout thesale. Each Squidoo lens also carries Ads by Google.Squidoolensmastershave the op- tion of keeping the proceeds, or donating some or all of the proceeds to charity. Go- din said a typical lensmaster "might make a buck a day, while the bad ones might be apenny.It'snotalotuntilyouconsideryou canhave100lensesifyouwant." So far, Squidoo has attracted more than 650,000 visitors and Jim Nail thinks it's a wave of the future because "credibility is granted not by some media mogul, but by the collective opinion of consumers." From Cool News of the Day. The new thinking in web searching Fairfax joins the zoo Don’t blog: squidoo! Financial Times offers one-week free web trial In a bid to attract new subscribers to its online entity FT.com, the Financial Times has launched a raft of new online content while simultaneously dropping its subscription barrier for a seven- day promotion. Much of the content on FT.com is usually only available by an annual subscription of at least 75 Pounds. Sponsored by AT&T, the free access week opened the five-year archive of news, features and detailed FT reports, desktop and RSS news alerts and portfolio tools. Additional interactive content was commissioned for the week. The site was guest edited by high-profile US business leaders including investor Wilbur Ross and James Cayne, chairman and CEO of Bear Stearns. There was also a Q&A with businessman Richard Branson and podcasts of the Lex column and FT arts critics. "Our guest editors, the first ever podcast of the famous Lex column - together with the live Q&As and podcast on the arts -- gave new visitors to FT.com an indication of what they have been missing," said Simon Targett, editor of FT.com. This program matches a success program The Wall Street Journal has run for the past two years, where they ran a free access week. The first promotion in November 2004 attracted 19,000 new readers and 90 per cent of trial users later signed up for a paid subscription. From journalism.co.uk. 51 | PaNPa bULLETIN May 2006