Yahoo game-changers for 2006

Yesterday I participated in a Yahoo management offsite at the spectacular Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Half Moon Bay. They invited two outsiders, myself and Om Malik, to come discuss the new ideas of 2006 with them. They asked what I thought would be the game-changers. They were interested not only in ways they could change the game on their competitors, but how a smaller upstart could be the Choice of a new generation and unseat them as king of whatever hills they’re king of.

Microsoft used to ask us to events like this, Google and Apple never have (except briefly while Amelio was in charge, but that went nowhere). Yahoo continues to impress as the exception to the rule of Silicon Valley. They don’t have the usual arrogance, they’re more inquisitive like the old Microsoft was. Refreshing.

So what did I talk about? Three things.

1. Of course I gave them an abbreviated Clone the Google API schpiel. No need to repeat it here. Search must become a developer platform. If you can’t make the current search engine do it, then hire a new team and build one that can.

2. BitTorrent. There’s no doubt that when we write the year-end pieces for 2006, BitTorrent is going to be at or near the top of the list of technologies that made a difference. Yahoo can make it two-way. Right now BT is largely serving as an (unwilling) channel of distribution for Hollywood, but now we have podcasting and videoblogging, and that stuff is just going to get bigger, and along with that the bandwidth bills for users will keep going up. Ordinary users should get the BitTorrent service for free (after all it doesn’t cost very much to provide) and Yahoo should charge advertisers to distribute their infomercials, ones that users subscribe to, willingly. This is the model for commercialization of the Internet as we go forward. It also is a game-changer on Google, which is going the DRM, appease-Hollywood sell-to-couch-potato approach. I said whereever you’re doing something to make another industry happy at the expense of users, switch polarity, immediately, and get on the side of the users. That in itself is the biggest game-change possible.

3. P2P webcasting. I wrote about this vaguely the other day, and no one apparently understood what I meant by Skype for webcasting. Come on guys, it’s pretty simple. Suppose we’re having a conversation, and I decide “Wow, this would be great for Scripting News, let’s do a webcast of this right now.” So I whip out my laptop, get onto the net (there’s wifi everywhere of course, heh) and launch my Yahoo Webcaster desktop app for the Mac. I choose New Webcast from the File menu. A window opens. There’s a button that says “Copy URL to clipboard.” I click it. Go over to my outliner, paste it into a post on Scripting News. “Tune into this webcast I’m about to do with Bull Mancuso about intellectual property and organized crime.” I highlight the word webcast and click on Add Link. Save. Then I go back to the Yahoo app and click Start. We talk for ten minutes, all the while people tune into the stream, which is managed via a realtime BitTorrent-like P2P connection. And of course when it’s all done it’s automatically archived to an MP3 and included in my RSS 2.0 feed for people who subscribe. If you’ve ever done a webcast, you know how much better this would be. And it’s ready to go, we know how to do all the bits.

PS: I’m a cheap date, probably too cheap. Today, to get me to cough up these ideas all you have to do is put me up in a swanky hotel with a Pacific Ocean view, and feed me. I sing for my dinner, so to speak.

24 responses to this post.

  1. That Bull Mancuso is up to so many things these days! ;-)

    > And of course when it’s all done it’s automatically archived to an MP3 and included in my RSS 2.0 feed for people who subscribe.

    And of course that MP3 is converted into a torrent and served as such… Will make it much easier for a Yahoo to back the idea when bandwidth will be contributed by the listeners…

    Reply

  2. [...] I hope that Dave Winer and Om Malik, when they attended Yahoo’s management retreat, didn’t let user advocacy slip from their list of game-changers for 2006. I repeat what I said in an earlier post: If companies like Yahoo want to continue to entice users to live more and more of their lives online, they need to be seen first and foremost as zealous protectors of the data they’re aggregating. Legality isn’t an issue here. It’s simple PR. Fight for me. tags: news(t) , yahoo(t) , google(t)   click (t) for Technorati tag search [...]

    Reply

  3. My suggestion is for Yahoo to “own” the “live web” or real time web. I want Yahoo to be the destination I go to find out what is happening now of interest to me in real time on the web. Link me to webcasts (audio,video,screencasts) happening now that map to my interests. This will be a game changer. The store and forward web is well covered. The live web needs similar attention.

    Reply

  4. I should point out, despite agreeing you with the clone-the-API schpiel, that Yahoo’s API has some really nice stuff which Google’s doesn’t.

    The keyword/tag extractor, in particular, is a *really* smart bit of hacking.

    Reply

  5. John, you do both. Give developers choice.

    Reply

  6. >John, you do both. Give developers choice.

    And aggregators… ;-)

    Reply

  7. Posted by Bob Phelps on January 26, 2006 at 4:41 pm

    I wonder what you have in mind when you write this:

    “Yahoo should charge advertisers to distribute their infomercials, ones that users subscribe to, willingly. ”

    Problem is that, at least in technical product shopping, the browsing itself is inherently active. The beauty of the web is that we edit and create our own infomercials assuming a reasonably well laid out website. In what realm do you see people having an interest in “infomercials” – music, Hollywood trailers?

    I’m sure you had something in mind here, but I can’t visualize it.

    BobP

    Reply

  8. Dave, have a look at GarageBand 3 and iChat. You set up your n-way conversation in iChat, you hit record in GarageBand, and it creates a multitrack recording of it for you with the speakers labelled. You can trim it, adjust levels ad effect, or just dump it out to mp3 straight away.

    Reply

  9. Kevin: Is that right? Where did I miss that? (If it’s Steve Jobs’ recent keynote, don’t bother it’s on the list) How is the quality? Maybe a reason to go back to iChat…

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  10. [...] To self: must get out and around the blogs more. From the comments section at Dave Winer’s blog. Dave, have a look at GarageBand 3 and iChat. You set up your n-way conversation in iChat, you hit record in GarageBand, and it creates a multitrack recording of it for you with the speakers labelled. You can trim it, adjust levels ad effect, or just dump it out to mp3 straight away. [...]

    Reply

  11. [...] Dave’s WordPress Blog » Yahoo game-changers for 2006 (tags: yahoo technology) [...]

    Reply

  12. [...] Dave’s WordPress Blog » Yahoo game-changers for 2006 Looks like Yahoo did a Search Champs Lite with Dave Winer and Om Malik. I hope no one called Dave an “edge case”. (tags: yahoo) Posted: 1/29/2006 by Nathan Weinberg in: [...]

    Reply

  13. [...] I’m giving a lunch talk at Yahoo on Friday in Santa Clara. For more information contact Chad Dickerson.  [...]

    Reply

  14. Maybe this is one for the 2008 calendar. Combine Yahoo’s relatively new RSS mobile alerts (http://www.russellbeattie.com/notebook/1008706.html) with the fact that they know (by virtue of the registration process) what type of cell phone you are using. Add into the mix that your phone will be aware of its location. 1 cup of serverside conversion of audio/video to something your phone or wifi enabled iPod can handle. Stir briskly, you have (among other things) an emergency broadcast system which could wake you out of bed at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Half Moon Bay were there a Tsunami. Makes 1-1,000,000,000 servings. Serve chilled.

    Reply

  15. [...] At the 109 Miles talk on Wednesday night, I was asked to suggest some ideas for new tech businesses, and I went through the list that I had recommended to Yahoo. One idea I should have mentioned but didn’t, is probably the most valuable and least glamorous. A web-based accounting app for families. Such a simple idea and so totally needed by millions of people, perhaps billions. Quicken is getting old, and it’s hard to set up and it isn’t accessible over the web. Then when that’s done, do one for small business. Along the way either get acquired by or acquire a bank to make it even easier for your users.   [...]

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  16. A web based accounting app would be sooo helpful. And imagine if banks and credit card companies and gas card companies all sent an email with each financial transaction? And you directed that email to this web-based accounting company – which then forwarded to your personal email address of course – they could track the transactions in real time.

    I’m sure Dave would want HTTP/RSS rather than SMTP/MIME, but I wouldn’t care – just give me the bits.

    Reply

  17. Posted by Gaetan Voyer-Perrault on March 14, 2006 at 9:06 am

    Some type of Open-Source or licensed web-based Personal Accounting would be a God-send. I’ve been using Quicken for year (’98), but I’m really tiring of it. They’ve implemented a sunsetting “feature” on accessing web downloads (which is complete garbage), but I can’t really find any feature I like that would make me want to upgrade.

    The program need not do anything fancy to start. I simply want to track account balances, categorize spending, schedule transaction and consolidate with my account statements (should read existing Quicken or Money files). Maybe this would best be done in Canada where we only have 5-7 major banks (depends who you ask), and this kind of software could be offered by an alliance of a few of them.

    If this program got off the ground, it could offer integration with existing web services. My bank allows for e-mail money transfers, integration of online bill payments would be wonderful and having my Paypal (or similar) account listed alongside my current accounts would be a god-send for consumers and online businesses.

    Do we know anyone who’s already doing this?

    Reply

  18. [...] That’s one of this year’s game-changers.   [...]

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  19. FWIW, you can get most of the way there with QuickTime Broadcaster. All the way if you’re on a multicast-enabled network.

    You can generate a unicast or multicast stream of any audio you want to capture in real time, and have a file output of the same.

    Reply

  20. [...] Marc Canter says Bill Gates learned to say microformats just in time for his Mix 06 talk. Imagine if he had learned to say BitTorrent. Amazon is leading the way, busting through as the first major Internet company to embrace BitTorrent. It’s time for them all to follow suit, there are lots of non-infringing applications, like podcasting, for example. BitTorrent is rational technology, it’s long past time for the technology industry to stop pandering to the entertainment industry. Bravo Amazon!  [...]

    Reply

  21. [...] BTW, I think we need to do an open-to-all S3 developers camp, in April, in Berkeley (of course). Okay, we could do it in Seattle. Neutral ground, no fee, non-exclusive, we get to ask straight tough questions. S3 could fulfill many of my dreams for the game-changers of 2006 (look closely and you’ll see one of them ready to check off the list). It’s a big deal, but where are the patents? I like that it has a fee structure. Will they fight cloners? There’s already a Ruby implementation of the back-end. We’re very close to having built-in support for the OPML Editor, and I’ve got a few apps designed already. Like I said, it’s a big deal. Or it could be.  [...]

    Reply

  22. [...] Early this year, I put my stake in the ground and said: “There’s no doubt that when we write the year-end pieces for 2006, BitTorrent is going to be at or near the top of the list of technologies that made a difference.” [...]

    Reply

  23. [...] this for quite some time. I first wrote about it in the beginning of 2006, part of a series of feature requests for Yahoo. I wonder when Ustream came online? I first heard about it over the weekend. Over on Jeff [...]

    Reply

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