Earlier this week, Google released an add-on to G-mail designed to compete with Facebook and Twitter by providing a social interface similar to both. They call it Google Buzz, and already there is quite a bit of Internet buzz surrounding its release.
Most agree that this service is not going to be a Facebook or Twitter killer, and many are comparing it to Google Wave. Wave is the Google service that created so much interest for a while, then seemed to recede into the background as other tech stories emerged. Wave may yet be a factor in collaboration, and many people do like it very much.
Google Buzz is a much simpler approach than Wave in that it basically tries to imitate social networking as it exists now, while Wave is trying to create a new model of computing by integrating e-mail, chat and so on. It will be interesting to see how both evolve over time.
* The Hollywood Reporter ran a story this week revealing that the Super Bowl this year was the most watched TV show in our country's history. The former title owner was the finale of M*A*S*H, the long-running CBS show. No comment yet from Hawkeye or Radar on losing the title.
* In the This Could Be Cool department, a company called zoomMediaPlus has announced a Secure Digital or SD card adapter for the Apple iPhone. SD cards provide a cheap and very handy way to move and store music, photos, anything digital. It should sell for $59.95 and be available soon.
* I've spoken often of several trends I believe are central to how the Web is evolving. These include the semantic and real-time Web, the Internet Of Things, location-based information services and Augmented Reality. All of these are gaining ground, but location-based services such as Foursquare, Loopt and others seem to be getting most of the attention and financing.
Devices such as the Apple iPhone and the upcoming Apple iPad and other tablet offerings are going to make location services even more popular. GPS tracking allows ads to be shown that are relative to where you are at any given time and even on where you are going based on your online searches.
One major problem as always with any new technology such as this is privacy and security. There are already a multitude of sites complaining that too much personal information is being required to use these services and that too little is being given to the consumer in return for surrendering this information.
This is not unlike many writers' comments on Facebook and Twitter, but location-based services do present a unique challenge. For example, a stalker could make use of information on location of a targeted person, and many services still make this far too easy.
Add to this scenario that Facebook, Twitter and Google are all also very interested in mining the data that location-based services provide. This area of technology will be a hot spot for development for some time to come. I would urge everyone to begin to take very seriously the possible downside of giving up too much privacy and personal information at any time.
* Finally, ATI has announced two new graphics cards that expand the value available for under $100. The ATI Radeon HD 5450 will sell for about $50, while the Radeon 5570 is about $80. These cards are low-profile, or half-height, cards, meaning they will fit in the small-case computers such as the Gateway SX 2800 series, and are both excellent values.
E-mail Donnie Jenkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.