As a fan of film, I would have loved to have visited a certain video rental store in Manhattan Beach, California in the mid 80s.
It was there that the director Quentin Tarantino started out, as a video clerk discussing and recommending movies to film buffs all day.
It’s not quite the same, but San Francisco-based Clerk Dogs, a people-powered movie recommendation service launching today, is trying to recreate this personal service online.
It takes more than one or two eye-catching gadgets, and more than a loose alliance of companies, to create a pervasive technology platform.
So Sony Ericsson’s announcement today that it will make an Android handset is an important sign of momentum for the Google-led open source mobile software initiative.
HTC’s first Android phone from T-Mobile got the ball rolling (I’ve already eaten humble pie on that one – it was certainly better than I’d expected based on the lack of buzz in Silicon Valley.) Motorola has also said it is pushing ahead with devices based on the software.
Kosmix is a very modern media company.
It sells advertising wrapped around online editorial and pictures, just like a newspaper or a blog. But unlike a conventional media outlet, it does not invest a cent in producing its own text, video or photography.
Instead, it automatically calls on thousands of free sources to build its pages. Articles from Wikipedia, photos from Flickr, products on Amazon and Google search results combine to create a “360 degree view of any topic”, says Anand Rajaraman, co-founder of Kosmix.
Barack Obama’s weekend promise to back a significant new internet infrastructure build-out and promote “‘green” jobs has certainly struck a chord in Silicon Valley, which has been urging the president-elect to think big and make technology investment a centrepiece of his administration (this is the Obama YouTube video.)
But can Obama possibly live up the Valley’s very high hopes?
Take the hopes of the electric car industry, which we wrote about today. The simplest way to support electric cars in the US would be to slap a tax on gasoline, but that is a political non-starter. So a whole framework of incentives and regulations would be needed to bring the industry into being.
Imagine you are visiting a Website that offers free access, but only to registered users. At the top of the page are a number of options. You can create a new identity, or you can just sign in using your Facebook account, your Google account, or one of several other online identities you already have.
Which do you pick? And could your choice tip the balance of power between the big internet companies?