Lightweight Models and Cost-Effective Scalability – Wikipedia

This is Tim O’Reilly’s 8th and final web 2.0 pattern. “Lightweight models and cost effective scalability”, to put this in simpler terms, it refers to the concept that businesses don’t need large budgets or development teams to operate successfully, in other words “less is more”. Scalability refers to both business models and technology being able to handle rapid increases in customers while delivering products faster and cheaper.

It is important when using this strategy to have a legitimate business model and a real understanding of best practices. Some of these practices are, word of mouth can be the quickest and most effective way to grow, it is necessary to take risks and move on quickly from failure, have strategies in place early to allow for scalability as the business grows.

Some of the benefits you need to consider when using lightweight models are,

  • It is much faster to market than businesses that want to “get big fast”
  • Costs and time are reduced through faster Return Of Investment
  • The risks of project and product failure can be reduced
  • Greater adaptability with future growth

I will be discussing Wikipedia as an example of  “Lightweight models and cost effective scalability”. Launched in 2001, Wikipedia is known for it’s open-based collaborative editing and endless encyclopedia. With only 23 current employees, they have over 26 million articles and 70,000 editors. Wikipedia allows editors the opportunity to add in what they want at any given time. Along with this, are many other features, to list a few:

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  • History – Editors can view this page that shows past changes made to the wiki
  • Watchlist – Users can add their favourite Wikipedia articles to this list for feature reads.
  • Talk – Editors can start discussions on the particular wiki page that they are formatting.
  • Protection Policy – The different forms of protection that only administrators have control of. Visit “Protection Policy” for more information.
  • Bot – A third-party tool that is commonly used to fix spelling errors and formatting issues.

Thanks for reading my last post of my web 2.0 blog. If you have any questions, please leave your comments below.

Leveraging the Long Tail – iTunes

“Leveraging The Long Tail” is a concept developed by Chris Anderson, Wired Magazines editor-in chief. Tim O’Reilly sums it up by saying that the success of sites such as Google, comes from “the collective power of the small sites that make up the bulk of the web’s content”.  Internet companies are using this strategy to leverage online markets by selling a large number of products in small quantities as well as selling large quantities of a smaller number of popular items.

Here are some benefits of the ‘Long tail’:

  • New micro-markets can be targeted and captured
  • Wider audiences can be reached by content producers
  • Greater choice of products for consumers

Let’s take a look at the iTunes store as an example of the ‘long tail’. It was originally known as the iTunes Music Store, when it started back in 2003. It began by selling music, which was available to download. Since 2010 it has been the biggest music vendor in the world. Since it started it has expanded to attract a greater market, which includes selling movies, podcasts and audiobooks.

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What makes the iTunes store so successful is, the extensive amount of music, movies and TV shows available to download wherever you are whether you are browsing the iTunes store on your web browser or mobile device. The app store is another major feature of the iTunes store; over 700,000 apps can be downloaded to any Apple device. Lastly iTunes U is another feature that users have access to, this provides users with a variety of educational resources.

Another reason that ITunes is a perfect example of ‘Leveraging The Long tail’ is, not only does it have the latest and most popular music, it also has a vast range of other types of music which although sells in smaller quantities, attracts a wide range of consumers.

Thanks for reading this weeks post of my Web 2.0 blog. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave your comments below.

Web 2.0: Perpetual Beta – Facebook

Welcome to another Web 2.0 post. This week I will be talking about the ‘Perpetual Beta’, which is the sixth pattern of Tim O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 structure. Firstly, what is the meaning of  ‘Perpetual Beta’? It occurs when software is undergoing constant development, some may think that this means unstable, buggy and constantly crashing but, as Tim O’Rielly explains in his article, ‘The software will cease to perform unless it is maintained on a daily basis’.

In order for these upgrades to occur, programming needs to be used by the co-developers. Their job is to make sure that the upgrade or beta of the particular website is being carried out. Some of the languages that may be used throughout these beta processes are Ruby, Python and PHP.

The benefits of the beta consists of the following points:

  • It allows a faster time to market
  • Reduces any risks that may occur
  • Forms a closer relationship with customers
  • Quantifiable decisions resulting from real-time data
  • Further development increases responsiveness

If we take a look at Facebook, one of the most successful social media websites available today, utilizes the perpetual beta system. As more and more people use Facebook, the developers have to come up with new ways to keep improving or adding features to make it more of an interactive experience. Since the release of Facebook in 2004, it is consistently being updated to become better than it’s competitors. One of the reasons that MySpace has lost it’s popularity is that is not evolving as quickly as Facebook.

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Just recently in mid April of this year, updates were added to Facebook to improve the overall user experience. Some of these updates consisted of the addition of a newer timeline design for profiles, a broader selection of emoticons that you can use in your status or IM chats and a more detailed view when posting your current location.

Well that wraps up another post of my Web 2.0 blog. If you have any question with regards to my post, please leave your comments below.

Software above the level of a single device

This is my fifth post on Web 2.0, last post I talked about applications that are similar to desktop applications used on the web. This week I will be talking about how software, usually used on desktop computers is now taking over on mobile devices. ‘Software above the level of a single device’ is the fifth pattern from Tim O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 structure. What it basically means is that the PC is no longer the only device that allows people to access applications, as they are now also accessed on mobile devices. This means that apps that are limited to a single device are far less valuable than those that are available to both PC’s and mobile devices.

There are many benefits to using mobile applications, rather than the use of web browsers. Having the ability to access any mobile application on the go is very beneficial for every day use. The use of mobile applications allows companies to expand to other types of media platforms; this can enhance their productivity.

I have chosen YouTube to demonstrate this week’s pattern. Over the years YouTube has evolved into something more than just a website. When it was first launched in 2005 it was only used on web browsers with a minimal amount of features. When the iPhone became available in 2007 they decided to launch YouTube on mobile devices as an application.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the YouTube application, the following video gives you an insight:

The YouTube app offers a number of features, these are, the ability to view and upload videos at anytime and wherever you want, it is also available on gaming consoles such as the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. It is viewable on video streaming set-top boxes and Smart TV’s and you can personalize your YouTube account from your iPhone or iPad.

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Social Media integration is another major feature of YouTube. Websites such as Facebook and Twitter are two of many social networking websites, where you can connect with other people by sharing your favorite videos. If you have a Google account, you can sign-in as a YouTube user.

These days, it is essential for companies developing applications to think above the level of a single device. Thanks for reading my post, please leave your comments below.

The Rich User Experience and Gmail

Welcome to the fourth week of my Web 2.0 blog. This week I will be talking about Rich User Experience within Web 2.0. Firstly, where does the term ‘Rich User Experience’ come from? These days, with the rapid growth of interactive technology, new styles of programmable functions are being introduced. AJAX is made up of many web development techniques, such as XML and JavaScript, which is the most recent way of building these application platforms.

What is AJAX? AJAX has a unique way of allowing users to interact with web applications, without having to wait for periods of time to view content. An example of this is, if you were to click on a link or a tab that took you to another page of a website, the page will be displayed quickly from the click of the button. Unlike other forms of programmable text, AJAX only consumes a small amount of data that is being sent through from the client to the server, which allows for the quick navigation.

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We can find these development techniques in platforms such as ‘Rich Internet Applications’. These Applications can be used in web browsers, to create specific interfaces. Lets take a look at Gmail, it is one of the most popular email platforms available today. It uses AJAX, as it’s main source of programmable text. It has a number of features that allows users to browse through without any difficulty. You can make video calls with the people on your contact list and store up to 10GB worth of emails using Google Drive. There are also different customisable themes to choose from. Gmail has a variety of navigable buttons that users have access to, for checking your inbox or composing a new email.

Lastly, Rich Internet Applications are all about simplicity and accessibility on demand, which can result in harnessing your Web 2.0 productivity.

Thanks for reading this weeks article, be sure to leave your comments below.

Innovation In Assembly

Welcome to another week of my Web 2.0 blogs. This week I will be talking about ‘Innovation In Assembly’ of Web 2.0. What is “Innovation in Assembly”? The term comes from Tim O’Reilly, who believes that you can create valuable web 2.0 applications by simply creating or modifying an app. In other words, why create an app from scratch when there is already created programming language there for you to work with, this is made possible by using API (Application Programming Language).

Application Programming Interface also known, as API is a type of protocol used to build software or web applications. Putting together API’s creates many distinctive web applications; an example being EBay and Amazon’s ecommerce functions. There are many benefits of using API. You can enhance your businesses platform strategy by developing a system using existing ideas from other API’s, which can be done to suit the needs of your business.

Lets take a look at Twilio, this allows software developers to use its API’s to programmatically send and receive text messages, as well as make and receive phone calls. An example of a website that currently uses Twilio’s API for their contact Centre is Hulu. Their main function is to allow users the ability to call the centre at any time using the features available from Twilio’s API.

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Some of the features that Twilio offers:

  • Purchasable phone numbers
    You have the option to choose any phone number that is available from Twilio. This number can be used to make and receive calls.
  • Text to speech / Speech to Text
    This API includes a function that allows you to convert text to speech and speech to text.
  • Conference calling
    With this function, you can have up to 40 people in a simultaneous conference call.

I believe that companies taking advantage of opportunities provided by Web 2.0 will be hard to beat, particularly when they harness and integrate services made available by others.

Thanks for reading my post on ‘Innovation in Assembly’. Feel free to leave your comments below.

Data is the next ‘Intel Inside’

Welcome to another week of my Web 2.0 blog. Last week I talked about ways users can connect with each other by using different platforms of social media. This week I will be talking about the importance of data. Most internet applications such as Yahoo, EBay, Google and Amazon are data-base driven.

The best way to enhance data is by encouraging people to add to it in the form of reviews, rating etc.  The challenge is to create a source of data that is unique and hard to recreate.

ImageLet’s have a look at a website that uses data driven technology. Google Analytics is a free service that provides invaluable information to its users on how people are interacting with your website, how they arrived there and what keeps them returning. Additionally, it allows you to see how long they stayed, the browser they used and their geographical location.

Google Analytics has many great features available to its users. Below I will name a few and give you an insight on what each of them offers.

Analysis Tools
This is one of the main features available for users to access. It is basically the forefront of what goes on, on the website you are monitoring. It tells you everything you need to know about your visitors, from their geographic location to what they are viewing.  It comes with a number of graphs, reports and sharing tools. This would have to be the most data-driven feature available on Google Analytics.

Social Reports
This feature allows you to monitor the traffic between your social media platforms. It will give you a good idea on how the community is adapting to your content. Just like the Analysis Tools, this will give you a visual understanding of what goes on.

Conversion Suite
Another feature that Google Analytics has to offer is their conversion suite. Anything that would add value to your website is recorded into statistics, for example, if you have videos, sellable items or downloadable content on your website it will be recorded for users to view.

Marissa Mayer of Google was quoted saying that “having access to large amounts of data is in many instances more important than creating great algorithms”. I think it is clear that Google recognizes that “data is the next Intel inside”.

Thanks for reading this week’s post, all comments are welcome.