The Gillmor Gang – Gabe Rivera, Dana Gardner, Marc Canter, Mike Vizard, Robert W. Anderson, and Hugh MacLeod – talk search and people search. Recorded Wednesday, May 21, 2008.
Steve Gillmor: Hello?
Gabe Rivera: Hi! I arrived one second before you.
Steve: Congratulations! Let me see, what am I doing here? Let’s join this co-host. I’m sorry about the delay.
Gabe: I’ve had problems with my phone line over the past couple of months. So, if you’re on a call and suddenly, there’s like kind of a noise and sometimes people speaking in Russian and I don’t know why. I just hang up at that point. If I call again, I tend to hear the same thing. It’s been better lately. I don’t think it’s happened this morning…
Dana Gardner: [Russian speech]
Gabe: Yeah, it’s kind of like that.
Steve: Who’s that?
Dana: Dana Gardner in Russia. How are you?
Steve: Oh, I thought you were in a plane.
Dana: No, I’m in the airport. I’m not in the plane yet.
Steve: So, you’re at the airport all day?
Dana: [laughs] It feels that way. No, just for an hour or so.
Steve: Huh. That was very good, the Russian, by the way. Or, at least, it sounded like it was good.
Dana: It was quite good.
Steve: Let me see, what else do I have to do? Oh yeah, just hang on one second. Let me go patch into the other servers for a second. Jay, can you hear me?
Mike Vizard: Hello?
Steve: Hey, Mike!
Mike: How are you doing?
Steve: Mike, press the star 2.
Mike: Star 2?
Steve: No. Star 4.
Mike: Star 4. How’s that?
Steve: That’s a little better. One more time.
Mike: How’s that?
Steve: It won’t get any better, so that’s it.
Steve: All right! So, who’s here?
Marc Canter: Marc is here.
Steve: Hey, Marc!
Gabe: This is Gabe, I’m here.
Dana: Dana Gardner. How are you?
Steve: OK. So, Dana, Marc, Mike and Gabe. So, Gabe, what’s the story with your new search capability on Techmeme?
Gabe: Well, it exists. That’s the main story, because it’s something you’d think a site like Techmeme have. But, I never had it, so people would use Google to find stuff on Techmeme, but that was problematic because of the way Techmeme’s pages are, your search results with Google wouldn’t be too nice most of the time.
So, there’s finally a search. It’s fast and good and when RSS comes around, people would be able to hook up things to it that hopefully I haven’t even anticipated. But, if you look at Crunch Base, the tech crunch database on different companies and if you go to like, Facebook page and you look on the right, there’s a list of headlines from Techmeme about Facebook and it’s reverse chronological, right? So, it’s like news first then…
And if you do this kind of search on Techmeme, because the headline’s about a company, you get a nice timeline of the most significant recent events and more than other kinds of news search because this is being filtered by what actually appeared as a headline on Techmeme.
So, you get a timeline of the most important things and it’s not like standard search, it’s a new kind of search. It’s limited in many ways, but it threads a nice timeline of relevant things. It’s good and useful.
Steve: Thanks. OK, so when you say “when RSS arrives,” what does that mean?
Gabe: Well, the page it serves is in HTML. I’ll just allow an RSS version of the page, which will basically be like an API.
Steve: So, you’re opening the whole service up, basically?
Gabe: Sure. Yeah.
Dana: So, did you build your own search engine or you got somebody else’s and plugged it in? Can you tell us which one?
Gabe: I used Lucent. I didn’t want to use anything on the web, any web services because there’s just too much customization I want to do. And in addition, I wanted to index the full text and I don’t think I’m allowed to just supply the full text of content I don’t own to other parties.
Dana: Aren’t you going to use this cash back service from Microsoft at some point and make some money on this?
Gabe: I don’t think that’s going to work too well for Techmeme.
Marc: [laughs] I still like lose money, isn’t it?
Steve: Whoa, wait a minute. Come on, I just want to get drilled down a little bit here with Gabe before we get into the comedy portion of the show.
So, when you say that this is going to be essentially an API, are you saying that what you’ve already been doing on sort of ad hoc basis with Crunch Base is now going to be available to developers?
Gabe: Yeah. Although I probably am not going to formalize things too well, like, make a whole API page and craft terms of service. I think, I’m just going to do it not very thoroughly and see what happens.
Steve: Right. You’re just going to let it expand until it breaks, if it breaks?
Gabe: Yeah, but it won’t break. I don’t think it will break technically.
Gabe: I think, maybe, it’ll break another way.
Steve: This is something that was the first time that you’ve actually brought an employee on another program and he developed this?
Gabe: Yeah, this is the first major release that was basically done by someone else.
Steve: Was he conversed to search? Is that one of the reasons you hired him?
Gabe: No, he wasn’t conversed at all. He’s just the one I trusted who was technically competent and well-rounded. That’s why I hired him. And a good friend of mine too, that’s why I trusted him. And he learned, like Lucent, which is something people who aren’t search experts can pick up and create a search engine with. You see, it’s like the open source search engine. The leading up in search engines and things.
Steve: huh. So, Marc, do you see this as being a part of your Open Mesh concept?
Steve: Can you explain?
Marc: Well, Techmeme is an important pivot that has proved to be very useful. Whereas, we’ve seen Technorati come and go and also just the same scenario with Intel and it seems that Gabe is focused on the reality of what people want. So, they’ve given him the right kind of data at the right time and by wiring up search and APIs to the pivot, we’ll be able to integrate that information in all sorts of pivotal sessions and vertical session BD apps.
I’ll tell you that Mashable the other day… And it’s not even the entire social networking layer there as well, integrated with their content. So, Mashable could out chase to integrate the Techmeme content into their community with MyBlog blogs and they’ll kind of track you and go along with the MyBlog blog’s kind of a widget. I mean, there’s so many….
Steve: Hang on… Why are we talking about MyBlog blog? I don’t know what you think about MyBlog blog, but the history of that company was it came out of a contract between website owners and that company rather than out of users understanding that their data was going to be used without their understanding that it was being recorded and then played back.
Marc: Right. So, obviously, I look at MyBlog blog as an example of some cool stuff that can up it. I mean, it’s not that obvious. But they [unintelligible] they just evolve it, roll it, and….
Steve: It’s real hard to hear you, Marc. Are you on a cell phone?
Marc: OK, I’m sorry. Is this better?
Marc: I believe the extra static is not from me by the way.
Marc: So, MyBlogLog has a lot of really good principles in it. It is a distributed group thing, right? I land on TechCrunch or ReadWriteWeb and if I am registered in MyBlogLog, my face appears in that little widget. That is what I would like. The fact MyBlogLog got bought by Yahoo and abused and did the wrong things.
Steve: No, I don’t think that Yahoo did the wrong thing by buying them. I think that MyBlogLog did the wrong thing by not addressing the clarity and legitimacy of the data that they have been collecting prior to that.
Marc: OK. Well, my vamp there had to do with what happens when Gabe opens up Techmeme and APIs can now be used to access that data, you could correlate his hit list of that source is or who the blogger is, you could connect and triangulate that to that blogger’s social graph, to other groups that are connected like a MyBlogLog or like the Twitter streams or Friendfeed streams. I mean, there are so many different ways to interconnect these things together, that is just exciting. That is the essence of the open mesh.
Steve: OK. All right, I still think that when you are using this as an example of something, that is going to be an important part of this open mesh and then bring in a service which has challenges in terms of the credibility of its contract with users that you are underlining a problem that will be faced immediately in this kind of API.
Marc: OK, but Steve let me respectfully disagree. If we have got problems with Microsoft’s credibility and we have problems with Google’s credibility and Facebook’s credibility and MySpace’s credibility, what is so bad about having problems with MyBlogLog’s credibility? Well Plaxo, I mean, there are lots of people who are very suspect in this world, yet at the same time, the principles of an open mesh is stored here. So, that’s [crosstalk] Republicans weren’t checking out.
Steve: I don’t disagree with that.
Marc: The Republicans are still going to be here. We still have to live with Republicans you know, I honestly like them but…
Steve: Marc, I don’t disagree with your statement. You just didn’t bring up Microsoft. Let’s bring Microsoft out.
Steve: OK. So, weave Microsoft into the mesh that would incorporate Gabe’s servers.
Marc: Yes, I’d love for it to happen. In fact, I wanted to have…
Steve: Go ahead, give me an example and I will come back to you.
Marc: Right. So, there is a thing called media room. All right, well let’s assume that Live Mesh connects into Media Room, which is the new version of Windows Home Media Center. I am watching TV with my Windows Home Media Center and I want to be getting alerts from Techmeme if they were mention open social networking, right? And I want to integrate the web and the live web and all the aspects of the open mesh into my living room and Microsoft is my gateway into that. I mean, I don’t know of any other platform that can do that, all right?
So, roll onto to my Xbox or really gracefully onto my mobile phone. So, there are so many ways that each vendor and entrepreneur will interconnect together, and like I said, it all starts with the fact that Gabe’s information is valuable. It is qualitative. To me, it is worth something; I actually go to it and read it myself. So, the fact that there are APIs into it, he needs to understand and have constructs of the people themselves who are posting.
I know, he does have that. He has a list of who are the top sources or whatever. So, along with the data that the link to the article, should also be some sort of persistent social graph notion of who this person is who posted this article and then we have got two kinds of pivots he can work with.
Steve: OK, so you are still using the MyBlogLog carrying the identity of the person visually from site to site.
Marc: Well, I am a people kind of guy you know, I am in favor of that.
Steve: I was just asking.
Marc: Yeah, obviously Microsoft is bringing in another aspect nowadays is the thing that you bought the item, that’s a very important construct as well, because it is about money. And by them putting the focus on actually converting these clicks into sales, I think that is really important construct that we need to have in the open mesh.
You know, Craigslist kind of dropped the ball in the innovation world. I mean, his stuff is very flat, there is no structure, there is no metadata, there is no APIs, though clicks clearly is in the next generation marketplace. I mean, that is kind of like that’s his form of lock-in that he absolutely refuses to get off of.
Steve: OK. So Dana, are you there?
Dana: Yes sir.
Steve: All right, so do you hear anything that might be a little screwed up about the idea of what Microsoft is doing with this new effort that Marc is talking about?
Dana: Well, he is talking about Live Mesh and I think if Live Mesh is…
Steve: Not Live Mesh, he just introduced something else, which was the announcements today about Cash.
Dana: Well, I think, this Cash thing is extremely interesting and I think it has nothing to do with the users. I think, it has a lot to do with the merchants. And what Microsoft has done boldly here is provide a way to drive traffic from its search activities directly to merchants’ online retailers, throw a little discount in from the retailer and convert that into the impression of the consumer and end user that they are getting money, so it is fascinating.
So, on one hand, I looked at it, I thought well this is sort of like what tabloid newspapers used to do in cities like Boston and New York when they came in and wanted to compete with the old established newspapers and they’d have like these Wingo sweepstakes; if you got the right number in your newspaper, you could win $10,000 or something. But then, I looked at it a little bit further and it is really Microsoft starting to throw its weight around in terms of getting its install base and its subscribers if you will and then jettisoning that audience into an activity that is basically retailer commerce and taking some kind of a role in that and ultimately perhaps taking a transaction at some point.
Steve: OK. Somebody on the network criticized this new program by suggesting that it was going to skew the results, in other words what I would call the gestures of the attention behavior that results from these kinds of purchases in terms of the quality of leads that would come off of the search that is behind this, to the notion of an economic kind of reward. In other words, it would be gameable in a way that would tend to destroy the credibility of the servers.
Dana: Right. Well, it does game the system in a certain extent and it might erode the quality of those search results, but this isn’t about search results, this isn’t about the end user, this is about Microsoft trying to make itself appealing to anybody that is trying to create leads and generate some connection with the mass audience for their good. And so, you are right, I think there is a risk here for Microsoft losing a qualitative benefit in its search, but it is like #3 anyway or #4. So, it is temporary…
Steve: All right, if that results, if Microsoft is in a catch-up mode which I believe they are, they can’t afford this regardless of their minimal market share. I want to bring Mike Vizard in to talk about this issue.
Mike: Well, this is happening anyway, so it is nice to see Microsoft being one element of a larger trend, but it is hardly… this is like them leading the pack is not the case. A marketplace for search and leads generated off a search has been evolving for the last two years, and so you are seeing them kind of jump into it and making a statement about it.
But, leads and queries for search and paid search and all this stuff has been around for a while, and to me, this is kind of a next factual iteration of that. And I can remember back in the day when we were chasing paid views early on, there were models where people were getting paid for clicking on banner ad units and this is kind of a variation of that theme.
But now, we are just talking about leads and cash back and yeah, there is money to be made in passing the leads; and so they are trying to aggregate the leads and they are trying to do a little kickback scheme on the cash flow of that to get more leads to their system. And to me, it is just a logical conclusion of events.
Robert: Hey, this is Robert Anderson.
Robert: I don’t really think this is going to skew the Microsoft Search results except perhaps for people searching for stuff to buy, right? So, obviously, I don’t search stuff to buy, and I think it is OK if you are skewing search results for stuff to buy because…
Steve: Star four, Robert. Robert, star four.
Robert: I star four’ed. But, you get what I am saying, I mean, basically, if what Microsoft is doing is saying, you can get better deals online if you use our search engine, then the better deals are going to propagate up through their search results and that is going to make it better for searches for better deals. And I don’t see why there is a problem with that and why they will pollute their greater search results of the Microsoft Search engines.
Marc: Well, to Mike Vizard’s point, this is a natural evolution, it is the next step and then someone is going to have to now respond to it. And so, if Google responds to it in kind, it has got a better search engine, a wider audience and can probably create a better set of relationships with the vendors, the merchants. So, Microsoft might have done itself a favor by getting in first, but it is going to invite a significant competition.
Mike: Right and Google and Microsoft are already out essentially with the Yahoo deal saying, hey we will pay if they search requests. So, why wouldn’t they start using their cash flow to kind of entice people to use their search engines for specific tasks I will buy where there is eventually some cash on the table as far as transaction.
Steve: Play the mute.
Mike: I am on a cellphone, I don’t know how to mute.
Steve: OK, I can do it for you, if I can figure out, what is your first three numbers of your phone, 617?
Steve: OK. Hugh MacLeod, can you hear me?
Hugh MacLeod: I certainly can sir, how are you?
Steve: I am good, thanks for joining this. Any comments on the Microsoft advertising strategy?
Hugh: Yeah two things; one, I am not a pundit, so I don’t know anything, so my person persente, it may work it may not – so three things – secondly, Microsoft has all this money, so it seems like they got to spend it on something, so it might as well be people using their stuff. Thirdly, it’s… and I don’t know because I have got a lot of friends in Microsoft and if Microsoft is in the Internet business, to me, it is almost by default.
In fact, the reason they are in the Internet business itself is for reactive reasons. It is not because Bill Gates discovered the Internet. He kind of got into in reluctantly. So, when I am watching Microsoft try to kind of socially negotiate with Google, it strikes me they are always at a disadvantage because their culture is not proactive Internet. In other words, if the Internet didn’t exist at all, they would be much happier. They could just go back to having a computer in every desktop.
What is more interesting to me is the prospect that has happened on the [indecipherable] rumors flying around they are going to buy both Yahoo and Facebook and kind of create the ultimate walled garden. Well, it is just kind of interesting to me because not everybody – my friends and you and all that, we all like the open web, but some people actually don’t, they prefer just going to their little walled garden that is Facebook or whatever and just talking to 20 people and stuff.
Steve: Well, I think, that idea that Microsoft is going to go back to a walled garden approach is preposterous and frankly stupid, why would they do such a thing?
Hugh: I don’t know.
Steve: I mean, what Bill Gates was talking about today in this new initiative was about the move through CPM to CPA and then understanding what the intentions of the user are, which is the tension model and being able to drive higher yield as a result of essentially responding to users who are asking for information about something that they want to buy.
Hugh: Well, Microsoft can provide a service where, hey you know what, we can help you find it quicker and by the way we will give you some cash.
Steve: Yeah, exactly.
Hugh: And so, if they can pull it off, god bless them.
Hugh: If they can pull it off, god bless them.
Steve: I agree, but what has that got to do with the notion that they are going to somehow turn around and buy Facebook and, therefore, come up with some sort of volume walled garden approach in conjunction. I mean, they are two diametrically opposed models; one is completely respecting the user by saying if you tell us what you want, we will give you some discount for it. That’s a viable use of contract as opposed to – you are going to give us your information and we are going to make every effort to make sure that you can’t take it out of the system and put it on some…
Hugh: I understand that and makes no sense to you or me, but I used to live in London; London has what, two million Facebook users out of a city of like 10 million. People are using it. Now, I am not saying they are going to use it for ever.
Steve: I don’t have a problem with what Facebook is doing. The notion that Scoble propounded here that the purpose of Microsoft buying Facebook was in order to be able to perpetuate the notion of a larger walled garden impervious to Google Search, thereby damaging Google’s search results and Facebook just sits behind a firewall. I think, it is ridiculous. I mean, the likelihood of that happening is zero, but let’s say for the sake of discussion that that does happen.
Hugh: Well, some insane person in Redmond actually purporting that idea.
Steve: Yeah, I mean, like you said in the second of your three points, they have got a lot of money, why not spend it. OK, they could spend it on that. It would seem to me that if they were going to do something to Facebook, they would open it up rather than close it down.
Marc Canter, isn’t Microsoft the most open of all the major players right now?
Marc: Absolutely, and I think that this latest move not only leverages their cash hoard, but their pure power. I mean, this is them shifting the conversation over to, you know, let’s provide value to customers and what you didn’t bring up Steve is, now that they will have this history of these transactions, I think, they should have a little club or group or account that says: and you have heard this many points [indecipherable] Microsoft cash rebate program, and one day if you have to send your children to college on these points, because we are going to start collecting these things and give you kickbacks in the next 20 years.
I mean, this stuff is going to [indecipherable] forever. I mean, once they start collecting this information, it is going to be incredible.
Hugh: Yeah, I know, it is a bit like a friend of mine, I do business with, he hates American Airlines, but he has got those air miles goddamn here or fly anything else.
Steve: Right. The frequent flier program model works right up to the point where the pressure comes on the market to try and diversify it and basically share frequent flier points across multiple carriers when they start to merge together, et cetera, et cetera. At that point, you basically get moved or move yourself from one airline, like I used to be on US Air because I lived in Charleston, South Carolina. It was the best one to get out of there through Charlotte to the rest of the country. Once I moved out here, United seemed to be a better move and now JetBlue is,
The point is, if at any time there were a coalition of airlines, which is what Google Friend Connect is doing that came about, that would allow or put some pressure on one or another of the single clouds to be able to allow some form of syndication across multiple social graphs, that one eventually is going to win. I think, that is what Microsoft’s strategy as with MESH.
Gabe: But, there is… The airlines have a thing called StarAlliance and that didn’t put enough pressure on everybody to join up to through networks.
Robert: What happens if they could do that with something like a Craigslist? I assume right now that each of those vendors who are offering discounts, Microsoft has to manually touch them and sign them up and get up what discount program they are doing.
What you want to do is, make it so that kind of discount kickback service can be done generically to any kind of listing. If you’re a member of this, of Vendors Alliance than you agree to give X, Y, Z.
That’s where the power of really Metcalfe’s Law – again that’s what’s missing from Craigslist, some way to move forward with all that power that they have.
Steve: Right, well… go ahead Mike.
Mike: As happy as I am that they are going to pay people for search one way or the other though, I kind of wish people would start focusing a little bit more on making the search experience better.
It still kind of stinks all in all. You only find maybe 0.1% of all the things that are out there compared to what you’re looking for. So, I just feel like we have got a long way to go.
It’s nice that they are going to compete for eyeballs and kickback cash to the vendors.
Hugh: Steve, let me ask you about this thing. I have been fascinated with this idea of what I call social…
Steve: You’ve got to speak into the phone a little bit better.
Hugh: Sorry, I’ve been fascinated with this idea of what I call social search. I’m very lucky. I have 61…
Steve: Yeah, not that lucky. Well, hopefully you will figure out that you just got disconnected and call back in. Let me just… yeah, he’s gone.
Gabe Rivera, are you still there?
Steve: The idea of social search, the idea of people search seems to me to be a much more fruitful avenue for solving the problem that Mike Vizard is talking about, namely the quality of results.
Steve: Yes or no?
Gabe: I tend to no.
Gabe: I’m a little doubtful of that myself.
Steve: Well, I think that is what the power of Twitter is. It’s a search mechanism for people not for names.
Gabe: So, when it comes to things you need to find with search, those are things you don’t know and you need to know or you need to find.
When I think of most people, I think that most of their friends have encountered things and flagged, saved, stored things that are likely to have such a great impact on improving the search.
I think there is… what I am big on as far as search is explicit results, just like people building up Wikipedia, explicitly saying what search results for certain things should be. I don’t think there is really any company working or developing that idea too well.
But, I think Mahalo is kind of moving in that direction. So search – not so much.
Steve: Well, the only connection between PeopleSearch and Mahalo or any existing search right now is the notion that if you are trying to figure out something about something, for me the fastest way of doing that is to figure out who knows more about it than anybody else that I know and then contact them.
Let them tell me quickly, much more quickly than trying to hit a needle in a haystack.
Gabe: Yeah, usually… very often that person is not your friend though.
Steve: Well, that’s true. That’s why the Twitter model allows you to be able to expand the notion of what a friend is to include people who are of like-mindedness or interests. By pushing an idea to a certain group of people for the use of the ‘at’ sign, or forget the ‘at’ sign, just the use of their name.
Gabe: Hmm. OK, yeah. I think, I am beginning to see what you’re saying.
Although, if you actually look at the searches that people perform, I think a lot of them are just for calling, finding sites that they know already exist, basically just matching keywords with existing pages.
I think, Google style stuff will handle that for a long time. But, it’s almost like maybe we want to define different searches, like come up with a name for those kinds of searches.
For other kinds of searches, where you’re trying to research something or find a fact or find the best this or that, then the type of search you’re talking about is, might be… I’d say the future of search probably incorporates some of that too. Yeah.
Steve: Yeah, I agree. I think that the way to define it is the kind of search where you are searching for something that you don’t know what it is you’re searching for.
Gabe: Oh yeah, sure.
Robert: My problem on both ends of this is that whether it is Google or Microsoft or any of the search indices, they are so gained by everybody loading up whatever their SEO strategy is that their usefulness drops.
Then, on the people side, I’m having a hard time understanding. Let’s just say I knew anything about anything and people started pinging me to find out about that. Well, at some point, I would be so overwhelmed that I wouldn’t respond to anybody and I would stop sharing altogether, unless of course I was getting paid and that was my job. I don’t know.
Steve: Right. That’s why I think the Twitter model is so significant because the payment on Twitter is that it is interactive, that you get results and then you can continue to discuss with the person. You can go back and forth and refine the searches.
It’s a much more efficient way of getting the expertise of a small cloud of people, then applying it to the existing services like Google.
Marc: I have a question. Can I ask you guys, because you all were around in Web 1.0 and you might remember something called Keen and these other called guru networks?
How do you guys contrast what Keen was to what Answers and any kind of situation where you are reaching out, where you’re trying to get value from people? It always seems to be for every bad 1.0 company that went out of business there is always a new Web 2.0 version of it.
Do you think this stuff works better the second time around or what?
Gabe: Yeah. I seem to remember startups, where you could sign up and you would say, “I was an expert in this space.” Then, if you helped answering questions you would get some sort of payment for that. I can’t remember what the name of the company was.
Marc: Yeah, it was Keen. Yeah.
Gabe: A lot of these things are rehashed.
Steve: Just hold that thought. Hugh MacLeod is back. So try again.
Hugh: Sorry, can you guys hear me?
Steve: Yeah, we’re fine. Go ahead.
Steve: You were talking about social search. We kind of went on a tangent about what we thought you might be talking about.
Hugh: OK. Just to clarify, I’m very lucky I have 6100 Twitter followers. So, if I need to know something I can always go, “Hey guys, does anybody know of a good Chinese restaurant in Portland?”
I’ll get 40 really good answers, or then 20. That is what is more useful to me than Google. I’m kind of wondering is there something that maybe that Microsoft is doing to Facebook that might be relevant to develop some kind of universal social search because we don’t all have 6100 followers.
Maybe, there is some kind of advice where if you have a question, you can put it out there.
Steve: Well, you were just talking about Twitter. Marc just potentially was asking about one of these precursors to Ask.com called Keen.
Hugh: OK. OK. I understand. Thank you, Marc.
Marc: No problem.
Steve: So, maybe, there is something there in that interchange. But, I would suggest that you are suggesting something about the facility of the social graph around Facebook that might be interesting.
Hugh: Well, the thing is Microsoft can’t beat Google at being Google to use the old clich. So, it has to come up with something else. We kind of still need a better search engine.
Marc: One thing, I think, we could point is the notion of local stuff, that the power of Microsoft is that they can get people in every little town across America and all around the world to pay attention to them.
So, developing relevant information that is local is very important. I think, that’s really what is behind this new thing Radar that was announced. So, all this Geo-based stuff, hyper local stuff – that’s where the power of Microsoft comes in. They can actually offer things up that are relevant everywhere.
Steve: Well, I think that what they announced today oddly, even though it is not on a hyper local basis, it is on the new local. If you can buy it on the network then it becomes sort of a community-buy even if it’s anywhere on earth. So I think, you’re right.
Hugh: I’ve been living in Texas now for three months. Before that I was living in England. Ever since I got back to Texas, I’ve been using Twitter much more to talk. When I was living in London I used Twitter to talk to ‘the entire world’. Now I use it a lot more for Tweet-ups and, “Does anybody know a good barbecue place in San Antonio?” or “Does anybody know a good Mexican place on South Congress in Austin?”
So, Twitter, to me, used to be just a universal global soapbox. Now, I am using it a lot more strategically locally maybe.
Steve: Right. I think, the other interesting point about what we are talking about is what Mesh is. To me, what Mesh is a dividing up of the different services that make up a social network so that you can then incorporate some or all of those components into a social network play.
So, when you look at what Facebook is doing right now, it seems to me to be mostly a waste of time for a lot of people mostly because it’s very noisy in terms of their Twitter content, which is mostly around the signals that are sent out every time you upload a picture or do any kind of action, and much less about the actual content that flows over Twitter, which is more about how you receive what’s going on. So, it’s much less useful to people, I think.
Then, the other problem with Facebook right now is of course the perception that it’s a walled garden. I think, that that’s actually not really true.
But, if you take a look at what Microsoft could do with Mesh, they could basically decouple the notion of the power of a people search or a people conversation from the rest of the… they don’t need to make money in that model. They already have a huge revenue stream of their own.
So, they can afford to do what Google did with Office and basically decouple the revenue from the capability.
Mike: How about Microsoft buying Twitter? Can you see that happening?
Steve: I think that Twitter would be smart to maintain independence as long as possible because right now we are in a very early adopter phase the technology.
I think that Mesh offers the opportunity to be able to extend what Twitter is doing. So, by the way does Sprint Connect from Google.
Marc: But, Google bought Jaiku about six months ago. We haven’t heard anything about that since then.
Steve: Right. There are people who are taking the day off from Twitter and going to Jaiku or whatever it is. Who cares about that? Twitter is not broken. Why fix it? It may go down all the time. But right now, while we’re trying to communicate we can avenues on the network that are always going to be up.
There are people in the chat room right now that don’t care about what’s going on on Twitter, because they’ve got an even better way of collecting around a group of people that have a single or similar purposes in mind.
Hugh: I live in a small town of 6000 in West Texas. I don’t think I have ever met somebody who is actually on Gmail. Everyone is on Yahoo or Hotmail or MySpace.
Marc: But, assuming for a minute that Microsoft is going to have a business model around search and assuming that Twitter is some type of social search, wouldn’t Microsoft have to augment its existing search just like Google would with some sort of social search capability that is similar in nature to what Twitter is?
Steve: Oh, absolutely. But, they don’t need to buy Twitter in order to be part of the Twitter phenomenon. That’s all I’m saying.
Marc: Yeah, but then, how do they wrap Twitter into the business model if they don’t own a piece of it or they don’t have their own Twitter capability?
Steve: If they collect and harvest and distribute to smaller, more targeted verticals – this is basically what the strategy is that I have discussed with [indecipherable] about him extending Twirl to do a similar thing, then they are going to get plenty of business out of it.
They own the keys to the desktop on 90% of the machines in the world.
Marc: Agreed. There is a serious power in Microsoft you know.
Steve: They’ve got tremendous power and they have tremendous liabilities if they try and distort it by trying to control it the way that they used to in the past.
If people get the sense that they are being locked in to Microsoft, they will run away as fast as possible.
Marc: Hey Steve, I’ve got to go.
Steve: Thanks Marc.
Marc: All right. Bye.
Gabe: I think, there will be an inclination to extend, to create this Microsoft centered community/search environment. They will probably look to create some sort of micro-Twitter like environment.
If they can make that the dominant thing, great! If they can’t, then they will try to make it accelerated back to some central Twitter service. But I think, they’ll play with trying to create their own Twitter-like environment for a while first.
Steve: I think that they already have thought about that. I think, they have already rejected it.
The way that they talked… I asked them these questions directly a number of different ways. The sense I got from all the people on the Mesh team was profoundly that they get that they can’t own Twitter. The very nature of owning Twitter is like when Powersoft was bought by Sybase a long time ago. When Mitch Kerns sold his company to Sybase and then became I believe, President of Sybase at that point, all the developers who were using the Powersoft suddenly were using it with a different database vendor. All of a sudden they ran away from the product.
It’s a classic kind of divide-and-conquer strategy used by the open source community to make sure that no one company gets too far out ahead.
Steve: Sorry about that folks.
So, I agree with you. I think that they may make an attempt at doing that. I don’t think that they have to avoid attempting that while they play according to the rules that are becoming more apparent to them.
In other words that may well be something that will continue to grow for them. But I think that – that’s why I think FriendConnect is such a significant attack by Google on the whole walled garden approach. I think that it will ultimately be successful.
Gabe: I think, there is a little more finesse required yet. If I am following you on Twitter, I care about some of the things you care about, but I don’t care about all the things that you care about.
So, the point is I want to start to be able to segment the things that I share an interest with you and then there are things that you are interested in that I am not interested in.
I think that that might require a little more finesse than just what Twitter can get to. I think, it may require some ability to know what my personal interests are. That may be on my client. Therefore, that data and that filter may need to be applied against a service.
So, I think, somewhere in the middle of that Twitter/Microsoft thing is the next generation of how we are going to interact with each other and how we are going to search for stuff. I don’t know if Twitter has a lock on that.
Steve: I don’t think they have a lock on it. But, I think that you’re discounting the power that Google brings to this equation.
There are two basic clouds that are already up and in operation that have different characteristics. What Twitter functions as is a mediating device in the middle between those two. It thrives on the fact that there are two, not on one.
We are not in our fathers’ Microsoft monopoly days anymore. There is a credible vendor that can continue to invest in open architecture because it doesn’t need revenue. In fact, there are two of them. There is Microsoft and Google.
Gabe: I have to say that on the client I believe there is still room for something that provides more of a filter against those two clouds that allows me to fine-tune the conversations I am being a part of. I think that Microsoft has an opportunity to step in there and apply some logic on the client since they have a dominant position there that would provide a service to people.
Steve: OK. I get the point. I think, it’s a good point. How do you implement that, while creating proprietary Twitter? I don’t think you can. It has to flow through. It has to go back through the main hub.
The main hub is not going to be a Microsoft hub just because it’s not going to be a Google only hub.
Gabe: It doesn’t have to be proprietary it comes from Microsoft. They could create a Twitter service that would just be open and then we are back to our federated Twitter conversation.
Steve: Exactly. That’s what Mesh is. That is what they have announced. That is what they are going to be rolling out. So, I couldn’t agree more with you.
But, there are other factors. It’s almost like the fight between the various vendors over messaging around the Y2K thing, where you had one vendor, Lotus that was basically trying to bring Notes architecture to the Web. They did that with Domino.
So, they had a lot of workflow processes, a developer community, et cetera, et cetera. But, they didn’t have Web architecture. So, they had to come some distance to be able to pull that off.
Then, you had another community around so-called NetScape, Calabra – you had a bunch of different applications that were all acquired by NetScape. They tried to stitch them together to produce a more open architecture of collaborative messaging.
Then, you have Microsoft which has sort of a hybrid between the two. The first one that got there was Lotus. The second one that got there was Microsoft. And Calabra – the NetScape thing never survived because it was just too complicated to be able to reorganize and to take three or four code streams and to be able to integrate them.
So, in this architecture, we have got Google, who wants to come to the party of what I think we are calling people search. They have got a lot of data to your point on the clients, the client in Google’s case being the servers in their cloud, through Gmail and other applications.
But, they haven’t got a contract with users to be able to support that. So, they have to make that transition.
While Microsoft has got a lot of money and they have got a lot of data on the client that tells them a lot, but they have absolutely no rights to utilize that data until they provide some sort of value to the customer so the customers are convinced of the ability to use Microsoft to be able to resell that.
That is what today’s announcements are the beginning of – “OK. We’ll give you a cut.” So, they’re both coming at the same place from different liabilities or concerned about how to get there.
Gabe: So, this makes Twitter a DMZ between the clouds.
Steve: I think so.
Hugh: It’s funny Steve because when I think about what you have been saying for the last couple of weeks, to you it’s more like Twitter is bigger than Facebook, the way you’re talking about it. I’m not disagreeing with you.
Steve: I don’t think it’s bigger than Facebook. I think that it is fundamental and that Facebook needs to be able to include or to be able to open itself up, enough to be able to harvest not only the Twitter momentum but also their own capabilities.
When I go to Facebook, there is still a lot of value there. Just because it’s not turned on or immediately accessible, doesn’t mean that it couldn’t have tremendous amount of value.
Hugh: I kind of wonder about Facebook because it seems their business models work. Their rules of engagement have to get increasingly more complicated.
Three months ago, we were being spammed by our friends with apps. You just wonder what they are going to throw us next. We’ll have all these little gizmos everywhere. I find Facebook a walled garden of weeds.
Steve: Well, they seem to be recognizing that because today’s announcements about the profile pages – they are putting the apps on a separate page. They are segregating news from… if you look at it. Look at the announcements today on Tech Crunch. Then go look at the -
Hugh: Yeah. I saw that, yeah. They’ve just got a new profile.
Steve: Then, go look at the Mesh documentation about what they are doing in terms of segmenting these different flavors of data. The last page, the one that they are basically hiding except if you pay for it, which is more of the Microsoft model, is the one with applications.
Steve: They are putting applications…
Hugh: Yeah, I’m not anti-Facebook. I have a lot of sympathy. I think, it’s so hard to manage to do everything right when you are growing fast. It’s much easier to screw everything up when you actually have to search more than once.
It’s hard to know what to do at the time because everything is coming at you at 120 miles an hour. And all you do is kind of manage the growth. I think, Facebook has had a stunning year and a half.
The very fact that they can actually keep it going at all is actually pretty amazing, because when you are growing up that kind of rate implosion is actually fairly easy.
Steve: Well, I would not write off Facebook.
Hugh: I am not writing off Facebook at all. I’m just saying…
Steve: Yeah, I hear what you’re saying. I’m just pulling apart the small number of things that I don’t think are going to happen while ratifying most of what you said.
Yeah, they have a tremendous amount of momentum. The mistake that they could make, which I don’t believe Microsoft is going to make either with or without them is to continue with this siloing of the data.
People are now hip to the idea that the cell phone networks can provide serious value. And as people start to actually mine it for revenue and we get past this notion that this is an advertising play and is much more of a transaction play, which is what Microsoft is saying today that it’s going to become an architecture where if they stay in the game they are going to keep their cloud. They are going to keep their 20 million users or whatever it is and they’re going to be a major force.
Hugh: And that’s great. That’s great.
Steve: Yeah, but not if they keep on with this idiotic idea of having the press conference today and talking about how they are going to divide their activity streams up into four different things and still completely avoid the notion that their reaction to Friend Connect is completely off the rails.
At some point, that the media is going to stop taking this shit. They are going to say, “OK, what’s the answer? When are you going to fix this?”
Hugh: And they are also such a big company with so many fingers in so many pies.
Steve: Who is?
Hugh: Microsoft. They have got so much money. They have so many things they want to do. They have got so many constituents to keep happy.
How wonder if Steve Baumer can do his job…
Steve: I disagree. I think that what’s happening is that in 30 days there is going to be about 50% of the people who think that they have power that are going to realize that they don’t.
When Bill walks out the door, I think that these announcements today were the last gasp of the Windows and Office group basically saying, “OK, here is what we’re saying and the notion that there is any possibility of a walled garden approach is going to go out the window.”
Hugh: Oh, I’ve got a question. I’ve got a question for you Steve.
Steve: Hang on a sec.
Mike: I’ve got to go here. So, see you, bye.
Steve: OK, thanks Mike.
Hugh: OK. I’ve got a quick question for you Steve.
Hugh: How is the Gillmor Gang or how is the Gillmor Empire under the Tech Crunch community working out?
Steve: Well, you know Mike is a gentle lover.
Hugh: OK. Good. Good. We like that. I just was curious to know how…
Dana: That’s a good one, Steve.
Steve: Thank you. It references back to certain visual images.
Hugh: Yeah, if it’s any consolation I’m kind of rooting for you too.
Steve: No listen, I think that we all know how tormented Mike’s life is. But, actually Mike has become extremely successful and oddly…
Dana: I thought you said tormented.
Steve: I’m trying to be straight about this. I actually think that having him as a business partner has contributed to smoothing out a lot of the difficulties that we both have faced in terms of working with each other over the past few years.
Dana: Right, right.
Steve: I’m pretty optimistic about it.
Dana: Yeah, yeah.
Steve: From what I can see this kind of thing is only the first of many alliances that many different people in the industry are going to start to make.
Dana: Well, I tell you, he has a reputation. But personally, he has been nothing but a sweetheart to me in person.
Steve: Well, there has always been what I call the Arrington take away. I don’t think anybody can take that away from him. He has a very high percentage of being right or at least creating thought about whether he is right or not.
Dana: Yeah, and besides the fact that he is really, really smart and really, really right a lot, he is actually a really nice guy. I don’t know. I get cross when I see people talking shit about him.
Gabe: He also has a good sense of humor and I think a subtle one. A lot of people misunderstand that.
Gabe: He says something and then everyone attacks him for being a jackass. But, he’s actually being funny.
Steve: Yeah, I certainly get attacked for being an asshole when I just am trying to be funny. But, on the other hand, remember that there is a little truth or a lot of truth in a lot of things that people say that are funny.
Dana: Well, you know the old saying. There is only one thing worse than people believing a lie about you and that’s when they believe the truth about you.
Dana: [laughs] I’ve been in Texas for about three months. I got here and realized that I could live in West Texas and work about three hours a day and still make a pretty good living.
But then, everything got really busy and now I’m back to my 14 hour days. And there is Mike with 18 hour days and I’m debating whether I want to get to that kind of level.
Steve: Well, it’s very difficult to turn down work.
Dana: Yeah. I’m getting a ton of work right now. I don’t know. So, I’m thinking do I want to be really crazy like Michael Arrington?
Gabe: I’d say no. Maybe, work 12 hours, but not 18 because you don’t have to. A lot of Mike’s working around the clock is just he is afraid to miss something. So, he stays up.
Steve: Well, you know that scoop model is really difficult to handle. I’ve seen that with a lot of people on the Gang and elsewhere that they are slaves to the scoop idea.
Steve: Thank God somebody does it. That’s one of the reasons that I go to Tech Crunch in the first place is because they usually have the news first. That’s why I go to Tech Leave too, because it has the news first.
Dana: Better news sooner. I felt… what I started doing was I started leaving my computer at the office. And I have even started leaving my telephone at the office at night because I want to switch off.
I’m not a Mike’s business. I’m not the guy that gets paid to find scoops. I get paid to draw cartoons. So, it’s OK. So I don’t have to be first.
Steve: Well, I couldn’t be first if my life depended on it. Because as a contrarian I have to figure out what I think that nobody else thinks. That takes time.
Dana: I tell you, being a cartoonist makes it a lot easier to do the job because no one sending the scoops is drawing funny cartoons and people still like you. You still get love even if you weren’t first.
Gabe: Steve, can I ask you something about Twitter and Microsoft and all that?
Gabe: Have you spoken to anyone in Microsoft in an executive position or dealing with strategy or anything who specifically mentioned Twitter, and mentioned it as being significant – not talking about fundamentals that you think are common to Twitter but actually about Twitter?
Gabe: Did it happen a lot or was it – did it happen enough where you thought it was really significant?
Steve: Let me just say… for example, I’ve known Ray Ozzie for 10 years, maybe. I don’t talk to Ray a lot. He is now in a position where every 15 minutes of his life is accounted for.
But, during the period when I spent fair amount of time around him in the Groove days I know what our conversations were about. I know what our conversations have been about ever since.
There is a continuum around the fundamentals of what Twitter represents that has been a part of our conversation for years. So, to say that he is not aware of this or that the people on his team – first of all as I just said on the show about half an hour ago or whenever, everybody on the Mesh team is hyperaware of these fundamentals.
In my opinion, Mesh is…
Gabe: I think Twitter users… I just sense that you just don’t get all the fundamentals if you’re not actually using it.
Steve: Well, they were demoed. There were demos that they were showing at the conference, at the Web 2.0 conference where they rolled out Mesh. There were two demos that they showed. The first one was a Twitter demo. Now, I don’t know today that they are just being patronizing, that they are just trying to go with the latest black or whatever you want to say about it or you could realize that they were showing two developers a very fundamental use of this transport to move data around, not just data to machines, but data to specific affinity groups. And the architecture of Mesh has yet to be rolled out completely with any kind of affinity model surrounding that.
Now, as somebody who with Robert Anderson, I don’t know if you are still in the call?
Robert: Oh yeah.
Steve: We built such an engine with just back two years ago and it is referenced in NewsGang.net. These guys have a much larger architecture with much more capabilities than what we have been able to cobble together in basically a mom-and-pop operation. This is a serious extension. This is taking the Groove internals and atomizing them and then spreading out across an entire platform, which they are in the process of rebuilding. Windows is going to go away. It is going to be a bag of drivers. It is going to be a foundation layer on which…
Gabe: Can I make sure that I am the pop in that arrangement there?
Gabe: OK, sorry for the interruption.
Steve: I mean, I am not just blowing smoke here, this is fundamentally what I think is going on here. And I think that Google with Friend Connect is showing a similar complementary approach to the same architecture. And I think that that is fundamentally transformative of the network and I don’t see either of them being stopped in this and I see them working together more than they are going to compete.
So, I just think Twitter represents this fundamental architecture in the middle that allows people to be able to in real time communicate to each other. And the ability of larger vendors to be able to take that and run with it is profound.
Robert: Gabe, is the source of your question about Microsoft, whether you think that they will actually interoperate with Twitter or outdo it or replace it or what, where is your question coming from?
Gabe: It is mostly a reaction to suspicion that they don’t see things as… or we are mistaking their strategy for what we think. Basically, we have got the wrong idea of what they are trying to do with Mesh and my suspicion was they will really understand Twitter and maybe we are just barking up the wrong tree, but Steve [indecipherable] is a rebuttal.
Steve: Well, it is not a rebuttal. I agree with you that the number of people that get Twitter at a fundamental level inside Microsoft is probably fairly small. At the same time, I think that those people are in charge of a portion of the company, which is about in 30 days to basically take over the company. And so, I think, it is a huge big deal.
Gabe: The thing is even if you think you see some fundamentals in common with something like Twitter, you know you can just change a few things and it is very different like between Twitter and the Twitter like things that are on Facebook.
Steve: I don’t see any Twitter like things on Facebook.
Gabe: There is a page on Facebook that was supposed to be Twitter.
Steve: I get that, but I don’t see any similarities.
Gabe: Oh, maybe, that is my….
Steve: There is more similarity between FriendFeed and Twitter than there are between Facebook and Twitter currently. I mean, do you disagree?
Gabe: I don’t know, it depends on what you are calling similar and what you are throwing.
Steve: Facebook is moving in a direction of harvesting specific application signals based on some sort of popularity or financial algorithms, so that they show up in the news stream. Do you think that that is going to be competitive with a completely open, anybody can get on, anybody can say anything at anytime architecture, I don’t.
It doesn’t mean that the Facebook doesn’t have other capabilities that are extremely powerful, because you are the guy that got me on Facebook in the first place. So, the news feeds, you hipped me to the news feed, you said look at this. So, there is some similarity between the two things, but…
Gabe: Yeah, I was talking about, if you look at all the updates, the status updates people do on Facebook and they even have a page that offers that and that is like the Twitter thing, but [crosstalk] like Twitter.
Steve: But, there is no interactivity.
Gabe: Right, yeah.
Steve: Part of the distinction is that I don’t use Twitter the way a significant number of Twitter users use it, which is on a published subscribed basis. I use it on a real time…
Gabe: Yeah, and I think you are right, that is where the interesting thing is going on. And that’s clearly what is not happening in Facebook. I am just saying, I just don’t know that any of the big companies really understand the value in that.
Steve: I agree with you. I think that the big companies at the level… I mean, the reason that I know that I am right about Ozzie is that he wrote and discussed ad nauseam of the whole swarm concept. And you just Google it, you will see, he is all over this thing five years ago. He understood this capability and he built it in; and to a large extent, this was a surprise to him around Groove.
There are a lot of things about the Twitter architecture that are surprising – not obviously surprising to the engineers at the company because they haven’t been able to keep it up ever since and started to take off. And it is starting to take off I think fundamentally for this reason.
Gabe: OK. So, you think, so he of all people should understand the dynamics, I guess the question do the realities of the need to keep Office and keep all those businesses going as long as possible and all their other distractions with advertising and search and all that, will that…
Steve: Well, that slows them down up enough that somebody else will take that idea and run with it? I don’t think so. I think that is an extremely cogent analysis of what is going on there. And I think that what we are seeing here is in this next 30 days, we are seeing a fundamental last OK Corral shootout between the forces of the Office and Windows groups. And what is emerging as the Mesh Swarm group.
And I think that the advantage that Mesh has is that it incorporates and will continue to allow the revenue to flow in the old model while it moves into this new real time model. I mean, the history of Microsoft of getting this wrong and the sort of campus politics of this issue. I mean it began with… I mean, .NET was the first time that it reached a level where it became a part of a communications platform strategy. Before that, it was the Exchange team that broke it out as a model with the first Exchange IM stuff.
And then, SQL Server came in and said, hey hold on a minute and they stole it back from them for a period of time. And so, it got locked up inside of this multiplex architecture of a walled-garden approach inside the corporate environment and not across domains, in other words not across the Internet. And at that point, we started to see some of these video conferencing solutions like iChat that used what Groove then used, which is essentially relay servers to be able to break the back of the firewalls. And now what we are seeing is this has been extended to text and it’s allowed major companies to be able to see a way to get from one paradigm to the next.
And that’s what I think Microsoft’s figured out with Mesh. Doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy, but they’ve got tremendous resources. And I think, Gates understands this. And I think that’s why he’s essentially leaving a power vacuum. And you know Ozzie, I think, is now strong enough to be able to take it and run with it.
Gabe: I think that one thing that’s clear about the fundamentals of Mesh is that whether or not Twitter and the Twitter use cases are really well understood by Microsoft, it’s kind of irrelevant, because they’re building out this thing that is going to interoperate with whatever anyone would want it to interoperate with. They really, very clearly, are not trying to become the only social server provider out there.
Steve: No, not if you believe Robert Scoble, they’re not. I mean I fundamentally believe that that’s why that was leaked to Scoble on some level. It’s an attempt by the Office and Windows groups to basically say “Hold on a second. If you don’t deal with the strengths of the company…” It’s the old Alchin message, which he ably carried along during a period in which there was no competition – which is not true anymore.
Gabe: Right. I just don’t buy it. I don’t buy it.
Steve: You don’t buy what?
Gabe: I don’t buy that that’s… I mean, I agree with what you’re saying. I do not buy that Microsoft will be successful on the (oh, I don’t know) the Internet in the future, if they continue with the old Office and Windows lock down and lock in.
Steve: Right. So, if that’s not the case, then how do they make money? And when do they start doing it? If they’re on a timer, which is, say, three to four years of runway with the Office and Windows groups, in term of… Obviously Windows revenue is not going to go away, because on top of every machine, except the Mac and some Linux devises, is an operating system that needs to be there. And they will continue to get a Windows tax ad nauseum. Right?
Steve: OK. So, that’s not going to go away. So, that’s maybe 20 percent of their revenue that will not stop. So, what do they have to do? Have to shore up or move to a new communications real-time paradigm in terms of Office.
How do you do that while at the same time preserving some sort of rationale for staying away from the cloud? The answer is you don’t. There is no rationale for staying away from the cloud. Google’s proven that.
Gabe: The only rationale today is that for existing Office users, it’s too hard to switch. And that rationale will continue to be a strong one.
Steve: Right. That’s why I say three or four years. I mean, two years from now, where is Salesforce going to be? They’re going to be deeply penetrated into the hardware, I bet, through Mesh.
Gabe: Don’t know.
Steve: Well, it isn’t going to be through Adobe. I mean, all these things are difficult to handicap until you realize that there are real companies who are competing.
Steve: And there are some companies that have…
Gabe: But even so, it’s pretty hard to look at a company like Salesforce and it’s background and it’s institutionalized in that company that they are not a Microsoft shop.
Steve: Hey look, you know I know Marc pretty well. And I’m comfortable suggesting that at the end of the day, Microsoft has to come a long distance in order to be able to make that possible.
Steve: And they’re doing it. This is what Mesh is. It’s an open architecture. If they close it down, they kill themselves. They don’t have a choice. And Google has profited and will continue to accelerate in terms of their position. Look at what Friend Connect is about. It’s not about them. It’s about: they have the ability to be able to bring all of their clients to this architecture.
They can just sit there and wait, you know? They don’t care if Facebook just says no. It’s meaningless to them, except as an advertising, the marketing wedge. I mean, Facebook, how long are they going to not answer this question?
Gabe: Until their users start to flee?
Steve: No. I mean, I’m not going to go anywhere. I don’t care. I’m just not going to use it.
Gabe: Right. Well, so the users stop logging in, right? They must have some…
Steve: I’m logged in, but I only go there… I’m a curator of my little domain there.
Steve: And the more that they improve the interface, the less time I need to spend there. If they divide up the signals into pages where the pages that I have no interest in are separated from the one’s that I do, fantastic.
Gabe: Right. Another way to put that is the better they make their APIs, you’ll never have to go back there ever again.
Steve: Exactly right. But, at the same time, the better they make the APIs, I don’t have to go there. I mean, what is ad sense? I don’t use search. But, I’m using it all the time, because I’m looking at all these pages on the network that utilize their brand, you know?
I’m looking at all my information inside of their cloud. I’m sending them signals. I’m contributing to their continued lead in data as a result of their applications. As long as they maintain the quality and the superiority and the growth of their application base, I’m a loyal customer. And they can make a lot of money on it. And they are.
Steve: OK. So, that’s what Microsoft has to deal with, nothing else. And I believe that they will. They are pretty good at cloning stuff. I think the idea that they’re not innovators is horseshit. But, the idea that 3.0 doesn’t usually mean: look out! I think that’s a truth.
They’re at 2.0, maybe 2.01 right now. When they get to 3.0, they’re going to have some serious, serious clout.
Have we beaten this one to death yet?
Gabe: Well, at least for today. Maybe, we can beat it to death tomorrow some more.
Steve: All right, this is Steve Gillmor. This has been the Gillmor Gang for Wednesday.
A little bit of housekeeping, on Friday, David Glazer who is director of engineering at Google will be on the show. So, we’ll be talking a lot more about Friend Connect. So I’m looking forward to that.
Gabe: Hey, and I want to apologize for coughing. I thought I was muted. I was not.
Steve: Oh, that’s been me who’s been coughing.
Gabe: That was me who coughed.
Steve: OK. So, we’re all guilty.
Steve: Thanks to everybody who showed up and especially those who didn’t. I’ll see you again tomorrow. Bye-bye.