Web meets world

I really enjoyed this talk by Tim O’Reilly at Web 2.0 Expo in New York, it has that great mix of tech and social responsibility that is so important to achieve. I’m currently a bit sick and tired of the myriad of new social media websites that pop up all the time, all doing basicly the same things, trying to connect people that are already connected up to their eyeballs. But connected to what, and to whom?

Take Dopplr. I registered there as I do on almost all new sites, just to check it out, and hooked up with the two other people I could find in my contacts, and after that I haven’t checked in. Why should I? I have no urgent need to know where ANYONE is. As a matter of fact, I would preffer if people STOPPED travelling, and instead stayed home and planted some apple trees. And I know that they added some CO2 calculator thingy to show how much you have killed the planet, but everyone knows that this is just an attempt to be politically correct, while the underlying business idea is to get people to travel more. And perhaps buying a clean conscience while you’re at it.
UPDATE: Dopplr was closed down in 2009, after a buyup by Nokia.

So it is refreshing when Tim O’Reilly talks about focusing on making websites that does “something that matters”, like Witness or Prosper.com and many others, who are trying to use the web to connect people over something important.

I’ve noticed that I have started to be more conservative about what kind of sites I spend time on or join, not because I no longer like procrastinating, but because there is so little there to feed the soul.

I keep ending up on a few favorite sites, like TED and This American Life (or at least downloading their podcasts). TED because it gives me the whole experience of the TED conference without polluting the crap out of the earth flying there, and This American Life just for making me smile and cry and feeling human. And I’m consuming gigabytes of information on gardening!

And I keep wondering what this means. Is it just me, or is there perhaps a more general feeling of “internet fatigue” going on, or “internet flu”?

Four ideas I believe in

PhotonQ-Woman 's Thoughts aKa Complex Memetics
photo credit: PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE

Readwriteweb wrote a post a few days ago about the lack of some New New Ideas for web startups, which I commented on. I wrote down a few old ideas I wish someone would like (and then steal):

photo credit: Whatsername?

1. Anything that uses the web to connect people to each other in a physical location

Everybody Deserves A Quickie

Any service that makes it as easy to approach people on the street etc as it is on Twitter or Facebook. There are heaps of services that touches on this field, but not many that works or have enough members to make it work. So maybe there is room for a service that connects it all, and shows you on a mobile map where people who are open to “hellos” are. It could be a facebook app (facebook has 1 million members in Norway, of 4.7 million inhabitants). Your mobile phone would simply broadcast itself with a “hello, talk to me” to a google map or a perhaps bluetooth. A cross between facebook, twitter and friendfeed, but with the purpose of connecting physical beings in a physical location.

three thumbs down
photo credit: rick

2. A web based service that lets you record video from any television channel.

It makes no sense for everyone to own their own PVR/TIVO/Mediacenter and record to disk at home, when you could do it sentralized and distribute it with bittorrent. The business model is like this: 10 gb storage for free, if you are too lazy to delete, or simply want to keep things online longer, you pay extra. Everything you program to record is automatically downloaded to your harddrive if you want to. The gold: You get access to EVERY channel on the planet. I wanted to create this in 1998, but never got around to it, so you can have that idea :)

3. 24/7 live streaming video from your mobile device, with a twist

Livestreaming from a cellphone is not new, it exists today, but here is the twist: 1) a small sensor analyses your brain-response to what you see or hear, and anything that creates an “unusual” reponse is indexed and flagged for later. 2) it also has a built in visual “thesaurus” (think wikipedia meets The Terminator), that can look up information on your surroundings in semi-realtime. So if you wanted to know wether or not to eat that delicious-looking red mushroom with the white dots, the system could advice you not to.

Did you know that american kids can identify 1000 products before they start school, but only know the name of 10 local plants (according to the movie The 11th hour)?

4. A google earth for the body

Read more about “A google earth for the body” here