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About Mathew Ingram

Mathew Ingram is a technology writer and blogger for the Globe and Mail, a national newspaper based in Toronto, and also writes about the Web and media at www.mathewingram.com/work and www.mathewingram.com/media.
Google Video Units – Genius or Desperation?

As described at Google’s AdSense blog and in this New York Times story, Google is rolling out ad-supported video to all members of the search engine’s AdSense program — something the company launched as a limited beta trial back in May.

Google, Why Jaiku and not Twitter?

It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall over at Twitter HQ today, now that Google has acquired Jaiku — a mobile social-networking app that from all descriptions is pretty similar to Twitter (disclosure: I haven’t actually used Jaiku, but I do use Twitter sporadically).

After all, Twitter is the one that has been getting all the geek cred from the Robert Scobles of the world, and from the sounds of it Twitter’s app has a far bigger reach.

It Isn’t About the Eyeballs, It’s the Brains

Bobbie Johnson wrote a Techmeme leaderboard roundup post in which he divulged that being on Techmeme — gasp! — doesn’t drive a whole pile of traffic, and both Robert Scoble and Nick Carr have jumped into the fray, talking about what Scobleizer calls the “dirty little truth” about Techmeme.

Newsvine Brings the Social to MSNBC

Big news in the social-media space: MSNBC has acquired Newsvine, a pioneering news community that has been somewhat eclipsed by Digg and other sites in terms of public profile over the past year or two, but has continued to grow and prosper outside of the spotlight.

Facebook & Multiple-Personality Syndrome

A recent commentary piece by Alice Mathias in the New York Times says Facebook should really be called “Fakebook” — at least for the student users who first made the social-networking site popular. As she describes it:

Expanding The Concept Of “News”

Thanks to my mesh pal Mike Masnick from Techdirt for pointing me towards a recent column by Jeremy Wagstaff of Loose Wire (and the Wall Street Journal) that I had been meaning to post about. In the column, entitled "The Future of News," Jeremy writes about how it’s difficult to talk about the future of news without admitting that the idea of what we call "news" has changed, and is continuing to change. As he puts its:

Calacanis: Web 3.0 is Whatever I Say it is

Humpty Dumpty: “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

Alice: “The question is, whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

Joost Finally Launches – Will Anybody Care?

So Joost says that it is now finally open to the public (Liz Gannes at NewTeeVee and Kara Swisher at BoomTown have the details, including interviews with CEO Mike Volpi), after a long beta program that started as invitation-only.

Yahoo: Somebody Set us up the Bomb!

I was really hoping that the much talked-about meeting of senior Yahoo types that is taking place in Sunnyvale today — which Mike Arrington describes as a meeting of the “leadership team” — would turn out to be a barn-burner, a firecracker thrown into the sleepy boardrooms of the Internet behemoth that might get some people moving again.

Blogs Evade Myanmar Media Ban

When the Soviet Union was under Communist rule, dissidents in Soviet countries exchanged information and commented on current events using photocopied newsletter-style publications called “samizdat” that were handed around from person to person.

Now, the Internet allows dissidents and protesters of all kinds to get information out of totalitarian countries much more quickly (although there are still restrictions that authoritarian regimes — such as those in North Korea and China — can use to make Internet access difficult or even impossible).

Is IM coming to Facebook?

Sam Sethi at Blognation UK has a scoop: apparently, he got a preview of a new instant messaging app for Facebook — and according to his description, it doesn’t require you to download or install anything, or to register, as many Facebook apps do.

You just sign in and use it. At the risk of sounding like a Facebook fan-boy, I think this could be huge.

Times Goes Free

After many rumours and crossed fingers (at least on my part), the New York Times has finally bitten the bullet and removed the pay wall from its website. Columnists and other content have finally been set free to find an audience wherever they can — and that’s not all.

Online Office Market Gets Crowded

As expected, Google has finally launched its long-awaited PowerPoint-style presentation app — Google Presently — which was discovered by the ever-resourceful Ionut Alex Chitu earlier this year. It’s the final piece of Google’s online Office-style suite, which it is now pushing to sell to corporations in direct competition with Microsoft’s Office.

Tuesday? New Technorati Strategy

As you can read in a number of different places this morning, Technorati — the ailing blog-search engine that recently lost its CEO, Dave Sifry — has come out with a new offering known as Technorati Topics, which appears to be a scrolling list of blogosphere posts chosen by the team at Technorati, based on a bunch of criteria that we aren’t really told a lot about.

Google Turns up Heat on Office

Not that long ago, Google CEO Eric Schmidt would routinely deny that the company had any intention of using its Gmail, Google Docs and other services to compete directly with Microsoft’s Office suite. “We’re just playing around with some Web stuff,” he seemed to be saying. “Nothing important to see over here.”

Google Reader search it’s about time

Finally. Google has decided to add search functions to my favourite RSS reader, Google Reader. Until now, the inability to search through my 400 or so feeds was a gaping hole in the usability of Google’s RSS reader — but not enough of a hole to get me to switch.

Facebook search: What’s the big deal?

There’s a large brouhaha (or perhaps it’s a kerfuffle) brewing in the blogosphere over the fact that Facebook has opened up its network to search bots from Google and others, something that was blocked by default in the past.

Using Facebook To Reach Readers

(This is a story I wrote for the Globe that ran in the Review section of Tuesday’s newspaper. I’m posting it here for anyone who might be interested but doesn’t read the newspaper).

Necessity is the mother of invention, the old saying goes. But boredom and the desire to experiment are powerful forces too, says Canadian author Michael Winter. That’s how he came up with the idea to “serialize” his latest novel on Facebook, the hot social-networking site.

Google News to Allow Newsmaker Comments

Although Mike Arrington seems less than impressed with it, I think Google’s plan to allow comments on Google News stories — but only from people involved in a news event — is actually a pretty interesting idea.

Facebook App Fund Isn’t Such a Bad Idea

There’s lots of skepticism out there about stodgy venture-capital fund Bay Partners creating a special investment vehicle for Facebook apps, called AppFactory. Om’s post is entitled “Bonkers By The Bay,” which pretty much sums up his point of view on the idea — that it’s a dumb move by a VC firm that has been swept up in the Facebook hysteria, and that it’s dumb in part because it means building a business on a proprietary platform.

Facebook Apps Market Develops

It’s interesting to see that a market for Facebook applications — or widgets — is developing, although the prices are still small. In one of the latest transactions, Inside Facebook notes that Slide.com (run by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin) has bought the app Favorite Peeps for a reported $60,000. Another site, FaceWatch, has also written about the purchase.

Last.fm’s Non-Silence

Although I hate to jump on the whole “Day The Music Died” thing — which I think is a little over the top — I find it interesting that while a whole bunch of Web radio companies, including Yahoo Music and Pandora, are turning off their streams in order to protest the increase in licensing fees for Web broadcasting, Last.fm has decided not to, which has caused some consternation in the blogosphere, including this post at TechCrunch by Duncan Riley.

Friendster Coming Back? Puh-leeze

Matt Marshall over at Venture Beat has a post up about Friendster with a “returning from the dead” kind of vibe: Matt points out that the site — which is kind of the poster boy for early social-networking success, followed by equally rapid failure — has had what he calls a “massive” 40-per-cent jump in page views in May, to 9 billion (Facebook gets about 11 billion a month).

MySpace is Las Vegas, Facebook is IKEA

Danah Boyd, a sociologist and researcher in the U.S. who specializes in youth culture and online social networks such as Facebook and MySpace, has posted a draft version of a new paper she is writing on what might loosely be referred to as “class divisions” between the two popular social networking sites. Although she says that the differences between the two audiences are not strictly class-based, there appears to be a clear difference between teens who gravitate to one versus the other.