[LINK] Google

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Mon Jun 1 17:17:24 EST 2009

Richard writes,

> So from my *quick* reading (correction welcome) Wave rests on the
> premise that we can all trust Google not to be evil. I don't. Others
> may feel differently. RC

No i don't much trust Google either, but i wonder how much one can avoid
any google data-get, when one is using trusted localish companies, which
are paying tax and providing a great service, in part courtesy of Google

Thanks Roger and Richard, for asking/investigating sensible & reasonable
questions re Google. Another factor may be how much one can avoid Google?

Om Malik | Sunday, May 31, 2009 | 6:51 PM PT | 

It is fashionable for media companies to paint themselves as victims of 
an increasingly Google-dominated planet.. Instead they should be looking 
at various opportunities offered by technology to find a brighter future.

To learn a trick or two, they should look at Lonely Planet, an Australian 
publisher of travel books. 

It is one of the few traditional publishers that has turned new 
technologies such as social networks, online video, location-based 
services and smartphones into engines of growth. 

Started in 1972 by Englishman Tony Wheeler and his wife Maureen, the 
Melbourne-based travel guide company for most of its life made money by 
selling specialist books and guides to travelers around the world. 

In 2007, the Wheelers sold 75 percent of the company to BBC Worldwide for 
an undisclosed amount of money. The deal was rumored to be over $150 

New Wine, New Bottle.

“We want to (offer) not just books, but we wanted to provide travel tools 
and become a travel platform,” said Matt Goldberg, who took over as the 
chief executive of Lonely Planet. He was previously the senior vice 
president, Digital Strategy & Operations, at Wall Street Journal Digital. 

Goldberg contends that in order to succeed in the new digital and mobile 
world, one can’t approach these new opportunities as a publisher. “We 
have to think and behave like a digital media company,” he added, and not 
like a traditional publisher.

For instance, instead of simply repurposing its travel guides for the 
iPhone, the company took all the content, made it searchable, and 
enhanced it by embedding maps. 

It also made all the information geo-aware so as to capitalize on the GPS 
capabilities of the iPhone, Google phones, and soon the Palm Pre. 

In less than a month, Goldberg said, Lonely Planet has seen “hundreds of 
thousands” of downloads of its 20 city guides and several other products. 
The company is working with Palm and Nokia to develop special offerings 
for those devices.

The company tries to tailor its offerings so that they capitalize on a 
platform’s special hardware capabilities. 

“On Android-based devices, we can leverage the built-in compass to help 
you find things pretty quickly and help you get somewhere fast,” said 
Matthew Cashmore, who has a very dot-com title of Innovation Ecosystem 
Manager at Lonely Planet.”The information just pops up on your screen.”

In addition to its mobile efforts, Lonely Planet has built a blogging 
platform that allows folks to blog about their travels. The bloggers get 
to keep the advertising revenues, along with traffic that is funneled 
from the Lonely Planet web site.

“We get interesting, deeper and rich content on our sites from our 
community,” says Goldberg, “making the Lonely Planet web site more useful 
for visitors.” In other words, the company is sharing its traffic with 
its community.

In addition, it has launched Groups, which uses Google-backed Open Social 
to help travelers create micro social networks, depending on destinations 
and topics. 

The company has also helped foster a traveler community called Thorn 
Tree, which attracts nearly half a million visitors every month. And it 
has developed a trip traveler tool.

What next? I wouldn’t be surprised by an emphasis on transactions. 

Along with Web, Mobile and Books, Lonely Planet has launched a magazine 
and is producing television shows along with its parent, BBC.

The way I look at it — these guys are doing a good job of embracing 
change, and evolving with that change. I wish more publishers would think 
along these lines.


> (Side-note: Google makes billions in .au, pays nearly no tax; and yet
> someone thought it was appropriate for the G-G to open its new
> Australian office. Not a good look for QB in my opinion...)
> Roger Clarke wrote:
> >
> > At 13:32 +0000 29/5/09, stephen at melbpc.org.au wrote:
> >> Went Walkabout. Brought back Google Wave.
> >> 5/28/2009, 09:15:00, http://googleblog.blogspot.com
> >> <http://wave.google.com/>
> > 
> > Okay, I've been asking for years for an update to the venerable email 
> > standards, with simple text plus *alternative* richer media, and 
> > chat/IM, and conferencing, all with an integrated database, archive 
> > and search.
> > 
> > And of course standards-based, so that multiple vendors can compete 
> > over the top of common protocols and infrastructure.
> > 
> > So I'm desperately disappointed that, after all this time, it's 
> > Google that's doing it, with no apparent IETF involvement.
> > 
> > Google already has massive archives of communications, not just of 
> > its users, but also of everyone its users correspond with.  We badly 
> > need ways to avoid all of that data being gifted into a corporate 
> > store, available for exploitation however Mountain View sees fit.
> > 
> > My first suspicion is that Wave will be designed to ensure that the 
> > maximum amount of traffic is captured into Google's archives.
> > 
> > My second *was* that the mechanism would be proprietary and closed.
> > 
> > On the other hand, this suggests proprietary and *open*:
> > http://www.waveprotocol.org/
> > http://www.waveprotocol.org/draft-protocol-spec
> > 
> > [Adobe is an example of a provider that once had a decent reputation 
> > for proprietary-but-open.  But they seem to have rather mucked up 
> > that reputation lately, with more tricks (or just bugs?) that get in 
> > the way of effective third-party implementations.  And even MS has 
> > yet to destroy RTF as a proprietary but *reasonably* open standard 
> > format.]
> > 
> > Has anyone reviewed the Wave Protocol yet, to evaluate:
> > -   the extent to which it's genuinely open versus pseudo-open?
> > -   the extent to which it generates momentum towards capture of
> >      all or most of our communications traffic into Google's store?
> > 
> > 
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