Whenever Google launches a new product or a major upgrade to its search results page, the first news of that change often comes in the form of a post to the company’s official blog.
Meanwhile, when the company gets it right, most users don’t even notice that the change was made.
That seemed to be the case back in May, when the company announced the release of its Knowledge Graph, an enhancement to its basic search results.
Entrepreneurs are using technology to change virtually every aspect of how we do business these days, and that includes inventing new kinds of non-profit organizations (NPO).
Sooner or later, almost everyone has to deal with finding a plumber, a carpenter, or a housecleaner to help deal with some issue around the place we call home.
The question is what can information technology do to help make this process more efficient?
If you go to Google today, you'll notice that its logo has been blacked out.
If you go to Wikipedia, you'll see a headline that reads "Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge," followed by the following text:
"For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia."
The reason for these actions by Google, Wikipedia, and other major web-based companies is a pair of bills currently being considered by both houses of the U.S. Congress. They are best-known by their acronyms, SOPA and PIPA.
Meet the lovely Abigail Holtz, a product manager at Google who worked on Boutiques.com. I caught up with her outside The Grove in Hayes Valley, in this colorful print -- a refreshing print for the office, or a fun weekend day dress. Taking a closer look, Abigail had some fabulous accessories going on, too.
You know times are changing when Google envelops something that has its history in print. And today, it acquired Zagat—a coup for the publisher that launched in 1979, truly the O.G. of user-generated reviews (sorry, Yelp).
One of the top tech companies in San Francisco floating just below the surface of broader consumer consciousness is StumbleUpon, the discovery engine that co-founder and CEO Garrett Camp calls the "forward button for the internet."
StumbleUpon helps you find and share great content out along The Long Tail, and the more you use it the better it becomes at finding those gems that make the web, at its best, so entertaining and informative.
It's a bit unusual among startups in that it's about ten years old, and has already been through a major acquisition (for $75 million by eBay in May 2007) followed by an even more unusual event in April 2009, when its founders, including Camp and his co-founder Geoff Smith, bought it back from eBay at a deep (though undisclosed) discount.
The CEO of Salon.com, Richard Gingras, held an emotional "all-hands" meeting with his staff today to tell them he is resigning, effective July 8th, to become global head of news products for Google.
Over the past two years, Gingras has retooled the San Francisco-based quality content site into a leaner operation with significantly higher traffic, but still has not been able to propel the company to profitability.
Since its founding in 1995 (Disclosure: I worked as a consultant with the founding team), Salon has consistently provided high-quality, award-winning coverage of politics, entertainment and the arts, but it has never reached the break-even point financially.
In the midst of a recession that seems to never end, there are plenty of people who need to find new ways to put some cash in their pockets.
Meanwhile, those lucky enough to have jobs often feel like they have to work so hard just to stay employed that they no longer have enough time or energy to take care of the routine tasks of daily life outside of the workplace.
To Michael Peggs, those two economic realities describe an online marketplace waiting to be born.
Meet Peggsit, a startup so young that you if you move quickly enough you could be one of the first 50 people to use it.
Molly Wood, CNET's Executive Editor, and the host of a daily web show covering technology, posted to her blog last week under the headline: "Welcome to the age of data. Watch your back!"
In a conversation with 7x7, she said that the current "information boom" sweeping through the Bay Area can be summed up by one word -- data.
"The startups have this in common. They harvest data, use it to make connections, to advertise to you, or to use the web as a giant recommendation engine. Essentially, they are forming a kind of supercomputer made of users and their data."
She notes the "dark side" of all this. "The level of information out there about you and me is staggering. They can sell this data. So the cost of 'free' has never been higher."