Are you ready for Headplay?

April 30, 2007

Over the weekend Headplay quietly went live with it’s new site. It’s not another MMPOG or game fan site, if you are thinking of one. Actually, the website is not the real stuff Headplay is out to sell. Sometime in the next couple of months, Headplay will be launching it’s Personal Cinema System that streams movies right near your eyes. Supported with headband and sitting right in front of your eyes, Headplay hooks into your existing movie or gaming devices to stream content to the Viewer.

Headplay has couple of devices working together with Viewer to deliver the 52-inch TV experience. This includes Liberator, which has the video processing engine and I/O ports, and Navigator, which obviously delivers the user control like volume, program selections,…. Headplay claims a battery life of 6 hours or you can hookup the device to power outlet.

All this comes for just $499. Whoa! Will Headplay sell for that high a price?

Price aside, do consumers want to add yet another device they need to charge and carry along to consume their content 24X7? I am already lost in the number of devices I need to put back on charger overnight. Adding another to the list is a big no no. And Headplay would be one device that you won’t really use on regular basis if you are not the traveling kind. And even if you are the traveling kind, you need to remember to carry your iPod or Laptop that can stream content onto Headplay. You know what, carrying the peripherals is not enough. Make sure your iPod or laptop has couple of movies in them that you haven’t watches before….Too many if/elses? Well that is the real life. I would, there are just too many point of disconnect.

Still can be great buy for video iPod fans, if they can go through the above described hoops.



InCircles is not dead; It’s Pladeo now

April 30, 2007

I had written about last year when it had launched it’s widget based chat client through which users can chat with others on the page it is installed on. While the idea looked interesting to start with, but was not able to get traction with users. Why? ‘Cause unknown entities don’t really have anything to exchange besides “test” or “asdfasdf” or “123123123” or “hello”. Once those kind of messages start showing up, anyone can tell where the community effect is headed. Now the saving part here is that InCircles team has realized the shortcoming and planning on marking some serious upgrades to the widget. First among which is change of name. InCircles will become Pladeo in the next few days. As part of the real upgrades, the Pladeo widget will be able to manage content, play video, chat over video, create avatars, view profiles and communities. Unlike the previous anonymous user based system, Pladeo will enable creation of profiles while site owners will get access to sophisticated analytics tools to monitor all their video distribution activity, user demographics data, and dialog traffic. Latter part of feature set is definitely dependent on how big the community grows.

Others in this domain – Xpanity, and Me.dium. Difference being – Xpanity, and Me.dium are browser extensions driven by users, while Pladeo driven by site owners and flash based.


CircleUp’s group collab goes beta

April 30, 2007

CircleUp, which been working behind the scenes for the past few months has finally gone live with the public beta of it’s smart collaboration app. I had written about CircleUp last month when it had partnered with e7sports. CircleUp’s concept is to make your collaboration easier by allowing you to pose questions and gather needed information from groups of any size and get back a single, organized response that can be used and shared among all members of the groups. All the communication happens via email and IM, while CircleUp keeps tracks of your responses to eventually aggregate the details.

Personally I hate going to yet another site that tells me it can make my online life easier. All it eventually means is another app, another id, and another place for me to login. Naaa. CircleUp understands this fact really well since with this launch it is introducing “What’s Your Question” widgets for Google Desktop, NetVibes Start Page and an Outlook plug-in. That means not round-trips to another site to get your questions kicking. Just get things done right from your personalized page. Lazy-feature list doesn’t stop here. CircleUp delivers RSS feeds for your questions, the aggregated “Daily Result” delivered to your email, and export to Excel and PDF. CircleUp has even the microformat fans covered by enabling browser export of contact information directly to tools like Outlook, or mashups with Google Maps, and more. On the whole a pretty well featured application to start with. Still would like to see integration with other IM clients besides AIM, Yahoo.

Grouptivity is a similar solution but without the IM integration that tends towards getting discussions enabled around any webpage or content.


oh! Yahoo does a big deal

April 30, 2007

Without any doubt these are the days of advertising where anything to everything in advertising would sell. Earlier this month it was Google/DoubleClick deal and now it is Yahoo finally planning to go for a big deal by acquiring Right Media for $680 million in equal parts of stock and cash. Yahoo had invested $20 million in Right Media late last year for a 20% stake in the company. Right Media, which was founded in 2003, is big in banner ads with more than19000 advertisers in it’s marketplace.

Yahoo’s plans are to use the platform to drive more ads to it’s online properties for the non-premium ad space.

The deal aside, not sure how the CPMs and CTRs are at Right Media as compared to DoubleClick or Yahoo Panama or Google.

Evincii – Search meets Brick-n-Mortar

April 27, 2007

Ever found yourself lost in Walmart or Best Buy or one of those big stores? or Going round in circles with being able to find the stuff you are really looking for. Big stores aside, I get lost in Blockbuster and end up spending 30 minutes just to locate a DVD that I might not eventually like. Well, as it seems right now, search god has listened to our prayers once again and sent Evincii to our rescue. You might ask, Who’s Evincii? Evincii is your soon to be yearned for Search Engine in the Store. Yeah, I am talking about brick and mortar. Evincii team has been working on this cool concept that will deliver plug-n-play search engine to retailers that in turn will make our shopping life easier. Once the system shows up in your local store, you would have to go through just the right set of questions to know where exactly the product in located on miles long shelfspace in your local WhateverMart. The solution although difficult to design and deploy, can eventually be a killer product if delivered as depicted.


Virtual World – What’s up next month?

April 27, 2007

Few major releases are coming up in the 3D virtual world space. First is from Kaneva that will be offering more options to it’s users for creating life-like avatars. Obviously to get that you need to pay $$S. This in other words means that users will be able to purchase new items and upgrades including clothes, furniture and homes with Kaneva’s new Buy Credits system. Just like SL, Kaneva platform would still be free to use.

Second in line is 3B, about which I had written about last year. 3B would be launching significant set of feature updates to it’s 3D virtual world client early next month.

Besides the above two, Qwaq should also prepping for the launch of it’s enterprise focused 3D-based collaboration client sometime within the next month of two.

Would get more details on each of these near their launch.

Qwaq can make WebEx history
3B adds personalized avatars to it’s 3D World
Kaneva’s Virtual World is now open

SecoBackup to backup MySql

April 27, 2007

Amazon S3’s figure of 5 billion objects would soon start getting even bigger since at least couple of teams are working on solutions that would use S3 as storage space for MySql database. First is SecoBackup. I had written about SecoBackup few days back when they launched their consumer facing free data backup software that stores data onto S3. Today I had a talk with Ajoy@SecoBackup and he gave me few details about the upcoming release of their new app that would back up MySQL onto S3. Second MySql+S3 tieup is being worked on by Seattle based Mark Atwood. Mark’s offering makes S3 “accessible to MySQL users via a plug-in storage engine”.

While we are on Amazon webservices, checkout another plan that is shaping up to use new clustering features of MySQL 5.x and on-demand computing capacity of Amazon EC2 to create a highly available and scalable service. This would definitely be something to watch for since queries are one of the bigger real reasons that can bring a down site.

All above were just few of the ideas we are tracking among many more people are working on. Amazon seems set to be CDN of Web20.

Another utility search company gets big money :-/

April 27, 2007

Just like the big funding round for WhiteFence last month, another player in the same space, AllConnect, has raised $15 million in funding. Covestco and Nth Power participated in the funding round. AllConnect’s promise is to make your consumer utility search easier. Partnering with over 30 power companies and other services services providers, AllConnect gets all the data at one place. As in the case of WhiteFence, the question still remains – Why would anyone search for pricing from electricity provider or telephone company when all he has is 1 or atmost 2 options to choose from? I am little lost out here. Okay I get the fact they are trying to push things on to visitors on their site, the company’s foundation itself feels shaky.

PikSpot launches media widget – rate+tag+comment from anywhere

April 27, 2007

Web video industry never sleeps. If you have one team innovating today and thinking they are set for next 6 months, they can be proven wrong pretty quickly. PikSpot belongs to this next league of innovators that is working hard to make media sharing viral. In case you haven’t tried, PikSpot is similar in concept to eSnips. You can upload media, create groups, rate content,…. Although the UI pretty much sucks, PikSpot has added a smart feature – LiveEmbed that compensates for everything else.

With LiveEmbed users can take all the content associated with a user-created group and embed it into their MySpace profile or blog or site. Anyone on the site where the content is embedded can vote, comment, and tag the content. PikSpot on it’s end pushes out the updates to all the sites where the content is located to make sure everyone gets the latest ratings and comments in real-time. After trying out PikSpot for a while, the idea does sound viral that can get more eyeballs to content.

In some ways the embed and playlist functionality is similar to what CozmoTV had launched earlier this year.


Bizhuddle – Social Networking for SMBs

April 26, 2007

Launching next month, Bizhuddle will be applying social networking concepts on SMB communities. Now don’t jump to conclusions too fast with ideas like YAWLSNP(Yet Another White Label Social Networking Platform). Bizhuddle’s plans are to get the SMB customers and their service providers interacting with each other. To get the interaction going, Bizhuddle will miz 3 components for it’s service, Huddles, Reviews, and Playbooks, to converge distance between service providers and the businesses who need them.

As you might guess, “Huddles” will basically be the p2p discussion forum. People ask for help or offer help. All the time either side keeping SMB related issues into perspective. Local businesses would get rated and ranked in “Reviews” component of the service. The idea here is to enable aggregation of reviews in a local scope. “Playbooks” at Bizhuddle would be guides from professional service providers, who already have enough SMB related content available but find it difficult deliver the right community. While the longer term goal is to build a UGC site, Bizhuddle will be sourcing content from number of small business associations and counselors to get the initial traction.

From the business model perspective, as Bizhuddle would be providing very targeted and local information, any geo-targeted ad campaigns should perform really well. Would watch how things shape up for Bizhuddle next month.