News aggregators like Google News ended the monopoly media outlets once had over their own content. Users can quickly scan headlines from hundreds of news sources without ever actually visiting the website, all while Google profits from advertisements displayed next to headlines. “With the rise of search engines and news aggregators on the internet, newspapers lost an important part of that chain of value. I think that this move to step out of a search service is an attempt to regain dominance here,” said Eugenio Bucci, a professor at the University of São Paulo (ECA-USP).
“Flipboard is essentially an RSS feed,” Trapit co-founder and Chief Product Officer Hank Nothhaft told me. “It’s not bringing anything new to the table. It’s not highly personalized or relevant. We’ve taken the opposite approach. We’re all about user-generated interest, being selfish and really reveling in the things that you like.” Trapit scours content from about 120,000 sources, up from 100,000 last year. In the past few months, the company also cut about 10,000 sources based on user feedback.
Me? I’m immersed in Google services, but I worry that handy new features will arrive in a steady stream of minor changes that are all but imperceptible until one day I wake up and realize that Google has access to everything that makes me who I am.

Advertising has been good to Google. But as the company becomes more than a search engine, it’s got a choice to make about its revenues in the future: should it emphasize selling services rather than selling advertising?
The companies that are truly winning over audiences and driving consumers are the ones that are experimenting with a balance of automated aggregation and human-directed curation. It’s a process of out-sourcing and in-sourcing.

Fast Commpany, The Content Conundrum: To Create Or Automate, 07-05-2012

(Source: contentcurationmarketing.com)

The ongoing death of newspapers is not about changes in journalism, or the need for them. It is about a business model that has ceased to be relevant in the face of present technology. It used to be a poorly kept secret, but amid a vast array of competing histories, it’s been forgotten like last year’s canceled NBC sitcoms: What made newspapers successful was never the news. Newspapers provided vital services in people’s lives: their connections with their hometown, the notices of local events, the daily topics of conversation, the latest thoughts hovering over Snoopy’s head as he snored atop his doghouse. Many of these services were syndicated, and those that were not - like the classified ads - were intensely well managed. The front page, and the headlines therein, were merely the container…

…The Internet commandeered the services that newspapers once championed and delivered each of these services on an a la carte basis. In an earlier era, it made sense to bundle these services in a single package - the newspaper - and deliver it fully assembled. Today, the Web itself is the package, and each of the services now competes against other similar services in separate, often healthy, markets. And this is as it should be - this is not somehow wrong…

There is no rational business model that can be formed around solely the production of news, just as many artists will attest that there is no stable business model around just an artist producing art that does not involve dying first. News must be bundled with a service. And that’s a problem, because the Web model is to unbundle everything, reduce every service to its basic and fundamental form, and present it to you as a site or, more recently, as an app. If you ask southern California venture capitalists what types of investments they’re searching for, they’ll tell you they’re looking for that one thing - not six things bundled together, not three existing things that complement one another. One disruptive thing.

And that thing tends to omit the word “news.”

Scott M. Fulton, III, ReadWriteWeb. On the Difference Between Google and Journalism.  (via futurejournalismproject)

The problem with grand visions of the Semantic Web was that they all assumed a top-down structure. One wickedly clever set of rules to wrangle every fact. A global ontology.
It didn’t make sense. Global ontologies are like Soviet Central Planning. Rules are meant to be broken. And top-down systems are crashing and burning everywhere you look.

The search giant (Google) has constructed a bottom-up directory of meaning. The company calls the product “the knowledge graph” and the service Semantic Search.

Dan Conover, 2012: Google gives birth to the bottom-up Semantic Economy, April 16, 2012

While we’re not sure how Dan’s vision will actually work at the end of the day we nevertheless agree that a universal, top-down, global ontology won’t be the base the semantic web will be built upon. Instead it will be based on multiple, buttom-up, decentral and highly flexible ontologies, some of them specific to just one user, others managed and maintened by groups of users sharing a common interest.

When Google goes to semantic search, it won’t be as much about keywords at all, but on the meaning of the words you use. This might be the biggest SEO killer of all. If tuning our content for keywords our users care about is no longer an effective strategy, what is left for SEOs?

Amazon’s bet to fork Android in order to put consumers into their own shopping experience on Kindle Fire appears to be paying off.  Showing its commerce strength, Amazon already delivers more than three times the revenue in its app store compared to what Google generates for developers.

Peter Farago, For Generating App Revenue, Amazon Shows Google How to Play, Mar 30, 2012
Could it be that there is a plan behind this? Once Amazon locked in enough developers they could switch from Android to another platform and leave Google in the fragmentation dust.

Amazon’s bet to fork Android in order to put consumers into their own shopping experience on Kindle Fire appears to be paying off.  Showing its commerce strength, Amazon already delivers more than three times the revenue in its app store compared to what Google generates for developers.

Peter Farago, For Generating App Revenue, Amazon Shows Google How to Play, Mar 30, 2012

Could it be that there is a plan behind this? Once Amazon locked in enough developers they could switch from Android to another platform and leave Google in the fragmentation dust.

The contrast of resilient TV spending and waning budget allocations to other traditional media was plainly evident at the end of 2011,” said Jon Swallen, SVP of research at Kantar Media Intelligence North America. “Some mature digital media formats were also touched by the year-end tide of reduced spending. Whether this is an isolated occurrence or an early sign of digital dollars moving more quickly towards emerging and unmeasured digital platforms bears watching as 2012 unfolds.

Search Engine Watch, March 13, 2012

Paid search spending was down 6.4% compared to Q4 ‘10. Indeed it remains to be seen whether this was just a blip or the beginning of this category’s long-term decline. If so it explains Google’s desperation to get into Social Media at any price.