October 23, 2006

Video as Dialog [10:27 am]

An interesting theory: YouTube users keep dialogue running - pdf

A clue to why Google Inc. spent a king’s ransom on YouTube Inc. this month can be found in a silly, two-minute clip posted to the video-sharing site hours after the $1.65-billion deal.

Standing outside a TGI Friday’s restaurant in San Bruno, Calif., YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley pronounced in a shaky video that “two kings have gotten together,” prompting co-founder Steve Chen to burst out laughing.

More than just the youthful swagger of millionaire twentysomethings, the clip was an inside joke: Hurley was lampooning a video by rapper Diddy announcing the debut of his own YouTube channel while ordering a Whopper at Burger King.

[...] The self-referential satire of the “Message From Chad and Steve” highlights what separates YouTube from the other online video sites: It’s a community where the videos are part of a running conversation between members.

To Google, that community is worth potentially far more than the bootlegged video clips and amateur movies that built YouTube’s audience of 63 million. Among fickle online audiences, loyalty is prized.

“What’s so unique about YouTube is that most of the content on the site is this conversation between people,” said Fred Stutzman, a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill who has studied social networks. “The interesting thing is that the conversations are happening in videos.”

Related: Yahoo tests the power of packaging user content - pdf

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Why Would Anyone Want To Read Your Credit Card’s RFID? [10:20 am]

Sometimes, you just have to wonder if anyone’s paying attention: Researchers See Privacy Pitfalls in No-Swipe Credit Cards

Companies that make and issue the cards argue that what looks shocking in the lab could not lead to widespread abuse in the real world, and that additional data protection and antifraud measures in the payment system protect consumers from end to end.

“This is an interesting technical exercise,” said Brian Triplett, senior vice president for emerging-product development for Visa, “but as a real threat to a consumer — that threat really doesn’t exist.”

Yet …

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As Expected… [10:18 am]

We’re Google. So Sue Us.

As Google has grown into the world’s most popular search engine and, arguably, the most powerful Internet company, it has become entangled in scores of lawsuits touching on a wide range of legal questions, including copyright violation, trademark infringement and its method of ranking Web sites.

Any company that is large and successful is going to attract lawsuits, and Google’s deep pockets make it an especially big target. But as it rushes to create innovative new services, Google sometimes operates in a way that almost seems to invite legal scrutiny.

A group of authors and publishers is challenging the company’s right to scan books that are still under copyright. A small Web site in California is suing Google because it was removed from the company’s search results. And European news agencies have sued over Google’s use of their headlines and photos in Google News.

In these cases and others, potential legal problems seem to give the company little pause before it plunges into new ventures.

“I think Google is wanting to push the boundaries,” said Jonathan Zittrain, professor of Internet governance and regulation at Oxford University.

“The Internet ethos of the 90’s, the expansionist ethos, was, ‘Just do it, make it cool, make it great and we’ll cut the rough edges off later,’ ” Professor Zittrain said. “They’re really trying to preserve a culture that says, ‘Just do it, and consult with the lawyers as you go so you don’t do anything flagrantly ill-advised.’ ”

A great idea; but can they afford it?

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A Question from the Founder of Wikipedia [6:59 am]

From the Wikipedia listserve: [Wikipedia-l] Dream a little…

I would like to gather from the community some examples of works you would like to see made free, works that we are not doing a good job of generating free replacements for, works that could in theory be purchased and freed.

Dream big. Imagine there existed a budget of $100 million to purchase copyrights to be made available under a free license. What would you like to see purchased and released under a free license?

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