Despite all the information technology at our finger tips, I am still amazed at how long it takes for stories to spread around the web. The BBC has launched a Sound Index, a social media music chart that is updated every hour. Despite being mentioned in the Radio 1 blog on the 11th April, and in the Guardian on the Friday, it suddenly seems to be talked about everywhere since blogged about in the ReadWriteWeb. The way we access news has changed, and despite what we may think, it is not always faster…
Every six hours the Sound Index crawls some of the biggest music sites on the internet – Bebo, MySpace, Last.FM, iTunes, Google and YouTube – to find out what people are writing about, listening to, watching, downloading and logging on to. It then counts and analyses this data to make an instant list of the most popular 1000 artists and tracks on the web. The more blog mentions, comments, plays, downloads and profile views an artist or track has, the higher up the Sound Index they are. So, the Sound Index is a music buzz index controlled entirely by the public.
It is an interesting twist on the traditional charts, potentially making a person’s actions as important as their songs as they attempt to create an internet buzz. The top of the Sound Index is unsurprisingly full of the usual suspects, although as it is a top 1000 there is plenty of room for the lesser known acts, and the classic pop canon.
Whilst it is an easy and enjoyable way to waste time, I must admit that I was shocked to find that Cliff Richard has yet to make it into the index….obviously something wrong with the algorithm.
It would seem as though nobody knows what Google is worth, how else do you explain a 20% increase in their share price in one day? This is not a time for naysayers to eat their words (as Mashable would have us believe), but rather for us to enjoy the spectacle of the total market confusion!
Over the last few months Google’s share price has reached the dizzying heights of $747.24, and fallen as low as $412.11. Is there anything left in the market? Probably, but it is not the sort of company you will want to place your life savings in. Volatile share price? Probably haven’t seen anything yet.
An article over at TechCrunch points to some of the changes that are going on over at Britannica, most noticeably their new Webshare program:
A special program for web publishers, including bloggers, webmasters, and anyone who writes for the Internet. You get complimentary access to the Encyclopedia Britannica online and, if you like, an easy way to give your readers background of the topics you write about with links to complete Britannica articles.
It would seem to be a move where everybody wins, Britannica’s content is promoted for free, whilst bloggers and other publishers get access to a high quality encyclopedia. Unfortunately they “reserve the right to deny participation to anyone who in our judgment doesn’t qualify”, so I will have to wait and see if they deem my blog worthy.
Despite having had my eye on the Wii Fit since December, having spotted the UK release date in February, and being aware of shops selling out over a week ago, I have only just placed my order for the Wii fit. All the usual suspects had sold out, so I had to place my order with Argos:
“Argos will only take pre-orders against a pre-agreed launch allocation from the supplier. Argos will not start taking pre-orders until this allocation is known. Argos will stop taking pre-orders when this allocation has been sold. Argos will never knowingly oversell the Wii Fit. Argos will endeavour to deliver on the launch date, however should the supplier fail to deliver on time or part deliver on launch date, Argos will deliver to customers in strict chronological order, which may be after the launch date.”
Whilst there is no reason why I should expect Argos to be less reliable than any of the other online sellers, I don’t feel particularly confident. If it was an electric blanket I would be extremely confident, however you just get the feeling that an outlet better known for toasters and kettles will be one of the first to get it’s order shortened.
12pm-6pm Friday 25th April 2008 looks like it will be a stressful few hours.
Hitwise have posted on the increase in visits to the top news aggregators, just days after the revamp of Microsoft’s Live Search News. Whilst I don’t agree with the article’s description of web 3.0 (or any other web 3.0, web 4.0 or web 5.0 bandwagon), there seems little doubt news aggregators are changing the way we access the news. If anything I am surprised that there were only 8 news aggregators amongst the top 100 news and media sites.
My immediate reaction to Microsoft’s entrance was one of joy, pleased with any service that nibbles away at Google’s online dominance, but when seen as part of the increase in news aggregation, you have to worry about effect it will have on the news creators who are already trying to cut corners. The question is whether new news models can emerge before the old one stops working.
One of the most interesting stories of the last week has been Facebook’s introduction of their lexicon tool, “a tool to follow language trends across Facebook” (via All Facebook). Whilst the information provided is very simplistic, merely showing the rising and fall of the terms’ popularity rather than specific numbers, it will be interesting to see how the popularity of terms equates to those that are searched for in Google (available via Google Trends). Are those terms that appear in wall posts the same as those that appear in Facebook wall posts? And do they follow the same trends?
For a quick comparison I took data from the two services for the term Christmas, a popular term that could be expected to vary over the year: Google Trends Facebook Lexicon Unsurprisingly they both peak around the Christmas period, although the peak is much more pronouced on Facebook…all those Merry Christmas posts. To a certain extent the differences in these graphs is to be expected, but I’m sure that there will be a host of far more interesting comparisons in the months ahead.
Whilst I think QR codes have been around far too many years to describe any part of the UK’s slow embrace as ‘pioneering’, it is nice that it is starting to make a few stories. I love the potential of QR codes to connect the real world to the online world, and any news is good news.
Alexa is an often criticised ranking of web sites, with the criticism largely based on the use of the Alexa toolbar as a source of data. The use of the toolbar data skewed the ranking in favour of those sites visited by internet marketers and search engine optimisers, those who installed the toolbar, rather than the average user. Alexa’s big news, which everyone reported yesterday (e.g., Mashable, TechCrunch), is that they are now using additional data sources, although what they are is not very clear in their announcement.
Obviously with any change in the ranking system there will be winners and losers, and those who win are less likely to complain than those who lose. Personally I think the new Alexa rankings are a HUGE step forward. This conclusion is based solely on the increase in my own personal ranking. Back in January I noted that the Alexa ranking for Webometric Thoughts was 3,816,072. Today my Alexa ranking is 1,607,649 (1,389,032 for the 1 week average). Breaking into the top one million suddenly seems much easier.
We are all aware that Google are constantly tweaking their ranking algorithm, and we all Google ourselves occasionally to see where we are coming. Today John Battelle reports that he is top ‘John’ on Google, proof if it were ever needed that Google is far from perfect. Whilst the introduction of PageRank revolutionised the search industry, John Battelle’s rise up the search ranking shows what happens if we confuse those who publish on the web and those who search the web.
Personally, with a rather popular (or is that common??) name, I am just pleased to find Webometric Thoughts makes it on the front page for ‘David Stuart’, currently number six, but occasionally falling onto the third or fourth page of results.