Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

AP invades Google's turf with Silicon Valley startup


(09-25) 17:13 PDT SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Inc. is invading Google's turf with a new online search engine company that hopes to pluck some of the profits pouring into the rapidly growing sector.

Seattle-based Amazon has dubbed its search startup "A9" and set up offices in Palo Alto, not far from Google's Mountain View headquarters. A9 hopes to launch in October with 30 employees and grow much larger as it develops a search engine that will be licensed to other Web sites, said spokeswoman Alison Diboll.

I wonder if this is going to be an html scraper or a web service/feed aggregator? I wonder if it will be the mother-of-all referral/affiliate marketing aggregators... but how can they do search and not compete with the business model of "all roads lead to Amazon"? I wonder if A9 means it's their 9th try...

In any event, writing a search engine from scratch at the dawn of real web services sounds like a lot of fun.

Via Google Weblog

The Dean campaign just announced Howard Dean's Internet Initiative.

I will be participating in the Net Advisory Net and I am in good company.

The Net Advisory Net

The Net Advisory Net will present to the Governor and his team diverse and highly-informed opinions concerning the Internet and its potential impact upon society. While many of the members support Dean, he is seeking advice, not endorsements, and the advisors do not necessary support the campaign. Learn more at

The first NAN team will focus on how to bridge the "digital divide" by providing universal broadband access to the Internet. Initial members of the broadband committee include: Hal Abelson, Laura Breeden, DeWayne Hendricks, Joi Ito, Lawrence Lessig, Bob Lucky, David Reed, Richard Rowe and David Weinberger. Other working groups will be established to address the potential of e-government to increase our democracy, balancing the rights of artists and the public domain, protecting the privacy of customers and citizens, electronic voting, protecting children and vulnerable communities from Internet exploitation, and controlling spam without impeding the basic architecture of the Web. The goal of each working group will be to frame issues and hold conversations about public policies in order to prepare specific suggestions for the Governor to consider and proposals for addressing these issues in a Dean administration.

I think the Dean campaign's involvement of the Internet could revolutionize the way politics and democracy work. I'm excited to be part of the team and am very interested in how this ties into emergent democracy. I'm also looking forward to taking what we learn and bringing it back to Japan.

There is a less boastful and better post about this with a bunch of links on David Weinberger's blog.

Steven Johnson, the author of Emergence, (the book that inspired me to start thinking about Emergent Democracy) recently blogged about grassroots political ads created with desktop tools. He created a cool quicktime mock ad for the Clark campaign and later Sean created a version with music and voiceover. Steven created this with iPhoto and Keynote.

Very cool use of desktop technology and weblogs. I hope we see a lot more of this stuff. I particularly like the collaborative aspect. Steven, you should put a creative commons license on your ad. ;-)

Andy Oram just posted an interesting article on the O'Reilly Weblog.

Andy Oram
Can computers help reverse falling employment?
Information technologies are implicated in a worldwide and world-historic crisis: falling employment.
Each labor-saving device means the idling of thousands of people, wasting their years of experience, rigorous training, and practical insights.
Anyone who writes programs or plans system deployment should start thinking, "What can I do to bring average people back into the process of wealth creation?"
This has sparked an interesting discussion over on Slashdot.

My personal opinion is that short term quarter-by-quarter capitalism can't possibly think long term enough to deal with many of the larger social issues. I don't think it's just about creating jobs. I think issues such as the environment, poverty, privacy, even computer architectures defy short term profits/gains thinking sometimes. I think it's a good idea for computer professionals to be socially responsible and think long term whenever possible. (See CPSR and EFF).

I think the idea of creating jobs directly by writing software for small businesses is a bit complex. I think that "good jobs" come from innovation and new industries. Many old industries such as the restaurant business are rather zero-sum. I think that increasing the public domain and the commons (spectrum, computer software, creative content...) is the best way to allow people to innovate and be entrepreneurial without being shackled in the well-funded proprietary world. I think that focusing on creating and sharing intellectual wealth in the commons is the best way to create jobs.

Browsing on my DCR-IP7 Video Camera through Hirata's Docomo PHS 663S via bluetooth
Went looking for a small video camera for my continuing pursuit of stealth disco excellence. I found a Sony DCR-IP7. It uses the tiny micro Cassette Memory, has IP, a browser, bluetooth and a bunch of other stuff you'd never need for a stealth disco camera, but it was released in 2001 and I got it at a discount. It was the smallest video camera I could find.

I haven't used it yet to take video, but we were able to connect it via bluetooth to Hirata's PHS mobile phone and connect to the Net and browse the web. Very cool, but almost completely useless. ;-)