Monday, June 27, 2011

Government Agencies adopting Social Media

I was pleasantly surprised today morning when I received an email from KSRTC – Karnataka State Road Transportation Corporation stating the ‘non-obvious’. KSRTC has tapped social media to increase awareness and drive business further. ‘Like’ in Facebook, ‘Follow’ in Twitter have started becoming commonplace in government agencies like KSRTC.

KSRTC - Social Media

For me it indicated two things.

1. Winds of change that the Internet 3.0 has brought in have started sweeping the government agencies – the ones perceived to be most resistant to change of any sort, especially if it is for the betterment of public.

2. This is evidence that the old babus in these agencies are being slowly but surely being replaced by younger generation, Gen Y folks who are Internet savvy and are the harbingers of changes that these government agencies need imperatively to survive in the capitalist market driven economy.

Hope the Air India management takes a leaf out of KSRTC’s book to turn around their fortunes !!

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Angry Birds bringing out the kid in every Indian

Think Catapult. A simple contraption that every Indian has at some point of time created or tried their hand at - be it plucking mangoes or aiming at the glass window of the not-so-friendly-neighbor. Either in its deadly Y shaped stick and rubber/leather sling format or the user friendly make-do rubber band version of the same with the Y formed between the thumb and Index finger improvising as the Y shaped apparatus - catapults have always had a raw fascination growing up.

All of that latent passion was reinvigorated when Angry Birds, a game that had caught the world by storm, landed on Indian shores this May. What a sensation it has created since then !!

The world over, people spend 200 million minutes a day playing this game. It became the first game to be downloaded 200 million times from the Apple iStore.

Available over iPhones, Android phones, Nokia OVI store or even Google Chrome web store, this simple yet highly addictive game has caught India in a fever like grip.

angry birds 1

Published and released by Finland based Rovio, a company specializing in games for hand held devices, Angry Birds has a simple plot that involved, one the 'angry birds' - angry because their eggs have been stolen, two the 'green pigs' - the egg stealers and three the 'paraphernalia' like wood, glass, stone that the pigs use to construct improvisations to hide under. The objective of the game play is to catapult the wingless angry birds from a catapult to destroy the paraphernalia and the pigs at each level. angry birdsThe user has to rely on physics laws of trajectories, the unique characteristics of each type of angry bird ( the blue one can split into 3, the big white one can drop explosive eggs, the yellow one can accelerate once launched, the big black one tends to obliterate everything around it by exploding and so on) to kill the pigs and move onto the next level.

I downloaded it the day it was available on Google Chrome web store and now even my 2 year old daughter comes running the moment the birds start twittering. She even prevents me from launching the birds coz she like their angry twitter. Something I am sure Rovio can think of launching as a mobile ringtone :-)

I see colleagues talking Angry Birds, newspapers reviewing the game, the cyberspace filled with chatter on the game. My gosh! It really has taken India by storm and cut across age barriers.

Here's what Pluggd.in and Trak.in have to say on the story. What has your experience with Angry Birds been?

Friday, June 03, 2011

Street mapping Bangalore

With Google’s recent announcement that it plans to street map Bangalore and make it available over Google Maps, I started wondering if it would be the streets that would get mapped or the people.

For those familiar to Street Map technology, Google mounts special cameras on top of vehicles and the vehicles are driven down streets. The cameras take panoramic pictures which are combined together to allow a Google Map user to view the street as thought he/she were standing and traversing through the street.

Doing it in India would bring in newer challenges to Google. Narrow streets, crowded alleys, where people would block the natural view of the street. Google has even introduced the special 3 wheel ‘trike’ as they call it to overcome some of these challenges.

While the west places huge emphasis on privacy, India would present to problems from the other other end of the spectrum. You will have people vying to get captured by a Street Map car and possibly hope that they get featured on Google Maps. While Google does a lot of painstaking trawling of images to discard photos that capture people’s faces, getting one clean shot without people’s faces will be a challenge in India.

Lets keep our fingers crossed and see how Google surmounts these challenges. What else do you think would Google run into as it embarks on street-mapping Bangalore?

Thursday, June 02, 2011

3 web generations

 

PUSH Web

Web 1.0 was when content was locked in university computers, research labs, etc. and the need felt for a seamless way to access this content from other places paved the way for the World Wide Web.

We all grew up when Web 1.0 burst into the scene back in 1980s. My first exposure to the WWW was during my graduation college in late 90s. Hotmail had been introduced and was making huge waves. Owning a e-mail address with a ‘@hotmail.com’ suffix was

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matter of pride. Content locked up was being unlocked. WWW became a huge library of resources that helped researchers, professors and students alike in sharing and learning. The web had a strong academic feel to it with content shared resembling college notes. Content that had sat within academic confines was being thrown open for the anybody across the globe who could access it. The strong underlying characteristic was the PUSH of content to consumers

SHARE WEB

The dot com craze was just revving up around the last couple of year of the millennium. Thought dotcom craze reached a crescendo and eventually fell apart by the turn of the century, it firmly lay rules for the next generation web – A web where people could leverage the power of the connected network to conduct share thoughts, ideas, content and eventually do business around the globe by using the Internet medium as an enabler of product and service sharing. This fundamental idea has been strengthened time and again through the attempts of Microsoft, eBay, Google and more recently through the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Amazon. The emphasis on the individual netizen is not just consumption but creation. Collaboration, co-creation, crowd sourcing are the new trends we are observing in this avatar of the web sometimes also referred to as Web 2.0

SEMANTIC WEB

The next avatar of the web also referred to as Web 3.0 would unfold a paradigm shift. The shift will be from how the internet can help me do things to how the internet will will customize itself to my specific needs. We are already witnessing the essential DNA of this next generation web being put in motion

  1. The move towards making the web more personal:  Google ads bombard you with customized ads based on your browsing and search patterns. Facebook serves you ads based on your social circle, the conversations that happen on the ‘wall’, etc. Amazon recommends you stuff that you can buy based on you last purchase, your wish list on the Amazon site, etc..
  2. Making the web ubiquitous:The current generation is not constrained in accessing the web. We are connected to the net almost at all times via our mobiles, smart devices, tablets, PCs and laptops. Each individual has a preference of a device and the smart device market is exploding to meet this burgeoning demand. Web 3.0 would be accessible across all devices seamlessly striving to deliver a singular and consistent experience.
  3. Making the web intelligent: The real power of the semantic web will get unleashed when the smart devices have access to an intelligent web. A web that builds on top of the current static Web 2.0 to filter, refine and enhance content pouring in from web searches to fit an individual’s profile, needs and desires which keep changing dynamically.
  4. Allow unlimited scalability to the web: All the 3 points above would need enormous computing power to crunch numbers and data tirelessly at the background to meeting the needs of 6 billion inhabitants of the planet and the umpteen smart devices that work for each one of us be it at home, workplace, travel, leisure or in our private zones. A complete computing fabric that provides for theoretically unlimited computing power, one that is not held back by a portion of the fabric being unavailable for some reason and so and so forth. That is where the current revolution under the name of cloud computing is moving  towards – The creation of a omnipresent fabric of computing resources that tirelessly work to enable Web 3.0

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