Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #194
December 23rd, 2007

Study: Googling oneself is more popular

More Americans are Googling themselves – and many are checking out their friends, co-workers and romantic interests, too. In a report Sunday, the Pew Internet and American Life Project said 47 percent of U.S. adult Internet users have looked for information about themselves through Google or another search engine.
Source: Anick Jesdanun, AP Internet Writer, December 16, 2007

Ribbit Launches Web Telephony Development Platform

As well as planning to sell its own services directly to consumers in the first quarter, Ribbit said it is working with more than 600 outside developers who are using its technology to create their own voice applications. Ribbit software serves as an interface between anything from Web sites, e-mail and instant messaging to mobile or regular phones. Developers do not need to be telephony experts to build services with Adobe’s Flash software, which works on most computers.
Source: Sinead Carew, Reuters, December 17, 2007

Everybody’s an Analyst

Wikipedia has transformed encyclopedic research, though for better or worse is a subject of debate. Now the same kind of debate is unfolding around, a Web site for investors that lets anyone with an Internet connection contribute and edit information about publicly traded companies, financial markets, and how to make money off of both.
[Note: The beginning of the article is available as a free preview.]
Source: Jeff D. Opdyke, The Wall Street Journal, December 17, 2007 (Paid registration required)

U.K. government loses data on driving-test candidates

Britain’s Driving Standards Agency, which administers exams for drivers and driving instructors, has admitted losing details relevant to more than 3 million candidates for driver’s-license testing.
The lost details included names, postal addresses, e-mail addresses, and telephone numbers of people who participated in the test between September 2004 and April this year.
Source: Tom Espiner, ZDNet UK, December 18, 2007

Playing tag

Imagine you are a woman at a party who spots a good-looking fellow standing alone in a corner. Before working up the courage to talk to him, you whip out your mobile phone. A few clicks reveal his age and profession, links to his latest blog posts and a plethora of other personal information. To many, this sounds like a nightmare. But to those building so-called ‘mobile’ social networks, it is nirvana: linking virtual communities such as Facebook or MySpace with the real world. The idea is not new, but so far such services have not gained much traction.
A new generation of mobile social networks may have found ways to overcome these barriers. One is Aka-Aki, a start-up based in Berlin. Users of its service download a small program onto their mobile phone. The software then uses Bluetooth, the short-range radio technology built into many mobile phones, to check whether any friends or other members with similar interests are within 20 metres.
Source: The Economist print edition, Technology Quarterly, December 6, 2007

FBI aims for world’s largest biometrics database

The FBI is embarking on a $1 billion project to build the world’s largest computer database of biometrics to give the U.S. government more ways to identify people at home and abroad, the Washington Post reported on Friday.
[Note: here is a link to the original Washington Post article (Ellen Nakashima, December 22, 2007, Free registration).]
Source: Reuters, December 22, 2007

IBM virtual world defies laws of physics

IBM is building a virtual world to help its employees collaborate, and while it’s not the first big technology company to do so, Big Blue may be unusual in that it decided not to mess with those silly laws of physics in its own virtual environment.
“Why do we need walls and ceilings to do a meeting?” asks Michael Ackerbauer of IBM, who is building the company’s virtual world, called the Metaverse. “We’ve had meetings under water and up in the air. Meetings are where you want them to be.”
Source: Jon Brodkin, Network World, December 20, 2007

For the Holidays: Good Things Come in Virtual Packages
Not sure what to get that special someone on your holiday shopping list who has everything? How about a virtual T-shirt featuring the logo of his or her favorite virtual band — or a snazzy new pair of avatar swimming trunks? Too trite? Well then, how about a prewrapped present to put under his or her Facebook Christmas tree?
Source: Larry Greenemeier, Scientific American, December 21, 2007

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