What Would Google Do? My review

Jeff Jarvis doesn’t come right out and say it, but it’s pretty obvious why the former media executive, blogger and journalism professor chose to call his recent book What Would Google Do? It’s safe to say that Google isn’t just the flavour of the month, it’s the flavour of the decade, and possibly even the century. Known only to geeks a few short years ago, it has quickly become the sine qua non of modern technology companies, a multibillion-dollar colossus that for many people is virtually synonymous with the Internet.

In his book — which the front flap refers to as “one part prophecy, one part thought experiment, one part manifesto and one part survival manual” — Jarvis says he set out to “reverse-engineer” the principles that have made Google great, and then apply those lessons to other companies and industries, from restaurants to car companies. Despite the title, however, this book isn’t really about Google at all. It’s really about the Internet, and the disruptive effects that the Web in all its various forms is having on businesses and even society itself. Like so many others, it seems that Jarvis is happy to use Google as a stand-in or proxy for the Web itself.

(read the rest of this review at the Globe and Mail book site)

Kanye West to reviewer: Kill yourself

Don’t ask me why, but I like to read Kanye West’s blog. I don’t really like his music all that much (note to Kanye: please don’t hate me) but his blog is hilarious — a totally idiosyncratic mix of thoughts about pretty much anything, from high-tech gadgets and cars to clothing and architecture. I don’t know how much of what he calls KanyeUniverseCity.com is actually produced by him, but the overall effect is a little like Boing Boing, but with a crazy hip-hop mogul running the show.

We all know that Kanye can get a little… well, hot under the collar sometimes. But he totally lost it in one recent post, after an Entertainment Weekly reviewer gave the opening show of his new Glow in the Dark tour a B+. Now, you might think that a B+ is pretty good. It’s almost an A, right? Well that, my friends, is why you are not Kanye West. Here’s what Kanye had to say (I’ve cleaned it up a little):

“Ya’ll rated my album sh***y and now ya’ll come to the show and give it a B+. What’s a B+ mean? I’m an extremist. It’s either pass or fail! A+ or F-! You know what, f*** you and the whole f***ing staff!!!

You don’t know sh** about passion and art. You’ll never gain credibility at this rate. You’re f***ing trash! I make art. You can’t rate this. I’m a real person. I’m not a pop star. I don’t care about anything but making great art. Never come 2 one of my shows ever again.”

Never let it be said that Kanye doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve. After all, he isn’t a pop star — he’s a real person! And he doesn’t care about anything but making great art. And in the RSS feed version of the above post, he had an additional thought for the Entertainment Weekly writer that I guess he decided to leave out of the final version: “Chris Willman, kill yourself!” the pop star said. Now that’s great art.

A look at Sharpcast’s photo software

Note: I’ve started doing weekly reviews of Web 2.0 tools and services for globetechnology.com — last week I wrote about Writely — and this week I wrote about Sharpcast, an online photo-sharing service that offers automatic synchronization with your home PC.

If there’s one thing the Web has plenty of, it’s photo-sharing sites. There’s Flickr.com, of course, which was started by a couple of Canadians and then eventually bought by Yahoo, but also Webshots.com, SmugMug.com, Photobucket.com, Snapfish.com and many others (interestingly enough, although Flickr gets most of the publicity, Photobucket is actually number one in terms of images and users, thanks in large part to the fact that millions of users of MySpace.com rely on Photobucket to host the images for their blogs).

So why would anyone want to hear about another photo-sharing site? Because a service called Sharpcast.com offers something a little different from the others, and that is automatic image synchronization between your computer and Sharpcast’s servers. In other words, it backs up whatever images you choose, and keeps the photos constantly backed up whenever something changes. You can also use the service as a standard image-sharing site for family and friends, but the synchronization part is the big differentiator between Sharpcast and your average run-of-the-mill photo site.

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