Mapping Their Web Plans

Google sets sights on users; Facebook follows 'Amazing Race.'


The grizzled Grimalkin has been nosing around the software industry since Lotus 1-2-3 was a twinkle in Mitch Kapors eye. Spencer has seen software companies rise to become huge cash-generating machines. He has seen even more once-promising companies crash into heaps of smoking hex code.

But the industry has changed irreversibly when a software company says making money from software doesnt matter anymore. The most valuable asset is the user population. That is exactly what Google is saying about its revenue model.

The sharp-eared Tabby was at Interop New York when he heard Matt Glotzbach, product management director for Google Enterprise, explain why his company doesnt project revenue three or five years in advance.

"Google has these ideas and kind of a mantra," Glotzbach said. "One of them is Focus on the user, and the monetization model will follow."

"The metric that I care about and look at every day, and the metric that Eric [Schmidt], Larry [Page] and Sergey [Brin] look at every day, is the usage of our applications and whether or not that number is going up at a significant rate," Glotzbach said.

The Internet has allowed Google to become as much a media company as it is a technology company, where delivering an audience is more lucrative than selling a software package or even a service, mused the Mouser. "Its not your daddys software industry," the learned Lynx exclaimed.

A Windy City tipster showed Spencer why Google isnt the only popcorn stand on the Web thats doing interesting things with maps. Facebook is tying in its WIB (Where Ive Been) travel application with CBS "Amazing Race" reality show. WIB has produced a map showing the destinations that "Amazing Race" contestants have visited over the past 11 seasons. It also shows the locations of contestants in the current weeks episode. Facebook users can link the "Amazing Race" maps to their profiles so they and their social networks can keep up with contestants progress.

Its no coincidence the map tie-in emerged shortly after Facebook announced that businesses and organizations can create profiles and interact with social networks. "The possibilities are endless, and not all of them positive opined the Kitty, imagining that Facebook users could face a flood of marketing pitches. But it will definitely provide a new way of tying together everything from movie trailers to political campaigns to social network interests.

The Kitty was prowling the blustery streets of New York when he heard that, a Web site that shares information about neighborhoods around the United States, has compiled a list of the "Bloggiest Places in the Nation." These are the neighborhoods that people are blogging about because of what happened there or because of what people are doing there. The top 10 list includes the site of the I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis and Ground Zero in Manhattan.

Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt, the Whiskered Wonder, has been the mascot and tipster extraordinaire for eWEEK and its predecessor print publication PC Week since 1984. The Gadabout Gatto makes the rounds of...