Capturing all your browsing data: the difference between Amazon’s Silk and Opera Mobile

Chris Espinosa has written a very interesting piece about the Silk browser that comes on Amazon’s freshly announced Fire tablet.

The “split browser” notion is that Amazon will use its EC2 back end to pre-cache user web browsing, using its fat back-end pipes to grab all the web content at once so the lightweight Fire-based browser has to only download one simple stream from Amazon’s servers. But what this means is that Amazon will capture and control every Web transaction performed by Fire users. Every page they see, every link they follow, every click they make, every ad they see is going to be intermediated by one of the largest server farms on the planet. People who cringe at the privacy and data-mining implications of the Facebook Timeline ought to be just floored by the magnitude of Amazon’s opportunity here. Amazon now has what every storefront lusts for: the knowledge of what other stores your customers are shopping in and what prices they’re being offered there. What’s more, Amazon is getting this not by expensive, proactive scraping the Web, like Google has to do; they’re getting it passively by offering a simple caching service, and letting Fire users do the hard work of crawling the Web.

In a discussion on Twitter, Mark Pesce and Alexander Sadleir pointed out that this is basically the same as what Opera Mobile does. The Registry wrote last year:
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Discussion: Social networks, Google+, Facebook, fragmentation, and interoperability

The video below shows an interview of me on ABC TV that was made over a month ago, though it aired just last week. Here is the full program of The Consumer Quarter, from which this interview is taken.

The focus of the segment was to look at the impact of the launch of Google+ on social networking as a whole, including the possible negative impact of too much choice for social network users.

A few of the points I made in the interview:
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Compulsory viewing: A CEO perspective on the business value of internal social networks

A few days ago Arie Goldshlager pointed me to the fantastic video below of Giam Swiegers, CEO of Deloitte Australia, talking about the company’s use of micro-blogging. Shortly after Forrester announced that Deloitte Australia’s Yammer network had won its 2011 Forrester Groundswell award in the category of Collaboration Systems.

Undoubtedly a major factor in Deloitte Australia’s success in internal social networks is the unreserved support of its CEO. However, as the video below clearly shows, Swiegers is not a man who likes social media for its own sake.

He simply recognizes that it can help lead to outstanding business outcomes. As an accountant and business leader, he sees the business value of using social networks well, and has helped Deloitte Australia to tap that value.


Here are some of the things that Swiegers says in the video:
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Why diverse viewpoints are critical in dealing with complexity

The September issue of Harvard Business Review focused on complexity, with several excellent articles.

One of the pieces was an interview with Michael J. Mauboussin, the chief investment strategist at Legg Mason Capital Management, whose investment approach is fundamentally based on understanding complexity.

His answer to the last question in the interview was very interesting:

What are some of the rules of thumb for getting yourself into the right mind-set to deal with complexity?
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Keynote slides: The Power of Social Media and Future Organizations

This morning I am giving the external keynote at a closed conference for senior client executives run by a major professional services firm. They know the technical content they are presenting is rather dry so my role is to provide a highly engaging kick-off to the day (spouses are invited too) which is also practical and useful for attendees.

As is quite often the case these days, my client asked me to combine two of the topics from my general list of speaking topics, bringing together the ideas from The Power of Social Media and The Future of Work and Organizations. In fact every presentation I do is customized for the specific context and audience, including many topics not on the list, but it can be useful for clients to use the general speaking topic list to work out what they are looking for.

Here are the slides to my keynote. The usual disclaimer: the slides are designed to accompany my presentation and not to be viewed by themselves, but you still might find them interesting.

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Creating social TV: lessons along the way

I recently wrote about social and participative TV, as one of the important aspects of how TV as we currently know it will evolve.

Of course, this is not to say that all TV will become social. A key characteristic of the TV format is that it is passive, and that is what many people are looking for. Part of what we need to learn is not just what the mechanisms of effective social TV are, but in what situations it works well. While the term ‘social TV’ is becoming commonly used to refer to a variety of initiatives, I distinguish between social TV as focused on a shared viewing experience, and participative TV which is about viewers contributing to the program itself.

In this context, local TV station KOMU in Columbia, Missouri has recently created an hour-long participative TV show hosted by Sarah Hill. Here is the program preview:

TVNewsCheck has a detailed review of this and similar initiatives, saying:
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The global polarization of work: what we can do about it

Today I gave the keynote at an invitation-only meeting of senior executives looking at the future of their industry. My role was to bring perspectives on the broader drivers of change in business.

One of the central themes of my keynote was the future of work and organizations. There are of course many facets to this, but one of the fundamentally important ones in considering the future of business and society is in how work is being polarized.

On the one hand, the elites who have outstanding talents or expertise, combined with the ability to collaborate effectively, have extraordinary choices. They can choose the employers who give them the most flexibility, the highest pay, or the greatest work satisfaction, depending on their priorities. They can work freelance for companies anywhere in the world, usually working from the comfort of their own home or local co-working space. They can live and work pretty much wherever they want in the world. As connectivity reaches deeper and broader into developing countries, a far broader pool of talented people can reasonably aspire to this lifestyle.
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More research: browsing for fun at work boosts productivity

My post yesterday about Angry Birds and productivity at work: why distractions can help has generated some good discussion.

Ever a source of great information, Arie Goldshlager has now pointed me to additional research that supports the National University of Singapore study I pointed to in the article.

In this brief video Dr Brent Coker at the Department of Management and Marketing at University of Melbourne presents their research findings on the productivity impact of browsing for fun at work.


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Angry Birds and productivity at work: why distractions can help

On Friday a journalist from the Herald Sun called me to ask for my response to an ‘analysis’ suggesting that $1.4 billion of worker productivity is lost to playing Angry Birds. It seems that my answers turned the story around from what could have been yet another populist headline to Is Angry Birds the new Solitaire or are we flying off the handle a bit too early?

I was quoted:
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Looking for Outstanding Researcher/ Writer on Crowdsourcing

We have just posted a job on Odesk for an Outstanding Researcher/ Writer on Crowdsourcing in a freelance role. Below is the job description. If you’re interested please respond on Odesk.

We’re very excited about our forthcoming book on how to crowdsource effectively, so if you really understand crowdsourcing, are a good researcher and great writer, we’d love to work with you!

Outstanding Researcher/ Writer on Crowdsourcing
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