Monthly Archives: March 2013

With Glass, Google Brings Web 2.0 Tech to People Like Never Before

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or simply don’t pay attention to the news online, you’ve probably heard about Google’s Project Glass. Known better simply as “Glass,” Google’s push into wearable computing we can access at all times of the day is moving along quite nicely.

Google’s founders and a lot of their prominent employees have always been supporters of the web 2.0 movement and its philosophy. Glass is an extension of the social, user-generated idea of the internet. It’s web 2.0 taken to the ultimate level: integrating technology with life.

Glass will incorporate a wide variety of Google’s services, including Google+. It will work as a reminder, a camera for photos and videos, a map, and much more. If Glass catches on, it could change how we go about our daily lives immensely. People will have access to social media, email, and the web at a moment’s notice any time they are wearing Glass!

The most recent news about Glass (which is due for release in 2013, by the way) is that Google is pulling more and more people into the Glass project to work as testers and explorers. There are plans to reach several thousand people for the expansion as Google preps for release.

Prospective explorers had to share how they would use Glass in a creative and meaningful manner. Some of the users who have been offered Glass ahead of release have come up with some very excellent ideas. One will use Glass to share her grandmother’s homeland of Japan with her without her grandmother needing to travel. A second person invited to be an explorer wanted to use Glass to share war memorials with veterans at VA Hospitals around the country.

It’s very encouraging to see the beneficial, human, and meaningful ways people want to use Glass. If these trends continue, Glass might end up being less of a tech gadget, and more of a way to help people connect with one another.

Tutoring (Finally) Getting a Boost from Web 2.0 Tech

Combining the power of the internet with education hasn’t been covered nearly as much as it should be. Nor have enough developments been made to improve the integration of internet technologies into education. In many respects, outside of using the internet to collaborate and research, the education field has been slow to adopt the full power of web 2.0 ideas and the technologies that power them.

Sure there are online classes, but they simply take the format of a traditional class, where you absorb the material and do the work, submitting assessments over the internet. However, some institutions and websites have taken education and the internet much further.

They utilize video and audio to bring lectures and lessons to people all over the world, in many cases, for free. This has been a big change on the internet in the past five to ten years, especially in the last five years. There is a wealth of information out there for anyone willing to take the time to learn it.

One aspect of education which hasn’t received much attention but is really starting to utilize the flexibility, power, access, and opportunities the internet provides is tutoring. Tutoring is an industry ripe for taking advantage of the internet and how closely connected everyone now is.

One recent article by Ki Mae Heussner discusses five startups which are taking tutoring to the 2.0 level, a long overdue change. They are focusing on harnessing the power of the web for one-on-one learning.

It’s surprising that this idea hasn’t been more strongly developed online, especially since the technology has been around for quite some time. Perhaps this is the tail end of the web 2.0 philosophy and it’s looking like one that has room to grow. According to Heussner, the “global private tutoring market will surpass $102.8 billion by 2018.”

This is a great direction for the technologies that spurred the web 2.0 movement to now be utilized in. We’re all more connected than we’ve ever been, and now we can help each other learn better than we have ever been able to.

Koozoo Is an Interesting and New Web 2.0 Platform

When people think of web 2.0, their thoughts often go to social media like Facebook and some other user-generated content portals like Instagram. Over the last few years, there are many platforms on the web that have caught on to the web2.0 concepts. For some people who have been following the development of web 2.0, it sometimes feels like jaw-dropping web ideas have slowed down. That’s not true, though!

At the end of February, Koozoo launched, and the company has developed a very interesting idea with “share your view” as their driving idea. What does that mean, exactly? Koozoo has taken a very interesting idea and developed it into “a user-generated, 24/7 streaming video network.” It’s basically a free way to see what’s going on around your area, in video.

Right now, it’s only available in Austin, Texas, and the Bay Area in California. The company knows where it wants to focus as well. Koozoo is for public places only, and any private or inappropriate content will be kept out of the app.

If it takes off throughout the US (and then likely internationally), Koozoo could quickly become a live-action way to see what’s going on anywhere in the world. The idea isn’t exactly that crazy either; the dashcams on Russian cars, which captured the recent meteor strike, filled YouTube with videos of the event from all over the country. Imagine being able to access those cameras and see what’s going on without waiting for people to upload and create videos on current video sites.

Koozoo is a welcome and interesting idea to the web. The company rose over $2 million dollars in seed funding last year, and apparently this has paid off. Expect the company to continue to test and improve their app in its two working locations for some time. There’s still a lot for the company to tweak, but here’s to hoping that Koozoo takes off, and we get a new video platform that brings internet users together.

A New Way to Interact with the Web?

For years people have been interacting with the web and all of the great content it provides with a mouse and keyboard. Years before that people only had a keyboard to interact with their computers. The mouse was a breakthrough in human and technology interaction and there would certainly be no Web 2.0 without one; at least, it would look much different.

Only in the past few years have touch screens been adopted widely thanks to the use of smart phones and tablets. These have made interacting with social media and other web 2.0 staples much easier than they ever have been to interact with. It’s no surprise that improving our interface with technology would grow quickly once the general populace started using the web (thanks to the ideas and principles of the web 2.0 movement).

But there is news of a recent company which got its start on Kickstarter (Thank you web 2.0!)  succeeding in creating a whole new way to interact with our computers. The company is called Leap Motion and they’ve recently announced that their flagship motion control product will be shipping to consumers for only $80 in May of this year.

Leap Motion enables people to control their computers with their hands and fingers with immense accuracy. This could change how people use the web and many other programs forever. This is the stuff of science fiction fantasy novels that people would read about when they were young and see in movies in the late 1980s and 1990s.

There’s no telling how people will integrate this with current web 2.0 platforms and systems. There certainly is room for it. At the very least, it will make communicating and using the web a lot easier and interesting than it is now with just a mouse and keyboard.

We’re looking forward to see what web 2.0 developers and social media sites do in the face of leap motion and physical interaction with our computers. We hope you are too.