First off, I have to admit that I love attending these events. However this would have to be the second time that I have been fed. It seems that when you’re there as a guest/consumer, they often do try to butter you up with food and goodies. Of course, the former isn’t what I was there for,
it’s the latter it was the technology. Plus with my throat feeling like the Sahara, I could not consume any goodies at all. If you could eat with your eyes, I suppose that’s how I got my fill then.
Internet Week NY was from May 14th-May 21st, 2012. Due to contracting the G-Virus (or what you would imagine if you thought about William Birkin as you continued your day’s work), I was not able to attend most of the week’s events. Severely disappointing, but shame on me if I was going to go there and contaminate the area and get tech minds sick. I was feeling slightly better and it had felt like a waste not to go, so on I trudged right down to 82 Mercer St. in Manhattan. The smell of hipsters and tourists were in the air… and in front as I tried to get past them.
The IWNY HQ was quite small, and it seemed like the people at the desk were bored. Guess it is the last day, why even care? They were nice, however.
Flashed my badge and some intimidating security guard merely nodded, granting me access inside the inner sanctum of tech. Oh how little do you feel being in such company it would seem. For the most part, if you were in the field, you could network. If anyone would talk to you, that is. The vendors would talk to you, sure. But the guy sitting next to you at one of the panels? Would not even bat an eye my way. Perhaps when someone techy is near, their senses would tingle. Hey! I use the PC too! I know how to go on teh Internets and do this typity type thing you call blogging!
Sigh. At least there’s an oxygen bar. I could always make do with a big ol’s hot of Wintergreen in my nostrils. I kid you not, there was an oxygen bar.
The layout of the loft would be big, if it were not for all those people and displays. I would be inclined to live in a place like that. Speaking of displays, there were so many Apple products (literally all the displayed tablets were iPads and the reps were all using iPhones– with the exception of the fine people at Hotmail, who were of course, using the new Nokia Lumia Windows phone) that I was wondering whether or not Apple was a chief sponsor (they weren’t). It also showed how much of a stronghold that Apple has on the “techies”. As a loyal anti-Apple user, it was quite disappointing that the vendors were not representing different platforms. All the vendor apps were for the iTunes store.
Overall, by just the looks of the vendors there were a few big names (e.g. Yahoo!, Hotmail) and a lot of independent people. If it had a theme, I would venture that this year’s Internet Week would be “Data Aggregation” or “Data Mining”.
There was a huge emphasis on data, the obtaining of it via cookies, volunteered data by users that register on specific sites, etc…
However most if not all the brands that I have talked to, their reps assured me that PII (Personal Identifiable Information) was and never will be collected. Just general habits of users that frequent sites. How much of that is true, I can not say. It seems we would have to take them at their word for now. To be fair, the future to me technology wise would be data aggregation. Every site that we visit deposits a cookie (and some, long term flash based cookies called LSOs or “Local Shared Objects”) onto your computer’s history which allows them to better figure out what exactly we want to do on the Internet. The only caveat is that we have to give up our habits for them to track. With everything, it is a double edged sword, depending on who is doing the collecting. Perhaps in the future, the search engines can read my mind, so I can rest my typing fingers and stop the development of this Carpal Tunnel.
Most if not all that were there, was interesting enough. I was glad that the vendors visited had informative reps that helped give me a better outlook on their products. They were all pretty friendly (of course) and all pushed their products as the next big thing. Some, I can see. Some just seems like an aggregation of other apps that have been created already, but is not such a bad thing. People tend to flock towards apps that can do multiple things at once, rather than download X amount of apps that would do all those things separately. I know I would (they got me!).
One of the data sites that were there was Quantcast. The rep there demonstrated to me how one would allow their information to be used for data aggregation. It works like this: a web site can collect data if they put a code into their site’s template which would then allow the user to see their stats in a more detailed manner that outshines the default stats pages. The example I linked is Gawker Media, which you can see how much traffic that particular site has gotten. You can also plug in any website of your choice (that participates in Quantcast of course) and see their stats as well.
One aggregated app/company seems to be Elephanti. At first look, it seemed as if Yelp and Groupon mated. It integrates social platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN) so users can recommend particular stores. They also seem to have partnered up with select stores to offer free products if you “check in” to them (to sign up for the beta and be notified when the site fully launches, click here). They also utilize the GPS on your phone to tell you which stores are nearby and subsequent deals that they may offer.Elephanti, if they end up having an app in theGoogle Play store, I would definitely give it a try.
Mac users may be interested to learn that there is a Netflix-like app/site for strictly the Mac OS platform. Aereo allows a subscriber ($12 a month) to watch live tv, record programs, and bookmark favorite shows. It is in beta however, and you can request an invite here. I was interested in it at first, but when I heard that it was only for the Mac, I was rather disappointed. However the rep did inform me that in the future they would branch out for PC users. The one thing I hope is that they do tap into the PC market quickly. It does sound like a formidable idea that would challenge sites such as Hulu and Netflix (as well as other streaming sites). The price is not too huge (equal to about… one Starbucks coffee? Help a girl out) and I can see people flocking to this when it starts.
Other memorable vendors included big names such as LG and Hotmail.
LG was introducing their newest web enabled, 3D capable, LED flatscreen TV. The most interesting thing I found about this product was the remote. They seemed to have integrated a Wiimote with a Sidekick (or any device with horribly tiny keypad buttons). While you watch live television, you can use the remote to search online (with Google), or surf the web. What I loved about this (besides the sheer size) was that if for some reason you lost/broke the remote, you can use your phone (most likely Android) to control it as an interim remote while you waited for your replacement. You can also (as I mentioned before) that it is 3D capable, and you can determine how much of a 3D experience you want while you watch the television.
Hotmail was not there to tout their new product Hotmail, but in fact was there to show how much Hotmail and the other mail address that Microsoft owns (eg Live) have evolved since their inception. The new Hotmail features much more intelligent filters that you can customize. The one feature that may sway me to leave Gmail would be their newsletter filters. You can filter newsletter spam that you receive, which would be placed in their own folder. There you can filter it even more, depending on which you prefer, you can have Hotmail automatically delete old newsletters. It would be very handy for those Groupon offers that have expired (hello, delete). The rep that I had spoke to (named Galileo, pretty awesome) showed me the new Bing search engine as well. I have to say I liked it, it was good to see that Microsoft has gotten with the times and evolved, rather than to stay stationary like some other big names out there (I shant name names). While I was impressed, I am still not impressed with the new Windows 8 UI. Galileo has told me that Microsoft is focusing more on tablet/tablet pc users with this new UI which I will say that they get credit for looking towards the future. However, it still puts people who use the keyboard and mouse at a disadvantage as they cannot fully utilize all the new eyecandy. On that note, I will wait for Windows 8 to come out, and hopefully some techie out there will make my Touchpad Windows bootable.
So what do you fine folks out there think? Any of these new “cutting edge” products pique your interest (or not)?