Book Glutton is a beta web application that combines the functions of an online e-book reader with social networking tools. Using the Unbound book reader you can:
chat with others reading the same book
chat only with those reading the same chapter
write notes in the margins
comment on other people’s notes
Social networking is encouraged through the use of book groups, collections of individuals who agree to read the same text over the same period of time. A planned extension of the site’s features will give users the ability to upload their own works or other people’s works that are in the public domain.
Intended primarily for recreational use the reader has some functional similarity with the Knowledge Media Institutes’s D3E tool, making it suitable for use in education.
These days everything we do online seems to generate a feed of one kind or another, whether its writing a blog, drafting a press release, managing a BaseCamp project or organizing a set of YouTube videos. Tools like Dapper and Feed 43 help us create feeds from “unfed” content, AideRss gives a positive tweak to the signal to noise ratio while Yahoo Pipes does, well, just about everything with everything else, while geo-tagging it on the way.
But how do you get your feeds to spread to audiences in social networks? Wiliam has an answer, at least for Facebook. It’s Blog RSS Feed Reader has the fitting, professional design you’d expect from one of Australia’s leading web design, strategy and marketing firms. This free application does more than the title suggests. As well as reading RSS feeds it can also handle ATOM and RDF data.
The application encourages the viral spread of information within Facebook with share buttons on each feed item as well as on the feed itself. It can also alert friends through Facebook News Feeds and Mini Feeds when there are incoming RSS updates.
An important feature for businesses is the ability to embed the feed on a Facebook Page. This is ideal for a business, product, service or celebrity wanting to set up an opt-in communication with their social network fans.
Today Wikia launched the alpha version of its search engine. With a combination of technologies from the Wikimedia Foundation and the Apache Foundation (Lucene, Nutch), Wikia has some surprising features. When you conduct a search, in addition to the expected list of websites you get:
a collaboratively edited “Mini Article” with information about your search topic
a list of users whose profiles match your search terms
Wikia effectively combines three established web technologies:
with each topic becoming an ad-hoc social network.
This is an alpha release, and the gaps in the feature set are clearly visible.
no advanced search
a decorative, but unimplemented ratings function
This mix of technologies brings up some interesting questions. Will users participate? How effectively will the community deal with spammers? Where will the balance be reached between findability and privacy? Will the “People” results be dominated by domain experts, subject enthusiasts or spammers?
Wikia Search is innovative, with potential for business and personal networking. Its success will depend on the strengths of the communities it engages.