Tokyo2point0: HTML 5, ONGMAP, Web Trendmap v3

On Tuesday, the monthly Tokyo2point0 event in Omotesandou/Tokyo was held for the 8th time. The venue was really packed. Andrew Shuttleworth (the organizer) told me he would love to see more people to RSVP before coming. Also, companies can contact Andrew directly for sponsorship to help the volunteers currently running the event.

You can sign up directly on the Tokyo2point0 site itself, go to Tokyo2point0’s Facebook group or get some information on Mixi.

Besides the (very important) networking part, the event mainly focused on three presentations. Two of them were English only. Judging from what I have seen, the Japanese people present were able to follow the speakers without problems though.

1) HTML 5
Michael Smith from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) delivered a detailed speech about HTML 5. Mike talked about the changes the fifth major revision of the Web’s main language will bring.

Michael Smith HTML 5

(all pictures in this posting courtesy of my friend Professor Ichinohe)

The core issue HTML 5 addresses is the problem of interoperability between browsers. The W3C is working to determine conformant user agent/Web browser behavior to overcome one of the biggest obstacles Web developers are faced with nowadays.

The new HTML version is still a draft. Michael was expectedly not able to predict precisely when all advantages HTML 5 delivers will come into effect.

(This presentation was off-the-record so the video will not be published.)

2) ONGMAP
Yuki Naotori from Open Associates/7ns presented his Award-winning Google maps mash up “ONGMAP”.

Yuki Naotori ONGMAP

ONGMAP is thankfully also available in English. The service is describing itself as being the sum of “Google Maps+Web API+Tons of Geo Data”. Yuki said he wanted to create a very easy-to-use Web site.

Users can click on an area of interest on ONGMAP and the service scrapes various info about that particular place from external sources. Depending on the country, this info may include:

– weather
– WiFi spots
– local events
– hotels, restaurants, schools, convenience stores, beauty salons (!) and much more
– videos
– etc. etc.

Yuki also talked about his new project called “Japaaan”. In essence, Japaaan is a social network for people interested in discovering Japan’s “hidden” and cool tourist spots. Moreover, members will also meet offline and actually travel to selected sites. Gaijin and Japanese people are invited to join.

You can view Yuki’s presentation slides here.

Watch his presentation here.

3) Trendmap
My Swiss friend Oliver Reichenstein from Information Architects caused a great stir last year in the Web world with what inititally was a joke. His company basically used the Tokyo metro map as a design background to display the relationship between Web services worldwide. Oliver told me he wanted to use this idea for the company name cards and later was overwhelmed by the huge international interest in his concept!

Oliver Reichenstein Information Architects trendmap

The map illustrates popularity, success, importance and other factors of about 200 Web sites from all countries. You can download the second version (from July 2007) here for free (PDF).

Oliver explained the yet-to-be released third and updated version of the Web trendmap. This time, Information Architects decided to go for an isometric approach.

Watch his presentation here.

Kizasi: Blog search engine and analyzer

There is an impressive number of search engines specializing in blogs. Internationally speaking, Technorati and Google’s blog search are the most prominent examples. There is also a localized Japanese version of Technorati.

Kizasi (pronounced “kizashi”) is a Japanese blog search service which was started in January last year by kizasi Company, Inc.

Kizasi logo

This is kizasi’s translated top page (click to enlarge – accessed January 8th, 2008, Japanese time):

Under “Tools” on the top row you can find a kizashi widget, information about the kizasi API, RSS etc. “Lab”means applications by kizasi which are still in beta-phase.

The container on the left features the following topics:
All, society, sports, stars, entertainment, life, fun, moving/impressive news, surprising news, sad news, scary news and hateful news.

Kizasi crawls Japanese blog texts for words and analyzes connotations and usage patterns in order to point out structures and frequently used terms. As of today, kizasi takes into account blogs from 5,816,944 people who are ressponsible for a whopping 139,229,585 entries.

The service ranks key terms by genre and also analyzes pictures related to the words in question. Kizasi refreshes rankings every 10 minutes.

After clicking the current No. 7 search term which is “F2008”, the following page appears (click to enlarge):

kizasi result page

The frequency of the word “F2008” appearing in Japanese blog texts over the past year is shown as a graph on the top right, along with a tag cloud on the left which corresponds to the term. Kizasi also previews the newest blog entries containing the word “F2008” and retrieves videos from Youtube related to the search term.

The use of a time scale and frequency of site updates distinguishes kizasi from its competitors. Current consumer tastes, general trends and the buzz in the Japanese blogosphere can be spotted in a structered way and at an early stage.

Kizasi is mainly owned by the CAC group (88%). Yahoo Japan bought a 5% stake in kizai in summer 2007.

Kizasi’s successful penetration especially in the Japanese mass media was followed by Blogwatcher, Inc., launched by Recruit and Titech. The company established a blog analysis service called Shooti in July 2007. Wadaino is another domestic player in the Japanese blog search market mimicking kizasi’s ranking concept but based on different categories.

Rakuten/Matz are developping Web OS based on “Roma” and “Fairy”

via atmark IT

Rakuten Logo

At Rakuten Technology Conference 2007, Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto, a Rakuten fellow who also designed Programming Language Ruby, told about their projects “Roma” and “Fairy” to let Rakuten have its own Distributed Processing System (Web OS) like Google, Yahoo and Amazon have.

“Roma” is a on-memory distributed hash storage which “concept is similar to Amazon Dynamo” as he said. “Fairy” is a Ruby implementation of MapReduce argorythm.

Rakuten-group is now holding about 1,100 developers and aiming 3,000 developers in 3 years, told by Akio Sugihara, Chief Produce Officer.

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