Friday, June 16, 2006

Microsoft Live Local

My first review is going to be about Microsoft Live Local.

Key features:

- driving directions
- traffic information
- locate me
- Push Pin
- Road/Areial view option
- Share (blog/messenger/email)
- Print

Access:

The service is currently in beta but you can access it using your hotmail or .net login information.

Comparison with Google Maps:

- Ease of use
- Locate me
- driving direction (they actually show you the quickest and shortest possible between the 2 points - this is simply kick ass !!)
- traffic information
- Maps of other countries (I was baffled with the accuracy with which it worked for Chennai in South India)

These features I think sets apart Microsofts Live Local from Google Maps.

To improve:

I searched for the same location in Google maps and Live Local, you will find that Google was clearer in this case.

Google Maps - Search
Microsoft Live Local - Search

Conclusion:

Microsoft Live Local is better than Google maps but there is definitely room for improvement.

Windows Live

Microsoft has been going head on with Google to make sure they don't lose the title of being the giant in the computer space.

For long they have ruled the software world but Google slowly but surely over took them with their CPC business model.

To compete with Google, Microsoft has launched live.( Hmm... the home page looks similar to Google search ;).

You can also go to their ideas page to look at the array of new ideas they are working on currently. All these services are in beta now and I expect them to be free even after they are launched.

For the next few weeks I will be reviewing each of their services in my blog.

Photos from Day 3 of eBay Live 2006

More photos from eBay Live.

Video of the key note address

I found the link to the video of the key note address in Ina Steiner's Auction Bytes TV.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Scrolling images

Came across this cool new tool called FilmLoop. What they do? Well, they are calling themselves "a free photocasting network."

Using it you can share, broadcast and find photos and what more it will be scrolling. Isn't that great.

I tried their software as you can see in my previous blog. You also have the provision to add the loop to your blog, websites and what not. It's a free software and YES THEY HAVE A VERSION FOR MAC USERS AS WELL.

The process is simple:

- Download the software
- Create a loop
- Drag and drop your pictures (you can also add pictures in bulk)
- And you are ready to share :)

They have also tied up with eBay and sellers can now show this loop in their listings. It looks cool, it's shareable and it's free. I think these guys are going to give some of the other gallery providers a run for their money. Click here to know more.

However, FilmLoop dont show the additional information which some of the other galleries do. But I won't be surprised if they fix that issue as well.

I'm impressed.

Latest pictures from eBay Live 2006

Check out these latest pictures from eBay Live 2006. These are pictures of the Andale booth in eBay Live.



Pictures of the keynote



You can also listen to the key note address.

Other eBay live 2006 pictures

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Found another blog that talks about eBay live

Found another interesting blog about eBay live by Crystal Wells-Miller. Nice blog Crystal :)

Timezone check

I came across this cool new website TimeZoneCheck that tells the exact time across different time zones. Fellow call centre friends this one is for you :)

Skype integration into eBay auctions

eBay announced the integration of their Skype services into eBay auctions. It remains to be seen how they are going to implement and whether they will open it up to all the categories.

I read an article in Techcrunch about this.

eBay Developer Challenge 2006

Woohoo congratulations to Unwiredbuyer for winning the "eBay Developer Challenge 2006" grand prize.

I got to admit this is one off the coolest product that has come out in the recent times.

eBay Provider Vendio Acquires Majority Stake in Andale

Well, this was bound to happen. The auction market place is not the same anymore as it was few years back. With lots of small players coming into the fray market consolidation had to happen to set things right.

For many this would have been surprising to see two giants of the auction market place Andale and Vendio coming together. Ina Steiner has more here. This must be a concern for the smaller players as they can be easily crushed without trouble by these two powerhouses.

Censoring blogs

Ever since I read about eBay's decision to start monitoring their blogs I wanted to write about it. eBay had launched their blog to join the blog revolution and use it as a better community and marketing tool.

However, their move to monitor it will be a shock to the blogospere as blogs are meant to be open forums where people should have the freedom to say what they want to say. However looking at the set up of the blog it looks more of a community forum and not like a blog.

Ina Steiner of aution bytes writes about it here. This is one of the issues with big corporates and their corporat blogs. They are too scared to open up and they can never get close to the community and will eventually be ignored by the community. The sooner they realize this the better it is for them.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Google v/s eBay

Over the past couple of decades Microsoft has ruled the computer software world with it's monopoly in office suites and internet browsers.

If they found a small timer threatening their monopoly they will usually gobble them with their money power.

Times have changed since the internet revolution and with Google almost mastering the art of searching they are the new giant in the Internet space. They have grown so big and threatening to go even bigger that the likes of eBay and Microsoft are looking for new strategic alliances to keep up the pace.

I read one such blog of John Battelle who has published a term paper done by 2 university grads. You can read that paper here.

The paper supports my point in my previous blog that eBay relies more on Google than viceversa.

Although both the companies are relatively the same size in terms of revenue, Google has the edge over eBay because they are open to innovation in fact they are all about innovation. And unlike eBay whose main business revolves around online shopping Google's business is diversified.

It will be interesting to see how this war of titans takes shape.

Googling eBay

I tried googling for the words online shopping and auction and I was surprised to find that eBay was not in the first page of the search. I could not believe that the worlds leading online ecommerce web site was not there. I also tried the word "shopping" and could find eBay India but not eBay.com.

Okay, I understand that some of these sites would have done some trick to improve their SEO but I still believe that Goolge continues to be online consumers first stop to get information. May be it's something for eBay to think about and start looking into.

But it's not all that bad, try searching for "online auction" and eBay.com tops the list.

I am in the mood to blog...................yeh more blogs to come today.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Back to blogging

Though I started blogging sometime back, I found it difficult to find the time to blog. Lot's of things have happened since then personally and professionaly and here I am back again blogging. I am not a natural writer and you will find that reading my blog. Like a lot of beginning students I am going to make some mistakes and probably learn from them.

So here I go..........

eBay Live 2006

It's that time of the year which most of the online selling community looks forward to. Yes, its time for eBay live and this year it's happening in the glamour city 0f Las Vegas.

It's starting on June 13th and will end on thursday the 15th of June 2006. You can view the list of activities here.

Who are going to be there? eBay's top executives, lots of buyers and all the big sellers who sell on eBay will be there. There is going to be chats, discussions both formal and informal, recreational events, etc., It's going to be one helluva week and I am sure you don't wanna miss it.

You can also participate in the forum which eBay has got exclusively for eBay live. I would encourage all of you to participate and share your thoughts. For first timers they can view previous conferences.

Also, this year one of the leading auction service providers Andale is going to be there. For whatever reason they missed last year's eBay live and I am sure the selling community also missed them. This year they are planning to make up for it.

Here is a list of new products/features they are coming out with:

- Honesty.com (a new site for buyers on eBay, it's not your typical shopping comparison site. It's uniquely designed for eBay using the knowledge and technology only available for Andale.)
-Slide Show gallery (for all those providers boasting about their one faced galleries Andale provides you the option to choose the design you want. The slide show gallery is the new addition to the Andale's family of products/features.)
- Unwired buyer.com (There was a press release on the tie up between Andale and Unwired buyer.com and you can read it in here.)

Shout out to all the powersellers out there don't forget to stop by their booth and check the array of products they have to offer.