Amazon Launches New Widgets

Amazon has been chilling on the UI and widget innovation while other Internet companies go berserk with it. In that same time, Bezos and Co. focused on their new Web service products, the inexpensive storage offerings of S3 and the collab ingenuity of Mechanical Turk. And wouldn’t you know that AMZN’s stock price has doubled in less than 6 months.

But, alas, they’re here: Amazon Widgets. The Associate widgets don’t seem to be any different than they have been, only more easily managed, but the addition of widgets for Favorites, wishlists, and unbox video is overdue.

What’s cool: These widgets can be directly integrated with your Amazon Associates account, providing even more opportunities to earn a few pennies (or 5 % back when you’re the one buying) on Amazon purchases stemming from your site. Also, the design templates are nice and very easily tweaked (at least color-wise)

What’s not so cool: The JavaScript default for widget implementation is janky and slow. For some reason they list WordPress.com blogs as “WordPress.org” — hello?!? Also, for some reason the Wishlist widget still shows items that you already purchased.

Yahoo! MapMixer is Cool

Just as it was becoming clear this week that Yahoo! Co-Founder Jerry Yang’s first “100 days” as CEO isn’t setting up to be all that, a stream of new toys, deals, and partnerships have been announced. MapMixer is a product of Yahoo! Hack Day, according to TechCrunch and Reuters, and as you can see above, it enables you to overlay graphics on Yahoo! Maps (above is the USC campus, zoom out for full effect). Of course, not everything scales so nicely (see the Chicago ‘L’ map).

Yahoo is seeking more applied ingenuity and is pronouncing it’s “openness.” (NOTE: Jeremy Zawodny posted a much-better-written rebuttal/addendum to the BizWeek article on his blog.)

Is this real or a back-against-the-wall reaction to the apparent leak of a Google in-house video purporting a confluence of Google apps in a streamlined Facebook platform sort-of-way? Was Page and Brin’s $1.3 million landing at NASA’s Moffett Field near the Google HQ merely a decoy to overshadow speculation on the video? Is it true that there’s a bubble keeping the fog and cold bay air out of Silicon Valley?

The real big deal for Yahoo! this week was the announcement of a hefty deal to serve ads for Bebo, one of the most popular social networking sites in the UK (and a oft-rumored acquisition interest of Yahoo).

Also, tonight marks the launch of a partnership with Woot.com in which one item per night is featured on Yahoo! Shopping for purchase at sellout.woot.com.

Continue reading “Yahoo! MapMixer is Cool”

VIDEO: Yahoo Design Expo

Check out another project I did for the San Jose Mercury News this summer — a look at the 2007 Yahoo Design Expo.

In other news, light blogging continues as I aggressively pursue the dream. New opportunities abound now that I’ve returned to Los Angeles. In lieu of blogging, I’m having fun keeping up with my peeps via twitter and Facebook. Join me.

Interview With Wired’s Chris Anderson

My interview with Chris Anderson is finally live on the Mercury News Web site. Check it out here.

I discussed Anderson’s next book — the follow up to The Long Tail — titled “Free” at the Tools of Change conference, shortly after his keynote (see my notes here).

It took so long to produce this thanks to technical difficulties — otherwise known as our main videocamera not functioning. This was meant to be a video podcast with two cameras, and Chris and I were both miked with lavalier mics connected to the main camera. Therefore, the audio is from the onboard mic of a roving camcorder, so it sounds like we’re in a tunnel.

Thanks to David Barreda for “shooting” this.

photo by James Duncan Davidson via flickr.