Google’s next web toolkit thinks it’s better than you

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Just as Microsoft was brushing aside claims that Volta, its latest .NET programming toolkit, is a Google Web Toolkit (GWT) clone, Google has disclosed how it plans to open the gap on rivals with the next release of its popular AJAX toolkit.

GWT 1.5, due in the first quarter of 2008, will produce “better” JavaScript code than manual programming by the industry’s best and brightest - in terms of speed, size and manageability of code. GWT 1.5 is also expected to improve compilation of Java code.

GWT co-creator Bruce Johnson told a small gathering of press at this week’s GWT Conference in San Francisco: “Based on our testing now, I’d say it [GWT 1.5] produces better code than JavaScript experts can produce by hand”.

Johnson called performance a “paramount” issue as networks remain the “weak link” when connecting to online applications and services. One focus for Google is speed of code compilation. “Having smart protocols between the device and server is one area where we could focus more engineering effort,” Johnson said.

However, Google is taking a more hands off approach when it comes to building GWT widget libraries. With GWT licensed under Apache, Google expects the community to build most libraries. Google will instead focus its efforts on “the most complex libraries, where we can draw on Google’s expertise in the internet.”

LinkedIn courts developers, lands BusinessWeek deal

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

LinkedIn, an Internet social network for professionals, will open up its service on Monday to outside software developers, starting with BusinessWeek magazine, to transform itself from an online contacts and referral database into an indispensable daily tool for business users.

The Mountain View, California, company faces stiff competition from the much larger Facebook, which has attracted a zealous base of users from college students and teens to corporate professionals seeking to connect with their business networks.

Unlike Facebook or News Corp’s more entertainment-driven MySpace, the Web’s largest social network, LinkedIn targets professionals.

The company, which was the fastest-growing social network in October, has attracted about 17 million registered users globally and about 5 million unique visitors in the United States in October.

It now aims to court developers through its Intelligent Applications platform program.

JetBlue, Yahoo, Rim plan free in-flight Wi-Fi

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

JetBlue, Yahoo Inc and Research in Motion plan to offer free, in-flight, Wi-Fi web connections for laptop computers and advanced cell phones, Rim said on Thursday.

The service will allow passengers to access customized Yahoo mail and Yahoo instant messenger services on their laptops or to access corporate e-mails on Wi-Fi enabled versions of the popular Blackberry device from Rim.

Facebook CEO apologizes for privacy snafu

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Facebook said on Wednesday it will allow members to turn off a controversial feature that monitors the Web sites they visit, and its chief executive apologized for not responding sooner to privacy complaints.

In a note in his blog, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the online social network took too long to react to users’ concerns about the “Facebook Beacon” feature, which notifies a user’s friends of visits to affiliated Web sites.

“We’ve made a lot of mistakes building this feature, but we’ve made even more with how we’ve handled them. We simply did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for it,” he said.

The Palo Alto, California-based company had last week made several changes to Beacon in the wake of a petition signed by 50,000 Facebook users to scale back the feature.

Company Brings Offline Data to Web Ads

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Information about your online and offline activities, formerly kept separate for marketing purposes, is starting to blend, perhaps without you even realizing it.

Marketing data provider Acxiom Corp. is bringing to the Internet the consumer profiles for which it and other data providers are known among direct-mail companies and telemarketers - who prize knowing where to find “early parents,” “penny pinchers” and other types of households for credit-card promotions and other offers.

Privacy advocates are taking notice.

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