Letter From New York May 25, 2010

Or, as it seems to me…

The webisphere and blogosphere were, literally, a twitter about Google’s announcement of Google TV [ http://www.google.com/tv ] – a new device that using Android’s OS will allow us to better merge television with the internet, all in one device, the Holy Grail that folks have been looking for since the tantalizing possibility began to emerge lo those many years ago – donkey years in internet time as a British friend of mine might say, meaning not so many years but a long time in the fast changing world of technology.

Google is partnering with Sony and Intel. Sony wants to find a way to leapfrog its competition, which it has been having a hard time staying ahead of and Intel wants to get its chips into the television set. Google gets onto the television screen in the living room with an opportunity to earn money from advertising on that screen. From what I’ve been reading, the device promises a seamless experience between traditional television and web viewing. One reviewer credited Google with working on integrating traditional television as opposed to going around it. Everyone will be watching closely because Google has done so many things right – though it has been no means infallible. YouTube is headed for the bigger screen of television sets, getting ready to play in prime time.

Facebook, another ubiquitous internet player, has found itself taken to task once again for its privacy policy, as it seems to be sharing just about everything you do on Facebook with the companies marketing through the website, sharing profiles and extensive information about you with their partner websites. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, seems to have declared the age of privacy dead. The company’s privacy policy has been called confusing in the extreme while continuously changing. Long in some degree of hot water for the amount of information it gives away, there seems to be something of a backlash right now with May 31 named as the day to disconnect from Facebook. Will we? Probably not. An astounding number of us are members of the Facebook nation, myself included, and it does provide a service and we seem to adore sharing “stuff” with everyone else and everyone seems to relish knowing this “stuff” about us. However, the company does seem to be saying it will make it easier for users to adjust their privacy settings. At the end of the day, people will probably not disconnect themselves from Facebook – we do seem to be living in a day of changing perceptions of privacy. In fact, we seem to relish exposing ourselves on the net through Facebook and Twitter and other social networking sites. We can’t seem to get enough of this sharing thing.

However, Mark Zuckerberg did say in the Washington Post that Facebook may have moved too fast and will simplify the way users can control the amount of information shared. Not exactly an apology…

While the technological webisphere and blogosphere have been all aflutter about Google TV and Facebook’s alleged foibles, others are attempting to read the tea leaves of Arlen Specter’s defeat in Pennsylvania. His switch to the Democratic Party didn’t work out quite the way he had expected. Rand Paul, son of Ron Paul and closely associated with the Tea Party movement, has won the Republican nomination for the Senate in Kentucky. All in all, last week’s election was a bad one for incumbents and bodes well, many say, for Republicans in the fall. Or may be not, say others, as it might appear that the Republican Party is being taken over by the Tea Partiers and it remains to be seen if they can win in general elections. All in all, it looks like it’s going to be a wild election season.

All in all, it’s a wild time out there. World financial markets are in turmoil, the political scene is unpredictable, we’re moving into uncharted territory with the clean up in the Gulf of Mexico. North Korea is saber rattling. The Euro is under pressure. Iraq and Afghanistan grind on. It’s a scary world out there but summer has arrived; there is warmth in the air, green in the trees and hope springs eternal…

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