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July 5, 2006

Welcome Back

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Welcome back, kids. We hope you had a good Fourth because your mini-break is over and it’s back to work you go. But keep those chins up. It could be worse – it could be Monday! Here are some of the weekend’s best highlights.

Nathan is making me sorry I was away from my computer all day yesterday (though not too sorry, I was at Disneyland…). It looks like Ask put on a great fireworks display straight from its homepage. Whereas Google and Yahoo! just played with logos, the Ask site was decked out with a giant fireworks-filled image. Bold move. MSN doesn’t like America (or soccer).

Yahoo China, Yahoo.com + an mp3 tab abundant with leaked recordings, spent its Fourth listening to rumblings of lawsuits on the horizon. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industries is set to sue China over the pirated material pointed to in its mp3 tab. However, it’s important to note, Yahoo China doesn’t actually host the illegal files, it just show users were they can find them. Is that really infringement? It’s a blurry line.

Google says if Congress gives telephone companies’ power to police the Internet, and the net neutrality amendment is rejected, and then telco abuse their given power, Google is going to file an anti-trust complaint against them. No telling what they’ll do if Larry and Sergey both come into work with the same outfit, and neither has time to change, and their cars are out of gas, and Marissa is on her three minute lunch break.

The New York Times says Microsoft is running out of space and “looking for more elbow room“. Oh, no. Is this like Google’s server crisis? Way to spread the fear.

If you were lucky enough to be Gnomedex, I hear you were privy to some entertaining moments including Robert Scoble publicly getting kicked out of Second Life (bad Robert, baaad), a pointed keynote by Sen. John Edwards and Chris Pirillo doing, um, this. And then this after he realized he made the big screen. Sorry, Chris.

Speaking of Gnomedex, Google’s total absence from the event hasn’t gone unnoticed. In fact, Google seems to be missing a lot of “these things” lately. Where in the old days Google would be hosting parties and collecting user feedback, this time around there wasn’t a logo, business card or even one article of Google swag in all of Seattle. What’s going on with Google?

I can’t help but think they’re falling away from what made them successful. They used to take pride in learning from users. They were the cool kids at their own party with the cool swag. They built relationships out of trust and mutual respect. Now they’re too good to show up at conferences and are alienating the people who use and rely on them most.

When you do that, people get angry and write cold, rather unfair articles about you in Business Week or perhaps worse, call you the Alanis Morrissette of the Web. Ouch.

If you haven’t heard (and if you care), Amanda Congdon announced yesterday she would be leaving Rocketboom. Amanda makes it seem like she was fired but co-founder Andrew Baron is in the forums saying she quit. Whatever happened, the split seems less than amicable and Rocketboom fans will miss user-friendly Amanda.

Rumors say Amanda will move to LA to pursue other opportunities (Jason Calacanis already wrote her a sonnet, offered her a sweet deal at Netscape and called her “baby”), while Andrew will push forward with Rocketboom without her. Can Andrew and Rocketboom really go it alone?

Oh yeah, and Matt’s back. Huzzah!

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