Visualizing 2010 Top Tech Trends – India Vs US

I love Techmeme and of course Webmeme.In.  Yesterday, I put together this word cloud to visualize what was buzzing on each of them during 2010.

Webmeme.In – Indian Tech Blogs Aggregator


Webmeme.In - Top 2010 Buzz Words Visualization
Webmeme.In - Top 2010 Buzz Words Visualization


Techmeme – US Tech Blogs Aggregator

Techmeme - Top 2010 Buzz Words Visualization
Techmeme - Top 2010 Buzz Words Visualization

The data comes from stories posted on Webmeme.In and Techmeme in 2010. I pulled the words from the title of each post — a fairly reliable representation of what was trending. And used Wordle for the cloud visualization.

Google, Facebook and Twitter dominated the trends in both the markets. Key difference was in the mobile industry. In US 2010 mobile buzz was all around Apple, Android, iPhone and iPad; while in India 3G, Android and Nokia dominated.

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Updatesville: Buzooka, Tweetoo, Beh.roo.piya: who all are you?

Last week, we had a blast at the Yahoo! internal Hack Day. Suraj, Kunal & I created an application: Updatesville which was the overall winner. And another social hack, which Uma, Kumar and I did, also bagged a prize!

Updatesville makes sharing updates on Yahoo! fun. More updates you share more points you win. You also unlock badges on reaching milestones like tweeto on sharing 5 tweets, buzooka on buzzing up 7 times, Beh.roo.piya (impersonator in Hindi) on creating an avatar, etc.

Try now: http://pulse.yahoo.com/y/apps/7BNRkt42 and see where do you rank among your friends!

YQL, Social SDK and YAP made it very easy for us to complete the hack within 24 hours. YAP is the platform where our application runs and via YQL we query Yahoo! social APIs to find out your contacts and updates. (More on Hacking Yahoo! social here)

Updatesville was greatly inspired by OneTrueFan, Foursquare, Zynga games and Retweet RankOneTrueFan is the latest idea from the founders of MyBlogLog. In OTF, you compete to be the biggest fan of your favorite sites. If you like Foursquare, you will love OTF too! Try it out.

Do you want to hack?
Yahoo! is hosting its 3rd Open Hack India on 24th-25th July 2010 at the The Taj Residency, Bangalore. Sign up now.

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Why are your Gulab Jamuns so expensive?

Gulab Jamun
Gulab Jamuns: Image by Kashif M via Flickr

Last Saturday I was at unpluggd. It was the best startup event I have ever attended. While most of the speakers were  tech entrepreneurs, one of them was Gaurav Jain, founder of Mast Kalandar. It is a VC funded fast food chain in Bangalore.

During QnA, one question that was shot to Gaurav:

Why your desserts like Gulab Jamuns are almost as expensive as your Aaloo Parathas?

Gaurav responded telling one of the key inputs to their pricing strategy is the turn around time of the tables. On an average people spend 25 minutes to finish their main course and another 20 minutes for desserts. Gulab jamuns are served at an opportunity cost of main course for someone else on your table; making them expensive.

Another interesting fact which came out during his talk was that an average McDonalds burger is three months old deep frozen!!!

If you are in Bangalore, I highly recommend Mast Kalandar for a casual dine out because of their good, healthy and hygienic food. Unlike McDonalds, they cook every day. :-)

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Google Profiles automatically finds your links via MyBlogLog

This evening, I was adding new links to my Google Profile so as to improve my social search experience. As I added MyBlogLog profile, I got totally thrilled to see that all my social profiles were automatically identified by Google. These were the sites and services which I added to MyBlogLog earlier.

Now, this is really a great use of such open data and results in a wow experience. Lijit, a social blog search tool, and some other services have been using this data since a long time. If you are a developer, you can also grab this data using our APIs or microformats.

But, one way open is not enough!

While Google lets you import data in, you cannot export the same data out. Looking forward, I hope Google, Facebook, Yahoo and others will become more two way open and will drive creation and adoption of such open standards.

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Good developers are like librarians

Library

I read an interesting post from Chris Heilmann this evening on how you can be a better developer by being cleverly lazy. I especially liked this paragraph from his post:

Librarians are great people. Instead of knowing everything that is in the library they know exactly where to find the information to solve a problem. As a cleverly lazy developer you should do the same.

As a developer, you and I should know where to find the best solutions and how to use them. Be up-to-date with what’s happening in our domains and smartly solve our problems.

If you are developing web applications, you should read chris’s blog, you will find it interesting.

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Rediff redesign: No more ads on homepage

Rediff.com (a leading Indian web portal) has launched the new design with minimal stuff on it. Lot more clean and tidy. The focus is essentially on search, as Ashish writes at pluggd.in:

The bet is very simple – content game hasn’t worked (the good news is that it’s not working for others as well). Search has higher CTR (clickthrough rate) and that’s where the monetization might work for Rediff (though the search intent falls under Google’s purview!)

Another thing to note is ads are gone from homepage now. This means better user experience but a drop in short term revenue for rediff. Given they are struggling to retain users, this move looks good.

I appreciate the new design much more. But, like earlier I won’t use it. Also, looking at initial reactions, I doubt if this design will appeal to their existing users. Their focus on search can actually prove fatal.

Did they forget Next button?

Search results do not show a next button, though previous button is present. :P

Rediff mobile is still the same heavy site. I hope its redesign will follow soon.

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Webmeme.In – Indian Techmeme

If you like Techmeme and are interested in following Indian technology news, then Webmeme.In is for you!

Webmeme.In, an Indian technology news aggregator, is my brand new mashup built on top of Yahoo! BOSS. Its a meme, presenting you the hottest Indian tech stories that are buzzing on the web. Want to know more about a story? Just click on it and you will reach the source blog. Sidebar presents the most recent stories from Indian tech blogs. You can also search amongst the tech news right from the site. Try it now.

Most of the stories you see on Webmeme.In are from Indian blogs. At the same time, stories from the top international blogs related to Indian tech industry will also flow into Webmeme.In river. So, you will not miss if TechCrunch is talking something interesting about an Indian company.

Follow @webmeme (top stories) or @webmemeFH (Firehose: all posts) to receive new updates in twitter. You can also subscribe to the RSS feeds.

Webmeme.In

How it works?

  • Data aggregation: I use YQL to aggregate and extract data from all the sources.
  • Story selection/Ranking: Recent stories which are generating maximum conversation over the web are selected automatically using APIs including Y! BOSS site explorer, Google Trackbacks and the most important postrank API which tracks almost all of the social media including bookmarking sites, Twitter, Friendfeed, comments on the blog post, etc.
  • Related Stories: Related stories are found through similarity calculated over several features like content, tags, links, etc and is easily accomplished using text mining methods present in BOSS Mashup framework.
  • Search: Site restricted search powered by Y! BOSS.
  • User Interface: YUI. Get your grids quickly through YUI Grid builder
  • Hosting: Site runs on Google App Engine, my favorite hosting platform.

Have suggestions/questions/feedback? Drop a comment below or contact me.

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Twitter trends and Hot tweets for YOU

Trending topics on Twitter are useful to catch up with the interesting happenings of the moment. We at MyBlogLog also launched Hot Topics a while back, showing a moving list of the hottest topics that people are buzzing about in the MyBlogLog universe.

One of the key problems that is prominent in these trending topics is low relevance as these systems do not consider user interests. Ramanand did a tweet yesterday, wishing for “Trending topics for people I follow” which encouraged me to do this hack:

Twitter Trends hack presents the trending topics in your friends’ stream on twitter. Wanna know why a topic is trending in your network? Just check out the recent hot tweets from your friends. It uses OAuth. No passwords required :) . IPL (A cricket league in India) is the buzzing topic in my friends’ stream right now. Find out what is hot for you: Try here.

It took me just a couple of hours to complete the hack, all because of simple Twitter APIs, Tweetapp framework and App EngineOAuth integration was very easy with Tweetapp. The hack analyzes recent two hundred tweets from your friends, finds keywords out of the stream and those referenced with more frequency are trending topics for you.

This hack is just a proof of concept. It is no where close to a perfect personalized topic trends. In ideal world, I would like to build user interest profiles, consider demographics and accordingly show trends. But, it will no longer remain a hack then :-)


Update (24th April): Twitter has re-enabled OAuth. Try out twitter trends now

.
Update (22nd April): An OAuth security issue has been discovered and several OAuth services including twitter have disabled it temporarily. You cannot try the hack right now :(

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Dancing like Matt

Have you heard about Matt? He has traveled around the world and filmed himself dancing the same dance in the most exotic locations on the planet. His videos are just viral and you can’t stop laughing while watching them. Click here to see the popular “Matt Dancing” video which has been viewed more than 11.5 million times on youtube.


Matt Harding dancing with Hulis Wigmen in Papua New Guinea, in zero gravity in Nevada, with Bollywood dancers in India
and in front of the Sydney Opera House. [Photo source: The Age]

Matt also visited Yahoo! HQ in Sunnyvale and shot 33 scenes across the campus. Jerry, Sue, Y! execs and several Yahoos joined the Matt dance. Video.

A few days back I was trekking with my IITB friends at Siddarabetta, about 100kms from Bangalore, and there the idea to dance like Matt stuck us. It was damn funny to dance like Matt, we all were just laughing all the time. Hope you will enjoy watching the  video. Take a peak:

In the background, is a bengali song: Praan composed by Garry Schyman with lyrics adapted from Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore. The song also tops my playlist these days :)

Dancers as they arrive in the above video sequence (L to R): Kuldeep Gharat, Saurabh Sahni (me :P ), Kanika Nema, Bhavana Dalvi, Meghana Kshirsagar, Aditya Mishra, Kautilya Jain, Anuj Tripathi, Uma Sawant, Esha Palta, Unmesh Deshmukh and Janak Chandarana.

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Natural Language Image Search with Yahoo Boss and Google App Engine

Natural language processing is partly used in text search today, but its use in image search is mostly unexplored. I did a quick hack: askBoss, which retrieves images to questions posed in natural language. askBoss attempts to enhance image results for queries around factual question answering. It uses Yahoo Boss (Search) APIs through Boss Mashup framework and is deployed on Google App Engine.

This hack is an extension of Vik Singh’s qna service, which finds answer using the popular phrases in the top search results for a query. I do image search for the best answers and blend them with the regular image search results. The hack is a basic prototype and natural language image search gets triggered only for questions (queries including who/what/which).

Try askBoss: http://ask-boss.appspot.com

Below is a quick comparison of search results obtained by askBoss, Google image search and Y! image search for query: who is batman in the dark knight?

askBoss results: who is batman in the dark knight?

askboss: who is batman in the dark knight

Google image search results: who is batman in the dark knight?

google: who is batman in the dark knight

Yahoo Image search results: who is batman in the dark knight?

yahoo: who is batman in the dark knight

Try askBoss: http://ask-boss.appspot.com

With Yahoo Boss APIs and a deployment platform like Google App Engine, building a decent search service is pretty easy. I could finish this hack within a few hours by using Boss Mashup Framework and App Engine. Apart form the qna service, other popular Boss API/app engine integrations include 4hoursearch aka YUIL.

Update 1: askBOSS got covered in TechCrunch and Yahoo Search Blog.

Update 2: Now running on BOSS v2 and code open sourced on github

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