Books & Journals moving from Libraries to Online

Over the last 5-10 years, the Internet has become the primary resource for information for everything from financial planning to healthcare to food recipes- and hence there is value in digitizing the huge amounts of information residing in paper books and journals, so that its available on the Internet. Many companies and organizations, including search engines are working with book publishing houses and libraries to digitize their collections of books and journals/periodicals.

Here’s a video by WebProNews that speaks with Google’s Gabriel Stricker, Brewster Kahle of the Open Content Alliance, and the Boston Library Consortium’s Executive Director Barbara Preece about their efforts in this direction. Now, there have been a few controversial issues among the various platforms, but all agree that the common goal is to increase the availability of paper books and periodicals in the online world.

Bubble: Microsoft buys small stake in Facebook

Oct 24, Seattle:

  • Microsoft beat Google on Wednesday to invest in social Web site Facebook, agreeing to pay $240 million for a 1.6 percent stake in the Web phenomenon – thereby valuing Facebook at $15 billion (!)
    • Our thoughts: Is Facebook 10 times the value of YouTube (which definitely is growing as the largest media and information sharing community online)? This looks more like wanting to stay in the “online social-site play” than business value. Microsoft will of course like to believe otherwise because they have already bought it.
    • Microsoft is quoting the 50 million users of today (and projected 300 million in 2-3 years) as the source of value. With $240m, you can create similar user communities on CNN and BBC – potentially getting over 100 million on its own – and with majority stake. Wonder if these alternatives were explored at all.
  • Microsoft also got exclusive rights to sell ads on Facebook outside of the US as part of the investment (60% of Facebook users are outside US)
    • This is the real benefit. Its similar to how Google bought ad rights for MySpace for $900 million in August last year. Now MySpace was supposed to have 100 million users, but analysis revealed 43 million. Along similar lines, its possible that Facebook has about 25 million real users (or about 15 million non-US users).
    • MSN Ad Network (similar to Google’s ad network) will benefit with a captive demand – and will keep MSN Ad Network alive (maybe this was the real thought behind the deal – and also the reason why Google didn’t push it hard – as they already have what Micorsoft wanted most). Without considering any additional deals by Microsoft into Facbook, it will need $120 million of ad sales to break-even on this investment. We’ll keep an eye on this.

Online video revenue sharing model by Blinkx.com

A new service from Blinkx.com – which is a technology leader in advanced video search through voice recognition – allows consumers to take a share of ad revenue from video on their own websites. You will get a share of the income generated by the ads that run in the videos that your post on your own websites. Google Youtube is also close to launching something like this. As a business entity, this presents opportunity, because for content that is valuable/ informative (say a video on how to use a new diabetes product, or how to use a new software) – this presents a monetary reward to all those who will help your message to reach far and wide. But without useful/informative/interesting content produced by you in the first place, this model won’t produce any extra benefits. You maybe aware, Blinkx.com was bought by Microsoft the same week when Google bought YouTube last year.

Challenges in moving towards Renewable Energy

Most of us will happily switch over to Renewable Energy if its available at around the same price. Some Renewable Energy producers are seeking the “cap and trade system” to boost the eco-friendly energy. But a bill to cap carbon dioxide is not easy – conventional energy companies have made deep investments. For example, Mike Morris, the CEO of AEP (American Electric Power), feels the use of coal is still needed to meet the base energy requirements. Still, given the thrust for green and environmental friendly energy, and with certain VCs willing to invest in them in a phase by phase approach, we can be sure to see some good innovations within a 5-10 years. Manoush Zomorodi of Reuters reports. If you are interested in Solar Energy, head over to this site that is dedicated just to it: Solar Energy Review

20 years after Black Monday 1987

It has been 20 years since the Black Monday in 1987 when stocks crashed almost 23 percent in one session. Market watchers ask: “could it happen again?”

Views are equally distributed on whether it could happen again. Thank to technology, the world’s capital markets are 100 times more automated today than back in 1987. And that is what makes some senior folks think that a rapid fall is more easily possible today than in the past. Alan Greenspan says:”bubbles are only visible in hindsight”. Watch the video to learn more.