Michael Jackson Red Carpet Draws 1.8M [NewTeeVee]

UstreamThisIsItYesterday’s official live stream from the red carpet of the premiere of Michael Jackson’s This Is It, powered by Ustream and hosted by Sony’s Crackle, Facebook and the movie web site, drew 1.8 million total viewers and more than 155,000 peak simultaneous viewers, according to a representative for Ustream. Unlike far too many online video events, this one was international; feeds were distributed globally in six different languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Italian, Russian and Japanese.

When I took a screenshot on Ustream yesterday at 4:53 p.m., the content was hardly thrilling — pictured is a would-be back-up dancer for the canceled tour depicted in the film — but there were more than 130,000 viewers tuned in.

Ustream’s most-streamed event of all time was Michael Jackson’s memorial service in July, for which the site hosted 4.6 million streams and 1.6 million uniques.

Also due today, according to a spokesperson for YouTube, are stats from U2’s live-streamed show on Sunday night.

JukeFly re-launches personal online music player

jukeflyMusic services are popping up like daisies in October. Not Pirate Bay-style bootleg sites, but licensed services that let you listen to music without worring about being arrested. The latest is JukeFly, a San Jose-based startup originally launched last year, but now revamped to make online playing and sharing of personal playlists easy.

Picture 8I have trouble tracking the differences between JukeFly, blip.fm, GrooveShark, imeem, Facebook Music, MySpace and whatever people are tweeting.

JukeFly emailed a response to my request for a differentiator:  ”JukeFly is the only free web app that combines the ability for members to listen to their own music or choose from an immense selection of music from all genres new and old, then save it and stream it all from a single site.”

Picture 7The only one? I have trouble believing that. I’m pretty sure imeem is based around the same two benefits. You get to listen to your uploaded music collection from any computer. The interface is uncluttered, and looks a lot like iTunes.

JukeFly seems to be chasing the lazies rather than the obsessives. The company flaunts its library of licensed tunes, which save you from having to upload your own copies.

Founders Jeff Sidlosky and Dinesh Nair met while working at desktop search engine Tukaroo, which Ask Jeeves acquired as part of its attempt to build the ultimate desktop search engine in 2004.

Google Maps Navigation: The First Killer App for Android 2.0

google_nav_logo_oct09.pngAndroid 2.0 just got its first killer app: Google Maps Navigation. Google Maps Navigation for Android 2.0 will be available for free and will be part of the default Google Maps app on Android 2.0 phones. The service offers all the features that users expect from a modern GPS app, including traffic data, 3D view and turn-by-turn voice guidance. Because it's connected to the Google cloud, the app can also display street view images, satellite imagery and real-time traffic data. Google also implemented a voice recognition feature.


Disrupting the Mapping Industry One App at a Time

Top Features According to Google:

  • The most recent map and business data
  • Search in plain English
  • Search by voice
  • Traffic view
  • Search along route
  • Satellite view
  • Street View
Two weeks ago, Google severed its ties with Tele Atlas and started to display its own mapping data instead. Today's launch of the Maps Navigation app explains why Google decided to do this. Google can now display these maps without having to pay royalties to a third party and without having to negotiate a new contract with Tele Atlas.

By making this a free product, Google is disrupting the mapping and GPS navigation market. Mapping companies like Tele Atlas or NAVTEQ make their money by licensing their data to GPS developers like TomTom or Navigon. Google, on the other hand, can give this product away for free.

For now, the app will only be available on the Droid, but in a press conference earlier this morning, Google also said that these navigation capabilities would eventually come to other phones, including the iPhone.



Hands On With the Motorola Droid: Sexy

Here you are, friends and Romans, the Motorola Droid from Verizon, the phone you've been salivating over for the past few months. It's now sitting quietly on the desk next to me, wondering where you are. The Droid wants you. After working with the Motorola Cliq and MotoBlur, Motorola's own operating system, I had high to middling hopes for this phone. Looking at it now I'm happy to report that Verizon finally has an Android phone worth a second look.

Quick Look: Creating and Using Site Specific Browsers [TheAppleBlog]


The advent of the cloud over the past few years has meant that a lot of the tasks that we were used to doing on our Mac have now moved to the web. This brings with it a host of issues, from data ownership to reliability of services (see recent Sidekick fiasco) and whether the web can deliver a Mac-like experience.

Putting all that aside, however, a more mundane problem is managing all of those sites and getting to them quickly and easily. Individual apps conveniently come with their own icon on your dock, web apps do not, forcing you to dig through the myriad of open tabs in your browser to find the app you need.If you’ve truly made the jump to cloud computing there is, thankfully, a better way: site specific browsers (SSBs). The basic idea is simple: Create a separate web browser, complete with its own icon on the dock, to browse to a single site. We’ve covered an excellent example of a site specific browser here on TAB in the past, Mailplane, which is used to access Gmail’s online interface.

The beauty of an SSB is not only do you get the bonus of neatly having your own icon for a single web application, but it also allows that site to integrate with OS X more completely. For example you can have things like address book access and dock badges, all things that Mailplane does for Gmail.

That’s great if you use Gmail, but what about all the other great web-based applications out there? Although there are not specific SSBs for things like Twitter, Google Calendar, Remember The Milk and other web services, there are two different programs that will let you take any web site and turn it into a site specific browser: Fluid and Prism. The major difference between the two is that Fluid uses Webkit to power its SSBs, while Prism uses the Gecko browser base that runs Firefox.


Aside from these underlying technologies, the two programs offer remarkably similar functionality. Simply enter a web address, choose an icon (or just use the site favicon), and voila, a new program based on that site will be created for you. What’s more, each browser can accept various scripts to add functionality like a dock icon and even Growl notifications. You can even make an SSB your default email or RSS program.

In many ways SSBs may represent the future of computing. Just look at Google’s upcoming Chrome OS, where the browser is the operating system. In such a situation it makes no sense to continue using the outdated system of web pages and browser bookmarks. When a website is a program unto itself you can argue that it deserves to be treated as one at the operating system level.

Google Shrinks Another Market With Free Turn-By-Turn Navigation

Google has announced a free turn-by-turn navigation system for Android 2.0 phones such as the Droid. Google Maps Navigation is only available in the US right now. Google's release of a navigation is huge, but not unexpected blow to Tomtom (owner of former US mapping data partner Tele Atlas (Radar post)), Nokia (owner of mapping data provider NAVTEQ), Garmin and other personal navigation devices (PNDs). That it is free will fundamentally change the industry (and sell a lot of Android 2.0 phones in the process). Assuming that Google Maps Navigation makes it onto the iPhone and Blackberry platforms it will become a race to the bottom for navigation apps in their respective app stores.

Google Maps Navigation has many impressive features aside from being free. As snipped from the main page:

  • Search in plain English (watch video). No need to know the address. You can type a business name or even a kind of a business, just like you would on Google.
  • Search by voice (watch video). Speak your destination instead of typing (English only): "Navigate to the de Young Museum in San Francisco".
  • Traffic view (watch video). An on-screen indicator glows green, yellow, or red based on the current traffic conditions along your route. A single touch toggles a traffic view which shows the traffic ahead of you.
  • Search along route (watch video). Search for any kind of business along your route, or turn on popular layers such as gas stations, restaurants, or parking.
  • Satellite view (watch video). View your route overlaid on 3D satellite views with Google's high-resolution aerial imagery.
  • Street View (watch video). Visualize turns overlaid on Google's Street View imagery. Navigation automatically switches to Street View as you approach your destination.
  • Car dock mode (watch video). For certain devices, placing your phone in a car dock activates a special mode that makes it easy to use your device at arm's length.

The satellite view looks very sexy in this screenshot. Another advantage to this app is that Google is also making use of its business listings and (presumably) its web crawl data. In the video above MIchael is able to get directions to "the museum with the King Tut exhibit".

200910280835The use of streetview to show what turns will look like and how to find your final destination is also a real advantage. The app will sometimes know which side of the street your destination is.

This comes shortly after Google announced that it was going to be using its own mapping data in the US. This data has been derived from its own streetview trucks, satellite imagery and, increasingly, its users. Google now owns or has created almost every layer of its geostack in the US (it uses third-party satellite imagery). It's expected that they will roll out their own data across the globe. The question is hat will they do with this data? Will they continue to make it available only by services or will they actually release the data publicly for commercial and/or non-commercial use? Regardless of Google's ultimate decision it just became a tough day for all navigation companies out there.

TwitterPeek: A New Standalone Mobile Device for Twitter. Seriously.

From the company called Peek, the makers of handheld devices dedicated to checking email on-the-go, there now comes another single-purpose gadget, this one for checking Twitter. The new TwitterPeek is a mobile device that lets you access the microblogging network from anywhere in the U.S. with no hefty data fees or contracts to sign, just as the company's original Peek devices let you do with email.

The idea of a standalone Twitter handheld seems so far-fetched that we almost thought it was a joke - at least until we stumbled across this Amazon.com page listing the device for pre-order. Now the question is: who will buy this thing?


Peek for Email Makes Sense

To some extent, we understand the appeal of the Peek handheld. Email is an essential part of doing business today but not everyone can afford a smartphone and the expensive monthly data plan required to use it. The Peek gives those sorts of penny-pinchers an alternative. For a one-time purchase price (starting at $19.99 on Amazon) and a reasonable monthly data fee of $15, Peek users are given a cheap way to read and respond to email on-the-go. Designed primarily for non-technical users, the Peek device is like a scaled-down Blackberry with less buttons, no microphone or speaker, no web browser or apps, and no scroll wheel - only a thumb wheel on the side. All it does is email, plain text email. No attachments, no formatting, no embedded graphics.

Despite its overly simplistic nature, the Peek makes sense. It connects people to their personal or, more likely, their business email accounts for an affordable price - and that's something that serves a real need in a down economy such as this.

...but Peek for Twitter?

However, the new TwitterPeek seems...well...sort of crazy, to be honest. Who's so addicted to Twitter that they're going to purchase this device instead of using Twitter's SMS service or just breaking down and buying a device capable of running apps or surfing the web? We know Twitter is a lot of fun, but is it really so essential that we need a standalone device?

At this point, the company would have almost been better off launching a Facebook handheld than a Twitter device. Twitter just hasn't achieved the sort of "must-have" status that would make people want something like this. We would bet that the majority of Americans wouldn't have even heard of the social network if it weren't for its adoption by celebrities like Oprah, Shaq, Ashton, Demi, and others or its heavily promoted use by news networks like CNN. Still, even though Twitter is no longer a foreign word to Americans' ears, that doesn't mean that the masses are actually using it. Oh don't get us wrong - they try. But earlier this year, Nielsen reported that more than 60% of Twitter's first time users abandon the service within a month of signing up. They just don't "get it" or see the need, they don't know how to find people to follow, and they certainly don't know how to get people to follow them back.

Yet it's this very demographic - the somewhat non-technical mainstream audience - that Peek exclusively markets their products to. These people can't even figure out how to properly use Twitter, but they're going to buy a standalone Twitter handheld? We don't think so.

Currently, Amazon lists two types of TwitterPeek devices: one with 6 months of service included for $99.95 or one with lifetime service for $199.95. The devices come in gray or a very Twitter-like aqua.