Wi-Fi Planet, part of the Jupiter Media keiretsu, reports on a Jupiter Research study that claims municipal Wi-Fi (wireless) costs about US$150,000 per square mile over 5 years, and wouldn’t break even even if it charged users $25/month.
But .. not everything gets built to make money. Freeways are an example. They are considered enabling infrastructure. A municipality’s self-interest is improving the “way of life” for its citizens, and having access to services such as wi-fi certainly do that – first as a unique offering, later (as more cities offer it) as a defensive or “me too” offering. But they also build wi-fi to attract people with laptops, on the assumption that they have money to spend in the area. Maybe not every time they open their laptop. But eventually they learn about local restaurants, notice there’s a playhouse or theater, etc. Maybe with the character of the area changes subtly, attracting people to live there. Tax revenues increase.
If everything was always cut along profit & loss lines, there’d be no instant messenger services as we know them today. But Yahoo!, MSN and AOL consider IM a draw, a gateway if you will, into other services that do make money. Producing and maintaining an accurate multi-channel contribution model is tough .. it’s one of the things that SDS does today, and as you can imagine, plenty of business units have strong opinions on how much they should be credited for their contribution. So yeah, there’s a cost involved to build out infrastructure, and it’s worthwhile knowing what the cost is. But there’s more to infrastructure than just the direct cost.
Y! search blog talks about a new way to access Y! search by SMS. Yeah yeah. But wait, there’s some cool stuff here. First, no dorking around putting your phone in Internet browser mode, just send an SMS to 92466 (YAHOO). Even better: there are shortcuts (e.g. “d” for dictionary definitions) for when you’re deep in discussion with somebody about the usage of the words “indefinable” vs. “undefinable”. And it’s smart enough to reply with dumb text or rich content (e.g. maps) links, depending on your phone.
Frankly just typing “movies 94089” would be enough to meet a common need I seem to have. I pay 10c for sending an SMS message, but $1 or something to call 411. And don’t get me started with mobile web – I’m still on a prehistoric cell phone (which people like to point out any time I use it).
JZ comes back, asks what did I miss?. A good round-up is provided in the comments. (Nice to be an A-lister.)
Dude. You missed the teeth gnashing on TheUnofficialGoogleWeblog:
It is difficult to type this, but increasingly I find myself pushed away by Google’s intrusive attempts at personlization [sic]. At the same time, I am actively courted by Yahoo!’s lightning-quick embrace of current trends and technologies.
For the job seekers: jobster notes that HotJobs search results now contain Job Results From The Web. Sponsored listings get top billing, but check out all the new listings that have been found from hither and yon (do people still say that?). Nice to be able to go to one place rather than poke through every employer’s web site…
OK, I admit it. I’ve never understood how Yahoo! Buzz works. I’ve just decided it’s one of those things I’m not supposed to understand, like financial accounting. I think my math skills should transfer, but they don’t. Maybe Swaroop C H can explain it to me (Buzz, not accounting).
Given that, Buzz did something with blogs. I think. So “Fark” gets the top spot on Y! Search, but it’s only #5 on Technorati?
I’m sure there’s something cool and insightful I can glean from this. Maybe about the different demographic profiles of Yahoo! Search and Technorati users. I’ll think of it, I swear.
Eric goes ga-ga over Google Earth. I like eye candy as much as anyone (the visual look of my blog notwithstanding), alas no Mac version yet.
But it struck me as odd when Eric said:
I’d love to add my personal notes about which restaurants in Portland, Oregon best accomodate two year-olds.
Wouldn’t you use something like Yahoo! MyWeb 2.0 for that?