The Knight News Challenge Information Blog

Where Innovative Ideas Get Funded at NewsChallenge.org

Posts Tagged ‘mobile web’

Let Your Fellow Citizens Make Your Commute Easier

Posted by Jacqueline on October 10, 2007

While most people think of citizen journalism, at least at the current moment, they think of either the courageous bloggers in Burma (and other war-torn nations), or of those people who report on the minutiae of politics, especially local politics.  However, while calling it journalism might be a stretch, there are other kinds of citizen-generated content that are making an immediate impact on people’s lives.

Check out Clever Commute, a website devoted to the travel situation and traffic in the New York City area.  People use their blackberries and smart phones to share information about delays and reroutes, leading to a smoother commute for everyone involved.  No, it’s not really journalism, at least in the traditional sense, but it is breaking news.  And definitely essential knowledge for its users. 

Although public transportation systems have been offering mobile updates for some time, this is the only service that lets people reach their fellow riders (which makes things much more immediate and accurate than the typically slow transit authority updates).  Thus far, commuters using technology to help other commuters has proved to be a superior method of breaking traffic/transportation news, at least in NYC. 

Want to know more?  Check out this NY Times article on Clever Commute.

Do you have an outside-the-box citizen journalism idea?  Take a gamble and enter the Knight News Challenge – you just might win the cash and the resources to make it happen. 

Posted in Citizen Journalism, Digital Media, General, Innovation, Technology, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Google Gets Mobile, Acquires Jaiku

Posted by Jacqueline on October 9, 2007

The mobile web is definitely hot right now, and the almighty Google has just solidified their presence in the mobile space by buying Jaiku, a Finnish company that provides a mobile instant messaging service.

There’s a FAQ about the acquisition on Jaiku’s website – they say that it shouldn’t change much for users at the moment, but it will be exciting to see what Jaiku does now that they have Google’s support.  Of course, this way Google can also extend its advertising into the mobile sphere – which might not be such a bad thing, especially for mobile-centric companies in search of ad revenue.  Also, considering that reports of a “gphone” have been popping up on tech blogs, Jaiku could end up being an important component of that.

Got a mobile web project of your own?  If it’s related to local news and based around a particular community, check out the Knight News Challenge – you could win funding for your ideas. 

Bonus links: coverage of the deal on Techcrunch, O’Reilly Radar, and Read Write Web.

Posted in Digital Media, General, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Developing Apps for the Palm Centro

Posted by Jacqueline on September 27, 2007

Yeah, yeah, it’s not as cool or sexy as the iphone – but really, what other web-enabled phone is?  However, the Palm Centro is sleek, functional, and significantly less expensive – it’s only $99.99, making it much more affordable for those not ready to take the costly iphone plunge. 

centro_1.jpg

In my last post, I talked about the mobile web and what people are developing for it – and you can bet that when this phone arrives on the market in October 2007, more people than ever are going to be accessing the net from their phones.  Working on a mobile app that delivers news via smart phone?  Enter the news challenge.

Picture via Engadget

Posted in Digital Media, Innovation, Technology, Web | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Taking the Web On the Road – Mobile Novels

Posted by Jacqueline on September 27, 2007

Not that long ago, the concept of having the web on your cell phone was nothing but a faint glimmer of a future possibility.  Now, with smart phones becoming ubiquitous and the mobile web exploding in popularity, developers and engineers are having to contend with building sites that work for users on all sorts of interfaces.

There are plenty of obvious sorts of websites that should definitely go mobile; for instance, having access to things like Mapquest for directions (for those of us without GPS in our cars, and for when you’re not in a car to begin with – walking, biking, etc.) and review sites like Yelp (so you can find a good restaurant no matter where you are).  Being able to log in to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter could be convenient to if you want to send a quick, easy message to a group of friends.  And of course, we probably all want to email people with our phones or pdas. 

However, the Japanese have taken the mobile to a whole new level.  Not surprisingly, they’re pretty advanced when it comes to actual technology, but people there are using mobile phones to pen entire novels!   Yes, you read that correctly – novels.  Talk about pushing the limits of things like mo-blogging, or mobile blogging.  Granted, Japan is far from the only place where people are using cell phones to publish web content (in fact, this is especially prevalent in developing nations where people might not have access to computers, but they do have phones), but who else has created this kind of rich, deep mobile web?

From the Wall Street Journal:

“Mobile novels first appeared about seven years ago when the community-based Web site, Maho i-Land, made it possible for budding writers to turn out stories with a cover page and chapters like a real book. About three years ago, phone companies began offering high-speed mobile Internet and affordable flat-rate plans for transmitting data. Users could then access the Internet as much as they wanted to for less than $50 a month.”

Today, the site has over six million members, and the number of mobile novels on the site is growing rapidly.  What’s interesting is how the authors and readers have a much stronger connection than traditional novelists – after all, the readers can provide immediate feedback and criticism (much like blogging), and since the novels are published in a serial fashion, the authors can even adapt their story lines to the whims of the readers, a definite departure from the past.

To quote Peter Brantley, who wrote about the WSJ article on the O’Reilly Radar:

“New creative practices sometimes awkwardly explore new market niches until they discover and establish a means of exploiting the advantages (and avoiding the disadvantages) imposed by the social and economic variables that make the new opportunity available in the first place. Then they may explode in a sudden flowering that breathes into life a new form of expression.”

So what can we learn from these articles?  Many developers and entreprenuers are very focused on applications, websites, and content that really only work on a regular computer, and really, with the current amazing growth in the smart phone/mobile web market, it’s time to think outside of the typical computing box.  Maybe you’ve got a plan to set up some kind of community news group diary or blog?  Or can you adapt your current ideas to the mobile market?  If so, you should enter the news challenge – you could be that much closer to making your dreams a reality.

Posted in Blogging, Digital Media, General, Technology, Web | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »