PC Forum, Day Three

Back at PC Forum…network is very, very spotty today.

Execs from Yahoo, Cnet and AOL are explaining what business they’re in. Apparently it’s (surprise) making money.

Running notes follow:

Does AOL want to be “between the user and the Internet?” asks Bob Frankston. “I sure hope so,” replies AOL’s Jonathan Miller.

Eliot Noss asks about the future for small and medium service providers. Miller claims there will be “lots of different opportunities.” This is utter bull, given the way federal policy is giving control of the pipes to the cable and phone companies.

Infuriating to hear all this talk about putting up gates, referring to content solely as what people are fed by big media companies. The entertainment cartel mindset has captured the online world’s top companies.

No surprise there, either.

I missed blogging several panels, but the wireless one is interesting. Cometa‘s new CEO is trying to explain why this partnership of IBM, AT&T, Intel Capital and several other companies will be a serious Wi-Fi player. I’m still waiting to be persuaded. the business model — Cometa as wholesale provider — still doesn’t quite parse for me.

Vonage has huge voice-over-IP ambitions. I don’t think it’s ready for prime time, but it is very attractive in its own way. I’m not tempted, yet, to switch. But that time is getting closer.

Esther asks Sergey Brin from Google the content question — how far beyond search is Google going?

There will be some personalization in search, he says, but we may overestimate the amount of help that will provide.

I’m more concerned about the privacy implications — the tracking such a system implies. Google’s endless cookie, and refusal to explain its purpose, continues to be disturbing.


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