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Innovative Online Shopping

A few of us on the Web team have been chatting lately about alternatives to traditional web shopping interfaces. Coincidentally, blogger Dan Taylor has posted an interesting and interactive overview of alternative online shopping experiences which is worth a read: Enjoy!

Second Life Can Teleport Open Source to a Whole New Level

Collaborative crowd sourcing is evolving above and beyond the norm through 3D virtual worlds such as Second Life. The use of Wikitecture in Second Life is emerging as something significantly different and is proving to be a successful way that we as individuals can effectively begin to form and collectively organize to act as a human network as never before. The increased speed and quality of the visualization and consensus process for groups who collaborate globally in 3D worlds reflects just how lightning fast new open source collaborative ideas such as a Wikitecture have been embraced. Trail blazing this area is Jon Bouchard (Keystone Bouchard in Second Life) and Ryan Schultz (Theory Shaw in Second Life). As co-founders of Studio Wikitecture, they have been using Second Life as a platform for architectural collaboration to create innovative architectural and urban design solutions. Harnessing the power of collective human intelligence and leveraging the open source paradigm applied in real life and Second Life. Their most recent project was chosen as winner of the overall ‘Founder’s Award’ out of over 500 entries worldwide in the Open Architecture Challenge. Their entry in this international architecture competition, was developed entirely in Second Life.How Wikitecture works is simply genius. Studio Wikitecture group developed a 3D-Wiki plug-in for Second Life known as a ‘Wiki-Tree‘. It works like a conventional Wiki but instead of tracking text documents in a linear history like Wikipedia, the ‘Wiki-Tree’ tracks versions of 3D models and stores them in a stylized 3D digital tree ‘canopy’. Watch how this continually evolves as it allows a self-organized group of contributors to share ideas, edit the contributions of others, and vote on which design iterations should be chosen. The ‘Wiki-Tree’ allows feedback from the client and end-user as the design evolves. Not only that, the exploration for prediction market voting procedures are used to assure consensus or ‘Crowd Wisdom’, plus a contribution assessment model can calculate and divide ownership from contributors in the development process.Dennis Mancini, Senior Art Director, Brand Strategy & Identity, Cisco Systems

Cool & Useful: Search on Mobile

Here is something that’s not only really neat; it’s also incredibly useful: We’re just added the ability to search for virtually anything in the world of via our mobile experience. And, once you find the results you’re looking for, you can pull up the pages and read them right on your phone. We even resize pictures to fit well with the phone.

Here’s a (ok, somewhat fuzzy) set of pictures I took from my friend Steve’s phone to show how it works. First you go to on your phone (we recognize most phones automatically, but you can also go directly to the mobile site at Choose the menu option to “Search on” and then you’ll see a screen where you can enter your search terms (by the way this works the same as the search on


When you follow a link in the search results, you’ll get a page nicely formatted for your mobile device — we’ve trimmed off some of the elements from the side of the page, and also resized the pictures to fit.


Oh, and search in specific countries, too:



“One small step for an avatar, one giant leap for virtual worlds”

These were the closing words in a video Linden Labs and IBM created to demonstrate how an avatar can teleport between virtual worlds. If you haven’t heard, the creators of Second Life and IBM announced yesterday a major interoperability milestone. They have inched our avatars closer to mobility between different virtual world platforms. I’m not a tech wiz by all means, but even I was like, “That is just way too cool!” Yes, Tuesday was a very momentous occasion for Linden Labs and IBM in that regard, so kudos to them! We keep hearing about the intersection betwen different virtual world platforms as the future. Glad to see that future is actually a bit closer than we think. In other news, Google also grabbed headlines yesterday with the launch of Lively, it’s very own virtual world where you can “create an avatar and chat with your friends in rooms you design.” I haven’t visited Lively yet, but am planning to. If you’ve already been, please do share your experiences! Based on what I’ve read in the blogosphere, the reception has been anything but “lively.” Regardless of your feelings and opinions towards this week’s news, it is a giant leap for virtual worlds.

Small Business and Web 3.0

My dad founded and ran a small business for many years, and I think he would have really liked the new section of that’s devoted to small and medium sized businesses. This area of the site shows many examples of real companies using unified communication and networking to connect employees and offices, enable employees to work from anywhere, make their businesses more productive, and serve customers better. Though there’s some technical detail for those who want it, the real emphasis is on showing how businesses and organizations are thriving using these new tools.Web analysts SiteIQ had some nice words last week about the new area, calling it “a Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 feast worth visiting.” “This new zone features plenty of interactive design and feature elements,” they write, “including deftly executed rollovers, interactive breadcrumb navigation, a simple interview that leads visitors to the right products, and a best-practice-class on-site tagging feature (My Cisco). However, the real power of this new zone does not lie in its moving parts or design character. It lies beneath the covers. To start, this zone is one of the first to harness the power of Web 3.0. Content is presented based on whether one is an anonymous visitor, a registered visitor/buyer-or a Cisco partner. In simple terms, this zone morphs part of its content based on who you are.”You can visit the new Small and Medium Business area on to see for yourself. And, below is a short video I put together for our internal teams at Cisco showing off some the design features of the new area. Enjoy!