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Archive for June, 2011

No Longer A Nameless Face In the Crowd

This week has seen a flurry of articles on the Facebook Photo Tagging feature after the security firm Sophos posted a story on its blog noting that this feature, which had previously been limited to North American users, had now been extended to other regions. The Photo Tagging feature makes it easier for users to tag their friends in a photo. Initially, this feature required users to label every photo manually. Not surprisingly users asked for an easier way to do this and Facebook responded with new features. First, Facebook made tagging easier by allowing users to tag multiple photos of the same person all at once. Later, Facebook created Tag Suggestions, an automated feature that uses facial recognition software to identify who is in the photo to make tagging faster.

Notably, Facebook has created many privacy options around this feature. These include the following:

  • Users are notified when they are tagged.
  • Users can untag themselves from any photo.
  • Users can only tag their friends.
  • Users can disable the “Tag Suggestions” feature so that their name will not be suggested automatically.

Some individuals may dislike the change, but

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Latest “Victim” of Internet-Driven Innovation: SMS

Apple’s announcement that free text messaging under the iMessage brand would be part of its OS upgrade touched off a storm of discussion in the blogosphere about the death of text messaging.  Apparently Android will follow suit, as the good discussion in VentureBeat reveals.

Nothing new here.  As I discussed in an earlier InnovationBlog entry, the Internet feeds off artifacts that are highly-priced based on legacy approaches (in this case, a legacy network).

The best carriers have moved on to some extent by building their apps and data-driven revenue streams, but it’s a big hit to find a substitute for.

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Experimental Results on Privacy Regulation and Online Advertising

Great article in May 2011 CACM about actual experimental results on the effects of privacy regulation on online advertising effectiveness.

The authors did a non-trivial before-and-after analysis of online advertising take rates in Europe in the wake of the EU Privacy and Electronics Communications Directive (usually known as “the E-Privacy Directive”) and came to this conclusion:

We found that in Europe, after privacy protection was enacted, the difference in stated purchase intent between those who were exposed to ads and those who were not dropped by approximately 65%.  There was no such change for countries outside Europe.  In other words, online advertising becamse much less effective in Europe relative to elsewhere after the regulation was enacted.

Obviously there’s more to policy than guaranteeing ad effectiveness, but this is a stunning result and certainly adds fuel to the fire of the thoughtless-privacy-regulation-will-kill-the-goose-that-laid-the-golden-egg camp.

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Draft House Appropriations Bill Continues Efforts to Gut Energy Innovation, Leaves Fossil Energy Intact

It’s not a surprise – it never really was – but the just-released House FY2012 Energy and Water Appropriations bill predictably seeks hefty cuts to the nation’s innovative capacity in clean energy, in a continuation of efforts by opponentsof public-private innovation and clean energy alike.


The Administration has rightly been gearing up a major push to accelerate cleantech innovation and strategy, in part by seeking necessary and appropriate boosts to federal investment in the Recovery Act and FY21012 budget request. The Energy and Water bill seeks to roll much of that back and then some, not only denying these boosts in investment but setting budgetary levels back to pre-2010 levels.


Department-wide, the bill would pile on top of cuts already made to innovation investments earlier this yearby trimming $6 billion from the Administration’s request, which would leave departmental funding nearly $2 billion below FY 2010 levels. The kicker—and the real problem—is that according to the Committee’s math, most of this cutting comes out of clean energy’s hide. Compared with the current year’s budget, more than half of the proposed cuts come from clean energy innovation programs

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New CAP report outlines Low-Carbon Innovation Strategy

“You wouldn’t think of going out on the football field without a plan, right? The same goes for manufacturing in America” explained House Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer at a Center for American Progress Action Fund event yesterday. The event, also featuring Assistant to the President for Manufacturing Policy, Ron Bloom and President of United Streetcar, Chandra Brown, focused on American manufacturing and the need for a low-carbon industrial renewal strategy.

The speakers agreed with Rep. Hoyer that manufacturing is essential to the American economy, that manufacturing and innovation are intertwined, and that the United States needs a solid long term game-plan to keep manufacturing clean and in America. The discussion echoed the main points of a CAP Paper “Low Carbon Innovation: A Uniquely American Strategy for Industrial Renewal” that was released at the event. Below is a summary of the paper. You can also access the full report here, and the introduction and summary here.

Innovating for a Low Carbon Future

Our nation’s innovation and competitive drive in the 20th century powered the U.S. economy to global leadership, helped win two World Wars and

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Consolidating the Multitude of Reports Calling for Boosting U.S. Manufacturing Competitiveness

A groundswell of policy papers have called for the creation of a national manufacturing strategy to bolster U.S. manufacturing competitiveness. These reports contain a number of thoughtful and innovative policy proposals to revitalize American manufacturing. In the interest of advancing this dialogue, ITIF takes this opportunity to consolidate all these reports in one single location for easy access by policymakers, executives, and the public at large. If you don’t see your organization’s report here, please let us know and we’ll add it to the list. We hope this serves as a useful public resource.

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation – The Case for a National Manufacturing Strategy

The White House – A Framework for Revitalizing American Manufacturing

President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology – Ensuring American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing

Department of Commerce Manufacturing Council Advisory Committee – Manufacturing Policy Recommendations

IDA Science & Technology Policy Institute – White Papers on Advanced Manufacturing Questions

National Association of Manufacturers – Manufacturing Strategy For Jobs and a Competitive America

National Association of Manufacturers – Manufacturing Resurgence

The Association for Manufacturing Technology – The Manufacturing Mandate: A National Manufacturing Strategy to

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