Attention grabbers and layer space

Thursday night's NMK Beers & Innovation had a lively crowd and debate aplenty between the speakers and the assembled audience of developers, assorted digital media folks, VCs and the foursome of gals from NESTA's web team.

One intriguing point to come out of the evening was the opportunity for companies to "own" – as Tom Loosemore termed it – certain upcoming layers of the internet (not just the front-end websites and blogs that people see).

As Google own the search query level, so others will come to own the "attention space" (which Doc Searles has countered with the Intention Economy – grown around buyers not sellers) and make a lot of money from that, Tom predicted. Whether or not people will cede their privacy for the convenience of "federated identity" (and its surrounding issues of trust and ownership) was less certain, he admitted.

Rob McKinnon in the audience reiterated this point. He outlined the basis of the mash up Zoomin that is egding into this layer space by marrying Flickr with Google Maps in New Zealand. The relevant street page on Zoomin is now the top result for every search on a street name in New Zeland on Google NZ. If your business is on one of these streets, said Rob, perhaps you should think about contacting ZoomInfo about some advertising!

Jon Rowett, a developer in The Guardian's technology development team has posted a great round up of some of the other key points raised in the evening's discussion.

New job title, new shoes?

In related news, Tom Loosemore, who spoke a lot about the "vicar in trainers" approach to innovating with and opening up the BBC's content, has been granted a new job title: Project Director, BBC 2.0.

He dubbed the BBC Backstage website just such a "vicars in trainers" initiative in terms of its cautious approach, but talked more about the APIs and RDF standards of the newly launched BBC Programme Catalogue – connecting with Simon Willison's point about unstructured and structured data and the need for data to be structured before it can be standardised into anything resembling the Semantic Web.

Tom Coates reckons he might have been misbehaving. If he was, it wasn't audible from the back 🙂 Ah, to have a backchannel… What I want to know is, Tom, where d'ya get them (non-vicarish) trainers?

Meanwhile, I'm off to the Marc Canter Geek Dinner tonight to see Marc (who I bumped into at the NXSW party at South By Southwest Interactive in March and who's speaking at Content 2.0 in June) and a bunch of other folks. No doubt there'll be much ado about structured blogging, microformats, Bank Holiday adventures and the like. Coolio.

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