Posted on March 3rd, 2010 at 2:07 PM by Wan
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Picnik is one of many web-based photo-editing applications that are easy to use, fun and fast to learn its usage. Although it is easy to use, yet I personally think that it is a powerful editing tool which could make your photos turn into fabulous state-of-an-art. It has a basic editing functions such as auto-fix, rotate, crop, resize, exposure, colors, sharpen and red-eye removal. Not only you could click any button to display the control for that particular option but you could also apply special effects like night vision, pencil sketch, sepia, black and white, film grain and much more.

Want more? Join premium membership which has additional tools under the “Build” tab. With a simple click of a button, members can convert any photos from simple to artistic functions such as duo-tone similar to Adobe Photoshop. These are some of the user’s added-value. It rewards its members by allowing 100 photos upload at a time with an annual subscription plus unlimited change history. Not to mention others like advanced tools. This not only motivates its member but also increase the community participation.

Picnik used a powerful combination of network effects strategies to defeat its strongest competitors. Personally, I believe Picnik is much better than other web-based photo application competitors. For instant, Flicker and FotoFlexer; even though there are both similar photo editing options but they heavily rely totally on flash plug-ins where users might be having problems with their browser’s ability to process their flash especially the Apple Mac users. Meanwhile, Pikifx does provide online photo editor but it is purely basic with no sliders or controls to adjust. Nevertheless, Picnik does have its minor disadvantages where users won’t be able to edit their photos in Photoshop after editing them in Picnik.

It is interesting to notice that with the evolution of Web 2.0 and Cloud 2.0 can do; Picnik acts as Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).  Users can add their own data in the form of photos. This web service offers application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable developers to exploit functionality and provides a wide range of options who want to integrate the Picnik experience into their own websites using the free open-source code. A positive “network effects” shows why Picnik has been recently bought over by Google in 2005. This mean not only they can grow bigger under the Google roof, they would be able to reach more and more people than ever before, impacting more lives and making more photos more amazing. By allowing developers to create rich content through APIs and bringing more members in the community, consequently it does not face problems with walled garden issues. There’s plenty of Picnik API to choose from, either be it for amateurs or professionals for application developers.

In addition, Picnik works fine with majority of the browsers such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox. Users can upload their photo directly from their desktop to Picnik via their drag-and-drop Yahoo Widget. You can also grab an image directly from any website with their Bookmarklet such as Picasa, Flickr, Webshots, Myspace, Photobucket and many more.

There are a lot of new advertising opportunities in Picnik than ever before. With 9.6 million active monthly unique users internationally, 67% predominantly female audience and 43% between ages 13-17 (Quantcast Sept 2009), Picnik would pose a threat to any web-based photo firms like Apple and Adobe. Google is having a big plan such Picnik mobile to compete with other mobile platforms such as iPhone, Blackberry and Windows Phone 7 series. Indeed, there is no doubt the future trend would be merging its existing online photo-sharing service, Picasa with Picnik. Perhaps this could be the rise of Pic-Pic or G2P (Google + Picasa + Picnik)?

How easy to use Picnik

References:

1. http://blog.picnik.com

2. http://www.picnik.com

3. http://www.bnet.com/2448-14061_23-399298.html

4. http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/24875/

Posted on March 2nd, 2010 at 8:10 AM by Wan
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“walled garden” to refer to such an administrative domain defined by a service provider. Because each walled garden controls its own set of users and employs a different access-control mechanism to protect personal content, it is difficult to share personal content beyond walled gardens. – San-Tsai Sun, Kirstie Hawkey, and Konstantin Beznosov. University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Its main limitation is that not all the desired content users are necessarily registered with the corresponding Application Service Provider (ASP); and thus, users outside of that ASP cannot be granted selective access. Even within the same walled garden, the resource requester and owner might not be known to each other, increasing the challenge of controlled sharing for both the owners and consumers of content. To share personal content with unknown users, one possible solution is to adopt a distributed authorization system that support the notion of trust and delegation, which provides a flexible way for a user to delegate authority to another user who is in a better position for defining attributes of other users.

With a blog in a walled garden, I don’t think you’re ever going to get the same kind of discussion and connections as you would with a blog exposed to the outside world. However, a walled garden blog can be a space for reflective learning, a journal of observations and personal growth. In many respects, this would be the same as if students kept a running journal in a Word document. A blog gives a chance to share the learning at least with others in a class though, and to get some peer feedback and encouragement. Even sharing with a limited audience changes how you write and reflect, maybe not to the same degree as sharing in a public online space, but somewhat. It changes your motivation when you know you’re not just writing for the facilitator but for your peers as well. I’ve read how some online instructors have seen positive pressure to perform when some students write really well. If a few students set the bar for quality high, then others will often rise to meet that level. A completely private journal doesn’t provide that extra motivation.

One good example is Facebook. Until 2009, Facebook had a walled garden strategy: “Attract everyone to Facebook, where they would transact and we would learn more about them.” They wanted to take over the world by attracting the world to them. Facebook is one of the stickiest sites in the world, measured by length of time people spend on it. They reversed that strategy in December 2009 with the change in privacy, and they are opening the wall to push private content to the Web, where Google can access it and get Facebook more exposure (and advertising revenue). In typical form, Facebook didn’t give members much choice as some content was reclassified (i.e. friends are now public). Facebook is still struggling with converting its tremendous stickiness to revenue. It is much more likely to acquire others. Its recent deal with Yahoo was hailed as a coup de grace due to the opportunity to create synergy with the two huge audiences. Facebook is acting like a large company now.

if we look into another angle or perspective, i would compare “Walled Garden” is similar to”a House’s fence” as a metaphor. If you are occupying the house, how would you feel in guarding the house? How secure is secure in terms of the security being set-up?

Some would take it seriously, some would take it for granted, others would be more or less being satisfied. It all depends on different kind of organisation, people, customers, bloggers, person & IT-Savvy.

A food for thought: If you have 1 million dollar, would you feel confident to let others keep it for you? Or you keep it to yourself?

Useful References:

Useful Video links more about “Walled Gardens” issues:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3OdcaAz_nw

References:
http://globalhumancapital.org/?p=1023
http://christytucker.wordpress.com/2009/02/01/blogging-in-a-walled-garden