Web 2.0 Expo: Start-Ups, Social Networking

Among attendees at the Web 2.0 confab was CEO Jeff Bezos, who talked up Amazon's infrastructure plans.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos pitched his company's growing portfolio of infrastructure services as an alternative to traditional datacenter gear to attendees at the Web 2.0 Expo here.

Bezos said a Web startup has to spend 70 percent of its energy on back-end considerations, such as buying servers and negotiating Internet service contracts.

"None of which helps you with new ideas or get your products to market," said Bezos. But he said most companies pay because it's the price of admission to compete at a high level.

Naturally, he pitched Amazon's computer infrastructure services, such as the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), as a more cost-effective alternative for computing and storage.

Bezos noted Amazon has more services in the pipeline, though he declined to provide further details.

Bezos did, however, release some internal growth figures publicly for the first time, noting that Amazon's S3 storage service server had handled some 5 billion objects of data. S3's peak single day record for requests almost hit 93 million requests.

"It's a very challenging software architecture, but it's designed for Web-scaled computing," said Bezos.

But he also admitted Amazon's services business is an investment that's not profitable yet. "We intend to make money," said Bezos.

Bezos also conceded that his industry, like others, would have to face the challenge of disruptive new technologies just as his own company shook up the traditional bricks and mortar retail book business when it launched.

"I think there will be disruptors, but we base our dollars on things that won't change. We ask ourselves what's not going to change in the next five to ten years."

And while Amazon started as more of a pure-play online provider of books largely warehoused by others, the company has grown its physical storage and supply chain logistics considerably over the years. Bezos said Amazon now has over 10 million feet of fulfillment space and carries millions of different items.

Startups take the stage

Several Web startups Monday also presented their products and services in rapid-fire five-minute presentation slots to conference attendees.

Inpowr is a social network that lays claim to being the first Web platform with a focus on self exploration, development and well-being. Currently in beta, the consumer-oriented site is designed to let you rate your well-being and set personal goals by answering a series of questions.

The system makes daily check-ins for updated metrics on how users are doing, which can be easily recorded using a graphical slider. Users can measure their own progress at the end of 21 days by retaking the initial set of questions and comparing the results.

Spock is another Web service currently in beta. In a brief demo, the company showed how Spock can provide very detailed Web search results.

For example, a search on the term 'blogger' generated a list of popular Web bloggers with pictures of each, accompanied by individual profiles and links for more information. A search on Victoria Secret models generated pictures of those models. The company then drilled a bit further by asking to see just the red-headed models.

At the end of the startups' onstage demos, attendees in the conference hall were asked to vote for their favorite by text messaging a specific number.

The results were supposed to be displayed on the main big screen but it didn't work. Given the companies showing their wares were still in beta, the glitch was perhaps appropriate.

This article was first published on InternetNews.com. To read the full article, click here.






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