Just got back from the AMASA end of year thing where a talk by Stafford Masie was the main attraction. Overall he came across well and is certainly passionate about Google. The bulk of the audience seemed to be somewhat oblivious to what’s happening online (Google Maps street view drew oohs and aahs) so the talk was aimed squarely at them. All the usual stuff was trotted out about media landscape changing, consumer is in charge of your brand, user generated content – you know the drill.
What was interesting was that he said that South Africa has the most expensive broadband in the world. OK, I’m with you. Then he went on to say that in 18 months, South Africa would have the cheapest broadband in the world. Really? Where can I sign up….
He mentioned a few things that Google SA would be doing – Google Maps of South Africa in 2008, and GDrive – 20GB of free online storage. Also demo’d Google Co-op which looks like it could have some awesome applications.
At one point he asked if there were any reporters in the room, but didn’t ask if there were bloggers. This was after mentioning CNN using citizen journalism a bit earlier. Little bit of a disconnect there :P
Then, he unfortunately went into demo mode. I say unfortunately because it’s easy to get caught up in the moment when the audience are easily impressed. The demos weren’t as focussed as the first part of the talk and as much as the audience were interested and enjoying it, it dragged on a bit.
One thing that did occur to me though. Stafford was showing street view and saying that they have teams of people out there getting the images. Imagine if they could combine an image pool like flickr, geotag the images, feed them through a tool like Photosynth and show that as the street view. Now that would be cool.