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Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore on Monday unveiled his new television network, "Current," which aims to attract younger viewers with short videos and a tie-in with the popular Google Inc. search engine.
In addition to the videos, the new network reached a pact with the search firm to include Google data on the most popular Web searches.
The deal came despite early skepticism from Sergey Brin, a co-founder of Google, the No. 1 Web search engine that earlier this year stepped into the realm of entertainment by releasing a test video search service that pulls up still shots from such content providers as Fox News, PBS and the NBA.
But perhaps more importantly, "Jane & Joe Surfer" need to learn to recognize a good web site when they see one and they need to learn about all the scammers and frauds out there just waiting to take advantage of them.
If there were a "World Wide Web" TV show which served to demystify and debunk the internet for the average person ... the internet could evolve from the "wild west" it is today, into something more refined, dignified, trusted and productive.
We (webmasters) could also benefit from a much more open and honest dialogue with search engine personnel. I would love for the "SEO/Search Engine" quasi-war we've all been embroiled in over the past few years to come to an end once and for all.
I'd like very much to get down to the business of doing business, rather than always having to worry about search engines and what effect this week's algo might have on my sole source of income!
Lets tear down that curtain and reveal the wizard for what he/she really is! A funny looking geek sitting behind his/her computer for 12 hours a day noodling away at the keys and drinking coffee by the gallon!
I'd love a TV show for webmasters and can already think of at least 100 different aspects of running a web based business which would make good topics for discussion. Lets see ... if its a weekly show and I already have 100 topics (based on experience), that's about 7 years worth of programming right there. And that's without trying too hard!
Anyone looking for a producer?
The one threat to anyone invested in Current is viewer boredom. That's why the quip about the adult filter on the search engine results reports is particularly apt; I think Google will need all the help they can get to maintain viewer interest.
I was at the launching of Current in San Francisco yesterday, and Google's virtual presence didn't exactly have a euphorically rousing effect. In the midst of inspiring live performances from talented artists upon an open air stage, Mos Def suddenly turned the crowd's attention toward the big screen where the youth of America assembled there was made to endure an extremely well-produced yet totally out-of-place video segment featuring an engaging correspondent demonstrating an unprecedented mastery of the art of segue as she carried us through a mind boggling number of top-ten search engine results that spanned from endangered animals to Paris Hilton but by that time the booing got so loud that no one could hear her anymore. It was a total buzzkill.
To be fair, it might make for interesting TV for any ostensibly liberal 18-34 year old nestled comfortably on the couch with a six pack and a couple of valiums.
But not for a live performance.
And to add a humorist twist, Michael Franti had just minutes before made a very special point about how the event was not brought to you by Coca-Cola, not brought to you by SBC, not brought to you by Microsoft - no it was brought to you by the People of San Francisco!
Well, thanks anyway. It's the thought that counts. And whatever, I guess I don't really care about corporate sponsors. (The music was great and it was exciting to be there and see Al Gore announce the launching of Current). But it's just this badly-planned display of irony which which could make one optimistic about the tv network's success; all the purist idealism of youth being efficiently funnelled into a lucrative mainstream network... I'm interested to see how it works out.
New term: "The Current Scrape"
(sorry to spoil the fun with inappropriate cynicism when faced with such a novel idea as web tv - almost as significant an invention as the internet itself, my compliments to "the Gore chap" for coming up with that one as well. I guess the wheel's next. Or the office clip... Wait a minute... some Redmond firm already invented that one.)