Social Media moves so fast, its hard to keep up. Here's the week's top stories, in scan-friendly format. This Week: * Embedded GMail Video is Deeper than you Think * Reference Extract: Google, Except by Smart People * Apple Building a Search Engine? * Twingr-- Make Your Own Twitter * 30 Different Uses for RSS

Embedded GMail Video is Deeper than you Think

You may or may not have noticed a new feature in your GMail account: embedded video chat. It launched a couple of days ago to high acclaim. (Mashable came up with the best summation, calling it the "anti-Skype"). It's primarily noteworthy because there's hardly any reason to leave GMail anymore for your communication needs. IM, email, and now video/audio can now all be accessed from the GMail interface. Which is quite remarkable, when you think that all this is being done from the browser. Imagine if we'd frozen Scoble a couple of years ago and thawed him out this week to see this-- he'd fall over backwards. (Which would give us a good opportunity to throw him back into the deep-freeze for another decade or three.)But the video feature itself is only half the story, because as TechCrunch IT reports, there's some fundamental new Rich Internet Application, AJAXy technology at play here, which requires a browser plugin. It's not Flash, its not quite Silverlight. It's... something else. And TC reckon its a big part of Google's future RIA strategy to move away from 3rd party platforms like Flash and get their own code driving their Web applications.
"Couple this with all the new doodads Gmail has added in recent weeks via Gmail Labs: tools to float the IM panel on the opposite side of the Gmail window, widgets to integrate Google Calendar and Docs, and drag and drop functionality to rearrange all these modules on the page. The calendar object is particularly useful, because not only does it display coming events for multiple calendars in a simple scrolling interface, but it lets you add events from within Gmail. In effect, it roundtrips the experience in a way that promotes more and more usage. It’s lock-in by choice, and it threatens Microsoft at its very core."
This Techcrunch IT post is well worth the read for anyone in Web development, particularly in the RIA business.

Reference Extract: Google, Except by Smart People

The accuracy of Google's search results depends largely on how many times that page is linked to. Which is fine, until you realize that the people linking to said pages are exactly the idiots who lose your bags at the airport, who you get when you ring HP customer support, who make James Blunt a millionaire, who let MS Dos beat Macintosh, who made 'The Nanny' a hit show, who walk past Chris Martin of Coldplay without punching him. Given this context, whether one page gains more popular linkage from the common herd should perhaps not be the key factor in determining quality. If only we could take a super-human class of intellectual giants, and let them tell us what the best pages for various searches were, that would be much better, wouldn't it? That's what Reference Extract is all about. Except looks like they couldn't find any smart people, so they just went for people who wore glasses and looked at books all day instead-- ie Librarians. Reference Extract is " envisioned as a web search engine, like Google, Yahoo and MSN". "Users will enter a search term and get results weighted towards sites most often referred to by librarians at institutions such as the Library of Congress, the University of Washington, the State of Maryland, and over 1,400 libraries worldwide." ReadWriteWeb has the full story, and here's where to go to find Reference Extract.

Apple Building a Search Engine?

During what must have been a quiet hour, given the paucity of evidence, Michael Arrington at Techcrunch decided to mull over some rumors that Apple is building a search engine. The evidence is tenuous, but there are murmerings. Arrington:
"The rumors persist, and we believe they have a nugget of truth. Here’s what we think is really going on: Apple doesn’t like the search experience on its mobile devices, and may be building a radically different user experience which is much more visual than exists today. It will likely still be powered by Google results, but Apple may present it in a very different way that suits mobile users much better."

Twingr: Make Your Own Twitter

Another customizable microblogging engine has hit the scene. If Yammer or Identi.ca just aren't doing it for you, maybe Twingr will scratch that open platform Microblogger itch. Go to Mashable for the lowdown on the latest Twitter competitor. Or just go straight to Twingr instead, to "create your own microblogging community."

Mike Fruchter's 30 Different Uses for RSS

So many of us forget all the miraculous things that simple RSS feeds can accomplish, until someone smart comes along and shares all the cool things they use RSS for. Like, say, converting your feed contents to spoken text, or finding cheap deals on eBay or Amazon before the herd stamps through, or automatically sending links to your blog updates through your Twitter profile (like we do @cmswire). Check out Mike's list of things to do with RSS on Louis Gray's blog. Mike's own website here.