Expedia buys Travelocity

Expedia has extended its hold on travel by buying Travelocity from Sabre, Travelocity had, at one time been, an arch rival. Users won’t see a change since Expedia has been providing the front end.

Expedia buys booking site Travelocity for $280M in cash, Seattle Times (Jan 23)

Of interest:

  • Expedia owns Hotels.com
  • Priceline Group, another booking site, owns Priceline, Booking.com, Kayak and OpenTable.
  • A couple of new services are airfare search Hipmunk and last-minute deal site HotelTonight

Pew Internet’s study on social media

New study from Pew Internet found increasing use of social media by online adults in the US. Facebook still leads by far , but Linkedin, Pinterest, Tweitter, and Instagram are strong.

Social Media Update 2014 BY Maeve Duggan, Nicole B. Ellison, Cliff Lampe, Amanda Lenhart, and Mary Madden,  Pew Research (Jan 9)

Of interest:

  • 52% of online adults use two or more social media services
  • 70% of Facebook users check daily
  • 31% of all seniors use Facebook
  • Instagram is most popular with people aged 18 to 29 – 53%
  • 42% of online women use Pinterest – way outnumbering men at 13%

Archiving the Web – a very big job

Tremendous article about archiving efforts to preserve Web content in the New Yorker by Jill Lepore – The Cobweb: Can the Internet be archived? .

First point – “The average life of a Web page is about a hundred days. ” Pages disappear for many reasons: sites die with their hosts – MySpace as an example; organization purposely deletes the pages – as British Conservative Party did with 10 years of speeches; website is reconfigured and content isn’t moved or is impossible to find. This is a plague of link rot for footnotes.

Internet Archive is the largest program to save Web content – archive.org. It has captured 425 billion pages. There are associated services to help it – Archive It, and “Save Page Now” at archive.org. Also a new Perma.cc to be used to create permalinks for articles referenced in footnotes.

There are other initiatives – Europeana as a digital library in Europe, and Digital Public Library of America.

Biggest issue is copyright – and the right to save.

Internet Archive blogged about this article also – The New Yorker: The Cobweb–Can the Internet be archived?. We hope they archived it.

Article does not mention the work Internet Archive has done to save other media and digital books.

News sources that people trust

A recent survey of trust in news sources showed that search engines (mostly Google) are now ahead of traditional media (TV, radio, and newspapers). In fact trust in traditional media has fallen from 65% in 2014 to 62% in 2015; and trust in social media risen to 48%.

Google Overtakes Traditional Media To Become Most Trusted News Source by Greg Sterling, Search Engine Land (Jan 20)

I suppose this is because people find it easier to run a quick search for breaking news or general information than scan a newspaper or wait for the 10 pm news program. Mostly it’s indicative of how deeply entrenched search is now in our information gathering habits.

Ebook developments

There is some good news in this follow up article — Ebooks in 2015: Trends and Forecasts Part 2 by Nancy K. Herther, Newsbreaks (Jan 20)

“With all of the Big Five publishers now agreeing to ebook-lending terms with libraries, we are finally seeing stability on this point across the book industry. Additionally, we are also starting to see publishers setting up their own sales/access portals as well as working with vendors and other distribution channels.”

And some bad – that reading an ebook on an iPad or Kindle before bed can interfere with quality of sleep.

Wikipedia vs Encyclopedia Britannica

Which of these do you prefer – Wikipedia or Encyclopedia Britannica?  I use both, though it depends on how much Britannica will reveal.  This article asks — Which Has More Bias? Wikipedia or the Encyclopædia Britannica — by Feng Zhu, Working Knowledge at the Harvard Business School. (Jan 19)

It’s not easily untangled. They both show bias, although articles in Wikipedia, if edited by enough people, become more balanced or unbiased. Conclusion seems to be – be aware of bias, and use both.

E-Book Publishing

E-book industry is more complicated than it seems notwithstanding Amazon’s dominance. This report by Nancy Herther is the first of two parts to examine the e-book publishing industry.

Ebooks in 2015: Trends and Forecasts Part 1, by Nancy K Herther, Newsbreaks, Information Today (Jan 13)

What data there is today on sales suggests that adoption is not quite as stunning as expected.

The most recent AAP data, from December 2014, covers the first three quarters of 2014 and shows that revenue from 1,209 publishers was up 2.8%. “In terms of formats, ebooks were up, hardbacks were down, and paperbacks were up. Total ebook revenues increased by 5.6% over 2013 (to $1.2 billion from $1.13 billion),” The Digital Reader’s Nate Hoffelder notes.

Still forecasts are rosy even in the face of considerations of format, devices, and (not directly mentioned in the article) concerns about privacy.

PwC’s (PricewaterhouseCoopers) analysts believe that ebooks will edge out print as the most lucrative format for publishing by 2018. DRM and the wide variety of formats that need to be addressed and used are key issues impacting the development of this sector.