Week In Geek: Are you ready for BitTorrent?

The biggest personal tech story this week came from BitTorrent, the peer-to-peer file sharing service, which announced it’s going legit. Content providers who have developed Web and podcasting strategies now need to think about a peer-to-peer strategy. If you don’t have a working understanding of BitTorrent, you should get one. Because it’s decentralized, it behaves in a much different way than simply putting files up onto the Web for people to access. On BitTorrent, a file can move around very quickly because it can be grabbed from multiple sources simultaneously. So it overcomes the factors that slow down the deployment of digital content. Broadcasters and content providers need to figure out how much they’re going to give away for free and need to understand they won’t be able to control all of their
clips. In a BitTorrent world, it’s not possible. And that’s something sports leagues may not care for.

The NBA this week became the second pro sports league to partner with YouTube, joining the NHL. Of course, YouTube is now owned by Google, and Google is a
monster, to put it mildly. The Internet giant is getting into the mobile phone game, this week announcing a partnership with IP telephony firm, Avaya. Google is growing on many fronts, from software for businesses to phone applications. So when a league makes a deal with them, they’re not just dealing with an Internet company. It’s not entirely clear what Google is becoming, but it’s important to monitor what
the company does.

People in charge of buzz marketing love to talk about the “third screen.” The idea is that we’ll all eventually be carrying around a portable device that will allow us to do everything from make phone calls to watch live TV. Well, the first step along that path comes in June when Apple’s iPhone goes on sale. We have some reservations about this gadget, but regardless of its shortcomings, the iPhone seems certain to capture the cool factor. Clearly it will be the No. 1 tech gadget for the 2007 holiday season. It may not happen immediately, but once the iPhone’s connectivity increases (which it almost certainly will) broadcasters will find themselves dealing with Apple in a whole new way. Mobile TV hasn’t really gone anywhere yet because all the broadcasters and content providers know they’re dealing with phone companies. But Apple is a whole different animal. They can make this work because consumers have long since bought into the Apple brand. Broadcasters and sports leagues will eventually find themselves striking deals with Apple for content distribution on the iPhone.

And finally, Curt Schilling is still trying to convince the Red Sox he should be their Opening Day starter. But he can call all the shots for you if you’ve got a TomTom navigation system in your car. There’s apparently no truth to the rumor that TomTom was going to use Earl Weaver’s voice for this but ditched him because drivers got into too many arguments with him.

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