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Marie Alexander, the CEO of Quova (our Internet geolocation company), was part of a USA Today article from a Churchill Club panel including Marc Andreesen (Opsware, Netscape), John Chambers (Cisco), Steve Jurvetson (Draper Fisher Jurvetson), Ed Zander (Motorola, Sun), and John Thompson (Symantec, IBM). It was illustrious company and Marie nicely held her own. All the panelists were optimistic about the future of the Internet (Chambers: “You haven’t seen anything yet”).
There was a nice segment on “The Internet becomes more local” – which is the core of what Quova helps companies do.
Q: The Internet has always been seen as global, but there is a possibility of the Internet becoming more local. What’s going on?
Alexander: There are reasons to have borders on the Internet. There are many things that can be enabled by understanding where the user is. You have situations where there are laws and requirements in one country but not in another. In Mexico, it’s OK to buy an antibiotic over the counter. In the United States, it is not. There are very good reasons for being able to understand geography and understand those borders on the Internet. And it can be done in a way that doesn’t take away anybody’s anonymity. An example of that is Major League Baseball, which last year introduced the ability to watch a baseball game on the Internet. But MLB had sold (video) rights to those games to (TV stations) in certain geographic areas. To be able to take that business to the Internet, MLB had to be able to determine if you were in an area where they had already sold rights to someone else. And in that case they would block you off from being able to see that game (though you could see all games to which local rights hadn’t been sold to someone else).
Jurvetson: There’s been a globalization trend for a few years, whereas this new trend that hasn’t yet fully played out is taking advantage of local services. It’s understanding where someone is based, either for personalization, for searches, for products and services, location-based services over wireless networks, you name it.