That’s it, the 5th edition of LeWeb, the largest web 2.0 conference in the world, is now over; much has already been said by the likes of The Guardian, about the nonexistent wifi at the event or about how the place was so freezing cold they had a sauna installed at the back. What you probably don’t know yet though is that on the basis LeWeb’08 was taking place at the newly refurbished 39,000 sq meter artistic hub Le 104, which used to be a Parisian mortuary, an historic place where you could find more than 600 coffins and 150 hearses on the move, it’s not such a surprise the place was so cold…
But LeWeb was so much more though than a cold place and it’s no wonder that for the past five years more and more entrepreneurs, web 2.0 people and brands alike have registered to attend the conference…
Recession was pretty much on everyone’s mind during this 2008 edition of LeWeb, as was the search for investment from young entrepreneurs wishing to launch their new big ideas. What’s interesting is that all speakers actually seemed to agree on the fact that the economic downturn will ignite many new ideas and that it is very likely that those companies that will be the most known in 10 years or so will most likely have been created during this recession.
Take Viewdle, for example. A couple of hours before Viewdle were announced as the Gold Winner of LeWeb’08 the start-up competition, Marissa Mayer, Google VP, Search Products and User Experience was talking about video face recognition and explaining how recognizing a human face as a person on a video was still a few years away. Marissa mentioned that technically it was possible but because of the sheer volume of videos now available on the Internet, and how many people look alike, it was proving difficult. Viewdle won the start-up competition with their facial recognition digital platform which allows you to easily index and search video assets. A pretty amazing technology and a proof that it is still possible to come up with great ideas and technology.
Marissa Mayer also covered the notion of social search: when you go to a conference for example, you ask like-minded people about where is the best place to have diner, which hotel to stay at. Those are ‘social searches’, they happen all the time in real life but right now there isn’t a simple way of doing this online and it seems that this is going to be a focus for Google.
Social searches, using Twitter to talk about the conference, L’Oreal mentioning that brands are part of the conversation, Paolo Coehlo explaining how he uses his social media to interact with his fans and how he even invites some of them to have diner with him; it’s interesting to see how technology is enabling us all to refocus on the most human thing: conversations. And I guess this is the strength of LeWeb: it’s all about being able to meet a network of over 1,500 people from 30 countries, being able to share our vision of the Internet, the Web 2.0 and the future alike with those people.
LeWeb’08 is over and I’m already looking forward to the 2009 edition!
ps: check out Loic’s blog post about the organizational issues encountered at LeWeb.