Friday, June 8, 2007

Localizing Internet Services

Like a lot of executives, I travel a lot. As I travel, I notice that web pages are becoming more and more localized in the geographies I visit.

Choice of color, the amount of white space, and choice of animation styles (and the amount of animation displayed) are some obvious examples, but increasingly what I am seeing is the fast-emerging influence of culture - or, better expressed, the influence of people wanting to preserve their culture - on the Internet.

How does this need express itself?

Web service localization tools are no longer a "nice to have", but essential. Instant recoloring, translation, re-skinning, and multi-feature UI design - "reinterfacing" as it is called around Authentium - is becoming a must-have component of the deals we're in.

In our area of security and secure applications, geography and language-specific malware filtering and URL "go list" databases are also making their way up the agenda - to the very top in some meetings. Language-specific malware detection and geographically-focused "go lists" (i.e. "walled gardens") - such as those enabled by our platform - are the future.

Google's multi-language UI was ahead of the game on this topic in many ways - possibly because one of the founders is from Europe, a place profoundly aware of differing languages and needs. However, presenting the Google home page in fifty two languages is a trivial task. Many other companies are going to fail to meet this challenge, because the task is just too great.

Prediction: Integrating the amount of additional analysis and infrastructure required to identify and effectively deal with the kinds of geographic-specific malware we're seeing is going to prove to be an impossible task for any single security company, or government organization. The big guys will try and buy in these capabilities and will succeed - but pay billions of dollars in the process, and ultimately fail.

I don't intend us to take the same approach. Authentium will continue its strategy of licensing technology from multiple in-market vendors.

The insurance/choice that multiple vendors provide in this kind of process is invaluable, and in the end, it better promotes market-driven quality and service-levels, client choice, and in-market entrepreneurial activity: a concept that the anti-globalization folks can certainly get behind.

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