Whether you are overjoyed or a bit concerned at President-elect Barack Obama's healthy victory, it’s hard to deny that he's taking the presidency in a decidedly new direction when it comes to tech. From new privacy legislation, which may make it harder for music labels to monitor citizen's internet use, to possible laws which would prevent "unlimited" internet services from capping monthly download totals (bandwidth limitations would obviously remain, but the bandwidth could then be considered 24/7), the President elect is starting to formulate an ambitious tech agenda.
And as a sign of the new tech savvy he's bringing to the White House, he's doing something no other President-elect has done before -- delivering weekly video addresses via the internet, in the months leading up to his presidency.
President-elect Obama's address is available at two locations -- change.gov, the government's transition site, and the Google-owned video-sharing service YouTube. To that extent, Obama is making YouTube the unofficial Secretary of Video for his new administration.
The choice makes sense from a numbers standpoint as YouTube served up 5.35 billion video streams in September 2008 versus its closest competitor Yahoo's 264 million streams. However, some critics are already blasting President-elect Obama for not offering his address on Yahoo, MSN, Blip, Veoh, and other video-sharing sites. They are quick to jump on the fact that Google CEO Eric Schmidt was a vocal supporter of President-elect Obama.
Some are suggesting that Obama create a neutral branded video feed, which can be shared at multiple sites. CNET's Dan Farber states, "In the case of uploading video, the Obama team can create its own branded, video-sharing service neutral video player that allows anyone in the world to embed the content. That might be a more equitable way for Obama to spread his message, and he could still have a YouTube channel."
Indeed, as the first President to use many high-tech devices both in the form of electronics and internet tools, President-elect Obama is facing an increasingly difficult challenge of how to use these items we know and love without seeming to endorse a specific product. Closely scrutinized by the media, even his use of the Blackberry during the campaign trail was seen as an endorsement for the device.
However, on the topic of the Blackberry, it looks like the useful little email device is possibly not going to earn a place in President-elect Obama's cyber-cabinet. While there remains a small possibility that Barack Obama will become the first emailing President, according to The New York Times, that possibility is scarce.
The New York Times reports that President-elect Obama's advisors will likely soon approach him about giving up his treasured Blackberry, which was a lifeline to him during the campaign trail. He has reportedly said he's dreading that possible forthcoming exchange. The primary reasons that he would be forced to likely give it up would be for security reasons and because of special transparency laws surrounding the President's correspondences.
Use of the Blackberry would open his emails to public review, and the threat of subpoenas according to the Presidential Records Act. And while Barack Obama's emails are reportedly grammatically correct, concise, and business-like and he is okay with the idea of public scrutiny, his advisors fear it would place too great of a new burden on the Oval Office.
So the final verdict on the Blackberry is out, but for now it looks like Google is receiving a unique, if unintentional endorsement from President -elect Barack Obama.
quote: It could be fixed though...
quote: I would expect to see a unicorn driving my Jeep to the mall to pick up a pack of smokes before seeing an un-biased report from Mick.
quote: A president with a degree from a prestigious university that can barely put sentences together is about as comical as it gets.
quote: You're completely ignoring the infrastructure it takes to deliver a weekly podcast to potentially millions of viewers. Why put the burden on the taxpayers if there is a free alternative?
quote: Is QuickTime a good enough industry standard format?
quote: Sure it might get more views on Youtube but is that really the point?
quote: Well, only if you stay tuned before/after the debate (or televised address)
quote: I would rather he switch to an iPhone or other phone and utilize existing servers, services, and infrastructure.