Bonjour from Le Web 3.o in Paris – Skype and Google kick the show off

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Greetings from Paris, where various Shinies are shunning the delights of the Arc, the Louvre and really scary looking bread to report on Le Web 3 conference. The conference, which last years was called Les Blogs, has attracted 1000 delegates from across Europe – with a few big names from the US – who will be taking the pulse of the web in our continent.

Over the next day and a half speakers and delegates will be discussing the state of the blogoshpere, whether there is a web 2.0 bubble and how European internet companies can get one over their US based rivals.

So to rally the troops, the host Loic Le Meur from Six Apart (makers of blogging software Typepad, Vox etc) drafted in Europe’s number one web superstar, Niklas Zennstrom to open the show.

Zennstrom underlined how Skype is a European company (‘our office in California is a regional one for the US’ he quipped) and stressed how the globalisation of the planet has made this possibe. He added that there was now a great opportunity for Europeans, with more transparency and bigger global, rather than local, markets. He also claimed that the globalisation of language – that’ll be everyone speaking English then – also gave companies from smaller countries (Skype’s base is Sweden/Estonia) a chance to compete on a fairer footing. Needless to say that kind of talk didn’t go down too well with the French hosts.

Zennstrom added that he was excited by the way that some of the start ups from a few years ago were now huge companies. ‘We aren’t going through the same internet bubble as last time’ he said, but ‘even though there are opportunities we need to keep our humility.’

Second up was Lorraine Twohill from Google who gave an insight into how Google works – there are apparently hundreds of engineers alll working on small projects. She also predicted that the Web was going to continue to expand with markets in Africa and the Far East getting online possibly via mobiles rather than PCs.

Ashley Norris