Post-coffee, we’ve got a panel of people from the big online players discussing whether size matters in this market. We’ve had a chap from Microsoft admitting that they need to be more agile, and that the Live series of products is an answer to that. The majority of the audience seems to think that the big firms will still be here in five years. But what will they be like?

Dominique Vidal
of Yahoo sees the firm as a media company. “UGC isn’t going to kill what I call to ‘head content’,” he said. “From head content, you can build huge amounts of tail content.”

Microsoft’s Phil Holden sees search as a utility, that needs be embedded into everything. It’s all about content and communities. (All but Microsoft employees in the hall use Google’s search. Bit of work to be done there, chaps…)

Nokia wants to make the internet truly mobile. (Surprise!) Orange is talking about providing the tools that people need to do what they want online.

Vidal suggests that there are two communities: ones of interest and ones of platform. Building communities is easy. Building content around that? Hard, but a huge opportunity. Media and community can become one.

Now, nobody seems to be exactly sure what a community is. Everyone seems to want one, and to make money from them, but it seems to be a word without clear meaning.

Somebody from the audience suggested that value is the key differentiator here. Holden suggested that the audience here aren’t ‘normal’ (the cheek of the man!) and that we have a way to go until some of the community tools become mainstream.

Is part of the disconnection with normal people the lack of access from TV, mobile phones or the like? Mikko Pilkama of Nokia thinks that the big guys can build those ways in.

Monetising? Transaction before advertising, apparently. Interesting.