Marketing Masala for the Digital Age
The weekend has been pretty interesting. I saw rebounds regarding Google and its shenanigans all across social networks and the Internet in general, and then woke up this morning to read more in print. Led to some light thinking on the matter, and I tried breaking these thoughts into three distinct and debatable trends that I have noticed about the BigO.
One champion for your business
On Saturday, Steve Rubel interviewed Jeff Jarvis’ about his new book, What Would Google Do? In the book, Jarvis breaks down Google’s practices into 12 distinct rules and then applies them to aging industries like media and advertising. Denuo/Publicis’s Rishad Tobaccowala points out how Google served an entirely new population of advertisers who didn’t have agencies and that enabled it to set new rules. Google sells performance instead of scarcity (a lesson the rest of media must learn in this post-scarcity economy). Because it rewards relevance, it encourages better, more effective advertising.
One number in your life
I picked up today’s newspaper and there’s Google again with its mega plans to unify the masses. Launched on March 5th, Google Voice is all set to revolutionize telephones.It unifies your phone numbers, transcribes your voice mail, blocks telemarketers and elevates text messages to first-class communication citizens. And that’s just the warm-up. Google Voice began life in 2005 as something called GrandCentral. It was, in its own way, revolutionary. More on it here.
One fellow to help you out on the web
If search wiki wasn’t enough, Google now has made available the “preferred site” option to all its users. The service allows users to overweight certain web sites in the search engine result pages. Once you sign up, Google recommends pages from your history that you tend to visit when searching. You have the option to make these sites (or any other) a preferred destination.
Without even getting into the whole business/ SEO/ SEM discussion, I can only hope that you can turn it off – Half the fun about search is the fact that you can find the “unexpected” and stuff you haven’t seen before. I mean what is “search”, if you know what you’re gonna get?
One person who knows you better than you yourself!
So you worried just about how your search data was painting a DNA of who you are? Google released 11 software applications for mobile phones that spell a fundamental change in our lives. Among the applications were functions such as text messaging, web browsing, a diary, Orkut - the company’s social networking offering – and Latitude, a GPS-based service that tracks you wherever you go. Innocent enough, perhaps. But combined they would allow Google to know what you are doing all of the time. A truly Orwellian development that has been described by privacy campaigners as “a catastrophic corruption of consent”.
Far-fetched? Not at all. The mobile phone industry has for years seen the potential for a rich market to develop in location-based services if only it could get its customers to agree. Google, on the other hand, has decided to take advantage of that market and it has sought to do so by appearing to be helpful. The rationale is simple – offer a service for free and the customer will not notice that they have given a company the right to know where they are at any time.
So now – considering the above, what do you think?
Here’s the latest from our deal ol’ Delhi Transport Corporation, or more correctly, the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Ltd.:
After going the digital way with on-board GPS, the DIMTS fellows have now gone a step further by creating an Online Bus Information System that will help Delhi citizens plan their bus journeys, effectively cutting the wait-time at bus-stops to a minimal.
Citizens can now track buses on Delhi roads in real time though DIMTS’ “Online Bus Information System”. Both AC and Non-AC buses plying on selected BRT routes and all the AC buses on different routes in Delhi can be tracked using this system. Rest assured, it won’t be long before the system is extended to ALL the routes & buses!
Click here to View Route-wise Expected Time of Arrival of Buses on Delhi Map (Google Map Integration!)
Click here to View the location of Buses on GIS Map of Delhi (Roll-over mouse on each stop. Green pointers are buses (incl registration numbers for ID)
This is awesome stuff..and an example for others!
More info can be found on the DIMTS website!
Mumbai suffered one of its worst terror nightmares these last 3 days when armed terrorists took over strategic spots in Mumbai, leading to a bloodshed yet unparalleled in its gruesomeness.
While the terror attacks received worldwide media coverage, it was no less covered extensively by citizen journalists and common people who used a host of digital mediums to add to the story. Internet, and new media tools, came on the forefront as reliable tools to track the terror drama.
A wikipedia page was constantly updated by vigilant users, providing a single point of reference.
Many twitter feeds contributed to real-time reporting & status update, which were utilzed heavily by the administration, media as well as citizens to get regular updates as well as channelize real-time help.
Post the attacks, these feeds have become the buzz-ground for discussions, opinions and to plan next steps to solve the problem at its roots.
A google maps page also became a ready reference guide, especially for people outside India to get a real-life perspective of where and how things were happening.
Over 2000 videos have flooded youtube post the attacks.
Courtesy: googlesystem blog
Google’s new experiment that lets you reorder and annotate search results is now live. Google SearchWiki should be available automatically if you are logged in to a Google account and it can be recognized by the visual clutter added to the search results.
Next to each result, you should see three new options: a way to promote a web page at the top of the results, an option to remove results from the page (they’re still visible at the bottom of the page) and a feature that lets you share public comments about a result. After promoting a result, Google shows some unnecessary information about the other people who promoted the result.
It’s important to remember that all the changes are saved to your Google account and they won’t affect the search results for everyone, at least not directly. If you want to see an aggregation of all promotions, demotions and comments, go to the bottom of the page and click on "See all notes for this SearchWiki". This is the real wiki built by Google and it’s easy to access by adding &swm=2 to the URL of a search results page: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=google&swm=2.
Comments are not very useful, although you could find insights for some obscure queries. The absolute number of people who promoted a search result is not very useful either, especially when you’ll see big numbers like 314,159,265.
SearchWiki’s main idea is to give users the opportunity to manually customize the search results and make them more predictable. Since many people repeat common searches like [mail], [weather], [news] and Google’s results are constantly changing, it’s nice to pick your favorite results and display them at the top. If you can’t find a site you like, click on "Add a result" and manually add a page in the list of top results.
Good things about SearchWiki:
- you can now adjust Google’s results for your typical queries and save time when repeating the searches
- use Google instead of bookmarking web pages
- for unfamiliar queries, check the wiki to find a different ranking and potentially useful comments. Try to avoid the wiki for queries that are likely to be spammed.
Bad things about SearchWiki:
- visual clutter. The only way to remove the additional icons displayed next to each search result is to log out.
- your changes are available only when you repeat the query and, in some cases, for similar queries (e.g.: [google.com] in addition to [google]). That means you can’t remove a web page or a domain from all search results
- comments are public and there’s no option to write private notes (Google removed the option to annotate results in Google Notebook)
- an obvious feature would be to get a permalink for your edited results, but Google doesn’t offer this yet
- there’s no option to toggle between your edited results and the standard results (you’ll have to log out)
- it’s difficult to reorder results, since the only action allowed is to place a web page at the top, after all the other promoted pages. If you promote the page again, it will become the first result.
Google has always used people’s clicks to improve the quality of search results, so the new options could influence the ranking algorithms in different ways. "At this time we aren’t using SearchWiki to influence ranking but it is easy to see how that could happen in the future," said Marissa Mayer. "Search is adapting to the Internet as it becomes a more participatory medium. Now you have people telling us specific things about how they’d like to see their search results. You could imagine if we do see a particular site (about which) people have a unanimous opinion, that might trigger external things. Like maybe we should check out our spam control," suggested Cedric Dupont, product manager for SearchWiki and Google Knol.
Here’s the deal as I see it with Google..
These guys have taken the idea of “disruption” to an all-time high…having turned it now into a web-statement of sorts.
First it was gmail…launched in a market where hotmail & yahoo were kings, usa.net had gone paid, rediffs of the world were trying hard to get attention….basically a very crowded & highly competitive market. So google walks in & “disrupts” the proceedings – 1GB mailbox, by invite only.
2 propositions that turned cult in 5 minutes…EVERYONE wanted one, EVERYONE wanted to have those invites to give out..
So email was great, beating IM was next to impossible, with nearly ALL of us active on either Hotmail or Yahoo messengers. The solution – Disruption again.
Suddenly IM was on email…made sense, didn’t it? You logged in to check mail and logged in your IM around the same time..by combining the two, gmail made Internet communication one seamless experience, and NOBODY has been able to replicate that! And then they even went voice – along with the two other biggies, but essentially kept up with the user experience expectations.
Oh and then there are these 1000s of other benefits – POP access (yahoo pay attention..msn burnt their hands), easy UI..all that & more, that basically started settings standards.
Finally, they have probably put a huge big nail in everyone else’s coffin (not the last one I presume) by going video (MSN/Skype had it)…within Gmail..disruption all over again. And great timing too, considering webcams cave become standard pre-installed accessories only recently!
It makes sense to visit the church of google, I say!
As Google turns 10 they celebrate with an attempt to make a difference.They have officially announced the launch of the Google Project 10^100, on the Google blog.
Here is what they have to say:
To mark our 10th birthday and celebrate the spirit of our users and the web, we’re launching Project 10^100 (that’s “ten to the hundredth”) a call for ideas that could help as many people as possible, and a program to bring the best of those ideas to life. CNN will be covering this project, including profiles of ideas and the people who submit them from around the world. For a deeper look, follow along at Impact Your World.
During the next three months, the Internet search company will solicit world-changing ideas from anyone, anywhere, no matter the size or scope and will reward the top five ideas with $10 million to see their projects come to life. Google will select the 100 best ideas before having the public vote for the top 20 semifinalists in late January. Five finalists will split the $10 million, which Google will give to them to help get their projects off the ground.
Watch the video:
The categories for entry seem to be primarily humanitarian aid innovations, including things like water solutions for rural villages in developing countries, and solutions for bringing wireless internet to disconnected rural areas.
If you have ideas that you feel can help make a difference to the world, now is your time to act.
By Beth Snyder Bulik
Published: August 28, 2008
YORK, Pa. (AdAge.com) — Microsoft’s newest bro
wser is still only in beta, but it already has the advertising world in a tizzy. Its “InPrivate” set of features on Internet Explorer 8 out this week has publishers, marketers and industry advocates worried that it could block their ability to distribute, track and even monetize what the Interactive Advertising Bureau values as a $21.2 billion-plus internet-ad industry.
But Microsoft Internet Explorer general manager Dean Hachamovitch advises to remain calm. “The point isn’t to block content or ads. The point is to put users in control of what they’re sharing,” he said, adding he has read and heard many misconceptions about what InPrivate can and cannot do.
For instance, the InPrivate Browsing feature — already slang-termed “porn mode” — only allows a user to hide single browsing session activities from “over the shoulder” viewers such as family members. It does not block ads from being served to the user or from advertisers counting views or clicks.
It works, and got its nickname, by letting users surf porn sites (or any other content, for that matter) without caching any content such as a list of URLs visited, cookies or other data. That could mean no cookies on your computer — as well as no cookies for future use by marketers or publishers, although only during selected InPrivate sessions.
However, it is the InPrivate Blocking feature that seems potentially more worrisome for advertisers. InPrivate Blocking acts to inform users about sites that consistently track and collect browsing histories. In fact, when a user opts into an InPrivate session, it will automatically block third-party content if it detects that the third party has “seen” the user more than 10 times. So, for instance, if the third party is advertising.com and it is serving ads across 10 sites a user has visited during an InPrivate session, it will begin to block advertising.com tracking codes and possibly content on the 11th website.
Cause for concern
Mike Zaneis, VP-public policy for the Internet Advertising Bureau, said while he is encouraged that InPrivate is never a default option on Internet Explorer — meaning that users have to manually opt in each time — he still has concerns.
“With IE’s market share, will so many people activate that so that it could affect the revenue side of the industry?” he asked. “Any content from anywhere that appears as third parties, whether advertising or stock tickers or news feeds, all appear as third parties, and in theory their content could be blocked.
“And if you’re blocking all third parties, you’re also going to block all analytic companies,” he said. “You’d be blocking the companies that do the auditing of ad delivery.” He’s particularly concerned about the potential disruption to the entire accounting system of internet advertising.
Mr. Hachamovitch concedes that IE 8 has no way of knowing if the content is an ad, a stock tracker or a newspaper column. It can only tell if it is third-party content. So that does mean that any content, say, ads, analytics and more, can be blocked. However, he repeated that the user must select InPrivate every time. And users can create “allow” and “block” lists, so-called whitelists and blacklists, to always allow content from trusted sources. Consumers can also subscribe to lists of acceptable content created by others.
Microsoft itself has tips for publishers and advertisers on how to get third-party content and ads seen. Publishers, for instance, can serve the ads directly from their site (making them first-party content) or they can make third-party content look like first-party content, he said.
Letting consumers decide
Ultimately, the point of InPrivate is not to block anything, but instead to give consumers control of the online information they chose to share, or not, Mr. Hachamovitch said. “In a world of well-informed consumers who expect choice, we all need to be thoughtful about how we conduct business,” he said. “To me, this really starts the conversation. IE8 Beta 2 starts us thinking about the expectations people should have about what they share and how.”
Of course, Microsoft is hardly anti-advertising, and in fact, depends on ad-servicing revenue from its own sites like MSN. In May 2007 it purchased for $5.9 billion aQuantive’s three businesses — Atlas, DrivePM and Avenue A — as a means to build out a massive ad platform, and it had pursued Yahoo in a bid to gain more display-ad leverage. Microsoft, moreover, is a longstanding member of the IAB.
“From the Microsoft perspective,” said a spokeswoman, “we’re right there with the rest of the crowd in that we think there is a lot of benefit in targeted ads. We just believe consumers have the right to know it’s happening and to opt in.”
JupiterResearch analyst Emily Riley said the industry upheaval may be moot soon enough anyway, as ad targeting has come under serious scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission. She said she believes the many different industry factions will come up with — by force or free will — guidelines and standards that are acceptable to consumers and regulators.
“In the short term, though, I can understand how it could be scary for advertisers, because ad targeting is so valuable,” she said.
Intel today launched its ambitious “Connected Indians” movement at The Taj Palace, New Delhi.
Check out www.connectedindians.com!
The Connected Indians movement aims to be the catalyst for delivering the power of the Internet into the hands of a billion Indians. Intel states that its success will hinge on spirited public and private participation.
Over the next few months, Intel will mobilize people, resources & infrastructure to facilitate Internet adoption across India.
Over time, this collaboration will help build partnerships between people, Industries and stakeholders via a complete and connected ecosystem to accelerate the growth of Internet and its benefits to the society.
The Connected Indian web site is an innovation in itself wherein users can click on an interactive map to locate their co-ordinates, and then post their voice for an Internet-enabled India. Not only that, they can utilize the in-built feature to invite more of their friends and peers from their web contact lists to add in more numbers.
There is also an India Speaks section that highlights different areas where Internet is making a huge difference in the way people, processes, industries & services in India are progressing with the power of the Internet.
Intel is following up this movement on-ground with specially-designed “Net Yatras” wherein it will showcase Internet’s benefits to Indians using interactive tools & techniques.
This is one movement that has been designed with a specific cause in mind and Intel promises that for every 10,000 Connected Indians who register, the movement will donate a PC to selected government schools in rural areas.
Now that’s what we call a spirited initiative!
Intel’s partners in this venture include google, HCL, Zenith, Edurite, MAIT, BSNL, Reliance Communications, Tata Indicom, Acer, Intex, Novatium, Wipro, Asus, CII, e-zone, lenovo, NIIT, Tata Communications, Croma, NASSCOM etc.
It will be interesting to see the kind of products & services Intel will introduce to take this step further & forward. Here’s wishing Intel all the best for the initiative & hoping that more & more brands take such steps towards better propagation and acceptance of technology!
Knol, A Forum, A Blog or Wikipedia… Well, the mighty Google has come up with another marvel. I can see that Google creates stuff that can help people, and earn while the products are free to use.
This time, Google created something, that they call “a unit of knowledge”. In words of Google, a knol is an authoritative article about a specific topic. In first look, it might appear as a simple Blog. Here you create articles as you do in Blogs, but they are consolidated as in Wiki. There can be contributors, collaborators and community members. You can edit, or just suggest an update. Moreover, you can have revisions. You can review Knols, post comments and reply to comments. So this makes it more like forums.
What’s in the box?
Here you will find topics like Heart Attack, AIDS, Prostate Cancer, Name Verification, Installing UBUNTU and millions more. But that’s not all, you can add your own Knol and enhance the knowledge base.
How Authentic is the content?
Knols are pieces of knowledge, written by authentic people from respective fields. Moreover, Google verifies members, so anything they post is genuine. Besides, people can flag your content or update it as in Wikipedia.
If you think that this is a nice initiative, then wait for more surprise. Google has linked AdSense to it. Google allows you to link any existing AdSense account or create a new one on the spot. Then you are given option to display ads on your article. You can chose it for all Knols you publish or on selective Knols.
But the part, that interests me most is License. Google Knols offer three license types.
You can import doc, xls, pdf, txt and other documents. You can have your profile page and there is still more to be explored…
What is Lively?
Lively is a 3D virtual experience that is the newest addition to Google labs. It is available through a browser plugin for Firefox and Internet Explorer. It is Windows only for now. Lively does not feature one coherent world like Second Life but splits worlds up into different rooms. Lively was originally developed as a 20% project by Niniane Wang.
Google Lively is billed as a “chat experience” using avatars. Google says, “You’re about to embark on a chat experience in which you can communicate and express yourself using avatars in your very own space. Choose an avatar and use it to make friends and chat. Create rooms, decorate them to your liking, and make sure to invite your friends over.”
Choose a Google Lively room
What all does it offer
Lively runs completely in the browser and you use your Google account to log in and create your own avatars.
What all can you do on lively
Within the world, you can interact with other users, very much like you would do in Second Life. You can also watch YouTube clips on virtual TVs and share your own photos.
Users can choose from a number of preset animations for their characters, ranging from shaking hands with others, to applauding, crying, etc. By double clicking on certain items in the virtual world, users can also often activate some preset animations such as sitting down on a chair or jumping off a dive board.
Setting the plugin up and creating an avatar is a very simple process. Creating rooms, too, seems quite easy, as you can quickly import a number of templates to get started. Currently, all virtual items for Lively are for free, but chances are that Google will start charging for premium items in the future.
For now, the content in Lively is being created only by Google, though over time, they are planning to allow users to start creating their own content as well.
Rooms can be easily embedded into any webpage and worlds often launch with a basic skeleton of the room within just a few seconds.
Here’s how it works
Choose a Google Lively room
• From the Room List, click the title of the room you’d like to visit first.
• Use the tabs at the top of the page to sort rooms by most popular, most visitors, or newest.
• Once you’ve added friends or created a room, the My Rooms and Friends’ Rooms tabs will also be handy.
Choose your Google Lively avatar
• Click My Avatar on the right sidebar.
• Click the avatar you like and choose Select Avatar (your avatar changes instantly).
• Once you’ve chosen the one you want, click the X to hide the menu.
Change your Google Lively avatar’s clothing
To change your outfit, check out the styles available in the wardrobe picker. Here’s how:
• Click My Wardrobe on the right sidebar to open your wardrobe.
• Browse or search the options in your wardrobe inventory and select items to wear. When you double-click an item, it’ll appear on your avatar instantly. You don’t have to close the window to find out if you like the look.
If you don’t like how something looks on your avatar, go back to your wardrobe, left-click on the item, and choose Remove Item.
If you want more wardrobe options, add new stuff to your inventory by o quickly change your entire outfit, click my avatar and choose I’m Feeling Lucky. You’ll see the new duds on your avatar instantly.
Create your own Google Lively room
• Click new room and choose Create New Room to start the process.
• Look over each tab and choose what you want your room to look like, the permissions you want to grant visitors, and whether you’d like to play music in your room.
Lively lets you have the world available where you want it, rather than forcing you to go to a certain space. Or, as Google puts it: “It’s integrated with the Internet. It’s not an alternate destination. Our intention is to add to your existing life.”