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Marketing Masala in the Digital Age

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoins, the fast trending online currency, is become more ubiquitous by the hour.

Virgin Galactic accepts bit coins for space flight. Sir Richard Branson extends support.

http://mashable.com/2013/11/22/virgin-galactic-bitcoin/?utm_cid=mash-com-fb-main-link

The University of Nicosia announced it will be the world’s first to accept bitcoins as tuition payment.

http://mashable.com/2013/11/21/bitcoin-tuition-payments/

GlassPay, a Google Glass app that lets you pay with Bitcoins.

http://mashable.com/2013/10/17/google-glass-bitcoin/

The price of bitcoins surpassed $600 on Monday as the Internet-based currency’s value jumped 60-fold over a year ago.

http://mashable.com/2013/11/18/bitcoin-600/

Cyprus Gets World’s First Bitcoin ATM

http://mashable.com/2013/03/26/cyprus-bitcoin-atm/

What exactly is Bitcoin?

Watch this 1:43 min video for a quick overview:

bitcoin-logoTo start with, Bitcoin is a digital currency. That means that if two people would like to conduct a transaction (like buying a watch online for instance) so long as the buyer has the number Bitcoins the seller requires for the good or service, a transaction can be conducted. Using a digital wallet, users can securely and privately transfer a Bitcoin in a transaction. Many have simply described it as “cash for the Internet.

Where do they come from?

Knowing that it is a form of digital currency, the next logical question is, where did it come from? Bitcoin proof of concept was first published in 2009 and has been in circulation ever since. Bitcoins are found through an elaborative discovery process known as “mining.”

The mining process involves harnessing computing power to process the Bitcoin transactions and ensure the system runs smoothly. Bitcoin operates through a complex set of mathematical equations and formulas that ensure each transaction is verified and secure, and needs a wealth of computer power to operate. In order to incentivize users to assist in the mining process, users who are involved in the mining process are in turn rewarded when their systems find new Bitcoins in the encrypted computer program.

Currently, about 12 million (and growing) Bitcoins have been found, but Bitcoin itself notes that the number of Bitcoins created each year is halved until Bitcoin issuance is completely halted when supply reaches 21 million.

How much are they worth?

Like any other currency, Bitcoin has a value that is set by supply and demand. However, very uniquely, unlike any other currency, it’s not regulated by any central authority, so it can be subject to rapid changes in price. As of the most recent check, a single Bitcoin is worth about $700, but users can also have fractional amounts of them. At the beginning of November, a single Bitcoin was worth right around $200 — but the currency has seen incredible fluctuation in value.

Some more news:

 Order a pizza with Bitcoins

http://mashable.com/2013/02/06/pizza-bitcoins/

Why Bankers Want You to Fear Bitcoin

http://mashable.com/2013/04/14/bitcoin-banking-comic/

$1.3 Million in Bitcoin Stolen in Major Online Robbery

http://mashable.com/2013/11/08/bitcoin-theft-tradefortress/

These Startups Are Betting Everything on Bitcoin

http://mashable.com/2013/04/12/bitcoin-startups/

Can the Internet Replace Big Banks?

http://mashable.com/2013/03/24/douglas-rushkoff-digital-economy/

The Bitcoin Taxman Cometh

http://mashable.com/2013/06/18/bitcoin-taxes/

Bitcoin Goes to Washington: The Case for and Against Digital Currency

http://mashable.com/2013/11/18/bitcoin-senate-testimony/

8 Vendors You Didn’t Know Accepted Bitcoins

http://mashable.com/2013/03/29/bitcoin-vendors/

Time for eCommerce folks to review their payment options, maybe?

Awesome? Scary? or Simply Brilliant? :)

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?

  1. Google is well on its way to create the “Empire
  2. Google is doing what all enterprises should do – consistently better their offering
  3. Google is retrograding the whole “Internet” story it fed on by killing basics like “free spirit”, “openness”, “surprises”, “sense of wonder” et al

Delhi can stop waiting for its buses now..

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!

ETA Display Click here to View the Estimated Time of Arrival of Buses on the Bus Stops

virtualdisplaymap Click here to View Route-wise Expected Time of Arrival of Buses on Delhi Map (Google Map Integration!)

OneView 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!

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  • Filed under: Web
  • Mumbai Terror and the role of new media

    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.

    wiki_mumbaiA 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.

    image

    Twitter feed for Mumbai

    Twitter-fed list of useful local numbers

    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.

    image 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.

    image Vinu’s photostream was picked up by Fox News & CNN as well as multiple channels to provide real-time updates on all that was happening.

    image Over 2000 videos have flooded youtube post the attacks.

    image The MumbaiHelp blog has updated lists of all relevant helpline numbers as well.

    Search goes 2.0: All-new google search

     

    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.

    Gmail goes video

    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!

    Google’s 10^100 Project

    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.

    The IE8 concerns around the Chrome fever…

    In the midst of the Chrome Launch, Adage has this interesting viewpoint on Internet advertising and the implications that new browsers bring on to the table…

    Latest Microsoft Browser Fuels Fear

    IE8 Gives Web Surfers More Power to Block Ads and Cookies

    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.
    Stealth surfing
    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.

    connected indians

    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!

    Know more about the movement here.

    Join the movement here.

    Join the Connected Indians Orkut Community here.

    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 by Google

    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.

    knol-logo

    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.

    What else?

    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.

      And did I mentioned Collaboration Model. They are giving three collaboration Models…

    • Open Collaboration model, where any signed in user may edit the Knol
    • Moderated Collaboration model, where any signed user may suggest edits to the knol, but these needs approval from an author before being published (Now here they take over Wikipedia)
    • Closed Collaboration model, where no outsider is allowed to play with your knowledge.

    Still More…

    You can import doc, xls, pdf, txt and other documents. You can have your profile page and there is still more to be explored…

    Check out…

    http://knol.google.com/

    About MD

    Masala Digital is not just about Digital Marketing - it's about marketing in the digital age. The defining lines of marketing that segregated ATL, BTL & Digital hardly hold any water in the age of integrated marketing that assimilates effective practices across all available mediums to create truly integrated ideas. Masala Digital is the platform for sharing, collaborating and participating to add wings to these thoughts. You too can contribute..check out the "Contact Us" page for more information.