Archive for the ‘Google’ Category
Tuesday, June 11th, 2013
Tablet ownership as of May 2013 is closing in on a majority of Americans who are online, 8 to 64, across the United States, with 44% of the population owning a tablet in their household – up from 30% in 2012 which is a 47% growth rate in one year. Already a majority of online Americans (54%) ages 18 to 34 own a tablet.
Smartphone ownership has now broken the majority barrier and reached 61% of online Americans as of May 2013. Over 79% of all online Americans 18 to 34 now own a smartphone.
The rapid growth of tablet use suggests that many of us want bigger screens than most smartphones have for many of our mobile device activities. We wouldn’t be surprised to see hybrid devices with screens 5 inches to 7 inches becoming increasingly popular.
America is now a mobile connected country
Mike Vorhaus, President of Magid Advisors, a unit of Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc. says, “America is not just a connected country now, but a mobile-connected country.”
Magid has just concluded their 2013 Magid Media Futures study including a section dedicated to tablets and smartphones. The study covers a nationally representative population of 2400 respondents who are 8 to 64 years old and have access to the Internet.
Over half (53%) of all tablet owners in the U.S. have Apple’s full-sized iPad, steady since last year. When you also include the ownership of iPad minis, 59% of tablet owners have any iPad.
Amazon’s Kindle Fire has risen to 31% of tablet owners vs. 28% in 2012. Personally, here at the TechJournal, we love our Kindle Fire, but it does have distinct lacks compared to both the Google Nexus 7 (with a new model allegedly coming in July) and the Apple iPad Mini. It lacks a microphone and dictation software – which we believe is the future of mobile device interfaces. So we’re considering the upcoming new Nexus model as our next tablet purchase.
The Samsung tablets now account for 19% of tablet owners vs. 13% in 2012 – the highest growth rate among tablets this last year. A third (32%) of tablet owners have multiple brands of tablet devices in their household. We were not crazy about the 10-inch Samsung model we tested, but they have made advances.
Android now a majority in the US
Android smartphones now account for a majority of smartphone owners in the U.S. at 53% vs. iPhones at 41%. Samsung captures the largest group of Android owners at 50% (26% of all smartphones).
Just under 1 in 10 (8%) of smartphone owners own multiple brands of smartphone devices. See charts attached for owner adoption and market share data.
App spending was up huge in both the tablet and smartphone markets over the last 12 months.
Tablet app spending growth
Tablet spending on apps grew 42% year-to-year, while smartphone spending on apps grew 44% year-to-year. Tablet spending on apps in the last 12 months was $2.3 billion among American tablet owners. For smartphone owners the app spend in the last 12 months was $1.7 billion.
“The smartphone has become a mini-TV for many consumers,” Vorhaus said, with 38% of smartphone owners regularly watching video on their smartphones and almost 40% of those consumers are watching full-length movies and TV shows on their smartphones (16% of all smartphone owners).
Tablet users are also big fans of watching video on their tablets with 63% of tablet owners saying they regularly watch video on their tablets. Much of this tablet viewing is full-length movies and TV shows with 69% of all tablet video viewers regularly watching long-form video, which is 42% of all tablet owners.
In the year ahead Magid anticipates major growth in smartphone and tablet penetration in the U.S. By this time next year Magid estimates that 67% of online Americans, ages 8 to 64, will have a smartphone and 54% of online Americans will have a tablet. That represents a 10% YOY predicted growth rate for smartphones in the U.S. and 20% growth for tablets.
Friday, June 7th, 2013
Google ranks number one among MBA students asked to name ideal employers.
MBA students no longer see the financial industry as the golden path to riches, apparently. It has seen a steady decline in the ranking of ideal employers by Universum Global since 2009.
The 2013 rankings saw just one bank, Goldman Sachs; hang on to its coveted Top 10 spot – no other bank made the Top 10. Of the students who still consider banking a top industry, one of the top three employer attributes attracting them is prestige.
Technology is still an attractive industry, if the MBA student rankings of their ideal employers is a guide. Among the top ten are Google, Apple, and Amazon.
The most preferred industry for MBA students, Management and Strategy Consulting, sees prestige as the 10th most important attribute, behind others such as leadership opportunities, a creative and dynamic work environment, and challenging work.
Consulting secures the top industry title
Management and Strategy Consulting is the top industry of choice for MBA students and elite strategy consulting firms McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company and The Boston Consulting Group have all retained their Top 10 positions this year, but broader professional services firms are gaining ground.
“What is interesting as you look at the data is that the elite strategy consulting firms have stayed stable or decreased in the rankings; however, other professional services and consulting firms (Deloitte, IBM, PWC, Accenture) have all risen in the rankings,” saidMelissa Murray Bailey, Universum President of the Americas.
“As leadership opportunities are one of the key attributes attracting MBA students to this industry, this trend could be a result of the larger firms’ concerted focus on offering a greater variety of career paths than before.”
Strong consumer brands make an impact
Apple’s MBA ranking stayed steady at #3 this year and Amazon was right behind after having jumped two ranks from #6 to #4. Nike, Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, LVMH, and Unilever also featured within the 2013 Top 30. Similar to Management and Strategy Consulting, the attributes attracting MBA students to Consumer Goods (the second most preferred industry) are leaders who support development, leadership opportunities and a creative and dynamic work environment.
While all of the Top 30 consumer goods organizations obviously have strong consumer brands, this doesn’t always correlate with a strong employer brand.
“A strong consumer brand is a blessing and a challenge when it comes to managing an employer brand,” advised Bailey. “I would go as far as to say that when a company has a strong consumer brand, it needs to work even harder to make its employer brand known to potential candidates.
“Otherwise, there is the risk of disappointment and high turnover when students have jumped to the wrong conclusions based on what they know about an employer brand. The two can and should complement each other, but the messaging needs to be focused and deliberate to ensure success.”
Top 10 Ideal Employers for MBA students:
1. Google, 2. McKinsey & Company, 3. Apple, 4. Amazon, 5. The Boston Consulting Group, 6. Bain and Company, 7. Nike, 8. Walt Disney, 9. Deloitte, 10. Goldman Sachs. Please visit CNN Money for full list:http://money.cnn.com/news/economy/mba100/2013/full_list/
Tuesday, May 28th, 2013
SEO agency, Barracuda Digital, has added new features and functionality to its free-to-use ‘Panguin Tool’ for webmasters and marketers to check if their website has been hit by any of Google’s major algorithm changes.
The revamped ‘Panguin Tool’, a portmanteau of Google’s Panda and Penguin famous updates, now allows webmasters to see exactly which landing pages and keywords may have been affected by Google’s algorithm changes.
Panguin 2.0 has been released in time for Google’s latest spam fighting algorithm Penguin 2.0 - rolled out earlier this week (22nd May). It is estimated that roughly 2.3% of English queries will be noticeably impacted by this update.
More functions added to tool
The first version of Panguin Tool was originally created to help marketers and website owners to diagnose whether drops in their website traffic could be attributable to Google algorithmic devaluation.
The agency have now added more functionality to the tool for webmasters to better understand exactly which keywords or landing pages have suffered (or benefited) during an identified drop (or increase) in visits from Google’s search results.
Head of SEO at Barracuda Digital, Luis Navarrete said, ”We created Panguin 1.0 because there wasn’t a tool available that clearly showed which one of Google’s algorithm updates was responsible for drops in traffic levels. The next logical step was to allow webmasters to see which keywords and URLs had experienced the biggest drops in visits during the identified time period.
We hope that the Panguin 2.0 will help businesses to focus on what really matters in order to improve organic visits to their website.”
The Panguin Tool pulls in organic traffic data from Google Analytics and overlays it with information about each of Google’s algorithm updates, allowing webmasters to see if their drops in organic visit levels from Google correspond to algorithm release dates.
The new features mean that you can now apply date filters (and many other filters) to periods of interest to see the keywords and landing pages that are no longer generating organic visits from Google searches.
Commenting on the new functionality of Panguin 2.0, Anthony Tuite, Senior SEO consultant at Barracuda Digital said, ”When you’ve seen a fluctuation in traffic you need to be able to quickly examine specific keyword and URL organic visit data. By knowing which algorithm updates were released around the time of the fluctuation, and knowing what they were designed to target, you can more effectively diagnose problems and subsequently take affirmative action to rectify the situation.”
There has been significant interest in the revamped tool and the site has already seen a significant uplift in visits during the three days since release.
Check if your website has been hit by Google’s spam fighting algorithms: http://www.barracuda-digital.co.uk/panguin-tool.
For more information please visit http://www.barracuda-digital.co.uk.
About The Panguin Tool
- www.Panguintool.com was launched in September 2012 and is owned by Barracuda Digital.
- The tool was built using the Google Analytics API and requires the user’s permission to access their Google Analytics Data.
- The tool uses standard OAuth 2.0 to handle data authentication safely.
- Use of the Panguin Tool is completely free and Barracuda Digital does not see, store or use any of the Google Analytics data.
- It was created to provide correlative data as to which algorithm updates have had an effect on the user’s website.
- Barracuda Digital makes every effort to update the algorithm data presented in the Panguin Tool in a timely manner. However, due to time restrictions this is not always immediately possible.
- All information provided by the tool is for reference only and Barracuda Digital cannot be held accountable for any subsequent actions taken after use of the Panguin Tool.
Thursday, April 25th, 2013
Who are the top Google apps consulting firms?
The Google Apps Consultants Leaders Matrix from SourcingLine highlights firms that assist at all stages in a typical Google Apps migration including strategic planning, data migration, change management, employee training, custom development, and ongoing support.
The proprietary Leaders Matrix methodology assesses each firm’s focus on productivity and collaboration consulting in general and their specialization in the Google Apps suite. The second dimension of the Leaders Matrix then maps the firms’ abilities to consistently deliver on client expectations.
The top consultants are able to combine their knowledge of the Google Apps with a deep understanding of their client’s businesses to create meaningful improvements in organizational efficiency.
Top ten firms
Out of hundreds of registered Google Apps Partners, only 10 firms were included in the Leaders Matrix. The firms included are: Cloud Sherpas, Maven Wave Partners, Promevo, Dito, Baker Security & Networks, Soluciones Orion, Aeegle, Umzuzu, Agosto, and 11th Hour.
“When deployed correctly, Google Apps is a powerful cloud platform to drive productivity without unnecessary overhead,” statedSam Pettee , Manager Mid-market Research at SourcingLine. “The consultants included in our Google Apps Leaders Matrix have a proven track record of applying their knowledge and experience to exceed client expectations.”
SourcingLine’s effort to identify the Google Apps consultants will be ongoing and they encourage firms with a proven record to apply to participate in updates to the research. Upcoming publications seek to highlight developers for other cloud platforms such as Office 365, Google App Engine, and Force.com.
SourcingLine is a Washington, D.C.-based research firm focused on IT services.
Friday, April 19th, 2013
SEO expert Michael Marshall is among the digital thought-leaders participating in the Atlanta Digital Summit May 14-14.
By Allan Maurer
Back before Google launched it SEO-changing Penguin algorithm, certain “spamtastic” backlink building methods worked for quite a while, which is why they became so prevalent.
When that Penguin algorithm hit, even many legitimate sites were adversely affected. “They were lured into spamtastics because they worked for so long,” says Michael Marshall, CEO of Internet Marketing Analysts, who helped craft advanced SEO strategies for many top Internet brands, including AOL, 1800Flowers, and Alcatel-Lucent among others.
Marshall, who writes about SEO for many media outlets, from Forbes, Investor’s Business daily, PRWeek, SearchNewz and SEOToday.com, is among the plethora of digital thought-leaders, tech gurus, and execs from top brands participating in the Digital Summit in Atlanta May 14-15.
In two separate sessions, Marshall, who is also a lead instructor at Search Engine Academy, will discuss understanding Google’s search algorithm and link-building.
Fixing bad backlinks
Marshall says that if past practices hurt your site when Google’s Penguin hit, there are two ways to fix the problem.
First, he says, “Make the structure of your backlinks look more natural. Search engines have a specific way of determining that.”
He suggests using Google Web Master tools or Majestic SEO to monitor your backlinks.
Then, Marshall says, “You have to get rid of backlinks and/or add more good ones to such a degree that it minimizes the effect of the bad ones. “It’s a percentage game, although no one know the exact percentages,” he adds.
If you can’t remove some backlinks for any of a variety of reasons, you can use the Google and Bing disavowal tools so they don’t harm your rank. But before doing that, Marshall warns, “Get your ducks in a row, because they won’t just look at the backlinks, they’ll look at everything.”
Adding good links
How do you go about getting good links to outweigh the bad?
“Get links from organizations in your industry,” Marshall says. “Your partners, vendors, suppliers. Those are the types of sites you want links from.”
If you’re a local company, he suggests, “Anything like the Chamber of Commerce or industry guilds – organizations that have a good reputation in your space locally.”
Another standard approach is to identify your top competitors going after the same traffic you do. “Look at your top five competitors. What 20 backlinks do they have in common? They’re a good place to start.”
Don’t buy links for SEO
What about buying links?
That’s a no-no in today’s SEO world – although you can buy them if you don’t use them for SEO purposes. “Google says it knows that buying links are a regular part of doing business, but it doesn’t want you to use them for SEO,” notes Marshall.
Google plans a new major Penguin release Marshall says he expects may shake things up as much as the original one did.
He recommends that the way to stay on top of the SEO world is to “find reliable sources online.”
Those include Google’s own blog, Searchengineland.com, SEOrountable.com, and the Searchengineacademy.com blog.
Monday, April 15th, 2013
The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) announced today that it is joining 15 plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Google. The Federal suit alleges the “Google Book Search” program violates the copyrights of numerous photographers and other visual artists.
The lead plaintiffs include: The American Society of Media Photographers, Graphic Artists Guild, Picture Archive Council of America, North American Nature Photography Association, Professional Photographers of America, American Photographic Artists, Leif Skoogfors, Al Satterwhite, Morton Beebe, Ed Kashi, John Schmelzer, Simms Taback and Gail Kuenstler Taback Living Trust, Leland Bobbe, John Francis, Ficara, and David W. Moser.
Plaintiffs claim that Google engaged in “widespread, well-publicized, and uncompensated infringement of exclusive rights in images in the history of book and periodical publishing,” in violation of the Copyright Act.
These allegations of infringement stem from Google’s creation and operation of its Google Book Search program. The lawsuit seeks monetary, injunctive, and declaratory relief.
The complaint states, “Google’s acts have caused, and unless restrained, will continue to cause irreparable injuries to Lead Plaintiffs and the Class members through: continued copyright infringement and/or the effectuation of new and further infringements of the Visual Works contained in Books and Periodicals; diminution of the value and ability to license and sell their Visual Works; lost profits and/or opportunities; and damage to their goodwill and reputation.”
“The NPPA takes the issue of copyright violation very seriously,” said NPPA Executive Director Mindy Hutchison.
Photos displayed without permission
The NPPA has been a vocal critic of Google, particularly of the company’s continued efforts to digitize entire libraries and make that content available over the Internet.
The 49-page complaint, submitted by attorneys Mishcon de Reya, New York LLP, and Ronny L. Kurzman, Esq., was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. It contains exhibits showing specific photographs and illustrations which, despite having been registered with the United States Copyright Office, were scanned and displayed, without permission, into Google Book Search, by Google, in violation of those copyrights.
“As a visual journalist myself, I know the importance of owning my own work and controlling how, when, and why those images are used,” added Mike Borland, NPPA President. “I feel it is the NPPA’s responsibility to protect that principle of ownership, and not allow companies like Google to infringe upon our rights uncontested.”
Friday, April 12th, 2013
Chris Shaw, an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Kansas City-based startup accelerator and business incubator Think Big Partners has been selected by Google to be a beta tester of its exclusive Glass hardware.
Google selected 8,000 people worldwide to be part of its Glass Explorers program, an initiative to test the limits of the Glass wearable computer hardware.
Connects to mobile phone
Google Glass is a head-mounted display unit that connects with the user’s mobile phone to allow for seamless communication over the web. Glass also has a video camera that allows for pictures and video to be streamed over the web.
Chris Shaw, a serial entrepreneur who founded LexSpot and has advised over a dozen technology startups, said he wanted to use Glass to give back to the community that enabled his success.
“Glass is a truly innovative way to tell stories and share experiences,” says Shaw. “While our primary use for Glass will be for developing mobile applications in spaces like healthcare and enterprise, we wanted to test the media capabilities of Glass in a unique way.”
Tech Trek documentary
As a result of this thought, Herb Sih, Founder and Managing Partner of Think Big Partners encouraged Chris to create Tech Trek, a Glass-enabled documentary that explores the different startup hubs, technologies and innovations throughout the country.
“When Chris said he wanted to give folks a birds-eye view into what it’s like to be an entrepreneur, we were enthusiastic to support Tech Trek,” says Sih. “Think Big has started dozens of companies either directly or indirectly and we feel like we have an obligation to give back to the community.”
Tech Trek is using Kickstarter to raise funds for the ambitious project to tell the story of technology entrepreneurship in the tech hubs of Silicon Valley, Ca., Los Angeles, Ca., Las Vegas, Nv., Boulder, Co., and Kansas City, Mo.
Funds will sponsor entrepreneurs
In addition, Shaw explains that some of the funds from the Kickstarter campaign will be used to sponsor entrepreneurs to attend Tech Trek who cannot afford to visit the cities and companies that Tech Trek will feature at incubators like Y Combinator, 500 Startups, Science and TechStars.
“Our goal with Tech Trek is to show people what we do and how technology and entrepreneurship are building the future of our world,” says Shaw.
Spencer Walsh is an independent film producer and director who will be filming and producing Tech Trek.
“Google Glass provides a very unique opportunity for documentary work. I’m already excited to capture the effect this new technology has on the people interacting with it physically and virtually,” explains Walsh.
“Also, most of my productions are for startups so I know how creative entrepreneurs are. In my opinion, the possibilities of Glass will really begin to reveal themselves as Chris interacts with these established and growing communities. This might be selfish, but I feel like I’ll be getting a glimpse into the near future.”
To learn more about Tech Trek, please visit www.techtrek.co. To become a part of the Tech Trek Kickstarter campaign, please visit http://kck.st/10OBm3R.
Friday, April 12th, 2013
The convenience and mobility benefits afforded by tablet computers are showing no signs of slowing interest after record unit shipments and revenues were reported by device vendors in 2012.
In 2013, approximately 150 million tablets (up 38% year-over-year) are forecasted to ship globally worth an estimated $64 billion (up 28% from 2012) in potential end-user revenues, according to market intelligence firm ABI Research.
Apple shipped 60 percent of total
So far, Apple has reigned since the introduction of its iPad in 2010, though Samsung and others continue to erode its early success.
About 60% of last year’s tablet shipments used Apple’s iOS operating system software while 37% were based on Google’s Android OS (or development forks of Android, such as found on Amazon’s Kindle Fire slates).
The remaining 3% OS share consisted of Windows (Windows 7, 8, or RT), BlackBerry Tablet OS, and unidentified OS implementations.
Tide turning toward Android
“The tide is definitely turning toward Android-based tablets, though Apple will not slouch as it feels the competition approaching,” says mobile devices senior practice director Jeff Orr.
“The iPad mini was a timely introduction in 2012, though ABI Research remains cautious about the bottom line impact this is having for Apple.
Here at the TechJournal, we think the late Steve Jobs was wrong when he said tablets needed those 10-inch screens. The 7-inch models are much handier and with the exception of all those regular sized iPad sales, we think they’ll dominate the market.
Personally, while we enjoy our Kindle Fire, we are waiting to see what Google offers in its upcoming new Nexus 7 tablet release expected in July. We suspect Apple will release an updated iPad mini in the not too distant future as well.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: what will make tablets even more useful, salable and dominant is better voice control – something Apple’s Siri and the dictation features on the Nexus are approaching. Better accuracy and true dictation ability are crucial to easy control of these devices without a keyboard.
The first quarter of 2013 should be the first time where production was able to meet market demand and a better sense of how much 9.7” iPad volume has switched to the smaller, lower-cost mini will be understood.”
Samsung could challenge Apple
The next opportunity is for a vendor challenger to break away from the pack and move closer to Apple. Most would consider Samsung the likely pursuer, though the company was mired in legal proceedings during much of 2012.
The success Samsung has seen during the past year with smartphones, Android OS, and the Galaxy Note II is expected to migrate across to tablets in 2013.
“A well-executed Samsung tablet strategy could double the company’s market share this year,” adds Orr.
Unfortunately, there are few “fast followers” capable of emulating the ownership of technology that Samsung has, suggesting that more innovation is necessary within the Android OS that pulls tablet OEMs closer to Apple.
These “Media Tablets and eReaders” Market Data findings are part of ABI Research’s Media Tablets, Ultrabooks and eReaders Research Service (http://www.abiresearch.com/research/service/media-tablets-netbooks-ereaders/).
Friday, April 12th, 2013
You can see what’s hot and what’s not looking at the merger and acquisition picture in any industry, and in online and mobile, analytics, SaaS, mobile payments and food service and content firms are like spice to the big dish Internet companies these days.
Deal volume increased three percent relative to the prior quarter in online and mobile industry mergers and acquisitions in the first quarter of 2013, according to mid-market investment bank Berkery Noyes in its mergers and acquisitions trend report, but transaction value decreased 50 percent, from $15.8 billion in Q4 2012 to $7.9 billion in Q1 2013.
The SaaS/ASP segment experienced the largest quarterly rise in volume, improving 16 percent. Meanwhile, transaction volume in the E-Commerce segment increased six percent between Q4 2012 and Q1 2013.
Highest value deal
The segment’s highest value deal in Q1 2013 was Google’s announced acquisition of Channel Intelligence for $125 million.
In addition, major financial technology players completed several large Online and Mobile payments acquisitions during Q1 2013. For instance, ACI Worldwide acquired Online Resources Corporation for $203 million and FIS acquired mFoundry for $120 million.
M&A involving transactions with a large mobile component increased 33 percent over the past three months. Along these lines, there were several acquisitions in the food service information and content space.
Yahoo, OpenTable buys
This included Yahoo!’s acquisition of Alike, which enables users to make recommendations about their favorite food establishments; and OpenTable’s acquisition of Foodspotting, an application that helps users share information about particular dishes.
With four transactions, Yahoo! was the most active Online and Mobile Industry acquirer during the quarter. Several of Yahoo!’s recent acquisitions demonstrate its renewed focus on mobile under CEO Marissa Mayer .
Yahoo! has already completed three mobile transactions thus far in 2013, acquiring social news application Summly, as well as applications Alike and Jybe. In contrast, Yahoo! only made two mobile transactions last year, both of which occurred in Q4 2012.
E-marketing and Search segments
As for the E-Marketing & Search segment, M&A activity increased nine percent in Q1 2013. \
“The ability to better profile and target consumers has necessitated the development and growth of companies that can analyze shoppers’ behavior and develop appropriate offerings to the consumer,” said Evan Klein , Managing Director at Berkery Noyes.
“This shift has led to the growth of data analytics businesses and, with the need to develop deeper relationships with consumers, the growth in loyalty marketing companies.”
Just call me Larry.
Regarding the segment’s social media marketing subset, one notable acquisition in Q1 2013 was Twitter’s acquisition of BlueFin Labs.
A key goal of acquiring the social television analytics company is for Twitter to gain additional advertising revenue by leveraging viewer data. TiVo and The Nielsen Company completed E-Marketing acquisitions in 2012, both of which focused on improving the ability to measure digital audiences.
A copy of the ONLINE AND MOBILE INDUSTRY M&A REPORT FOR FIRST QUARTER 2013 is available at the Berkery Noyes website.
Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
What do these brands have in common: Twitter, Google, Mashable, Bing, reddit, YouTube, StumbleUpon, TMZ, Dell, Home Depot, HGTV, Salesforce, CNN, AOL, Forester, Urban Daddy and The Weather Channel?
They’re all represented at the upcoming Digital Summit 2013 May 14-15 in Atlanta, the region’s largest digital marketing and web innovation strategies conference.
The event draws a sell-out crowd of 1,500 or more digital marketers, web strategists, senior Internet executives, thought-leaders, and entrepreneurs to Atlanta.
Brian Wong, founder and CEO of Kiip, is participating in the Atlanta Digital Summit May 14-15.
We’ll be interviewing some of the featured speakers and panel participants as we head toward the event (TechJournal is a TechMedia division). We spoke to Kiip CEO and founder Brian Wong this week. Wong, the youngest person who ever received venture funding, describes how connecting mobile ads to “moments of achievement and delight” can make those ads welcome rather than an annoyance. See: Mobile ad secret sauce.
Register now to reserve your seat. TechMedia’s last event in Charlotte, NC, had to close registration a week ahead of the event and had a long waiting list, so do it early.
Monday, March 18th, 2013
Yesterday’s announcement to shut down Google Reader in July sparked protests on the Internet, but why?
Since 2009 the industry has predicted the demise of RSS, and everyone’s banking on social reading.
While there are other feed aggregators, it’s clear that RSS – like dial-up – is headed into obscurity. Internet users should not be asking “how do we save this?” , but instead, “what’s next?”
In yesterday’s New Yorker, Joshua Rothman waxed poetic about lost knowledge and noble pursuits with the decline of Reader, but pointed out how feeds can overwhelm users. Reader’s value was organizing web content, not having an endless stream of articles reminding you that your commitment to home gardening is not what you thought it was.
The next big thing?
Content curation is unquestionably the next big thing, and personal collection, organization and publication is driving this movement.
RSS feeds deliver “push” content – a passive experience wherein subscribed or relevant content is automatically delivered. We still see traffic coming to the TechJournal from our RSS feed and were seeing hits from Google Reader as well.
However, “pull” content is what the user has gathered. It’s collected, organized, and presented for utility or perspective – personal curation is personal power.
Some Reader users will opt for other news feeders such as NetVibes, NewsBlur, and Feedly . Content aggregators we use here at the TechJournal include Trove and Scoop.it, and there are many others out there. We admit, we stopped using Google Reader sometime back as apparently, too many others did as well.
Looking outside the box
Others may kick it old school and use browser bookmarks. But others are going to look outside the box for what’s next.
Jenna Gavin , CEO of Surfdash.com, states, “Our online lives are becoming more complex. Information we access on a regular basis – email accounts, banking, social media, health providers, local services, and news – is overwhelming, and the industry is rethinking content access and organization.”
There are curation tools available for professional marketers, bloggers, or high octane “sharers.”
Put together pictures to tell a story and you have Pinterest, or publish your ideas with content on GetPocket.
What do you use? Are you waiting for the next big thing or do you have content aggregation and curation tools that meet your needs now?
Monday, February 25th, 2013
Advertising Age editors threw in a few surprises with the 2013 Digital A-List, out today in print, online and on the AdAge iPhone and iPad apps. The list is the centerpiece of the its annual Digital Issue.
All of the top three on the list are somewhat surprising. They are the humor site, The Onion, The Weather Company, and statistics maven Nate Silver, who correctly predicted outcomes in last year’s political races.
But something that isn’t a surprise: it’s clearer where the value is in the digital world, the magazine says.
“What a difference a year makes,” said Abbey Klaassen , editor of Advertising Age. “The digital ability of our industry is finally maturing. A year ago, things felt dark. Breakthroughs that were supposed to be big didn’t turn out that way, and business models that were supposed to save the world didn’t.
“Google was the only one making money in digital and our A-List pretty much wrote itself. This year, things have settled. And it’s clearer where the real value is.”
Each year, the closely watched Digital A-List names the companies, things, and one person the AdAge editors believe drove progress for digital over the past 12 months.
Nate Silver is high on the Advertising Age Digital A list for 2013. Photo from Ad Age.
The Digtal A list for 2013:
- The Onion
- The Weather Company
- Nate Silver
- General Electric
- First Round Capital
- Google Apps
- 3D printing
- Samsung Galaxy
Deep Dives on Facebook, Twitter, Google & Hiring
The issue also includes AdAge‘s second exclusive assessment of marketers’ sentiments toward Facebook. A series of charts and other analytics show that most brands have yet to sample things like Sponsored Stories or use the Facebook Exchange.
“We can see that as either an indictment or an opportunity,” summed Michael Learmonth , assistant managing editor at Advertising Age.
Also in the issue, a look at Twitter’s coming of age.
“Twitter created a new real-time window for marketing and they own it, but until this year, there was a real question of whether the company would be able to capitalize on the business opportunity,” added Learmonth.
“We now see brands’ newsrooms operating continuously, and going into high alert around things like the Grammys, the Academy Awards and the Super Bowl.
“Nothing existed with this urgency before Twitter. It’s an amazing opportunity for Twitter, and there are real risks. The value of real-time content expires very quickly compared to search’s very long tail and permanence.”
Google/Samsung tensions brewing
In a third look at leading digital platforms: the story of the tensions brewing between two longtime Silicon Valley allies, Google and Samsung.
In the wake of Google’s hiring of Samsung’s top marketer, the story delves into how the relationship has turned acrimonious.
“There are real indications that the united front of these two companies is crumbling and that united front is vital to competing with Apple,” added Learmonth.
New to the Digital Issue for 2013 – and providing some of the most interesting twists to the issue’s coverage: The Eight Best Digital Hires over the past year.
“You’ll see people you’d expect on the list, like Marissa Mayer . But you’ll also see people you’ve never heard of,” Learmonth said. “It gives you a sense of who to watch in 2013.”
Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
According to technology expert and Google enthusiast Richard Gorman, the Google Hangout feature has come a long way. When the real-time chat function first launched, it was met with skepticism in some circles, despite having the almighty Google brand name affixed to it.
With time, however, Google Hangout has become a popular tool; celebrities and even political figures have used Google Hangouts to host conferences and meet-and-greets. Despite its burgeoning popularity, the Google Hangout is still not accessible to anyone and everyone—but the Google development team is seeking to change that.
The company has announced some major changes to the Google Hangout technology, all designed to bring more users into the fold. These Google Hangout changes have won the attention of Gorman, who has responded with a statement to the press.
Internet connections a problem
“These changes are very much in keeping with Google’s typical passion for making all of their products as accessible, to as many different people, as possible,” Gorman says. “Something like Gmail may be fairly universal in its efficacy, but, for many users, Google Hangout remains untenable, simply because of Internet connectivity issues.”
Indeed, while those with stellar Internet connections can make good use of Google Hangout, the feature is much less useful in third-world countries, or even in busy, public places with crowded Wi-Fi networks. Google has been upfront in saying that the new changes to its Hangout feature are all designed to offer greater accessibility, specifically by allowing users to have more control over their Hangout connections—thus making them less helpless against the ebb and flow of a volatile wireless network.
Audio-only mode slashes bandwidth needed
One of the changes to Google Hangout is an audio-only mode. By sending audio only, and not video, users can significantly cut down on the bandwidth they need to participate in a Google Hangout. To other members of a Hangout, audio-only participants will be visible simply as static profile pictures.
“The audio-only option will surely come in handy to users for whom bandwidth is shaky,” offers Gorman. Still, the more significant advance is the introduction of a new “slider” at the top of each Hangout screen. This slider allows users to take full control over their own bandwidth preferences.
“Google Hangout users used to rely on the default bandwidth settings, but now, they can use the slider to move from high bandwidth to low, and all the way down to audio-only,” Gorman explains. “The bottom line is that, if your connection starts to go bad or you are taxing the network too much, you can easily cut down on your bandwidth without disrupting the Hangout.”
New features only on desktop now
Currently, these new features are available for desktop user only, but Gorman sees a real opportunity for Google to serve mobile users. “The audio-only feature would be an immense boon for those who participate in Hangouts via their mobile devices,” Gorman says.
“It would allow users to participate in Hangouts even while on the go, or in crowded public settings.” He notes that video takes up a lot of bandwidth and is often too much for a mobile device to handle, whereas audio is much easier for smartphones to deal with.
As if these technological improvements were not proof enough of Google’s commitment to making its products as universally accessible as possible, the company has also launched Hangouts in India, for the first time ever.
The bottom line, according to Gorman, is that Google is doing everything it can to make its products second-nature, to anyone and everyone. “Google continues to innovate new ways to make its technology accessible to users everywhere,” he concludes. Richard Gorman is a technology pundit and online marketing professional, and can be found on Quora.
Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
Amazon is on a roll. In addition to topping a list of 25 retailers with the best mobile satisfaction ratings during the recent holiday shopping season, it also edged out Apple as America’s most reputable company, according to the 2013 Harris Poll RQ Study which engages over 14,000 members of the general public to measure the reputations of the sixty most visible companies in the country.
And companies can learn from how the leaders gain their stellar reputations.
This is Amazon’s first time earning the top ranking, but the fifth consecutive year with a great reputation score. The Walt Disney Company, Google, and Johnson & Johnson complete the top five. This is Google’s eight consecutive top five appearance, an incredible achievement for a fourteen year old company.
AIG and Goldman Sachs return to the bottom two reputation positions on the list of the most visible companies, joined by Halliburton, American Airlines, and Bank of America. With a full six point increase in RQ score though, Bank of America had the highest year-over-year increase in the 2013 study. Best Buy and Honda experienced the greatest decline in RQ scores, 6.76 and 4.73 points, respectively.
RQ measures six dimensions that comprise reputation and influence consumer behavior.
The dimensions and the 2013 leaders are:
- Social Responsibility – Whole Foods
- Emotional Appeal – Amazon.com
- Financial Performance – Apple
- Products & Services – Amazon.com
- Vision & Leadership – Apple
- Workplace Environment – Google
Amazon’s reputation strength runs wide and deep as it ranked in the top five in five of the six dimensions of reputation. Amazon had a five point advantage over any other company in the study in the dimension of Emotional Appeal, despite an entirely virtual relationship with the public. Amazon also achieved the top rating in the dimension of Products & Services.
Amazon earned nearly 100 percent positive ratings on all measures related to Trust. More than 50 percent of respondents also recall discussing Amazon with friends and family in the past year, and nearly 100 percent of these conversations were positive.
“Our results show that Amazon has managed to build an intimate relationship with the public without being perceived as intrusive,” adds Fronk. “
Nine of ten would recommend it
And as the company that is so widely known for its personal recommendations, more than nine in ten members of the public would recommend Amazon to friends and family.”
The results for Apple and Google are equally as impressive as those for Amazon and continue a compelling trend that has been developing for the past few years – companies that begin in the technology sector, which is by far and away the highest-rated industry when it comes to reputation, absorb the reputation equity from the industry, then transcend the industry to become a more multi-faceted business.
Companies that are able to do this are perceivedto “Play A Valuable Social Role,” a characteristic, which according to the RQ study, has become a key driver of reputation.
The Kindle’s eInk technology frees you from LED glare and eye-strain – and you can make the fonts as large as you like.
As a longtime Amazon customer, we can understand why it has such a great reputation, despite moves such as encouraging “showrooming,” viewing products in stores to buy later online.
It’s customer service is beyond first rate. We dropped and broke our first Kindle e-reader when it was out of warranty and they still replaced it free, overnight, and we didn’t even have to pay postage. When a large package of books went awry and never showed up, they simply resent the order.
Banking industry shows gains, still low ranked
The banking industry is not so lucky. It showed some encouraging signs in 2013. Positive ratings of the industry are now 25 percent, a more than 50 percent increase from 2012.
Wells Fargo became the first of the four big banking companies in the past four years to move from negative to positive equity in the dimension of Emotional Appeal. Harris’s fourteen years of conducting the RQ study show that a company cannot build or maintain positive reputation without this positive equity. Wells Fargo also received significantly higher marks on attributes related to its people and work environment, and it is possible that these may be the first signs of a bank once again being seen as trusted.
But in our conversations with sources, the banking industry is still most often cited as having abysmal customer service and is viewed as frequently predatory. The continuing mortgage default problem hasn’t helped.
What can companies learn from the 2013 Harris Poll RQ Study?
Companies need to evaluate and understand the increasing importance that playing a valuable social role has on reputation, purchase consideration, advocacy and positive word of mouth. This is about a business having a purpose, not just checking the box on social responsibility or sustainability.
Additionally, companies need to adapt to a major trend in consumer behavior. More than 60 percent of consumers now “pro-actively try to learn more about how a company conducts itself” before they are willing to consider that company’s products or services. This group, which Harris calls Seekers:
- Proactively engage in conversations with others about what they find out about a company;
- In 60 percent of cases, decide NOT to do business with a company because of something they learn about that company; and
- Actively try to influence friends and family on whether to do business or not with a company based upon what they have learned about that company’s conduct.