Archive for the ‘Google’ Category
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.
Thursday, December 13th, 2012
Globally, at least 18 million Android users will encounter mobile malware from the beginning of 2012 to the end of 2013 according to Lookout’s 2013 Mobile Threat Predictions, a forecast that identifies mobile threats people and businesses may face in the coming year.
In addition, the global likelihood of a new Lookout user encountering a mobile threat, such as malware or spyware, is .84% on average from June to October 2013. The US likelihood remained low at .40% in October 2012.
Web-based mobile threats like phishing links or malicious websites, continue to be the most prevalent and relevant threat to smartphone users. Nearly four in ten people encountered a web threat over the course of 2012 and we expect this trend to continue.
Highlights for the 2013 Predictions include:
- Toll fraud continues to grow: 72% of all of Lookout’s malware was classified as toll fraud in 2012. This class of premium SMS fraud will continue to dominate the 2013 mobile threat space despite improvements made on the Android platform. Toll fraud is the easiest and least technical path to monetization and provides considerable ROI that is built into most mobile networks via pre-existing billing channels. In addition, while more recent versions (Jellybean 4.2) of Android devices provide updated protection against premium SMS abuse, older versions of Android remain vulnerable.
- Spam harvests personal data: SMS-based spam will increase in its volume across mobile networks in 2013. Lookout recently observed a number of malicious applications toll fraud-based and otherwise, actively collecting contact information from infected devices. It’s not a stretch to expect that malware writers will seek to monetize these datasets via spammers. It’s only a matter of time before writers send spam in-network, infecting devices to appear they have come from inside as the have on PCs in the past.
- Businesses strike a balance between control and employee empowerment: Finding the right balance between protection and employee empowerment will be the business mobile threat challenge of 2013. As corporate IT administrators seek to manage the various mobile threats, there is the potential that by over-correcting for the problem, employees will seek new ways to subvert processes and policies that constrain the pure consumer experience.
For in-depth information, tips and graphics, read the complete 2013 Mobile Threat Predictions on the Lookout blog.
How Individuals Can Stay Safe in 2013
- Avoid toll fraud, regularly check your phone bill: Always review your monthly phone bill statements for suspicious charges. Contact your carrier if you identify something you believe to be fraud.
- Double-check URLs on your mobile: After clicking on a web link, pay close attention to the address to make sure it matches the website it claims to be, especially if you are asked to enter account or login information.
- Protect your privacy, understand app permissions: Be cautious about granting applications access to personal information on your phone or letting the application have access to perform functions on your phone. Make sure to check the privacy settings for each app before installing it.
- Be smart about device settings: Keep network connectivity such as NFC / WiFi, or Bluetooth ‘OFF’ when not in use. Be sure to disable settings such as debug mode that can open a device up to illicit access.
- Download a security app: Download a security app that scans the apps you download for malware and spyware, helps you locate a lost or stolen device, and protects you from unsafe websites.
- Update your phone and apps: Make sure to download and install updates from your mobile operator as soon as they are available for your device. The same goes for apps, download app updates when they are available.
How Businesses Can Stay Safe in 2013
- Raise employee awareness: Help employees understand the threats and risks in the wild so that employees can take action to safeguard their phones.
- Protect employees’ phones. Ensure that every phone – personal or business – is protected with a mobile security software that finds malware, scans apps, and locates and remotely wipes the device.
- Patch known vulnerabilities: Keep employee phones’ operating system software up-to-date by enabling automatic updates or accepting service provider’s updates when prompted. Stay up to speed on what vulnerabilities are not patched across device types and carriers to maintain a proper threat model. The National Institute of Standards and Technology offers a database of device vulnerabilities.
Friday, November 2nd, 2012
More than 100,000 Android applications in the Google Play store—25 percent—pose a security risk to mobile device users and the enterprise networks to which they connect, according to a research report by security firm Bit9.
Bit9 examined the security permissions of more than 400,000 Android applications. The company focused on Google Play applications because more smartphones today run Android than any other operating system.
“When a seemingly basic app such as a wallpaper requests access to GPS data, this raises a red flag. Likewise, more than a quarter of the apps can access email and contacts unbeknown to the phone user, which is of great concern when these devices are used in the workplace.”
Criteria for defining an application as “questionable” or “suspicious” included the permissions requested by the application, categorization of the application, user rating, number of downloads, and the reputation of the application’s publisher. In its examination of the more than 400,000 Android apps, Bit9 found that 72 percent use at least one high-risk permission.
In addition, the company found that:
- 42 percent of applications access GPS location data, and these include wallpapers, games and utilities
- 31 percent access phone calls or phone numbers
- 26 percent access personal data, such as contacts and email
- 9 percent use permissions that can cost the user money
This report follows previous Bit9 research on the most vulnerable mobile devices.
“A significant percentage of Google Play apps have access to potentially sensitive and confidential information,” said Harry Sverdlove, chief technology officer for Bit9.
“When a seemingly basic app such as a wallpaper requests access to GPS data, this raises a red flag. Likewise, more than a quarter of the apps can access email and contacts unbeknown to the phone user, which is of great concern when these devices are used in the workplace.”
In addition to this comprehensive research, Bit9 conducted a survey of IT security decision makers who collectively influence mobile device usage policy for more than 400,000 employees.
Almost three quarters of those surveyed said their organization allows employees to bring your own device (BYOD) to work and access company email, calendar and scheduling—a risky decision given the significant percentage of applications Bit9 found with access permissions to these programs.
Of the IT security decision makers surveyed:
- 78 percent feel phone makers do not focus enough on security
- But 71 percent allow employees to bring their own smartphones to the workplace
- 68 percent rank security as their most important concern when deciding whether to allow employees to bring their personal devices to work
- But only 24 percent of companies employ any sort of application control or monitoring to know what applications are running on employees’ mobile devices
- Only 37 percent have deployed any form of malware protection on employee-owned devices
- 84 percent of respondents believe iOS is more secure than Android.
These results spotlight an interesting—and disturbing—policy contradiction: While the majority of organizations allow employees to bring their personal devices to work and connect to the company network, the organizations have little visibility into the privacy and security risks the mobile applications on the devices pose to the companies’ networks.
Convenience, and not security, drives the growing trend to allow BYOD policies.
The survey highlights a clear call to action for companies to realize that when employees access company data from a smart device, their intellectual property is being put at risk.
The company created this infographic detailing its findings:
Tuesday, October 30th, 2012
Job growth in Internet and digital media jobs slowed in New York and Boston over the last six months, including sharp declines in the third quarter. But growth does continue in the sector and some top firms such as Google continued to add headcount in both cities, though at a slower rate.
Amazon, Mashable, LinkedIn, and eBay also all continued to add to staff.
Cook Associates Executive Search, a retained executive search firm, reports in its quarterly East Coast Internet and Digital Media Jobs Index, which tracks job creation at more than 470 companies in New York and Boston, that New York showed 3.6 percent growth for the third quarter, following on the heels of 5.6 percent growth in the past quarter.
Boston, on the other hand, showed lower growth of 1.9 percent after a 3.2 percent increase in jobs in the second quarter.
Growth much stronger in New York
Index creator John Barrett said, “It’s now clear that a slowdown in hiring has been occurring in this sector over the past 6 months. Things began getting soft in Boston by the second quarter.
“There were some signs that it was also getting a little soft in New York, but hiring is now definitely slowing down in New York. Overall, Internet and digital media jobs growth is still much stronger in New York and I expect that trend to continue.”
Barrett added, “Things are even worse than they appear in Boston. All of the net new hiring came from just 10 companies out of the approximately 150 companies being tracked in the city. Without those 10 companies, employment in Boston was flat at best and perhaps declined slightly.”
Overall, New York added about 900 new Internet and digital media jobs while Boston added about 260. Approximately 55% of New York’s job growth came from publicly-traded companies while about 75% of Boston’s job growth was derived from public companies.
“This illustrates the continued strength of private company hiring in New York that’s resulting from high levels of venture investing occurring there,” according to the report.
Where the jobs are
Top 10 companies showing largest headcount gains in New York include: Google, Rent the Runway, Amazon, AppNexus, eBay, Facebook, LinkedIn, Gilt Groupe, Etsy, Warby Parker.
Up-and-coming companies showing large headcount gains in New York included: Foursquae, Fab.com, ZocDoc, Magnetic, Tumblr,Thrillist,BuzzFeed, HowAboutWe.com, Mashable, SignPost, Yext, Moda Operandi and Outbrain.
The top ten firms showing the largest headcount increase in Boston include: Hubspot, Wayfair, Amazon, TripAdvisor, Vistaprint, Rue La La, Google, Constant Contact, Karmaloop, and Jumptap.
Up and coming companies showing large headcount gains in Boston include: Visible Measures, DataXu, Naigans, Care.com, Gemvara, NetProspex, WordStream, Fiksu, and ClickFuel.
Monday, October 22nd, 2012
Business leaders admire Warren Buffett by a wide margin in Speakeasy Trust Survey.
Business people tend to trust the news media more than politicians, according to the 2012 Speakeasy Trust Survey, and that’s saying something, considering that news media only scored 3 percent of the votes.
Politicians? No one voted for them.
The survey showed that the most trusted business leader is Warren Buffet, no surprise there, considering his public candor, and the most trusted company is Google.
Speakeasy, Inc., a nearly 40-year old executive communication consultancy that helps business leaders to develop more powerful and strategic communication, conducted the 2012 Trust Survey among business people at varying levels of responsibility within a broad range of industries, in September 2012.
asked to select who they trust most when receiving communication, respondents were given a choice between business associates, politicians, salespeople, celebrities or news media. The most votes were received for people we know personally, with 97 percent of respondents selecting business associates.
“Given the choices, it stands to reason that people would most trust the coworkers they see and interact with on a daily basis,” said Scott Weiss, CEO, Speakeasy.
“The real surprise is that politicians scored no votes while the news media scored three percent of the vote. What this says to me is that politicians need to take a good look at what they really represent in the public eye. Exacerbating the issue is the disturbing need to run every word uttered by a politician through a fact-checking process in order to validate their honesty.”
Buffett top business leader
Asked to provide a write-in answer for which business leader they trust most and why. Warren Buffett was the overwhelming winner, with 14 percent of respondents writing in his name. Among the reasons: “he is plain spoken,” “he is authentic,” and “it’s clear that his motivation is not just about money.
Other business leaders named in the survey include S. Truett Cathy (Chick-Fil-A), Bill Gates (Microsoft, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) and Richard Branson (Virgin), each of whom earned six percent of votes. Regardless of the leader who was named, the reasons why didn’t differ much. The most common themes, says Speakeasy, were the leaders’ abilities to inspire people, their authenticity, their transparency, and their abilities to connect on a human level.
asked to provide a write-in answer for which company they trust most and why. Google, scoring eight percent of votes, edged out Starbucks, which was named six percent of the time. A common theme around Google was its customer focus. Google is “motivated to create useful products,” “is focused on the customer” and “values honesty.”
“Delivering consistently high quality products and customer service is the hallmark of a successful company, but in order to build enough equity to be named the most trustworthy, companies must bring something more to the equation,” added Weiss.
“Google and Starbucks are ubiquitous and reliable, and both have very public social programs with which people like to align themselves.”
Other companies that received multiple write-in votes in the survey were American Express, Target, State Farm, Chick-Fil-A and Amazon.
Thursday, October 18th, 2012
By Allan Maurer
Bill Leake, CEO of ApogeeResults, is a veteran of McKinsey & Co. and Dell Computers. He is one of 120 digital marketing thought-leaders participating in the Internet Summit in Raleigh, Nov. 6-8.
Ad agencies may try to sell on the idea of letting them build you an expensive mobile app. That’s fine for some companies, “But others might not need to spend that money,” says Bill Leake, CEO of ApogeeResults.com.
Leake has created one of the 20 largest independent online marketing agencies in the United States. Apogee has been instrumental in building dozens of “Internet Retailer 500” and “Software 500” and venture capital backed companies. It works with top global brands such as Whole Foods, IBM, SAP and Hewlett Packard.
While iPhones and tablets have made mobile much more of a real thing, “There is still a lot of hype about mobile,” says Leake. “It’s more of a real thing, but still not for everyone. Folks don’t do a lot of hard core research or interactivity that takes a lot of typing on a smartphone. You have to keep in mind how everything changes on mobile.”
Leake is one of 120 thought-leaders, game changers and marketing gurus participating in this year’s Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC, Nov. 6-8, which this year includes a Startup Summit sponsored by TechMedia’s 2013 Southeast Venture Conference set for Charlotte, NC in March.
Back to marketing basics
Leake suggests the way to approach mobile is to “Get back to the basics of marketing. Who is your customer and how does he like do things? Do you want a mobile app or just a mobile web site? The Google Places piece of Google Plus offers a free mobile web site and probably 50 percent of businesses would do just fine with setting up a Google Places profile.”
“People are getting snookered with mobile apps instead of microsites. Sometimes a mobile app is a game changer, but many get lost in the Apple store. The world is littered with mobile apps no one can find.”
Instead of spending $100,000 on a mobile app, he suggests, “Spend $20,000 on the app and $80,000 on media so people find it.”
You need to be in the mobile pool, he adds, “But it may not be time to dive in from the 50-foot high board. Stay in the shallow end unless you have the budget top learn and fail.”
Get your ground game down
Putting it another way, he says, “Get your ground game down before doing trick plays. Really complicated apps are trick plays with a high failure rate.”
One of the best approaches to a mobile strategy, he says, is to “Let it be an extension of what works well in other places. It’s going from beach volleyball to indoor. It’s not a new game. The form factor just changes a little.
Too many ad agencies tend to view their clients as their artistic patrons, Leake says. “I’ve run into so many creative types who believe the client lives to support their art.”
When a client asks how much they need to spend on a web site, the agency says, “How much was your SBA grant? That’s how much you need to spend.”
They use expensive, slow-loading flash art work. “It’s the height of arrogance,” says Leake. “Flash can be good if embedded in a humble way that downloads a quick bit of HTML saying we have this other thing to show you, but you can bypass it if you want to. But just waiting 20 seconds with no explanation? It’s like the news networks telling you what to believe every night.”
They will judge you on speed
Similar arrogance leads to overdone mobile projects. “A lot of times,” Leake says, “you just need a first level mobile app. People on mobile will judge you on speed. Have things far less graphic with fewer functions.”
All of which, he notes, “Flies in the face of what the typical creative agency wants. They can’t build as much with text as they can with moving pictures.”
Focus, he says, “On what you are trying to do and what your clients are doing. It doesn’t need to be award-winning; it needs to be good enough.”
Think about building something “reasonably” stable that doesn’t need to be replaced every six months, he suggests.
Consider such elements as how to minimize data input challenges. “Thumbs are a pain in the rear,” he says. You have to realize that typing is not the same as on a regular keyboard.
Bring hyper local to the fore
Right now a lot of retailers should be thinking about how to use mobile to defend against the Amazons of the world. So a mobile app or web site should let users know, can they get a certain product? Is it in the store? Will they match lower prices?
“What we’re not seeing enough of is sending mobile ads to someone sitting in a coffee shop within walking distance of a store.”
Also, he says, “Mobile should not be viewed as an isolated silo. It needs to integrate into a full marketing strategy. It’s mission critical for some, but in a lot of cases it’s not. You’re not going to choose what car to buy on a smartphone.”
Marketers also need separate strategies for smartphones and tablets, he adds. “People toss around the word “mobile” casually and apply it to both.”
Wednesday, October 17th, 2012
Where do you get your online news? We grab ours from a multitude of services, but we have noticed that Yahoo! news consistently catches our attention with a headline or three.
Others must agree, because Yahoo! News is the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend® News Service Brand of the Year.
The free, online news service performed well on equity metrics such as Fit, Trust, and Positive Emotional Connection—psychological components which reflect internal decision-making more than external decision-making—are indicative of a highly personalized relationship between a news service organization and its consumers.
Harris Poll EquiTrend is an annual brand health assessment of over 1,500 product, service, and lifestyle brands from Harris Interactive.
Yahoo! News makes its debut appearance in Harris Poll EquiTrend’s News Service category this year; it and nine other newcomers join three veteran brands: Associated Press (AP), Reuters, and United Press International (UPI).
“We expanded the News Service category to reflect the abundance of media choices facing consumers. These inclusions let us monitor a bigger slice of the market and see how well the veteran brands perform against new rivals,” says Jill Gress , vice president, Harris Interactive .
“Overall, AP is holding strong; however our Brand Momentum metric gives us a hint as to which brands may be contenders next year.” Google News has the top Brand Momentum score this year, followed by Yahoo! News, AP, USA Today, BBC News, and CNN Online.
Business and Weekly News
When it comes to business and weekly news magazines, Money Magazine and The Economist are the only two brands to rank above their respective category averages, earning each of them the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend Brand of the Year distinction.
Monday, October 1st, 2012
Will Facebook’s move into search disrupt the search business?
Facebook amasses a huge amount of information about people and businesses, and is looking to use what it calls “friend mining” to provide more accurate and detailed search results.
The move could put it into direct competition with search engines such as Google, question service Quora, as well as with local search and review sites like Yelp, according to CNET.
The current king of internet search engines is Google. The California-based search engine and advertising company was founded in 1998 and has grown to be the largest search engine, and one of the most visited websites on the planet. Google owns a 66.4 percent share of the search engine market in the United States, and posted a $2.79 earnings report in the second quarter of 2012.
Here at the TechJournal, we seriously doubt that Facebook search will hamper Google search. Can you imagine saying “I Facebooked it?” when you look something up online?
Quora, founded in 2009 by two former employees of Facebook, is a site with the goal of providing answers for every question that someone may have.
People can register for the site, and then either search for the answer to a question, or post one themselves. Other users can then post answers for that question, and the members of the community can positively or negatively vote for them.
Facebook could compete with Quora due to its already huge amount of data, and circumvent the need for live answers.
Since its beginnings in San Francisco in 2004, Yelp has grown to have more than 78 million monthly users. It has become a prime online and mobile source of information and reviews of local businesses. Users can find information on a local business, and also read or write a review of that business.
Each company is also rated between one and five. This system gives users a way to search for highly-rated businesses in their area. It can also be a source of local internet marketing, as local establishments can advertise through Yelp.
Facebook’s “friend mining” could certainly slash inroads into business reviews. People still trust word-of-mouth from their friends more than any other source of information.
A CNET article recently concluded that Facebook launching into the search engine arena could have many consequences for existing companies, consumers, and small businesses. It highlights how important online reputation can be for small businesses, as potential customers have more and more opportunities to discover information online. A foray by Facebook into searching may see Facebook attack the likes of Google, Yelp, Foursquare, and Quora head on.
Editor’s note: comments by Allan Maurer
Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
By Allan Maurer
UPDATEd – Mobile developers think that a mobile-first social startup could disrupt Facebook and grab market share from the current top dog in the social media pack. So says Appcelerator’s Q3 2012 mobile developer report, which is chock full of surprises.
In the largest mobile developer survey ever conducted, Appcelerator and the IDC surveyed 5,526 Appcelerator Tianium developers on their feelings about current debates in mobile, social and the cloud and about their development priorities.
The report warns that history shows major technology shifts can transform businesses and industries. It happened with the introduction of the web and “mobile will be not exception.”
Mobile has the power to disrupt entire industries
Mobile has the power to reshape entire industries and changes can be swift. But it is not enough to just port elements of an existing business model over to mobile, the report says.
And, if a billion dollar company with more than three-quarters of a billion users like Facebook could be disrupted, “Other mature, stagnant companies should take note,” says Lyla McInerney, vice president of marketing at Appcelerator.
McInerney tells the TechJournal, Developers believe someone can take a mobile first approach and disrupt any industry. It’s a cautionary note, but also a real opportunity.”
She points out that Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted recently that Facebook is not doing as well as it wants to in mobile and has to do better, saying building its mobile on HTML 5 was a mistake.
The Appcelerator report notes that developers expressed dissatisfaction with nearly every aspect of HTML 5.
“Facebook didn’t think about how to deliver on mobile,” says McInerney. “They just carried it over. As Zuckerberg said, ‘Good enough is not good enough.’ Companies need to think about how to do mobile best.”
Build mobile differently
Jonathan Rende, vice president of products at Appcelerator, adds, “This underscores the debate about whether mobile is an extension of the web or something completely different.”
It needs to be built completely differently, Rende suggests. Otherwise, “A startup can come in, take a fresh look at your business and take market share away from you.”
Lots of businesses and industries heard that about the web itself more than a decade ago, now, and the ones that ignored it paid a high price.
The speed at which mobile is happening, though, “Is much faster” with mobile, Rende says.
Developers not as interested in Android
Yet another surprise in the report is that developers have lost some interest in developing for Google’s Android mobile operating system. Considering the increasing number of devices running Android, we thought that was odd.
Rende explains that much of the problems developers have with Android is due to “fragmentation. Developers have to deal with all the different flavors of Android rather than build it once and have it run on various platforms. If you implement your app for one particular device, there is no guarantee that it work the same way on another device.”
Nolan Wright, Appcelerator’s CTO and co-founder adds, “Another thing is that the (Apple) iOS system is really successful and a better way to monetize mobile apps. And Enterprises are more interested in iOS than in Android. The Apple ecosystem is so tight it is a seamless experience for developers and consumers.”
Among the report’s findings:
• Mobile developers predict demise of Facebook. Mobile Developers believe that Facebook is at risk of being disrupted by a mobile-first social startup. A resounding 66% of mobile developers state that it is likely to very likely that a mobile-first social startup will disrupt the market for social applications on mobile devices and take market share from Facebook.
• Top predictions for mobile in 2015. The mobile market is evolving at breakneck speed, with developers predicting that by 2015 they will be building mobile applications for more than smartphones and tablets. Televisions, connected cars, game consoles, GoogleGlasses, and foldable screens all ranked high on the list of form factors in 2015.
• RIM declines to all-time low, providing an opportunity for Windows 8 to become a strong third OS for which to develop mobile apps.Mobile developers “very interested” in building apps for the Blackberry phone fell to an all-time low of 9% from almost 40% in our January 2011 survey.
• Developers remain excited about cloud storage and Backend as a Service, specifically citing the capabilities for applications and data to move across different devices and for secure access to information from anywhere at anytime. The potential remains wide open, however, as only 17% currently implement mobile BaaS.
• Developers are excited about new Apple features. The iOS features developers are most looking forward to using are Apple Maps (over 37%) and enhanced Siri (22%). Faster processors, LTE conductivity, and a larger screen are the advances developers most hope for in the next version of the iPhone.
• Apple continues to reign as the platform of choice for developers. Apple maintained its dominance at the top of developers’ list for mobileapp development this quarter, with 85% of developers very interested in building apps for iOS smartphones and 83% equally focused on iPad apps.
• Android development declines for a fourth quarter. Android’s return to decline in developer interest levels is disconcerting, with now fewer than 65% of developers very interested in developing for that tablet platform.
• HTML5 Still Not Good Enough. Developers ranked their satisfaction with nearly every feature of HTML5 as neutral to dissatisfied, including user experience, performance, monetization, fragmentation, distribution control, timeliness of new updates, and security.
The new Wall Street Journal’s list of the top 50 venture-backed companies expected to become the “Next Big Thing,” includes Appcelerator. The Wall Street Journal considered more than 5,900 candidates for inclusion in this year’s list. Appcelerator was selected for its ability to reduce development time and costs for mobile applications.
Thursday, September 20th, 2012
Is Google the “World’s Most Attractive Employer?”
It is for the fourth consecutive year according to the preferences of over 144,000 career seekers, with a business or engineering background from the world´s 12 greatest economies. So says the Universum global talent attraction index: “The World’s Most Attractive Employers 2012″.’
KPMG keeps the second place and Procter & Gamble is now on the third position.
Here at the TechJournal, we find it interesting that Apple shows up on in the 8th spot on the engineering employer list.
“The Google fever is still hot! Students are attracted by Google´s relaxed and creative work environment, international atmosphere and innovative products. Google offers great benefits and opportunities that are hard for other companies to match.” says Petter Nylander, Universum’s CEO.
Also in the engineering category, Google takes the first position for the fourth consecutive year and is followed by IBM and Microsoft.
“The giants in the software industry are seen as great places for the launch of an engineering or IT career. They offer training, networking and future career possibilities. Moreover, they are global,” says Nylander.
World’s Top 10-Business
- Google (1)
- KPMG (2)
- Procter & Gamble (7)
- Microsoft (6)
- Deloitte (5)
- Ernst & Young (4)
- PwC (3)
- J.P. Morgan (9)
- The Coca-Cola Company (12)
- Goldman Sachs (10)
World’s Top 10-Engineering
- Google (1)
- IBM (2)
- Microsoft (3)
- BMW (4)
- Intel (5)
- General Electric (8)
- Siemens (9)
- Apple (7)
- Sony (6)
- Procter & Gamble (10)
In parenthesis is the company’s position in 2011. For the full ranking, go to http://www.universumglobal.com/IDEAL-Employer-Rankings/Global-Top-50
Thursday, September 13th, 2012
In the startup world in particular, you hear a lot about Amazon’s cloud services. But according to a new Evans Data survey of more than 400 developers, slightly more than one-third (36%) are using Microsoft’s Azure Cloud Platform.
That’s enough to give it the edge over competing services such as Google Storage (29%) and Amazon Web Services ((28%), in a fragmented market.
Conducted in July, the independent survey also found that more than half the developers who work within a specific cloud service also deploy their apps to that service. Only 27% deploy to a different service, while 10% use a hybrid model that includes an on-premises element.
“Microsoft was very aggressive with its introduction of Azure to the development community a few years ago and that has paid off,” said Janel Garvin, CEO of Evans Data Corp.
“Additionally, the large established MSDN community and the fact that Visual Studio is still the most used development environment are huge assets to Microsoft in getting developers to adopt the Azure platform.”
She added, “However, Cloud platform use is still very much fragmented with lots of players laying claim to small slivers of share. It will take more time before a clear landscape of major Cloud vendors shakes out.”
Monday, September 10th, 2012
Visa and PayPal top the list of consumers’ preferred mobile wallet providers at 15% and 13%, while mobile network operators Verizon and AT&T (with the Isis wallet), and Apple, are close behind.
So says a new report from Javelin Strategy & Research that defines the mobile wallet industry in its initial stages.
To become a valued mobile wallet provider, the report says, consumers consider three important factors—trust, innovation, and privacy. A balanced approach of the three is more important to consumers, as PayPal and Visa have demonstrated with high scores in all three categories.
Personally, we use PayPal as often as possible because it is convenient and easy compared to many other choices. We did have one security incident with PayPal, although it was resolved and we did a much tougher password unique to the service.
The report suggests that financial institutions are well positioned to leverage their customers’ trust to become mobile wallet leaders. It says more than 60% of mobile bankers are likely to adopt a mobile wallet in the next 12 months.
Providers will have to determine which mobile point-of-sale technology – Near field communications (NFC), cloud, and bar code – to use. In the near-term, bar codes and cloud-based wallets will proliferate, as they do not require mobile phone upgrades or merchant investments in terminals and systems.
With Apple’s iPhone 5 coming soon and other new devices following the iPhone, it is expected that NFC chip technology will prevail as it offers the convenience of paying with a simple tap or wave of the phone.
“NFC faces significant barriers to adoption by merchants and consumers, but it is standards-based technology that will eventually prevail as the main mobile point-of-sale technology,” said Mary Monahan, executive vice president and research director, Mobile at Javelin.
“Google was first out the door with NFC and has stumbled. When Apple enters the payment space with NFC, we expect Apple iPhone 5 will lead the way and others will follow Apple’s lead.”
For the full report see: Battle for Control of the Mobile Wallet: Sorting out Players, Technologies and Strategies to Win