Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Facebook fail? Widgets run backwards

Unless there's a clever marketing day today in which content is right aligned in order to highlight some cause - it looks like Facebook has a rather odd (in a funny way) problem with their Open Graph widgets.

Content in the "Recommendations" widget is backwards; the icon apepars on the left, full stops appear on the right. Content is backwards. You can play around with the widget on this dev page and even see what Facebook would recommend for you or your site.

The example in my graphic below is for www.google.com and rather shows a problem with the concept. In this case Facebook isn't just showing the content backwards but is recommending Google's hosted AP news stories. They're interesting but they're hardly key to the over all Google.com experience.

Can you re-create the bug?

Begins with Google: Magnetic Balls

This video has been up since May and - at the time of posting - has had less than 100,000 views. That feels wrong. It should be doing far better than that. The vid starts off looking like it might be one of Google's ads quickly gets into fun science.

Or it's a hoax. It doesn't matter if it is; it still looks pretty awesome. Why might this be a hoax? I'm not a physics expert but I'm sure there's an element of risk in placing a magnet that powerful so close to computers.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Everything is a Remix

The third part of the (currently unfinished) four part series Everything Is A Remix is doing the rounds - rightly so, it's very good.

Kirby Ferguson is a NY based filmmaker who's putting his insight to work in this documentary on mashups. It's hard not to watch this and have either the geeky or marketing parts of your brain start to turn over. In my case; both.

It's worth watching to the end of each video. There's a sizable chunk after the credits each time.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tesco's virtual store - QR codes and subways

This is an impressive video from Tesco's efforts in South Korea. The supermarket even changed its name to Homeplus in order to compete in the market but still lagged behind eMart in terms of stores open.

The video makes the point of how competitive the South Korean market is but it's also worth keeping in mind how technically savvy average shoppers are too. I suspect we're a few years away from having this sort of success from a QR code campaign based in London's tube.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Google Voice Search: Connection to speech servers failed

Google's officially launched voice search in the US. You can actually play with it in the UK by going to Google.com and staying there (ie; overriding the Google.co.uk redirect).

I've found the voice search to be quite good - even though I'm often very hard to understand. I don't find it to be quite as good as the voice search on my Android phone though. That's a little hard to explain unless it comes down to microphone quality and placement.

It's not often an error message gives me a new phrase. Google has. "Speech servers" is a fantastic phrase. The idea that there are big machines, or clusters of Google-esq processes, waiting on the end of VoIP tech analysing comments is sci-fi to the core.

Google are putting some clout behind their voice campaign. In the UK we've seen poster campaigns to promote speech recognition on Android. In the States there's a video campaign (ad below) to promote the desktop speech search.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Google's Cyber Grand Prix at Cannes

Cannes is a big festival for marketing types. I suspect I'm more of a Cannt type of person but that doesn't mean I'll have my head in the sand over the winners.

Google won a Cyber Grand Prix to be proud of. W+K and B-Reel were the agencies in question for the Google project - a showcase for Chrome (and Chrome's so good; it deserves to be shown). The video is well worth a look.

Cannes is a big festival for marketing types. I suspect I'm more of a Cannt type of person but that doesn't mean I'll have my head in the sand over the winners.

Google won a Cyber Grand Prix to be proud of. W+K and B-Reel were the agencies in question for the Google project - a showcase for Chrome (and Chrome's so good; it deserves to be shown). The video is well worth a look.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Search and 2.4 billion brand conversations every day in the US

Google's blog text says there are 2.4 million conversations about brand in the US each and every day. That's a typo. The video illustration and the narrator says it's 2.4 billion.

I pulled the following stats too:

  • Word of mouth conversations happen; 82% face to face, 12% on the phone, 5% online and 1% other.
  • Among online activities; 15% of all conversations are sparked by search
  • Conversations about brands are 25% more credible when they're informed by search compared to social
  • Conversations about brands are 17% more likely to lead to a purchases than conversations informed by social media
  • Google searches directly inform over 146 million brand conversations every day (in the US, I assume)
  • Online channels before, during or after a WoM conversation; search 15.4%, e-commerce 7%, brand website 3.2% and social media 3.2%/li>

I know this is a pro-search study but I think social media does very well. I'm surprised that the likelihood to purchase from a social media interaction is so high. According to this study there's less than a 20% difference (17%) on the buying rate (long form conversion) on social than search. I suspect most retailers will see a much bigger conversion difference on their social traffic compared to their search (but this is short form conversions).

It also seems that US consumers are equally likely to go to a social media presence as they are to go to a branded website after a conversation about brands. That might be hard to hear if you've spent millions on your branded website and thousands on your social media presence.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Playing three Google Les Paul doodles at once

Microfocus has a piece of kit called SilkPerformer which is put to an interesting demo using Google's Les Paul doodles. The demo - which showcases automated, repeated actions on a precise schedule, makes use of three virtual users manipulating IE to strum out Frères Jacques.

Disclaimer: Client

Search and other digital agencies years ahead of traditional media buyers

PhotonQ-Homer' s Evolution TheoryImage by PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE via FlickrI’m pretty confident that anyone and everyone subscribed to this blog is well versed in the media trinity of “paid, earned and owned”. Travel back in time to the growth of GoTo.com and Inktomi when Search Agencies started to combine PPC and SEO to create SEM and you had each of the paid, earned and owned aspects of media to deal with; you paid for clicks, you owned your site and you had to earn links.

Traditional media agencies are talking about paid, earned and owned media these days. Rightly so. It’s still an effective way to view the web landscape. That’s why I noticed the headline Initiative challenges assumptions of paid, earned and owned media in Brand Republic today. The first paragraph offered a “rethink around the concept”.

As I read through the piece this “rethink” began to unwrap. First we had the sentence;

”The premise of paid media being paid-for inventory, earned – content and messaging created by consumers – and owned touchpoints owned by the brand, is gaining traction with marketers and agencies around the world.”

Gaining traction? Well! Duh!

Then we had the reveal that;

”Initiative is not rejecting paid, earned and owned, but we are challenging the way it is being used.”

Ah. I see. Not so much a rethink then – just some advice. Okay. Let’s see what that is. The first rule, presented by Jeffrey Graham to the “marketing elite” at Cannes is summed up in this quote;

“He told delegates that 45% of the consumers that Initiative spoke to spent more time than ever considering products, and 43% wouldn't buy products if they could not find the right information online.”

Online. Wow. Your brand and products need to be visible online. Who would have thought it? Perhaps this digital malarkey is here to stay!

What’s the second insight?

”The second rule was said to be "Reject global rules of thumb for paid, earned and owned". He said: "Paid, earned and owned assumes the world is flat, but there is no global consumer. Local insights have to be the foundation for your marketing strategy.”


There’s no global consumer. I think pretty much every SMX London conference in the history of SMX London has banged on about the importance of localisation rather than translation.

I actually struggle to imagine that even the traditional media agencies who create TV adverts that try and persuade us to Like a packet of crisps on Facebook still think there’s such a thing as a global consumer. I’ll say that and try not to think about the the number of badly dubbed TV adverts showing on UK TV right now.

If you can handle it; let’s go and have a look at the third rule that will help us agency types cope with the shocking new world of paid, earned and owned media. Ready for it?

"Create a virtuous cycle of involvement". He said: "Our research showed that the relationship between paid, earned and owned is not linear.

"The three types work together in a dynamic way and are most powerful when the consumer is truly involved, driving the relationship.”

Be interactive? Gosh. It’s almost as if there’s a “social” element to these paid, earned and owned media.

I want to be clear; I’m not slagging off any one speaker or agency here. Initiative’s Cannes presentation and Brand Republic’s decision to write it up simply brings some focus to the issue.

The issue is, of course, that there’s not only an incredible gap in size between digital agencies who have embraced the new world order and the hugely successful giant traditional agencies like IGP who rose so high during the previous marketing era – but there’s still an incredible difference in culture and thinking too.

This isn’t particularly good news for clients. “Modern way of thinking” agencies still aren’t best equipped to create large scale TV or radio campaigns and in the world of three or four screen strategies it is important to be able to have marketing excellence in each and every one of these areas.

There is still plenty of room for evolution in the marketing agency landscape. That’s a good thing because it’s still needed. Traditional agencies will have to catch up in the way that they think. Digital agencies, or new thinking agencies, will have to expand and extend their reach in order to operate in the areas their clients need them to be. I suspect the two tribes will meet in the middle.

It’s very tempting to return to the expression “new media agency”.

Monday, June 20, 2011

AOL struggling with AdWords

This is just a quickie blog post. An archive. An illustration to go back and use later.

AOL seems to be struggling with getting their AdWords campaign running. I actually like the ad side of AOL. Advertising.com is a significant force. I've no reason to bash them. In fact, with all the content AOL pushes out, combined with their display network you might well expect them to launch an RSS advertising option of their own. If they did that I'd be in the queue to test it out.

For now, however, AOL is advertising via AdSense in RSS. The banner below appeared in my TechCrunch subscription. You'll tell straight away what's wrong with it.

It's the wrong size.

The banner is also supposed to be an ad for their PC system speed software. I've often found that an odd choice for AOL to be promoting and sometimes find myself wondering what else the software does.

Does the advert actually point to this free system check? No. Not for me. I get redirected to Aol.co.uk. I'm sure AOL.co.uk enjoy the traffic but the AOL.com team could geo-target their ads.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

QR becomes currency in the Netherlands

The Royal Dutch Mint has stepped up the rate of acceptance for QR codes. Can you imagine anything more mainstream than money? Money will be exactly where QR codes will start to appear; on 5€ or 10€ coins.

The mint, which is celebrating it's 100th anniversary, has promise a big surprise too. There is some speculation that scanning the QR codes might activate some sort of treasure hunt.

I can only imagine demand for QR apps on smartphones in the Netherlands will rocket!

Via The Inquisitr.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

MI5 recruit by QR code and Bit.ly exposes data

I was on the Metro reading about the zombie invasion of Leicester when I noticed a QR code flash by.

A QR code in an animated banner? That sort of thing catches my attention.

As it turns out; this was an ad for MI5. Even more interesting. Perhaps the first challenge was to find people who can workout how to scan a QR code on a timed rotation. Not too hard but I'm sure it'll defeat a few would-be spies.

The QR scan takes you through to this MI5 careers page. Yeah; it's on a secure server. The British Secret Service works with Google as the click goes through DoubleClick for tracking.

Here's a nice twist. Before hitting the DoubleClick tracking, the QR code redirects through Bit.ly. This means you can dig up the public stats on the campaign. I did just that.

I can tell they checked the QR code on June the 9th. The campaign probably went live on the 15th.

It looks like the geo-tagging is about right. Only UK or unknown location traffic have followed the link. With the exception of me messing around with bit.ly everyone who's clicked on the link has left no referrer data so was probably in a mobile app.

If you want to watch the performance of this not-so-secret service ad campaign then this is the link to monitor.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cashback sites advertising on TV - doing well?

Last week the Quidco advert popped up on YouTube. It popped off again before returning once again. I'm certain it's now safe to blog about it because I've seen the actual ad on TV. Can't be secret any more.

What do you make of the advert? I think Quidco do well to get lots of references to big brands in there. I can only wonder whether they had to get permission first. I can't recall any affiliate guidelines that say "No using our brand in a TV ad without permission" as they tend to get straight on to the thorny subject of brand bidding.

Once I saw an advert for Nectar follow the Quidco ad. Both featured Sainsburys and I must admit to wondering whether people would try and claim both their Nectar points and their Quidco cashback - only to wonder what had happened afterwards. Do we foresee trying to explain "last click wins" to confused TV watchers?

I've also spotted a TV ad for Top CashBack. Right now, on YouTube, it's had three times more views than Quidco, 16 times more likes and no dislikes.

High in Top Cashback's YouTube comments is this heartwarming observation;

AMAZING NEWS!!! I love? it! shopping? online AND earning money at the same time! When will I have the time to go out to work - maybe I should make shopping my career!!!

Top CashBack's ad finishes with the line;

You would have bought it anyway.

I don't imagine they're reaching out to their merchants with that one.

I think it's quite cool to see affiliates on TV. It certainly shows the evolution of digital and how web led even TV advertising has become.

Is this a strange ad for Google to run?

I was sorting out my Bulk email folder in Gmail when I noticed a rather strange ad. It was strange because the underlining and colouring seemed to be off. The first sentence and only the first two words of the second sentence are in white and underlined. The rest of the ad is in black and white. It's an ad from Google.

Of course, the formatting is normal. Loads of ads present in this way. I mention it simply because the effect happened to catch my eye - perhaps that's exactly why Google continues the practise.

The ad kept my attention because it was speaking to SEO agencies and it's from Google. The big Goog seemed to be encouraging SEO agencies to pick up more SEM clients. What did Google mean by SEM? PPC or the combined PPC and SEO? I personally tend to view SEM as PPC+SEO.

The ad takes us to the UK page for Google Engage. It's an AdWords assistance program with a focus on SMEs.

I suppose it makes sense for Google to target the UK SEO community. It just looks a little odd when they do. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Smack My Pidge Up

Yesterday, Microsoft's Technet blog published a video from Razorfish that showcased some virtual shopping work that made use of the rather fantastic Kinect.

My initial reaction was to email our respective creative and tech heads with an email that can be best described as "Waa! Why can't we show off our Kinect shopping work!" It was the agency equivalent of keeping up with the Jones. Actually, it may have been a little bit more than that because as Microsoft move to trademark NuAds and tie down some of the gesture based advertising terminology I thought it would be prudent to show some early usage just in case prior work examples are needed.

So, why can't we show off any of our Kinect shopping work? After all, back in 2010 we published the Macy's Magic Fitting Room video. Why can't because the our videos need to be edited, they need to be cut and given a funky soundtrack, etc.


That's when one of the LBi team in New York stepped forward. Turns out he has a video - funky sound track and all - on his own YouTube account. A "making of" video. A video that features some early Kinect work.


I'm not saying that handbag shopping is dull... but who can resist a video titled "Smack My Pidge Up?"

Monday, June 13, 2011

Video: The EU cookie law in 2.5 minutes

This is fantastic. A shout out to Silktide for this useful, funny and inherently viral video. Viral, that is, among our brave band of digital marketers. The urge to share this with friends and fellows is great. Hence a whole blog post on it rather just a humble retweet.

3D printing - A new copyright challenge? A retail revolution?

You’re all aware of what happened to the music and film industries. The internet made is easy to copy and share entertainment - and so people did just that. In fact, you could argue that the internet made it desirable to copy and share entertainment. The gaming business as had it easier because many modern games are at the best once you’ve connected to a central hub and are playing with friends – and the game publishers retain control of those hubs and authorise only valid games.

What if this "easy to copy and share" revolution stretched outside of music and films? What if it came to actual physical goods? Would that change retailing and ecommerce as we know it? I think it could.

3D printing may well be one of the steps in the next phase of retail revolution. If you’re not at all familiar with 3D printing then it’s quickly summed up as machines that are capable of printing out objects, with height, width and depth, from plans sent to them over the internet or from a connected machine. This is not new tech. Here’s an introductory video from 2007.

3D printing has moved on in leaps and bounds recently. We're not restricted to simple shapes. This next video shows how “Strandbeests” can be created via 3D printing too. In this context Strandbeets are best thought of as fairly complex machines with movable parts.

Of course, most people won’t be making Strandbeets and 3D printing is not yet household technology. 3D printing is rapidly becoming household technology though and it won’t be long before we start buying each other these sort of printers as the next must-have gadget.

Recently, 3D printing has been in the news for its retail innovation. Shapeways are selling the first bikini created by 3D printing. If we go back just a few weeks and visit The Register’s Hardware site then we’ll find complex devices such as bicycles or fashion items like these shoes that have been produced in a 3D printer.

Fashion is the second step. I think more mundane items will be the first wave of the 3D printing revolution. Kitchen items such as cutlery, cups, plates, bowls and even containers are all easy to 3D print.

To the best of my knowledge, no one has the copyright or trademark on the design of a spoon. Once it becomes cheaper or more convenient to 3D print a spoon then there will be a trade in the 3D printer instructions for spoons. A trivial example, I know, but possibly an accurate one.

If households do gain the ability to cheaply and easily manufacture items based on readily available schematics from the internet then I really do believe we’ll enter the next evolution of online retailing. 3D printing is certainly an area to watch.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sorting the marketing signal from the noise at Mashable Connect

Mashable have published a host of videos from Mashable Connect. This was a conference dominated by social media types. One of the speakers asked the audience to put their hand up if they worked in marketing and about half did.

The opening presentation was from David Jones of Havas, Global CEO of Euro RSCG, and I’ve picked three other videos from marketing firms to distil. I’m including Steve Rubel from Edelman in this list of "marketing" because, in my opinion, PR and marketing are twin tools in the discipline of "doing better on the web" and our predecessors were idiots for separating the two.

As it happens, Rohit Bhargava’s presentation touches on the beginning of modern PR and the video is worth watching for that alone.

It’s great that Mashable has filmed these presentations and made them available for free online (judging by the empty seats; this was not a cheap conference to attend) but it’s worth noting that the camera tends to follow the speaker and so you don’t often get to see the slides they’re talking about. This can be challenging at times.

David Jones of Havas

Jones has four key points that he wants to get across.

  • Reality is everything; image is nothing – this is a significant change from marketing of yesteryear.

  • There’s a significant shift from control to collaboration – once again this a world spin for traditional marketers.

  • There’s a change from "who" to "where" in marketing. Jones says that he would have worried about Google’s original business model; the clicks happened on the left but the money was earned on the right. Now 85% of searches are based around location and so, says the Havas chief, Google’s business model is now safe.

  • There is also a slide from being in business purely for the profit to also having a purpose. Jones has written a book and trademarked the term "Social business idea". I think he said trademarked. I’d love to know what Euro RSCG’s purpose/social business idea is.

A good chunk of Jones’ time was spend on One Young World; the charity he co-founded and his own personal social business idea. It’s real feel good stuff.

Rohit Bhargava, Ogilvy

Rohit runs a blog called Influence Marketing. He’s writing his second book – one called Likeonomics.

Rohit’s presentation can be summed up by saying that people no longer believe us. In this context "us" are PR, marketing and brand people.

What’s the cure?

Don’t be a dick. Be open. Be brutally honest. Disclosure is not the same as honesty.

Michael Lazerow of Buddy Media

I’m including Buddy Media as "agency" in this collection because even though they work with agencies as a technology supplier they’re also happy to solicit direct relationships with brands.

Michael argues that online commerce has been dominated by search. Search is good for commerce has you can match intent with supply. Google’s been the only company in search able to move the needle for large brands and so we’ve developed Google vision on our online marketing.

Search, says Lazerow, is full of problems. It’s too easily gamed and he illustrates content farms and the challenge they present Google. Last click attribution is also a problem; 97% of your online activities aren’t even taken into account in our analytics.

In comparison social is not so easily gamed and it’s not so easily controlled.

Lazerow is here to talk about social commerce. Social commerce is far more about commerce than social, explained Michael. Ecommerce on Facebook has been limited in success today. Only 3% of Facebook users have bought something from Facebook in the last quarter.

What brands need to do is track revenue by share. Small customers may actually be able to generate tens of thousands in revenue through their social shares.

Lazerow makes the point that marketers with the budgets – the paid media folk – really don’t get social. It’s a challenge for the earned media people to rollout what they need.

There’s a guest walk on from Andrew Ferenci at this point. Fercani is the CEO of Spinback, the company Buddy Media has just bought and he’s here to share some stats. Remember how Michael Lazerow said brands need to track revenue by share? Guess what Spinback does? Yes; exactly right.

In one particular case study for a daily deal site, Spinback found that the brand benefited from $4.48 in new revenue per share, 3.6 new visitors per share with an impressive 12.5% conversation rate. The caveat here is that this is a daily deal site and therefore inherently viral.

Across their clients, Spinback have discovered that most sharing for internet retailers occurs on Wednesday afternoon and that’s followed by Thursday afternoon. Women are far more influential than men, driving the best conversation rates from Facebook. Twitter sends more traffic than Facebook but conversation rates are significantly lower.

Steve Rubel of Edelman

Steve thinks we’re entering the third phase of the internet.

1004-2002: The internet was for the large players only, media companies and brands who could afford the technical architecture required to publish content.

2002-2010: We could all publish content and so a democratisation occurred. We became the voice of authority.

2011 onwards: This democratisation process is sun-setting and we’re moving towards an era of validation. There’s too much content for the time we have. There’s been a friends arms race. A friends overload.

In 2005/2006 Edelman’s survey discovered that we trusted our peers. This year, 2011, the same survey revealed that the most trusted people are now experts (like academics) and technical experts are the most trusted of the lot. This is a reflection of our need to sort signal from noise.

People need to hear things 3 to 5 times before they believe it. That’s the global average. In the States that figure is actually 8 to 9 times. Keep that in mind as we examine the four "spheres of media" that Edelman have identified. These four are seen as just one by consumers.

  • Traditional media

  • Trad-digital media (which tend to have higher amplification on twitter, better at SEO, etc, than traditional media)

  • Owned media

  • Social Media

Steve Rubel argues that brands need to stand for something, they need to propagate new ideas and communicate their thought leadership.

There are five takeaway points from this revelation;

  • Find out who your subject matters are, be they employees and loyal customers

  • Curate content in your niche; separate art from junk

  • Keep data simple; people on the internet do not read, they read 20% of a webpage, 57% never come back to that webpage and there’s about 15 to 20 seconds before they move onto the next.

  • Ask questions and be a source of knowledge.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Google says Barry Schwartz is Danny Sullivan

I do like Google's social integration. It makes a positive difference to my search experience to be table to see which of my contacts have found what content useful.

I'll admit that sometimes I find social connections that I... well, I don't remember making. This is generally because I found someone in an interesting position in an interesting company - but who I don't know personally - and decided to follow them on Twitter. That's why I like that Google tells us where we're connected to our social contacts and where they've shared the content.

I was confused by this result for searchengineland.com. I can see that Barry Schwartz, who I'm connected too, has shared it. That makes sense. Google also seems to be saying that Barry is also known as Danny Sullivan on searchengineland.com. That makes less sense.

In this screen grab I've made sure to hover over the hyperlink so you can see it's a single entity. At first I assumed this was because Barry had the full SEL RSS feed attributed to his Google profile but this does not seem to be case.

So, what's going on? I just put this down to early teasing problems. It's useful that Google's attempting an "also known as" style feature for their social connections (if that's what they are doing) and I suspect they'll iron out the glitches in time.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Fan Analytics from OneTrueFan

I was a paying customer of MyBlogLog - in fact, I liked the analytics better than the widget. When Eric Marcoullier and Todd Sampson set up OneTrueFan I very quickly added the widget to one of the blogs I run; my favourite place to share geeky discoveries.

Today OneTrueFan have launched (in beta) their own analytics function. It's called Fan Analytics. Here's Mashable.com's profile. This is fantastic information for a site owner to have. It's also really useful information for any digital marketer to have. For example, I can see myself in Mashable's top 20 fans -- I don't share very much, I'm on the chart because I visit often (generally to clip content to Evernote).

This set of analytics information is in real time. It means you'll be able to monitor a site to see how a story breaks from it, how certain subjects are being shared and who is doing it. I don't know whether Fan Analytics will continue to be open for everyone to monitor, whether it becomes paying customer only or used as a teaser and then recanted. What I do know is that data is hugely interesting.

I can see, for example, that Mashable.com fans are also prone to reading the Guardian.co.uk, Reuters and even Search Engine Land. Just fantastically insightful.

The Daily Show: Geo-tarding with humour

Are you familiar with the expression "geo-tarding". It comes from "geo-targeting" and expresses the world's annoyance with poorly geo-targeted videos and other content.

One big reason for geo-tarding is global licensing deals. It's sometimes the case that media platform X has the rights to show and advertise a program in one terrirority, wants to release some videos to promote it but doesn't have the rights to show the program in another territory and so geo-tards.

Here's an example, the new Torchwood series (a Doctor Who spin-off) is a team effort between US' Starz and the UK's BBC. This trailer looks like it might be a kick off for a mini viral campaign for the show.

Except, you can't watch it in the UK. I'm told the video asks us to search for [Esther Drummond]. The current top position (for me) is this IMDB link. Also in the top results I get this video link. The geo-tarding is pointless.

One of my favourite TV shows suffers from geo-tarding problems. Here in the UK we don't get to watch all of Jon Stewart's The Daily Show. The licensing structure means that all officials go out with geo-tarding.

Does this mean that The Daily Show is satisfied with the poor user experience? Do we find ourselves kicking on video buttons only to find blank screens appearing? No. We get this:

Much better.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Is the Wii U a breathe of life for the Nintendo App Store?

Nintendo's App Store comes in the form of the DS Shop / DSi Ware. It's not something I hear my fellow gamers talking about.

Right now, fellow gamers are certainly chatting about Nintendo, their new console - the Wii U - and it's remarkable controller. What's most remarkable about the controller is it's large 6.2 inch, 16:9, touch screen. The controller looks like a tablet with joysticks.

In fact, the controller itself can be used to play games entirely - you can do without the TV. At a glance it looks like a possible alternative to the likes of the iPad. I'm using the word 'alternative' carefully but it's certainly not a competitor. This generation of Wii U controllers don't have much in the way of internet capabilities. They use a wireless connection in conjunction with the Wii U itself.

Despite the internet limitations of the Wii U controller (and there's not an abundance of information about the Wii U's internet abilities just yet) I do think the new hardware format (which it is essentially) will breathe a breath of freshair back into the Nintendo ware concept and especially an App Store like format that so many Android and iOS users are familiar with.

I can imagine free motion comics being delivered with games. I can see Wii U controller size move trailers being made availlable; easier and quicker to download than HD TV compatible trailers. In fact, I can imagine a whole lot of possibilities.

Nintendo, however, needs to make the decision to support this ecosystem by letting people develop for the Wii U controller and 'App Store'.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Bio Station Alpha on Mars - the strange object caught on Google Earth Mars

Every Monday needs a good story to kick start conversation. Step forward David Martines and his "discovery" of Bio Station Alpha on Mars.

The quick story is that Martines stumbled across a strange looking object on Google Earth Mars. It's at 49'19.73"N 29 33'06.53"W, it looks too regular to be a mountain or a rock and his maths suggests it is over 700 feet long and 150 feet wide.

Google hasn't yet responded to press asking them to comment on it. They might do later on - they did respond to debunk the Google Earth finds Atlantis story, after all.

You'll note Martines is using Google Earth: Mars and not Google Mars.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

The turning of Larry Page

SAN JOSE, CA - FEBRUARY 24:  Google co-founder...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeThere's no doubt that Google owes everything to Larry Page and Sergey Brin. They've had incredible help along the way but these are the two who started the ball rolling. Larry Page is now the CEO. Is this a return to the values that made Google great?

I was reading Greg Sterling's excellent article Google CEO Larry Page Plays Nice With Investors At Annual Meeting which addresses the $100 dip in share price and on-going investor concern with Page.

Investors worry that Page is too aloof. Page was present at the start of the quarterly earnings call about a month ago before bowing out at leaving the call in the hands of the CFO. He barely stayed at all.

At the annual meeting Page made some keypoints to investors. The Mercury News summed it up by saying;

"Page affirmed his focus on fiscal discipline, lauded Google’s successes with Android smartphones, display advertising and its Chrome Web browser, and defended the company’s forays into unproven technology like driverless cars as necessary to not ‘choke innovation.’"

The promise of fiscal discipline stood out for me.

Why? I've always been impressed with Google's pre-IPO letter to would-be investors. It was great. It had Google balls.

The letter began by saying;
Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one. Throughout Google's evolution as a privately held company, we have managed Google differently.

In the introduction to Google's long term focus, they wrote;
As a private company, we have concentrated on the long term, and this has served us well. As a public company, we will do the same. In our opinion, outside pressures too often tempt companies to sacrifice long term opportunities to meet quarterly market expectations. Sometimes this pressure has caused companies to manipulate financial results in order to "make their quarter." In Warren Buffett's words, "We won't 'smooth' quarterly or annual results: If earnings figures are lumpy when they reach headquarters, they will be lumpy when they reach you."

If opportunities arise that might cause us to sacrifice short term results but are in the best long term interest of our shareholders, we will take those opportunities. We will have the fortitude to do this. We would request that our shareholders take the long term view.

It seems to be a little bit of a shame. Have Google's founders gone from being bullish on the fiscal front, doing what was best for digital and trusting that is what is needed for success in the digital landscape? Are they now dogged by spreadsheets and investor concerns - trying to find the best digital solutions from within those confines?

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Windows 8 preview video

Wow. What a week. We've had a bunch of shiny new buttons from Twitter and Google. We've got rumours that Microsoft may buy Nokia's phone arm and now we've got a really thorough look at Windows 8. Windows 8, it seems, is just a code name.

Now, I know this video will appear all across the web but hopefully it's not too redundant to post it here too.

What do you think? They talk about how mobile friendly this approach is - and it's clearly heavily influenced by Windows Phone 7. Can you image this running on a Connected TV? I can.

At the time of posting, according to my quick poll from last night, more people think Microsoft will buy Nokia than think Google will buy Twitter.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Vote! Nokia and Microsoft or Twitter and Google

It seems like a busy day in digital land today. We've got the new plus One buttons. We've got Twitter's follow button. We've also got Twitter's new - and it looks good - image and video share functions.

We've got rumours that Microsoft might buy Nokia's phone arm - giving WP7 a chance and Nokia's shareholders hope. We also have Google admitting they've not done as well as they need to against Facebook.

So, care to speculate?

New Google Profile OneBox tops SERPs

File this under "new for me".

I was tempting to re-create AdLand.tv's alarming suggestion that Google is revealing Twitter direct messages in the search results and so searching on my name. It's been a while since I've done that. I'm sure we all do; but I'm also sure most of us reach the "I don't care" point fairly quickly.

The search result I generated put my profile, along with an edit profile button, above my starred results. Clearly this is a way in which Google can really encourage people to fill in their profiles, join up their social connections and provide the search engine with all that data.

I think this approach will be very successful as a tactic.

Out of interest; I'm not yet able to re-create Google including DMs in the SERPs.