Posts from date: September 2011
Last week the F8 conference for developers saw Zuckerberg announce some pretty significant changes to Facebook. The most interesting of which is Timeline.
A few new things have been implemented already, the Ticker on the right hand side of the page that delivers ALL updates from your friends in real time and the revamped friends lists. What is on the way though represents something of a step change.
Timeline, set to replace your profile, aggregates and organizes your life into chronological order, all the things you’ve posted on the site, starting with your D.O.B. when you first registered, are available, you can then jump into individual years for more detail. It can also be filtered by different actions, so you can view your timeline just in photos or just in status updates and so on. Of course for most of us there is going to be a vast jump between date of birth and actual Facebook activity so you are of course able to add pics, videos, narrative and so on to fill in the gaps and create a complete digital documentation of your life.
Privacy I hear you say? Well not that it’s ever really stopped them before, but yes of course, you will able to select exactly who is able to see your timeline.
Inevitably some will love it and others loathe it but before long it will simply be part of our daily life and we’ll struggle to remember what profiles even looked like.
Another major change is around frictionless sharing, the aim here is to make it as easy as possible to share content, ie websites or apps only needing to get permission once and then everything you view/do within them will be shared…umm, not sure about that!
But back to Timeline, is Facebook missing the point? Hasn’t it always been about communicating and distributing content and data? Not archiving it? What do you think?
It should be live to all users by the end of week.
So summer is over and more importantly festival season has finished for another year. Traditionally, festivals were the soundtracks to our summers – events where people escape from their daily lives and enjoy a weekend of festivities (usually in some remote part of the country) whilst listening and dancing to their favourite bands and solo artists. However, this summer has seen some of the music industry’s most prolific figures (e.g. – Michael Eavis) fear for the future of the common music festival.
Eavis said earlier this year that ‘festivals are not selling out’ and fears that ‘people have seen it all before’, putting in jeopardy his own iconic (and some call the best) festival, Glastonbury. His predictions serve a stark warning to festival-goers and organisers alike as there is a real chance that in three to four years the summer music scene may be quite different from the one we experience today.
So what has lead Eavis to this stark prediction? Are we really in jeopardy of losing music festivals for good? The last few years have been economically difficult, which has meant that people have been forced to be more careful with their money. Combine that with the fact that festivals are as expensive as a holiday abroad, and it makes sense that they are the first thing people cut back on when money is tight. There has also been a growth in European festivals, which attract larger crowds at cheaper prices and usually have the added bonus of guaranteed sunshine, which means people can combine a festival with a summer holiday.
The other problem with current festivals is they all appear to be the same. As Eavis says, people are becoming bored of seeing the same bands on the same circuit each year. For a £200 ticket, people are expecting more from their experience and want to see creativity, individuality and difference when they invest in a large-scale music event. I personally, would hate to see the end of festivals. As a music fan, festivals allow you to see a variety of acts in one place and allow you to forget about everything for a weekend. However, I do believe that the festival format is becoming stale with the same line-ups appearing at festivals across the country and a lack of imagination in not only the acts playing, but also the experience as a whole. We want to experience a unique and exciting musical wonderland, which is different from anything else we have seen before. These are the things that summer and more importantly festivals were made for.
One of the busiest cities in the world in slow motion.
Social media is full steam ahead in India. Some interesting ways of drumming up business and you can even contact the traffic police on facebook....
STIF – Frances’ Public Transport Authority - are trialling the use of NFC enabled smartphones as travel cards on the Metro and on buses in Paris.
Bravo Les Francais…Boris, pay attention!
NFC (near field communication) has been a hot topic in the mobile industry for a while now; we use the technology every day in our Oyster Cards. Without going into unnecessary detail it’s a short-range wireless technology that involves an active chip (like the one in your oyster card or smartphone) and a passive receiver to transfer data. Its potential is huge with wide ranging applications, however, it’s been rather slow to get off the ground. The main reason for this is, with payment as its focus, there are currently far too many stakeholders making far too much money out of the current credit card system. Banks, credit card companies, transaction handling companies, data companies and so on…and on…and on…
This is why launching mobile payment in a controlled environment like city travel, where the technology already exists, is a great idea. I love my Oyster card, I think it’s great. What massively frustrates me is that I rarely ever know when it needs topping up, not too bad when you’re using the tube and you can top up round the corner from the gate but getting on the bus, having waited an age, only to find that you’re out of credit and with no change in your pocket? Rubbish! Being able to glance at your phone on the way to the bus to see what your ‘mobile oyster’ balance is, or even better not having to worry about a balance at all because it gets charged straight to your phone bill? Yes please!
Think how much easier we could make travel in London; no more hunting for coins, cursing the person ahead when their Oyster doesn’t work or fiddling around with cards and PIN’s when topping up. Want to hop on the tube? Touch your mobile. Want a Boris bike? Touch your mobile. A Bus or train? Yup, touch your mobile. Even taxis could benefit hugely, no more stopping at cash points, waiting for change etc, even your receipts could be digital and sent straight to your inbox ready to go on an expenses form!
Outside of paying for stuff, smart posters are the other use of NFC that people, especially OOH media owners are raving about. With the poster acting as a receiver, touching your phone against a 6-sheet at the bus stop will deliver all matter of extra info instantaneously, making QR Codes look, well, a touch prehistoric.
Granted that we need all our phones to be NFC enabled and that’s happening at the moment. Most smartphones already have NFC functionality, they just aren’t activated. So outside of mobile payment and smart posters, what other cool/useful functions can you see for NFC? How about instant customer feedback? Touching your phone against a smiley face or frowning face as you leave a shop depending on your experience. What about transferring content from different media devices? Putting your phone on top of telly when you get home to transfer the web page/video you were viewing onto the big screen for example. How about from a marketing perspective? What are your thoughts?
A hot topic that has always been debated when it comes to the world of Facebook pages is the value of a ‘Like’, and in the advertising space there are more than enough blogs, tweets and discussions about the cost associated with this seemingly innocent measure to brand favourability.
This year we have seen a dramatic increase on Facebook’s take of their ‘Like’ ASU ads, with networks offering cost per ‘like’ models and even now sites offering nothing else but ‘fake fans’ such as buyrealfacebookfans.com (a site offering 10,000 likes for $297)!!
Personally I think there is something pretty questionable when you get into the realm of buying likes and brands are at risk of entering a very murky world if not careful. Now I am not completely discounting the network offerings, but I do think it is crucial we are asking how these ‘Likes’ will be aquired and where they are coming from (a fan is for life, not just for a post campaign analysis).
I think that we as agency folk need to consider a ‘like’ in a similar way to any other brand measure, and realise that fans are earnt and not bought. What are your thoughts?
A recent survey in the US, conducted by TeleNav, has shown that a third of all Americans would rather give up sex than give up their mobile phone! An alarming 70% would prefer to give up alcohol and a rather grubby 22% would give up their toothbrush - see image below.
I’m convinced that us Brits are less attached to our handset devices so I’m throwing the question out there - What would you be more willing to give up so you could still have your mobile phone?
If only the night buses were this much fun....
Quite a lot has happened since this seemingly visionary product was first announced in May 2010. The vision was to create an interactive television overlay on top of existing internet television and WebTV sites. The possibilities of such a system were endless, and so the excitement that grew around this product was not difficult to stimulate. Essentially anything online could be integrated with your TV experience; blog posts alongside the latest episodes of your favourite show, twitter alongside political debates or general elections or sporting events, or responses to ads to play online games between viewing. The software is fully compatible with android, meaning it’s open to developers to build or adapt relevant apps, such an integrating voice recognition to change channel. Google TV officially launched October 6 last year in the US with devices from Sony and Logitech.
Google TV: can run on multiple TV connected devices
The outcome of this excitement and endless list of possibilities for our television based media consumption? Nothing short of a flop. In May last year it was estimated that Logitech sales of Google TV boxes had come a shocking 72% under target, resulting in a drop to less than half original price in July just to shift the stock. Rumoured to have cost Logitech $34 million in losses, the product was dropped unceremoniously.
But after the pre launch possibilities, why such failure? Many have blamed the “desktop” based reliance on a mouse pointer and text input. Wall Street Journal labelled it “an over-complicated geek product”. Not only this but the product has actually been heavily criticised for its search functionality, in that it is text based and cannot deal with the complexity and huge volumes of web video. For me this is an example of convergence between channels, platforms and devices going wrong. Convergence should only be driven to benefit users, taking the best features of one thing and combining them for ease of use, convenience or to open up brand new possibilities. Users comfortable with web TV are comfortable using their desktops or laptops. Those users are skilled in the nuances of finding this content. When we consume television, it is very much part of our routine and as such we expect the same comforts – notably that of scheduled and regular programming controlled by the trusty TV remote. The fact that this Google product got search wrong just highlights how far out of their comfort zone Google have ventured with this product and it shows.
Anyway, you can all judge for yourselves as Eric Schmidt, rather than withdraw completely from this market as expected, announced a few days ago that the product will be released in the UK shortly. I for one expect a similar failure but something must be keeping Google optimistic that we can’t yet see.
It’s obvious that more and more companies are pushing for all our data to be in The Cloud. Let’s take Google for instance: Calendar, Gmail, Docs, Maps and more recently Chrome OS just to name a few. Every software that Google creates is created with one purpose in mind: to allow their users to access it from pretty much anywhere. There is however a major problem: Try to search all the data you have stored in Google’s Cloud from one single place: It’s impossible. That’s where Greplin comes in!
Greplin’s idea is Uber simple: Once you’ve created your account, you can connect most of your cloud based services for Greplin to index allowing easy search. Let’s say you want to search your Gmail messages, Dropbox data, as well as your Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter Stream at the same time, it’s now possible at a click of a button with Greplin. I have been using it for a few months now and I can say is that It’s lightning fast and Uber smart.
Now on the iPhone.
You can now search your life on the go too as Greplin launched its long awaited iPhone App yesterday. After a quick test, I am convinced that Greplin has the potential to become really huge as there’s simply no competition. And all assumption apart, it is definitely one of the must have iPhone Apps of 2011.
You can download the app here, see it for yourself and let us know your thoughts.
And yes, Android users must be really, really grumpy...