Archive for the 'Web 2.0' Category

Interesting statistics

Came across a very interesting graphic recently, depicting some interesting Internet statistics. Unfortunately I can’t validate the statistics used, but even if slightly true, shows how much we come to rely on the Internet as it has grown. Quite shocked to see more people use Facebook than Google, Amazon et al combnined. Personally I live on Google, what with my email, syndicated blogs and calendar all in thier cloud.

Thanks to @lesanto for the image

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BT DSL outage

I’m sure many of you were affected in one way or another by the recent DSL outage, caused by the North Paddington exchange. The latest is that from BT is that water got into the exchange, starting an electrical fire, which was put out by more water, causing a flood in the basement.

The above picture is an example of the severity of the situation. However I really must praise the sterling work of BT in not only working around the clock to rectify the issue, but also in notifying their customers using Social Media. Their twitter stream (@BTcare) was a hive of activity all day, and was backed up by their status blog depicting progress. In fact the above picture comes from their own Flickr stream. Info was then compounded upon by key clients, such as Gradwell (@gradwelltweets), who posted a list of exchanges that were affected (some 437!)

Although many of us in the industry view BT as a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to embracing change, they really are showing us all how best to adopt and embrace new media. And although they have been tripped up by their BTcare account more than once, these mishaps will inevitably help them create a more fulfilling user experience. The whole episode also helps to shoecase how Twitter, blogs and other social media devices, when used in the right way, can really enhance the way a business can communicate with it’s community. We can all learn a thing of two from BT.

Mobile connectivity trends

Having my HTC Hero has made me aware how much our online presence is being determined by what we are doing on the move. Mobile access is slowly coming to the fore, lead by the innovative features of smartphones and their respective applications. With apps available such as Foursquare (an online location based game), Google Goggles (an augmented reality app using image searching) and Places Directory (a directory of venues surrounding your location) our use of mobile connectivity has skyrocketed. Mainly led by the iPhone, this has led to several network operators around the world scratching their heads on how best to deal with bandwidth for devices. However the sphere is exciting, and there are a number of ways in which one can be innovative.

I recently came across a very interesting collaborative slideshow canvassing the opinions of various industry leaders on how the mobile space may look in 2020. There are a number of conflicting thoughts on key trends (ie whether we pay or not for digital content). My favourite was provided by Tomi Ahonen, who predicted that the ‘Star Trek Universal Translator’ will become commonplace. Whatever trends come to the fore, the next decade will prove to be very exciting for the mobile application space.

Google has gone mainstream

Is it me, or is Google now starting to advertise? And I mean REALLY advertise? I went to the dreaded Westfield shopping centre (dragged kicking and screaming by my girlfriend no less…) recently, and there are 3 very big and impressive digital billboards advertising Google Chrome to anyone and everyone that enters. Also, on the underground there are static billboards advertising Google Chrome. Then there was a full spread wrap around the Metro. Add to this a smattering of buses now displaying ad’s for Youtube moving into the TV space, and it seems that Google is really making a concerted effort to get into mainstream media.

It’s strange, as Google has never had the need to adopt mainstream advertising to promote any of it’s products, as they own the most valuable piece of ‘real estate’ on the Internet in their own home page. Add to this the much heralded ‘Google Labs’ led ability to drip feed new products to the public and market them via various online channels. Even when Google was just starting out, they never resorted to mainstream media, and instead relied much on word of mouth. So why now?

From my perspective, the timing is interesting. With Microsoft recently being forced to give browser options to every future Windows user and FireFox 3.5 finally being lauded as the worlds most popular browser, Google must sense an opportunity to really add credence to a market that is being thrown wide open again. In my view, there is little to currently diffrentiate Chrome from Firefox, apart from possibly it’s overall speed. However, one key diffrentiator that may trump FireFox in the future is the potential to sync a desktop Chrome browser with a android/smartphone Chrome browser. This is the space that Chrome (OS at least) is moving into, with it’s seemingly inevitable merger into the Android sphere becoming nearer and nearer. This has the ability to converge both your respective desktop/smartphone environments seamlessley. With this could come the potential to have a web-based browser, with multiple interfaces from handheld or desktop devices, that would remember open tabs, bookmarks, passwords etc This could have many applications for both business and consumer, and is very exciting.

However there could be many issues with putting all your eggs into the Google cloud. I’m already firmly entrenched in Google’s camp, having gmail, Google reader, Google Voice, Google Wave, Google Calendar, Google finance, YouTube, Adsense and Google docs accounts. The thought of Google having access (if they haven’t already) to my search history via a browser or even via their new Google DNS offering is actually quite scary. For if they were ever suppoeaned (like in the famous Google vs Viacom battle some years back), they would have to relinquish all information about me, and the rest of their users.

As you can see, I’m very much a fan of Google and their range of products. However until there is a compelling reason for me to use Chrome, FireFox more than meets my needs. Backed by a network of open source enthuiasts, the Firefox browser will only get better with time also.

The big Twitter debate

Over the last two years, Twitter has taken the Internet by storm. Early adopters (myself included) saw it as just another method by which to communicate to your network, and dismissed it on this basis. However, as celebrities such as Britney Spears and Ashton Kutcher started to jump on board, Twitter slowly started to become more of a mainstream media tool. This was further enhanced by events such as the River Hudson plane crash and the terrorist events in Mumbai. Now Twitter is seen as a fundamental broadcasting medium by many to obtain relevant news.

However, the problem with Twitter is that there doesn’t seem to be any obvious way to monetise their service. They have a massive subscriber base, all of which obtain a free service. Now they even have a large enterprise and corporate client base who use their service not only to promote their brand and products, but also to connect with their client base. Due to the size of Twitter’s user base, the temptation is always there to sell out to a larger player, and there has been a lot of speculation relating to an acquisition by Google. Real time search is the one area within their portfolio that they’ve had problems coming to terms with. However, with Twitter’s real time feed suddenly Google would have specific relevant information about up to date trending topics, of which to target their adverts too. The immediate benefits of this are there for all to see. Google can instantly monetise a service that currently does not have any obvious income stream. Whilst for Twitter, they have direct access to Google’s massive resource pool to be able to compete against the likes of Facebook, who with the acquisition of FriendFeed are slowly encroaching into the space of real time search. Also, Google’s track record of amalgamating newly acquired assets into it’s estate is strong, as is shown by the success of both YouTube and Blogger being able to keep their brand identity and prove successful in their respective markets.

However, Twitter does have an ace up it’s sleeve. With the use of hashtags, Twitter has a direct way of keeping a handle on the latest trends being discussed. They have large investors behind them providing them with the capital to increase their infrastructure. Also, despite the fact I mentioned earlier that their lack of an obvious business model was a problem, it definitely constitutes a nice problem . Currently their valuation is built solely on their subscriber base and their infrastructure. The minute they disclose their intentions, their value would rocket to potential investors, and may well even see them go down the IPO route. Remember that the guys behind Twitter are also the same guys that started Blogger, and sold it successfully to Google.

For my two pence, I think that Twitter would be silly to ignore the threat of Facebook, and sell in a hurry to the likes of Google and Apple. They have an extremely strong brand and an even stronger user base which they can use to their advantage. And just as Google did with the implementation of Adwords, if they can find a way to monetise the mammoth amount of hashtags flying around, I think they would stand a good chance of seeing off the combined Facebook/FriendFeed threat.

Introducing……….me!

First and foremost, a big welcome to my little blog

. My hopes for this space are to chart the rise¬†and fall¬†throughout the business world of a young wanna-be businessman. Continue reading ‘Introducing……….me!’


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