What Would D-Mac Do


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Nexus One gets stomped by iPhone (Gasp)

In news that should come as a surprise to nobody, it appears the iPhone has outsold the Nexus One 80 to 1 (at least according to this ReadWriteWeb article). Obviously it's too early to really draw any conclusions about the success/failure of the phone. But that won't stop me from doing it anyway. A few thoughts in a freeflowing fashion because I'm into that sort of thing:

-Google's mystique and lack of advertising worked for search, but it won't work for the hardware market. They need to engage retailers. They need signage. As Frank Reed points out, they seem to have captured the fancy of the techie/geek crowd, but those people don't just run out and plunk down 500 bucks everytime something cool comes out. People can play with iphones at the Apple Store, Best Buy or AT&T stores. They could play with the Droid and the palm. Granted word of mouth and that guy at the party who bought a Nexus One letting his friends poke around on it could very well be all the physical presence Google needs, but from the initial impressions of the phone, that's a pretty far fetched assumption. Google can't ignore the point of purchase experience...as much as they'd like to think otherwise. Prediction: You'll see the Nexus One (or Two or whatever the parlance ends up being) in T-Mobile stores and possibly big box retailers like Best Buy within the first 6 months of 2010.

-Google's ability to provide real customer service (and those of us in the search industry know that they really have no clue in this realm) are about to go through baptism of fire. There's already rumblings about problems with the phone. Don't get me wrong, Apple isn't the darling of customer service either. Fact is however, they DO have service outlets with AT&T (T-Mobile can't help you with Nexus problems). Best Buy sold me some sort of extended warranty on my iphone. Google has none of these outlets available. Prediction: Google either outsources customer service to T-Mobile/retailers or enters the POS themselves (envision a Google Kiosk at Best Buys everywhere).

-Even though 500 and change is a fair price for similar smart phones, I think Google has spent so much time giving things away that they almost have to be price competitive here. I could be totally wrong, and time will definitely tell, but if Google truly wants to win over this market, it needs to treat the phone like it treats everything else: Give (or in this case, drastically reduce the price) the product to the consumer and supplement the cost on the backend with advertising. Prediction: The unlocked price of the Nexus One will come down...a lot

I realize I'm just postulating and shouting at the clouds here...but at least so far, these are my initial thoughts.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Covario Acquires Net Concepts

Well this sort of caught me off guard, but ultimately I'm not all that surprised. The full press release can be found here. We have some clients using Gravity Stream right now and so far, I've been pretty impressed. Its workflow management is excellent. It's especially useful when an organization has an IT department with a lot of requests and you need to avoid battling amongst other priorities. It's also helpful in getting deep pages of large sites indexed. I'm assuming this merger will only serve to strengthen the functionality of GS...so good on them!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Real Time Search still needs an original source

Matt Cutts had a post on Thursday talking about the efficiency of Google's real time search in reporting and reacting to events of the Bay Area earthquake. Within 2 minutes of the earthquake, Google's real time search box was triggered and reporting events right away.

This is all well and good, and certainly a testament to the effectiveness of whatever triggers are used by Google to show real-time activity.

The one thing that struck me here was thus: If it's such hot shit that Google can show real-time activity within 2 minutes, what does that say about the origin of the query? What I mean is that when we're talking about delivering late breaking news, Google is still only able to enter the information game at the point of query. In other words, somebody has to be actively searching on Bay Area earthquake or a variation thereof in order for this functionality to be useful. Don't get me wrong that's not a bad thing, but I feel like the information and capability Google has is restrained because it's dependent on a query in order to be activated.

The challenge I see now for Google is to find a way to deliver pertinent real time activity (notice I'm not using the phrase 'search result') to their users BEFORE the point of query. In other words, they should be able to be telling people who would want to know (and let's be honest, Google knows enough about its users to know who would want to know) about this event before they hear about it somewhere else and go trolling Google to find news about it. If you can track a trend that quickly, why then should your ability to disseminate information be dependent on people already having some inkling of what's going on and hitting up Google to learn more?

Potential opportunities: Forced News Alerts (this could be viewed as interruptive, and as thus, a hard sell), Geo/demo-specific real-time results that scroll on the Google Homepage independent of a query (may be a hard sell cos Google loves the whitespace). Perhaps an entirely new product for real time search is in order. Google's ability to deliver ads based around real time events could force advertisers to stay on their toes more, but without a doubt, Google could drive a huge revenue stream from driving ads to people about news before they even think to go performing queries about it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Near Me Now

This doesn't really add any new functionality, but it organizes information way better. Google has added a "Near Me Now" button (I guess it came out yesterday) on their mobile homepage. Essentially, as long as it knows your location, it categorizes local search results for your area. Since I'm sitting at the Resolution Media offices at the moment, I pretty much know exactly what's around here so it isn't mindblowing, but this could be a very useful tool in new areas. I am, however, amused by the fact that Google thinks my neighborhood is "Little Hell Illinois" (personally, I'd reserve that distinctive name for Rogers Park but that's just me). For example, cycling up to Zion or Geneva has always somewhat bittersweet because while I LOVE those locations, the ride through Glencoe, Forest Park and North Chicago is a nightmare because those areas are so drab and boring (I'm long over the notion of "looking at the big houses"...if you live there, my condolences). So this is a good way to at least scout out some bars and ATMs within reach.

This just goes to re-emphasize the need for optimizing local search (especially for banks. I note Bank of America doesn't even have all its ATM locations for the area in here...for shame!).

All in all, I'm glad to see Google looking for ways to make their information more obvious for the average user to access. Local search has always been available, and Google has been able to triangulate a position of a phone for a few years now, but using these features has (in my oh so humble opinion) been beyond the grasp of a novice user..not because it's hard, but because they bury those services in subsequent tabs or require you to download an app to use them. Ultimately, this information is a good thing for both users and businesses so the more apparent they can make it the better.

That said, may a pox be dropped on the house of whatever jackass Googler decided to use that music in the tutorial video.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Caffiene is live?

Seems to. There's some barking on the forums about it. There's a post on SEORoundtable with a list of Datacenters that seem to be using it.

I haven't really put on paper what my true thoughts on Caffeine are (aka will it totally change the game? No). I'll get around to that post sometime. Right now, we're all about revamping our reporting and tracking rankings to accommodate personalized search. The notion of going out and getting a ranking and calling that a baseline seems like a bullshit figure at this stage in the game. but needs must when the devil drives I suppose.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Google offering Click to Call

Welp...it looks like Google is entering the click to call forray. Should be interesting and perhaps helpful for the Nexus since I suspect that $529 pricetag for an unlocked version is going to be a bit steep at first (at least to compete with an AT&T tethered iphone). Perhaps these click to call ads could help alleviate the cost.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Social Brands

Jordan McCollum posted a great POV on the top social brands on Marketing Pilgrim today.

I agree whole heartedly that just because a brand is mentioned a lot doesn't necessarily mean that brand is "social". A colleague of mine is preparing a POV specifically on Twitter. Basically, just because you have lots of followers doesn't necessarily translate to followers that like, give a shit about what you're tweeting. I'll post a link when it's ready. But ultimately, a brand being "social" definitely should entail more than them just being mentioned in a passive manner.