Taste The Rainbow

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Regular visitors to my blog will notice my love for advertising, i came across this one recently via a Gruen Transfer tweet.

Its another great example of how web 2.0 is being used as another method of advertising and how adverts are likely to become more interactive as we move forward.

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Innovation in Assembly…. Google Maps

Google Maps is a web mapping service provided by tech giant Google, it provides many map-based services, including the Google Maps website and many of the our day-to-day websites and applications, over 350,00 infact. Google offers the service, called an API (application programming interface) to developers to use free of charge as long as its not for commercial use. 

Firstly what is an API, according to Wikipedia:  its a particular set of rules and specifications that a software program can follow to access and make use of the services and resources provided by another particular software program that implements that API. Secondly why would Google hand the keys over to there software to complete strangers? To answer that question its important to understand one of the key patterns of Web 2.0 according to O’Reilly, who states that “Innovation is in Assembly”, in laymen’s terms this means when commodity components are abundant, you can create value simply by assembling them in novel or effective ways… Like online maps. This approach to snap on services allowing  companies the ability to beat there competition by  harnessing and integrating services provided by others. Google as you would expect is making money on this service just like there world renowned search engine. They do this in two main ways:

  1. Sell ad space on the service. This is done in two different ways: 1) using Google’s acclaimed AdSense engine that places advertising that is related to the topic the user has searched for whether that is in a search engine or a geographical location. Option 2) was introduced in 2010 and allows companies to pay Google to have their brand logos inserted into the map as part of the icons. 
  2. The second way Google Maps makes money is buying selling the service  to enterprises who pay for the rights to use the Google Maps API behind protected logins and intranets (which is currently against the free terms of service).

But its clear that Google Maps didn’t just succeed just because it was making the Californian based company money, the application successful met some of the best practices in application statergy, as outlined by Watson (2011):

  1. Google offered API’s for its service
  2. Google Maps has exceptional design by remixability (flexibility), this was actually stumbled upon my Google who found that there map service that was being created at the time was being hacked and in-fact made into a mashup. Google changed their business model… and the rest is history i guess.
  3. Google included developer support (tutorials), and allowed for analytics of there map service, this ensured that they followed the API best practices theory for uptake.
  4. Google Maps used/uses already existing standards meaning devlopers could use the tool without learning a new coding language.
  5. Google managed to build its business model (AdSense) into the API.
  6. Google is Google Maps biggest customer – be your own customer

As mentioned at the start of the blog, Google Maps API is used around the world in hundreds of thousands of applications and websites, you would almost use it everyday, and thats what makes API’s and Google’s one in particular so usable is it flexibility.

Further Reading:

Google Maps Mashups

How Google Makes Money

Googles Business Philosophy

O’Reilly – Web 2.0

Data Is The Next Intel Inside……. [Updated]

According to Web 2.0 expert O’Reilly and many other industry analysts data is now the new intel inside, it doesn’t matter how fast or powerful our computers become, the access to information is far more important than any technical specs. We are now entering the stage where the interent is proving us with a huge portion of our data, this data is power and is accesible like never before. As a result its thrown up a number of new companies and dilemmas on how to share such data. One example of this new wave of data access is:

Spotify is a music streaming service that offers unlimited streaming of selected music from a range of major and independent record labels. Users of Spotify can register either for free accounts supported by visual and radio-style advertising or for a paid subscription which come without those pesky ads and with a range of extra features such as higher bitrate streaming and the ability to access your playlisted music offline. The service also allows for:

  • The ability to create a personalised playlist or the option too listen to others
  • Take your music on the go; premium service allows for iphone (plus other mobile devices) offline music listening
  • Fully social media site compatible: Share with your friends on Twitter and Facebook
  • Radio function, to allow you to sit back and listen to new music without the effort of going through creating a playlist.
  • Combine your local music files with the your play-listed Spotify ones.

Spotify’s US advert: Spotify obviously isnt the only application out there doing music this way, a fellow classmate has done an interesting article into one of Spotify’s rivals.. Pandora Revisiting my opening statement: But why is Spotify an example of  how data is the new Intel inside? Well the easiest example of this is that the service is able to offer a user over 10 million tracks to select from… thats the equilivant of having around 40 million megabytes (if each song was 4mb) of songs at your disposal… or 39062 GB at your disposal every single day…. where as i currently have 16GB (I hope my maths right). To me thats just staggering and a clear indication of where the future music business is heading… even Apple have been rumoured to be considering offering a cloud version of iTunes. Further more the integration of a exceptionally well tailored database allows for the user to not only find new music via a search but also creates a tailor-made radio service that takes into consideration the users likes, genre style and location. Furthermore the service has allowed the user to share there music via social media and continue building the transfer of data from one individual to the next. Sadly Spotify is currently only offered in a number of countries one of which isnt Australia… but when it eventually gets here ill be one of the first to sign up. Links: Spotify Home Page Wikipedia Entry –  Spotify

Advertising… A Fresh Take

A slight tangent from my normal posts….Last semster i posted on how a interactive youtube add was being used to sell a product such as tip-ex (whiteout for you Aussies).

I just wanted to quickly comment on another fresh take by the advertising agencies:

Rovio have recently combined with Fox film to give us a special addition Angry Birds as a way to market there new animated feature film Rio. To me this is one of the best forms of advertising ive seen, using todays must have gadgets and apps as a way to push a product without slapping adverts in a traditional sense all over the app. Angry Birds has sold 100 million copies world wide over a wide variety of platforms if only a fraction of the users purchase the new game, Rovio and Fox Film are onto a winner in my opionon.

Id be interested in hearing your point of view?

Google’s Person Finder

Over the last couple of months there has been a series of natural disasters across the globe that have caused devastation on nearly every continent the human race resides upon. As these disaster take our homes, destroy cities and take loved ones from us, social media is being used as a tool in the reporting, clean-up and finding of people in these terrible disasters. Social networking sites such as Twitter are used as a way of pushing live news updates around the world (via the #tag, example). The collaboration of these individual micro blogs containing snapshots of information provided family members with reassurance, but also the wider community an incite into what was going on in the minutes, hours and days after such a natural disaster. In a generation where newspaper sales have decreased, more and more people are harnessing the collective intelligence of social media to provide them with an overview of what is going on.

Below is a infographic from Mashable on how social media is used in general with an emergency…. Click to find out more:

Social Media Emergency Infographic

How Social Media Is Used During Emergencies

But it’s not just these large social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook being used to combat issues raised by natural disasters, large corporations are helping a hand in the relief effort of a natural disaster, once such example is Google, who hours after the recent earthquakes in Haiti, Christchurch and now Japan have set up a service to find relatives who may be missing due to the disasters.

Google’s Person Finder:

The website uses collaborative techniques to allow families to  search for a missing persons or on the other hand for a missing person to put their details on the site in order to be found or to relieve the stress placed on the family members. During this weeks earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Google aided the Red Cross who were initially overwhelmed with people using its Family Links website, which helps track people during an emergency. Within a couple of hours Google stepped in, launching a version of its person finder tool for the earthquake, Person Finder: 2011 Japan Earthquake, the tool can be used in Japanese or English.

Google People Finder Home Page

Google People Finder Home Page

Although an application like Person Finder has greater value than most traditional web applications it is still able to meet one of the 8 core patterns of the evolution of Web 2.0. According to Tim O’Reilly this core pattern, which is one of 8 is based around the ideal of enriching the user’s experience. Google’s application is a great example of harnessing collective intelligence as more people use the service the greater number of ‘someones’ will appear on the application. This combining of the records enables the user to find exactly what there look for; a family member.

As we start to have a greater understanding as to ways of using web 2.0, a greater number of social media collaboration tools will be used in a variety of situations that intertwine within our daily lives. Google’s person finder is just one of many that have changed the way we deal with emergencies and most importantly as a tool in aiding the finding  of  what means most in live.. our loved ones.

Want more on how Social Media has helped during the Japan earthquake then try these links:

How Twitter & Facebook Helped

Vital Lifelines

People Turn To The Web In Times Of Crisis

Alternatively:

How To Follow The Japans Disaster Online

Or

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The new kid on the block…. Ping

At the beginning of September Apple released iTunes 10 to go along with the release of its new iPod line up… nothing really new there, new iPods always appear this time of year and are noramlly followed by a update to the iTunes software. This time though Steve Jobs and Co. included a new feature… Ping, a music orientated social network. Is there enough room for another social media site or have Apple managed to find another money spinner. But first what is Ping for the people out there that havent tried it….

According to the Apple website Ping has three main functions:

  1. Follow your favourite artists: Very similar to MySpace, the application allows you to view an artist and the bands she or he likes while also viewing there status updates and photos (sound familiar?)
  2. Follow your friends and find new music: Ping lets you see what your friend has just brought and its recommended to you if you have a similar taste in music
  3. Stay upto date on who, what, when and where: Ping creates a list of recent updates from friends and artists as away to keep up to date.

So far its sounds just like Facebook or Myspace or Twitter and Steve Jobs would kinda agree with that statement:

“sort of like Facebook and Twitter meet iTunes,” but stating that “[Ping] is not Facebook” and “it is not Twitter,” instead describing it as “something else … all about music.

So what are the benefits of creating another social media site and saturating the market place?

  1. iTunes has 160 million users. And within two days of release Ping had 1 million users, tapping into this readily accessible number of users should give Ping a leg up and chance to succeed.
  2. Ping is focused on music exclusively (for now i guess), no other distractions may increase popularity of the service.
  3. Encourages music music discovery, this would immediately boost sales and line the pockets of the record labels.
  4. The Ping user demographic is buy-friendly, legal and music-focused. Users on iTunes have a credit card on file and are responsible for most of the legal digital purpose for the music industry.
  5. Since iTunes is the direct seller of the content, it can best leverage its social network to maximize sales .
  6. Ping can cross sell other Apple products (iPhones, iPods, AppleTV etc)
  7. Apple fans (myself included) will generally endorse any Apple product.
  8. Apple has the iPhone (150 million) advantage to gain social networking lead.
  9. Apple are are customer focused, they will make improvements (books, music, tv added to the service?).
  10. Ping’s interface is clean and easy to figure out, somewhat similar to Facebook.
  11. Apple is considered cool and cutting edge – many  people will try out Ping to see what the fuss is all about.
  12. Cut the middlemen out. Myspace artist pages have links going to iTunes or Amazon MP3.

The numbers are obviously impressive but with any product there a disadvantages:, some of them seem to be:

  1. Another Social Network for artists to maintain.
  2. No integration with other social networks. (Facebook negotiations)
  3. Not a website, todays trend is cloud computing not application based computing
  4. Artist can only be invited to Ping. Unsigned artists therefore need to be invited – unlike Myspace.
  5. Ping can therefore be seen to only benefit the bigger artists.
  6. Apple iTunes only operates in 23 countries therefore Ping not global.
  7. Joining a social network and a marketplace together has not proved to be a commercial success eg: Myspace, Facebook and Twitter are still figuring ways to make money from the sites other than advertising.
  8. Ping still seems buggs and occasionally freezes.
    [Based on Roussos, 2010]

It will be really interesting over the next couple of months to see how Ping grows, and to she how the service can be utilized. The fact that the iTunes store is more than just music these days allows for the service to be extended into the TV, movie and book genres and possibly increase it user and has we more past this version 1 of Ping more features will surely be added.

Is it a Facebook killer… No, a MySpace killer… Maybe (Ping vs MySpace).

As for me for now ill stick with just the hitlist of the Triple J website to find my music, but it may not be long before “Ping Me” becomes a part of everday life.

Give Ping ago for yourself and share your thoughts….

Links/Further Reading:

Why Ping Is the Future of Social Commerce

iTunes Ping: The missing thing

Apple Introduces “Ping” Music Social Network and iTunes 10

iTunes 10.0.1 Update Improves the Ping Experience
Apple Home Page – Ping

Facebook | My Experiences…..

As mentioned previously, i have been a user of Facebook for around 4 years now and will visit the site around once a day to check what my friends are upto. I only have limited information of who i am and where i live and thats mainly there for people trying to find me. The main advantage of Facebook for myself is using it as a method of keeping in touch with my friends and as i emigrated to this country nearly 3 years ago, its a great way in staying in touch with my friends from the UK.

Facebook is also often used by myself and friends to great events and send invites electronically rather than having to send out a group text message or post invitations. Another advantage of the site is having the ability to tag photos after the event and keep them all in one place for everyone to enjoy.

Despite not having a bad experience with the site as of yet, i am conscious of using common sense when post a comment and ensring that i follow the same rules and laws that i abide by in my offline life.  As Leigh Dixon rightly points out in her blog that “No platform can ever be better than a face-to-face for satisfaction” and i believe in this digital age that is something we need to remember and continue to make that extra effort and see our friends in person.