When Google Plus launched earlier this year, the company made it a point to let us know that the service was still available only to personal profiles and that brands and businesses who want to build a Google Plus page of their own will have to wait. In an interview to VentureBeat, a Google spokesman had said at that point,
“There will be a product very soon that has businesses’ interests in mind… We want to give them the features businesses expect and the features that can improve the sharing experience both for consumers and businesses. You can expect to see a level of analytics and measurement that you’d typically find in Google products as well as a nuanced approach to how things are shared. It encourages and enhances conversation, it doesn’t just put things in the stream.”
With business profiles expected to be announced soon, speculations are rife on what this new feature could mean to the business of social media. As we have seen in the past year or so, Google has been consolidating their properties – at least the utility part of it. We now have just one universal social property (barring Orkut for Brazil and pockets of India) from Google. Google Buzz and Wave are shutting down. Google Reader is losing its ‘Share’ option. And all of these are being replaced by Google Plus. Similarly, Google Videos is being phased out as users are now being encouraged to share videos via YouTube alone. Most Google properties now have the uniform profile bar at the top of the page that lets users connect to the different Google properties at one place.
So, does this consolidation provide us with a direction that this new Google Plus for Brands will take? One of the most likely possibilities is that Google could integrate the “RSS reader” functionality right into the service. A significant number of ‘Brands’ on Google Plus are likely to be blogs and other news media websites. At present, these websites have separate buttons to let users subscribe to RSS and newsletter feeds. In addition to this, these websites also carry a +1 button for independent posts as well as the website as a whole.
The next step in Google’s consolidation strategy could be to integrate these different elements so that users may follow their RSS feeds, newsletter subscriptions and brand postings on Google+ right from the notifications section on the top of their Google window. What this means is that users no longer have to independently follow the brand pages on Google+ and re-read the same posts on their Google Reader. Instead, Google could be moving towards making Reader and Feedburner redundant by providing these features on Google Plus.
Why should they be cannibalizing their own properties? For one, Google does not monetize Reader or Feedburner and the only reason these properties have existed is to keep competition in the segment at bay. By moving towards one property that will fulfill all these requirements, Google would not only be keeping the interests of its users intact, but also establish a larger active base of users for Google Plus who will help the company beat its nemesis Facebook in the social networking segment.
It has barely been weeks since Google launched their new social network – the Google+. Despite its earlier failures at getting their social strategy right, Google appears to have cracked the social code this time around. The company has already announced the registration of 10 million members – a far cry from the 750 million users that throng Facebook, but still a huge base considering that the service is very much in invite-only mode and is limited primarily among the geeks in the Silicon valley and other major cities.
But 10 million is still a large enough number to make a general picture of what the social network now looks like. Thanks to work from FindPeopleOnPlus, here find the most important data about the demographics of Google Plus.
The absence of Apple at the Mobile World Congress has definitely given Google’s Android the definite edge over its competitors at the show in Barcelona this year. With the MWC for this year coming to a close today, everyone who’s been at the event has only one thing to say – Android is brilliant. With Nokia disbanding its own phone OS Symbian and partnering with Microsoft for Windows based Nokia phones, they did not have anything to offer this year. Almost every phone, be it the Motorola Xoom or the Samsung Galaxy S or the Sony Xperia Play smartphones or the Samsung’s second generation tablet or LG Slate, everything has been Android. There was Blackberry Playbook that was not running on Android but spoke of including Android apps and HP’s Tablet – TouchBook that did not use Android but WebOS.
So, this MWC belonged to Android completely.
Well! At the moment, no one is backing off. Each one is taking the competition one step ahead and the next one is immediately coming back to stay at an even keel. Only a few days ago, Apple launched its digital subscription services for magazines, now its Google’s turn to churn out the same for publishers who want to go digital and cash in on the tablet craze. The new service, called Google One Pass allows the publishers to take 90 percent price for for any digital publication that users subscribe to. The publication can be through an app or be directly done on the web and the user would only have to pay for the content while using it without the need of maintaining an individual account.
Apple said that it would be taking a 30 percent share of such paid digital subscriptions from the publishers which was abruptly scorned by the media.
Google’s executive in charge of Android Andy Rubin has confirmed that Android 2.4 or Ice cream will be accompanied by a smartphone. He has also confirmed that from now on every new Android version will be accompanied by hardware, meaning a new device. Both Andy Ruben and Eric Shmidt, the chief executive have confirmed at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that Ice Cream will be a combination of the tablet features of Honeycomb and the smartphone features of Gingerbread.
Google had already released the Google Nexus S last December alongside Android 2.3 or Gingerbread and according to Google, the sales have been extraordinary. Following pursuit, both Motorola and Samsung came out with their respective tablets based on Android 2.3. No other hardware specs nor make of the next smartphone were revealed at the keynote, though.
Over the past one week, we have been hearing that the sales of iPhone 4 on Verizon Wireless have been a little dull when compared to what AT&T had last year. Verizon Wireless has now come up with a new marketing strategy using which it is planning to boost the sales of iPhone 4 and the FiOS TV, calling the two “a perfect pairing”. As per the new plan, Verizon would be offering a 200$ rebate on the iPhone 4 to all the new customers who buy their TV, phone and landline packages along with a discount of either 5 or 20 dollars on their monthly plans.
Verizon’s utilities like the internet, landline and the FiOS TV are delivered via optical fiber cables making the internet speeds faster when compared to a DSL. Under the new plan, a custometrr can now get 180 channels of which 40 will be avialable in HD, 15MBPS internet speeds and unlimited landline calls at a discounted price of 95$ a month.
Unlike traditional computing devices, internet browsing on mobile devices are different – you only zoom and view sections of a webpage that you want to see. While that works fine for most part, advertisers who pay ad networks on an impression basis may lose out considering that the mobile phone user may have skipped the advertisement section altogether.
So how should it work? A Google patent application made public last week tells us how. In the application, the engineers explain the process of using “display thresholds” as a metric to ascertain if an advertiser should be charged for an impression or not. The application reads,
“An impression is determined to have occurred if a display of an advertisement in the viewport exceeds certain display thresholds so that the advertisement is likely to be discernible to a user of the device. These display thresholds can include, for example, the percentage of the advertisement displayed in the viewport of the device and the zoom level of the viewport (or scale of the viewport). The display thresholds can also include the duration with which the advertisement is displayed in the viewport.”
It is not clear if Google already makes use of this metric on their advertisements. Nevertheless, this is an interesting exercise that should make mobile-advertising all the more attractive to advertisers.
Apparently, both Google and Facebook are holding talks with Twitter with regards to its sale. Twitter, the very famous microblogging site which started in 2006 had actually grown phenomenally in its initial years. It is estimated that Twitter would quote a price of 8-10 billion dollars. Estimates are that Twitter only managed to make 45 million dollars in the year 2010. Also, Twitter has hired more employees and acquired new data centers. Due to this, Twitter has supposedly lost a fair amount of money. It is also being estimated that the turnovers of twitter in 2011 are only going to be 11 million dollars utmost.
Now, if Facebook were to acquire Twitter, it is most likely that the only genuine competitor that it ever had up to now would be gone with a swift blow. If Google were to acquire it, it would certainly look to expand Twitter, as they have failed miserably with Buzz.
Let’s wait and see which giant gets the cherry!
We all know about the Nokia-Microsoft partnership that happened yesterday. Now, if rumors are to be believed, Nokia is also planning to tie-up with Google and use the support of their phone OS Android. This news comes from Elder Murtazin, the chief analyst of Mobile-Review.com. “Inside sources have reported that Nokia is also planning to cut a deal with Google”, said Murtazin. Murtazin has also tweeted that the first Android based Nokia phones are due for a 2012 market release.
We already know that Nokia has let go of its own phone OS Symbian and from now on their mobile phone solutions are going to be based on Microsoft’s Windows. With Android stepping into the scene as well, we can now be sure that Symbian is gone forever and we won’t be seeing the two hands shaking on Nokia’s start-up screens any more.
If rumors are to be believed, RIM is looking to implement Google’s Android apps on its Playbook, the new Blackberry tablet from RIM. According to reports, RIM, with the help of an in-built software is looking to run the 130,000 Android Apps on its upcoming tablet. The android App support for the Playbook is expected to be ready by this year’s second half.
But, RIM is a bit apprehensive about implementing it at the same time as it fears legal obligations from Oracle if it were to use the Android’s Dalvik Virtual Machine that powers the Android 3.0 tablets. But, right now there is nothing official about this move either from RIM nor Google.
But, if RIM were to seek Goolge’s help in this regards, Google would be more than happy to extend their App store on to the Blackberry tablets as well. But, where does this leave Blackberry store?