Stories Making Headlines in Digital and Social Media News This week

3I pulled the social and digital media headlines from across the interwebs so you wouldn’t have to. Here’s what you need to know to get up to date this week..

Fast Company: How Periscope, Meerkat, and Snapchat Will Change How TV Covers News, Sports, and Weather – The $70-billion-a-year television business (in the U.S.) has been under attack from all sides—Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, and other services are all stealing attention (and revenue). But amid the shift to on-demand entertainment, traditional TV has doubled down on what only it can offer: live events, particularly news, sports, and weather. Easy-to-use, mobile live-streaming services could upend what has been the last sacrosanct aspect of the TV industry. This doesn’t necessarily mean doom and gloom for TV networks; in fact, it creates a universe of fascinating possibilities for them to reimagine their businesses. [ED NOTE: Just last week my media partner and I did a Periscope, Meerkat and LiveStream event for a Baltimore Reporters Roundtable. These easy to use platforms made the programming accessible and allowed my Digital Media Mavens partners and I to share our content across platforms in ways that would have been impossible just a few short months ago. You can watch an archive of the live stream here.

CopyBlogger: The Disgustingly Simple Rule for Web Writing That’s Often Hard to Swallow – Web users are mission-minded. Cramped for attention. Bent on standards. And uninterested in learning new navigation methods. What you have to remember is that people don’t go to the web to window shop. They go there to drive 60 miles per hour — and look at billboards. Thus, there’s only one good reason why you should learn how to write clear, concise and compelling copy for the web… [ED NOTE: If you need some tips who writing for your blog, you can check out my blog post, I BLOGGED FOR 21 DAYS STRAIGHT. HERE’S WHAT I LEARNED]

Mashable: Facebook Messenger now gives context about the people contacting you. – To make new connections less jarring, Facebook Messenger is introducing a new feature on Thursday that gives you bits of information about someone messaging you for the first time, whether the person is one of your Facebook friends or not. The Messenger team is rolling it out to iOS and Android users in the U.S., UK, France and India over the next few weeks. [ED NOTE: That’s not creepy. Not creepy at all. You know I’m kidding… right]

More of Facebook, because, well, it’s FACEBOOK!

Re/code: Microsoft, Facebook, Google And The Future Of Voice Communications – All of a sudden, it seems like Facebook, Google and Apple are climbing all over each other to own the voice interaction, and specifically, the phone conversation. They’re in a race to compete in the most valuable part of “social” — as if they’ve forgotten, until now, just how much humans ultimately value one-on-one conversation.

Search Engines Want To Sit Between YOU and Your Friends

You may have noticed that the online marketing strategist in your life has been sweating a little more than usual these days. It’s not because the heat inside your building is set to unnaturally high temperatures to combat the cold. Thanks to recent changes in search engine security, online marketing has just gotten a bit more challenging.

Major search engines – including Google, Yahoo, and little brother Bing – are looking to find that sweet spot between customer privacy and satisfaction. As Christopher Soghoian, technology researcher and Principal Technologist with the American Civil Liberties Union, stated during his speech with Edward Snowden at SXSW, “Google, Yahoo and other internet companies want to sit between the conversations you have with your friends and add value…That business model is incompatible with your security, with your having a secure, end-to-end connection to your friends.”

Players in the virtual world were up in arms after revelations about government internet monitoring were brought to life (synopsis here). In response, Google, Yahoo, Twitter, and six other integral names in the information exchange mix formed Global Government Surveillance Reform. This committee strives to limit government oversight of user data and increase transparency of back-end snooping.

So why are marketing strategists feeling the stress? You may notice (or, if you didn’t, you will notice it now) that after you type a search into Google, the resulting page URL begins with HTTPS. This extraneous S automatically encrypts data or veils them to potential eavesdroppers. This means that keywords, or search terms that eventually lead a potential customer to your site, will no longer be included in the analytics.

Yes, keyword searches are an important piece of the marketing puzzle. They provide valuable insight into how you can move your website up the Google food chain. However, this recent layer of protection is not an impenetrable barrier. Here are some ways that you can respond to this strategy change:

  • Enlist outside help. Programs offering ways to interpret available data have begun to surface. For example, gShift Labs unveiled Not Provided, a program that analyzes daily metrics to offer popular keywords. Their website advises this product is best for medium-sized-and-up companies, so if you’re a small business, this may not be work for you.
  • Pay to play. Those who advertise on Google using AdWords still receive keyword data. Yahoo and Bing do not. This handy chart breaks down the differences between each major search engine’s handling of secure search.
  • Keep doing what you’re doing, and then some. You are the expert on your intended audience. When maintaining your online presence, it’s important to research key terms and common subjects; however, trying to stick to a few choice statements puts barriers on creativity and increases chances of redundancy. Having limited contact with keywords limits your chances of self-imposed restraint. Given that changes in security, protocol will not affect current rankings on search engines, embrace your new-found freedom and get creative with content!

Look at it this way, marketing gurus: secure searching is a challenge, but not a barrier. It’s time to let your flag fly: highlight your great design of infographics and not your ability to work “changemaker” and “sustainability” onto every page. If you build it and build it well, your well-protected clientele will come.

This post was originally written All Things E.

Happy Birthday Google!

Let’s see now… three Google Gmail accounts, two websites parked on Google, two Blogger blogs, an active Google+ account and iOS 6 Google apps on my iPhone and iPad.  If you include that with a minimum of a dozen Google searches per day and I can honestly say, I don’t know where I would be without Google.

Happy 14th Birthday, Google.  My we live to grow old together!

Google Gets a New Look

Today Google’s social network, Google Plus, has gotten a new facelift.  Google + upgraded its look, making images and videos larger and navigation customizable.  Now, is it just me or does this new look of the Profile page mirror that of that other social network… what’s it called again?  Oh, yeah, Facebook. 

But the new design isn’t just about how your profile will look.  The changes are aimed at making the user experience more visually appealing while they also attempt to streamline the interface.  On its official blog, Google explained the changes:

A critical piece of this social layer is a design that grows alongside our aspirations. So today we’re introducing a more functional and flexible version of Google+. We think you’ll find it easier to use and nicer to look at, but most importantly, it accelerates our efforts to create a simpler, more beautiful.

 

Take a look

With the new layout you can:

  • Set your own navigation through the site
  • Share more easily with your contacts
  • Have a dedicated location for Hangouts
  • Read what’s trending on the new Explore page

Some people are already up in arms about the new layout.  You just can’t please everybody.  Although the changes are less than 24 hours old, there has been some early onset backlash and praise.  Not quite the backlash that Facebook has gotten for their forced timeline (which I happen to love.  I guess it’s just me…  I like change.  I like change a lot.  So I’m thrilled with the new look.

Have you tried out the new Google + layout and if so, what do you think?

 

 

 

Google+ vs Facebook… Who is Winning?

Google+ is where I engage with the social media, biking, and music community. I made these Circles to specifically isolate these groups, to drown out the other “noise” of other posts, and to focus on the conversations that mean the most to me.  Facebook, however, is where I hangout with family, friends, and well, people who say there are “friends” but who are more like very casual people I barely know and may, at some point, want to engage with.  Wondering what the breakdown of Google+ vs Facebook looks like? See the Infographic below.

The Big Four Tech War

As the Holidays near and the four powerhouses of tech, Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon are fighting for position in the tech wars and holiday season sales.  This is a tech war like none other.

“It’s the biggest, most intense battle in tech history,” said Ted Morgan, chief executive of Skyhook Wireless, a firm that provides location-based technology for mobile devices. “It’s so much bigger than even the Microsoft, Apple, IBM battles of the 1990s.”

Here’s how the four shake out:

Google

  • Makes money selling ads that appear alongside its search results.
  • Developed the Android software to run on phones built by others, including Motorola, Samsung and HTC.
  • Looking to acquire cell phone-maker Motorola Mobility Holdings.
  • Recently released Google Music

Apple

• Built success by selling computers, phones and tablets that work seamlessly with the company’s software programs.

• Announced that more than 25 million people have downloaded iOS 5.

• Recently shared iCloud, a brand-new service that lets you store your emails, music files, videos, and more on an Apple-controlled remote server, and access the data from any other device with iCloud support.

As a side note, the passing of Apple’s former CEO Steve Jobs has the entire tech community wondering how his absence will impact the company he co-founded.

“Since Jobs passed on the baton to Tim Cook in late August this year there has been concern among market watchers that an Apple without Steve Jobs at the helm will not be the same. However, some believe the skeptics might be underestimating Apple’s bench strength. “This is something they’ve been planning for and thinking about for a long time,” David Riedel, President and Founder of Riedel Research Group, said.  “One of the qualities of a good CEO is that he can pick the right people, and Jobs was such CEO, Jeff Ebersits, CIO at Shareholder Value Management.” Source

Facebook

• The baby of the bunch, Facebook is the world’s most popular social network. But founder Mark Zuckerberg’s ambitions are grander – and they run directly into those of the three other Titans.

• Facebook hopes to be an alternative way to organize the Web, a platform for consumers to spend their time online. Instead of using Google’s algorithm to search for news and information, Zuckerberg envisions a future in which people consult their network of friends.

• Most critically, content on Facebook is out of the reach of Google’s search engine. And the more time people spend on Facebook, the less time they are looking at ads on Google, which recently launched Google+ as a rival social network.

• Facebook is beginning to bump into Apple’s business of selling apps on its devices. Zuckerberg’s company has quickly become a powerful player in the booming market for social games, such as the popular FarmVille.

Amazon

• The world’s biggest online retailer.

• Benefiting from growing sales of its Kindle e-book reader and digital media, including books, movies and music, putting it in competition with Apple’s iTunes.

• Like Google – is shifting toward Apple’s territory of making devices. Not only does Amazon have the Kindle, but they recently released the Kindle Fire to rival the iPad.


Google+ Week One – Who Is In Your Circle?

G

If you haven’t heard, Google has rolled out a new social network and I’m giving Google+ two thumbs up.  I should, for the past few nights I’ve gone to bed late and gotten up very early just so I can experiment with it. Winning where Google Wave failed, I have to say my initial impression of the platform has been very positive.  Over the past few days I have been experimenting, observing, commenting, uploading, testing and getting to know this platform. In its first week, I’m still here checking notifications, trying out new features and getting to know my fellow Google+ community.

You may be asking do we really need another social network.  I know for many folks this will be another thorn in their side as they attempt to learn yet site.  But for me it was an easy fit.  I have a pretty strong presence on Google already so the migration of my public Google profile, Google Buzz posts and Picasa photos was rather easy.  Look, I recognized long ago that Google was into world domination so I’ve been on board with them for a while. 

After setting up the Goolge+ page the next step was deciding who I wanted to be in your Circle.  Circles on Google+ are a grouping of friends, followers and others that you want to interact with online.  I’ll admit that being able to drag and drop people into a circle that spins your additions into place is cool as all get out.  Then after deciding who I would add, the next task was deciding what kinds of Circles I wanted.  Google+ has allowed me to separate my real “friends” from the rest of the online world I engage with.  I found myself coming up with zany titles for my Circles.  Here are a few Circle names I’ve decided not to use (yet) that include:

  • I Don’t Know You But I May Want To
  • Why Am I Following You In The First Place
  • Didn’t I Un-Friend You On Facebook
  • You Think You’re A Friend But You Really Aren’t
  • People I’m Suppose To Follow But Don’t Really Like  

Oh, the list is endless!  Once the Circles were complete the last step was to start engaging with the other early adopters.  Similar to Facebook, you can follow the feed and start commenting on or reposting links from others.  The handy +1 button, very similar to the Facebook Like button, allows you to easily share posts.  Last but not least, the other stand out for me is Hangouts.  

The Hangout feature blows me away.  Think of it as a big chat service on steroids.  You simply contact one or more people from your Circle and ask them to “hangout” with you.  Then you can video/audio chat with them.  This chat feature clearly sets Google+ apart from all other social networks. However, there is pressure to look good all day long… you never know who might want to hang out with you and you don’t want to get caught looking crazy when someone asks you the Hangout. 

Originally one of my favorite features was being able to segregate my posts.  I can send them to the entire public or to a certain group of people in my Circle.  This alone is a win for me.  Now, however, I’ve found a little problem with the Circles.  I was invited to what I was told was a “private” Circle.  I was then asked a question.  The problem, I thought I was having a private conversation between myself and the other person.  I had no idea it was Circle of three people.  So what I thought was a private conversation between myself and one other person was actually a three-way conversation.  Note to self, unless you know the person sent you a notification privately, assume other people can see your reply.  Then to send notifications privately you can single out the person by hitting the “+” symbol and typing in their name.  

Finally, once I can do multiple posts to Google+ from Twitter and Facebook (I’m not any where near ready to leave those two sites right now) and once I have an iPhone/iPad app that will alert me of my notifications, then I will settle comfortably into Google+ and never leave.  

 

Google+ Week One AKA My New Addiction

I’ve gotten very little sleep over the past few days experimenting with Google+, the new social network just rolled out by Google. Winning where Google Wave failed, I have to say my initial impression of the platform has been very positive. Over the past few days I have been experimenting, observing, commenting, uploading, testing and getting to know this platform. It’s only been week one but my fascination has not waned yet.

For many this will be another thorn in their side as they attempt to learn yet another social network. But for me it was an easy fit. I have a pretty strong presence on Google already so the migration of my public Google profile, Google buzz posts and Picasa photos was rather easy. Look, I recognized long ago that Google was into world domination so I’ve been on board with them for a while.

The next step in Goolge+ was deciding who I wanted to be in my Circle. Circles on Google+ are a grouping of friends, followers and others that you want to interact with online. After deciding who I would add, the next task was deciding what kinds of Circles I wanted. Google+ has allowed me to separate my real “friends” from the rest of the online world I engage with. I found myself coming up with zany titles for my Circles like, “I Don’t Know You But I May Want To” or “Why Am I Following You” to the one that really counts, “My Inner Circle.” Actually, part of the fun is deciding who will goes where.

Finally, the last step was to start engaging with the other early adopters. Similar to Facebook, you can just follow the feed and start commenting on or reposting links from others. The handy +1 button, very similar to the Facebook Like button, allows you to easily share posts. Last but not least, Hangouts blow me away. Think of them as a chat service on steroids. This video chat feature clearly sets Google+ apart from all other social networks. However, there is pressure to look good all day long… you never know who might want to hang out!

My last and final “Like”… is that unlike Facebook and Twitter… I can segregate my posts to the entire public or to a certain group of people. This alone is a win for me. Once I can do multiple posts to Twitter and Facebook (I’m not any where near ready to leave those two sites) and once I have an iPhone and iPad app then I will settle comfortably into Google+ and never leave. In the meantime, Chris Brogan, President of Human Business Works, has summed up the 50 pros for Google+ better than any other posts I’ve read. Check out his post below.

Amplify’d from www.chrisbrogan.com

 50 pros for Google

  1. 50Google+ is built to take you away from either Facebook or Twitter (or both), and it could do it, in time.
  2. If it seems like FriendFeed, and thus you worry it might burn out, know that Newt Gingrich has already joined.
  3. With a G+ account, you get unlimited photo storage on Picasa. (Flickr feel threatened? FB photos?)
  4. With Circles (how one groups people), you control privacy in a way that makes clear and obvious sense.
  5. Your “about” section is rich, robust, allows links, photos, QR codes, and more.
  6. The “about” section is rich, robust, allows links, photos, QR codes, and more. Marketers rejoice
  7. If Google+ starts influencing Page Rank (meaning, if a link shared on G+ is weighted more than others), it’s game on for SEO/SEM.
  8. If Google Music integrates into this platform the way YouTube is now, it’s a powerful entertainment media platform instantly
  9. You don’t need Quora, if you can ask detailed questions in G+ and share them with specific Circles, etc.
  10. The live video chat feature is a powerful addition to collaboration and workshifting

“A question to ask yourself is, ‘Should I get in early, before anyone’s there to bother with? If I don’t look at it for a year, will I lose ground? If it’s still early days, why should I bother with Google Plus yet?’”

  1. A standalone Google+ Apps version plus Google Docs = a very powerful business collaboration environment that would trump most white label social enterprise tech easily.
  2. With G+ seeing our comment streams, their ability to better plot social graphs and integrate AdSense and maybe even Google Affiliate opportunities is huge. (Yes, FB does this, but Google thrives on Adsense.)
  3. If Google+ offered a WordPress comment integration, I would give G+ my comments in a heartbeat.
  4. That lame +1 button from a few months back now became something rather valuable, if G+ takes off.
  5. People keep citing the FB has 600 million, so no one’s going anywhere argument. AOL, anyone? People migrate. It happens.
  6. There are more big name visionaries poking around on Google+ right out in the open than on any other social application that I’ve seen (this just might be the nature of G+, that everything is so visible, but it FEELS like big news to have Michael Dell and Mark Zuckerberg and others checking it out.)
  7. G+ pushes more use of Gmail. I’ve received 15 non-spam messages in 2 days from my core gmail account, after having had almost zero traffic (nonspam) for 2 years.
  8. If Google integrates Calendar into + and makes it like Tungle, then social calendaring gets pretty interesting.
  9. Google Buzz, which went nowhere for most folks, now looks like a nice sharing stream in your G+ profile, especially if you share a lot via Google Reader.
  10. The photo display interface in Google+ is stunning, adding to my thoughts of this making for an amazing media platform. The moment G+ full-throttle opens up accounts for businesses, you’ll hear big news plays about this platform.

“Would all Google’s efforts in building an OS plus their commanding growth in mobile point to a potential rapid leapfrogging of either Twitter or Facebook? I don’t think so, but Google is wealthy enough to play the long game, and if you think of all these various integrations, this becomes much more interesting to consider.”

  1. With Google’s ChromeOS push, plus the proliferation of Android, Google+ now becomes quite a robust integrated communications, media, and sharing layer on multiple platforms natively, plus it is supported by browsers on all other platforms.
  2. Hangouts (live multi-user video chats) works with Google Translate to faciliate multi-language instant communication. Neither Skype nor Facetime do that.
  3. Google+ is perfectly configured to run social customer service, if only they allowed baked in search capabilities akin to search.twitter.com.
  4. It would take relatively little to integrate Google Voice into this stack in a meaningful way to add SMS to this, plus GTalk already does voice and video 1-to-1.
  5. I don’t think that Blogger integration would improve G+. WordPress has won that war, though Blogger is still serviceable and people still like it.
  6. G+ also won’t replace blogging, such as it is, but not unlike the decline in blogging frequency after Twitter and FB became more popular, G+ makes is really easy to see how you could do the same things inside G+ and maybe get more traction.
  7. (Don’t be swayed by the above. Your blog is your own real estate. Blogging inside anyone else’s platform is like renting a hotel room, putting up posters, and thinking it’s your place.)
  8. Twitter makes a cleaner “newsroom” feel, but G+ has many more methods to tell and deliver a story. A news Circle in G+ would feel as rich as Flipboard.
  9. Oh, I almost forgot: G+ on an Android Tablet is pretty darned good.
  10. Advertising integration seems simple and obvious. Commerce integration doesn’t seem that hard, if you squint.

“Will the mainstream pick this up the way they did Twitter? Does the fact that the URLs for your account on Google+ are messier mean it’ll lack that simple audible sharing we hear on the radio and on TV?”

  1. If you enable location on your mobile device, G+ creates circles by “nearby,” thus allowing for instant location-centric social networks.
  2. If G+ did something special with QR and empowered more location-focused media delivery, then you’d have a powerful media/marketing opportunity right there.
  3. G+ could enable some really interesting multi-format publishing if you turn it around: mix audio, video, photo, text, link, and location data into a “package” or a “project,” and you’ve got a powerful digital publishing platform. (See also the last part of the next point.)
  4. How long before we see our first Hangout live music “jam?” That’s one record button away from being supercool. And one “name your price” Google Checkout tweak away from being instant micro content for sale.
  5. If Google Places integrated with G+ and one were using the mobile/nearby functionality, interesting “migratory” graphs suddenly become a new datapoint for marketers (or researchers, or whatever).
  6. The nonprofit tech use implications of Google+ are quite interesting, especially of Google Pages is reimagined for Google+.
  7. If I can move a Google Presentation into my stream, then I can share business information in a valuable in-system way.
  8. Google+ needs a “sticky” post for streams, so that we can hang a daily status or special update on our stream/profile for the whole day.
  9. When Google+ gets off-site sharing and/or bookmarking abilities, plus when it integrates a URL shortener with stats built in, kapow.
  10. There are no private message functions built in, but that’s because there’s a “send an email” on everyone’s profile page. This is still clunky. This belies the motivations of Google (let us see it all) versus Facebook/Twitter (you just keep feeling like you’re private, if that helps you!).

“Remembering for a moment that Google’s biggest monetary trick is to serve highly targeted ads, what does the Google+ platform do to enhance their data set? Hint: lots!”

  1. The Spark area isn’t that compelling yet, but add user-created materials, plus let us curate that area differently, and we’ll eat out of your hands.
  2. If I were Google, I’d buy Alltop and replace Spark with that.
  3. If users could add themselves to “public” or “member’s only” circles, Google+ would make the ultimate conference attendee/participant tool, almost as-is.
  4. There talk about how some of us are using hashtags inside Google+, even though they don’t function that way. What we’re saying is, “Please let us have tools to create our own folksonomy,” and when Google listens to that, they will see even more interesting social graphs.
  5. Ford is already investigating the heck out of Google+. Location data plus Places plus users’ friends data makes for a rich marketing profile, and some really useful tools.
  6. Google+ would be the ultimate environment for ethical affiliate marketing, if the concept of “objects” or “things” existed. Meaning, if I could say, “I’m enjoying my new !TDK Boombox! today,” and that use of !! became a link that paid me a few bucks if someone bought a TDK boombox after my recommendation, that would be nifty for some.
  7. I saw many early worries from users that marketers would come and ruin things. They’re right to worry. This is a new place to experiment and it will happen. But I’m optimistic.
  8. Small Businesses would benefit from an integration of Places, Pages, and Google Plus. That whole social customer service movement? Pow. Done. Easy.
  9. The minute I can pump a bunch of saved search RSS feeds into Google+ directly, the sooner Google+ would feel like a listening station mixed with a media making/curating platform all in one platform.
  10. The notion of “trending topics” would be exponentially more valuable inside of Google+, depending on how the algorithyms reflected this.

Read more at www.chrisbrogan.com

Google Doodle celebrates the life of Rosa Parks

Today, Google Doodle celebrates the life of Rosa Parks and the 1955 Act of Civil Disobedience anniversary. I have to say, I’m impressed with Google for this Doodle and I’m surprised how much I pay attention to the Google Doodle in the first place!

Amplify’d from www.batangastoday.com

Today, December 1, 2010, Google Doodle celebrates the life of Rosa Parks and the 1955 ‘act of civil disobedience’ anniversary that lead to a long boycott but eventually ended to the 1964 Civil Rights Act in US, as shown in the Google homepage.

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, a black woman, and was then 42 years old, rode a bus with # 2857 in Montgomery, Alabama, and sat in front, but was arrested because she refused to give her seat to a white male passenger.

Parks was later convicted for disorderly conduct, but her action led to a huge bus liner boycott on December 5, 1995 and was successful, and she was considered as the icon of the ‘Civil Rights Movement’.

As shown below, the letters second ‘o’ and ‘g’, and ‘l’ of the Google logo were replaced by mixture of black and white passengers while the # 2857 was printed on the bus to help Google users in remembering that historical event.

In 1996, Rosa Parks received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and died peacefully in Michigan in 2005.

Read more at www.batangastoday.com

 

Fox.com now blocking Google TV devices

There is a work around… “you bring up the browser menu, then go to “more”, and then “settings”. From there go to “advanced” (as seen above) and then “mode”, and finally change the user agent mode from “default” to “generic. There you have it, you may now go back to watching all of your favorite Fox shows on Google TV… that is until Fox plugs this workaround like Hulu did. Stay tuned”.

Amplify’d from www.gtvhub.com

11.11 – Update: User agent fix unblocks Fox.com…for now.

Another one bites the dust. A couple of weeks ago, Fox.com was atop our list of Websites that could still be accessed on Google TV to stream full episodes of content. Well, you can go ahead and cross Fox off that list, as they are now blocking Google TV devices (see the photo above).

The list of networks allowing Google TV devices to access their online content appears to be dwindling. Stay tuned.

[Cheers, Brian]

Read more at www.gtvhub.com

Move over Apple, you may not be the sexiest phone afterall!

As the smartphone wars continue, it looks like the iPhone (my preference for it’s integration into all my other Apple products) is getting some stiffer competition. Will Apple’s culture hurt the iPhone?

Amplify’d from www.nytimes.com

If you want a smartphone powered by Google’s Android software, you could get Motorola’s Droid 2 or its cousin, the Droid X. Then there is the Droid Incredible from HTC, the Fascinate from Samsung and the Ally from LG.

Paul Sakuma/Associated Press -Steven P. Jobs, in 1984, presented the new Macintosh personal computer.

 

That’s just on Verizon Wireless. An additional 20 or so phones running Android are available in the United States, and there are about 90 worldwide.

But if your preference is an Apple-powered phone, you can buy — an iPhone.

That very short list explains in part why, for all its success in the phone business, Apple suddenly has a real fight on its hands.

Americans now are buying more Android phones than iPhones. If that trend continues, analysts say that in little more than a year, Android will have erased the iPhone’s once enormous lead in the high end of the smartphone market.

But this is not the first time Apple has found itself in this kind of fight, where its flagship product is under siege from a loose alliance of rivals selling dozens of competing gadgets.

In the early 1980s, the Macintosh faced an onslaught of competition from an army of PC makers whose products ran Microsoft software. The fight did not end well for Apple. In a few years, Microsoft all but sidelined Apple, and the company almost went out of business.

Can Apple, which insists on tight control of its devices, win in an intensely competitive market against rivals that are openly licensing their software to scores of companies? It faces that challenge not only in phones, but also in the market for tablet computers, where the iPad is about to take on a similar set of rivals.

“This is a really big strategic question,” said Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein and Company. “No one knows whether openness will ultimately prevail as it did on the PC.”

Apple declined to comment on the issue.

By some measures, the competition Apple faces this time is even more formidable than it was in PCs. In addition to the Android family, Apple already competes with Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry.

And the iPhone will soon have one more powerful, and familiar, foe: Microsoft. That company’s well-reviewed Windows Phone 7 software will appear in as many as nine new smartphones beginning next month. Others like Nokia cannot be counted out.

Read more at www.nytimes.com

The Bing-Facebook Alliance… Watch Out Google… NOT!

OK, so Bing and Facebook “just made search social”. Fastcompany.com asks the question, “will your online life ever be the same again” after the Facebook-Bing alliance? Uh, yeah! I don’t care how “social” Facebook and Bing become (as if Facebook could even BE anymore social), they are not taking down the search giant, world dominating Google. Yeah, I said it.

Here are six take aways regarding the Bing-Facebook alliance. After reading this post, Google more on the topic. By the way, when you get to the point where your brand represents the services you offer, i.e. we Xerox when we want to make a copy and we reach for a Kleenex to blow our nose, then you have made it baby. Seriously, go Google it if you don’t believe me… I mean search it :-)

Amplify’d from www.fastcompany.com

It’s not too audacious to say that the new Bing search features that Microsoft and Facebook unveiled today are going to upend the search business.

Until now, search algorithms have used machine learning and artificial intelligence to predict which of the billions of pages out on the Internet might be most salient to your search. Now, at least on Bing, they’re going to have access to something even more precious: the knowledge of who your friends are and what they like.

Among the features Bing is rolling out to users in the coming days is a module called “Liked Results” to its search results. Looking for information on that new Tom Cruise movie? On Google, your search engine would serve up the relevant pages it has calculated are the most popular. On Bing, as of now, it serves up the regular Google-style results and a module that shows you pages your friends have liked — including, for example, movie reviews. You no longer have to do the work of trolling through search results to figure out which of the pages might tell you whether the movie’s a hit or a bomb. Trust your friend Sara’s taste? Click on the page she Liked.

So what does this all mean? Here are a few takeaways:

1. Search just reached an inflection point. Google’s great innovation was to figure out how to deliver the most relevant search results, based on the assumption that a webpage that had a large number of other pages linking to it would be more interesting than one with fewer links. Google has built its search algorithms by continuing to troll large sets of data for other attributes that indicate relevance. Now, however, Bing can deliver results based on what your trusted sources of information—your friends and acquaintances—think. This is a giant leap forward. Among other things, it means that…

2. Companies have to focus on creating great customer experiences. Because when their customers go searching online—for a movie, a camera, a travel destination—their friends’ recommendations are going to be front and center. Launched a store that no one “Liked?” you’re not going to show up in the search results.

3. Search is going to look a lot different. Forget the list of blue links. As Qi Lu, the engineering lead for the new changes (and president of Microfsoft’s Online Services Group), said, once you introduce a social dimension to search results, you could actually start representing search results—visually—in new ways. He didn’t say what those might look like, but be prepared to see them soon, because…

4. We’re going to be seeing even more social elements introduced into Bing’s search results. And soon. Both Microsoft and Facebook said that today’s new features were just the beginning. It only took them two months to gin up the ones they released today. Which means more are going to be coming down the pike in the months to come. Which means…

5. Google may have to go back to the drawing board. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg didn’t say they were shutting the search giant out. In fact, he said that, ultimately, the company would like to work with all players in search. But for now, it appears he’s working solely with Microsoft.

6. You must master your Facebook privacy settings. Mindful of earlier criticism of Facebook’s handling of privacy issues, both Microsoft and Facebook went out of their way today to stress that users will retain control over what Facebook shares with Bing. The flip side is that users actually have to exercise the control that Bing and Facebook give them. Don’t want your friends’s friends to know you Liked Justin Beiber’s fan page? Better check those privacy settings now.

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