Only a couple of days after my post about the need for better portability of your social identity, Google has launched new features to its ‘Friend Connect’ solution. This looks like a clear move to counter the success of Facebook Connect, which is the current leader when it comes to easy integration and actual number of sites using the feature. This does not mean they are the definitive or the best solutions – just that both companies have a very larger user base that they can activate, which at the moment is the only measure of success.
The advantage for companies and their websites is that these services can make a site more social and engaging, and facilitates visitors interacting with each other. A site can piggyback on the technology from Friends Connect and enhance the social aspect of the site. The information gathered about the visitors can then be used to better target marketing solutions and shape the content of campaigns to match the interest of the site visitors.
The services from Google and Facebook are very similar but the two differ in who you can share with. Facebook only shares information between your friends but Google gives the opportunity to be social with whoever may have a similar interest. Both have their advantages and I think they will appeal to two different user types. I still think though that both are too centered on their own services and not open enough to become a winning standard. This should, nevertheless in the short term, not de-value the opportunities there are to take advantage from theses two services.
Massive circulation drops at U.S. newspapers have recently been reported, with more and more people getting their news from sources online. Why are we no longer getting our fingers dirty? Here at VerticPortals, we’re online all the time, so we tend to get our daily news online.
A recent lunchtime poll around the office resulted in divergent opinions on the newly redesigned CNN.com. CNN seems be moving in a more customized news direction, with user profiles that allow you to follow trending topics. A long list of video headlines has been replaced by a single rotating video article. The new iReports feature is another a unique step for CNN, bringing user generated news to the discussion in what is the first of its kind for a major news outlet. The most popular articles section (my favorite in any newspaper) stays.
The redesign has brought the headlines down in size slightly, making it more difficult to see something that makes users want to read at first glance. People in a rush might find that a quick scan of the site isn’t that easy. The new look continues to reflect the popularity of video on the web, which many here aren’t so crazy about.
Overall, the office tends to think the CNN redesign will keep users on the site for longer amounts of time.
Like Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket inside the factory, tomorrow, Sept 30th, Google will unveil Wave to 100,000 lucky users. The elite that gets a sneak peek will be able to test what Google has been touting since May.
Combining e-mail, IM, media sharing, forums, CMS, and more, Google Wave will generally take over communication platforms as we currently use them.
While everyone at VerticPortals NY is excited to see what exactly we’ve been hearing about for some time, I wanted to briefly talk about the buzz. It seems that more interest is being generated around who gets to see Google Wave, not what exactly we’re seeing. Witness the thousands of Twitter users hustling for invites, as some invitees will nominate 8 users to go to the front of the queue. It’s in demand to be on the Google Wave guest list, plus 8.
If you’re a developer who has tested Wave before, there won’t be any new features tomorrow. Wave is still buggy and is likely to crash. I’ll have to switch from my usual Firefox to Chrome in order for it to really work with the most fluid experience. Multiple features have yet to be implemented. For now, Google Wave will not include an app store or marketplace for widgets and robots.
But you’ll look really cool telling your friends you saw it first.
I have always had a soft spot for strategy and the Internet has forced some fast-paced strategic shifts upon many a business. One of the hardest hit is the music industry with dramatic loss of control and loss of revenue. People have been copying music for many years before the Internet but, especially with Napster, sharing accelerated on a global basis. However, the music business’ focus on loss of revenue made them lose focus of their users. Of course people were going to share music to save money ( believe me as college student with not too much money, CDs were expensive in Denmark, where I lived in the 90s). However, after a short time using Napster it was all the other qualities of the site that motivated people to use it: you could find all kinds of music that you had no access too, you could get one song instead of the whole album, you could get the music after just a few minutes of download and you could find great inspiration as you had access to all the other users’ music. The music industry focused on revenue and loss focus on their customers’ need for these qualities. (more…)
I keep saying how important video content is on a website and the latest numbers from comScore only confirms this. The numbers from July show an even higher increase than I had expected. Just in the US alone, 21.4 billion videos were watched, which is an 88% increase from just a year ago. Personally I watch less and less TV, instead watching online video, but it is not only tech-hungry users like me that are driving the increase. Video usage is spread across 81% of all Internet users with 135 videos watched per user over a 12 month period. As impressive as that may sound it is not even close to one video per day and therefore I am positive the current growth rate will only continue. (more…)
Lately it seems like augmented reality is generating more and more buzz… and for a good reason. It brings to life some of the potential of the 90’s love affair with virtual reality that never really became more than empty promises and some cool Hollywood films. Many critics say however it’s more of the same and that it will not go anywhere. I think augmented reality is here to stay. We will see more and more applications where it will be incorporated as we need to come up with more and better ways to interact with our computers than simply a keyboard and mouse. Augmented reality is the tool that will create a better bridge between the physical and digital environments. (more…)
It is no secret that the use of video is increasing online with Youtube as the leader in time spent engaging with the medium. I personally use it every day both at work and at home, especially now that the quality of video and sound is getting better and better. Video in its purest form however is no revolution and we carry over our viewing habits from watching TV. Video and its higher rich-media capability is a great way to capture your audience online but video should not be just a 1 way dialogue – you can also improve on its success depending on the use of video on your site. You can encourage the viewer to interact by integrating the video into your website and letting the user control the progress of the video. Real interactivity is what the Internet is capable of and it’s time to take better advantage of this option. The rewards are higher conversion rates, more time spent on your site and potentially higher ROI. Kodak has a new site that is a very simple and effective illustration of this model: Kodak’s What Z are you. What would you say is the best example you have seen?
VerticPortals’ mission is to move the boundaries of our customers’ use of the Internet. We also believe that a high degree of user engagement is essential in successful digital marketing campaigns and that the Internet should be integrated with all digital media to fully realise this engagement.
But how should we actually apply this mission to our solutions – and how do we create user engagement? To answer these questions, I would like to highlight a recently launched solution that clearly expresses how to creatively integrate different media with the purpose of fostering user involvement. (more…)