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Future of the Web, Humanity, & Advertising

I recently had the opportunity to attend a presentation by Qi Lu, President of Microsoft's Online Services Division and got to hear his views on what the future holds for the web and search. The presentation was really interesting and actually put me in awe of how much possibility there is. Here are some of the innovations that the web has had and will see in the future: Keywords ' search engines primarily ran on these in the beginning to gather search results Geo-targeting ' implemented to help the user find more location relevant search results Apps ' helped bring the web's information to user's on-the-go Social ' developed to connect you with your friends. Implementing this into search engines is the next step for Microsoft and by teaming up with Facebook, this gives them a huge advantage Task Completion ' another soon to be new frontier in the world of search engines. For example, right now searching 'dinner for two, movie after'? will not generate relevant results for what you want. But in a smarter web with task completion, you will yield results for restaurants and movies nearby, both with reviews or ratings from people you know, location information, as well as maybe an ad for cabs to take you from the restaurant to the movies, all in one search With all of these innovations, one person mentioned the printing press and how the invention of it indirectly cheap cialis sparked the Enlightenment. So with a smarter web that is even more accessible to everyone, what does this mean for humanity? Lu's take on it is that an increased interconnectivity of the world is going to bring people much closer together and that the idea of community will be radically transformed, as well as what constitutes a civil behavior. Also with a more streamlined and smarter web, one wonders how advertising will change and if it will even still be relevant to us anymore. Lu believes advertising is here to stay and with good reason. If there was no advertising then there would be no information to search for. Advertising is what informs us of new information regarding certain products or services that we would otherwise not know about. However, the portal in which that information is delivered is and will constantly change. This is why startups like Groupon have reached an unprecedented amount of success in today's market. Now more than ever, Lu believes startups have a huge opportunity to help shape the web's future. Web innovation is all about making the most out of everything the web has to offer. Streamlining it into your day-to-day life is what successful innovation is made of. Innovators eventually want to reach a point where the web can read your mind and your intent so well that it will be able to generate relevant results, as well as ads. It seems that a psychic internet may be a long way away but only because there is still much left to be discovered.

  • 2 min read
  • May 19, 2011

Future of the Web, Humanity, & Advertising

I recently had the opportunity to attend a presentation by Qi Lu, President of Microsoft's Online Services Division and got to hear his views on what the future holds for the web and search. The presentation was really interesting and actually put me in awe of how much possibility there is. Here are some of the innovations that the web has had and will see in the future: Keywords ' search engines primarily ran on these in the beginning to gather search results Geo-targeting ' implemented to help the user find more location relevant search results Apps ' helped bring the web's information to user's on-the-go Social ' developed to connect you with your friends. Implementing this into search engines is the next step for Microsoft and by teaming up with Facebook, this gives them a huge advantage Task Completion ' another soon to be new frontier in the world of search engines. For example, right now searching 'dinner for two, movie after'? will not generate relevant results for what you want. But in a smarter web with task completion, you will yield results for restaurants and movies nearby, both with reviews or ratings from people you know, location information, as well as maybe an ad for cabs to take you from the restaurant to the movies, all in one search With all of these innovations, one person mentioned the printing press and how the invention of it indirectly cheap cialis sparked the Enlightenment. So with a smarter web that is even more accessible to everyone, what does this mean for humanity? Lu's take on it is that an increased interconnectivity of the world is going to bring people much closer together and that the idea of community will be radically transformed, as well as what constitutes a civil behavior. Also with a more streamlined and smarter web, one wonders how advertising will change and if it will even still be relevant to us anymore. Lu believes advertising is here to stay and with good reason. If there was no advertising then there would be no information to search for. Advertising is what informs us of new information regarding certain products or services that we would otherwise not know about. However, the portal in which that information is delivered is and will constantly change. This is why startups like Groupon have reached an unprecedented amount of success in today's market. Now more than ever, Lu believes startups have a huge opportunity to help shape the web's future. Web innovation is all about making the most out of everything the web has to offer. Streamlining it into your day-to-day life is what successful innovation is made of. Innovators eventually want to reach a point where the web can read your mind and your intent so well that it will be able to generate relevant results, as well as ads. It seems that a psychic internet may be a long way away but only because there is still much left to be discovered.

Google +1 Button for Websites Set to Go Live

In a matter of weeks, website owners will be able to insert the all new Google +1 Button to their websites, according to an announcement at the most recent Google I/O conference in San Francisco, California. During the event, Google gave a sneak peak at what the +1 button misoprostol abortion will look like, and provided examples of functionality and data analytics webmasters will have access to. The +1 button will look very similar to the current Facebook 'Like' Button, and will provide a greater amount of behind the scenes information to webmasters that Facebook/Twitter currently do not. In terms of functionality, +1 will allow website visitors to endorse either a web page or an article, ultimately giving Google the signal of quality content that is being voted on by others. The installation of the actual +1 button will be quite easy and as simple as adding a piece of HTML code provided by Google to the page of your choice. The button will be available in different types and sizes, depending on your preference. During the I/O Conference, Google mentioned the following statistics will be available to webmasters using Google Webmaster Tools after incorporating the +1 button on their website: Demographic Information (by age and sex) Number of +1 votes, broken down page by page User location Language Article impressions and click-thru metrics The data will be available in a graphical interface and offer visual charts to help website owners interpret the information and activity around the content that is being voted on. With the +1 Button set to go live, and likely become available in late May/early June, this could potentially be a major step by Google to make an effort to continue to incorporate social media metrics into their standard search ranking algorithm.  Google's goal is to better understand what content is being shared to help determine quality, and possibly include social factors into their standard organic search algorithm. Additionally, the Bing/Yahoo alliance and Facebook partnership makes Bing a bigger threat to Google as it continues to gradually gain market share, therefore Google is definitely feeling the pressure. It is up for debate whether the new +1 feature will open the door for aggressive SEO tactics and manipulation to try to game the system. Ultimately though, quality content remains KING. Ongoing development of buzz-worthy content for your website is about to become more important than ever with the introduction of +1. Get notified when the Google +1 Button becomes available. Sign-up here

This Week's Buzz within the Digital Space

Google imitates Facebook. Rumors have been flying about Google's Facebook copycat product:  Google Me . The company has already tried and failed to foray into social networking by their own means (e.g. Google Buzz, Okrut). But I, personally, wouldn't mind a Facebook clone ' encouraging fragmentation in the market and a check on Facebook's power. Because of Facebook's privacy negligence, consumers are now looking for an open alternative. It's feasible that Google Me could be the right solution, at the right time - capturing Facebook drop outs who are fed up with the network's omnipotence. Google can now attempt to persuade their 900M loyal users to follow them to a more secure and democratic social scene. I see this resulting in one of two scenarios. Facebook is approaching saturation. Consumers may become sick of Facebook and try Google's clone out of rebellion'?¦ or Facebook may listen to our complaints, adapt, and maybe even expand their search functionality as an added crack at Google. And, Google should feel threatened.  In March, for the first time ever, Facebook had a larger weekly market share than Google, making them the most popular website in the country (at least for that week). Facebook is increasingly web users' portal of choice. From a consumer's perspective, I want to see competition in this space. Facebook, right now, doesn't need to fight for my loyalty (with clear and simple privacy settings, for example). If I want to socialize online, they're the easiest option; I'm stuck with them.  In the end, though, we only want to participate on a single social portal. Would you make the switch? Google challenges Microsoft. This week, Google acquired major travel search company ITA Software ' as well as revised their business strategy. The search engine giant now aims to focus on vertical search, which is (not coincidently) their rival Bing's main differentiating feature. For those who know the information they're searching for, and want to find it fast, Google is their go-to engine. Alternatively, Bing is promoted as a discovery tool. It's the difference between needing neutral results or filtered, customized outputs.  Many consumers rely on the Internet to make their travel plans (about 90M Americans in the past year), making travel search a huge opportunity with a huge audience. Google obviously wants to remain king of this vertical and sees Bing as a contender. But, Bing's 3% travel search market share seems very insignificant next to Google's 30%. The buy makes strategic sense. Purchase-orientated search is just another opportunity for Google to monetize ' potentially charging airlines and travel aggregators on a cost-per-action basis. And ITA Software, the company they've chosen to partner with, powers a part of Bing's search.

What Winter Fear Mongering Means for Marketers

Based in the Boston area, we have been victimized by the local meteorologists. A week ago, over-hyped warnings sent people fleeing from a snow storm that never came. The grim forecast closed businesses, public offices and schools throughout the region. Unfortunately, the amount of snow that fell could easily be cleared with a kitchen broom in Boston and areas north. Business disruption aside, how did this media snow job affect people's Internet usage? Looking at the search history for the term 'snow' on Google Insights for Search, the clear spike in traffic shows that all the hype drove people to search engines. Obviously, this spike in activity presents a clear opportunity for marketers who offer products and services related to wintery weather. Surprisingly, there was very little uptick in activity from the likely suspects, such as ski resorts and snow removal services, who given the dry winter could likely use a little boost of enthusiasm for their services. In addition, inclement weather this time of year would be a great opportunity for clothing retailers, whom are likely staring at a lot of winter inventory with the new season quickly approaching, to spread the word about winter sales. And what about businesses that offer relief from New England winters (Think WARM Thoughts!!!). If I was considering a tropical vacation, fear of impending winter doom might certainly push me to book. In these challenging economic times, marketers need to be on the lookout for untapped opportunities that give them an edge. Over-hyped news stories, whether justified or not, certainly present a rock that marketers should consider turning over to get a leg up on their competition.

Facebook'?¦ The Future of Search???

Facebook has recently unveiled some new changes to the search capabilities which strikes at the heart of some major usability issues with the site. In addition to categorization of search results by origin (i.e. groups, friends, pages, etc.) the new search functionality allows users to reach out beyond their network of friends to see information from any Facebook user that has a public profile. I disagree with many in the industry that see this as an attempt to crush Twitter, which has always opened up search results to public profiles. Rather, expanding the scope of accessibility to information across Facebook will only help people make more connections with other likeminded individuals. The old platform made it easy to connect with people and causes that you already knew. This expanded search functionality will allow people to make those more difficult and vastly more available connections with people and groups that exist outside their direct or indirect networks. If this move is a threat to anyone, it's Google. The way that people find information on the Internet is changing. Search engines have done a great job of organizing the near infinite information that exists across the Internet, but most search results lack a degree of credibility. Social media sites put a person behind the information and people are naturally more adept at assessing the trustworthiness of other people then they are of websites. If Facebook can put a quality search platform behind the content that is flowing across their large and diverse userbase, it would certainly have the potential to impact people's dependence on Google's search results.

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