November 29, 2013
The article on MakeUseOf titled SayHi Translate Is Quite Possibly The Closest Thing To Star Trek’s Universal Translator promotes the Iphone app SayHi as the best translation app available. At one $1.99, the app provides translations between some 40 languages (more are available with the premium version). The user says their phrase slowly and clearly into the phone, hits done and waits a few seconds for the phrase to appear in the original and translated languages. At the same time the app reads out the translation so that the person you are attempting to communicate with can hear it as well.
The article explains:
“The star allows you to create a list of favourite phrases (accessible from the star icon at the very top of the screen). The arrow is the usual iOS sharing options (email, iMessage, Twitter, Facebook, etc), the arrow pointing right enables you to play the phrase back again if you need to hear it again, and the trash-can deletes the phrase from the screen.”
The author even claims that SayHi beats out the Google Translate app, although that may become an issue of personal preference. Ultimately, these resources are a must-have for people traveling in foreign countries where they don’t speak the language. (And in galaxies far far away?)
Chelsea Kerwin, November 29, 2013
November 27, 2013
At least there is plenty of room for improvement. Business Insider tells us that “Execs from Criteo and the Weather Channel Both Agree: Mobile Ads Still Kinda Suck.” Hmm, we predict more fancy dancing around ad pricing in the future. In the meantime, The Weather Company‘s chief money man sums up the current state of affairs; writer Aaron Taube reports:
“Though Curt Hecht, chief global revenue officer for The Weather Company, had a more explicitly positive view of the creative offerings available on mobile platforms, he said that as it stands now, the mechanisms used to buy and sell ads on smartphones and tablets are a ‘complete mess.’”
Taube notes that Hecht knows what he is talking about, considering that his company’s Weather Channel app is extremely popular. What will it take to create better advertising systems for mobile devices? Greg Coleman, president of ad serving platform Criteo, points out that new technology calls for new expertise. The article informs us:
“In order for ads to improve, Coleman said, the industry would need to see advertising made by creatives who had come up with a mobile background and who possess what Coleman calls the mobile DNA. ‘If you go back to the late 90s when the digital world started to crop up, every editor-in-chief wanted to be in charge of their website,’ Coleman said. ‘They’re the last people who should have been allowed to tinker with the new medium. A new skillset is going to emerge that doesn’t exist to a large degree today.’”
Coleman goes on to observe that mobile ad exchanges that fail to build or embrace that skillset quickly will be in trouble in a few years. Marketers are impatient for new ways to leverage all this data they increasingly collect, and will become more choosy as better options emerge. Mobile ad folks who want to stay in the game had better be on their toes.
Cynthia Murrell, November 27, 2013
November 3, 2013
Google’s emphasis on advertising is paying off wonderfully. Is Google still a search company? Business Insider declares, “This One Statistic Explains Why Google’s Stock Exploded Through $1,000 a Share.” Reporter Aaron Taube is taken with a forecast (PDF) from Morgan Stanley that predicts Google will go on to capture one full point of global advertising market share each year. He notes that this market includes all ad revenue from around the world, including television. The article emphasizes:
“Keep in mind: Google currently owns about 11.7% of the global advertising market (Magna Global estimates the market to be at $495 billion [PDF] annually, and 97% of Google’s $14.98 billion in quarterly revenues come from advertising). This means that by Morgan Stanley’s calculations, the company is going to increase its already sizeable market share by more than 25% over the next three years — and it will still have only about 15% of the business.”
The Morgan Stanley report points out that Google’s rise is assisted by its growing success on mobile devices. Taube adds, citing this article from eMarketer, that Google already captures half of all mobile internet ad revenue. Will it soon seize the vast majority? The report goes on to explain that it expects Google will continue to grow thanks to its investments in advertiser-friendly features like “enhanced” campaigns and improved measurement tools. The company indeed seems poised to continue on its wildly successful path.
Cynthia Murrell, November 03, 2013
October 29, 2013
I read “Samsung Is Pulling Another Amazon on Android, But This Is Even Bigger.” I liked the write up. It acknowledges in a semi-nice way that Google is either smarter than everyone else or Google is less smart than everyone thinks.
The idea is that open source Android is working like a Petri dish. Instead of growing little Googles, the Petri dish harbors a big Amazon and may soon give birth to a bigger Samsung. Here’s the point I noted:
As much as Google likes and touts that Android is open, that freedom may come with the cost of some control over the platform. Amazon may have started the first truly successful “fork” of Android, but Samsung is going after the whole place setting. Samsung kicked off its first Developers Conference on Monday and based on the keynote message, I wouldn’t be too happy if I were Google.
The point is that Android is supposed to be Google’s open source mobile platform. Others can use it, but Android is Google’s idea.
With iPhones too expensive for most mobile users and Microsoft mobile not getting the buzz Redmond hoped, Android is the mobile platform with legs it seems. Amazon and Samsung have figured this out. The companies have been moving forward with Android that has been reworked to make it less Googlely than Google may have hoped.
Amazon is a lesser problem for Google. Samsung, however, seems to be a bigger potential problem.
But my view is that the larger challenge will be from innovators in other countries who surf on Android. When I was in China, I learned about a number of mobile phones running Android that performed some interesting tricks. One taxi driver had a line of four mobile devices in his taxi. Each mobile had four SIMs. Each SIM connected to a different service providing information about pick ups.
I asked the taxi driver if the phones were running Google Android. The answer was, “I don’t know. There are cheap and do more than a high dollar, upper class phone. These are the future, not Apple or Google.”
Is the taxi driver correct? My view is that Google’s Android is not just fragmented. Android is enabling innovators to go in directions that may prove difficult for Google to control. Samsung may be the near term challenge for Google. Looking out over a longer time line, there may be a different set of challenges created by an open source mobile operating system, new manufacturing options, and a burgeoning demand for mobile devices that are delivering fresh, high-value functionality.
Sure the four phones put on a light show when orders came in. My smart phone has one SIM and was woefully out of step with the Chinese taxi driver’s needs. Google has to think about Android as free and open source software that may spawn some antibiotic resistant competitors.
Stephen E Arnold, October 29, 2013
October 18, 2013
What’s the best way to find a mobile app? The answer may just be Quixey, which has recently secured some hefty funding. We learn about the company and its novel approach in, “Quixey Raises $50M from Alibaba & Others to Build the Search Engine for the Mobile Era” at TechCrunch. Quixey already underpins the app searches for several browser makers, OEMs, and even Sprint. Now, the company is gearing up to bring their app searches directly to mobile consumers.
It seems that search optimism is alive and well. Even as it captures funding from Alibaba and other investors, Quixey is working to build revenue with its recently launched sponsored-ad feature. The company also plans to expand overseas, which means they are hiring engineers in Europe, India, and Israel. A unique goal sets Quixey apart—they are working to locate not just apps, but also content within those apps. Writers Natasha Lomas and Sarah Perez report:
“‘We think our company’s mission is to get people into apps, which doesn’t just mean finding you a new app, it means we should be able to find you the content within apps,’ said Quixey co-founder and CEO Tomer Kagan. An example use-case could be a user searching for Thai food — and being returned results across apps, as well as things like Yelp reviews and a current Groupon deal for a restaurant, for instance.”
Kagan emphasizes that his company’s solution cannot accurately be called a “Google for apps,” because the focus is different. Leaving aside the charge that Google falls short in the mobile space, Quixey is all about the apps. “In the mobile space, apps haven’t been given the opportunity to shine and reach users on an equal footing; Quixey wants to change that,” he said.
In their pursuit of a (non-beta) consumer-facing tool, the company is eyeing Android. The article tells us:
“One possibility is an Android app that will allow Quixey’s app search to get baked in directly into the OS of the device. ‘Android is best place to start doing something unique and different because of the flexibility of the operating system,’ [Kagan] said. ‘We want to go deeper into the apps — something that Android lets us do. That’s the whole point of why we raised this money — so that we can explore that…how can we find the best answer inside of the apps.’”
Best of luck to Quixey. It is good to see someone pursue a fresh take on mobile search. Kagan and co-founder Liron Shapira started the company in 2009 and secured their first round of funding in 2011. Quixey is headquartered in Mountain View, California.
Cynthia Murrell, October 18, 2013
October 7, 2013
SharePoint and Yammer are going to work together to bring social networking features as well as mobile to the collaborative content management program. CMS Wire has a recap on a webinar that details how the relationship is progressing: “Webinar Recap: Yammer + SharePoint + Mobile – Oh My!” During the webinar, Keith Long of ICF Interactive said that workers spend 61% of their time collaborating, but Yammer might not be the ideal solution because it is not as customizable as SharePoint. This is one the reasons why SharePoint’s Yammer deployment has been slowed.
Another topic was mobile and another interesting statistic is that 95% of workers bring their own device to work, which means it is a big business need. Cloud is taking control of IT budgets by over 70% said Long again, and it is shifting resources. SharePoint is a helpful tool for mobile management, but it is not ideal for smaller companies.
Gasification came up in the Q&A:
“Long noted many of the staples of gasification are available in SharePoint like badges and earning the rank of expert in a given field, for example. Besides onboarding people, gamification can help workers bond a bit more, Long said, something that can actually go a long way in retaining people. In a similar vein, a question came up about overall adoption trends, and Long pointed out that the companies who made the most effort in getting people to use SharePoint were the ones that were successful.”
Getting people to deploy SharePoint sounds like it is taking a bit of bribing. Steve Arnold of Arnold IT, leading expert in search and content management, would suggest forming a team who would issue deadlines and keep companies on task.
Whitney Grace, October 7, 2013
October 7, 2013
Apps on the mobile market are like trying to build an audience for your book. You try to get the perspective readers, but if you do not have enough of a hook they never get past the summary on the back. According to Kontagent’s article, “Your App Is Dead: Why You’re Losing Users And Revenue Without Even Knowing It” most users download an app, use it once, and then uninstall it. This tells us that if the app does not impress on the first try, it gets recycled and you are losing money.
“Profit in the app world is a numbers game dictated largely by your app users. Theoretically, the more users you have, the more money you can make. Take freemium apps for example. Generally, conversion rates range from one to 10 percent. If you had one million users and were able to convert 10 percent into paying users all monetizing at $5 each, you’d rake in about $500,000. Pretty good, right?”
Even more awesome would be if you could retain the 90% of customers you lost in the first round. It would make your customer base even larger and you could bump your revenue up to $950,000. The secret is optimizing the first time user experience by figuring out what is wrong. Some of the biggest mistakes app designers make is having a complex registration process, a bad login experience, or an application full of bugs. Fixing these common problems could mean the difference between a living app and one that rests in peace after launch.
Whitney Grace, October 07, 2013
October 3, 2013
A transition that has been in progress for some time has us wondering about the future of Internet search. Engadget reports, “Pew Survey: 21 Percent of US Cellphone Owners Get Online Mostly Through Their Phones.” The survey also reports that nearly two thirds of those in possession of a mobile phone at least occasionally go online with that device. Writer Jon Fingas tells us:
“There have been signs that Americans are leaning more and more on the smartphone as a primary internet device, and nowhere is that clearer than the latest edition of Pew’s Cell Internet Use survey. The research group found that 21 percent of American cellphone owners now get online chiefly through their handset, up from 17 percent last year. Offline users, meanwhile, have been reduced to a minority – 63 percent of US cell owners have hopped on the internet from their phones at some point.”
What does that say about the future of search? Well, search is not the focal point for mobile devices. Those of us who rely on our phones to find information online are at the mercy of vendors, who have yet to prioritize search functionality. Will that change as the shift from PC to smartphone continues?
Cynthia Murrell, October 03, 2013
September 20, 2013
As Android gains market share, eWeek ponders, “Is Android Really Open Source?” At the core of the question is the core of the Android operating system—the very ability to boot. It’s like walking out the door without your car key—you won’t get far without that little piece. Writer Sean Michael Kerner explains:
“You see, there is Google Android, the project that Google builds and shares with its handset partners, then there is the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). The two are not exactly the same. One of them includes proprietary technologies that are not available as open source (guess which one?)
“Jean-Baptiste Quéru, the maintainer of AOSP abruptly quit his post this week, throwing into question the viability of Android as an open-source effort.
“‘There’s no point being the maintainer of an Operating System that can’t boot to the home screen on its flagship device for lack of GPU support,’ Quéru stated in a G+ post.
“The challenge that Quéru is referring to is the ability of AOSP to boot on the Nexus 4 and 7 devices. Apparently there are some proprietary bits that silicon vendor Qualcomm is not making available as open source, without which AOSP will not boot.”
Kerner sees this as an issue that goes beyond Android. Mozilla, for example, must be considering the same thorny question as it sees the launch of Firefox OS phones. Though a legacy of proprietary components inevitably complicates the mobile OS landscape, the inclusion of proprietary code within the very kernel required to even boot the device does seem particularly egregious. Kerner hopes for the emergence of a vendor who will “build a ‘pure’ open-source hardware platform from silicon on up.” We shall see.
Cynthia Murrell, September 20, 2013
August 27, 2013
Citing freedom and security concerns, the makers of Replicant are calling for donations, we learn from “Fundraising a Fully Free Fork of Android” at Boing Boing. The project hopes to give us all the choice to run our Android-based mobile devices entirely upon free software.
But wait, you ask, isn’t Android is already open source? Well, most of it, but a few “key non-free parts” keep our Android devices tethered to proprietary programs. Such parts, they say, include the layer that communicates with hardware; yes, that would be pretty important.
Also of concern to Replicant developers are the pre-loaded applications that some of us call “bloatware,” but upon which many users have come to rely. The team plans to develop free software that provides the same functionality. (I hope they also include the option to delete applications without them returning uninvited. That would be a nice change.) Furthermore, they have set up rival to the Google Play store, their app repository called F-Droid. That repository, the article notes, works with all Android-based systems.
The write-up summarizes:
“Mobile operating systems distributed by Apple, Microsoft, and Google all require you to use proprietary software. Even one such program in a phone’s application space is enough to threaten our freedom and security — it only takes one open backdoor to gain access. We are proud to support the Replicant project to help users escape the proprietary restrictions imposed by the current major smartphone vendors. There will still be problems remaining to solve, like the proprietary radio firmware and the common practice of locking down phones, but Replicant is a major part of the solution.”
Replicant is underpinned by copyrighted software that has been released under an assortment of free licenses, which their site links to here. This is an interesting initiative, and we have a couple of questions should it be successful: Will Google’s mobile search revenues come under increased pressure? What happens if Samsung or the Chinese mobile manufacturers jump on this variant of Android? We shall see.
Cynthia Murrell, August 27, 2013