Vurbs Contextual Search Engine

June 3, 2014

The Internet search model we are all accustomed to is simple: a keyword search retrieves a page full of links. More relevant links are supposedly toward the top of the list. But it seems that the paradigm may be shifting. Vurb is launching a new way to look at search, and it is discussed in the story, “Vurb’s Contextual Search Engine Blows Away Those Stupid Lists Of Links.”

The article sums it up:

“Search is outdated. Google steers you to right section of the library, but doesn’t answer your question or compile that answer with others to help you make a decision. Luckily, today Vurb is launching its reinvention of search results in the form of a web and mobile contextual search engine. Rather than forcing you to do multiple searches in different tabs, Vurb collects all the relevant info on one page and preserves your path in a saveable, sharable stream.”

Mobile and desktop, Vurb organizes search results across web apps and packages them in a pleasing visual manner. But the jury is still out on whether or not it can drill down far enough to find meaningful answers to questions. And while services like Vurb can push the envelope on what users demand out of traditional search, it is not yet time for the up-and-comers to unseat the giants.

Emily Rae Aldridge, June 03, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Microsoft Yanks Azure Hosting

May 29, 2014

SharePoint mobile apps hosting on Azure was widely touted what seems like just a few short months ago. However, news recently broke that SharePoint is yanking the solution off of the platform. The details are covered in the PCWorld story, “Microsoft Yanks Azure Auto-Hosted SharePoint Apps Service.”

The article begins:

“Microsoft is pulling the plug on a new model of deplying and hosting apps for SharePoint that relied on the company’s Azure platform. The goal of the AutoHosted Apps Preview program was to offer SharePoint developers a ‘friction free’ experience for provisioning their apps by tapping Azure resources, but the service fell short of expectations because, in Microsoft’s words, it ‘lacked some critical capabilities.’”

Stephen E. Arnold is a longtime leader in search and often turns his attention to SharePoint glitches and concerns. Users are often looking for tips and tricks to help make SharePoint more effective and accessible, and on ArnoldIT.com he offers those too. So stay tuned to Arnold’s SharePoint feed for more about the Azure change and all the latest SharePoint news.

Emily Rae Aldridge, May 29, 2014

The Rise of Internet Ad Revenue Continues

May 16, 2014

The article titled US Internet Ad Revenue Surpasses Broadcast on SFGate announced the tipping point for TV and print advertising has arrived. This may not come as a huge surprise to Generations X and Y who have watched with increasing annoyance as ads increased on internet videos across the board. Gone are the days when a Hulu-aired episode had just one commercial, or a Youtube video began right away, rather than pausing for an ad. The article states,

“For the first time, U.S. Internet advertising revenue has surpassed that of broadcast television thanks to sharp growth in mobile and digital video ads.

That’s according to a report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, which said Thursday that Internet advertising revenue rose 17 percent to a record $42.8 billion in 2013. Broadcast TV ad revenue, in comparison, was $40.1 billion in 2013.

Mobile advertising revenue more than doubled to $7.1 billion from $3.4 billion in 2012…”

The article credits the alteration to companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook and their augmented attendance to mobile ads. The survey was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The article does not comment on the future of Internet advertising revenue, but it is easy to imagine that the numbers will only continue to rise.

Chelsea Kerwin, May 16, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

SharePoint Mobility Functionality Depends on Third Party Solutions

May 15, 2014

By now readers are probably tired of hearing about SharePoint and its evolving mobile capabilities. But the truth is, a lot is written about SharePoint and mobile because it is what users are looking for next in the platform. Business 2 Community gives another spin on the topic in their article, “Third-Party Apps Mend SharePoint’s Mobility Pains.”

The article refers to a survey that was conducted among SharePoint users:

“Seismic, an enterprise mobile content management solution, conducted a survey of the 2014 SharePoint Conference global attendees. The findings revealed that 30 percent of business professionals believe better mobile capabilities will drive the adoption of SharePoint. While SharePoint users are accessing the content management system via computers, smartphones and tablets, they’re continuing to experience pain points with mobile.”

The article then goes on to list the common complaints about SharePoint’s mobile capabilities, or lack thereof. And once again, third party solutions are being pointed out as the relief in this situation. Stephen E. Arnold also covers SharePoint news on his Web site, ArnoldIT.com. He has also found that customization and mobile capabilities drive SharePoint adoption and satisfaction, but until SharePoint embeds better abilities, users will continue to turn to third party solutions.

Emily Rae Aldridge, May 15, 2014

Watson and Shopping: No Service, Just an Assertion

April 26, 2014

I read “Make IBM’s Watson Your Personal Shopping Assistant.” IBM wants to leapfrog www.pricewatch.com, www.amazon.com, and the aging www.mysimon.com, among other shopping services.

Now quite a few people have embraced Amazon’s flawed, yet popular, recommendations service. I am trying to remember when I first noticed this somewhat annoying feature of the digital WalMart. I cannot recall. I am reminded of the weaknesses of the system each time I log in and see recommendations to my wife’s book selections. Undoubtedly she and I are not following Amazon’s best practices. My wife is pretty familiar with my user name and password, Amazon, and the ease with which she can order products (dog vitamins), novels (wonky mysteries infused with herring), and oddments I know won’t plug into my computer systems; for example, something for a faux soft drink machine.

My view is that for some folks, an Amazon habit is going (note the present progressive)  difficult to modify. Even though Amazon is struggling to deliver profit joy, the Amazon online shopping thing has quite a following.

Well, just in the nick of time–is it years too late?—IBM says it will apply the billion dollar baby to meet my shopping needs. Oh, yeah. Here’s what I learned from the write up:

IBM is partnering with Fluid, a digital commerce company, to create a one-on-one experience with Watson’s capabilities. For example, let’s say you’re looking for the perfect gift for your significant other. Tell Watson about the likes and dislikes of your loved one and let the computer score through piles of data, and eventually pick out a product (or group of products) with those details in mind. Or let’s say you’re going on a hike in the Himalayas and need the right gear for your trip: once you tell Watson what you need, the computer does the research and picks out all the right equipment for you.

I suppose this means that Amazon’s reviews are about to be staring at Watson’s tail lights. The article doesn’t pay much attention to Amazon or lesser services that pepper Google results pages with offers of prices, reviews, and suggestions for the procrastinating Mother’s Day shopper.

I read:

IBM is working on an app for XPS that will work on desktops, tablets and smartphones. It will be able to ask the same sort of questions you’d expect from a salesperson in a physical store, but without the hard-sell techniques and with a lot more personalization.

I think my grade school teachers called this the present progressive. I translated this to “it may sound now but nothing is showing up right now.”

Several observations:

First, is IBM or a “partner” going to design, build, debug, deliver, and support this magic carpet shopping service? On one hand, it looks like Watson’s brain trust in Manhattan is on the job. Then it struck me that an outfit called Fluid will have to lift that barrel and tote that bale. My hunch is that IBM will watch from the veranda of the hotel overlooking the laborers unloading the good ship Watson.

Second, I keep reminding myself that IBM has yet to provide a demonstration of Watson that makes it possible for me to compare throughput, precision, and recall with the search systems to which I have access. Talk, it appears, is much easier than making and selling a product.

Third, what about that Amazon thing? The Bezos-A-Rama is busy creating yet another digital monopoly. In addition, that big store offers recommendations along with one click shopping, reviews, a so so search system, and fawning Wall Street believers.

To me it looks as if IBM, on the other hand, is doing what IBM does best: Working its public relations firms extra hard. I hear the faint sound of Tennessee Ernie Ford singing,

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store

Mr. Ford’s backup singers are IBM’s sales and marketing team after a tough day of talking about what Watson will someday soon be. Hard work is moving 16 tons of marketing.

Stephen E Arnold, April 26, 2014

SharePoint Opens Itself Up to Mobile Challenges Debate

April 16, 2014

Microsoft’s feelings have not been spared in the discussion of how late SharePoint was in coming to the mobile game. It seems as if they are digging themselves an ever-deepening hole. CMS Wire covers the latest news in their article, “Huddle Cofounder on SharePoint’s Mobile Challenges.”

The article begins:

“If Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella thought he was doing iPad users a favor by offering them Office support, all he accomplished was opening up a great big can of worms called collaboration, prompting some to argue that SharePoint has had its day. And while changes to Office don’t equate changes to SharePoint, the iPad launch spurred on a broader discussion amongst critics of the faults with SharePoint’s mobile collaboration capabilities.”

Stephen E. Arnold is a longtime leader in search and covers the latest search and enterprise news on his Web site, ArnoldIT.com. A lot of his recent SharePoint coverage has focused on mobile, but most of what SharePoint offers is mere catch-up compared to what users are expecting from consumer level technologies.

Emily Rae Aldridge, April 16, 2014

Infobright at the Mobile World Congress Focuses on Big Data and the Internet of Things

March 21, 2014

The article titled 2014 Mobile World Congress Highlights—Musings of an MWC Veteran on Infobright offers some of the sunny spots from this year’s Mobile World Congress. The event has been held in Barcelona for the past 8 years, and this years boasted some 70,000 attendees and keynote speaker Mark Zuckerberg. It was also, as the article describes, Infobright’s first year exhibiting on the trade show floor. The article explores such areas of interest as the Internet of Things, “monetization” and the boosted attendance of mobile commerce vendors. The article states,

“There was a noticeable increase in the presence of mobile commerce vendors. Again, this ranged from transaction processing infrastructure to user experience applications for transactions, making payments, transferring funds, etc. The major credit card vendors’ presence was highly visible in this area. In underserved/under developed parts of the world, mobile platforms create a tremendous opportunity for enabling the movement of money and commerce.”

In answer to the self-imposed question, what does Infobright have to do with MWC, the article exclaims, Big Data, that’s what! The article describes the “avalanche” of data that all of this technology revolves around. Infobright promises that it is just the man for the job of analyzing big data with the flexibility and speed necessary. Infobright offers a solution if you want to query machine data.

Chelsea Kerwin, March 21, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Yandex Offers a Developer Kit for Android

March 19, 2014

Russian search leader Yandex describes its suite for Android developers in a company blog post, “Android Device Manufacturers Get Kitted Out with Yandex.Kit.” The post compares the Android operating system to a “car without the key” for mobile developers—the OS is free, but most of the mobile-device functionality we have come to expect is tangled up in a web of case-by-case agreements. Now, Yandex says their Kit represents that missing key. The write-up explains:

Yandex.Kit is a customisable suite of mobile components available for most versions of Android OS. It has all the basics indispensable for the up-to-date mobile experience. Vendors selling their original Android devices in Russia can enjoy the full Yandex.Kit package, which currently includes an app store, launcher and dialer, browser, maps, a cloud app – 15 apps overall. OEMs targeting other markets can enjoy Yandex.Kit as a trio of Yandex products – Yandex.Shell UI, Yandex.Browser and Yandex.Store.

“And the best part is there are no fees. Yandex.Kit is distributed on a fee-free basis and performs well on virtually any hardware, including the not-so-powerful devices popular in Russia and the CIS. In addition, smartphones carrying Yandex.Kit can be easily branded under the manufacturer’s name.”

The post goes on to list a number of features developers should be excited about, complete with screenshots. For example, their smart dialer pulls data from Yandex’s Business Directory to identify commercial callers not already in a user’s contacts. They also extol the virtues of their mobile browser, calling it “smart, secure and easy-to-use.” Then there are the cloud service, the geolocation-compatible mapping API, and the Store populated with over 100,000 apps. See the article for details.

One of Europe’s largest internet companies, Yandex is the search engine Russians turn to the most. Folks in the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Turkey also use the service. Yandex says it’s primary goal is to “make people happy” (a tad more specific than “don’t be evil,” but not by much). Launched in 2011, the company is headquartered in Moscow.

Cynthia Murrell, March 19, 2014

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Digital Government Makes People Unhappy

March 17, 2014

A GCN headline states that “Report Finds US Citizens Unhappy With Digital Government.” All we can say to this is we are not surprised. The Accenture report titled: “Digital Government: Pathways To Delivering Public Services For The Future” says that the US ranks sixth in government using social media and digital services to communicate with people.

US citizens are apparently uncomfortable with using mobile and cloud technology to communicate with the government.

The government launched 140 free apps in both English and Spanish that deal with government services, but 43 percent of the US does not to use them. As for the cloud, US citizens fear that security is not tight enough and their privacy rights are not protected. The report does offer three priorities that the US population wants the government to focus on:

“According to U.S. citizens, the top three priorities for improving future public services are to provide cost-efficient, sustainable services, to deliver a clear and stable long-term vision and to better understand better the priorities of citizens and communities.”

What exactly does that mean? It does not even add up to three! It sounds like a whole bunch of jib jab or a company’s bland mission statement. The US is never satisfied.

Whitney Grace, March 17, 2014
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, developer of Augmentext

Pleading with Microsoft to Step Up Mobile Development

March 12, 2014

Mobile computing is not just the latest trend. It is here to stay, and users of all varieties are pleading with major platforms to offer more mobile functionality. SharePoint should be used to hearing the pleas of users in this arena, but Search Content Management offers a well-written request in their article, “Dear Microsoft: Step Up Mobile SharePoint Development.”

The article sums up the issue:

“Microsoft now stands at a crossroads, surrounded on all sides by able competitors and imprisoned somewhat between its behemoth server technology stack, the growing cloud and the critical need to reinvent the face of its applications. Microsoft has been dragged kicking and screaming into the mobile era. Now it needs to update SharePoint development to really embrace the mobile revolution.”

Stephen E. Arnold of ArnoldIT.com is a longtime expert in all things search. He knows that the future is mobile and gives a lot of attention to the growing movement. He has found that while mobile is a “want,” security and functionality are “needs” in the enterprise. So Microsoft’s challenge will be to give equal weight to these areas.

Emily Rae Aldridge, March 12, 2014

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