All posts tagged ‘google’

by CalebMarch 18, 2011

Tweetworthy: SXSW 2011, BroadFeed, Junkyard Jumbotron, FOMO, and More

1. SXSW 2011: The internet is over

"We've been hearing about this moment in digital history since at least 1988, when the Xerox technologist Mark Weiser coined the term'ubiquitous computing', referring to the point at which devices and systems would become so numerous and pervasive that 'technology recedes into the background of our lives'."

2. Google Search app for iPhone--a new name and a new look

"You’ll see that there are now more ways to interact with the app. When browsing through search results or looking at a webpage, you can swipe down to see the search bar or change your settings. For those who use other Google apps, there’s an Apps button at the bottom of the screen for rapid access to the mobile versions of our products."

3. The Next Wave in Social Content Aggregation

"BroadFeed is a great test bed for [Organic] to try out various relevance algorithms for content, as well as to gather observations about how users interact with stream content on the iPad."

4. Mobile service connects users with help during emergencies

"When trouble arises, the app immediately alerts and connects the user's personal safety network via voice conference, sms and email, thereby speeding the arrival of help. Guardly's LocationAssure technology pinpoints the user's precise GPS location and provides information about what resources are nearby."

5. MIT Media Lab: Junkyard Jumbotron

"Junkyard Jumbotron is a project from the MIT Center for Future Civic Media. Essentially, it has created software so that laptops or phones can be ganged together to form a large display. Anyone can take part, and participants can email their own pictures to become part of the virtual screen."

6. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and Social Media

"'FOMO' stands for 'Fear of Missing Out' and it’s what happens everywhere on a typical Saturday night, when you’re trying to decide if you should stay in, or muster the energy to go to the party. At SxSW I see people wondering if they’re at the wrong party—the party where they are is lame, feels uncool, has too much brand advertising or doesn’t have anyone there they’d want to hook up with—and so they move on to the next party where they have to wait in line too long, can’t get a beer, or don’t find their friends, and so move on to the next venue where…and so on."

7. 26% of Mobile Application Users are Fickle -- or Loyal

"With over 10 billion downloads from just Apple’s App Store, it’s clear that people are very willing to try new apps. It’s equally clear that app developers and publishers need to look beyond downloads and focus marketing resources on attracting and retaining the quarter of customers who tend to become loyal users."

8. How to Hack Video Screens in Times Square

"What do you think: viral ad for the newest iPhone, CNN, and NYC tourism; or an exciting new development in the world of culture jamming?"

9. Foursquare: The importance of platforms, and how we're extending ours

"Today, through the foursquare Venue Project, we’re breaking out the Venues API, making it available at high rate limits (so even the most popular apps can use it without worrying about hitting a limit), with simple “userless” authentication, new endpoints, and with clear guidelines for use."

10. GroupMe Won the SXSW Group Messaging Wars

"SXSW isn’t about hanging out with the same groups of people all the time, but rather about having variety of exclusive options. In practice group messaging is kind of weak on the exclusivity thing, because you’re almost always roped into groups with at least one person you don’t like, which prevents you from sharing potentially useful information regarding your whereabouts."

Tweetworthy is a weekly roundup of the most shared tweets from @MobileBehavior. You can follow us on Twitter here.

by CalebJuly 22, 2010

Perspective: Michael Surtees on User Experience within an Ecosystem of Screens

Michael Surtees is a design lead at the interactive boutique Behavior in NYC. He spends his time designing for the emerging ecosystem of screens. He is a filter geek and runs the popular blog Design Noted.

One of the things we're watching is a growing ecosystem of networked screens, available to the everyday consumer. What does this enable that was not previously possible?

Let's say you're in the financial industry. There are much faster and better tools to visualize data to make informed decisions while not being in front of a laptop. People now have multiple mobile devices on them. It isn't uncommon to see someone with an iPhone for personal use, a Blackberry for business while typing away on an iPad. I'm guilty myself of using both an iPhone and iPad while sitting outside at Madison Square Park. One other example is that a person in a new city doesn't have to be as concerned about getting lost as they once did. With a simple click with GPS-enabled devices, they can find out where they are at all times in relationship to where they want to go.

Google recently laid out its three mobile behavior groups: repetitive, bored, and urgent. If this is accurate, how do we design for these realities?

I didn't really agree with those three groups. In terms of the repetitive person, my feeling is that they're probably a power user of data. If that's the case and they want new pieces of information quickly, they've already set alert systems to pass along changes. That is either going to be via SMS, an email, or someone calling to tell them the news. I don't really see that person pressing the refresh button every couple of minutes with their cell phone.

For the bored person, there are those that are on the train or in airports, but they're also the people waiting in line at the drug store. They're not really browsing—they're checking what Twitter is saying, they're looking at friends photos that are on Facebook. There are specific places that they're connecting to as a jumping off point.

The final category of urgent person is questionable. Sure they're looking for maps and locations, but what if the person is underground in the subway? Being online isn't a luxury. That's where apps with maps and cached information work really nicely. Would you rather trust a system trying to be all things to all people, or a specific app solving one need and optimized for conditions for the task?

Social viewing startups like Starling and Miso are receiving a lot of publicity because of their promise to refresh the television experience. Do you think this same type of contextualized online conversation can be applied to other areas? Where?

I think we're already there. The Academy Awards last year saw a significant increase in viewers. It wasn't because of the host. People already have outlets to share those television experiences through Twitter. As unreliable as Twitter was for the World Cup, those shared experiences around goals or bad referee calls were there. There's a huge challenge for the start ups you mention because there's now an established way to share when friends aren't in the same room.

Conferences, performances, and something as mundane as the weather are all begging for better shared outlets of expression. Attending a conference and seeing the same quote tweeted a hundred times really isn't helpful or meaningful. How can that stuff be filtered and given additional value that enhances the overall experience? Everyone has an opinion about the weather, why not figure out a mobile experience that pulls all those mentions into something worth talking about?

With apps like Flipboard and The Twitter Times, we're provided personalization through our social graph. A feedback loop is constructed using our friend's sharing behavior, developers are mashing up knowledge networks. As Clay Shirky would say, "publish, then filter." What do you think are the drawbacks, what still needs work, and where is the potential both for news and other types of information?

I love using Flipboard and Twitter Times. One drawback that might not on the surface seem like a big deal is attribution. If a person finds valuable information from those apps and sites and wants to in turn share that info with others, at what point should they attribute where they found it? Everyone likes getting links, but they are hard pressed to pass them out. Aside from that issue, the challenge is trying to expand a network so the conversation doesn't stay predictable. At this point, there isn't a random button that allows someone to filter stuff they didn't know that they should know.

What mobile apps, technologies, and developments are you watching?

What I want to push is trying to create experiences that take apps for the iPhone and iPad and create three different experiences. One experience for each device that is separate by taking advantage of their inherent benefits, and a third way that integrate the two devices together.

by CalebJuly 12, 2010

Connected Parking: Google's OpenSpot Enables the Generous Driver

Google has released an Android application that aims to make the time-consuming and frustrating task of finding a parking space a little easier -- and help the environment at the same time.

According to ReadWriteWeb:

The app, named OpenSpot, is very straightforward. If you are looking for parking, simply pull up the app to see a map of nearby openings.

If you are leaving a parking space and feel the urge to generously attempt to share your empty space with fellow Android users, you can place a pin on the map where your spot can be found. The app automatically color codes the pins based on how long they've been active, and removes spots that are older than 20 minutes.

To encourage this behavior, a habit of the generous stranger, Google has included what are called "Karma Points." The more you share, the better your score. The goal is to not just help people save time, but also gas--and the exhaust that comes with circling the block for hours.

Many look forward to a future of networked vehicles, but with mobile phones this is possible today. Spotswitch, Roadify, and Spotscout are all examples of social parking in action. Learn more about the connected parking experience here.

by CalebJune 29, 2010

Foursquare Window Decals Help Businesses "Socialize" Location

In speaking with users, the most common complaint we hear about Foursquare and similar "check-in" services is that people forget to use them. The act of checking-in upon arriving someplace needs to be prompted and conditioned before it becomes a reflex. To help solve this rather large problem, Foursquare has sent out window decals, or clings, to thousands of business owners that they can use to advertise the service and remind people to check in.

The clings — designed to stick to window storefronts to remind patrons to check in on Foursquare — are now arriving at stores everywhere, even big businesses like Whole Foods.

The grocery chain retailer has agreed to place the Foursquare clings in 30 of its stores’ windows, a gesture that serves as an important handshake with the location-sharing startup.

A Foursquare call-to-action is one example of how a business, large or small, can "socialize" their venue. Both Facebook and Google have sent out similar stickers, encouraging users to "like" and share places. These stickers help businesses use traditional POS marketing to promote their digital efforts, raising awareness and driving participation. This sort of cross-channel integration is key to the success of any digital strategy.

[via mashable]

by VikramMay 20, 2010

Google Serves Up Froyo, the Latest Android OS

Sounds like Android is shaping up. At today’s Google I/O keynote, Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra introduced Froyo, the code name for Android's 2.2 operating system. It's a lot stronger and faster than Eclair, the 2.1 version, and a worthy opponent to Apple's iPhone OS.

To kick it off, Gundotra shared some of the remarkable progress the Android platform has made in the past year. The most startling stat is its growth from 30,000 activations per day last year to over 100,000 activations per day this year.  Android sales recently surpassed the iPhone and are second to only RIM in the US, and Android users account have the highest total usage of both apps and the mobile web (these stats are from Admob, btw). This increase in device sales has fueled a corresponding growth in the Android app store, which now has over 50,000 applications.

He then went over some features of the new OS, including:

  • Intents: Gundotra took a few swipes at Apple with some of the new APIs he went over, including one that lets developers use cloud-to-device messaging to enable alerts, send-to-phone and 2-way sync functionality for their apps.  This type of messaging is similar to Apple Push Notification Service, but he quipped that it's not being used to cover any shortcoming in the OS, referring to the iPhone's inability to support multitasking. Instead, the messages, known as Android Intents, can be used to do instant Instapaper-style content shifting. This means that users can shift content from the PC and then have the relevant application open right away on the phone.
  • Portable Hotspot: The new platform enables tethering, which turns the phone into a mobile access point for your laptop, something technically banned through the iPhone. The phone will also be able to function as a mini WiFi hotspot to allow other devices to connect to the web as well.
  • Speed: Froyo delivers a 2-5x performance boost to CPU-bound code vs the previous OS. Browsing, the third most popular use of the phone, is significantly faster with a 2-3x improvement in javascript rendering times.
  • Feature-Rich Web Apps: Google’s core business is advertising and search, and Gundotra cited a 5x growth in mobile search over the past two years. Naturally, then, he pushed web apps throughout the entire presentation, and introduced a hot feature of Froyo - extra access to device features such as the compass, camera, and GPS.  This type of integration means that developers can create web apps that can access those hardware features, but still live on the web.
  • Voice Recognition: On the topic of Google’s search capabilities, Gundotra demonstrated integrated voice recognition technology for the web. This allows users to simply speak search terms, much like the current Google mobile apps that are available for various platforms, but through the browser. He also showed off Google's mobile Translate page that can access the microphone to translate voice into different languages in the browser.
  • Mobile Advertising: Gundotra also reiterated its ability to serve advertising to mobile phones with Adsense for Mobile Ads, which will be made available more widely this year. He displayed a few different ad formats including expandable rich media ads and click-to-call ads with location-based targeting for mobile devices.  To emphasize the openess of the Google ad network, he also showed a Medialets ad distributed through the Doubleclick network.

With these new updates, we're even more bullish about Android. Now that they've beaten Apple in distribution, they just need to excite developers to build for their platform, and this new OS will help do that.

by CalebMay 6, 2010

Google Goggles Enables Instant Text Translation

Building upon its visual search capabilities, Google Goggles now provides Android users with visual translation. By simply taking a picture of a word or phrase, Goggles will recognize the text and give the option to translate.

Here’s how it works:

* Point your phone at a word or phrase. Use the region of interest button to draw a box around specific words
* Press the shutter button
* If Goggles recognizes the text, it will give you the option to translate
* Press the translate button to select the source and destination languages.

The first Goggles translation prototype was unveiled earlier this year at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and could only recognize German text. Today Goggles can read English, French, Italian, German and Spanish and can translate to many more languages. We are hard at work extending our recognition capabilities to other Latin-based languages.

Technology is changing the way we navigate today's global culture. We see auto translation already happening on the desktop web (see Google Chrome). Toshiba is trying to tackle automatic mobile voice translation, but with 6,000-plus languages this still remains a difficult task. Written language is relatively standardized, so Goggles translation and apps like PicTranslator, while not perfect, are a lot more possible.

Computer vision gives mobile devices the ability to capture and analyze the real world, extending our innate abilities. With mobile translation apps, future generations may not see foreign languages as much of an obstacle. This is the Singularity, folks.

[via googlemobile]

by CalebFebruary 19, 2010

Experts Discuss Transparency, The Outboard Brain, and Future Internet


To imagine the Internet in 2020, the Pew Research Center set up in-depth interviews with over 800 experts. The responses are revealing and give us a glimpse at how technology is changing us.

On Google, the outboard brain, and anywhere access:

"Google will make us more informed. The smartest person in the world could well be behind a plow in China or India. Providing universal access to information will allow such people to realize their full potential, providing benefits to the entire world." - Hal Varian, Google, chief economist

Technology's effect on reading and writing:

"When I was a boy, homework consisted of writing a paragraph. Now, youth writing paragraphs in a blink of an eye. They are mastering language only to reinvent it. They are using it in new forms. Tags. Labels. Acronyms. And the game becomes a written game of who can use written word most effectively. Reading, writing, and communicating will become much more fluid as youth are more engaged in the practice of these skills, and have a greater motivation to practice their skills." - Robert Cannon, senior counsel for internet law at Federal Communications Commission

How we'll adapt to transparency:

"'It will be an archipelago of named users, who get a lot of value from participating in that part of the ecosystem, but still set in an ocean of anonymity." ‐‐ Clay Shirky, professor, Interactive Telecommunications Program, New York University

As technology advances, we adapt both physically and psychologically. For more quotes from the Pew survey, click here.

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