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"Digital Birth" – By Age 2, 92% of Kids Have an "Online Record"

By - October 07, 2010

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(image) I’m fascinated by the tracks we leave online, and their implications both in real time (better search results, real time advertising ecosystems, new forms of social behavior etc) and in the long view. Those of you who read my book may recall my epilog, where I opined on the concept of immortality through the Database of Intentions.

This study (via CNet) is fascinating – it shows that nearly every kid in the US has an online record by age two, thanks to parents posting pictures. What I’d really like to see is how many grandparents are online. I sense my father’s generation is on the bubble – some percentage of them appear when one searches for their names, but a larger percentage does not. They are the final generation of non digital natives, and it’s really only pointing one way in the future – more and more of our lives exist online, and more and more of our social assumptions about who we are and what our value is will as well.

In a sense I kind of mourn for that last generation. It’s why I posted about my Dad on his birthday a few years ago, to ensure he had a record.

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Facebook Addresses Instrumentation & Trust – Goal: Win In the "Non Facebook Web"

By - October 06, 2010

63999_492208846728_20531316728_6755172_4414657_n.jpgToday Facebook made several announcements that begin to address key issues I’ve written about many times: With “New Groups” the company is providing a more nuanced instrumentation of your social graph, and with “Download Your Information” Facebook is addressing issues of both lock-in and the “Data Bill of Rights.”

You can read all about the news at other sites, but here are the basics: Through a new groups feature, Facebook is allowing its members to share information with selected subsets of friends. This is an issue that was widely discussed after Google engineer Paul Adams called Facebook out on it back in July.

Facebook also announced a service that lets you download “everything you’ve ever posted on Facebook and all your correspondences with friends: your messages, Wall posts, photos, status updates and profile information.” As the blog post continues:

If you want a copy of the information you’ve put on Facebook for any reason, you can click a link and easily get a copy of all of it in a single download. To protect your information, this feature is only available after confirming your password and answering appropriate security questions. We’ll begin rolling out this feature to people later today, and you’ll find it under your account settings.

In a related move, Facebook is changing how users interact with applications, and how we all see and can instrument permissions around our data:
..we’re launching a new dashboard to give you visibility into how applications use your data to personalize your experience. As you start having more social and personalized experiences across the web, it’s important that you can verify exactly how other sites are using your information to make your experience better.

Taken together, these changes create a framework for Facebook to further expand its reach and depth into the “non Facebook” web. The major impediment to increased off-site engagement for Facebook have been instrumentation, on the one hand, and trust, on the other. They go together. Give me more instrumentation/control, then I’ll trust you to be part of my non-Facebook interactions across the web.
This has significant implications for the adoption of Facebook Places, for example, which CEO Zuckerberg called out in his presentation today. Expect more from me on these moves in future posts…

Stop It. Google Won't Buy Twitter.

By - September 30, 2010

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(image) Today I landed from a trip to the world of the non-tech obsessed (PA and OH) to find my newsfeed was full of speculation that Google MUST buy Twitter, or be damned to obscurity in a race it’s already losing to Facebook.

Not so fast.

Here’s my simple reasoning for why Google won’t buy Twitter: Twitter won’t sell.

Those who decide whether Twitter goes to Google pretty much come down to a handful of folks: Founders Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey, and Biz Stone, with COO Dick Costolo and Twitter’s investors and other Board members (Fred Wilson, Peter Fenton, and Bijan Sabet). I know most of these guys well enough to say this with confidence: They don’t want to sell, and even more importantly, they don’t need to.

Now, sure, Google can write a ridiculous check, and perhaps, that might sway the key folks (management). But I doubt it. Why? Because nearly all of them have already sold a company to Google – Blogger (Evan and Biz) or Feeedburner (Dick). And, well, they didn’t stick around, did they?

They’ve got a tiger by the tail, the chance to build an independent, lasting legacy that will cement each one of them forever into the immortal tablets of business history. It’s really, really hard to pass that chance up, especially if you’ve already gotten a score or two under your belt. Why not swing for the fences if you’re already batting over 300?

In short, they’re not in it for the money. They’re in it for the immortality. And that’s a much, much bigger deal.

But there’s another reason Google won’t buy Twitter, and it’s this: Google is learning to be patient. Twitter is a big deal, but if you accept it as part of an emerging landscape, there’s no reason you need to own it. Given Twitter’s natural competitive positioning against Facebook, Google can partner with the emerging service in ways that provide both companies advantage against a shared enemy.

And should Twitter prove to be a world class company, prove its revenue model, and go public, things get a bit easier down the road in terms of M&A. The public market will set a price, and Google can negotiate a merger later, when, perhaps, the speculative bloom is off the budding rose, the founders have proven their point, and Twitter is run to satisfy shareholders who crave a buyout price.

Last Week of Signal

By - September 27, 2010

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For those of you in RSS land who often ask, here are last week’s Signal roundups – a daily dose of what I’m reading and thinking about each day, posted on the FM site, usually late at night. You can get the RSS feed here, or get it via email here.

Monday Signal: This Is Only An Eye Test

Friday Signal: All Is True, And Quite Fictional

Thurs. Signal: Bubble, No Bubble, Toil and Trouble

Weds. Signal: Shake a Stick at This, Apple

Tuesday Signal: A Potpurri of News

Monday Signal: The Battle Heats Up

Happy Bday, Google

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Google is 12 today, as Sept. 27 marks the anniversary of the company’s actual incorporation. Of course the company has roots prior to the date, but ya gotta pick a date. Happy birthday Google, as they say in China, may you live in interesting times….

Currency

By - September 21, 2010

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I’m very proud of a new platform launched today by American Express: Currency. Sometimes when a brand embraces the concept of truly being a publisher, they align with strong voices around the web, underwriting existing properties and helping them create new sections or services. But every once in a while, a brand realizes that its marketing goals align with a very real need in the marketplace, one that for whatever reason hasn’t been addressed. That’s how Currency came to be.

Yes, Currency is an ongoing FM partnership, just as Open Forum is, but this one is a bit different – it’s for young adults just starting to grapple with financial issues (I wish it existed when I got out of college), and it’s got a lot of social media chops, including a game (called Social Currency natch) built on top of Foursquare that helps you track purchases. It also features tons of coursework to help folks get smart on important money matters, and everything – from reading an article to completing a course to checking into purchases – earns you Currency points.

Now, I know my demo here at Searchblog, and let’s face it, most of you are a bit older, wiser, and richer than Currency’s core constituency. But I also know you’re interested in all things web and media, so check it out, and let me know what you think.

The Web 2.0 Summit Program Is Live

By - September 14, 2010

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I’m very proud to announce the initial 2010 Web 2.0 Summit program. You can see the lineup on the Summit site here.

Our 2010 theme Points of Control, helped us create a lineup that is truly remarkable, full of industry titans and insurgents alike. Alongside policy leaders such as Julius Genachowski, Chairman of the FCC, we’ll hear from the Internet’s most powerful CEOs:

  • Google’s Eric Schmidt, perhaps the most active player in our points of control map – defending the company’s home turf of search, extending its reach into mobile payments, content, advertising platforms, social networking, and more.
  • Robin Li, CEO of China’s biggest search engine Baidu which has ambitions well beyond its current (massive) scale.
  • Todd Bradley and Jon Rubinstein, the duo responsible for HP’s Palm integration (not to mention the largest maker of computing devices in the world).
  • Ariel Emmanuel, the co-CEO of William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (and yes, the man who inspired Entourage…)
  • Kathy Savitz, CEO of Lockerz helping us understand the behavior of “Generation Z.”
  • Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, in one of his first one on one conversations in months.
  • Ev Williams, CEO of Twitter, six months into the launch of his company’s new revenue platform.
  • Andrew Mason, CEO of Groupon, one of the fastest growing companies in the history of business.
  • Richard Rosenblatt, CEO of the surging Demand Media (which filed for an IPO just last month).
  • Davis Guggenheim, director of An Inconvenient Truth and the forthcoming Waiting for Superman.
  • Yuri Milner, the Russian super-investor who owns nearly 10 percent of Facebook, among many other major platform players.
  • Jim Balsillie, the co-CEO of RIM, who has plenty to talk about given the upheaval in the mobile marketplace.

These conversations will be paired with a series of high-powered, dynamic presentations we call High Order Bits that are tailored to push our thinking. All our panels focus around our theme, Points of Control, and industry topics include: Mobile Platforms, Content, Finance, Advertising Platforms, Education, and, not to forget, Location Based Services.

As has been since Day 1 in 2004, Mary Meeker will share her annual ‘Internet Trends’ presentation; Bing Gordon will explore The New Geography of Gaming with Don Mattrick of Microsoft; and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh will swap stories on growth, culture, and financial triumph alongside Susan Lyne, CEO of Gilt, and Richard Rosenblatt.

Throughout this robust program, we added bits of humor and passion sprinkled across the three days in a format we call Ignite. We culled the best of the best from around the world — human experiences shared through exactly 20 slides in exactly five minutes. Be sure to catch them; they go fast but leave a strong impression.

We’ve also got Carol Bartz, Perter Chernin, Marc Benioff, John Doerr, Fred Wilson, Jack Dorsey, and so much more… I’ve only covered some of the high points, but sprinkled throughout will be presentations from Wim Elfrink, EVP & Chief Globalization Officer at Cisco, Mark Pincus, CEO of Zynga, Vinod Khosla, Founder of Khosla Ventures, Steven Berlin Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, and many more, including some surprise product and company announcements.

To see a visualization of Points of Control, please visit The Map here, we’ll be updating it soon with a cool new feature (watch this space…).

And if you haven’t already, register today to join the conversation this November. If you need an invite, as a Searchblog reader, I can make sure you get one. Just ping me at jbat at battellemedia dot com.

Hope to see you there!

Nielsen: Bing Overtakes Yahoo In Search Share

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Way back in January, I predicted (see #8) that Microsoft’s Bing would overtake Yahoo in share to become #2 in search. Today, at least one measurement service seems to have validated that claim, which at the time was a bit far-fetched, given the nearly seven point gap in share between the two companies.

These figures do not consider the Yahoo/Bing’s search deal. From the release, which is not yet up on the site:

According to new research released by The Nielsen Company, for the first time, MSN/Windows Live/Bing Search overtakes Yahoo! as the #2 search engine in the U.S., with a 13.9% share of search volume in August 2010, a 0.25% delta increase from last month.

Although Google saw little change in its month-over-month search volume, it still dominates the search market, accounting for 65% of all U.S. searches.

Yahoo! followed Google and MSN/Windows Live/Bing Search with a 13.1% share of U.S. searches, falling from a 14.6% share in July 2010 to 13.1% (a 1.2% delta decrease or an 8% relative decrease).

In terms of a year-over-year comparison, Google has seen little change in its share of search while Yahoo! has seen a small but steady decline, going from a 16% share to 13.1% (a delta drop of 2.9% or a relative drop of 18%). MSN/Windows Live/Bing’s share has grown from 10.7% in August 2009 to 13.9% (a delta increase of 3.2% or a relative increase of 30%).

Catching Up On the Signal

By - September 13, 2010

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For those of you who haven’t signed up for the Signal newsletter (shame on you, really), it’s my daily roundup of what’s happening in the world of media, marketing, and platforms. You can get it via RSS or email here (sign up for the newsletter in upper right hand corner).

As I do from time to time, here’s the last week or so for all you RSS readers.

Monday Signal: The Zeit of the Geist

Friday Signal: Time for Some Data Porn

Thursday Signal: The Industry Is Gathering

Weds. Signal: Google’s News Day

Tuesday Signal: What, It Gets Harder From Here?