The Friday Signal: Will Apple Flash Us, or Not?

The news today was still iPad driven, for the most part, with the question of whether Flash will be supported at its core. So far, the answer is no, and Adobe semi-officially chastised Apple in this post: Apple's iPad — a broken link?. However, a site called 9to5Mac studied the…

The news today was still iPad driven, for the most part, with the question of whether Flash will be supported at its core. So far, the answer is no, and Adobe semi-officially chastised Apple in this post: Apple’s iPad — a broken link?. However, a site called 9to5Mac studied the iPad introduction video, and found that Flash must be working on the device, because it’s used on the nyt.com, which was featured in the demo: The iPad has Adobe’s Flash on Apple’s video. This of course is important to marketers, as Flash is pretty much an industry standard for rich advertising. Is Apple really planning a total end around, as IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg warns in this post?

I’m not so sure. I’d wager Apple and Adobe are deep in negotiations right now, and I’d also wager part of it has to do with Flash’s execution in the Mac and associated operating systems. Why? Well, it’s not a secret that Flash is resource intensive and reportedly buggy on the Mac (at least, that’s what developers are saying). Perhaps Jobs is using the iPad as leverage to get Adobe to focus on his platform. Or, perhaps he really is spurning the company’s technology. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, a Google exec (Hal Varian) damns the iPad with faint praise, reminding us all that Google and Apple are circling each other in the mobile device market like boxers calculating their first flurry of punches. And O’Reilly Radar has what I think is the best take on the iPad I’ve read so far: The iPad is the iPrius: Your Computer Consumerized.

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The Thursday Signal

The iPad announcement took two months to build up, so it's not going away in one day. Today's news is dominated by Monday morning quarterbacking around the device, and so far, the fanboys and tech blogosphere are, by and large, not pleased. The image at left represents a few…

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The iPad announcement took two months to build up, so it’s not going away in one day. Today’s news is dominated by Monday morning quarterbacking around the device, and so far, the fanboys and tech blogosphere are, by and large, not pleased. The image at left represents a few of the stories I’ve been reading across the web. I’ve filed them away in a folder I call “Predictions Support”, as they all seem to support my thesis that the iPad would disappoint. Time will tell. And I still want one, and I’m not convinced there isn’t a counter story in there somewhere.

Meanwhile, there are a few deficits in the iPad that are material to the marketing business. First, the iPad does not support Flash. That’s just silly, unless Apple really thinks it can force marketers to create purely for its own distribution channel (or envisions the iPad as an ecosystem devoid of ads, which is possible). Second, it has no camera, though I’m sure camera devices can be added to it (and probably will be added natively in future versions). Third, as I predicted, it’s another orifice for Apple’s iTunes and App Store, so it’s not an open web device. Then there’s the unfortunate choice of name, which I think will fade over time. There are many other features (or lack thereof) that folks are finding fault with, for more, check this piece on Gizmodo.

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Google Rolling Out Social Search: But Does It Leverage Facebook?

Forget the iPad, today Google is taking another step toward its stated goal of "making search more social." There's a lot of goodness in here, in terms of features and approach, but it's just silly to pretend you can do any of this without directly addressing the 400 million-person…

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Forget the iPad, today Google is taking another step toward its stated goal of “making search more social.” There’s a lot of goodness in here, in terms of features and approach, but it’s just silly to pretend you can do any of this without directly addressing the 400 million-person elephant in the room called Facebook. Put simply: I can’t figure out if this new service uses my Facebook social graph. And to my mind, that’s a problem.

From the blog post announcing the public beta of social search (first announced at Web 2 late last year):

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Why The Apple iPad Will Disappoint (The Obama Effect)

(image ) While the world watches the next coming of Jobs, I reflected on my gut feeling as to the iPad, and why that feeling is inherently one of disappointment (see my predictions 2010 (#5) and my post earlier this week).   And I’ll admit, this one is not entirely…

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(image ) While the world watches the next coming of Jobs, I reflected on my gut feeling as to the iPad, and why that feeling is inherently one of disappointment (see my predictions 2010 (#5) and my post earlier this week).  

And I’ll admit, this one is not entirely logical. But then again, I don’t always base my predictions (or my business decisions) on pure logic. Sometimes I just go with a feeling.

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The Weds. Signal

A brief Signal today till I can write later in the day, running to an early meeting: 20 Metrics To Effectively Track Social Media Campaigns (SEL) Supreme Court's Devastating Decision | Ronald Dworkin | NYRB | 26 January 2010 (Off topic, but I found this take interesting) Social Is the…

A brief Signal today till I can write later in the day, running to an early meeting:

20 Metrics To Effectively Track Social Media Campaigns (SEL)

Supreme Court’s Devastating Decision | Ronald Dworkin | NYRB | 26 January 2010 (Off topic, but I found this take interesting)

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The Tuesday Signal: Birth of Another Orifice

A light day in the media and marketing world, as it seems everyone is holding their breath, waiting for Steve Jobs and Apple to drop the next shoe tomorrow with the launch of the iPad (or iTablet or whatever it'll be called). Speculation over the device dominates the news,…

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A light day in the media and marketing world, as it seems everyone is holding their breath, waiting for Steve Jobs and Apple to drop the next shoe tomorrow with the launch of the iPad (or iTablet or whatever it’ll be called). Speculation over the device dominates the news, with the NYT pondering its impact on “old media” business models (including its own), and endless rumors about its specs from the tech blogs. (including the apparently faked image at top.)

So allow me a few thoughts on Apple’s entry. First off, if iTunes and the iPhone are any indication, the iPad will be a closed system, controlled by Apple. As with the iPhone, only approved apps will get to play. And as with iTunes, only those who cut a deal with Apple will get distribution on the new device.

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The Monday Signal

Quite a weekend in marketing land, with a blast from Jason C. directed at Comscore. Sunday's feeds were alive with responses (I think this summary from TheNextWeb is a good place to start), but it boils down to this: Jason fired off an angry shot at a easy target, but…

Quite a weekend in marketing land, with a blast from Jason C. directed at Comscore. Sunday’s feeds were alive with responses (I think this summary from TheNextWeb is a good place to start), but it boils down to this: Jason fired off an angry shot at a easy target, but with a bit more nuance, one can see that this is not a simple issue. If it were as black and white as he lays it out, Comscore would have been out of business a long time ago. Measurement is not as easy as most folks think it is, and Google Analytics has trained nearly everyone to think they have more people coming to their sites than they really do. Certainly, Comscore will probably learn from this tempest and possibly change its tactics. But the company has a right to charge for its services, the market will decide if its approach makes sense. (Caveat: FM – and its partners – are Comscore customers).

Meanwhile, Comscore reported global search market trends for 2009. Money shot: The total worldwide search market boasted more than 131 billion searches conducted by people age 15 or older from home and work locations in December 2009, representing a 46-percent increase in the past year. This number represents more than 4 billion searches per day, 175 million per hour, and 29 million per minute. The U.S. represented the largest individual search market in the world with 22.7 billion searches, or approximately 17 percent of searches conducted globally. China ranked second with 13.3 billion searches…(makes one think about Google’s China decision, no?).

I found this NYT post on “controlled serendipity” worthy reading, it furthers a working thesis I have about how the social web is changing search, in particular discovery of content. While the premise is a bit shopworn (we’re all both creators and consumers of content!), it’s nevertheless true.

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Search On: Google Does Pure Branded Advertising…

…for its core property, search. And it's pretty good (it's a series of well produced ads, on YouTube, natch). I've predicted for some time that Google would have to start brand marketing itself, but so far I've only seen product marketing for Adwords or Android. This is the first…

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for its core property, search. And it’s pretty good (it’s a series of well produced ads, on YouTube, natch). I’ve predicted for some time that Google would have to start brand marketing itself, but so far I’ve only seen product marketing for Adwords or Android. This is the first time I’ve seen a real ad for Google.com search. See it below. (I noticed this because the teaser banner, above, was running tonight on my own site through Adsense…)

Watching the series (which were uploaded to YouTube two months ago), it strikes me that Google is being pretty thoughtful here about what its brand means, and how search is changing in both its interface and its usage, and the power it has to change lives. Many Google properties are referenced, including mobile search, maps, universal search, YouTube, and more.
Update: I’ve now seen this campaign on the NYT as well, roadblocked. It’s truly a brand campaign: Google is not selling anything here other than its own brand – that ephemeral sensibility that resides between its customers’ ears.

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Today’s Signal

Why Do People Follow (or Fan) Brands? (eMarketer) This link has been passed around a lot this morning in marketing circles, despite the fact that the insights are pretty thin (people follow brands to learn about deals and "learn about new products, features or services.") We're all eager to understand…

Why Do People Follow (or Fan) Brands? (eMarketer) This link has been passed around a lot this morning in marketing circles, despite the fact that the insights are pretty thin (people follow brands to learn about deals and “learn about new products, features or services.”) We’re all eager to understand what it is that might lead a person into “branding” themselves online. It’s certainly a new form of currency – even AdWords has products you can use to drive Twitter followers. But what are they worth, in the end? I’d love to see more substantial research on this. I think people follow brands because they feel connected to them for some reason. Same reason people engage with them in real space. And value creation creates connection. So create value for folks in the context of social media, and they’ll fan or follow you. Then keep giving them value.

Twitter Changes How It Suggests Users – This is an important step, but Twitter isn’t there yet in terms of really harnessing the power of its own ecosystem.

GOOG reports “strong” earnings, stock sags – Google is considered by nearly everyone as a bellweather company, as goes GOOG, so goes the USA. So even though the company reported a strong Q4, the topline revenue number did not crush Wall Street’s expectations. (It only beat them). Stock’s down 20 points as a result, reflecting concerns that perhaps Google can’t grow as fast as folks wish it would. Notable: Eric Schmidt says Google’s next huge growth business is display advertising. Always wondered what Google really means when it says that. Display does not equate to brand, mind you…

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Twitter Finally Begins to Address It’s WTF Now Issue:

Twitter today killed its "suggested users" feature (which Ev said he'd do way back at Web 2 in October), and replaced it with a more sophisticated approach. In a blog post explaining the move, the company elaborates: We've found that the power of suggestion can be a great thing…

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Twitter today killed its “suggested users” feature (which Ev said he’d do way back at Web 2 in October), and replaced it with a more sophisticated approach. In a blog post explaining the move, the company elaborates:

We’ve found that the power of suggestion can be a great thing to help people get started, but it’s important that we suggest things relevant to them. We’ve created a number of algorithms to identify users across a variety of clusters who tweet actively and are engaged with their audiences. These new algorithms help us group these active users into lists of users by interests. Rather than suggesting a random set of 20 users for a new user to follow, now we let users browse into the areas they are interested in and choose who they want to follow from these lists.

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