Archive for February, 2010
All these wonderful things we’re learning today, from data! First, we find out that Android is a guy thing. Now, we discover that the iPod Touch shares more demographics with glittering vampires than smartphones. iPod Touch: Kid stuff.
The age distribution makes a lot of sense, especially with the direct available comparison of the iPhone: the iPod Touch is a good gift, a plausible purchase, and a good investment for a young person right now. An iPhone with a $70-a-month minimum contract is a tougher sell, either to parents, or to kids mostly supported by their parents.
And these kids don’t just buy different gadgets than adults—they use them differently, too. For example, they looooove apps:
But they’re stingy little bastards, these kids:
Buying an app can be tough without a credit card, so again, this isn’t shocking. But it does poke a little hole in the idea of the iPod Touch as a massive moneymaker for Apple. Hardware sales are tremendous and highly profitable, sure, but once the devices are in users’ soft little baby hands, they don’t keep raking it in like the iPhone does. [AdMob]
If you sum up the total unique user sessions in Jan 2008, Jan 2009, and Jan 2010, you get
Jan 2008 – 285M
Jan 2009 – 337M
Jan 2010 – 413M
That is a year-over-year increase of 18% and 23% respectively. Assuming the population of the world does not change that much year to year, the change in total unique sessions leads to the conclusion that online usage continues to increase noticeably.
The Compete.com chart below shows nearly identical number if unique users monthly — Google at 148M uniques and Yahoo at 132M uniques. And Facebook alone achieved another 134M uniques. So while the unique visitors across these 3 sites are not mutually exclusive, there are 414M unique user sessions in the month of January 2010
Well, this is strange. January 2010 numbers from Nielsen reveal Google has 66.3% of the search market, while Yahoo has 14.5% and Microsoft has 10.9% across its various properties. Google is 4x more than Yahoo and 6x more than Microsoft.
It’s known that Google constantly updates the algorithm, with 550 improvements this year—to deliver smarter results and weed out the crap—but there are a few major updates in its history that have significantly altered Google’s search, distilled in a helpful chart in the Wired piece. For instance, in 2001, they completely rewrote the algorithm; in 2003, they added local connectivity analysis; in 2005, results got personal; and most recently, they’ve added in real-time search for Twitter and blog posts.
The sum of everything Google’s worked on—the quest to understand what you mean, not what you say—can be boiled down to this:
This is the hard-won realization from inside the Google search engine, culled from the data generated by billions of searches: a rock is a rock. It’s also a stone, and it could be a boulder. Spell it “rokc” and it’s still a rock. But put “little” in front of it and it’s the capital of Arkansas. Which is not an ark. Unless Noah is around. “The holy grail of search is to understand what the user wants,” Singhal says. “Then you are not matching words; you are actually trying to match meaning.”
Oh, and by the way, you’re a guinea pig every time you search for something, if you hadn’t guessed as much already. Google engineer Patrick Riley tells Levy, “On most Google queries, you’re actually in multiple control or experimental groups simultaneously.” It lets them constantly experiment on a smaller scale—even if they’re only conducting a particular experiment on .001 percent of queries, that’s a lot of data.
Be sure to check out the whole piece, it’s ridiculously fascinating, and borders on self-knowledge, given how much we all use Google (sorry, Bing). [Wired, Sweet graphic by Wired's Mauricio Alejo]
Additional Information on Real Time Bidding
The Policy Center’s vice-president reports “”The general consensus of the panel today was that we are not prepared to deal with these kinds of attacks.”
The nightmarish scenario that unfolded represented a worst-case example. As former secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff noted, many cyberattacks can be stopped if individual cell phone or Internet users simply follow the best practices and use the right tools. Similarly, another participant pointed out that private Internet companies would not sit idly by as a virus ran amok.
A collapse of power across the U.S. also only took place when the simulation brought in factors such as high demand during the summer, a hurricane that had damaged power supply lines, and coordinated bombings that accompanied the cyberattack and subsequent failure of the Internet.
Still, the war game highlighted crucial issues about the government’s own reliance upon communications that might go down during a real-life scenario. One of the biggest problems was how the President ought to respond to a situation that caused damage like warfare but lacked an immediately identifiable foreign adversary. Smaller-scale cyberattacks have already complicated real-world diplomacy, such as the alleged Chinese cyberattacks on Google and other U.S. companies.
Ares Defense Blog questioned a curious missing element from the simulation, in that there was no mention of what happened to phone or Internet service in the rest of the world. Surely a nation that decided to launch cyberattacks against the U.S. would take safeguards to protect its own crucial communication services, which would possibly help U.S. officials narrow down the list of suspects.
Another question seemed more mundane but equally important — how would the government activate the National Guard with cell phone service down?
The Pentagon’s DARPA science lab recently pushed for a “Cyber Genome Program” that could trace digital fingerprints to cyberattack culprits. But identifying whether a cyber attack came from individual civilians, shadowy hacker associations or government cyber-warriors has proven tricky in the meantime.
[via Ares Defense Blog]
I don’t understand Google Shopper. Not because the function—searching for books, CDs, DVDs and more by using the cover art or barcode—is confusing. But because they already have a visual search app built into new Android phones, Goggles.
Goggles does the same thing: You take a picture of something, like a book cover, and it searches for it. I get that Shopper is slightly different, with more of a direct Amazon-competitive slant, since you can bookmark products to buy them later (presumably through Google Checkout).
But why not just integrate that into Goggles? Why the hell does this separate other product exist? Like Fake Steve says, WTF is going on over there? Android and Chrome OS? Wave and Buzz? (Okay, Buzz and Wave aren’t an entirely fair comparison, though try explaining them to a normal person.) Now Goggles and Shopper? Am I just missing something? [Google]
Before Windows Phone 7 was even an embryo of a concept, Windows Mobile was king: It powered nearly half of smartphones in use, a led the industry in features. Then, in 2007, things started to go wrong. Very, very wrong.
Silicon Alley Insider has charted Windows Mobile’s platform share, which is to say the proportion of users who were using it at a given time, over the last four years. For showing decline, figures like these are more telling than sales—they mean that, for years now, people haven’t been buying Windows Mobile phones nearly as fast as they’ve been ditching them.
More interesting than what it shows is what it projects: Windows Mobile 6.x phones have been collectively kneecapped by Microsoft’s announcement yesterday, and rendered spectacularly unbuyable outside of enterprise circles. In other words, that line—the one that dragged down past RIM in 2008, and that dropped past Apple last year—is going to keep plunging for the rest of this year, until Windows Phone 7 tries to haul it back up. And until then, it’s only going to get steeper. [Silicon Alley Insider]
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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