Tag Archive for google

Why Google should buy Twitter

Twitter is one of the hottest tech-companies on the web right now. The 3 year old company is reaching mainstream and is growing with a breath taking speed. Twitter.com grew 131 percent between February and March to 9.3 million visitors (US). It seems that they will pass LinkedIn in a very short time – just having Facebook and Myspace ahead of them.

A lot of attention is given Twitter in Media and the blogosphere. Read Write Web wrote and article back in January titled Sorry Google You Missed The Real-Time Web. They focus on the fact that Twitter is taking a place in the breaking news area, and that Google always will be late due to the nature of the indexing.

Jeffrey Mann discusses why Twitter should not work hard to find a business model One of his key points is that Twitter’s value is in its content. He like many others focus on the real-time value of the content seeing this as the real value; Peoples comments, opinions and news;

I believe that the real-time element of Twitter is an interesting thing to discuss in relation to how online news will evolve. But I think that the key value of Twitter is not founded on the real-time tweets but the power of the information that you can extract about the users.

Online advertising
Online advertising is huge and the spend will increase during the next years (even if we are in the middle of a financial crisis). Targeted advertising through Adwords and Adsense has been a great success for Google, but it is clearly that they need to innovate. My opinion is that in the coming years there will be a lot of innovation in this field. Focus will be on behavioral targeting and social media to get more precise targeting and effect (this also goes for display ads).

Interest based advertising
Google is clearly seeing this and their focus on interest based advertising gives some glimpse into how they see this evolve. As I see this the information that is created inside Twitter is a powerful element in Google’s development of the advertising technology. Today they have the search history, they have the keywords, they analyze the context inside a document. If they also can get their hands on the users and what users are saying about products and brands among everything else they will be able to make some really huge step forward in innovating the online advertising model.

Google is changing the Yellow Pages Industry

In the past years, Google has increased the focus on directory listings (yellow pages). OneBox is a product that combines links to paid content and ads with the usual information in the search results. The search is developed around the needs of the user, and are about to erase the distinction between promotional advertising and catalog. This challenges the established business models, and adding pressure on the industry.


Personalized view of relevant content
Google OneBox (pictured) provides a personalized view of relevant content of various types that match your query. The product is developed for several categories, including maps, travel and directory (Local businesses). In recent years, Google has entered into agreements with local directory publishers or players for access to quality content. This is packaged with content that is retrieved (or crawled) from many different sources on the web, in order to provide a richer search results for end users.

Local Business Ads increases opportunities for advertisers in the directory
The result of the Google directory is ideal for AdWords, the keyword-based advertising system that is the main source of income for the company. It gives advertisers the ability to link ads to place and industry (Local Business Ads). Most of the links from a OneBox result in directory leads to the map. The page is divided into two main modules; The map and a list of text-links that match the result. Int the list is a space for paid content (sponsored links). The paid content (ads) is placed both in the list and on the specific map, so that it receives exactly the same distribution and relevance as the rest of the content. In this way Google builds up a business for the directory listing that is identical to what they have in advertising in general.

The differences between the ads and other content erased
On January 13th Google launched a development of the Local Business Ads, so that it virtually is identical to the rest of the directory contents. This development is erasing the difference between traditional directory content, promotional ads and regular information. This also makes the end users look at the paid content as very relevant.


If you for example search for hotels all functionality in the map is now also available in hotels that have purchased placement. The difference between the paid content and the rest of the content is minimized – especially when the ad is built up with the same type of landing page as a directory entry (see Map). If you want to click on a hotel it opens up an “information bubble” that contains all the functionality that you are getting up if you click on a hotel that has not come through Adwords.

This makes it extremely attractive to advertisers, and also provides a good user experience for end users looking for a restaurant or a hotel.

Game Changer?
As far as I see it, Google changes the rules for the catalog market by entering into local agreements on access to content and to develop products and services around it. Local Business Ads match this perfect and makes it difficult to compete for established directory services players.

Reflections after having implemented Facebook Connect and Google Friend Connect on my blog

Facebook ConnectThis year there have been some developments related to the challenges we have with many different and closed social networks. Facebook, MySpace, Reunion, LinkedIn, Xing and many many more gives me a headache. There are several problems and challenges related to your identity online and technologies that make up the ‘Open Stack’ like OpenSocial, PortableContacts, OAuth, XRDS-Simple and OpenID is designed to resolve this. I think that ‘Open’ has had quit a lot of attention this year.

Log in with your preferred identity on the web
If you are active and comment much on articles, blogs etc, the problem is to appear with one single identity. Lately both Facebook and Google has launched technologies (among others like MySpace)  that enables us to take our identity with us around the web for all sites implementing this functionality. This is a great step forward for social data portability.  My blog now supports both Facebook Connect and Google Friend Connect. What does this mean? First of all this means that you have the ability to log in to my site with your preferred identity. This could be Facebook account, Google account, OpenID account, Yahoo account, or AIM account. If you leave a comment on one of my post you will be identified with this account.  Her is a great video from the guys at Facebook showing how to implement Facebook Connect on your blog or site.

Critical mass
For me as a user it is great to be able to hook my identity (for example my OpenID account) on to websites where I leave a comment. The ability to log in to a new site or register as a new user and only use a button like Facebook Connect is fantastic. It is easy, convenient and lays the foundation for new social services. TripAdvisor did not manage to success with their restaurant reviews until they hooked up with Facebook. The problem for them relates to critical mass. They created a Facebook Application (LocalPick) and experienced a tremendous success

What is the long term implications?
If we look beyond blogs all sites that utilizes user generated content like reviews, ratings and so forth should be able to make use of the ongoing social data portability trend. In fact this trend should be perfect in the critical mass perspective. When I look at TripAdvisor today, they have not yet implemented the ability for users to log in with their preferred identity and use that ID to interact with the site.

For the companies that wins the battle over your identity this should give enormous opportunities. Who will win this race? Facebook, Google, MySpace? I don’t know. Imagine that on 90% of all sites (blogs, magazines, news, classifieds…) all the user generated content, like reviews, ratings, comments or listings comes through Facebook or Googles identity. This should give them a possibility to among other things further develop their ad-systems. They may utilize all the information and statistics that the users give them through their use of the web! Here is a great article at TechCrunch that reflects some of this thoughts.

Remark about Google Friend Connect
At the end; Just one reflection about the Google Friend Connect. If you are logged in to your Google account and try the friend connect on a site, you will not be given the possibility to choose other accounts. Log out of your Google account first and try the join button and see the difference.

Google Translate, now also for Scandinavian languages

Googe So, yesterday, Google launched several new languages for their online translator, including the Scandinavian languages (Google Translate Becomes the Best Free Online Translator).

Testing it for the Norwegian language with my own blog was cool and it seems that the translation module is very good. Try out the following (if you understand my natural language) : One of my posts in norwegian

The new languages supported are:

  • Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Hindi, Polish
  • Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish

But, it seems that it is not so easy to see the translation module integrated within the Google search result. If your google search is set up with local language you will get the [translate this] for each result in the search page (if the language is within the translate package). At the Google front page just click on the Preferences link. There it is possible to choose your desired language. Doing so you will have the translating tool integrated smoothly within the search result. By the way; I am not able to get this translation function to work with IE 6.0 (29) !

A couple of weeks ago Google launched their javascript-based API, enabling the translation of block of text within web pages on the fly, making it easy to develop some pretty nice and elegant user-friendly functionality related to text translation.

Google buys Jaiku

Google operates orkut a social network service similar to Facebook. Today they bought Jaiku so it seems that Google is really focusing on the competition they get from Facebook and other social networking sites, and I look forward to see what Google will do with orkut and jaiku related to the amazing success that Facebook has achieved. Twitter and other social networking sites should definitively wath out for some hard competition.