EirePreneur writes: “My predictions for 2007 were dominated by Google Reader because it’s one of the products best placed to dominate the Read/Write web. The addition of support for tagging and link blogging were the warning shots but the coming months will see Reader evolve into a fully fledged Reader/Writer (let’s call it ReWriter). Google ReWriter is the first product that will tie the major pieces of the Read/Write web together – RSS/ATOM (feeds), OPML, Social-Bookmarking/Tagging (folksonomies), Attention and Microformats.”
No longer a mere prediction of the digital future by starry-eyed theorists, marketing through cell phones is on the scene and growing. In fact, 2007 is the year many say that marketing via cell phones (and through other sorts of mobile devices that are collectively, and rapidly, merging into one technology) will finally come into its own. Advertisers and marketers are adding mobile-marketing programs to their ad budgets and are busy figuring how the new medium is going to work for them.
The relative newness of the medium gives marketers limited choices to reach consumers via their phones. Companies can use traditional ad venues like billboards or TV ads to encourage viewers to text in codesthe function is known as SMS for “short message service”to vote in polls, answer trivia questions or enter contests. Others are placing banners on Web sites (say, Absolut vodka reaching mobile surfers looking for a restaurant on Zagat.com). Meanwhile, those on the leading edge are experimenting with actual programmingcommercials disguised as “mobisodes” (mobile episodes)that run on cell phones just like traditional broadcast or cable content.
Robin Good has compiled a list. “RSS tools and services play an increasingly important role in the effort to effectively aggregate, syndicate, market and distribute online content.”
All those various fake mockups weve seen the last few years have basically been that- a combo cell phone/ music player. Luckily Apple had the vision to go (way) beyond that goal.
So what is it? This is the first genuinely marketable iteration of a smartphone/teleputer (George Gilder- interview at Inside Digital Media) for a mass audience. This IS the teleputer version 1.
Terry Semel — a legendary Hollywood dealmaker, a guy who didn’t even use email — had not come to Silicon Valley to meekly merge with the geeky boys of Google. He had come to turn Yahoo into the next great media giant. Which might explain why the face of the famously serene CEO was slowly turning the color of Yahoo’s purple logo, exclamation point included. “Five billion dollars, 7 billion, 10 billion. I don’t know what they’re really worth — and you don’t either,” he told his staff. “There’s no fucking way we’re going to do this!”
Semel could talk tough because he had a backup plan. Yahoo would go out and buy its own top-notch search engine and its own search-advertising technology, and it would beat Google in the emerging arena of little text ads that pop up next to search results. Semel’s decision to opt for this plan B was a fateful one. It was a smart play — but Yahoo fumbled, bungled, and mishandled its execution at every step. (More on that in a moment.) As a result, Google today controls nearly 70 percent of the search-related advertising market, an industry worth more than $15 billion a year and growing at roughly 50 percent a year. It’s these ads that are the source of Google’s riches and the basis for its expanding power.
And what must infuriate Semel: This could have been Yahoo.
One of the biggest gaps in daily life in India is knowing about neighbourhood and city service providers. Yellow pages have not been ingrained into customer behaviour. Local maps have until now been almost non-existent. Mom-and-pop stores have not found it easy to reach out to their catchment area other than perhaps inserting flyers in newspapers. This is where things are going to start changing in 2007.
India-specific search engines like Guruji.com have been launched. They are collaborating with the yellow pages companies to create searchable local content. Google Maps has recently launched detailed street-level maps for many Indian cities. Expect mashups soon to overlay all kinds of physical world information on these maps. User-generated content is filling in for the lack of a Zagat-like equivalent in India. A number of sites are trying to marry peer production and recommendation engines in an effort to create a rich tapestry of whats happening. All of this is helping build the local reference web in India.
The next step is to make possible the local incremental web. This is where the combination of RSS and mobiles can play a role. Do-it-yourself publishing can create the content, while subscriptions can help deliver to the interested people in near real-time on their mobiles. In this world, events will start becoming the centrepiece of peoples lives. With mobiles, individuals can also report on what they are seeing and share it easily with others. This two-way interaction can help spur all kinds of new services from citizen journalism to Wikipedia-like search for something interesting to do on a Sunday evening.
Local content is important because local is where we spend much of our lives. A decade ago, options were limited. But that is no longer the case. There are lots of things happenings everyday and especially on weekends. Given the diversity of tastes that people have, they would like to know of the things of interest to them. Parents would like to know of fun activities for children, shoppers would like to know of deals, teenagers would like to know of the new cool thing around town. In India, we have a unique opportunity to bring all of this to life quickly building around the Internet and mobiles, and complemented by user inputs.
2007 will start seeing the launch and growth of these services creating for a richer and more varied lifestyle. The promise of the Internet and the other digital technologies will start being realised. A story which began a decade ago, at least for some, will see the next chapter written one which finally starts making a difference to our daily lives.