Google Instant Changes the Game: Forget SEO

September 8, 2010

Google launched a new salvo in the search battle today and it’s a game changer. Say hello to Google Instant.

Basically, your results will change as you type. No more multiple search queries and result pages, just change what you’re typing until you see the results that match. This has huge ramifications for search engine optimization companies; although sites should still be “optimized”, the number of actual full searches and result pages returned just got obliterated.

I’ve never been a fan of SEO practices that rely on words on a page. These type of “SEO consultants” simply destroy great design and conversion rate in order to try and fulfill the promise of getting listed on search engines. What good is it if a consumer comes to your site only to run away quickly when being confronted with ugly, confusion? Concentrate on great content, navigation, and design to keep consumers engaged.

Great job Google, you just made search a whole lot smarter and fun again.


Touch-Tablets Are the Future. A 3 year-old Says So.

June 2, 2010


I watched him as he focused his attention on game play, moving his eyes and fingers side to side. Level 10…level 11…level 12..new high score! He’s been on the iPhone for over an hour; something his parents aren’t thrilled about but will take the quiet time when they can get it. After all, 3 year olds can be a handful. Yes, my 3 year-old nephew is an iPhone gaming pro.

I’ve been mulling over whether the coming rush of touch tablets coming to market later this year will mark the future of computing or if they’ll continue to be a novel gadget appealing only to a niche audience of users. iPad sales are through the roof with 2 million in the first 60 days, but a hot product doesn’t spell a consumer revolution. New innovation replacing existing products wholesale is what dictate a new future (think LCD monitors replacing CRTs). In 10 years will we all be using tablets?

What happens when you give a 3 year-old an iPad and let him play with it for a few hours and then take it away and give him a netbook? He looks at it confused and then asks for the iPad back or he’ll throw a tantrum. Just like I expect to be able to do virtually anything online, he expects to be able to do anything by touching the screen. To him, the experience isn’t new and exciting, it’s just the way it is. Anything else doesn’t make sense.

Of course, the consumer behavior of my generation will dictate whether tablets cause a revolution. The more you can do and the easier you can do it on a tablet, the more likely we’ll be ready to ditch the laptops we’re used to.  The more we buy the more our kids enjoy. The more our kids enjoy, the more we’re likely to buy. There’s already helpful sites, like iPadfor Kids, advising parents on the benefits of the iPad and apps for kids.

Just like the rush of ideas, applications, and platforms that made the web a natural part of our lives, the rush of developers working to bring great ideas, experiences, and platforms to tablets have the power to make tablets the new digital ecosystem device.

To my nephew’s generation it’s natural already. This video says it all. Watch then let me know what you think in the poll below.


If I Can Dream: A Beautiful Blend of Technology & Thinking

March 12, 2010

Have you seen If I Can Dream? If not, check it out. Now (ok, after you read this post :)). It’s a feat to be admired, showing what can be done when we think big and work hard to execute. Thanks to Tim Nolan at FITC for blogging about his experiences being involved in the project and turning my attention to such a great experience.

Ok, so what is it? Well, it’s basically an online reality show on steriods. The kind of steroids that would make you Mr./Mrs. Olympia in one dose. It’s not your typical 3 girls in a house broadcasting their intimate moments via webcam. It’s simultaneous video and audio capture, multi-streaming, HD, with a beautiful 3D-like interface, and strategically placed, non-intrusive advertising laced in. It’s an all-digital reality show that runs 24/7, is showcased on MySpace, and let’s anyone with a Hollywood dream submit their own audition tape to get into the house. And the cast definitely don’t have faces made for radio. Oh, and it’s the first show available for viewing on Hulu outside the U.S..

From a technology perspective, Tim put the challenge this way…

The idea was to transfer the Reality TV concept successfully to the Internet. The challenge was… How the f*ck are we going to do this? I mean how do you stream HD quailty video from every angle in the house that TV producer would want to see, how do you rig up all the mics to capture every conversation… In short, how do you make a physical house in Hollywood an all digital, always on 24/7 model for the tech house of the future?

Congrats to the guys at POKE and Entertainment 19. Check out these screen shots, then if you want to marvel at the technology or the cast head on over to the site and have fun.




The iPad Will Support Flash and Multi-Tasking…

January 28, 2010

I will change the web...or just sell you books! Photo: AFP/Getty

…it just has to. Yesterday Jobs and Co. presented the iPad as the ultimate web surfing device; something that will change the way we interact with the Web. That’s great! Can’t wait to go to all my favorite sites and let my fingers do the talking…movie sites, rich magazines, amazing design studios, and games! I’ll be able to touch and move my way around all my favorite sites and applications in a flash….ya, Flash…

All the great creative, visual effects, online movies, and virtual goodness we enjoy? Mostly all Flash (sorry Silverlight). It’s all over the Web and without it we’d mostly have just text and pictures, want to go back to that? Flash brings the web to life…and it’s coming to mobile in a big way this year.

Here’s my theory, when the iPad ships it will support Flash and Multi-tasking…and so will the iPhone…for three reasons:

1. You can’t enjoy the Web without it

2. Android, Blackberry, and Nokia will all support Flash this year. The iPhone will support Flash or be left out of the party (plus developers will get on the iPhone with Flash CS5 anyway)

3. Everyone wants to multi-task on their computer and increasingly on their phone. Android supports it so iPhone has to.

Multi-Tasking is a must-have. Do you listen to music on your computer while surfing the Web? Do you have e-mail, a browser, and a document open at the same time? We all do, and we will want to do the same thing on our beautiful iPad. With the iPhone you’re mobile and usually doing something ‘at the moment’. Sitting on the couch with your iPad means you want to be able to do a few things and not only have one app open at a time. Any sane person knows that multi-tasking is a must have, and my bet is the iPad will support this for sure.

The distant future might see promise in HTML5 and the web moving away from plug-ins, but it’s not a gauranteed bet – remember how DHTML and VRML were supposed to change the Web? IS Flash really just a plug-in when it’s on 98% of computers out there? Plus, we need to get away from system dependent technology. We went through this with the early browser wars when you had to develop for Netscape or IE or Mozilla, and now we have the same thing on mobile. That’s got to change. We want to develop once and go everywhere (Flash isn’t the only way to that but it will be the easiest).

….or is it really all about just selling books?

There’s only one reason I can think of that the iPad won’t support Flash or Multi-tasking…Apple only cares about sell books. Reading is a dedicated activity (you don’t multi0task when you read). So, could be that the real big announcement yesterday wasn’t the iPad, it was iBooks. Remember, Apple’s game is to make it easy for you to get content across all their devices; Macbook, iPod, iPhone, iPad – doesn’t matter. Device money is great but the content brings in the mountains of recurring cash.

By most accounts, iTunes dominates as the place to get (legal) online music and TV programs. The next biggest thing is books and magazines. All the hoopla about being the ultimate web surfing device is great but it might be that the focus is really to own and make money from more of our cultural activities…music succeeded, TV failed (Apple TV), books is the next big prize (games will follow).

So, well find out in April if the way we use the Web is really going to change or if the iPad is really a land grab to sell books. I hope it’s the former because it really would change our digital lives.

What do you think? Take our poll…


Who invented Email? This guy!

June 18, 2009

inventors

It’s a part of our everyday lives, home, work or on the phone – we’re all addicted to email. Today, The Boston Globe reports that the man that started this revolutionary form of communication is recieving a very nice reward for his efforts.  Article is re-printed below, or you can read it here. Oh, and the guy that invented the mobile phone got his dues as well.

Facebook is great but these are the guys we should be celebrating!

A Boston engineer who is credited with the development of e-mail was honored with an international award.

Raymond S. Tomlinson, a principal engineer at BBN Technologies in Cambridge, was presented with the 2009 Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research for his “advancement of human communications.”

Martin Cooper, who created the first mobile telephone, was also honored with a twin award. He is shown (left) with Tomlinson in this image from the foundation’s website.

The accolade, meant to honor achievements in technology and science, is funded by the Prince of Asturias Foundation of Oviedo, Spain. It accompanies a cash prize of more than $69,000.

“It is a privilege to have my name associated with this prestigious foundation and added to the very impressive roster,” Tomlinson said.

In 1971, while working for BBN, Tomlinson developed a program that allowed messages to be sent between users on different computers, according to the foundation’s website. He chose the sign @ to separate local from global e-mails.
(By Sean Sposito, Globe correspondent)


Obama’s Message: The Web Kids are in Charge

November 6, 2008

change_badge1Tuesday November 4, 2008. A day that will go down in history. A man captured the imagination and hope of a nation to become the 44th President on the United States. A man who will be the first president of our generation that is not a baby boomer. His military reference is not Vietnam. The face of emerging America; he’s young, educated, socially conscious, and a minority. Amazing, the 44th president is an African American. Even more, he knows, respects, and loves the Web. He marks the day the web kids took over.

Barack Obama used technology like no one before him. BarackObama.com was launched very early in the Democratic Nomination campaign and it isn’t just a website. Others before him used the web to tell their story and raise money. Obama? He understood the power of the social web. BarackObama.com isn’t a website, it’s a social destination. A place you can get information, read blogs, watch Barack TV, connect on Facebook, MySpace or sign-up and have your own account on my.barackobama.com. You can even get music. Ya, that’s right, music from a once hopeful, and now next President.

Here’s the scorecard:

obama_scorecard

Why this Matters

Exit polls showed that Obama captured the vote of blacks, Hispanics, 18-34 year olds and new voters. He also won the female vote. Safe to say that it isn’t the baby boomers that pushed him to the White House, it’s us, the web kids.

When Clinton won the Oval Office in the 90s the web was a young dreamer. When W won in 2000 it was starting to blossom (Google had just recently launched). In 2004, Blogs were few and YouTube, Facebook, and MySpace weren’t household names. It’s 2008, the web has grown and our generation has grown with it. It’s a part of our lives. We don’t seek to understand technology, it’s native to us. We grew up with it and can’t imagine life without it. Obama understands this because when the web was getting started in 1994 he was 30 years old.

It’s our generation (Gen Y, Millenniums, Net Geners, whatever) that are starting to shape the world and Barack Obama is the first president that understands. He’s promised to use the same technology channels that brought him to power while in power. The White House is connected.

Will Things Change?

Call me a hopeful cynic. Many (if not all) promises made during an election fall apart once elected. Wahsinton D.C. is a complex place with competing agendas, lobby groups, and pressure to maintain the status quo. Will Obama grab hold of the opportunity to really deliver change? Will he challenge existing norms and the military industrial complex and work towards a more just society and world? Although Obama has some great advisors (Dr. Jeffrey Sachs for example), he also has a lot of the same old faces around him (Podesta, Volcker, Ross, possibly Indyk). The presidency is bigger than one man and it will take a real champion to continue to challenge the norms and deliver real change. I’m hopeful but I’m realistic. It sounds impossible.

But then again, a black president brought to office by a young, mobilized, and technically connected group was once impossible. It’s your show Barack and the web kids are watching.


Great Book: Grownup Digital

November 4, 2008

picture-1

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a book signing for Grownup Digital, the brand spankin’ new book by guru Don Tapscott. Great night, great book.

Don spoke about how today’s generation (he calls them Net Gen, other say Gen Y or Millenium…I’m part of this group and I don’t care what they call us) have been groomed as a result of native exposure to technology (i.e. we grew up with it, we didn’t discover it later). For Grownup Digital, Don completed a $4 million study on the Net generation.

There’s also a great community where you can learn all about the book (and buy it!), sample a chapter, and read some pretty informative stuff at grownpdigital.com. Here’s how the book is described on the About page, and Don on YouTube:

Poised to transform every social institution, the Net Generation is reshaping the form and functions of school, work, and even democracy. Simply put, the wave of youth, aged 12-30, the first truly global generation, is impacting all institutions. Particularly, employers, instructors, parents, marketers and political leaders are finding it necessary to adapt to the changing social fabric due to this generation’s unique characteristics. Within its comprehensive examination of the Net Generation, and based on a 4.5 million dollar study, Don Tapscott’s Grown Up Digital offers valuable insight and concrete takeaways for leaders across all social institutions.

Grown Up Digital explores:

How the Net Generation can be the most innovative, collaborative, and productive cohort, if given the proper working environment. From company ethic to leadership style, Grown Up Digital examines, in-depth, what this new organization will look like.

The benefits of a shift from a traditional, broadcast model of education to one that is customized, collaborative and interactive

How the Net Generation’s ability to scrutinize and investigate is forcing a new model of democracy that will have to be transparent, collaborative and engaging

How parents, teachers, and elder influencers can engage in open and informative discussions to ensure technology is properly used

How marketers no longer control their brands and how to cope with this power shift that affords the advantage to the consumer.

I’m from the Net generation (and so is everyone at Sensidea), so I live and breath digital. Don has a great sense, and amazing research on how the world will undoubtedly continue to change as my generation takes over.

Here’s Don on YouTube talking about the book

Great work Don!