Google still rules the Search Kingdom by a few hundred furlongs.Latest reports from IgnitionOne, show how Google commanded 81% of all US search advertising spend in Q2 2011. This figure is actually up slightly from the previous quarter and a 17.7% increase from Q2 2010. Meanwhile, Yahoo/Bing spending dropped 7.7% from Q2 2010.Bing, increased its US search market share about 75%, from 9.7% in May 2010 to 17% in May 2011. Meanwhile, Google lost 14% of its search market share in the same timeframe. The combined Yahoo/Bing also saw YOY declines in other key metrics, with cost-per-click (CPC) down 11% and effective CPM (eCPM, or effective cost per thousand views) down 9% year-over-year. Yahoo/Bing clicks (3.6%) and impressions (1.4%) grew slightly year-over-year. However, Google’s rate of growth in these two metrics was approximately nine times greater for impressions (12.8%) and five times greater for clicks (17.6%).Google’s AdEx saw nearly 230% growth in spend year-over-year on a same client basis, despite a 20.5% decline in CPM.
Search is going social, and so Bing’s partnership and integration with Facebook – the world’s biggest social network – could potentially materialize into a big advantage over Google. Furthering the social connect, Bing has enhanced the way it takes and uses data from Facebook (such as Likes and interests) to create personalised search results.
Quoting Qi Lu, director of Microsoft Online Services: Bing and Facebook are collaborating to create a search experience that doesn’t exist at the moment. What’s missing from search is the trusted opinion of people you value.
There are still industry debates about whether Likes do add a level of trust and whether they’re all that valuable in the context of search.
1. But if social is going to play a role in search, then having access to Facebook’s data (which Google doesn’t have), gives Bing the advantage of being able to try new techniques and models for marrying the two areas.
2. Android is activating around 500K devices every day. That is 15 million Android’s in a month which means Google is going full steam at the Mobile Search. Bing is not sitting it out there and has partnerships with RIM, Nokia, Verizon to make Bing the default search engine. Bing is thus not too far behind Google, if not abreast, in providing best vertical searches on mobiles.
3. Bing’s iPad app is hailed as a more complete experience than Google’s equivalent app and really maximizing the benefits of the high resolution touchscreen device. This is significant because Apple makes Google the by-default search engine on its devices. By holding a “better experience” Bing makes itself a better alternative to Google on Apple’s devices.
4. A tighter data privacy than Google, may give Bing an advantage. The issue of data privacy is growing in importance as people wake up to the wide range of information that is available about them on the web. Google has not been able to convince users wholly about the efficacy of its data privacy policies, yet.
5. Microsoft’s Xbox is much more than a games console. For many users it acts as the gateway to the internet from their living room, making it a central part of their online experience. And Bing powers the experience from these gaming consoles.
Google has been way ahead for quite some time now – and has done so many things right, that it’s difficult to say whether Bing will ever be able to catch up. And it’s worth noting that Bing has only been able to gain some critical market share in the US so far (where Bing plus Yahoo – which is powered by Bing’s search engine – jointly have around 30%), while Google has a very dominant 90% + share in most European countries.
So part of Google’s global success is partly down to its commitment to investing in international versions of its products and quick penetration of countries outside the US. Bing will definitely need to add internationalisation to its plans if it is to get closer to its rival.
But at least the intense competition between the two is fuelling innovation and change and is great entertainment for industry watchers.
There are now over 500,000 Android devices activated every day, and it’s growing at 4.4% w/w: Andy Rubin on Twitter.
500K devices everyday or 1.5million a month, which ever way you see it, the number is certainly a very large one. That Android has its own issues in maintaining the sanctity of the platform is another thing all-together. Blackberry and Nokia need to be worried, very worried, because these numbers dont augur well for them. It means that a lot of BB and Nokia probables are slipping into Android and none of them really have an answer to the Android juggernaut.
However, the one platform and Device that stands to disrupt Android incredible growth is the Apple iPhone and here is how the iPhone could turn tables on Android.
1. iPhone 5 is supposed to be released this September and will be 4G compatible. More importantly, Apple is launching the iPhone5 as a world phone for both GSM and CDMA platforms.That is going to be massive traction for the iPhone.Apple is never going to make dozens of devices to match Android in “choice”, but the carrier part of the equation is being negated.
2. Another rumor suggested, that the iPhone 5 will feature a SIM card slot for other countries except US. This will allow users to insert any SIM card in iPhone when traveling abroad.
3. Apple may be launching a low-cost iPhone along with its iPhone 5 to boost its presence in emerging markets.This could be the big volume clincher. A $349 price point for the iPhone could be a table turner given that Price is the most important factor in smartphone purchase decisions (read survey here).
4. The iPhone5 is also rumored to spec up both on Camera (8MP?) and battery life… both critical parameters.
5. Apple has also won a significant patent for capacitive touchscreens on touchphones. Apple could therefore potentially force competitors to licence their patent. This does place the onus on rival manufacturers to prove their device is not mimicking Apple.
6. Also Apple has a head start over Androids in the tablet segment with 9 out of 10 tablets sold being the iPad. A recent Comscore survey shows that 97% percent of US internet surfing and 89% of Global internet surfing on tablet-based devices worldwide is coming from iPads.The utter failure of Android based tablets to gain meaningful marketshare makes a strong case for the sales success of Android-based phones being little more than a carrier-based vacuum-filling exercise
7. The Verison CDMA iPhone sold 2.2 million units in its first quarter. Simultaneously Market agencies Nielsen and Needham-IDC reported that Android’s surge in US markets was flattening.Q1 2011 data show that while iPhone gained 12.3 percentage points to 29.5% US market share, Android’s share in the U.S. fell from 52.4% to 49.5% — its first sequential loss in any region of the world since early 2009.
The seven factors put together give iPhone5 a lot of power to take the wind out of sails of the Android Juggernaut. Just how it pans out, we would wait and watch!
Two years after Nokia and Intel tom-tomed a ground braking tie-up for new devices and platforms, the first baby of the marriage is born: The N9. For many who were fatigued by the Nokia Symbian (so called) smartphones, this was a good beginning, except that this is the end. Stephen Elop has pronounced that Nokia will not be supporting Meego development going forward. Given that the Meego powered N9 is one of the best devices that have come out of Nokia in the last year and two, and all encouraging responses, Nokia’s decision to pull the plug on Meego is baffling.
Tomi Ahonnen, one of the greatest critics of Stephen Elop has had a few strong views about Nokia and its American CEO often culminating into (almost) personal attacks.
“This guy is a clown, he deserves to be in a circus”
“Nokia’s new CEO is sounding less and less like a deranged psycopath these days, and more and more like a confused schizophrenic.”
“The Patient Heart Has Stopped. Now the Doctor ‘helps’ by starting to strangle the patient too”
Elop’s latest pre-disposition about Microsoft and WP is indeed a little queer. For want of anything better, he looks like Microsoft’s commissioner in charge of converting all of Nokia to Windows. How else could one miss the reading on N9 and Meego? It isnt about deserting one platform for another, it is about a viable alternative. By moving away from the Meego, Nokia is dangerously putting all its stakes on WP… an extremely heavy bet! WP as a platform has a few deficiencies yet which were far better settled by the Symbian and Meego. The current spate of actions from Elop favour Microsoft more than they do for Nokia.
Nokia’s inconsistency with Intel and consistency with Microsoft may be read to be a new found “focus” on the platforms but one must take into account that a Linux based Meego is possibly more acceptable to developers who are already developing on the Android platform than Microsoft WP which is not the de-facto standard in the industry.Microsoft WP7 platform has the smallest number of apps and its app store is the least-used app store of the major internationally launched smartphone platforms.
Nokia’s Symbian has traditionally had a migration path and Nokia even built a migration from Symbian to MeeGo via its developer tools called Qt. Thus any apps now developed for Symbian would also run on MeeGo. The developers of Symbian were particularly pleased with this extra effort that Nokia had invested in its ecosystem. WP7 operating system did not have a migration path from Symbian. WP did not have a migration path to or from MeeGo. It did not even have a migration path from the previous Microsoft OS, Windows Mobile. The previous Microsoft developers were particularly upset that Microsoft refused to support them in migration.Microsoft’s WP7 is not compatible with Android. Its not even compatible with Microsof’t's own previous OS, Windows Mobile.
Stephen Elop has been emphatic about the fact that N9 launched recently will be the ONLY MEEGO phone regardless of the success or failure of the N9. Elop has been extremely focused on the Nokia-WP tie-up as the future for beleaguered Nokia. Symbian and Meego have been relegated to science projects! With all this in the background Nokia’s N9 launch really seems pointless, doesn’t it? Promising or not,who would bet on an OS which is shelved even before it hit the road?
With Stephen Elop at the helm, Nokia is more than ever looking at partnering with Telecom Operators to bring handsets to markets. The insight here is that pricing and carrier marketing plans will be critical deal breakers for consumers when all other factors and brands are at level.
Nokia had 2 choices here, either to go with Meego and start from scratch all over again with a new OS, new eco-system, developers, partners and the service layers or embrace WP7. Meego OS maturity could easily take 18-24 months to happen. Meego acquiring critical mass and being of interest to the eco-system and the developer community was a choice that was fraught with risks. Nokia needed answers now and here and was hence looking at the big guys to partner with them. No doubt Nokia has a very fine looking OS in Meego, but maintaining an eco-system needs strong partners in service layer who are willing to commit to allocating resources for that particular platform. Which I think is a major weakness for Nokia.
Amongst the big guys, Apple was always “out of the consideration set” and Android would not provide Nokia a “preffered” kind of partnership. Besides, Nokia seems to think that the Android market is pretty crowded, to a good rational.
If you actually look at successful mobile ecosystems- Android & iOS; both of them have very stong service layers built around them. Nokia unfortunately doesn’t have the kind of reach Apple or Google has when it comes to developers or partners in service layer. (Services like iTunes, Google Docs, Google Music, iCloud etc)
Elop and his Microsoft connect, Microsoft service layer competencies and Microsoft’s efforts at making contemporary OS and the fact that Microsoft is the 800lb gorilla in software markets were the scoring points. On the other hand Nokia was critically lacking on these counts which made the marriage “ideal”. With Microsoft this service layer problem is solved, Microsoft has Bing, Xbox Live, Office, Skype, Exchange Server, SkyDrive, great developer tools etc. Competitively Meego is not as well positioned as Windows Phone OS.
Thus even if Meego and N9 will be well received, Nokia will have to go the WP7 way because it has shorter lead times there, ready eco-systems, greater acceptability/credibility and a larger market to address thru that partnership.
1. Mobile subscribers in India increased to 861.48 Million at the end of April 2011 from 846.32 Million at the end of March 2011.There are signs of the subscriber growth numbers slowing down over the highs of 22 million in November/December 2010.
2. Overall Tele-density in India reaches to 72.08% at the end of April,2011 from 70.43% of the previous month. The 70% tele-density point should now see a de-celeration of growth and the big numbers now would come for a higher CAPEX in establishing Distribution and Reach. The overall wireless Tele-density in India has reached 69.19%.
3. The overall Urban teledensity has increased from 157.32% to 159.63% and Rural teledensity increased from 33.79% to 34.47%.
4. Of the 15 Telcos operating in India, top 3 account for 50% of the market. Thus the viability of the later entrtants: S-Tel, Videocon, Uninor,Etisalat are questionable. Having invested a combined Rs.13000 crore, the ARPUs being generated by these networks are in the order of:
Such low ARPUs does not even cover the cost of acquiring a customer, which is Rs 300-400. These numbers foretell unviable operations and it will be very difficult for Telcos to recover their costs.
Ref:New telecom firms’ revenue streams turn into trickle
5. With Teledensity at 70% and Urban teledensity at 150% and 1 paise-per-sec call rates, it is increasingly clear that operators will have to leverage data services and VAS as revenue streams in the future over Voice.
6. More importantly it is the overall quality of service and VAS, content, eco-system partnerships that are going to be the ace for greater profit realization.
7. Costs are going to be chief concern in trying to access the rural 66% teledensity. There is a scope of innovation here in terms of distribution and services. Cracking the rural hinterland is hot going to happen by the same strokes that have been used so far most successfully to get to the 70% teledensity.
8. The Urban wireless teledensity has increased from 150.06 to 152.41 and Rural teledensity increased from 32.75 to 33.44.
8. Less than 5 million subscribers (1% subscribers) have opted for MNP in 6 months. What is evident is like elsewhere, GSM is the more preferred over CDMA as an option for Cellular subscribers.
10. Active wireless subscribers in VLR in April- 2011 is 583.22 million.30% of the subscribers in India are “ghosts” and that raises concern on the issue of 30% dead numbers.
11. Broadband subscription reaches to 12.01 Million in April-2011 from 11.87 Million in March-2011. Broadband refers to 256KBPS + speeds which by itself is a very low benchmark for data access as compared to other regions globally.41% of Internet connectivity in India is Broadband.
12. Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) for GSM service declined by 4.38%, from `110 in QE Sep-10 to `105 in QE Dec-10, with Y-O-Y decrease of 27%. MOU per subscriber for GSM service declined by 2.29%, from 368 in
QE Sep-10 to 360 in QE Dec-10. The Outgoing MOUs (174) declined by 1.61% and Incoming MOUs (186) by 2.92%.
13. ARPU for CDMA – full mobility service declined by 6.38%, from `73 in QE Sep-10 to `68 in QE Dec-10. ARPU for CDMA has declined by 17% on Y-O-Y basis. MOU per subscriber for CDMA-full mobility service declined by 4.73% from 283 in QE Sep-10 to 270 in QE Dec-10. The Outgoing MOUs (137) declined by 0.92% while Incoming MOUs (133) declined by 8.34%
14. The Vista of falling ARPUs and MOUs doesnot bode well for the Indian Telecom industry and places an onus on Telcos to integrate a larger basket of Telecom services to entice the customer to spend more.
With the advent and evolution of Mobile as primary devices to access internet, the nature of search is beginning to change.Search has to evolve to keep pace with the changing nature of internet and be able to be relevant to browsing through mobiles as against through desktops or laptops.
Traditional Web search is “horizontal” : complex algorithms, immense processing power, vast data centers, and even human editorial involvement are used in an attempt to span all sources to respond to queries.
These resources are used to “recall” all possible relevant links. The majority of the results produced are information resources and links to websites, rather than specific content. The user is faced with clicking through page after page of results. Broadband connections and powerful personal computers with large screens help make horizontal search useful, though often imprecise and labor intensive.
“Mobile” augments Search 2.0:Vertical Deep Dive Search
However search on mobile requires a different level of precision. Mobile,“on the go” users conduct their searches with less powerful, small screen devices and must deal with network limitations. They face an entirely different challenge and have different goals: 85% of the time they’re shopping for content they can consume on their phone. Results must be precise or the content simply won’t be discovered and consumed. Long click distances and click fatigue kill content discovery. The experience is frustrating for users and threatens revenue opportunities for mobile operators and content providers alike.
Mobile users are not looking at a million “matches” but possibly 10 deep matches, with huge degree of relevance, contextual applicability, profile understanding, local “sense”, social discover-ability and referencing and more.Users need to connect far faster—in 2-3 clicks—to the content in each of these relevant vertical channels, need linkages to payment gateways, social sites, rewards programs and much more. While there is a debate on how much content will be delivered: in terms of HTML5 web page or Applications, i would vote for Applications to be more versatile in doing the deep dives with user relevance. Add to this a decent dosage of Semantic Web and you have a huge opportunity to take search monetization to a new level with precision targeting and relevant solutions.
So where does SEO stand?
SEO, Adwords, Adsense are industries unto themselves which have allowed and helped users to refine data search and monetize effectively. However most of these techniques work on indexing the horizontal web- the dead links of Google. Search now is actively propelled by billions of bits of content created by the users collaborative, sourced from the crowd: Twitter and Facebook being the prime examples. These are examples of active web… always generating, creating and moving instead of the static web-pages of yore. Thus the delivery medium for these need to be mechanisms which are forever refreshing and renewing with new data.
Thus the challenge today is not SEO (ad placement), but to analyze, understand and cater to mobility experiences and i am betting my money on Applications and Vertical searches.
In few of my earlier posts, i have blogged about Applications based Internet delivery as the future of Internet. To me applications are far more superior internet mediums because of the versatility of the purposes they can solve (and so, There’s an App for that); the always on and always connected nature of apps and the API-led integration across all web based resources. The other benefit of Apps include the fact that Mobile apps using Web technologies are easier to build & deploy on multiple platforms. Also, Apps are activity led in terms of being mobile and not just relaying static information, but making dynamic linkages with various engines and APIs to present most relevant results. Daily interactive consumption has changed over the last 12 months between the web (both desktop and mobile web) and mobile native apps.With profusion of apps and with a large multiple of results basis how one App interacts with its environment, there are search engines for Apps returning the exact thing needed by relevance, instead of returning just the pages coherent with the search string.Thus Apps will be a better discovery medium of the web and the trend of Apps super-ceeding web pages is “on”.
Mobile App analytics firm, Flurry says that daily time spent in mobile apps has now surpassed web consumption. The average user now spends 9% more time using mobile apps than the Internet. In June users spent an average of 81 minutes daily on mobile apps, compared to 74 minutes on the web.This compares to 66 minutes on mobile apps daily in December of 2010, and 70 minutes spent daily on the web. And June, the average user spent just under 43 minutes a day using mobile applications versus an average 64 minutes using the Internet.
As smartphone usage continues to grow, we’re going to see more tech companies pursue aggressive mobile strategies and with Mobile Internet, the key delivery medium will be Apps. Whats also working in favour of apps will be the ability to integrate dynamic content into the App and enhance the user engagement.
Smartphones and Tablets is where the big big competition is: Apple versus Android. The Closed and walled versus the Open. And yet, like the smartphone platform, Android is far from getting its act right. The greatest strength of the Android platform has been its “open-ness”(Debates around Honeycomb aside). This has allowed ODMs to work on the platform and position their devices and massify the platform. That was the primary reason for the rise of Android in the smartphones category from a non-entity to 36% whereabouts by Q2,2011. But the open-ness is perhaps the Achilles heal for Android leading to problems such as Fragmentation of the platform and lack of a uniform user experience. While Android managed to tide over the Smartphone markets even with fragmenting OS, the case for Android tablets will be markedly different.
The patchwork that is Android is not consistent enough to allow the platform to compete adequately with the competition. Google has set out to be loose in its control over Android as a platform, and that looseness is beginning to cost tablet makers millions, perhaps billions of dollars. The problem is there is no real Android for tablets, just a framework for OEMs to change at will to try and compete with their products. The problem is they are not competing with other platforms, they end up competing with other Android tablet makers and diluting the ability of the platform to make a run at Apple’s iPad.
Because it is symptomatic of the problem with Android in general, that the platform is totally fragmented due to no one company taking ownership of it as a platform. Google certainly doesn’t, and OEMs can’t. The end result is that Android tablet makers end up not competing with the iPad, the logical target, but rather with each other. Each Android tablet comes to market with different hardware (most of which actually works), and software that is different from that which ships with Android proper.
Consumers have no chance to make sense of this, so there will never be a uniform perception of the platform. Perception of a product is hugely important, and unless Google does something it will never catch consumer’s attention uniformly as a platform must do.
Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and many more OEMs are working on their versions of the Android tablets. Amazon is also speaking of its own Android tablet and chances are that Amazon will also produce its own spin atop the Android platform. Amazon will add a series of pieces—Cloud Drive, streaming video services and an Android app market—that play into the tablet strategy. It is expected that Amazon might price its tablet competitively and play upon its advantage of content to make money which could further lead to price-erosion. Amazon’s tablet will use the Kindle model quite effectively. It’s not the device that matters here. It’s the store. Other OEMs in that case will play match-up which is thus going to effectively lower margins for OEMs.
That adds to the complexity, un-uniformity, price-erosion and fragmentation of the platform. The volumes may increase as a result of OEMs clamouring upto Android but the consistency would be bad missing and that is going to add to the woes of Android, the Tablet platform.
Mobile Browsing and App sales on Android has not been linear with its popularity and growth
Android: Addressing platform fragmentation
Google Android (Open Platform): The Development and Deployment conundrum
Android Tablet faces fragmentation even before it takes off