The era of mobile computing, catalyzed by Apple and Google, is driving among the largest shifts in consumer behavior over the last forty years. Impressively, its rate of adoption is outpacing both the PC revolution of the 1980s and the Internet Boom of the 1990s. Since 2007, more than 500 million iOS and Android smartphones and tablets have been activated. By the end of 2012, Flurry estimates that the cumulative number of iOS and Android devices activated will surge past 1 billion. According to IDC, over 800 million PCs were sold between 1981 and 2000, making the rate of iOS and Android smart device adoption more than four times faster than that of personal computers. While the Internet began its commercial ramp in 1996, iOS and Android devices have seen double the number of device activations during its first five years compared to the number of Internet users reached during its first five years (Internet 1996 – 2001 vs. Smart devices 2007 – 2012).
On top of this massively growing iOS and Android device installed base, roughly 40 billion applications have already been downloaded from the App Store and Android Market. The average smartphone user, is beginning to spend more time in mobile applications than they do browsing the web.
This chart by Flurry compares how daily interactive consumption has changed over the last 18 months between the web (both desktop and mobile web) and mobile native apps. Ever since June 2011, time spent in mobile applications has grown. Smartphone and tablet users now spend over an hour and half of their day using applications. Meanwhile, average time spent on the web has shrunk, from 74 minutes to 72 minutes. Users seem to be substituting websites for applications, which may be more convenient to access throughout the day. People are now spending less time on the traditional web than they did during an year ago. This drop appears to be driven largely by a decrease in time spent on Facebook from the traditional web. In June 2011, the average Facebook user spent over 33 minutes on average per day on the website. Now, that number is below 24 minutes. Time spent on the web without Facebook has grown at a modest rate of 2% between June 2011 and December 2011.
Even while, the growth in time spent in mobile applications is slowing – from above 23% between December 2010 and June 2011 this year to a little over 15% from June 2011 to December 2011. The growth is predominately being driven by an increase in the number of sessions, as opposed to longer session lengths. Consumers are using their apps more frequently.
Facebook is the most used app on Android among 14 – 44 year olds, surpassing usage of Google’s own native, pre-installed apps. Additionally, Facebook Messenger became the top downloaded app, at least one time during 2011, across more than 100 different App Store countries. In the U.S., the largest App Store market, Facebook Messenger ranked as the top overall app across all other apps across all categories.
A research report by Ericsson endeavours to put some numbers to global data traffic projections: Mobile broadband subscriptions are expected to reach almost 5 billion in 2016, up from the expected 900 million by the end of 2011.That would represent 60% CAGR. Total smartphone traffic is expected to triple during 2011 and increase 12 fold by 2016 (roughly equal to PC generated traffic). Growth in mobile data traffic between 2011 and 2016 is mainly expected to be driven by video. By 2016 more than 30 percent of the world’s population will live in metropolitan and urban areas with a density of more than 1,000 people per square kilometer. These areas represent less than 1 percent of the Earth’s total land area, yet they are set to generate around 60 percent of total mobile traffic. Overall, an increase in mobile broadband, new smartphones, and higher app consumption will all drive the push for more data and Smartphones alone will account for a huge part of that.
Compare this to the growth in Global consumer Internet traffic which is expected to grow 5X during 2009-14 (CISCO report). Though the time intervals for both these data points are not concurrent, it highlights the growth perspective in data/internet led networks. The same report puts the growth in Mobility based data at 39X between 2009 and 2014. Increasing Video traffic driven by live video and TV are expected to drive global consumer internet video consumption by a factor of 10X between 2009-14 (and to me that is massively understated). The growth in Internet video consumption will be prevalent across all categories of Video: Internet to PC (Long, Short and Live), Internet to TV and Ambient Video/Internet PVR.
Driven by Lifestyle requirements, Living situation and Employment status, consumption of Internet video content is accelerating at a smart pace even as Content and its discovery itself is becoming smarter. What could this mean for consumers and the service providers ?
For the consumer: They would seek for capabilities that enable them to easily and securely access content, applications and infrastructure they seek from any location or device.
For the service provider: It would mean infrastructure capabilities that are re-usable, expandable, scalable for quick time to market and better insight and control over consumer’s end to end experience. Smart content delivery networks constitute a $6bn-$15bn market for service providers by 2015. Massive internet video growth drives puts forth huge operating challenges but also very unique revenue and monetization opportunities. Content management will perhaps not be enough unless the service providers are clear on their consumer segmentation, segment focus and positioning strategies and how much money could be made on these services. Again since this sector is fairly nascent at this point of time, regulatory and anti-trust considerations could also be key influencers.
Google’s search engine is a triumph of technology. There’s no denying that. It was the capstone that completed the initial structure of the Internet.
With over a decade and more of dominance beyond any thought and competition the biggest challenge for Google lately has been the declining potency of its search engine. In recent years, Google searches have become a lot less useful and a lot more frustrating. It has become more difficult to find stuff that is on the internet — even stuff that was featured previously. Another example is pages that have posted to the web more recently. They get overpowered in the Google algorithm by older pages that have had time to accumulate more incoming links.
But, the Internet is now in the midst of a dramatic remodel and it’s unclear whether Google search will get the refresh it needs to make it more appealing than ever or if it will be one of the things that gets painted over.
1.) The search results on Google are becoming increasingly ineffective because they were littered with “web spam” and articles from “content farms” (sites creating faux content to turn as many ads as possible).
2.) Social media has been replacing traditional web search for many different kinds of information gathering and Google hasn’t have a legitimate play in social (till Google+. After several high-profiled social flameouts — such as Google Wave and Google Buzz — Google+ seems to have made the mark)
Ironically, the biggest problem for Google is its greatest cash cow, SEO — Search Engine Optimization. A whole cottage industry has arisen around helping sites optimize their pages to get ranked as highly as possible in Google. As a result, the sites that land at the top of Google search results have become more about which sites are best optimized rather than which ones have the best and most relevant content.
Even worse, whole companies have emerged whose entire purpose is to create low-quality content that is highly-optimized for Google and loaded up with ads to turn a quick buck. These “content farms” have become big business.
Recognizing the growing risks points 1. and 2.pose to Google’s relationship with users, and ultimately its business model, the company has moved aggressively in 2011 to fix the situation. Google called it Panda. Panda was released in February 2011 with newer versions in April 2011, May 2011, June 2011 and September 2011.
However, the Panda update has had a difficult time targeting content farms and has accidentally affected a lot of good stuff. So for every eHow and Demand Media (bogus content sites) that Panda obliterated, Panda also killed some like TechRepublic (genuine content host).
Google argues that this creates a fairer and more objective system, and that introducing human filtering into the system would make it biased and subjective. While that may be true, the big question is whether human intervention would make Google search more effective, and ultimately more accurate. The problem with the algorithm (and artificial intelligence in general) is that it has no common sense or wisdom — at least not yet. Meanwhile, the systems that Google search is increasingly competing with for information discovery — social search and mobile apps — use the collective wisdom of the community or targeted experts to deliver better information more quickly than Google search, in many cases.
So far, Google (even with Panda) has had a difficult time targeting content farms and it has ended up accidentally removing a bunch of useful content in the process. The big question now is whether Google can learn from this experience and change, or if it will eventually fade into becoming a fallback mechanism that people use when they can’t find the information they need from social search (asking their Twitter or Facebook friends) or a mobile app.
Apple’s rush to adopt HTML5 might seem to be at odds with what many financial analysts have described as the major threat HTML5 poses to Apple’s monopoly with the App Store. Apple has been tweaking its implementation of HTML5 in the Safari browser to limit some capabilities, like auto-play of audio and video, using customer satisfaction as the reason. Perhaps it’ll be able to continue to steer developers who want the ultimate experience on iPhones and iPads to continue to use the App Store, even if it’s just to sell wrapped versions of their HTML5 interfaces. In any case, Apple has certainly decided that it has more to gain from embracing the emerging HTML5 standard — growing the potential market for iPads and iPhones — and getting out of its morass with Flash, than it would by dragging its feet or proposing its own alternative. Complicating matters are some ongoing patent disputes between Apple and the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) — which drives standards for the web.
If Adobe and Apple are right in their public assessment of the opportunities which HTML5 presents them, then Microsoft may be the biggest loser — although even desktop vendors will benefit in some ways, as trendy web applications will be able to run on their machines, instead of being limited to tablets. Of the big loosers, is the web monopoly notably Microsoft. HTML5’s platform independence hits Microsoft where it hurts the most: Desktops and Desktop Applications. Obviously Microsoft isn’t standing still, so whether their share of internet-connected devices continues to slip — from 95% to 50% in the last three years — is open to debate, but the dominance will clearly erode, a trend likely to be accelerated by HTML5′s device-independent promise.
Revamping the web with an improved set of content protocols might really benefit everyone.
Clearly, though, Microsoft, Apple, and Adobe have the most at risk, and could still turn out big losers on this one.
Mobile application developers will also benefit from having a consistent set of interfaces across their target platforms. Suffering currently from the high cost of developing for multiple platforms, as HTML5 is fleshed out with related technologies like WebGL and hardware device APIs they will increasingly be able to have a single source code base that can be deployed across a wide variety of mobile platforms. Third-party HTML5 frameworks like Sencha and Appcelerator already help make that possible.
Less obvious is the benefit HTML5 offers for mobile device vendors that are lagging in the war to gather applications. Many developers have ignored webOS and BlackBerry because of the high cost of developing a separate version of their applications. Running HTML5 will give those platforms a new lease on life — if webOS hasn’t completely disappeared by the time HTML5 has a chance to try and save it.
Amazon has been quick to realize the potential for HTML5 to unlock more content for its Kindle platform, announcing a new version of the Kindle e-Book format, KF8, that is based on HTML5, and an HTML5-based Kindle reader available on the web. What Amazon will lose in its proprietary lock on the Kindle format it is hoping to make up for with a surge of content suitable for its Kindle readers, resulting from the support of HTML5.
From the outside the apparent losers from HTML5 would seem to be Adobe and Apple. Adobe has been king of the cross-platform development hill with Flash, where it has a near-monopoly on development tools. Adobe is quickly gearing up with an impressive set of similar tools for HTML5, but it won’t have the same monopoly position it enjoyed with Flash. Countering its loss of market share, the total market may expand exponentially as HTML5 is likely to experience dramatic growth for the forseeable future — and of course includes the iOS platform as a target, always a sticking point for Flash. In the long run Adobe believes it can use its broad suite of tools to continue to be the leader in standards-based web development tools — HTML5 or not.
HTML5 and the related technologies augmenting and complimenting it are set to modernize the technology of the web. HTML5 is an umbrella term that is often used to include HTML5 itself, plus scores of enhancements to programming and media control capabilities, but the technical changes are just the beginning of HTML5′s impact. What follows are the new capabilities which will be big changes in how money can be generated on the web. There are going to be both significant winners and losers.
Content providers are the clearest winners from the widespread adoption of HTML5. Instead of having to develop dedicated applications for each mobile platform, to give their customers a compelling experience, they will be able to offer a single, HTML5-based offering that will run across desktops and mobile devices — greatly reducing their development costs.
• DirecTV has launched an HTML5 interface using cross-platform HTML5 framework Sencha, for example.
• Comedy news site The Onion was able to develop its tablet front end in only 6 weeks by relying on HTML5.
Even more important for content providers, making their sites available through HTML5 “web apps” can break the monopoly of app stores. Instead of paying Apple a 30% royalty on a magazine or newspaper subscription, for example, publishers can sell the subscriptions to customers directly — since they won’t need to have their applications distributed through an application store anymore. A simple web authentication of a subscription will suffice, and the web app would be available from any device that supports HTML5.
• The Financial Times has already gone this route, trumpeting the business value, and the added convenience of a single sign-on and consistent interface across platforms for consumers.
Also breathing a sigh of relief as HTML5 is adopted will be the developers of cloud-based software solutions. Box.net has already announced an HTML5 front end, as an alternative to running dedicated applications on each client platform. Other enterprise software vendors using the cloud, like Salesforce.com, aren’t far behind in adopting HTML5 as their client platform. Since the entire premise of the cloud is that everything should be available everywhere, it is only a matter of time before almost all cloud services veer towards HTML5 front ends to become universally accessible.
There are two separate and contrasting reports on the fate of Yahoo! post the exit of Carol Bartz. Yahoo!’s which could be regarded as the largest Web 1.0 dinosaur has possibly seen all its glory days and is simply unable to find its niche in the fast changing, quickly evolving Web 2.0-3.0 space. That is a pity considering that Yahoo! Was one of the first social companies (Yahoo! Chat anyone?). But then it lost the plot in SEO (Search Optimization) and then again in SNS (Social Networking). By the time Yahoo! Moved away from its display advertisement focused domain, the landscape had changed very nearly completely and the likes of Facebook and Google were well past it. Yahoo again had the first movers in Mobile space with some early link ups with Nokia- Yahoo on the go! but again lost the plot. Read up on the Fall of Yahoo! here
Coming back to the reports: the first one was about Yahoo! Preparing for a strategic sell-out and the fact that Yahoo! board should have sold out to Microsoft long back when Ballmer made a very generous offer. Yahoo’s long-time advisers Goldman Sachs and Allen & Co are preparing to give potential buyers financial information which is a sign that Yahoo is about to put itself on the auction block. Sale appears to be the best way forward ro get rid of the biggest millstone about the company’s neck – its board.
Yahoo has been consistently underperforming and made some howler decisions. Attempts including a very aggressive positioning effort (by Ms. Bartz) to turn the company around failed and the share price is much lower than it was when Ballmer made his bid.
In this context, the second report quotes Shashi Seth, who heads the Yahoo!’s global search and marketplaces business and the efforts around Yahoo!’s (yet again) turn around. This comes at the face of the fact that key executives at Yahoo! are leaving in hordes. Seth re-emphasizes on focus on making great products, experiences and learn how to monetize them. The key according to Mr. Seth is redefining how search has traditionally been understood and breaking the old paradigm of search to focus on new growth engines. Yahoo!’s new growth mantra focuses on
• Creating a search engine for Apps
• Focusing on Mobile search
• Ability to search through integrated user linked information across Flickr, Picassa, e-mail accounts, tweets, FB updates
With due respect to Mr. Seth, the plan sounds nice (as did every other Yahoo! turn around plan) but there are huge many gapping large holes in the scheme of things that Mr. Seth puts. Firstly, the mobility space is taken… Androids will push Google, WPs shall push Bing and Apple doesn’t care, because the whole app experience in terms of App look up and search is so well integrated in Apple that they won’t need Yahoo! to give them the solutions. That kind of rules out Points 1 and 2 listed above as the platforms will inevitably push their native search engines. The UX of Yahoo! search could also be a dampener. This applies to the two of the largest device platforms: Smartphones and Tablets.
Ability to search through integrated user linked information across user accounts is a great idea, but I suspect that the Google’s of the world are already doing it in some measure and are integrating things faster. What really enables Google and Bing is that they have a teams of developers working on their platforms using the native Google and Bing search apps. Yahoo seems to have realized the potential in mobile a little late for any real action coming through to them.
Yahoo seems to be serially missing out on another huge property that they have in terms of 12+ years of content. A content management system with optimization could bet Yahoo!’s answer … much like the Guardian example. However, I don’t think that it has the ability to turn Yahoo! around.
Data is big… just how big is something that isnt expressed in numbers really! Not at least till you have the metaphors of data in the context of common understanding. In this post today, i feature a presentation from Cisco’s Dave Evans. Apart from the data metaphors, it is amazing to see how our lives will change in next 10 years due to technology advancements.
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.
There was once a time, when Internet was synonymous with Yahoo! and MSN and Google was a start-up. Those were still early days of what I call Web 1.0 and regardless of whether you loved or hated Yahoo!, you simply could not miss it.And then the script started changing and Yahoo! misread the entire Google search based ads and its potential. Yahoo! was enjoying being the No.1 in banner ads and it didn’t see any threat in Search. That is where Google turned the tables over and Yahoo! and since then Yahoo! has played catch up. In fact, it never even played catch up, it has been lumbering indistinctly ever since, a shadow of its former shelf.
In 2009-10,Carol Bartz launched an aggressive campaign to re-vitalize Yahoo!. On Search, it partnered with Bing to take on Google. A $100 million marketing campaign around re-positioning Yahoo kicked off. And Nothing happened! A few ads here and there, Yahoo has not made significant over-haul yet and worse, I don’t see any big future in the horizon as well.
So now, it does come as a surprise when Alex Linde, Director of Yahoo! Mobile advertising christened Yahoo! as a premier digital media company! There is not much doubt about its being a media company. Matter of fact, Yahoo!’s library of content over the last 14-15 years is second to none and Yahoo should ideally be the content king of Internet. The incongruence around “premier digital media company” is because Media today is defined more by YouTube, Google, Twitter and Facebook more than Yahoo. Media today is real time and not the archival internet bytes. Media today is shared discoverability it as it happens. And Yahoo! is not how Media is defined today. It is a great archives, a great library, but nothing current is Yahoo!
Ross Levinsohn, Yahoo! EVP defends it attributing that it still has 700 million people on its platform. That’s about 50% of the online population globally. Nine out of ten Internet users in the U.S. Yahoo! It features as No1. Or No.2 in 19 categories — sports, news, finance, and entertainment news, one of the largest entertainment gossip site, larger than ESPN in sports, larger than Wall Street Journal, Fox News and Bloomberg combined in finance. Yahoo is still the most trusted brand on the Web. Flickr is the largest generic crowd-sourced photo-sharing experience. The numbers are good, but somehow Yahoo! doesnot get credit for them. More importantly Yahoo! seems to be quite clueless as to how it could translate these numbers to strategy and numbers.
Yahoo! always has the massive audiences, scale, data that enables them to target and a canvas that brands and advertisers can actually tell a story on. Sure, its not as easy as the 1999-2000 era and Yahoo has to compete and contend with the company of Google and Facebook. Yahoo! is beginning to aggressive look at new formats in the ad space-video specially to tell a brand’s story. The criticality here is to integrate the diverse platforms that Yahoo! has presence in and leverage the scale of numbers as high as 700 million to provide the canvas to brands to target users.
According to Levinsohn- The important thing (for Yahoo!) is to figure out how all their big business categories will work together. It is also important to take a look at what Yahoo! does in search and figure out how to optimize that incredible rich product and history, how to integrate mail with other content pieces (and) search pieces, make sure that product and region are working hand in hand.
Yahoo! is clearly beginning to focus on its strengths and the online advertising space and re-organizing its businesses around the media-ad canvas vision. This is possibly the second act leading to Yahoo’s revival and though I am un-convinced about Yahoo!’s edge in delivering its intent, its worth a watch. Good Luck, Yahoo!