Ronnie05's Blog

Future of Local Commerce: Collective buying (Part II)

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on March 20, 2011

This post is a continuation of the part one in the collective buying series and details the competition in the area of collective buying which now has the fancy big boys (Google, Facebook, Yahoo) joining the originals (Groupon, LivingSocial and Foursquare)

Facebook is planning to offer multiple deals every day, focusing particularly on activities that can be shared with friends, such are visiting restaurants and concerts. The strategy builds on the company’s existing Deals program, which is offered as part of Facebook Places. Facebook is testing a new discount service that allows people to buy deals on Facebook and share them with their friends. This then is FB’s most direct assault yet on local deals giant Groupon. FB is in a pilot to test this service in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego, and San Francisco.

Google has recently launched a similar check-in deals service for Android smartphone users. Like Facebook, Google’s efforts borrow from the Google Latitude, Google Maps, Google Places and the Check-in app. Google’s move highlights its aggressive measures to target the intersection of local search and e-commerce in the wake of the company’s failure to acquire Groupon for $6 billion.

Yahoo Local on its part has partnered with Groupon, LivingSocial, Coupons.com and more than a dozen other companies to surface deals and coupons from restaurants, spas and local clothing shops. Users are prompted deals basis his profile and relevance of the deal to his online buying behavior. Yahoo and its partners would share revenue generated from any local business deals consummated by consumers through Local Offers.

With check-in deals, Google, Yahoo and Facebook have joined Foursquare in dipping their toes in the deep pool of mobile, local and social search. These efforts take advantage of the intersection of users conducting searches for local businesses from their mobile phones and get deals.

Foursquare is one of the old boys in this list and is looking to steer and stay ahead of the pack by introducing location-centric deals. Foursquare users have previously been able to see nearby offers from local merchants, but they had to hunt for them on a large list. Now the deals will be aggregated by locations which will make them easier to find. To make things better, Foursquare also has added a Analytics spin for its vendors. Foursquare Merchant Platform, now includes a gender breakdown of checkins, a breakdown by time of day and other data that the company hadn’t shared before. As previously, the program is free to vendors.

LivingSocial Instant Deals provide a platform for merchants to create deals and get traffic through their doors when they most need it, such as during slower business hours or when they have an inventory of specific items they’d like to move. While LivingSocial daily deals are live for 24 hours, Instant Deals will only be available for a much shorter time, for example a restaurant can gain some additional traffic by offering a special that’s available only between the lunch and the dinner crowd. The deal can be redeemed at the merchant’s place by showing the phone and the Living Social authorization message. In a report in December, LivingSocial said it brings in about $1 million a day.

Groupon may not have been the pioneer at Collective buying as a business(That crown belongs to LivingSocial).However, Groupon has made the most news bytes and has the best presence in US markets. Groupon registers 178 cities with deal-a-day sites reaching 102 million people in the United States. Groupon Inc. may go public this year and be worth as much as $25 billion in its initial stock offering. In trying to stay ahead of the herd, Groupon is not reported to be looking toward the enterprise space, with at least one coupon for IT services consulting in the mix.As with Foursquare, Groupon is also is pushing the envelope with geolocation technology, using hyper-local targeting to reach customers who might be within a few blocks of a client with coupons for, say, a lunchtime deal.

Social Networking, Mobile computing and Collective buying are natural siblings in the era of convergence and connectedness. The Collective buying space is growing fast and is quickly able to cater to both users giving them discounts and bargains they have been looking for and for local business men as well, who now have the ability to push products which are loosing their marketable prices at discount prices rather than booking losses on the whole stock.

Google Transit: Real Life Solutions to Delhi’s commuter problems

Posted in Value added services and applications by Manas Ganguly on March 6, 2010

Google Transit, a partnership between Google and Delhi Metro comes as a welcome announcement for travellers in Delhi trying to get from Point A to B through the Delhi metro. It facilitates travellers by providing them with not just driving directions, but also metro schedules and routes, offering detailed information on which metro lines to take, what time trains leave, where to switch, what the cost of the commute is, how long it the trip will take, and what services – whether these be ATMs, coffee shops or bars – are near a designated metro station. Google Transit will be available for free on data enabled mobile phones.

The service will continue to be updated as the Delhi Metro updates its information. The Google/DMRC partnership comes at a good time, given that Delhi expects a surge of tourism surrounding the Commonwealth Games in October.

Google has also launched the service in an experimental manner in Kolkata, as well as parts of Chennai and Hyderabad and has expressed an interest in partnering with multiple agencies in various regions.

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Google Android Eclair gets Google maps navigation

googlemaps-logo

I first used a navigation based software more than 2 years back. It was the voice based navigation system NAVTEQ on the Nokia E90 communicator. The maps were still evolving and the ancillary services have come a long way since.

Google today announced upgraded maps and navigation for mobile: Google Maps Navigation (Beta) for Android 2.0 devices. It features 3D views, turn-by-turn voice guidance and automatic rerouting. The enhanced Google maps features the following upgrades:

  1. Google Maps Navigation, automatically updates maps and business listings from Google Maps eliminating the need to buy maps or update the software.
  2. Search function is enabled on the software (Like Google on the internet)
  3. Search by voice is a very potent feature which takes makes the work of typing inputs light and this is one of the biggest advantages of the Google Maps Navigation.
  4. Live traffic view is another killer feature in the Google Maps Navigation.  A Traffic indicator light in the corner of the screen glows green, yellow or red, depending on the current traffic conditions along the route. For all those hassled by long traffic stoppage times, this feature is a HUGE utility.
  5. Google Maps Navigation searches along the route to give ancillary points of interest e.g restaurants, gas stations etc.
  6. Google Maps Navigation uses the same satellite imagery as Google Maps on the desktop….
  7. …and yet can zoom into the next turn looks like. Double-tapping the map to zoom into Street View, shows the turn as one would see it, with the route overlaid.

Video Demo

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