Ronnie05's Blog

The Mobile & Social Enterprise space

Posted in Enterprise Computing by Manas Ganguly on July 11, 2012

Enterprises are moving fast especially with the BYOD phenomenon increasing in relevance. Enterprise computing is now evolving from a work space to any-where, any-time computing aided by the cloud, omnipresent across locations and devices and securitized in nature. Services which have augmented the Social and Mobile Enterprise experience include Yammer – a messaging tool for colleagues which allows companies to create a private social network for employees, document-sharing site Dropbox and project-management tool Basecamp.

Big guns such as Microsoft have increasingly moved to adapt its Office products – including Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint, which generate about 50% of its profits – to an age where people work, share and communicate online. Microsoft’s Office 365, was the first big shift of its word processing products into the cloud. Documents are available over the internet and on a number of devices.

At the same time, Google is attempting its own challenge to Microsoft’s workplace crown with its Google Apps suite, which includes a web-based alternative to each Microsoft Office product.

With the consumerization of enterprise, enterprise majors are increasingly resorting to inorganic methods to augment their capabilities in the connected work space. The enterprise marketers of the 90′s and early 2000′s waited a long time before diving into social. Perhaps they wanted to see the sector prove itself and the social networks begin to cater to their needs through APIs as well as owned media presence platforms like Facebook Pages. Perhaps they believed they lacked the know-how to produce social marketing products themselves. In either case, giants like Oracle, Adobe, Microsoft and Webtrends have found themselves lagging behind, and without the months or years of lead time needed to build social marketing tools in-house. So we’ve seen a massive wave of consolidation as everyone tries to attain products in the four big areas of social marketing: publishing, advertising, applications, and analytics.

Search Battle Royale (Facebook versus Google) – Part I

Posted in Internet and Search, Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on April 30, 2012

Presenting a two post series on the future of search as Google and Facebook are evolving it each from its core sterngth perspective. This has been reproduced from an article by Drew Olanoff: Facebook versus Google- Who can win Search?

It’s a well-known fact that most people don’t get past page one of Google’s search results. This is why Google is doubling down on integrating a social layer into everything that it does. While algorithms can crawl the entire web to find relevant information, could the things that we share on Facebook become a better and more reliable data-set?

Searching the social network could get a lot better in the near future. Facebook is rumoured to be working on an improved search engine which will help users better sift through the volume of content that members create on the site, such as status updates, and the articles, videos, and other information across the Web that people “like”. Facebook and Google have one thing in common, they absolutely love data. The only difference between the companies may soon be the way that the data is shown to us.

Google’s approach to search
Even if you’re really good at using Google, it’s hard to find exactly what you’re looking for sometimes. As it appears now, even with the launch of Google+, Google scours the web for content and then churns it through an algorithm that decides which content is more relevant. The social layer that it has instituted allows its users to validate what the machines have already decided. That’s placing Search before social, algorithm over recommendations. This works really well because people view information differently, and there really is no such thing as natural language search. If the Internet was “flat”, meaning it wasn’t indexed at all, relying on people to find the content that might be relevant to you is like pissing in the wind. Basically, the experience is going to suck big time.

On the other hand, when you want to ask people for recommendations, you don’t even know where to start. For example, if you want to eat dinner but are`n’t sure what type of food you want, Google doesn’t really help other than to give you a list of sites that have lists of restaurants in your area.

Basically, Google has an extra step if you want recommendations.

Continued here

Tagged with: , , ,

Search Battle Royale (Facebook versus Google) – Part II

Posted in Internet and Search, Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on April 30, 2012

Presenting a two post series on the future of search as Google and Facebook are evolving it each from its core sterngth perspective. This has been reproduced from an article by Drew Olanoff: Facebook versus Google- Who can win Search?

Continued from earlier post

Facebook’s (potential) approach to search

By cropdusting the web with “Like” buttons, Facebook has a huge set of data and information curated by all of us, without the fluff that Google scrapes daily. Think of it as a super-fine set of information that has already been pre-screened by humans. Now if Facebook wanted to “improve” its search, it wouldn’t be as simple as making an algorithm that mimics the experience that we have today on Google.

With lists, subscriptions, likes, and location data, Facebook could let us perform a very direct query with a finite group of people. Basically, a set of our friends or colleagues would be our “search engine”. What would that experience look like? Well, I imagine that you’d type a natural language query and then drill down to whose data you’d like to use to perform the search.

For example, I wanted a taco, I wouldn’t necessarily type taco into an open search box like I would on Google. I’d choose a location or a group of friends and then search for “taco”. Based on where they’ve checked in on foursquare or Facebook, or things that they’ve liked, I could be given results to check out.

It’s not perfect, but it’s not bad either.

Who wins?

First, you have to remember to stop referring to these companies as one “thing” or another. Google isn’t a “search company” and Facebook isn’t a “social network”. They are both companies who want to change the world and make money. We all know that there’s big money in big data. These companies have different approaches to how they’re collecting and displaying the data, but at the end of the day, they’re kind of doing the same thing.
We’re watching a potential clash of the titans where two things are extremely obvious: Google is late to social, and Facebook is late to search. Sure, Facebook has Microsoft in its corner which could help them out a great deal, but as Bing stands, it’s extremely similar to the experience we have on Google today.

The next big step for search is outside of the box completely, with less data and more relevant results. The question is, do you trust regular people like you and I to decide what’s best, or do you prefer to let a bunch of machines try to figure it out for you. The answer is a mix of both, but who will do it better?

At the end of the day, we’re going to use what works best for us. Until Facebook makes a move, it’s still a Google world. However, Mark Zuckerberg and company aren’t going to sit back and watch the stream of data and dollar signs pass them by. It’s going to be an epic battle and it could be anyone’s game.

Tagged with: , , ,

Hey Scott! Here’s the challenge. (Yahoo!’s future)

Posted in Internet and Search by Manas Ganguly on January 6, 2012

In 5 years, Yahoo! had 4 CEOs leading it starting from Terry Semel, Jerry Yang, Carol Bartz and Scott Thompson (the latest recruit). The appointment raised questions among analysts, since Mr Thompson, 54, has no experience in online content and advertising, Yahoo’s chief sources of revenue. The timing of Mr Thompson’s hiring also came as a surprise, given that Yahoo’s board has been considering a sale of all or part of the company since firing Ms Bartz four months ago. Yahoo’s stock hasn’t traded above US$20 in more than three years. Microsoft Corp offered to buy Yahoo in its entirety for US$33 per share, or US$47.5 billion, in May 2008. Yahoo trades at $15.58 now which is less than half of what Microsoft wanted to buy it for.Analysts estimate Yahoo’s revenue last year totalled about US$5 billion, down from nearly US$7 billion in 2007. During the same span, Google’s revenue soared from US$17 billion to an estimated US$38 billion. Thanks largely to cost-cutting measures imposed by Ms Bartz, Yahoo has become more profitable. Last year, it earned an estimated US$1.1 billion, up from US$660 million in 2007. Still, investors are disappointed with the downturn in revenue at a time when advertisers are spending more money on the Internet. Yahoo! is a waning off fast and thick and it now is Mr Thompson’s gamble to bring back some respectability to the beleaguered Internet giant.

It will take a miracle to revive Yahoo. For long,Yahoo! has rested on its banner ads and scale based business models to make money and has skipped taking stakes in two generations of Internet based services: Mobility and Social Web. The question that Yahoo! needs to answer itself is “What is their business competency and how do they intend to deliver value to their consumers?”.

Even now Yahoo! bets on its scale to do something around a very mediocore competency area- online advertising,media and content. There are many others in the same business and there is nothing really differentiated that Yahoo! currently seems to be planning to take it to its future.

To my limited understanding, Scott Thompson has to provide answers/action to the following questions fast

1. What is Yahoo!’s future business? Yahoo! will need to really search deep into the future to figure out which businesses would make sense to it and what competencies could be brought to the fore.

2. Yahoo! must exit its long tail services as soon as it can- This will increase focus on what it really could do with any difference and possibly provide capital for a larger scope in online business.

3. Yahoo! must stop being quintessential US and regionalize fast- Yahoo! could look at taking the pole position in emerging economies such as India, Indonesia, China, South Africa with a regional focus. The next big growth curve is past Europe and America and if Yahoo is able to capitalize its internet lead in these nations, there might still be a story waiting to happen.

4. Is there a story in enterprise search or vertical searches on small screen computing devices? There may be a choice out there. Is there a case for search engine for Apps?

5. Can Yahoo! create the ability to search through integrated user linked information across Flickr, Yahoo mail accounts, tweets, FB updates

6. Is there a case for Yahoo! becoming world’s largest content aggregator? It sure has the bits and pieces. Yahoo! will need to think about stitching all the disparate pieces together in quick time.

This may not yet be the magic portion, but Yahoo! needs to look at discontinuity in its product lines, in its DNA and its thinking to get ahead.

Tagged with: , ,

Social TV: New Avenues, Multi Billion Opportunities (Part II)

Posted in Social context, media and advertising, TV and Digital Entertainment by Manas Ganguly on September 9, 2011

In an earlier post i had written about how “social” was changing the idiot box TV to a smart social TV. Taking that dicscussion forward, there are broadly three arenas where social TV is quickly gaining traction, and all three have the potential to become billion dollar businesses by themselves.

Interactive Television @ Interactive Advertising

Microsoft XBox showcases Interactive Advertising

Advertisers have for long being wanting to bridge the gap between TV Ad viewership and the stimulus based engagement/action around the brand commercial. The key was about bringing interactivity to TV commercials and tagging commercials. The commercial is just the starting point of a conversation around TV but it is not the be-all end-all as more and more novel methods of engaging the consumer through the TV, Web and Mobile medium are being innovated upon. Interactive Social TV is about helping customers find relevant programming by leveraging their social graph. In other words, this becomes a real-time feed to broadcasters on viewership, likes, customer responses and other real time user stimulus.The key here is interactive advertising which enables users to experience the brand better. Advertisers, programmers and distributors have dreamed of enhancing the customer interactivity because billions of dollars are at stake. Information of users, who have interacted with a commercial and who took action on it is key to greater ad-TG convergence. Until now, the only real metric has been TV ratings, and the promise of interactive TV has never reached scale.

A primer to smarter viewership choices: Social TV

Social TV guide: Matcha.TV

Social TV guides will empower viewers to make smarter choices and discover shows they never knew existed. By measuring what the users watched, what they liked, what their friends and social networks have recommended and what’s trending overall, social TV guides will make surprisingly-accurate suggestions. Facebook integration and back end behavioral recommendation algorithms is thus a path into the future of smart TV viewing, viewership and customer relevant targeting.

Second screens will augment the social TV experience
According to a recent Nielsen research, iPad owners spend more time in front of TV with their tablet than any other activity. Given that Tablets are predicted to increase its penetration, tablets and smartphones are becoming important second screen alternatives to augment customer experience. Second screen apps are thus becoming a natural extension of TV programming, both live and on demand. The second screen adds another path of interactivity for viewers who aren’t tagging, checking in, or clicking on TV commercials.

Social TV: How “social” is helping the idiot box evolve into a smart box? (Part I)

Posted in Social context, media and advertising, TV and Digital Entertainment by Manas Ganguly on September 7, 2011

The idiot box is on its journey to becoming smart and as it happens there is ample push from Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple. Thereby Television is all set to become social. TV was always content heavy- however content discovery, connect to friends around that content, personal network based likes and recommendations is now making it increasingly social as well. Social program guides on TV are the future of content based television business. TV set top boxes are beginning to provide people the ability to interact with others on their TV screens when watching their favorite programs. In ways more than one Social TVs will be the game changers for Televisions with radical implications for the future of television viewing

Facebook is exploring tie-ups with TV providers to help their customers find relevant programming by leveraging their social graph. The social TV program guide enables real time feeds on what friends are watching and share [their] viewing experiences which get[s] people to become recruiters for TV shows. In other words, Facebook would provide a real-time feed to broadcasters based on their friends’ TV show likes and check ins. That changes the TV-viewing experience.

1. Facebook users have “Liked” various TV shows over 1.65 billion times. This statistic gives a good feeler of how TV content and programs are pseudo social in some sense already. Facebook now intends to take this social into being more actively social with real time updates and live streams
2. In July 2011, cable giant Comcast unveiled its next-generation Xfinity TV interface that includes Facebook integration. One of the features is called “Friend Trends,” which shows the content most popular among the viewer’s Facebook friends on Hulu, Netflix, the Web, and TV.
3. Comcast even built the Like button into its new cable experience, so viewers can Like a show straight from their remote control.

In addition to enabling television and social networking to be available via a real time interface, the set top box might allow people to preconfigure access to different social networks based upon channels on the television or certain time ranges. The ability to associate a specific channel with specific social network walls, contacts, or chat interfaces is interesting. It gives the user a unique experience of watching the game along with a dozen or so friends, each from the comfort of their homes.

%d bloggers like this: