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Copy and Paste Culture of Social Networks July 16, 2010

Posted by billyburnettgbc in social networks, Uncategorized.
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Mashable.com confirmed today the rumour that MySpace has begun demoing a completely redesigned version of its profile pages to select users. Despite a couple of nice new features (well new to MySpace anyway) is this really enough to turn things around?

Site analytics show the site has been in steady decline for the past 12 months and recent departures from the senior management imply a lack of clear vision moving forward. Facebook continues to lure away MySpace users whilst the rumoured entrance of Google into the space should also be cause for concern.

Although the introduction of these new features may interest a few users and capture some headlines this is unlikely to change the fortunes of the company. We have already seen this exact same scenario play out in the mobile handset world, where handset manufacturers look to emulate the features of the market leader (ok then, copy) instead of innovating and differentiating their product. It’s not they are bad, it’s just their competitors do it first and often do it better.

Facebook won’t be around forever and the next “big thing” is probably being developed in a garage somewhere right now, but with this copy and paste culture it’s unlikely to be from MySpace.

David vs Goliath Starring Google as David With guest appearances from Facebook and Twitter in the role of Goliath February 12, 2010

Posted by kewroad in Facebook, Google, social networks, Twitter.
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In the online world Google is undoubtedly seen as a giant among mere mortals, but in some arenas this is far from the case. I am talking about the social media scene where Facebook and Twitter are leading the way and Google is running along behind trying to keep up as best it can.

The weapon Google has chosen in place of the traditional slingshot is Google Buzz, a new add-on for Gmail that, as they put it, will ‘Go beyond status messages’. Users of this new service will be able to share all types of info from photos and videos through to websites within the existing Gmail service.

Using their existing email system may seem a strange option as platforms like Twitter and Facebook have made their mark on the world by moving away from emails and using instant messaging and other quicker forms of communication. By integrating with Gmail, Google gains instant access to 176 million existing email subscribers, some will just see this as another email add on and not a threat to the social media status quo but others may see this as a sleeping lion, waiting for Google to yank its tail and start a social media revolution.

With a host of failed attempts at social media in their past including Orkurt, Dodgeball, Jaiku, and OpenSocial some may think this latest effort is destined to failure. But I am also sure that a few years ago people would have laughed at you if you asked when they last Tweeted and who their celebrity doppelganger on Facebook was.

Google certainly doesn’t look like they are ready to give up on the social media scene just yet and even if they are the David of the piece for now I would not be surprised if a growth spurt and promotion to Goliath is not far off.

Why the eBook has potential November 12, 2009

Posted by billyburnettgbc in Uncategorized.
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I made the mistake of mentioning to a colleague on the way back from a meeting the other day that I was currently reading the entire collection of Sherlock Holmes on my iPhone. Rather than be shocked at questionable literary tastes, he was, instead, appalled that I was reading a book on my phone.

A recent report by Flurry, a San Francisco based analytics firm, however indicates that I may not be alone, with 1% of the entire U.S population already reading a book on the iPhone in August ‘09. With the recent global launch of the Amazon Kindle and the availability of a PC version announced yesterday, the future of the printed word in my opinion looks bleak.

Stack of Books

Books are not just not that portable

Firstly, the cost of eBooks is considerably less than that of the physical version. The entire works of Sherlock Holmes cost me just £1.49 and a variety of classic tales, such as The Picture of Dorian Gray and Aesop’s Fables are free. I admit that the cost of more recent books are, in some cases, more expensive, however as publishers embrace this platform surely this will change?

Another great advantage is access. When previously I had finished a book I had to plan a trip to the local bookstore and walk around in the hope of something catching my eye, or in the event I knew what I was after, a copy actually being in stock. Anyone who has finished a book midway through a long journey will share my frustration at this arduous process. With the iPhone I can quickly scan, purchase and download a new book in a matter of minutes.

My phone weighs 133 grams and the average book weighs 340 grams. I can therefore carry hundreds of books on the 16GB memory of my iPhone and put it neatly in my pocket, whilst I would need a pull cart to carry the equivalent amount around the town. The latter would likely get a few odd glances on the train into work or in the local pub on a Friday night. eBooks are, in brief, very portable.

Apart from being convenient, I also feel that the rise of the eBook will actually benefit society. The internet has provided millions of people with access to a wealth of information and with the proliferation of mobile handsets this has been expanded to billions. The rise of eBooks represents a global library that will get digital natives interested in reading again (as shown by this Daily Telegraph article).

My last point and one that I know will interest the more eco-conscious of you – eBooks are environmentally friendly when compared to the long-term carbon footprint of its printed predecessor.

As our mobile handsets continue to evolve to an entertainment, information and communication hub for the masses, and both publishers and companies like Google embrace the market, I feel that that the printed book may fall, although not completely, by the wayside. My colleague did however get the last laugh on this occasion, my battery died halfway through the journey!

Schmidt Splits from Apple & We get All Excited August 5, 2009

Posted by kewroad in Uncategorized.
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Google CEO leaves Apple board dominates recent  business tech headlines. Can’t help thinking that the fact he’s been sitting on the board for so long is more of the story than his departure.

ChromeOS is cited as the conflict of interest that broke the camel’s back – and already some PRs are probably cooking up their Outbreak of the OS Wars themes. But why didn’t Android make waves over the board room coffee and canapes? 

Could the imminent return of Mr Jobs from sick leave have something to do with Mr Schmidt leaving my mutual consent? For sure Apple’s fierce control over every aspect of its technology is casting a cloud over its usually positive image. (I have always been bemused by how much Apple gets away with being nasty and proprietary compared to Microsoft) But picking a fight with Google is a battle of equals and probably healthier for the market than the cosy cross-industry friendship the two companies once had.