The WSJ has an interesting article today on the waning numbers spending time on Google’s ‘Facebook nemesis’, Google+. Talk of 90 million users since it’s June 2011 launch seriously flatters Google. Research from ComScore reveals that the average user is spending a mere 3 minutes a month on the network.
The value of a social network is exactly what it says on the tin – the social aspect. Currently there is a perception that Google+ is a bit like an empty restaurant…people peak in, see it’s a bit dead inside and walk on to someplace with a bit more atmostphere…heading off to Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter to wile away some time. As such many people aren’t really giving Google+ a chance as there’s no point investigating useful features like video ‘hangouts’ if none of your connections are actively using the site.
Can Google turn things around?
I took a few hours out of a busy week to attend the Dublin Web Summit. Last year, like many people, I found the event fairly light on marketing and sales speakers as it focused largely on start-up businesses and issues such as sourcing funding. This time around the speaker line up was quite diverse, including James Whelton (@jwhelton), the Irish teenager who was the first person in the World to hack the iPod Nano, Jerry Kennelly, founder of Tweak.com and great speakers such as Ben Parr (@BenParr) of Mashable.com and Dan Cobley, Google’s Director of European Marketing.
Cobley gave a presentation on Google’s approach to innovation and the ten principles behind their success…
- Hire the right people – Google look for ‘curious problem solvers’
- Ideas come from everywhere - Cobley stated your shouldn’t ‘always look to the subject matter expert for ideas’. Google allow staff to spend 20% of their time on projects outside of their ‘core’ work…work that isn’t necessarily part of their job descriptions which allows people to develop ideas for a range of initiatives
- Share all information – ‘It is hard to innovate in a space when you don’t have all the information.’
- Data drives all decisions – ‘It’s cheap now to run data driven tests’. Google regularly run ’1% tests’ across their network to ensure that all decisions are made based on user usage stats and not on presumptions. Dan used the example of Google’s blue links to highlight the importance of conducting research before making a decision. They ran a test using over 70 shades of blue in their links across their network and found people were more receptive to blues with a purple hue. Because they identified the best link colour through research the company now makes an amazing $200 million more each year.
- Launch early and often, kill fast
- Balance resources
- Prioritise ruthlessly
- Do quirky stuff – Cobley defined this as ‘fun for your team, your customers and the media’. He gave an example of an employee who had the idea of sending an Android phone into space [click here to view a video on this]. The company are now in talks with NASA to launch a similar project.
- Put users first, then money
- Bet on the future – He cited how people said bandwidth costs would cripple YouTube’s profit potential and questioned Google’s strategy is that regard. Bandwidth costs fell rapidly and YouTube is now profitable.
His slides from the Web Summit are available online here.
For more insights from the Dublin Web Summit, read this post from Brendan Hughes who jotted down some of the speakers pearls of wisdom from the event.
Cobley spoke gave a TED talk last year on ‘What Physics Taught me about Marketing’ and it’s well worth a look…
A new cartoon is running 36 times a day on the jumbotron (540 square foot screen) in Times Square, New York. Toy Story 3? Some government motivational animation? Nope.
It’s an anti-Google video called ‘Don’t be Evil‘ from a nonprofit group ‘Consumer Watchdog‘ as part of their ‘Inside Google‘ campaign. Their aim is to “educate the public and opinion leaders about Google’s dangerous dominance over the Internet, computing and our online lives.”
The video highlights what the Group believes is Google’s malicious disregard for people’s privacy. It depicts Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, luring ‘little Timmy’ and ‘Susie’ to his van with free ice-cream. He then corrupts them with tales of their parents online activity, while conducting full body scans and stealing their secrets.
The Consumer Watchdog group hopes this video will motivate people to lobby their local Government representative to support the creation of a ‘Do Not Track Me’ list “to prevent online companies from gathering our personal information”, just like the “Do Not Call” list used to prevent intrusive telemarketing calls.
Ironic that an anti-Google group is using a Google service, YouTube, to reach a wider audience.
Full press release here.
To promote their new single, ‘We Used to Wait‘, Arcade Fire teamed up with writer/director Chris Milk and Google to develop an interactive music video.
Tying in with the recent launch of the band’s new album ‘The Suburbs‘, the video “The Wilderness Downtown“, uses Google Maps with Street View to takes you on a musical walk around the streets of your hometown.
Since I’m from a small dot on the map in rural Waterford, I can’t enjoy the full notalgic pleasures of this interactive video but that takes none of the gloss of it for me.
It’s doubtful I would have seen the video for Arcade Fire’s latest track were it not for this video. A very clever way to personalise a music video and give it viral potential.
Just enter your home address here, sit back and enjoy.
When Google transformed their homepage into a playable version of the classic video game Pac-Man, we were all hooked. In fact it’s estimated that the game resulted in $120m in lost productivity as workers spent much longer on the page than the usual 11 seconds it takes the average user to search.
A Japanese company has now developed a nice Pac-Man wallpaper for the iPhone – OS 4 only. It lines us perfectly with your rows of apps.
The only problem is that it’s a static image so it doesn’t have the movement that most people would expect. ‘In your face Apple’ says Google whose Android phone allows for animated wallpapers.
Connect with me
- Teddy Has an Operation and I Get Chills
- Clever Usain Bolt Campaign from Durex
- Social Media Revolution – The Parody
- Bottled Water Ad Like You’ve Never Seen Before (video)
- Nobody Hanging Out on Google+?
- 60 seconds in Social Media [Infographic]
- Cyber Flashmob Attacks WSJ Facebook Page
- Is the social media novelty wearing off?
Say What Now!?
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