Thursday, September 11

"Cost Per Widget" Coming Right Up

Maybe not the complete answer to measuring social media efforts, but possibly a good first step. Will be interesting to see how long it takes them to get acquired by Doubleclick or Atlas. Er, I mean, Google or Microsoft.

'BuddyBrain' Helps Clients Track Social Apps
Social media technology startup Buddy Media has launched a nerve center for its clients to track the progress of their social applications within the amorphous realm of social networks and user-generated content. Modeled after the human brain, the new BuddyBrain service is split into four "lobes" beginning with an intelligence center where clients can track real-time campaign results, including install rates, average time spent, and retention rates.

Because "Web TV" is Sooooo 1999

How about Widget TV?

TV 2.0 is coming to a living room near you. Intel has announced plans for their new set top box chips to allow "Yahoo Widgets" to run alongside TV show content (via

It's really about web-enabled content via your television. Hopefully relevant web-related content. And not something that Yahoo can control long term.

Think about how the whole "rich media advertising" industry has consolidated and commoditized itself (Unicast, Pointroll, Eyeblaster, Eyewonder, Viewpoint, Shoshkeles, Klipmart, Enliven, Motif) and how the same thing will be happening in the widget vendor world. It's not proprietary technology and any widget vendor/ad network could extend into the same TV screen. I'm also sure the TV networks will want a say in what interactive advertising/media dollars are surrounding their cable advertising/media dollars.

But if it is the first step to truly interactive television in the US, and Yahoo can spearhead the media revenue stream headaches, then more power to them. As long as they don't treat it as make up impressions for my widget banner buy that isn't performing well.

Tuesday, September 2

Next Up, Google Hard Drive Defragmenters

It seems Google forgot one of the universal truths that has made them so much money = consumers are complete slackers online. They have no patience for anything that requires an extra click, a few extra seconds of downloads, or sites that aren't intuitive for 5 year olds. It's why millions of people use their search engine every day. They are too lazy to try to find it themselves.

Which is why their announcement this week of a Google web browser -- codenamed Chrome -- is so odd.

The web browser wars between IE, Netscape, and AOL (before they acquired Netscape and then decided to use an IE-powered browser instead) are soooo 1998. Antitrust lawsuits aside, the main reason IE didn't lose its dominance is because it was such a pain in the ass for users to download a separate standalone browser and keep it up to date.

Sure it was part of the internet experience, back when every new browser offered new capabilities -- HTML table layouts! Frames! Newsgroup readers! Java applets! Audio! But users quickly tired of the PR battles and the endless upgrades. Then Netscape Communicator launched and sucked worse than the previous release, permanently nailing it in its underdog coffin.

Since then IE has dominated. True, Firefox (the rebirth of the good guys from Netscape's ashes) has made some headway and now claims 20% of browser share. But they don't have a revenue model and are primarily user-supported (think of a Wikipedia approach to software development), so I doubt Microsoft really cares.

I can see an initial rush of Google browser downloads by the tech savvy and curious. But the average consumer? Maybe at the insistence of their teenage kids. But once those kids get their own computer, or Dad upgrades his, then I doubt you'll see the Chrome icon anymore.

But Google has a track record of launching things to annoy its competition, or just plain jumpstart a stagnant industry. They put Mapquest on its heels by launching a superior user interface with Google Maps. Forced the telecoms to open up cellphone bandwidth for neutral device makers with their "failed" $4.6 billion bid for the 700MHZ spectrum. They will give iPhone and Microsoft a few sleepless nights with their Andromeda mobile phone operating system. They even sponsored development of a 100 MPG electric car.

Why would they get involved in things like online maps and mobile phones? Oh, yeah, potential advertising space. Electric cars? I'm sure it is more than just philanthropy.

Maybe this head fake is another attempt to provoke innovation in a space where the last technical advance was the autofill button for webpage forms. Or just another way to get that really relevant paid text link in front of you.

Be part of a historical footnote. Download Chrome now.

Your 15 MB of Fame Just Got an Extension

Earlier this year I wrote about the issues of your "private self" merging with your "public self" online. Especially the impact years from now when you think all that content is gone, deleted, or at least buried under a mountain of new internet data.

So consider every Webshots college party photo, Flickr photostream, Facebook/MySpace photo album, and random photo-sharing widget that you may be part of. And the fact that Google is paying attention and, more importantly, helping others find them:

Picasa Refresh Brings Facial Recognition

In the anticipated release of Google’s new and improvedPicasa the company will offer facial recognition technology to help you identify friends and family in your pictures without requiring you to tag them by-hand each time you see them. Launching at noon PDT today, Picasa’s facial recognition technology will ask you to identify people in your pictures that you haven’t tagged yet. Once you do and start uploading more pictures, Picasa starts suggesting tags for people based on the similarity between their face in the picture and the tags you already put in place for them.

Expect every HR hiring manager on the planet to have a subscription to this one. Not to mention an RSS alert feed for parents.

Spoiler Avoidance Just Got More Difficult just announced that they will be pre-launching season premiers online for Knight Rider, Lipstick Jungle, Chuck, Life, and 30 Rock one week prior to their scheduled TV debuts.

Launching TV shows online first isn't new, although it is usually reserved for new shows that networks feel are getting unjust negative buzz. BBC "leaked" the new Dr. Who series debut on file sharing networks to defuse rabid fans of the old show. Showtime provided streaming episodes of Kirstie Alley's Fat Actress after negative reviews were leaked prior to launch. HBO even provided the first 15 episodes of In Treatment on iTunes as free podcast downloads after low TV viewership was revealed.

So the networks might be leveraging Hulu users -- who would highly likely be online influencers -- to drive buzz around their new shows. At least if the shows themselves are any good. Of course, all the dedicated viewers on the internet couldn't help make Quarterlife a TV hit.