Innovation from Google is now almost dead.

This morning I received an infographic from Venngage depicting the highest and lowest of Google and I couldn’t resist adding my two pennies worth of wisdom.  Thanks to that useful graph you can actually take a helicopter view of the situation, demonstrating what I have been telling everyone for the last couple of years or so: innovation, at least from Google, is dead. OK I may be exaggerating a little, but if you take a look at 2008 you will see that there was an enormous buzz created by the launch of Android and the establishment of Chrome as a browser first and then a fully fledged operating system.  Yet eight years down the line all you can see is a great deal of product variants, interspersed by a number of experiments, mostly ditched.heart-cardiogram

I know that Google likes to trumpet its advances on projects like driverless cars and such likes, but we all know that these ventures will matter very little to many of us today or next year.  Who knows when driverless cars will become a reality, it could be ten or twenty years from now, but in the meantime we are still plodding on with what we have got in terms of day to day applications and our phones just continue to run out of battery even faster.

I would go even further.  Over the last three years or more we have seen a service degradation online and on mobile applications too.  Web pages have bloated, being filled by mainly junk like ads and similar, see this interesting report on the average page weight if you don’t believe me.  Big companies have gone to the nth degree to create barriers even where there weren’t any. Whenever they spotted a competitor their main concern has been to acquire them and then, almost always, shut them down.  Take Yammer, bought by Microsoft and now languishing.  Sunrise, once an excellent cross-

Sunset, not sunrise

Sunset, not sunrise

platform calendar,  has been the latest victim and it has now basically ceased to be, being ‘incorporated’ into Outlook.   Where you were once able to create some order and got apps to talk to each other you are now asked instead to download and install separate ones, all eating into your mobile’s processing power, memory and battery, and all vying for your attention without offering you very much at all in return (indeed in many case you are ‘paying’ by parting with some of your personal data used for marketing purposes).

Back to Google, I would like it very much for example if its Assistant instead of thinking of eventually running my car or even my home, understood that I was on a fast train to Edinburgh and not grossly exceeding the speed limit in my car, or that I didn’t have to leave the office at a certain hour when on holiday, simply because my work calendar can’t sync with my personal one.  It’s pretty basic stuff, but essential and therefore intrinsically boring to boffins and marketers.

So where next?  I don’t think any of the software giants out there have a great desire to offer joe public interoperability and really make life easier for all of us.  Despite the hype, once companies grow to the humongous sizes of Google or Microsoft they soon forget all the passion and vibrancy they had at the start and quickly get ruled by beancounters who adopt the same old fashioned business development and customer service models they are comfortable with.  After all a prestige project can create global buzz (Branson knows a thing or two about that…) this raises media awareness and with it the price of shares too. Why bother with tedious end users when you can simply continue to print money at will with just with a bit of glitz and glamour?

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All things Google

The latest design from google

The latest design from google

Those who know me well know that I have a soft spot for all things Google. Perhaps it’s because I witnessed the development of search engines since the old days of Excite or Altavista and Lycos. When Google came out it was like a breath of fresh air.  Further on the company continued with missionary zeal along the path of innovation, another subject close to my heart. How could I not love Google therefore?

I am no dreamer, so I am sure it has its foibles and there are good and bad people in Google too (hopefully more of the former!).  Anyway, I couldn’t help pushing across to you today the excellent synopsis published only a couple of hours ago by The Verge on the 17 Most Important Things announced by Google.  Do take a few minutes to look at this article, it’s very pictorial and packed full with information about the very latest development from that company.  It would be truly amazing especially if Google really managed the provision of a cheap Android smartphone for the developing world.

There is also a new Google design, called Material Design apparently, which is truly cutting edge and fresh.  Here is the link to the Material Design page.

Short piece from me today, but I have a dawn start for a very early morning flight from LGW, enjoy the article from The Verge!

Top Google SEO tips

Have your site at the top of page 1 of Google search – or every marketer’s holy grail.  I get calls almost on a daily basis from companies who are looking for SEO expertise and who want to beat their competition by being the number 1, right there at the very top.  The trouble is that when it comes to SEO you have to follow a number of rules, but not just those that suit you, all of them!

Monty Python & the Quest for the Holy Grail

Monty Python & the Quest for the Holy Grail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These rules are essentially, yet rather simplistically for the purpose of this blog, split into a three pronged strategy: a technical approach (the way your page is built); a responsive tactic based on how each search engines work (e.g. Google and its latest algorithm and therefore links and so on) this of course feeds into the technical arena and finally a sound content strategy.  Each of these three areas is complex and require careful attention to details. You can find lots of resources online mainly as by the time books are published their content is likely to be obsolete.

I have just come across this video by Sparka and though a year old most of the recommendations are still applicable to these days, it’s like your personal map to the fabled holy grail, so don’t miss it and there’s loads more on his playlist page too!  Have a Merry Christmas too!

Google+ and Facebook – the battle goes on.

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Français : Logo de Facebook Tiếng Việt: Logo Facebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few months ago I wrote a very positive blog on Google+ and on how this channel was going to be much more significant to businesses than Facebook.  Generally, I remain of the same opinion that in relation especially to content management and SEO there is no doubt that a Google+ presence is infinitely superior to a Facebook one, from a business perspective, but perhaps not in terms of general audience engagement as I am trying to explain.

On this particular count Google+ has consistently failed to create sufficient ‘buzz’ and to attract a lively level of engagement in any way similar to the one of Facebook.  At least away from specialist B2B sectors, such as IT or similar, or in the few instances where brand new communities, that previously may not have existed on other social media channels were set up first on Google+.

The reasons for this lack of traction from Google+ are really quite simple and as ever are based on sociology and psychology, rather than just technology.  Let’s look at how  most of us interact across our personal social media channels.  I bet you that most of you have a personal Facebook account in which you have gathered the usual motley crowd of ‘friends’.  It doesn’t matter whether you are a passive reader of status updates or an active contributor, you are highly likely to be on Facebook as this was one of the first social media channels of this kind.  When you looked for old friends, or old flames, you instinctively searched on Facebook (way before you would have gone on Friends Reunited, do you remember that?).  I bet that even if you did so now I very much doubt you’d first check them out on Google+.  So, from a purely social perspective at least Facebook wins, by far, but as of late the battle has become even more fierce from a business angle.

Creating a good Facebook company page takes a matter of minutes, including very high levels of customisation. More importantly, finding appropriate audiences to advertise an update or to acquire ‘likes’ is a doddle.  With Facebook in just a few clicks you can search exactly for the geographical area, interest, gender and more, targeting your advert as accurately as possible.  This is not just because over the years Facebook has polished and enhanced its database exponentially, but also because they were clever enough to create a highly intuitive and user friendly interface.  Try comparing this with Google AdWord for example and not even Adword Express (apparently designed for small businesses) comes anywhere near to the ease of use of Facebook.  Beside, creating an advert on Google will simply expose you to the might of the competition and unless you’ve very deep pockets you are likely to see little benefits from it, when you could just as easily achieve similar results with some high quality content management for example.  On the other hand, Facebook can expose your brand to a well segmented audience, but it’s fair to say that this kind of audience may not be appropriate for specialist B2B sectors being much more potentially rewarding to consumer brands or campaign organisations instead.

So who wins?  Well in the end it’s the usual story of finding the right channel for you, one relevant to your audience.  However,  in terms of usability and B2C engagement, despite the growing number of Google+ users, Facebook wins.

I conclude with some anecdotal evidence. A year or so ago, when Google+ came out,  I asked all my Facebook friends if they would consider joining me on that channel.  Only one out of 200 replied in the affirmative.  Maybe I don’t have very good friends, but I suspect that most people are simply used to Facebook.  They have it on their smartphone, is bookmarked on their PC or laptop and they too have all their friends there who are equally unwilling to move.  How could they possibly consider switching over then?

It’s blindingly obvious that social media is inextricably linked to day to day social interactions.  Therefore, if you have been going to your local hostelry for several years and you suddenly decide to defect somewhere else, you’d probably end up drinking on your own at first, until you created another group in that specific location.   It’s just the same for social media channels.

This situation might change only in the light of some huge privacy cock up from Facebook, or if there were more freely available and easy to use tools that allowed you to share the same content initially across several platform, without losing the user experience of Facebook. Maybe one day we will be faced with two very serious contenders, but for now Facebook remains in the lead.

SEO basics every PR pro should know

See on Scoop.itPR, Social Media and Marketing

Instead of trying to win the battle for dominance, pros in the public relations and search engine optimization fields should be learning from one another.

Maurizio Fantato‘s insight:

As this article quite rightly states in its opening line, the  recent algorithm change by Google has ruffled a few feathers, especially in PR circles.  Much of it is speculation, more so as very few know what Google is really up to and how the next upgrade might even change the goalposts yet again (I speculate that more emphasis will be placed on cross platform and mobile integration).

What surprises me is all this talk about ‘quality’ as this was an attribute that had just been discovered and not something everyone should have been concerned with from day one.   It was always known, for example, which were the most coveted links; just as we always knew that if we provided really informative, engaging  and easily accessible content there was a much higher chance of it to be ranked highly by Google.

So what Google has done is to root out some of the bad practices. Some of these included rebroadcasting the same news item across many channels, in the hope it would make it to the top of the first search engine page, regardless of whether it was really newsworthy. This is now history, and good riddance too – it was just spam under a different guise.

We are all agreed that quality content is king.  Yet producing truly original content requires a professional approach, in depth understanding of the product or service on offer, the target audience and of all other related marketing issues.  It is an inherently expensive process, but then this is what quality is all about – ultimately only quality customers and quality agencies/consultants will survive.

See on www.prdaily.com

How Google Authorship Will Impact Search and Content Marketing – Jeffbullas’s Blog

See on Scoop.itPR, Social Media and Marketing

Google authorship is seen as a way for authors to verify content they’ve created and become authorities. This will impact search and content marketing.

Maurizio Fantato‘s insight:

Authorship markup has been around for a while, but it could be a tricky one to implement and as the article highlights there are also several concerns to bear in mind, not least a forthcoming enhanced Google facial recognition… beware those of you round there who are lending their names under different identities for example!  Ultimately Google is after real content, from real people, quite how agencies and businesses will adapt to this is sometihng we do not yet know.

See on www.jeffbullas.com

Google’s No Follow Rules and What They Mean for your PR Program | InkHouse

See on Scoop.itPR, Social Media and Marketing

Last week, Google sparked a loud conversation in the PR community when it issued new guidelines for something called Link Schemes. In the days that

Maurizio Fantato‘s insight:

An excellent article that sheds some lights on the somewhat confusing new guidelines on the presence of links on press releases.  Are you making full use of no follow links?  You should…

See on www.inkhouse.net