October 1, 2007
Nokia to buy Navteq for $8.1 billion in push to expand services, compete with Apple
Nokia’s President and Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said “location-based services are one of the cornerstones of Nokia’s Internet services strategy. The acquisition of Navteq is another step toward Nokia becoming a leading player in this space.”
Kallasvuo added that by acquiring Navteq, Nokia “will be able to bring context and geographical information to a number of our Internet services with accelerated time to market.”
Search Engines, Classifications, and Assignment of Categories
The way that items are classified on source sites may influence which categories that items from those sites are placed within on a site from a search engine which aggregates those items. They may also influence the creation of those target search engine categories.
September 28, 2007
Google’s recent foray into billboard advertising strikes me as much more than a fluke or a simple experiment. Read my thoughts in: Deconstrucing Google’s Billboard Experiment at Search Engine Land.
September 20, 2007
Mobile Phone Web Users Nearly Equal PC Based Internet Users in Japan
53.6 Million Japanese Use Mobile Phones to Access the Internet – Email is the Most Popular Mobile Web Activity
â€¢Interstingly 51% do Search/Navigation.
â€¢Time spent web browsing on mobile phones is still much lower than that spent on desktop PCâ€™s. Internet usage on mobile phones averages 8.1 hours per month versus 18.9 hours by PC -Adoption of web usage on mobile phones skews young. People under 34 years old account for 64 percent of mobile phone web users versus 45 percent of PC web users.
â€¢Despite these significant usage figures, consumer satisfaction remains low. Only 12.6 percent of respondents accessing the Internet via a mobile device stated that they were either â€œvery satisfiedâ€ or â€œsomewhat satisfiedâ€, with 52.1 percent stating that they were either â€œvery dissatisfiedâ€ or â€œsomewhat dissatisfiedâ€.
It is this last point that creates the opening for iPhone like devices. In yesterday’s WSJ an analyst noted that the iPhone faced considerably more competition in Europe than in the U.S. and thus might not do as well there. He noted that a phone with similar features was “free” with a contract. Certainly, Europe and Japan are ahead of the U.S. in the level of mobile web use, mobile technologies and speed of access. Europe will be a good test of whether those attributes trump usability. Given the stats in Japan and my personal experience (I fall in the “very dissatisfied” catergory), I would think not. “Free” is never a compelling value if it doesn’t work well.
At SES and again at the Tech40Crunch conference Marissa Meyers was quoted as saying that the iPhone has led to a continued surge in Google Maps usage. One could obviously infer from this that (no duh!) a well designed piece of mobile hardware, that is easy to use and has well integrated, pre-installed access to local search software would have an impact on increasing mobile local search. I have written before on the need for an iPhone like device to penetrate the market for the market to go anywhere.
But there be other possible take aways from these comments. One, it doesn’t take much to move Google Map’s relatively low usage higher. Apple has sold 1 million phones. Their goal is 10 million or 1% of the phone market. Thus with 1/10 of 1% of the market “the recent iPhone release brought numerous new consumers for the Google mobile solutions as its traffic was increased from 40 percent to 50 percent when it comes to Google Maps”. Thus somewhere under a million users led to a 50% increase in usage….hmmm
The other is that WAP, .mobi etc. have not had a similar impact despite plenty of opportunity. It seems to me that these technologies are at best stop gap measures until the real “mobile” web ala the iPhone/Google Mobile is more broadly deployed.
September 19, 2007
I drive 8 miles to work along NYS Route 16, down the hill known as Rock City, and past some incrediblly picturesque scenes as I head to my office in downtown Olean. The drive is rural and while Olean is called a city, it is a small (and getting smaller) rustbelt town of 15,000. It is 70 miles south of Buffalo, NY, 150 miles east of Cleveland and 150 miles north of Pittsburgh…it really is miles from nowhere (see this map), a market that most everyone forgets.
Everyone but Google it seems. Google has recently started placing billboards on our “main” north south road in their campaign for Goog-411, their free voice activated directory assistance service. Google has placed the billboard just south of town right after you pass the cemetery and just before you get to the breakfast hangout, The Robbin’s Nest. The road is not heavily traveled with a traffic count of perhaps 10,000 vehicles a day.
I recognize that they are in a pitched battle with the network operators, they were partially boxed out by the telcos on the spectrum auction, they are having trouble penetrating the walled garden of the cell world…but there is more than a little irony in a billboard campaign in Olean, no? That being said, it makes sense.
September 14, 2007
The many posters from around the world at the Google Maps for Business Group will have reason to rejoice today as Google has announced at the Google Lat-Long blog that Google Maps has dramatically increased world wide coverage. You can now see where McDonald’s are in Costa Rica.
From the Google Lat-Long blog:
Today we added 54 new countries to Google Maps! We’ve more than doubled our coverage of Latin America and are now mapping three times as many countries in Asia as before….
Here’s the full list of new countries:
Afghanistan, Aruba, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Bermuda, Brunei Darussalam, Bhutan, Bolivia, Cambodia, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Mexico, Myanmar (Burma), Mongolia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Timor-Leste, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen
We have better detail for some countries than others, but this is just the beginning. In coming months, we’ll be working tirelessly to add more detail to the existing countries in Google Maps, and we’ll also be adding new countries to the list.
September 12, 2007
In a recent post, The Google Operating System Blog points out that Google SMS Adds Location-Based Personalization to your text queries of its local business database by sending a SMS to Google that contains the command:
set location [city, zip code, address]
In recent trip to NYC with my family over labor day weekend I discovered that Google will automatically (no command required) set your default location in an SMS query after three queries as well. By setting the location automatically after a limited number of queries, Google cuts key entry time in half on all subsequent queries for users like me that are too lazy to explore the help file or send a command.
I experimented with Goog-411, Google Maps & Google SMS as local tools during this tourist visit and found that when walking down the street or perusing a shop or museum, Google SMS was an incredibly valuable alternative to find a known store’s location and phone number. In many ways it was preferable to Directory Assistance as it was silent and unobtrusive. Once received as a text message it was then a simple task to tell my Nokia to find the number and dial it if need be or add it to my contacts.
September 11, 2007
Ask removes search box from default mobile search
From the post:What Ask found in their user testing is that users would immediately go to the search box and start trying to use it. While this sounds like it offers what the user wants, the fact is that accomplishing simple things like finding our the weather in San Francisco can take 70 keystrokes if you are on a mobile device without a QWERTY keyboard (for example entering the letter C requires you to hit the 2 button 3 times)Â
All I can say is AMEN to that. If you have never tried searching using via a WAP browser on a cell phone you should give it a try to understand why you never want to do it.
Google aims to patent payment by SMS at Electronista – Gadgets for Geeks.
Himmelstein on Gâ€™s Local Biz Referral Program – Guest columnist Marty Himmelstein at Greg Sterling’s blog has great overview of trends in local search and Google’s take on them.
Discussion of New Kelsey Mobile Numbers by Greg Sterling at Localmobilesearch.net. And I thought it was me that couldn’t figure out the numbers…
Just received this email from Google:
Search Ads on Google Mobile Search
Hello Michael Blumenthal,
We are happy to announce a new feature that will allow you to
easily reach additional qualified customers who are searching
Google from their mobile phones.
In the next few days, your search ads will be eligible to run on
Google Mobile Search pages (like they currently do on Google.com).
We are offering this feature – and any resulting clicks – for
free through November 18, so you can experiment with the rapidly
growing mobile platform while still reaching qualified customers.
Each ad’s eligibility will be determined by its landing page and
only ads with landing pages that can be adapted for viewing on
mobile browsers will be shown.Â You can monitor each ad’s
performance via a special performance tracking page within your
account called “Performance Data: Search Ads on Google Mobile
Again, you will not be charged for clicks on these ads until
November 19, at which time we will begin charging the usual CPC
prices.Â And as always, you may opt-out of this feature at any
We hope you find this new feature helpful and profitable, and we
urge you to learn more about it at our AdWords Help Center:
Thank you for advertising with Google AdWords.
The Google AdWords Team
September 1, 2007
12 Billion Local Business Searches. Do Yellow Pages Still Matter? – a good summary of a report given by TMP at SES on the complexity of customer behavior when using the internet to look for local goods.
Measuring Local Search by Brian Wool. An overview of some of the choices in attempting to measure local search outcomes and results.