March 28, 2008
SPY CELLS: Phones Will Soon Tell Where You Are – AMOL SHARMA and JESSICA E. VASCELLARO, WSJ
Would you want other people to know, all day long, exactly where you are, right down to the street corner or restaurant?…..wireless carriers are betting that many of their customers do, and they’re rolling out services to make it possible.
…Verizon Wireless is gearing up to offer such a service in the next several weeks to its 65 million customers, people familiar with it say.
Malware Cited in Supermarket Data Breach AP, NY Times
…the massive data breach that compromised up to 4.2 million credit and debit cards.
The breach has prompted concern in the industry because it appeared to be the first large-scale theft of credit and debit card numbers while the information was in transit.
Dashâ€™s Car Navigator Gives Smart Directions, if Others Participate – Walt Mossburg, WSJ
I have not really been following the Dash but after having read Mossburg’s article in the WSJ it struck as quite significant that your car would act as a data “probe” to provide real time traffic information to a community of users. Very Cool.
Announcing LeaveFeedback.org, Free Service for Local Businesses – Michael Jensen, SoloSEO
This is very useful product that I will hopefully have more time to write about later. It vastly simplifies the process by which a small business gets reviews from his/her customer. It is the last 50 feet of local and creates a “virtuous cycle” with benefits for all.
Facebook Pages & Local Search Engine Optimization – Andrew Shotland, LocalSEOGuide
I am not a facebook maven but this technique appeared to be valuable.
Global Temperature Trends for Google Earth – Frank Taylor, Google Earth Blog
I never ceased to be amazed at the wondrous information that makes it way into a map these days. This is one of those cases and what you see in Google Earth today, you will see in Google Maps tomorrow (not literally but you knew that).
Google Maps for mobile gets native on UIQ – Sean Cooper, enGadgetMobile
I recognize that this is old news that I meant to post a while ago. When you combine this effort to claim prime real estate on your cell phone screen with the reports of a new interface for Google mobile I see Google maneuvering to become the habitual choice in the world of mobile with or without the carriers.
March 21, 2008
Googleâ€™s LBC: Now With More Fiber- Mike Boland, Kelsey Group
A good summary of how the inclusion of video in the Google LBC can benefit local search marketing. Interestingly, he points out that Google was allowing (c)ompanies such as TurnHere and eLocalListing were already uploading this content for their SMB clients via direct partnership, but this essentially makes it possible for more firms to do it with less friction.
State-of-the Art: Trends in Mobile Search – Jeff Quip, AimClear Blog
An good summary of the session at SES New York 2008 search marketing conference. Outlines in broad details the history & future of the mobile search market and why it makes sense to be there now
Google search plug-in for Windows Mobile promises more of the same – Tim Conneally, BetaNews
Notes the availability of a plug-in for Windows Mobile devices, which provides a shortcut on the home screen to Google’s search. He also provides anectdotal reports of Google mobile search dominance and how this supports that dominance.
New comScore IYPÂ Data – Greg Sterling, Screenwerk
The numbers indicate that Yellowpages.com network have a significant share of the IYP searches. But it is hard to tell since as Greg points out “(t)hese traffic data donâ€™t capture local search on the main search engines, which is where much of the local query volume is.”
700MHz Non-Surprise: Verizon & AT&T Win Auction Blocks – Greg Sterling, LocalMobileSearch
Google’s wireless-auction loss called possible win – Eric Auchard, Reuters
Google Inc’s losing bid for coveted wireless airwaves may prove a victory for the Web search leader as it still stands to get access to mobile networks without spending tens of billions of dollars to build one, analysts said on Thursday.
Wall Street analysts said the Silicon Valley Internet search and advertising giant has succeeded in forcing open network requirements upon winning bidder Verizon Communications via Google’s apparent strategy of “bidding to lose.”
March 18, 2008
In a report released today by M:Metrics it was noted that “the iPhone is already the most popular device for accessing news and information on the mobile Web, with 85 percent of iPhone users accessing news and information in the month of January.”
Usage in other categories of internet access like watching video, listening to music, social networking while not quite as high significantly exceeded market averages. Of particular note was that 36 percent of iPhone users accessed Google Maps. In comparison, only 2.6 percent of all mobile subscribers checked out Maps. No mention is made of time on the service or total number of search queries but one has to assume that those were proportionately much higher as well.
Mobile Content Consumption: iPhone, Smartphone and Total Market:
Activity iPhone Smartphone* Market
-------- ------ ---------- ------
Any news or info via browser 84.8% 58.2% 13.1%
Accessed web search 58.6% 37.0% 6.1%
Watched mobile TV and/or video 30.9% 14.2% 4.6%
Watched on-demand video or TV programming 20.9% 7.0% 1.4%
Accessed Social Networking Site or Blog 49.7% 19.4% 4.2%
Listened to music on mobile phone 74.1% 27.9% 6.7%
Source: M:Metrics, Inc., Copyright © 2008. Survey of U.S. mobile
subscribers. Data based on three-month moving average for period ending
31st January 2008, n = 31,389.
*Smartphones include devices running Windows, Symbian, RIM or Apple
This increased usage is a function of both user interface of the iPhone and the unlimted integrated internet access plan.
“While the demographics of iPhone users are very similar to all smartphone owners, the iPhone is outpacing other smartphones in driving mobile content consumption by a significant margin,” said Donovan. “In addition to the attributes of the device itself, another important factor to consider is the fact that all iPhones on AT&T are attached to an unlimited data plan. Our data shows that once the fear of surprise data charges is eliminated, mobile content consumption increases dramatically, regardless of device.”
I have noted in the past that penetration of iPhone like devices, with a decent interface and usability is likely to reach 50% of the market in 3 to 4 years. Obviously this depends on both the hardware and the internet access plans that the phone companies put in place. When the stars align and this occurs, local search will obviously benefit.
March 17, 2008
Incomplete and Wrong Data in Google Local Search
- Bill Slawski, SeobytheSea.com
Bill covers some of the patents that relate to the post here last week: Google Plus Box – Where does the (wrong) data come from?
Deer Blogs His Own GPS Position in Google Earth – Frank Taylor, Google Earth Blog
A report on a very coolÂ real time animalÂ tracking experiment. I can’t wait until worried parents start the same experiment with their teenage children. Or perhaps overanxious citizenry implant this technology in sex offenders (only in America).
Google on SDK Competition with iPhone: Weâ€™ve Had More DownloadsÂ – Greg Sterling, LocalMobile Search
Clearly the move from cell phone to mobile internet mobile platform will not be Apple’s market alone. Google is going to be right there. It will be interesting to see which of the two has more success convincing the owners of the “walled gardens” to open up their networks and if one of them becomes the leading mobile computing platform.
March 13, 2008
Apple’s announcement of their software development kit was big in the tech news arena but got scant coverage in the search world. From where I sit, it appears to be a seminal event that will define local search for the next decade and will lead to a dramatic upsurge in hyper local searches.
There was much speculation about the iPhone tools prior to their release and developers expressed fears about limited access and undocumented api’s. Apple seems to have exceeded developer expectations on that front and delivered a product that can access all of the capabilities of the iphone and iPod Touch while simultaneously offering low barriers to entry and ready distribution. The SDK, despite its early bugs, appears to have been widely embraced and there are significant rewards in the offing to the developers that create popular apps.
The release has moved the iPhone from being a very cool cell phone to being the archetype of the mobile internet device; always on, always present, no limits to what or when something can be retrieved. It will put gaming, calling, music AND search in the hands of users all the time in every location and will (or something very much like it), like the iPod before it, become annoyingly present in our lives.
March 4, 2008
KML: HTML for the Geoweb – Christopher Schmidt, TechnicalRamblings
KML has become the â€œHTMLâ€ of the Geographic Web. With limited semantic meaning, a combination of mostly-human understandable XML tags for the majority of the usages, widespread use and abuse for purposes far beyond the original thoughts and intentions of the designers, and more, KML fits well into the geographic version of the niche filled by HTML in more generalized content publishing.
Beneficiaries of UGC in Map and Location Updating – MDob, Exploring
This is part of series on the implication, benefits, winners and loosers in having users updating Mapd and Business listing data.
Yahoo! onePlace Offers Front Door to Mobile Internet – Greg Sterling LocalMobileSearch
One of the many things holding the cell phone back from being a functional internet and search platform in the terrible user experience. This product might solve some of that for non iPhone users.
Do Ratings Matter PartÂ Deux – Greg Sterling, Screenwerk
Yahoo’s response to Greg’s response to Matt’s posting:
- Ratings (stars) always matter and factor into the presentation of ranked local results in Shortcuts/Direct Display and Yahoo! Local.
- Most of the time the local results presented in search results and in Yahoo! Local will be identical (top three) but not 100% of the time.
- Reviews/review text donâ€™t factor as a weighted variable in the algorithm for the presentation of local results via Shortcuts but may, on occasion, play a part in the ordering of results on Yahoo! Local.
February 18, 2008
Evidence Clear: Better Usability = More Mobile Internet Usage – Greg Sterling Localmobilesearch.com
AT&T Mobility president and CEO Ralph de la Vega reportedly told audience members at the GSMA Mobile World Congress Thursday that 95% of iPhone owners surf the mobile Web, although only 30% had done so before. About half have also watched videos on the iPhone via YouTube.
Google Gets What It Wanted from C-Block Auction – Greg Sterling, LocalMobileSearch
[Google] doesnâ€™t have to build the infrastructure but it may reap the benefits of the required openness attaching to the C-Block of 700 MHz spectrum…..That winner will have to allow â€œany legal deviceâ€ to access the network. Thus any Android phone would be allowed to operate, as well as devices such as the iPod Touch or perhaps the iPhone itself.Â
Local Search Keyword AnalysisÂ – ConvertOffline.com
A nice piece of research showing the relative frequency and structure of Sevice+Locale and Locale+Service searches.
February 14, 2008
This was mostly written as a response to comments in my interview with Miriam at SEOIgloo. I realized that I can only write so many words before breakfast so I have posted the comment slightly changed here.
There are those who say that “local search gets no respect, it should be important to all” and others in the search industry that look at local and say: “It is not a significant force, its not important and doesn’t affect my clients”.
I have often thought the “local is over rated”/”local is underated” debate misses the point to some extent.The debate is more nuanced than that. And the answer is: Yes.
If you need Local, you need local.
We are in a nascent market, local search, that has not yet fully developed. It requires indexed content from the producers of the information and searches from the consumers of it. It will use new ways of accessing this information
So as more and more information comes on line, as Google (or whomever) provides more and more granularity, users and producers both will follow along as they realize that they will benefit.
Each company will come to local when it is in their benefit to do so. Five years ago, local wasn’t important unless you were in the hotel business, 4 years ago it wasn’t important unless you were in the hotel or florist industry, Three years ago you would have added cars and restaurants to the list and so on.
As your industry or the industry groups that you represent benefit from local, your business will need to be there. For now it local is a collection of niches.
As the information granularity improves, say WalMart posts local inventory, it will also impact the usage and the companies that will need to be there. If Target sees Walmart there then the process will progress on the data side as well. Local will become the ultimate aggregation of niches.
As the information improves in any given industry segment and as the business feels the need to be in local, the searchers will be there & the SEM’s will follow. In the meantime the number of niches that benefit will continue to grow.
Ultimately, as Miriam points out on SEOigloo, even with Ebay sellers all bussiness is local. (Just look at the comparison of internet shopping to total shopping).
The other looming change will be in how we access that information. The movement toward hand held computing ala the iPhone will change all of this is unforeseeable ways but most all of them will have an impact on local.
The game has just started so it would be foolish to place any bets on who does or doesn’t need the capability. I think we can agree that the number of niches that benefit from local is growing. At some point what was a collection of niches becomes the majority and the tipping point is reached. Keep your options open and take advantage as you see the opportunity.
Regardless there are industry segments that need to be in local now and they need solid advice and counsel.