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.
Usability test: Does iPhone match the hype? -Users try out the iPhone, HTC Touch and the Nokia N95
It’s also important to remember that the tests focused on how easy it was to pick up the device and use it right out of the box.
“People can eventually learn to use any device,” Ballew said. “But that’s not true usability. We wanted to see how long it took to figure out how to use the phones. That’s the difference between learnability and usability.”
Let’s cut to the bottom line: In terms of usability, iPhone blew away its two competitors. Its overall score in the usability tests was 4.6 out of 5. The HTC Touch was a distant second at 3.4, and the Nokia N95 scored 3.2.
“Testers were [typically] about twice as fast doing specific tasks on the iPhone, which is pretty remarkable,” Thornton said.
Ultimately, it is this usability that will drive Local traffic and the broad adoption of mobile search.
Retailerâ€™s Shortcut From Desktop to Store (NY Times Free Reg. req’d) – Offline retailers are increasingly offering a way for consumers to shop online but pick up the goods in stores.
Getting Free Cellphone Calls for Ads (NY Times Free Reg. req’d) British cellphone users will get their first look at a new mobile service called Blyk, which will offer subscribers some free calls and text messages in return for their agreeing to accept advertising on their phones.
Yahooâ€™s Kay Skeptical about Local Verticals from the LocalOnliner.com
Building a Better Database: Getting Harder All the Time from the Kelsey Group about the difficulties of assembling local data.
Google announces AdSense for Mobile – As part of our ongoing efforts to develop new ways for users to find the information they need anytime and anywhere, Google announced today the availability of AdSenseâ„¢ for Mobile, a program that contextually targets ads to mobile website content. AdSense for Mobile also allows AdSense publishing partners the ability to earn revenue from their mobile websites through the targeted placement of mobile text ads. With this program, advertisers can connect with the growing number of mobile publishers, ultimately providing users with an enhanced mobile experience that helps them find what they are looking for more quickly and efficiently on the go.
AdSense for Mobile is intended for AdSense partners who have created websites specifically for mobile browsers, and who want to monetize their mobile content via contextual advertising. Like Google’s other AdSense products, mobile text ads run on an auction model. The system automatically reviews the content of publishersâ€™ mobile websites and delivers text ads that are relevant to the websitesâ€™ audience and content. Publishers earn money whenever mobile users click on the ads.
With this new program, the unmatched reach of the Google content network is extended to the mobile platform. AdSense for Mobile provides a valuable way to connect mobile users with the right ad at the right time as they seek information on the go. AdSense for Mobile is now available to all mobile publishers in 13 countries worldwide.
Yahoo buys Zimbra – It automatically turns street addresses into a link to the appropriate Yahoo Maps page, and can dial phone numbers inside a message with a single click.
iPhone continues to drive Google Maps Usage – (Marissa Mayer) said that Google Maps usage shot up sharply after the release of Appleâ€™s (AAPL) iPhone back in July. â€œMaps usage hasnâ€™t stopped rising,â€ she said during our conversation.. according to Om Malik at the techcrunch 40 conference.
Where Am I? The Challenge of Geo-Targeting from LocalPoint
GPhone Update: â€œNot in the Worksâ€ From Local Mobile Search: Like the rest of us, Google knows that the biggest opportunities for e-commerce and Web 2.0 lie in mobile computing and mobile applications. Overcoming the shortcomings of low-end wireless phones, less than optimal wireless data speeds and strictures applied by a community mobile network operators who are reticent to innovate and share the wealth are its challenge.
Verizon Takes on FCC Auction Rules in Court a good summary from Local Mibile Search of the battle between BIG SEARCH AND CONTENT companies and BIG CARRIERS. Thereâ€™s more bluster than legal basis in Verizonâ€™s petition.
Google’s plan for world domination by Robert Cringely has some iintersting speculation about Google, the coming federal bandwidth auction, the coming battle of titans over the local space. For those who canâ€™t think past search, imagine this also as Googleâ€™s key to dominating local- and location-based search.
Real World Trumps Online in Local Search, Search Engine Watch
The Power of Branding by Greg Linden summarizes a small sample study that quantifies the value of branding in search. This applies equally well to local.
Prostitutes Turn to Craigslist, Law Takes Notice (NY times) – Can this type of local marketing be that far in the future for Yahoo or Google? It certainly indicates the degree of penetration of Craig’s list.
Mobilizing Mom & Pop Shops – Greg Sterling counters Steve Smith’s The Parallel Universe of Mobile Search, “rumination on the now-familiar challenges of selling online to â€œMom & Popâ€ small businesses and suggests: if it ainâ€™t happening online it sure as heck ainâ€™t going to happen in mobile”.
And for those of you living under a rock, Apple lowered the price of the iPhone to $399. Maybe the day of the ubitquitous, usable and friendly phone with good Local information access is not as distant as I had thought.
In Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, Russell Adams reports on the increased use of wireless devices of all stripes at Major League Baseball games (and other professional sports venues) for viewing stats, instant replays, ordering food and participating in game time promotions.
At some venues wireless devices can be rented for $25 per event. The Mariners (who are owned by Nintendo) rent Nintendo devices while the SF Giants’ AT&T Park offers free wireless access.
The following quote from the article intrigued me:
The quest for new forms of in-seat entertainment is being powered by the rise of mobile devices that function as a phone, television and computer. The number of people with a high-speed Internet connection on their mobile wireless device jumped to 11 million from 3.1 million in the first six months of 2006, according to the latest figures available from the Federal Communications Commission. Just in the almost two months since Apple released the iPhone, the number of fans at the Giants’ AT&T Park using its free wireless service to get stats and take part in trivia contests has jumped 50%; in a few games, that figure has reached about 700 fans, according to the team.
This uber-local use goes hand in hand with acceleration of the broader use of wireless devices and by my way of thinking, increased usage of Google Maps and other local data resources. Short term( 1-2 years) I believe that the main beneficiaries will be restaurants and other local tourist services. Long haul (3-5 years), whether other types of businesses will benefit remains to be seen.
Experiment with Google Voice Local Search -Naturalsearchblog
Google patent app shows extensive Google plans for mobile search -ZDNET Blogs, Russell Shaw
Local Mobile Search Ready to Roll?-Greg Sterling, Screenwerk
Yahoo! Real Estate Updates Home Values Search with Maps and Local -Yahoo! Local & Maps Blog
Measuring the Impact of Universal Search on Local Search Traffic -Naffzigerâ€™s Net
Today I received a communication from a reader reporting that he was surprised that his organic “long tale search using local phrases” (i.e. service + locationpage optimization) were still producing solid results for hist website. He said “Actually surprised me.Â I figured the one box would have a more dampening effect……and it may have…but this traffic is still strong.”
My response: I have never felt that a Local specific Campaign could have more than a very limited overall impact on any business that has regional appeal as you can optimize for so few terms and locations (a design flaw in the algos?)….you use local to get high rankings for your bricks & mortar location and you use longtail for all of the regional variations and markets that you serve…that has been the best bet and continues to be.