Google Wave

On September 30th this year, Google will release yet another product, but this time it is set to be bigger and better than any of its predecessors. Google first demonstrated its functionality at the IO conference last May in San Francisco. The service was restricted to just those at the conference and developers. From the end of next month, 100,000 members of the public will be able to test the product for themselves.

The new product is called google wave and is described as a communication and collaboration tool. Personally I think this is a big understatement, it is so much more than that and you will see why.

Having viewed the demonstration recorded at the conference I cannot wait to try out the beta version next month. There are so many functionalities, it is hard to begin to describe how this tool will revolutionise blogs, email and IM as well as photo and file sharing. One area which will bring a smile to IM fans is the live transmission which they have introduced on Wave. This means when you are talking to your friend “Jo” on line, instead of seeing “Jo is typing” you can see the characters appear as the she writes them and so you can start replying straight away. You can also invite other people into the IM conversation and they can use the “play back” functionality to see the conversation from the beginning, from before they entered the chat.. You can also share photos easily through Wave. Simply drag and drop the photos you have in to the conversation. With Wave you can also create a group album so that everyone in your group can see your photos. It is a much simpler way to create a group album than with Picassa. Some expect Wave will replace some of Google’s older applications.

If you would like to view the demo yourself, check out Google’s blog

Putting it into practice

My last post was about link building. Now that I have transferred my blog to my new domain name www.seojoblogs.com, I decided to start my link building campaign.

The first step I took was to submit my site to blog directories.

I found these quite quickly, by simply typing into google “seo blogs submit” There is a lot of choice but I decided to just submit to those that have a page rank of 5/10 and above.  I also avoided those where I had to pay a submission fee. You should not have to pay to submit your blog.

The sites I was most interested in and may appeal to some of you who are starting their own blogs was:

Blogcatalog
Bloghub
Blogdigger

Link building campaign

If you want to increase traffic to your website here are some helpful hints:

1.Set objectives for the link building strategy
The link building strategy is the way to increase links to your website. It is important to write out exactly what you want to achieve. For example, you may want to increase visitors by x% by the end of the next 3 months. These objectives should tie in with the business objectives.

2. Site analysis – find out who links to your site now. You can do this by visiting linkpopularity.com. enter your url it shows the links to your site on google, msn and yahoo. Oh and it is free, so even better.

3. Research competitors – find out who is linking to your competitors. It is always a good idea to research thoroughly the competitors, look at their website, their page rank, their inbound and outbound links.

4. Links from other sites
Once you have completed points 2 and 3 you should have an idea of which sites you want link to your website. Email these people explaining the benefits their visitors will gain from link , the page address you want to link from and your contact details.

Link building is not a one off process. You will have to contact each individual site that you want linking to your site. And you will need to monitor the progress of the campaign. One easy way to do this is by installing google analytics which track the number of unique visitors to the site. Analytics will also show you the % of referring sites, so make sure that your target sites are among these. You may even find that there are new sites linking to you who you haven’t even asked. A bonus!!

iPhone for all

When O2 signed the exclusive deal to have the iPhone on just their network, little did they know how popular it would become. It has led to more than triple number of customers coming into the O2 shops, within the first two months of the launch of the first iPhone. However, this exclusitivity will end in October this year and Orange and T Mobile as well as Vodafone are set to have their own iPhone deals. Elsewhere around the world, the iPhone is and has always been available on other networks.

I am interested to see what deals these network providers will give us customers. I think the iPhone is still expensive, the cheapest package has to be with the 8GB iPhone and still costs just under 45 pounds a month for 1200 minutes and 500 texts.The 8GB iphone comes free, but everyone is now raving about the iPhone 3GS which some say will not be available on other networks.

The iPhone should be available in Orange shops from at the earliest end of next month. So, there is another reason to join the Orange network. Not only will you get your 2 4 1 on cinema tickets and great deals at pizza express you can get your new iPhone. Ofcourse nothing has been finalised with the mobile operators and therefore they do not know exactly when or how much their new iPhone deals will be. But one thing is for sure…. O2 no longer have the exclusitivity and will therefore need to work even harder to keep their customers.

O2… see what they can do.

Gmail third largest email provider

Google started off as a search engine back in 1996 when it was called Back Rub and has diversified into so many areas including which is now the third largest email provider in the USA behind hotmail and yahoo.

According to ComScore, gmail has 37 million unique visitors which is just past AOL’s 36.4 million. Windows Live Hotmail has 47 million unique visitors, but in the lead is Yahoo Mail with 106 million monthly unique visitors. I am not really surprised by the growth in numbers, afterall, gmail is constantly upgrading its features which is more than can be said for Windoss Live Hotmail and Yahoo Mail. I have to say I love gmail, they are so innovative. Since starting in 2004, they have diversifed into calendar, gmail chat, docs, maps, and even web albums where you can upload photos safely and securely. One of the best things I like about gmail is its superior spam protection. I had hotmail account and someone hacked in and sent spam to everyone in my address book. I never had this problem with gmail, nor has anyone else I know.

If you don’t have gmail, I recommend singing up, it is free. Here are my top favourites:
Picassa: I have recently been using Picassa and it is integrated with Gmail. It is such an easy way to organise your photos.
Calendar: You can sync your calendar with other gmail users so you always know what is going on and can plan your days/evenings out together
Analytics: Now this is something you will use if you have a website, but it is great to know it is integrated with your account which is a great time saving device.
Google Talk: otherwise called known as Gchat is an Instant Messanger. You can easily see who is online chat for free.
Docs: Here is where I think google is expanding into a sharing and storing area. Google docs allows users to upload and edit there documents on line. When I am travelling and want to edit a document and do not have word on a pc I use google docs to view and edit the file.
Maps: Where would we be without gmaps? Well I suppose using multimap or streetmap. With google introducing street view, you can now have a 360 view of the street.

So sign up to gmail today!!

Who is the leading network provider in the UK?

I have decided to add more to the mobile technology section of this blog. With the increasing number of smart phones with accessing the internet, this is not an area to ignore.

This data is over a year old, but then if I want data for this year, I have to buy the report and I thought… well this is good enough for the time being. It is important to share what has been happening in the mobile market. If you all have any more recent up to date reports, please let me know.

http://www.telecomsmarketresearch.com/resources/UK_Mobile_Operator_Subscriber_Statistics.shtml

Pie chart of UK mobile operators

As you can see Vodafone and O2 are the leaders in the market place in the UK. O2 has been very successful since it got its hands on the exclusitivity of the iPhone. The first generation iPhone came out November 9th 2007, 5 months after it was launched in the USA. The second generation iPhone hit the market in July 2008 and the third generation came out June this year.

O2 UK sold 1 million iPhones during 2008 which has boosted revenues for Telefonica (parent company of O2) for Q4 2008. Revenues rose 10.4 percent in the fourth quarter, based on stable local exchange rates, climbing to €1.755 billion (£1.6 billion). So O2 has a lot to be thankful for. However, they are set to lose this exclusitivity October 9th this year and O2 are already starting to get their hands on other smartphone manufacturers such as the Palm Pre to make up for any exodus in customers when the exclusitivity runs out.

Source: http://paidcontent.co.uk/article/419-earnings-iphone-boosts-o2-uk-q4-revenues-grow-10.4-percent/

Exclusivity can have a dramatic effect on the mobile operator’s sales. According to ZDNet news, as of March this year, the G1 Android handset accounted for 20%of T-Mobile’s contract sales. The G1 was at the time, the only handset on the market to use Google’s Android software stack, which was launched exclusively on T-Mobile at the end of October 2008. And according to T-Mobile, the G1 produced the operator’s “best-selling launch of 2008”.

According to Strategy Analytics, they forecast 900% Android phone sales growth during 2009 and shipments of Apple’s iPhone will grow 79%.
The reason for the big forecast is due to Android’s low-cost licensing model, its semi-open source structure and Google’s support for cloud services. Vodafone recently launched the world’s second Android phone – the Magic May 30th this year. Smasung and Orange are also jumping on the Android bandwagon and will launch their phones by then end of the year.

Interactive social networking map

I know I have written a lot on social networking, but there is so much new information that comes up I feel I have to share it with you.

I found this interactive social networking map, so you can see which countries use which social networking sites.

All the light green countries belong to Facebook. But there are still resisitance from some countries such as Russia (where V Kontakte dominates), China (QQ), Brazil and India (Orkut), Central America, Peru, Mongolia, and Thailand (hi5), South Korea (Cyworld), Japan (Mixi), the Middle East (Maktoob), and the Philippines (Friendster).

Another report I found shows how popular social media has become. They even boost it has overtaken porn as the number one activity on the Web. Facebook has been compared to a country, saying it would be the world’s fourth largest, behind the USA and Indonesia, simply because of the number of registered users. Facebook which once started just for college graudates now has growing segment, the 55 – 65 year old females. This is mainly due to these women wanting to keep in touch with their children and now grandchildren. Another interesting fact about facebook is that more than 1.5 million pieces of content (Web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) are shared on facebook daily. So who needs encylopedias now?

I am not going to take the credit for this, so if you want to find out more, please visit http://searchenginewatch.com/3634651

Mobile Cloud Computing

I know this site is also about SEO and optimising traffic to your own website, but we cannot ignore the growing mobile market and this new area called “the mobile cloud”.

According to a study conducted by ABI research, nearly all mobile money service providers will be impacted by mobile cloud computing. Cloud computing is defined as the evolution of computing processing in which processing and data storage move away from desktop and latops. In simple terms it means data storage and processing occurs outside the mobile device. Some you many have already seen is the mobile Gmail and Google Maps. Mobile cloud computing will continue to grow, ABI think it will expand rapidly over next five years, growing to 998.1 million subscribers by 2014.

Why are they so confident that this will happen? Well two reasons really:
1. There will be a rise in Platform as a Service players in the market. Otherwise known as PaaS these are are development platforms for which the development tool is hosted in the cloud and accessed through a browser. This means there is no need to install tools on developers computers to build Web applications. It can all be done on the PaaS platorm, making it cheaper and easier to develop these applications.
2. There are several standards intitiatives within the mobile industry such as the BONDI intiative and the GSM Associations’s OneAPI initiative that will help the growth of mobile cloud services. The GSM Association’s OneAPI sets the standards for network APIs which means developers can access parts of the network providers’ capabilities such as location services.

So who uses this PaaS?
A lot of companies, one of the first ones is Salesforce. They have their Force.com platform which allows business applications to be built and run in the cloud. Others are Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google’s App Engine. I know you may be surprised by AWS, but this is what happens in the market place today, a company that starts by selling books over the internet, can expand into a greater and more diversified business and now AWS is used by over 500,000 developers.

Ok, when will this take effect?
It all depends on the market. Those markets that use internet more will lead the way such as Western Europe, North America and parts of Asia.

The next step is for these companies to offer the service to not just the smartphones – Windows Mobile, Blackberry and iPhone but to the other Symbian and J2ME phones on the market. Nokia and Sony Ericsson are major players in this market.

So you may even find by end of this year, early next there will be a growth in these mobile cloud appplications and those who haven’t yet started using apps will start using them like there is no tomorrow. Who would have thought people would be using mobile phones for more than just calling?

Yahoo and Microsoft teaming up

Well well well, who would have thought Yahoo once the biggest search engine and microsoft, the leader in the home pc market are forming a deal. About time too, neither was succeeding the search area and now combined they will provide the biggest competition against google. Comscore’s data showed that in the United States, Bing handled 8.4% of searches in June, compare to Yahoo’s 20% and google’s 65%.

So in this deal, Microsoft’s technology will power Yahoo’s search results, while Yahoo will handle ad-selling duties for both companies’ search sites.Microsoft will reap all the revenues from advertising carried on its new search engine Bing, and pay its partner 88% of revenues from search advertising across websites owned and operated by Yahoo!

Both parties appear to be happy with the deal after 18 months of negotiation. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said; “This agreement gives us the scale and resources to create the future of search. Success in search requires both innovation and scale. With our new Bing search platform, we’ve created breakthrough innovation and features. This agreement with Yahoo will provide the scale we need to deliver even more rapid advances in relevancy and usefulness.” The agreement is for 10 years in which Microsoft will have an exclusive 10 year license to Yahoo!’s core search technologies, and the ability to integrate Yahoo! search technologies into its existing web search platforms.

Microsoft will be able to incorporate Yahoo’s search technology, including its Panama ad-selling tool, but the companies will use Microsoft’s AdCenter sales tool and Bing search engine to power both sites.

Yahoo! has lost market share over the past few years and this deal cements the message that it does not have a role in search. How will Yahoo! now rebrand itself. There is still a lot of legal work to sort out so while the two companies are going through this and working as a new team, Google will continue to dominate the search market.

Popular websites

According to research by Nielsen, the two most heavily used web brands are Facebook and MSN/Windows Live. They account for almost 11 billion of the 48 million minutes Britons spend online. Coming in third is Google and fourth place is eBay with total UK users spending a whopping 2,560 minutes and 1,978 minutes respectively on these sites in April 2009.

Facebook is one of the major reasons people are spending more time online. People in the UK spend a total of 22 hours and 20 minutes online which is up on 34% a year ago. (April 2008 – April 2009) However, facebook recorded people spending 3.8billion more minutes in April this year than April 2008

The most heavily used web brands are those in the communication and entertainment industry. Hotmail’s instant messenger has people hooked for hours online, chatting away to friends or sending work files to colleagues. YouTube is the entertainment channel for most users online, allowing those to search for quirky videos or funny clips.

The 10 most heavily used brands online are the following:
1 Facebook
2 MSN/Windows Live
3 Google
4 eBay
5 Yahoo!
6 AOL Media Network
7 BBC
8 YouTube
9 Microsoft
10 Apple