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.

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.


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

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 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
8 YouTube
9 Microsoft
10 Apple

News publishers and the robots.txt file

Ok so this week, for those that missed it, there was some news regarding google indexing news publishers sites.
We all know that if you do not want google to index your website, you simply write in the code:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

But for some reason the news publishers think that all their content is going to be indexed by the search engine. According to other blogs, news publishers want to charge google for access to their sites. They want google to pay them to index their site. But of course this will not happen. They know they can block the crawler easily.

Search engines have always checked for permissions before crawling through pages from a web site. Webmasters, including news publishers, are aware and use the Robots Exclusion Protocol (REP) to tell search engines whether or not their sites, or a web page, can be crawled.

The search engine monopoly

The google giant is in the news again this week, for launching the Chrome operating system (OS) for the mobile.
This is separate from Android and Google Chrome OS is aimed for those who tend to spend most of their time on line. It will power all computers, from small netbooks to desktop systems.

A company having more than one operating system, is not unheard of. Afterall, Apple has three OSes including Mac, iphone and ipod.
Google first launched the chrome browser in September last year and now has over 30 million users. Now they want to bring chrome into an operating system and I have no doubt they will succeed in this area.

Google is performing well in the search area where it became famous. According to Hitwise, google is the top search engine with 74% market share week ending June 27th. This is up from last year’s 69%. Since my last blog posting here, which only went live last month, has seen an increase in market share from 3.4% in the beginning of June to 6.63% by the end. Not bad for a company entering an already saturated market place.

There have also been changes in the keyword field. People are typing in longer search queries.

Search results are getting longer

Longer search queries have increased in popularity over the past year, on average searches of five to more than eight words in length have increased 8% from a year ago. Where there are searches of eight or more words, they have seen an increase of 16%. SEO experts be aware – the shorter search queries of one to four words long decreased by 2%. So next time you are thinking of bidding on keywords, think more along the lines of key phrases and insert these into your meta data.

Online Marketing Show

If you work in digital and online marketing or this is an area you would like to get into, I recommend you visit the “free” trade shows in London.
Yesterday and today, the Online Marketing Show is on at Kensingston Oympia. It is free to enter if you register online
With over 50 exhibitors, free workshop arenas and pay per click advice centre, this is one show not to be missed.

I recommend going to the free workshops. There was a very interesting workshop on Twitter yesterday by Immediate Future. They discussed the hype of Twitter and how everyone is getting onthe bandwagon but not always to great effect. Some companies are not thinking about their Twitter strategy and so are appearing confused and sending mixed signals.

The show is a great place to meet people in the digital marketing market. There were a number of different media agencies, market research companies, print and promotional organisations. So if you are looking for a new agency to work with, you can meet people in person instead of trawling through the internet.

Specialist social networking sites

The future of the social networking sites is in niche online communities
These will be based on:

1. Interests or lifestyles eg
2. Solving problems or self help eg
3. Business user needs to keep in touch with colleagues and contacts

People like the exclusiveness and the feeling they belong, they want to be part of these niche online communities. Normally it is the innovators and early adopters who are first to be part of these communities.

There are a lot of these small online networks. One of the most talked about is “SmallWorld” which was set up 2004. It is a private online community and is by invitation only. So if you know someone who has a smallworld membership, ask them to invite you, smallworld claim they are “the world’s leading private online community that captures an existing international network of people who are connected by three degrees of separation”. They argue that what makes the network unique and different to other social sites such as facebook is that the connections are authentic. People do not have loads and loads of friends who they never see or speak to in real life. Those trust and loyal ASW members who meet certain criteria can invite the limited number of their friends to their network. So if you want to be a invited, ask your friends or colleagues and if you are real nice, they might just send you an invite!!

If you are part of the elite networking scene, you may have heard of Diamond Lounge. Set up October 2007, it has a very selective membership process – more rigorous than that of any other online club. Prior to launch accepted only 100 members from 10,000 applications. It is an advertising free site and instead charge a monthly membership fee from £24.99 a month. The perk of Diamond Lounge is that it offers separate social and business rooms where members can build separate profiles. So you can meet your future business partner and life partner on the same site. Diamond Lounge also offers immediate communication options; live email, 4 party instant messaging and even video conferencing within the different online rooms.

So if you are looking for that special someone, check out Diamond Lounge.