Category: Google

Democracy – A Consumer Insight

Many of you have written/mentioned in passing that I hardly ever talk about Y! and what’s next, and only mention press releases/coverage from time to time about Y!…i’ll just say that the multiple Y! blogs (starting with would do a much better job of describing what Y! is upto…also, this is a personal blog…and alot of the content here are thoughts about how the space is evolving…yeah, so on with my post…

The internet is the world’s biggest democracy…i first came up with that line back in 2004 when i was writing my SoP for an eBusiness Management course for a school in england…i didn’t go due to a multitude of reasons, but the SoP really helped me crystallize my thoughts…and this was my opening statement…

The Internet has no parallel, it is the world biggest community (11.5% of world population)*, the world’s biggest marketplace (740 million users), and is growing and evolving everyday. We have witnessed the social implications it has had on our lives and how it has revolutionised the way we do business. Today, we are witnessing the second Internet revolution, the era of Wireless Networking. This will increase the reach and growth of the Internet making it a more central part of how we live and operate. I am driven by my passion for the Internet, and am decided on being a part of this global movement, that continues to add value to our lives.

That was 2004, 3 years in a conventional landscape (30 in cyberspace)…those numbers have already clawed up to a billion users globally (15% of global population…growing at 10% a year)…media moguls across the globe are now watching the wireless revolution evolve and attain critical mass…wi-fi and wi-lan are available in india, mobile access continues to grow at 5MM new users in india alone, mobile VAS revenues exceed P2P… we are all witnessing faster evolution of our species thanks to the ever widening proliferation of media and technology…the key trend we’re seeing is, the company that builds the best ecosystem, that allows for the fairest democracy, and that allows the user to be the real winner will eventually win…
Google made online advertising democratic when they first launched ad-sense…they weren’t the first online ad-network, but were the first the allow virtually everyone to run ads on their site and make money of it…in retrospect, the manner in which fastclick, and the other networks treated small webmasters was pathetic, and thats why they paid the price…Google continues to grow, and in no small part due to the number of webmasters across the globe that run their ads, swear by their practices and, how their system allows advertiser, webmaster & user to win… the online ecosystem is built (and continues to grow)…Google is not aiming to be a destination….Google wants to be the platform…and has done everything it needs to do, to be the center of the world’s biggest ecosystem…
Don’t for a moment write Microsoft out of this game…they’re still very rich (USD 30BN in cash, billions in profit every quarter) and if you read between the lines of last weeks $3 windows student license announcement for developing economies…you find that they are the only company on earth that could aim at doubling the number of PC owners in the next 8 years… almost all of us use Windows, and alot of their products across the productivity (windows, office 2007, mobile) and entertainment axis (mediacenter, xbox360) are leaps and bounds ahead of the competition… we’re only too used to personalising our computing experience…the key here is we can personalise it because MS has built the ecosystem… even though some of their tactics can be mildly termed aggressive, that’s just business right? …. in the words of kevin kelly, the infinite game is played to keep playing, and to win at every level you play at….

Today we can install almost anything we find on the internet on a windows machine…and thats what affords us options, choices, freedoms which in turn empower us….we can now share our ideas with the world (this blog being a classic case), get feedback, collaborate and jointly evolve…this is the role that technology & media combined are playing in the evolution of mankind… technology was always supposed to be open, to be free, shared, transparent…and media today makes it viable… web 2.0 is the biggest attempt and success story ever towards socialization of media & technology … its anyones guess about which company will eventually prevail… but the one thing i can say with absolutely no hesitation is that the consumer will win (and is already winning) … we’re really really really lucky to live in this day and age… subsidised by media, empowered by technology… democratic, free and liberated!

This is just ONE more reason why i LOVE the internet…


Gootube has met its match

Simple math.

Quality of Video is directly proportionate to volume of Streams.
TV Programming is high quality. (NBC + News Corp produce adequate content globally to keep every demographic entertained)
Y! + MSN + AOL = Huge Captive Audience (30% of online video is viewed on Y! alone)
Y! (and the others) have a lot of respect for rights & IP
UGC quality still lags commercially produced content. (I illustrated this point in my post titled….the funniest phone review EVER)
A certain portion of the USD 1.65BN bid for youtube was premium to prevent the competition from getting their hands on a portion of it… a huge portion of this was for audience (since google video had poor adoption)
So Gootube now has a USD 1BN Viacom lawsuit to deal with (obviously factored in during acquisition), NBC + NewsCorp + Y! + MSN + AOL, Joost, Apple TV (will eventually converge), Grouper and the rest of the long tail of online video.

Excess pride in a nascent, evolutionary and shifting mediascape is dangerous.

I must add…all views on my blog are mine alone….i am not a spokesperson for any of the companies listed above…and as much as i’d like to believe i know enough, there’s still a long long long way to go 🙂


Yahoo! Offers Best Mobile Web Experience

Boston, MA – March 12, 2007 – The newly launched Strategy Analytics Wireless Media Lab service has released, “Yahoo! Offers Best Mobile Web Experience as Interest in Web 2.0 Outstrips Media Industry Content,” which concludes that Yahoo! has the leading mobile web experience, based on evaluation of leading mobile web offerings by a Strategy Analytics Wireless User Panel.

Yahoo! beat Google, Napster, YouTube and MySpace, after participants carried out a set number of tasks specific to each provider on both a laptop PC and a wireless device.

“Yahoo! Mobile achieved the highest rating, primarily due to the fact that it represented the best replication of the full website on the Third (mobile) screen,” according to Paul Brown, User Experience Analyst at Strategy Analytics. “However, mobile implementation of these brands is tangibly inferior to the fixed user experience across a range of metrics.” Mobile implementations of these brands are tangibly inferior to fixed with user experience ratings ranging form -12 to – 34 index points. MapQuest is the most sought-after web location on mobile followed by Google.

David Kerr, VP of the Global Wireless Practice, added, “Many users, especially among digital enthusiasts, show a preference for web search, web mail and web 2.0, user generated content and social networking content over branded content. However ease of access and discoverability of content on mobile handsets continue to be a huge pain point which is directly limiting content consumption”

Benchmarking Key Brands: Fixed and Mobile Experience

Yahoo! offers the best mobile experiene


Salman Khan, Spam, Potty Training & Mother Teresa

Pick the odd one out.  Want a clue? Click on the image below.
Spam, Salman Khan, Potty Training & Mother Teresa

Was clearling my spam folder and came across spam from ‘Salman Khan’…i had to hand it to the spammer…he had earned an ‘open’ for sheer creativity…while the mail was loading i was curious about the kind of contextual ads that might get thrown up, and if any would correspond to the brands he endorses…
When the page loaded i laughed so hard, it took me a minute to get my breath back… goes to show that contextual targeting is still a WIP…

PS – No offence to Mother Teresa, i’m still wondering what word the SEM targeted his ad on…Salman Khan? Pheronomes?


Google Apps to start Charging for Services


Businessweek recently wrote about Google ‘charging a few dollars’ for its ‘Apps for domains’ which would include the entire suite of programs from their Writely Acquisition to their homegrown calendar, gmail and notebook….Since they are chasing SOHOs, Educational Institutes and Public/Private Corporations it takes the Microsoft Office Live Suite which is priced at USD 39.99/month.

Seemingly unrelated, when Toyota launched in India, they launched with an outdated model called the Qualis. Some people argued that lanching with a ‘Multi Utility Vehicle’ was a strategic move primarily to ensure dealerships opened in B Tier towns,district capitals etc. While it was undoutedly a key factor, i learnt later that this was done for a slightly different reason. Reason being…to choke sales of their biggest potential local competitors…Tata (whose Sumo was their most profitable product) & Mahindra (India’s biggest MUV (people mover) manufacturer. Choking sales of the best sellling product would ensure that these manufacturers would have substantially less money for R&D of future launches, and so the beginning of the end of the competitor … classical Art of War stuff that Google is aiming to do to Microsoft.

Web companies are a product of the paradigm shift of computer to network & subscription to advertising…and thats just where MSFT is struggling. Billiions of dollars of R&D, need to be earned back… MSFT either passes the subscription cost to the consumer or advertising ROI to the advertiser. Google is offering lower subscription (the growth-lever is consumer adoption) and already offers good value to advertisers.

We live in interesting times…robust sales of Tata’s low cost Indica & Mahindra’s higher cost Scorpio kept them out of trouble… i wish i knew the answer to the trillion dollar microsoft question!