Current TV has been making headlines for over two years now. The hybrid television station/social news site put a twist on user generated media. Current TV allows users to contribute to the site and participate with the TV station. User generated media makes its way into traditional media everyday. You can't watch a day of news without seeing the latest controversial Youtube video. Most news networks even solicit personal video opinions.
It appears that election polls, which are based on strong statistical data are becoming less trustworthy. We are in an election year and information is critical. There have been a few surprises so far, not just in the primary election results. Mainstream news media has been using bloggers as experts. That means two things. Experts are blogging and bloggers are becoming experts. Not all bloggers of course. But, you can't deny that digital information on demand is changing the political landscape of America.
Apple is teaming up with 20th Century Fox to deliver movies over iTunes. The stage is set for broadband rentals for the masses. Blockbuster made headlines with Jackass 2.5 in an effort to promote their broadband entertainment. Netflix is already doing the same. Tivo has a similar feature. The difference between Apple and these other companies (except Tivo) is the hardware. Apple introduced Apple TV alongside the iPhone. People aren’t buzzing about Apple TV because they don’t really get it. The infrastructure is in place, but the concept is still not clear to consumers.
What if search engines were more than just tools? Google is best known for their search engine. Their simple goal to organize information has lead them into all kinds of markets. They are one of the most innovative companies on the planet. But, they have been neglecting their search engine. Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia has been funding a new type of search engine. A search engine that doesn't share information with advertisers. This new search engine will have some social elements and allow users to rate searches. Google does own the concept simple fast searches, but people want more than that. They want richer searches. Not everyone wants to search differently, but the time is right for search engine innovation.
Ask.com has been trying to differentiate their algorithm and Yahoo still offers a rich portal page. I believe the true innovation will come when we move beyond the simple search. Before the end of the decade we will have a powerful visual search engine. Johnathan Harris, The creator of wefeelfine.org, teamed up with Daylife to create the Universe. Daylife takes headlines and links them to multiple global perspectives. The Universe is a visual interface that illustrates the universe of a particular subject in the form of stars and shapes. As broadband speeds pick up, so will the power of visual and even audio browsing. Searching isn't just about information. Context is important too. You can add any word in front of search to get an idea of how things are changing. Social search, responsible search, local search, and visual search are just some examples. Try optimizing that. We are moving beyond text. Slowly but surely.
There's a new feature coming to Google Maps Mobile that might interest marketers. Google is adding the "My Location" feature to their mobile maps application. This feature doesn't require GPS tracking to know where you are. It uses cell phone towers to determine your location, thus eliminating the need to type in your address. You can then search for nearby businesses and map your way there.
I read on Mashable that Myspace is considering a redesign. We've all been to the cluttered a Myspace page full of music and all kinds of colorful expressions. It's not always pleasant. The author of the article suggests that Myspace needs more than a face lift. He believes that Myspace should follow Facebook's lead and open itself up to a higher level of open source development. That's a start. I believe that Facebook's open source is as much of a problem as it is a solution. Facebook pages with dozens of applications feel like the cluttered Myspace pages. They are also slow to load. Facebook could use a better level of moderation to keep pages from becoming cluttered with corny applications that lose their novelty after a week. Perhaps a voting device which allows users to vote in upcoming applications that are "questionable".
On October 1st, Sprint raised the SMS text message rate to 20 cents per 160 character message. Sprint customers complained but nothing is going to change, yet. Texting has become a part of our lives and wireless carriers know that. In reality, when we send a text message, we are only sending a small amount of data. If we put a value on that data, SMS is costing us somewhere between $1,000-2000 dollars per Megabyte. That should raise some red flags in the near future. A few companies are finding ways to get around the SMS standard by routing messages through e-mail over the internet, which costs less. Expect to see free SMS texting sponsored by light advertising in the very near future. Sprint can't charge this amount for too long. Phones are going open source. SMS texting at ridiculously high prices will be a thing of the past in about three years.
The Writers Guild of America understands that technology has created a new media landscape. The writers want royalties for content distributed over the internet. The production companies disagree. Many see streaming media as the future of entertainment distribution. I agree in part. Writers should get paid for their work, but the internet does not respond well to high billings for content. People online expect low prices if any for their digital media. Producers must find new revenue streams in order to keep making huge profits.
What would it take to build a better mobile phone? That's the question that the Open Handset Alliance asked. The alliance is comprised of retailers, manufacturers and developers. All with the common goal of making mobile devices open source. The new open source platform is called Android.
When you think of mobile phones these days, the last thing you think of is the actual phone. Voice service has become a commodity. Carriers are looking at data, music and other features to make the real money. I see phones getting better with open source, but I also see a new generation of devices being created. I see wireless devices that do everything but make calls becoming popular. I also predict a new industry connecting these products products. The new industry will function like a hybrid cable and data connection carrier.
"Media buyers' simmering resentment toward the broadcast networks for continuing to sell scatter inventory instead of offering those slots as make goods for the much lower than anticipated prime-time ratings yielded by the new C3 metric has come to a boil. Several buyers said the networks have sold so much fourth-quarter ad inventory that many retailers who need make goods now, as the holiday season approaches, can't be accommodated. The buying execs also said that although many retailers need pod exclusivity, most pods are already filled with retail ads through the end of the fourth quarter. "If an advertiser can't get the gross rating points for their commercials when they need them, what is the point of running the ads at all?" said one media buyer who did not want to speak for attribution." Adage.com