Mobile Fix – May 17 – Google i/o, Viral, Paywalls and more

Google I/O

The Google developer conference was the big news this week. Last year we saw Google Glass wearing sky divers and everyone there was put on the list to get Glass. This year we had a 3 hour keynote packed with new features. Oh, and everyone there this year got a Pixel laptop.

With so much news it’s inevitable some of the announcements won’t get the attention they deserve. So over the coming weeks we will probably dig into some further.

The Music streaming service where Google takes on Spotify (and takes a lead over Apple) has got lots of press as has the news that voice search is now available on the desktop for Chrome users. Expect lots of office tension as people start talking to their PCs.

Google+ got – as you would expect – lots of love. A new look, awesome photo tools and Hangouts is now available as a standalone app for iOS, Android and Chrome. Maps is getting a makeover – all the folk at Apple striving to get parity with Google Maps now have a longer To Do list.

We suspect the ability to send money via gmail could be a sleeper – it’s a great way to get people using a Google wallet. Only available in the US for now – and for desktop only – it’s a way to go, but it is an interesting start.

On the hardware front a Nexus remix of the Samsung Galaxy S4 was announced – arguable they best hardware with the best software.

And CEO Larry Page closed with a Q&A, making the point;

“In every story I read about Google, it’s about us versus some other company or some stupid thing,” he said. “I don’t find that very interesting. We should be building great things that don’t exist. Being negative is not how we make progress.”

This is a pretty comprehensive list of what was announced.

Prior to the event Sundar Pichai – the new head of Android and Chrome – talked about the dual OS strategy and explaining that;

It’s a world of multiple screens, smart displays, with tons of low-cost computing, with big sensors built into devices. At Google we ask how to bring together something seamless and beautiful and intuitive across all these screens.

And underlining how long it can take for I/O initiatives to get out, this is a good look at Google Glass and where it could go.

Viral & Daft Punk

The subtle marketing from Daft Punk over the past months is a great example of using social (our friend Glyn has written a good description here) and it has worked incredibly well. One question is whether the campaign can have any longevity or are social driven campaigns inevitably short lived?

Harlem Shake seems a long time ago now, but this piece on how the meme got traction – and the role of ‘professionals’ – is good reading. And this look at the latest meme – Ryan Gosling won’t eat his cereal – gives some more clues on how this stuff works. But now that a big brand has got involved we expect Mr Goslings people may have something to say.


With the expected announcement that the Sun is moving behind a paywall, this is an interesting look at how the Washington Post and the New York Times deal with digital. The porous paywall of the NYT has driven up their subscriber revenues, with digital subscription revenues of $100m – and the Washington Post is belatedly following.

Whilst paying for ‘quality’ journalism is becoming the norm in the US, its less clear that this trend will take off in the UK and the Sun is the first redtop to try.

But the Sun is now run by a former Sky exec and he has brought some of his experience to bear, paying £30m for the internet and mobile rights to the Premier League. And by bundling this into what will be called Sun+ he may have a chance. Talking about the paywall move Mike Darcey said;

“…We did not buy mobile and internet [football] rights in order to sell mobile and internet rights. We bought them to integrate into an existing product and enhance that existing product.”

Emerging markets

Following our look last week at some of the innovation in mobile around the world we were interested to see that ecommerce is starting to take off on Africa. In Nigeria you can get same day delivery of groceries; BuyCommonThings has partnered with P&G to become the ‘ocado of Nigeria. They just need a mobile website. Konga is more of an Amazon and does have a mobile site. Jumia is another key player – run by the German Rocket Internet group.

More on this topic in this FT feature. And some really good stats about mobile usage across India, Indonesia, Vietnam and more here.

Quick Reads

This is a good look at the 3 German brothers that have built a digital empire (including Jumia mentioned above) ‘inspired’ by US start ups.  This makes the point that’s it is execution where you find the value.

An article in Harvard Business Review on apps suggests most people download around 40 apps and use about15.

Few people use social media better than Guy Kawasaki. Here he shares the tools and processes he uses to manage all this. Some good tips..

New data from the Office of National Statistics prompts headlines that 7 million people have never used the Internet. We’re more interested in the other side of the story; that 43million people in the UK are now online.

Le iTax – France is to tax smartphones, tablets and just about anything else that connects to the internet, to fund culture

Finally …the emerging data driven world of exchanges is still below the radar of many. But within those that do get it there is a lot of ignorance and suspicion as its not quite clear what everyone’s motive is. This article is a good summary of the current situation.

But to put the whole thing in perspective this interactive visualization of the adtech ecosystem is required viewing. Showing exactly what happens as banner is served it describes all the players involved over just a few milliseconds. This is why the MadMen MathMen cliché gets aired so often.


And just like the financial services industry got changed by their Big Bang this one is going to reengineer marketing and advertising. Do you have the right partners to deal with this brave new world?







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