Monday, May 28, 2007

Kaapi and Cappuccino

So, what did I do this weekend? I drank a cup of coffee. And now, If you're wondering why would I be blogging about some cup of coffee I drank, its purely because I have understood that "life is not solely composed of tasks, but tastes."

Okay, continuing: I drank another cup of hopeless coffee at the ubiquitous Cafe Coffee Day. Hopeless, I say, because that is exactly what it appears when compared to the kaapi at any of the numerous Darshans or Saagars in every nook and corner of the city.

Filter kaapiIt's not that I realize my preference for kaapi only now but the law by Mr. Murphy, or any of the corollaries following from it probably played their part. I was there meeting a friend and it is only obvious that I ask the individual for a cup of tea/coffee. The answer in most cases is yes, for almost everyone knows my affinity for caffeine. The problem here was that I meant a filter kaapi and the friend here was more of a cappuccino type. No problems, I thought as it was just a matter playing my own convincing self but no, it was not to be. The friend wouldn’t budge an inch, and when I saw that condescending glare, CCD it had to be.

An hour and a half later, smoking passively all the while, I silenty shelled out two 100ers; bid the friend adieu, and headed for the same old darshan. Filter kaapi, it had to be!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Podworks.in - India's Biggest Event on Podcasting

As someone who is really hooked on to podcasts, I find it really odd when people are completely oblivious to podcasts, and that the term podcasting still remains geek to many. So much that The Times Of India once ran a whole article on Podcasting without even mentioning terms like RSS, web feeds, or subscription!!! What they said:
All downloadable audio files are now called ‘podcasts’.

[...]But while all those who download music from the net are indeed ‘podcasting’

Why I am writing about Podcasting today is because I just got to now that Chennai will be organizing another unconference this June 9th and 10th on Podcasting . Podworks.in, as the event is called is a "2-day workshop styled unconference dedicated to the sharing of knowledge around new / social media (audio and video podcasting, blogging, more.)

The event being a workshop styled unconference, is the place to know all about Podcasting ; and then start publishing/consuming all that media content with the available syndication technologies. After the event, I hope that at least in Bangalore, no one would call me weird if I am listening to an interview and not a song while commuting.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

SMS and Mobile Targeting

Writing his guest column at the Mobile Marketing Magazine, Richard Webster writes about how SMS and intelligent targeting can produce great results:

The key to unlocking the real potential for customer recruitment lies in understanding more about them and having the ability to interact with them directly. The availability of mobile data, and the intelligent application of it, is absolutely critical to SMS campaign success. Analysis and careful selection can be carried out before broadcast, and afterwards, with detailed responder profiling.

[...] With intelligent application and targeting, SMS messaging can enhance a brand, and produce great results. Furthermore, it is cost-effective, measurable and intuitive: lifestyle data in particular has a wealth of additional variables, because the way in which the information has been volunteered allows for the fine-tuning of campaign targeting like no other data can.   

[...] here is a pipeline for immediate, measurable and targeted communication bursting with potential, and waiting to be exploited to the full.  Delivery of message, capture of response, trackability of source-to-sale at a low cost-per acquisition: the next big thing for mobile marketing is the application of data. They say there is no idea so powerful as one whose time has come: so get targeting, get texting.

[via Emergic]

 

New Search Experience with Google Experimental

The ever-experimental Google now redefines our Search Experience with new User Interfaces for Search. The new interfaces provide a more "integrated" search experience, that means that you don't have to go about looking for different search engines for videos, blogs, news, pictures etc.

New Navigation Features

Navigation within search results and within different Google sites is going to be a whole new experience with a top navigation bar as seen in this screenshot:

Google results: The new top navigation bar


But the best part about the new navigation is the contextual navigation links on Search Results. With this, for any keyword searched, if there are relevant results in any other Google service like Maps, Blogs, Videos, the links to those would also appear. For example, a search for India would result in a dynamically generated navigation bar with links to results from Google's News Maps Blogs Groups Images Video etc. But I always liked the Live Search top navigation. At least the "More" option is better thought out!

Google Search results: The tall "More Dropdown



Live Search results: The multi columned "More" Dropdown

Experimental Interfaces

Three new experimental interfaces, and three very different ways to search. But definitely interesting. The Lab has come out with something stunning here, I guess.

Timeline and map views

See results on a timeline or on a map. The search results are dug to extract key dates and location and the results are shown on a timeline and map. The first time I saw that bar graph depicting the timeline, for a moment I thought Google had used the wonderful ajaxified slider timeline that was first used by the guys at Measuremap. But it isn't and one fails to understand why.

For example, a search for "Indian Independence", came up with the following results on the timeline:


Google Timeline Search

Left hand navigation and Right Navigation Context Menu

The other two interfaces are to allow users to search deeper and look for a particular type of content like images, videos, patents, products or news. Nothing really special about these. And I am not too sure why we have the right side navigation menu at all. Right side in Google the area with supposedly the least attention on the screen for users. So why the navigation? The left hand navigation contains 1.) Links to search results from within different Google sites and 2.) Related Searches (like the ones to the right column in Live Search)

Of all these, I think the Left Navigation is something that could be integrated into the search results page now. It is quite intuitive to use and people won't take one minute to get used to it.


Elsewhere on the web:
Google Marries the Static and Live Web
Google Experimental: Opt-In To Google User Interface Experiments.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

10 New Uses For Newspaper

Not in India, where newspaper readership is soaring, but everywhere else Traditional Media is finding new ways of not being irrelevant. Read these 10 New Uses For Newspaper from Net!!!

Pipl- People Search Engine

Just came across Pipl, a Search Engine for People on SEL.Pretty interesting is all I'll say at the moment; but the results I looked for were far from accurate.

Here's what SEL had to say about it:

Pipl is a people search engine that tries to be a little different. Rather than just go off and hunt for email addresses, this tries to search through the deep/invisible/hidden web to return content that other search engines are going to miss.

[...] This however maybe a little churlish, given that it's only recently launched. It's an engine that's worth taking a peek at - even if it's only to see what they have on you and your namesakes. It will probably be more than you expect.

Technorati tags: ,

Every start.com has an end

start.com, the incubation experiment that finally led to the hyped Live.com is all set to retire on the 22nd of May 2007. I actually used start.com for a while before I moved on to Newsburst and finally Google Reader.

 

Announcing this, Sanaz Ahari wrote on the start.com blog:

This is a bittersweet moment as I reflect on what start.com accomplished from it's inception in February 2005, helping pioneer ajax homepages and gadgets on the web. We accomplished great things both in terms of technology as well as being an agile small team and connecting with our customers. A successful incubation project that evolved to live.com. Unfortunately it is now time for us to retire start.com as our incubation ground for live.com.  Effective next Tuesday, 5/22/07, start.com will redirect to live.com.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

How to search Google without ads

How to search using google  without seeing those ads in the right and top?

Simple: Use http://www.google.com/search?output=googleabout

Doesn't make sense, but that is the way it is!

 

Amit Agarwal at DI has another method to block all Google ads from showing in your browser by making certain entries in your computer's HOSTS file.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mobiles- Push based advertising might work

The last time I wrote about mobile advertising, I had written that push based advertising could really get annoying. However, speaking at the PMN Mobile User Experience conference, Antti Ohrling-co-founder of advertising-funded MVNO Blyk said that it might just work!
From mobileuserexperience.com:

[...]push-based advertising will not annoy customers if it is correctly targeted. In fact, Blyk's research in the UK market (where it will launch this summer) indicates that customers perceive value in receiving push messages if they provide unique offers. Ohrling, who also chairs a global advertising agency, explained that push advertising can be a way of enabling customers to differentiate themselves from their peers by giving them access to information and events unavailable through other channels.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Microsoft Dead?

Microsoft, for a dead company has pretty lively profits, says The Var Guy. He sits down and comes up with 10 Stunning Facts About Microsoft’s Profits.

He compares Microsoft's profits with other giants, and computes how long does it take to beat the quarterly net income of some of the companies like Apple (just 2 weeks), IBM (5 weeks), Google (just 18 days), and Nike (1 week!)


Monday, May 07, 2007

Mobile advertising - Its about Timing

Timing is Everything

Telecoms.com has a wonderful piece on Mobile advertising. Timing is Everything, it says:

"The key to the promise of mobile advertising lies in the fact that the mobile device provides a very personal, direct and interactive communications channel to customers, he points out. In advertising terms, mobile operators own some of the best advertising inventories available anywhere. In addition they own two key assets: the customer's location and personal identity in terms of behaviour, demographics and content preferences. This puts mobile operators in a very strong position when competing for advertising budgets."

Somehow I am confused by the two possible ways of mobile advertising: First, the push based advertising where you just send an advertisement through an SMS to the user. The second, where the user sees an embedded text ad on his screen, say while browsing on his mobile. While the former seems too intruding and offensive, the second simply eats into the precious screen estate. Which one will turn out trumps? We'll have to wait and watch!


Mobile Is Going to Be a Larger Market Than Internet Advertising

K@W spoke to AdMob's Omar Hamoui on Mobile Advertising: How is mobile advertising evolving? How does it differ from conventional web-based advertising?

He makes an interesting comment: "Finding the inventory and getting ads to run on it is harder than getting advertisers to be interested in it"

Friday, May 04, 2007

Life in namma Bengaluru

"Life" has to be spiced up in Bangalore! Absolutely no second thoughts about it and when someone in the Government thinks the same way too, you can't help but wonder if what you're hearing is right.

Back in college, I can recall everyone excited about the prospect of moving to Bangalore. After all, it was supposed to be the city with a "night life" worth boasting about and what not. And boy, weren't expectations hurt when we set foot in Bangalore. Creatures of habit- we, who hardly went to sleep before pinging Sun God that it was his time to take over, were left devastated that there was not even a cup of tea and Parle-G to be had after 11pm. I've seen many an individuals feel let down by this city of their dreams seeing the roads deserted, the shops and eateries shuttered down, the auto-rickshaw-wallahs shouting obscene fares at them (come on folks, assuming you are a Software Coder and since almost all autowallahs in this city consider it their duty to penalize us who are obliterating this wonderful city which it once was, you ought to be willing to pay well for a royal ride home)

So, its really late, really late like 10pm, you can do one thing and that is to get down to the cheapest movie hall around- Urvashi and catch a movie or two. It's Bangalore and in bangalore you don't get movie tickets easily like you d in Mumbai. So Spidey-3 will have to wait for you. Till then, go catch Tara-rum-pum-pum. Better if you can take your doggie along too! If you're not amongst the ones who are obsessed with the so-called-meaningful cinema, you should be having a good time.

Others can go and watch Blood Diamond. I heard PVR at Forum is screening it and those who have not yet seen it, it's a must watch. From my unfinished review for a newsletter I should be contributing a lot more regularly: "One may call Blood Diamond an adventure thriller, but it is much more than that. It appeals to you; to wake up and see for oneself the grimness of the situation in Africa. The movie narrates the tale of the trade in conflict diamond, profits from which buys guns and fuels violence. If Hotel Rwanda made one feel guilty about not doing anything about the terror that torments the continent of Africa, Blood Diamond takes it a step further with making people realize how they are actually encouraging it unknowingly. Edward Zwick (The Last samurai fame) chooses to tell this story with a big name star Leonardo dicaprio and does a fantastic job of it."