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Nov 17, 2014

The end of apps as we know them

Excellent, excellent, excellent article on the future of apps. I wrote a German blog about it, but wanted to publish the link here, too - in my eyes the most credible and probable vision about how apps and subsequently smartphones and their UIs will transform in the near future. Also a nice linklist at the end supporting this view. If you'll read one tech-/digital article today, read this one. 

The future of User Interfaces

Many people say that the movie "Her" may become historic one day because it depicts how computing will be in the future. The production designer of the movie inspired two interesting articles about how a possible future of user interfaces - that ultimately will make computing a completely different thing from what we know today with mouse, keyboard or touchscreen.

ESPN's new mobile strategy

I would call it "ESPN's new strategy" though. It is based on stuff that we have seen with many others who think about the future of digital publishing: content is published in "cards" form, cards can be published on any device (and in social networks), and this means posting volume has to go up (BleacherReport hast around 400 articles each day(!)) and 'articles' are atomic pieces of content - long stories will exist, but for users who "enter the rabbit hole". Blue print for many publishers out there.

Google Playbook about how to be successful with Android apps

In a nice PDF form, Google released a playbook on how to succeed with apps on Google play. If I were planning to launch a major app on Google, I'd read this before meeting with agencies.

Social Media vs. Content Marketing

Many people say that social media marketing (as in spending dollars) will become performance marketing dictated by software, and all other social media activities will have to become an important, but still only a part of a greater content marketing strategy. I tend to agree,
Interesting piece on that on ClickZ:

Vodafone adds "professional" user to user support in Germany

Mila is a Swiss-German provider who offers to connect people who can do something really well with people who need that very something... it's as simple as that. Considering that many times heavy users of a certain product or service know more about these than many people in call centers, it is logical that a mobile & land line phone provider would use this resource - "Vodafone service friends" is an interesting experiment and I am keen to see wether this will significantly reduce the after sales cost for the company. The users helping users are obviously certified and get paid for what they offer.

Heart rate measuring hat?

Connected products, wearable technology will be so big, we cannot overestimate the disruptive power it will have to so many industries (like the suitcase I posted and ordered a few minutes ago). It will be very interesting to see how the competition incumbents versus start-ups will play out, and wether fully integrated "ecosystem" solutions or, lego-like "best of breed" products that can be combined with anything will make the pace. Here we have a hat that reportedly uses aerospace technology used on fighter jet pilots to measure your heart rate and calorie burn. And they make a statement out of selling you basically the sensors in a hat - and you can decide which app should then take this data and use it to optimize your runs or activities.

Disney - a mobile company

Nice feature on TechCrunch about Disney becoming a mobile company. Especially the part about the atomization of content is relevant not only for every publisher, but for anyone who makes digital business of any kind. The author says: "I've become a bit absessed with this idea of pieces of content that are atomic units unto themselves. The concept of an 'article' or a 'website' being the base unit of measurement for content strikes me as largely over."
Couldn't agree more.

Selftracking suitcases

In 2014, we lost a full passenger jet. Maybe in future, we won't even lose a suitcase anymore. The internet of things, the sensornet, however you call it, will make conncted products possible, and whatever is connected will potentially be located. The thing will also weigh itself, charge your devices and do some other fancy stuff. I love the idea and a few others do so, too: The self-location-tracking and connected suitcase passed 1mn funding on Indigogo (asking for 50k). I wonder how the likes of Samsonite and Rimowa will receive this message. - a step into local search?

Apparently already this summer, but hardly noticed by any tech blog, Facebook launched a local places directory, available here. Maybe it is not uber-useful yet, but people-driven recommendations, especially by friends, always beats simple directories. Curently it's just a hint what Facebook could do with the exhaustive data they collected, but obviously they will have some other priorities first.

Facebook continues to optimize newsfeed - and their ad revenue

Although I haven't really felt any remarkable improvement on clickbaiting (still a lot of "20 letters from children to their fathers - no 19 will break your heart"), Facebook does not stop to try and figure out how to make your newsfeed more relevant. Now it's about promotional content by fanpages that makes organic posts in newsfeed feel too promotional, and Facebook says this comes from feedback during the frequent surveys that they conduct (and by the way, this means, if you're making hardcore promotions, you should better pay for them). It's about posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app, posts that reuse the exact same content from ads or posts that push people to enter sweepstakes and such with no real context. Meaning for businesses: if you want to promote something, buy ads. Since the amount of ads in the newsfeed is not likely to increase dramatically, for the user, this could play out pretty well.

Nov 6, 2014

Leistungsschutzrecht reportedly cost Axel Springer 80% traffic

We have enough German media covering the Leistungsschutzrecht desaster, but more interesting is the international view from outside. Search Engine Land reports that Axel Springer suffered a drop of 80 percent in traffic after "opting out" of snippets in Google.

Xiaomi is the hottest smartphone maker

Everybody raves about Xiaomis success - with low cost smartphones in "developing" markets. The English article linked below describes their business, but misses one point that the excellent German article reveals: Slower update periods for phone models. Xiaomi goes in with a very low price point, but keeps its models for 2 years. Their flash sales are only cycle-stretching activities to keep the phones hip during that long period (Apple and Samsung launch new products in less than a year on average). With a stable consumer price, Xiaomi will earn good margins during the two years once the component prices fall. And they are falling rapidly. So a few cent margin on a phone during its introduction may become a serious market when the phone is at the end of its lifecycle. Smart business.



In-App search could be a game changer

About time: searching within apps. Google made preparations for that in KitKat, but now first results can be seen. Then, search on your phone will get a completely new and higher relevance: if you can find content based on keywords (or whatever) in apps and documents on your phone, the whole logic of app usage may change. And all these unused apps may become relevant again. Of course, there are issues - for exaple to exclude certain apps from phone search etc. But this could be something big for Android.

Infographic - The landscape of Social logins

Social logins are an underestimated business since they create a back door for social networks to create real value for companies based on consumer data - and some day, this value will be measured in money. Facebook continues to dominate, and despite some aggressive offers, get further ahead of Google+ logins, according to this Infographic from Gigya.

Spotify making more money for Artists than iTunes?

At least in Europe, according to Kobalt, a company that helps artists to collect royalties. They published numbers that show streaming growning to 10% of the average artist's income and in Europe, Spotify makes more money for artists that iTunes. Most probably, it does not make enough money for artists, but this again shows how "download to own" is slowly dying... and will probably come with other digital media like films, too.

EFF checks messenger security

If messengers are not the next big thing, then they are the current big thing. The great Electronic Frontier Foundation offers an overview / scorecard about messenger security and you can even learn about software you didn't know it existed. At least I didn't know many of the messengers in the list. While FaceTime and iMessage score pretty well, apps like Secret, Viber, Yahoo Messenger, Snapchat, Whats App and Facebook Messenger are not recommended. Best scores? Telegram does well, but winners according to EFF are SilentText, TextSecure, Redphone, ChatSecure+ Orbot and CryptoCat, Now try and find friends on these.

Android TV walkthrough

Every year we expect the "TV screen to be liberated" and "truly connected". Every year-end, we see that it "didn't happen this year, but probably next". I don't know how long this game will continue, but in 2014, we at least saw some new initiatives like Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV. Google overhauled Android TV and we can say: Still no game changer, but everything moves in the right direction. Personally I benchmark TV products against having remote controlled a 47 inch iPhone 6+ or Samsung Galaxy Note 4 in my living room, and I still think that benchmark was not met. Anway, interesting progress here:

Tinder plus is coming

Tinder has to get into creating real revenue some day. Tinder plus seems to be their answer - a paid service with more features. One of those being a "undo button" that lets you revert an accidental or too quick "swipe left". It will be interesting to see wether a Tinder plus will work as long as "real dating" will be possible with the free version. Typically the freemium model is based on the idea of delivering a limited experience, In Tinder's case that could be a limited amount of messages or matches a day; they seem to choose a different direction.