Won’t be Binging anytime soon.

I just read the brief but interesting Mashable article on “Microsoft’s Plan to Win the Search War“.

Made me think about how there’s a a general sense of geeks setting the new trends, but at the same time there’s a generalization of geeks. At least in the circles I run with the separation is not as clear, and it does make a hell lot of difference, especially for brands.  Won’t be addressing anything directly from the points given in the post, will however reflect on a few things that the post made m,e think about.

What lead me to this? The article made me think about how likely I’d be switching to Bing as my default search engine, and that’s very unlikely. (Hey, Microsoft, at least you made me talk about it, that must be for something, right?)

I think there are at least two very major types of geeks that must be considered, especially for brands. As usual the classifications below will go into some stereotypical simplification, but try to get the essense of what I’m pointing at.

– There is the Pioneer, this is the person who always on the edge of things. These are the people, that before Ashton Kutcher and Oprah made Twitter the new cool thing, even before it was widespread among their peers were already using it back in 2006. For them it is already old news, such old news, that they might already have given up on it, and are testing or trying out something else. Generally when something becomes cool for the general public, it’s already uncool among them like 10 minutes ago. They are the main characters in the eternal struggle of the “Early Adopters Vs. the New Users”. What this means for brands? Forget brand loyalty, they’re the ones who ‘ll move on for the next best thing without hesitation, and they won’t stick with the “new thing” because it’s the newest thing, but it has to be a good new thing. Does this help Bing? I don’t know, but microsoft move of making it friendly for third party apps, will definitely help.

– Then there is the Fan, this is the person who already has the latest Iphone, but you’ll probably see him/she in line when Apple releases the next iteration. Yes, as a fan you might also find this person in fan gatherings, such as Harry Potter fans, Lost fans, or in my case Joss Whedon fans. Those fans can be overlapping or have no relation at all. They’re not necessaily the people on the edge of things like the Pioneers, but they’re always ready to get into the newest creation from their favorite series or creator. They’ll fight for the things they’re fan of: you know the eternal struggle between Star Wars and Star Trek fans, and there are people who are fan of boths. What this means for brands? Brand loyalty all the way. You’ll have a really hard time to convince this geek to change, if it means a big change to another brand. Unless their favorite brand screw ups really big, you won’t seem this person changing. This person might even try out the new stuff from another brand, but if it’s mostly the same as the one they can get from their favorite brand, they’ll just shift back without any regrets.

What type I am? I’m a fan. Not just because I might be the first line of defense for anything Joss Whedon, for that we can discuss it in the Whedonesque threads.

As I reflected on other things that I use or have or consume,  I can easily conclude that I am a very brand loyal person. Brands matter to me. A google brand with a new product does reflect as endorsement in my opinion. I’ve only been wearing Timberland boots for over ten years, and plan to buy another one in a few months time. Been using the same brands of toothpaste for years. Bought Listerine’s PocketMist for the first time in 2007, because that brand means something for me. Not that I won’t try anything new, but while choosing similar things, I tend to side with the one I trust the most.

At the same time that I still consider Guaraná Antartica the bestof it’s kind in the market and will not order any other brand unless it’s unavailable, but currently I’m really digging Kuat Eko, which is a spin off from Coca Cola Guaraná drinks, which combines guaraná extract with green tea. I will drink Kuat Eko whenever I can, but for the normal type of guarana soft drink, I will still go for Guaraná Anatartica.

Note for the reader: Guaraná- Brazilian soft drink produced from the extract of the namesake fruit. Sales are close or even surpasses of the Cola softdrinks. Wikipedia entry can be found here.

As Ben puts it well in his analysis, Microsoft has a long road ahead. I know the final goal is to claim who is the leader in the field, but just like my thoughts onto the Twitter Vs. Facebook subject, I hope they can co-exist, as they find a proper role for each. I still prefer Twitter over Facebook, but that just reflects on how I use and explore the tools, not in the sense of which one is better. Maybe that could be a solution fo Bing, make it different from Google, not just another search engine, but something that can do some of the same things, but at the same time is somewhat different. Maybe then, I’ll try Binging something.

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Google’s Orkut: 5th Anniversary.

It’s something curious to follow news and stats about social networking websites, and Orkut owned by Google (since around 2006)  don’t appear as much under the radar. This social networking website commemorated its 5th anniversary, last monday (Jan 26th, 2009).

Personally I suck at these networking websites, where I never really fully use its features or even as a full networking tool. I’ve created accounts in several of them, some of them that I don’t even remember anymore. Orkut was definitely the 1st of them, some time before it was bought by Google. Facebook may be the one a little bit more prolific these days, but even so, not by much. My preference over the simplicity of microblogging over at Twitter, beat any curious feature that appear in these sites.

The contrasting aspect is how much Orkut is not in the radar around most of the world, but it’s the ultimate success in Brazil. The following story from Info Exame, about it’s 5th anniversary does bring us several interesting data. Very early its introduction, it speedily gathered Brazilian users, despite it’s sort of limiting registering by invitation feature. In little time the Brazilian user were majority in that site, and now it the most visited website in the country, in which users spend most time.

The data about Orkut in Brazil  I’m listing below is from the linked article:

  • 37 Million of Brazilian Registered Users (non-confirmed), from which an average of 17 million are home users.
  • Visitors spend an average of  4 hours and 40 minutes per month in it, and this average peaked around 5 hours in a few months.
  • Major social networking websites like Facebook and MySpace barely appears in the Brazilian radar, as it registers less than 1% of user participation.
  • The mojority of the users are still from young people, but in recent years the number of older users did increase. In 2008, the 25 to35 demographic increased by 31% in the website, while the young users only increased by 15%.

It’s an interesting take on it, so much that Orkut as an word and concept might be able to summarize the social networking phenomenon in Brazil by itself. As positioning for companies looking for potential costumers, if you’re looking for them in Brazil, by targeting Facebook or Myspace might not be the best choice, as Orkut by the numbers might generate more ROI of the all.

If you’re like me have more an academic interest over the phenomenon, things might just be a little bit more complicated, especially if you’re attempting to set a more global view of the statistics, but the additional complexity in the scenario might just be the fun part in all of this.

Google’s 10th Birthday Present: Awarding World-Changing Ideas.

GoogleProject 10100

Google’s 10th Birthday Present: World-Changing Ideas.

Back in September 24th, Google announced its 10th birthday celebration endeavor, called Project 10^100 (as in “Project 10 to the 100th”).

The project works as follows: you send Google your idea by October 20th; it’s done by simply filling out a submission form, add a 30-second video if you like. Public voting on ideas begins on January 27th, 20 semi finalists will be chosen, and an advisory board will then select up to five final ideas. Google will commit 10 million dollars to make these ideas work.

The company said that an idea could use technology or not, could be big or small, but it must have an impact. The 100 best ideas will then be identified, and users will be asked to vote on which ideas the company should back with funds. The deadline for submission of ideas is October 20, and the top 20 ideas will be available for online voting on January 27. After that, a panel of judges will choose as many as five of the ideas for final funding.

On the company’s official blog, Andy Berndt, managing director of Google’s Creative Lab, noted that we are living in a time when people have access to more information, more tools, and more ways of turning good ideas into action.

“Yet,” he wrote, “at the same time so many people (in all walks of life) could use some help, in small ways and big.” The ideas could come from anywhere, he said — a lab, a company, a university, or even “some small connection you’ve noticed, some old way of doing something that you’ve seen with new eyes.”

You can find their promo video over here:

G1, the Google’s phone powered by Android.

For some weird reason, I’m incredibly excited for the G1 (aka. Gphone), not so much about how the device can be compared to Apple’s Iphone, but mostly for the things that the Android software will be able to provide.

And I wonder, if this one is called G1, will the following generations or upgrades, be called G2, G3? (For some reason I sense Toei writers smirking a lot for the amount of gadgets with G prefix in their current Super Sentai show, Go-onger. Must be good for merchandise sales).

The Android Software

T-Mobile and Google Unveil the G1, the First Phone with Android

The Android platform will offer Google applications such as Google Maps with street view, push Gmail, and YouTube that’s integrated into the device. There’s also one-touch access to the Amazon MP3 store, allowing you to download music directly to the phone. We’ll have a hands-on with it later today, but you’ll be able to pick one of these bad boys up starting on October 22 for $179.

Google Introduces an iPhone Rival Open to Whims

Analysts said that the G1 did not represent the kind of revolutionary change in design and function that Apple introduced last year with the iPhone. But the G1 is likely to further accelerate two trends that will have a lasting impact on the wireless industry: the growing use of the Internet on the go, and the ability of consumers to customize their phones with their favorite functions.

Wonder when will it finally be available overseas. The Iphones for instance are only officially porting here in Brazil next month today, the two companies which will be providing official service and retail of the devices, have just announced the different service packs you can acquire. The competition is getting so fierce, that the scheduled simultaneous release events for today.

The G1, which is made by the Taiwanese electronics maker HTC, has a large color touch screen that slides out to expose a full keyboard. It also has a 3-megapixel camera, G.P.S. navigation, Wi-Fi access and an Internet browser. It will sell for $179, or $20 less than the iPhone, with a two-year voice and data plan.

I remember seeing some phone from HTC back in November last year, when I was back in Taiwan, that already started the work to compete with Apple, so the real differentiating point from G1, is really the Android software.

While the G1 is expected to compete with high-end smartphones like the iPhone and the BlackBerry line of devices made by Research in Motion, Google’s aims are far different from those of its rivals.

Google makes the Android software available for free to carriers and handset makers who want to use it to power their own devices. Google hopes that many will choose to do so, populating the market with mobile phones that have easy access to Google’s services. Just as it does on the PC-based Internet, Google hopes to earn money from advertising.

“For Google, Android is a cash drain,” said James Faucette, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities. “They are going to lose money on Android as an operating system. They hope to make it up from the services that they are delivering through their infrastructure and servers.”

While Google is betting on the success of Android, it also stands to benefit from the success of other smartphones, as their owners tend to surf and search the Internet much more actively than users of less advanced phones. Indeed, Google said earlier this year that its mobile service received a disproportionate amount of traffic from iPhone users.

“We want people out there to use the Internet on their phones a lot,” Mr. Brin said in an interview. “It actually doesn’t matter if it is Android, the iPhone or something else.”

A World Without Google – 10 Years of Google

A World Without Google. – The 10 years of Google.

Don’t have much to talk about it, jsut thought this was a great piece reflectin about this subjects, just like how mp3 changed the way people enjoy music, Google is part of something of the change from recent years. And day after day, is hard not to take as joke, remarks of Google being God, or if you’re not in Google you don’t exist.

As change seems to occur faster than fashion sense from teenagers, it’s good to take this marks to reflect on the past.

Here’s another piece about the changes or almost lack of changes from the Google’s early days, to current one.