The Bizz by AnyPromo.com

Business & marketing advice, news and features, design inspiration, and the art of gifting.

WTF, Google? What Does the Search Engine’s Massive “Hummingbird” Update Mean for Me?

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By Fausto Mendez

    Has Google felt a little bit different lately? On the surface, Google may look like the same, reliable search engine, but under the hood, the company just launched a major overhaul of its search algorithm. And it’s already affecting the way you search.

    Google is constantly updating its search algorithms to better serve the public; most updates barely tweak the search engine’s behavior. However, Google’s latest update - dubbed “Hummingbird” - is a major overhaul, and if you’ve used Google.com this week, you’ve already experienced features of the new change. We summarize the update below, the meatier details courtesy of TechCrunch

Presenting a New Focus on Questions & Answers

    Perhaps the most noticeable change is a new focus on questions and answers. Previously, Google Search focused on keywords, but now, Search takes a more intelligent approach to questions. Asking a question results in Google trying to answer it with the most relevant and reliable answers. 

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    Furthermore, an update to Google’s Knowledge Graph, which is a database that attempts to store and relate (connect) all kinds of data from various sources, has made the search engine much more effective at comparing and “understanding” data. For example, you could ask Google to compare the nutritional characteristics of broccoli and asparagus, and it should bring up relevant comparison charts, diagrams, Google+ pages/posts and, of course, good-ol’-fashioned links.

    In my test of this feature, I didn’t get any fancy charts or diagrams next to my search results, which is what is supposed to happen (sometimes) if Google understood your question. Fortunately, the first link on the search results did feature a fancy chart. So it looks like the update made the search results more relevant and useful at the very least, but if you’re hoping for fancy charts by your search results, Knowledge Graph may need to grow and “learn” a little more about veggies.

Over 90% Of Searches Affected by the Update

    During Google’s presentation of the Hummingbird update, the company remained quiet on how it all works, but they did mention that about 90% of global searches would be affected by the change. That’s a big percentage for an algorithm update, and that number is absolutely frightening to search-engine marketers as they may have to make big changes to the way they operate, the clients they work with, and the employees they hire. I’m search-engine marketers will ponder it over one too many drinks this weekend.


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#MarketingMonday - iPhone 5S May Change Shopping Habits and Marketing Techniques

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By Fausto Mendez

    Apple traditionally uses the Fall season to launch major new products, especially iPhones and iPods, and in precedent, it looks like the iPhone 5S may be set for a September or October release. More importantly, a built-in feature may forever change shopping habits and marketing techniques. 

    It’s that time of year again; everybody’s watching Apple with more intensity than a dog with eyes locked on the dinner table, but it’s not because we expect a major iPhone redesign. Actually, the iPhone 5S will probably look exactly like the iPhone 5, but there will be a different beast under the hood and a fingerprint reader on your home button, according to AppleInsider. More importantly, those changes could seriously alter the way businesses engage customers.

    That brand-spankin’ new fingerprint reader may forever change the way consumers interact with their iPhones, and StableyTimes describes a few possibilities. We break down Stabley’s most important points into our easy-to-read summaries below. 

+ Fingerprints may replace your passwords, including your lock-screen code. Passwords would become obsolete, which opens up a whole new world of possibilities and conveniences.

+ iPhones may replace wallets. We’ve heard it before, and we’ll hear it again. But that’s probably because the industry is trying to make it happen, and it has so far has been an unsuccessful venture because of security reasons. Fortunately, the fingerprint reader may prevent some security issues since no one can fake your fingerprint - at least not yet.  

+ An API can open up the sensor to third-party developers, who may develop unthinkable ways implementing the sensor with their apps. 

    Of course, the above changes describe what’s most likely to occur WITHIN the iPhone, but the big deal is how a fingerprint-sensor-equipped iPhone will change shopping habits and marketing tactics out in the real world. Imagine the scenarios we’ve fantasized below.

Scenario 1: Retail Shopping

    You walk by a store of one of your favorite brands: H&M Clothes. Your iPhone knows you love this brand because you recently installed the H&M catalog app, which is connected to a database of receipts that relates recent purchases credited to your email address (the same email address registered to the app). The store then pushes a special offer to your H&M app because you’ve been such a great customer during the first half of the year: “Congratulations! You now have $50 store credit to this H&M store. Expires in one week.”

    Because your fingerprint now enables you to use your iPhone as a wallet, you pay using your iPhone. What isn’t covered by the store credit is instantly covered by a credit or debit card registered to the iPhone.

    Advertisers can tailor special offers to best fit the targeted individual, so no one feels like they are getting left out. The bigger upside for advertisers is that it would be much easier to push consumers to impulse buy, which is important to retail stores and restaurants. 

Scenario 2: Easier No-Interest Financing Offers

    It’s pretty common for stores to push special offers with no-interest financing, which have a proven effect of boosting sales. A fingerprint-equipped iPhone could make it much easier to process applicants for such offers.

    Imagine a new app called “ID Packer”. It sends “ID Packs”, or “IDPs”, to other secure devices in order to speed up application processes. An IDP would be a small packet of information that contains all the required details for a financing offer. 

    You would setup ID packer in advance, of course. It may load up all your basic info, such as name and address automatically, and you’d finish off by adding your social security number and monthly income. 

    The next time that you want to apply for a special offer, all you have to do is walk up to an application machine and open the app. Within the app, you would identify and target the application machine; then, you’d scan your thumbprint to confirm that it’s really you and you really want to do this. The app sends the details to the machine, and the machine instantly approves you or denies you.

Scenario 3: Online Shopping

    Perhaps the only inconvenient thing about online shopping is the amount of data that you have to input to complete a purchase. With a fingerprint-equipped iPhone, you may be able to instantly push your data, including payment details, to any online store, and all you’ll need is a simple fingerprint scan. 

    Imagine browsing your favorite online store. You add all your products to the shopping cart, as usual, and you finally visit the cart to checkout. But instead of hitting the “Checkout” button, you hit a “Scan & Buy” button that requests a fingerprint scan from your iPhone. You scan your print, and in a matter of seconds, you’ve completed your purchase.

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#MarketingMonday - Pretty Soon, You’ll Be Embedding Facebook Posts into Your Blog or Web Page

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    Facebook is about to unleash a new feature on the masses, which enables a user to embed a facebook post into any blog post or web page. The feature is long overdue, especially for bloggers and social-media fans.

   About 72% of Facebook users block the public from their Facebook posts and profiles, says Consumer Reports, so the company has been searching for and developing ways to increase the exposure of its public posts, profiles and pages. Embeddable posts is certainly one of the easiest and most effective ways of doing that, and since the Web is already accustomed to embedding all types of media, including Tweets and YouTube videos, it only seems natural. 

    Right now, the disadvantage with Facebook posts is that users have to visit Facebook.com in order to comment, like and share posts, which sometimes makes blogs, Twitter and YouTube more attractive platforms for announcements and big, open discussions. But embeddable posts solve that problem by allowing the discussions to occur outside of Facebook, wherever the audience is currently located.

    In 2013, Facebook hasn’t underperformed, but it is losing (or sharing more and more of) its younger audience to other niche social platforms, such as Tumblr. Post embedding can be an effective way to keep Facebook in the loop on these other platforms, but it may not be enough to re-capture the youngest Web users. Some of the Web’s youngest users see Facebook the same way that the rest of us see AOL, a walled-off garden that dumbs down the Web into a boring, predictable and forgettable experience.

    Facebook is slowly rolling out post embedding, so it’s not yet available to everyone. For now, only a few mainstream media companies, including CNN, can use the feature. 

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

Businesses and Advertisers May Not Use Google Glass for Ads

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By Fausto Mendez

    Google Glass is the smartphone of the future, a wearable computer that sits on your head like a pair of glasses. Though it seems rather futuristic, the technology that powers Glass is hardly any different than the same stuff that powers your smartphone. Needless to say, advertisers and businesses continue to line up and compete for a chance to start using and building software for Glass - mostly programs and experiences centered around ads other types of marketing content (as is the custom in smartphone app development). There’s just one problem: no one is allowed to serve ads on Glass!

    Google recently announced that a set of Glass headsets would arrive at the doorsteps of some lucky developers and a few enthusiastic fans, and with that announcement, the company released the API (and guidelines) for developing software for Glass. It turns out the API specifically states that Glass and the user’s data connection may not be used to serve advertisements. Section Two of the API reads:

No Ads. You may not serve or include any advertisements in your API Client. Data Usage. You may not use user data from your API Client for advertising purposes. You may not sell or transmit any user data received from your API Client(s) to a third-party ad network or service, data broker, or other advertising or marketing provider. For the avoidance of doubt, user data from the API Client(s) may not be used for Third-Party Ad Serving (‘3PAS’).”

    This development poses problems for businesses that have become accustomed to Google’s traditional business model: ads everywhere and anywhere, but whether or not Google will maintain this stance is unknown. It could very well be a temporary measure to ensure that only the most passionate developers jump on the bandwagon. On the other hand, Google may have a business model in mind that we’ve never seen before. 

    Google is no stranger to revolutionizing business models. After all, it is the company that shaped the modern Web and the way businesses to business on the it (with the help of the masses, of course). We look forward to seeing what Google has planned throughout the rest of this decade. It will certainly be an interesting ride.

    We’ll  watch the story as it develops, so stay tuned. In the meantime, join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by AnyPromo.com.

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