Tag Archive for iphone

Bing for Android

Bing MobileThe Bing Community broke the announcement today that Bing for Mobile was coming to Verizon Android users and would be expanding its app to other carriers and mobile devices soon. In an interesting move where mostly the big tech blogs are the first to feature breaking news and particularly anything to do with Mobile or Google will likely be annoyed that one of the first sites to cover the launch in detail was Seattle Technology Blog TechFlash.

So in what looks like the Microsoft marketing machine is finally starting to get rolling and has finally got mobile users in the center of its development plans, so it will be interesting to see what other Microsoft applications might also be coming to your Verizon Android phone soon.

The Bing maps function has finally evolved beyond Google maps as it will automatically find your current location and intergrates some local business features that third party apps have offered for years.  You can now search for new places based on categories such as cafes, banks or cinemas which is going to prove useful if Bing Maps intergrates with Yelp or FourSquare data. There is till no real integration with local checkin apps and it will be interesting to see which of the companies is first to ink a deal to be the exclusive provider of checkin data via an API.

Bing Maps for Mobile

Bing Maps Update
The new Bing for Mobile App even has a zoom button for one handed operation of its Bing Maps that doesn’t require you to use the “pinch to zoom” feature, which is useful for drivers who continue to use their phone while driving, when holding an umbrella or when carrying stuff with the other hand.  Small little features show that much thought has gone into developing the new app specifically for the Android user and it will be interesting to see how updates are rolled out which might show a sign of whats to come with the new Windows7 Phone.

Bing Travel for Mobile?
Its interesting to see what looks like Bing Travel has been built into the application with the ability to do a voice search to find flight information to see arrival and departure times and can offer other details such as Traffic, Hotels, Weather and Local news relevant for that flight. You can see the example screenshot below that shows the details for United Flight 635 leaving from Chicago to Seattle, but its not clear why you might need to know Hotel information for a departing flight.  The addition of Traffic and Weather are great to find out if a flight maybe delayed but just basic quirks show the application still needs some usability testing to make it more intuitive to users.

Bing Travel for Mobile

Why Verizon?
Bing has been smart in their selection of the US carrier who was the focus of Google’s Droid Marketing campaign back in November 2009.  Google used Verizon to help build its platform up within the US market so its likely that Bing can now benefit by having an existing user base who can utilise their mobile app.

Why Android?
Leading up to the launch of Windows7 Phone later this year, Microsoft has started to move their resources towards allowing consumers to experience its Bing platform on as many devices as possible.  Already having a application for the iPhone and Blackberries, Android was the next logical step.

Why did it take so long?
Based on the community post it seems that much of the Bing application has been built to take advantage of the power of the Verizon Droid phones, so its not just a standard development project but a look how to get users to experience Bing with the best experience.

Bing avoids AT&T?
It is possible that Bing has avoided AT&T due to the possible impact on user experience if the network is unable to provide high speed internet access at all times.  The new Bing app appears to be fairly graphically and would likely be fairly bandwidth hungry based on some of its visual features. According to Comscore’s Mobile Subscriber stats for April 2010, Verizon has around 31.1% of the market which allows Bing to reach a very larger subscriber base in just one development release.  Verizon also like most carriers loves exclusive offering to entice customers and reduce churn rate, so expect some marketing campaigns around the launch will start soon.

Waiting to test it
I haven’t had a chance to play with the new Bing for Mobile application yet but I can see the experience is much better than the current offering on my Blackberry so I look forward to trying it out to see if its as cool as it sounds.  If you have had a chance to use it please drop a note in the comments with your initial reactions.

Mobile apps in Search

android logoEarlier this week Google Mobile blog announced a new way to increase Google users access to mobile Apps, this time via their search platform.  To ensure no competitive issues are raised by respective industry groups and competitors such as Apple, and they can encourage more users to get used to using Google.com to find their apps Google offers both Android and iPhone apps.  It will be interesting to see how Apple reacts and if it may restrict the features of the new search service as it bypasses iTunes and takes users direct into the app store, reducing how much they can market other apps via their featured apps screen.
Google keeps users
This is a smart move by Google to offer a mobile focused search result as it allows them to keep iPhone users within its search network longer before they are funneled off to iTunes to download the app, it also means they can possible wind down the support and resources they pour into the Android Apps marketplace. The interesting part about the Android market place is that it is also setup to ensure any direct links don’t offer any of the developers an increased seo benefit via the structure of its url.
Download mobile maps
Google increases competition
The Google blog post claimed they are making it easier to find information about which apps to download, but they are actually making it harder for developers to market their apps on a fair and level playing field.  Currently on an iPhone there are upto 5 iPhone applications listed on each page compared to Google.com only offering 1-2 apps, that is a massive increase in competition to be #1 in the mobile apps results as shown in the screenshot above.
Niche Google search queries
The other current problem is that how the algorithm understands your search intention is fairly limited to phrases that include “download” or “app”.  This very narrow band of search phrases is hardly likely to change how the world finds apps but Google would hope it slows the move away from Google.com to external stores like iTunes. The iPhone app store features a very useful search as you type feature that allows you to find your iPhone app via keywords, categories or app name compared to the limited Google.com search results.
Google mobile apps results fail
The secondary problem is that the search results seem to ignore once an app gets over 1,000 reviews which is not particularly hard these days with the millions of iPhone and iPod Touch users downloading and reviewing apps.  It is likely that Google is using reviews as a ranking signal, but if you check what is the top app for “maps” or “download maps” on iTunes these maps don’t feature within the top 20 results, so how Google search decided on these 2 map apps is a mystery.  To demonstrate this failure is inconsistent iTunes has a “news” category, but this time “Fluent News Reader” with 1,113 reviews was the top free app but “GameCenter Games” is not featured in the top 25 results.
Download mobile news
Google mobile apps ignores user location
Why make the effort to enable your location when conducting the search as the results shown earlier in this post are for a search query to “download maps”, run from a New York City location.  The results offer ski and snowboard maps and a DC Metro Map both of which don’t seem relevant to my location or search intention.  A map of Australia might have been more relevant as that is where my iTunes account is registered….
The above image for “download news” also fairs to identify that i’m conducting
Google crushes other app stores
As the blog post said they have plans for other devices in the future which make slow the progress other platforms such as Nokia Ovi, Samsung Apps or Blackberry App World have made in establishing their own mobile apps stores. While the technically cool part is that the the search results are tailored to your device so Android and iPhone users see their relevant apps which does allow for multiple platforms.  The problem is you can’t how the search results differ between each device which makes the results a little less transparent for developers.
Google.com.au also works
The blog post says that its only currently available for Google.com but ive tested it on my iPod Touch on Google.com.au and found it works fine, but images below do show it was generated on Google.com the same results are shown for Google.com.au. It is not clear if part of the new interface means that there is less control over

Google mobile app search not logical
It would make sense to have the mobile apps show for locational based queries such as “restaurants”, but it would likely be something that would be tailored more towards sponsored links where you can click to download Yelp, Urbanspoon or NYTimes Scoop direct to your mobile device. If I did a search for restaurants and was offered a link to download relevant mobile apps to make my search quicker and easier I would see that as a better match that having to change my search patterns to include “download restaurants” or “restaurants apps”, otherwise I would just goto iTunes….

Restaurants apps

I would be interested to see if you have had a chance to test the new Google mobile search for apps and if you found anything interesting that wasn’t covered in this post or maybe more useful that should be made public about how it can help developers or consumers get more from mobile apps. But its something that is likely going to complicate the marketing for apps developers and only leave Google with a bigger control of your mobile search.

iPad – Breaking Apple News

Apple started off the event with a run through of the companies history and successes and is now the largest mobile device market in the world, bigger than samsung, motorola, nokia. Their retail locations now number 284 retail locations with 50 million visitors to their retail locations that can now stock the new iPad.

The new device seeks to replace your entertainment and gaming system with its mac tablet which Steve claims is much easier than a Netbook. While the device seems to be fairly easy to use, for email, photos, calendar, reading the paper or watching Tv shows on YouTube or iTunes, it does seem to be just a larger iPod.

Similar to a number of new tablet devices it auto rotates the screen to change the perspective which is not cutting edge but does make for easier readability. The device seems very similar to the Microsoft surface in how you use and view items, and it appears that the device is using more Google products against the popular thoughts that they were dropping it in favour of Bing.

The portrait and landscape mode allows for slightly different ways to interact with the device and it also shows its true media potential with the ability to playback HD quality video from YouTube or iTunes.  The resolution of the device seems to match what people expect from a LCD monitor so could it replace your current Mac monitor?

The device is thiner than any netbook on the market, with a 9.7 inch IPS display powered by a 1GHz Apple A4 chip, with Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and a 16GB to 64GB storage.  It also offers full capactitive multi-touch with 10 hours of battery life. It is also supported by a Accelerometer and Compass.

The iPad device is designed to be fully environmentally friendly
  • Arsenic-free
  • BFR-free
  • Mercury-free
  • PVC-free system
  • Highly Recyclable

The new SDK is being released today that will enable developers to be able to develop their applications for the full screen device which explains about the delays with the updates and explains the mysterious “insert comment after 27th here…” that was recently found.

As promised by media companies the New York Times has develop a custom app for the device which seems to make it a Kindle killer with the wow factor. The New York Times app now features a real newspaper look and feel with full colour images to accompany each story.

It also allows for related image galleries and videos to be embedded directly into the article, with full stereo sound and full colour HD video.

To increase is possible audience with students and designs, the iPad features an amazing Brushes application where you can use the device as a digital canvas or use it for sketching ideas while not in the studio.

One of the features of the device is the ability to run high resolution full 3D games such as Need for Speed from EA, which they advise is like real life driving with full stereo and audio support. The iPad device appears to have the ability to run games such as Need for Speed at full frame rates which can make for an awesome gaming experience.

Nexus One fails customer service

It seems that the direct sales channel used by Google is not suitable for its consumer focused Nexus One.  Slashdot.Mobile pointed out a number of high number of complaints building in the Google forums as both HTC and T-Mobile turn back consumers complaints.

The primary get help page features an introductory video and a few text links and a “activate my phone” button. Google include a link “See what other Android users are saying” which seemed to be filled with basic questions that would normally be handled by the retailer or telecommunication provider selling the device.

Language Issues
The sheer scale of languages that the device must support seems to be another area that the Nexus One fails customer support as the forum is only offered in English.  The problem is that one of the more common questions revolves around other languages and their support on the device.

Common Problems appear
Live wallpapers
Shipping
Eligibility
Common Questions/Issues
WiFi
Charge
Upgrades?
Country availability
So how is the process for fielding questions and getting company responses? Google is using their support forums currently to support the product which usually work well because other expert users can contribute.  But since this is  a new product most of the answers have to come from Google.
With around 20 questions per page, currently there are 39 pages of support questions or around 780 consumer questions, with around 425 questions or 54% appeared to have been answered by Google staff. The other common issues is that many of the questions appear to be very similar and even duplicated which makes the scale of the support resources required even greater.

Even the official android support page appears to be limited in resources for a product that Google has so much invested in…
I would expect more resources, pdf guides and even video help guides to support new owners.
SDK is also an issue
One of the other issues has been to support the Android developers who are developing apps for the new OS.  There appears to have been issues in ensuring developers get their hands on the latest Software Development Kits “SDK” prior to consumers.  Developers who are supporting Android have apparently had to let consumers beta test their applications in the latest Android 2.1 and provide feedback so changes can be made.
Apple iPhone SDK has had similar issues in the past with developers been restricted in what they can develop and what ability third-party applications have on the device. Apple continues to restrict what applications can access its iTunes, contact list…
Some developers even feel that Apple is intentionally prohibiting mobile innovation by third party developers with their SDK, so is the same issues going to plague Android?

AdWords offers Click-to-Call

Google sent out a email notification today that is advising of a new feature coming soon for AdWords advertisers who allow their adwords campaign to be shown on high end mobile devices such as iPhone, Droid, Nexus One and Palm WebOS. This AdWords click-to-call feature seems to be closely related to existing offerings by AdMob which Google purchased recently for $750 million.

The email sent out by their AdWords team is shown below:

Dear AdWords Advertiser,
We’re pleased to announce that beginning in January, your location-specific business phone number will display alongside your destination url in ads that appear on high-end mobile devices. Users will be able to click-to-call your business just as easily as they click to visit your website. You’ll be charged for clicks to call, same as you are for clicks to visit your website.
How will phone numbers appear in my ads?
Based on the customer’s geographic location, the phone number and closest business address will appear as a fifth line of ad text when the ad appears on mobile devices with full HTML browsers (e.g. iPhone, Android, Palm WebOS).
Where will I be able to see the results?
At launch, you’ll be able to view calls from your ads on your Campaign Summary page within AdWords from the “click type” segment option under the “Filter and Views” drop down.
How will I be charged for phone calls I get from my ad?
The cost of a click to call your business will be the same as the cost of a click to visit your website.
What actions should I take?
If you’d like your ads to show location-specific phone numbers when displayed on mobile devices, make sure that your campaign is targeting iPhones and other mobile devices with full HTML browsers, and that you have included phone numbers with your business addresses in the locations under your Campaign settings.

If you would prefer your ads not show phone numbers, simply remove the phone number from the business listings included in your campaigns targeting mobile devices.
We hope this new feature enables you to connect more easily with your potential customers.

A very Proactive move by Google

This is a very proactive step by Google to capture more mobile market share but also allows for business to gain more direct feedback about their campaign effectiveness in generating calls.  The interesting point is that Google has monetised what can already be done for free on organic listings and when a number is shown within a website.

The click-to-call is similar to a pay-per-call but enables this to be done for the cost of a single click, where pay-per-lead can be much more expensive.  This step can possibly reduce the requirements for business to use services such as ReachLocal who offer phone tracking via 1300,1800 numbers.

But where does this put popular toll numbers which have been used in the past to track phone calls? Searchengineland articles have discussed in the past the issues with using toll numbers as search engines seem to struggle to confirm and cross match your Name, Address and Phone if you have multiple contact numbers.  This is more likely too affect Local Search and regional SEO campaigns as you no longer have a constant local contact number listed.

It will be interesting to see how Google AdWords works with SMEs using Google Voice for their phone tracking solutions and if it will offer extra features unique to Google voice as it allows business to have local contact numbers for each region.

Verizon’s droid marketing campaign

android-loadingGoogle/Verizon have followed Bing’s lead in the go big or go home with their new $100 million marketing campaign for Droid.

When Microsoft launched Bing with their $100 million marketing campaign across the world agencies were being constantly critical for the big budget, not much seems to have been said from any agencies yet about Google/Verizon’s massive campaign.

What makes this interesting is that this is just for the US market which demonstrates how seriously they want to win market share off the Apple iPhone. How much would they spend if they launched a worldwide campaign?

The blanket $100 million campaign will likely so big that you cannot escape it online or offline if you live in the US, watch US television or visit US web properties.   The initial “anti-iphone” campaign appears almost to have an evil hint closer to a Skynet device used to take over the world. According to the AdAge article much of the budget will be spent before the end of the year.  Being halfway through November this is a direct pitch at the Christmas sales and maybe some change left over for post-Christmas sales.

android-logoIt appears that this Android campaign started on the 6th November, first covered by TechCrunch in the image below, where they added a link to the frontpage of Google.com. This is a massive exposure for the new Verizon/Motorola phone as Google has around 2,500,000,000 visits a month according to Compete.com site statics for Google.

This homepage link leads Google visitors to a Droid campaign landing page which interestingly does not feature their partners logos but do mention them by name.  Even with the multiple step process to find out more it means that Verizon will likely not get too much of a free ride, but the sheer volume would make up for if it meant a lower conversion rates.

verizon-android

The Droid landing page has 3 features that they believe are the key benefits of the device:

  • Search by Voice
  • Quick Search Box
  • Speak and Find Your Way

Some of the other features discussed in some of the videos discuss how Droid can do things that the iPhone can’t such as take photos in the dark.  It seems that the gloves are off between the two companies in promoting their mobile devices.

android-doesit

The Verizon page is very heavy around content for the product, with a lot of video and images but all built in flash.  It is interesting that Ajax was not used to build the such visual site.  The DroidDoes website has a heavy push around the benefits of the device that highlight some its key differences to the iPhone. One of the more annoying features is the strange crackle sound when you move the mouse over any of the items and the slow load times.

  • 5 Megapixel camera
  • Hi-Res Camera
  • Speech Recognition
  • Multitasking
  • Tunes
  • Turn-by-turn navigation
  • Runs Andriod 2.0
  • Notification Panel

If you want to watch the TV clip from the new Verizon campaign, check it out below before you see it everywhere…

Update# Google has recently expanded their search to include both iPhone and Android Mobile apps in search.