Bug Bytes is a weekly roundup of the Web’s best links, blog posts, and news articles related to web design, application development, and online marketing. Continue the conversation and share your thoughts on these stories in the comments below – we’d love to hear your own insights!
Google has recently announced the launch of “News near you” as a mobile-focused extension of the Google News product. Through a user sharing his or her location, Google will comb through news stories in order to present results tailored to that location. The feature can be disengaged; however, the blog article did not mention the ability to highlight multiple locations.
Insight: Google is continuing its emphasis on location-based searches, both through mobile devices and on the desktop. This feature is another example of broader web trends including: the benefits of sharing personal information (news relevant to the user), privacy issues (the feature knows the location of the user), and the growing myopia of personalized results (news is limited to local area).
Microsoft announced the official purchase of Skype for $8.5 billion dollars, making this the most expensive acquisition by Microsoft to date. Microsoft stated that the acquisition would help them increase the accessibility of real-time video and voice communications for enterprise users, as well as consumers. Additionally, they announced that Skype will support devices like the Xbox, Kinect, and their email software Microsoft Outlook.
Insight: Usage momentum is shifting from personal computer to smartphones and tables, and Skype (being a cross-platform tool) is subsequently attractive to Microsoft. After Nokia’s partnership with Microsoft, it is likely that Microsoft will leverage its affiliation with Skype to force carriers to adopt Windows Phone 7.
From Google I/O 2011: Android Fragmentation Questions Answered
Now in its fourth year, Google I/O is a developer-focused conference in which the online innovator debuts new technologies and Google-branded web applications. 2011 being no exception, the I/O conference has resulted in a number of forward-thinking announcements, with one of those being the end of ‘fragmentation’ on the Android platform. A collaborative effort spearheaded by Google, the Open Handset Alliance hopes to resolve OS fragmentation issues, making sure Android owners can receive updates in a timely fashion. Comprised of Verizon, LG, Samsung, T-Mobile, and others, The Open Handset Alliance is creating an update and release plan to deal with issues preventing slightly older phones from receiving the newest iterations of the Android firmware.
Insight: In the brief history of the Android mobile platform, fragmentation has been the cause of frustration for a large share of handset owners. Fragmentation has also been one deficiency of Android’s that might make the iPhone seem like a more sensible, reliable alternative. With Android phones receiving the latest and greatest OS updates more regularly, the mobile platform may become more appealing for those looking for a flagship phone that’s relatively ‘future-proof’. While the full scope of the Open Handset Alliance has yet to be disclosed, what is known thus far is that Android devices will be supported and updated under the plan for 18 months.
Impact of Affluence on Social Media Use
An Affluence Collaborative survey from February has revealed the lead reasons why wealthy individuals connect with brands through social media. Unlike with the general population, the promise of coupons or sales alerts are not the predominant driver for this segment. Instead, 52% percent of those with an income of $500K+ noted the reason of “I love the brand and wanted to follow it” as the key influencer. These findings coincide with previous research from Exact Target, which suggested that social media provides a “means of self-expression for others to see”.
Insight: The battle of brand name vs. cost is no longer just a point-of-purchase consideration. Willingness to share one’s personal contact information or profile are also easily influenced by one’s desire to benefit from with-brand affiliation.
Sony’s 3D Social Media Contest
To raise awareness of and enthusiasm for the 3D medium, Sony
has launched its ‘Your Life in Sony 3D’ contest. Promoted through the company’s Facebook page, the competition asks individuals to submit a description of a worthy-of-documenting personal event that will take place during Summer 2011. Of the submissions, a final winner will be selected to have his or her event filmed in 3D and aired in Sony stores nationwide, as well as on a Times Square billboard.
Insight: In hopes of encouraging greater interest in in-home 3D technology, Sony has found a creative way to challenge the 3D doubters. However, the challenge of enabling wide-spread viewership of the final product still exists. While Sony will share a 2D version through its YouTube page and 3net.com website, one can wonder how successful this parred-down version will be at promoting the 3D experience.