Mobile is going to crush Facebook – NOT

Mark Cuban’s recent article on Facebook IPO Post Mortem and his point that Mobile will crush Facebook. He has several valid points but in my view misses that mobile is a challenge for more than just Facebook.

Facebook is valuable because it makes possible targeted advertising to consumers to a greater extent that has been possible with Google.

Google has been mining data for years and not only what we search. They mine what we share with others over email (gmail users), and then correlate that information with trends based on our geographic location. Does Google know my age? Probably since I have used other services were I have given up this information and if not it could fairly easily put me in a range. Does Google know if I’m single or married or have kids? They can probably guess by scrapping content from my emails. Does Google know what I buy? If I have used Google to pay for it or again scrapping any invoice/receipt that arrives in my inbox. Does Google know what I like to watch? Sure, they own YouTube.

I agree that Facebook has a problem with mobile but the value proposition that it presents to brands is greater than what Google has to offer and furthermore mobile is not a problem for just Facebook, but for all the players whose revenue model rely on income from advertisements.

Advertising has always relied on passive users, thus the strategy was to capture the largest amount of eyeballs using delivery channels such as TV, radio or print media. Google and Facebook make it possible to provide relevant advertisement in a way not possible before.

Mobile will change how brands interact with consumers; from the consumer perspective it offers just in time access to on-demand content, were people reach out to information when they want from where they want. This presents a challenge for the traditional marketing strategy that has perfected the “couch potato” pitch. Today people using mobile devices will not be passively sitting in front of the regular channel, so if a brand expects to get in front of consumers it will have to find a different way.

So what’s different about the mobile platform. Smaller screens, less bandwidth or bandwidth caps. The tablet will remove these limitations but its a totally different device whose use and demographic are also totally different.

Trying to force mobile to become an additional marketing channel in the same way TV or Web is used is a mistake, because the way people interact with mobile is different from the way people interact with TV, radio, print and the personal computer. Realizing this, the handicap of a smaller screen and bandwidth limitations, utilizing the advantages of relevant/targeted advertising and features that mobile brings with it such as location will necessarily spawn new ways for brands to connect with consumers.
Data Mining: How Companies Now Know Everything About You

E-commerce and The End of Search

Most of us consider the Internet a bucket of miscellaneous tidbits, and the modern search engine our personal assistant. But is that analogy correct? You open your browser, bringing up the Google homepage, then enter whatever term you happen to be looking for at the time and bingo. You get a list of results you then have to “search” through to find what you are looking for. So in fact you are searching through the results of what Google searched for.

Google co-founder Larry Page once described the “perfect search engine” as something that “understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you want”, far from what Google is today.


A recent study titled “Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips” by researchers at Columbia, Harvard and Wisconsin-Madison universities studied whether the Internet has become our primary transitive memory source–basically an external memory system. These are the conclusions reached by the four controlled experiments in the study:

1) People share information easily because they rapidly think of computers when they find they need knowledge (Expt. 1).

2) The social form of information storage is also reflected in the findings that people forget items they think will be available externally, and remember items they think will not be available (Expts. 2 and 3).

3) Transactive memory is also evident when people seem better able to remember which computer folder an item has been stored in than the identity of the item itself (Expt. 4).

The effect on whether or not we choose to commit certain information to memory when we know the information is readily available on the computer is what is relevant here. We store specific things in specific places, like food in the fridge, but who remembers what is specifically in the fridge?

It is completely natural for people to minimize what needs to be encoded into memory by organizing and then encoding the location of the information, rather than the information itself. This is where the traditional search engine falls short of meeting the basic cognitive needs of humans.

The emergence of the mobile device has been remarkable and Apple’s vision in this space has changed the way people access information. There is data to support the notion that people are not mirroring desktop behavior on mobile devices.

People are not searching on smartphones as much as they do on desktops. Steve Jobs attributes this to the availability of mobile apps and the desktop lacking an app store. In reality, the availability of app, or the lack thereof, is not really the central point. What’s important is information is being categorized, compartmentalized and organized for consumption, and delivered more efficiently through mobile devices. This is clearly a step in the right direction in delivering more relevant and timely information to the user.

Artificial Intelligence will play a major role in the next wave of innovation, starting with Evolving and Adaptive Fuzzy Systems as classification algorithms and then matching the wants with the needs of the user. A recent example of this is an application that gives personalized restaurant recommendations called Alfred—it is all recommendations and no direct search.

GiftWoo takes the next step forward in the e-commerce space in a vertical market. Until now going online to find a gift for your better half involves a search, which results in thousands of choices. Currently, e-commerce websites are designed to deliver a high number of choices, rather than the “right choice” for the consumer. GiftWoo will give the buyer the unique and perfect gift they seek without the searching, by initially building a profile for the gift recipient, then utilizing a proprietary algorithm to match the ideal gift to the profile.

GrandCentral to Google Voice

In just under a minute I migrated a couple of GrandCentral account to Google Voice and I am very exited to see a transcript of a voicemail show up in my Inbox.

I will definitely miss the GrandCentral interface as its much more intuitive than the new Google Voice GUI.

A limitation currently in place on both platforms is the capability to have 2 different accounts ring one same number. I particularly like this to have a personal and a business number both ring my cell and landlines. The workaround for the moment is leaving an account with GrandCentral and on one Google Voice. Lets see how long that lasts.!

One thing that I have seen more and more recently is my GrandCentral dropping calls on me. Maybe its Google’s way of getting users migrated.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Configuring Google Apps for Your Domain

In my previous post here, I went into the steps needed to bring up a Microsoft Live Exchange Labs environment.

Previously we had discussed the different options available when it came to hosted E-mail here.

Setting up a Google environment can be done it one of two ways. You can choose to maintain your existing domain to which e-mail is currently being delivered to or you can setup a completely new one like

Allowing to pilot their offering using your existing domain sets you up for an easier migration path, if you choose to go with Google and this is the path which will be described below.

Once again after receiving a requested invitation from Google, we proceed to re-route e-mail.

Pilot Google Apps with email routing instructions are here.

Once you have verified your domain proceed to create an additional MX record in your DNS pointing to your existing mail server. This will be needed because as you route all your mail to Google, they will need to send e-mail back your way to accounts that do not exist in Google Apps.

  • DNS Record Type: MX
  • Host:
  • MX server: (your E-mail server “A” record)
  • TTL: 3600 or 1 hour
  • Priority: 0 (or High priority)

Setup Google to route e-mail back to your server.

  • Navigate to the Email settings page in the control panel. In the Email routing section, the default destination is Google Apps Email.
  • Click Add another destination to set up mail routing for your other system.
  • Enter the MX record you created previously.
  • Deliver mail for: Select Unknown accounts only to route mail to email addresses that don’t exist in your Google Apps account.
  • Change SMTP envelope: Uncheck the box since your other mail system is already configured to receive mail addressed to this domain.
  • Save changes

Then you will need to change your MX records to route e-mail sent to your domain to Google mail servers.

Your configuration would go from something like this:

  • DNS Record Type: MX
  • Host:
  • MX server: (your E-mail server “A” record)
  • TTL: 3600 or 1 hour
  • Priority: 0 (or High priority)

to this

Priority Mail Server

You are all set. As you create accounts in Google Apps, e-mail will be routed to their servers and e-mail will be delivered to those accounts. Any accounts non-existent will be routed back to the original e-mail server.

The diagram below makes it easier to understand.

Again there are lots of customizations including adding CNAME entries to your DNS allowing you to change the URL users will use to access e-mail and all the other options.


Outsourcing E-mail

Higher Education and K-12 institutions have always either lead in the IT field with innovative solutions or been way behind in technology to the point of not having any.

Open source has always been an option, although generally for the technically inclined but several years ago the big guys (Google and Microsoft), brought hosted E-mail offerings to the table that would out perform any locally installed solution and without a price tag associated with it.

A new player recently entered the market with their very attractive offering. ZCS from Zimbra.

Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS) is a groupware product created by Zimbra Inc., located in San Mateo, California, USA. The company was purchased by Yahoo! in September 2007.[1]. The software consists of both client and server components. Two versions of Zimbra are available: an open-source version, and a commercially supported version (“Zimbra Network”) with closed-source components. These software versions are available from Zimbra for download and independent use, from Zimbra-authorized partners, and included with service from a Zimbra-authorized hosting provider.

So what are the options?

  1. Outsource
    1. Google Apps for Education
    2. Microsoft’s Live@edu Service
    3. Zimbra’s Hosted Collaboration Suite
  2. Maintain/deploy in-house

Even thought there are legitimate issues with outsourcing, like privacy of e-mails, loosing control over the capability to access logs in case of an incident and ads displayed to the constituents amongst others; the option to provide this same level of service in-house is not economically feasible.

Lets take a look what these services offer:

Features Google Apps Microsoft Live@edu Zimbra
Mailbox size 7.1Gb 10Gb 7Gb
Attachment size 20Mb 20Mb 25Mb
Calendar (Private) Yes Yes Yes
Calendar (Public) Yes Yes No
CalDav compliant calendaring Yes No Yes
Docs Yes Yes Yes
Spreadsheet Yes Yes No
Presentation Yes No No
Forms Yes No No
Messaging/Chat Yes No Yes
Offline Feature Yes No No
Workplace No Yes No
Shared Drive No 5Gb No
SMS Scheduling Yes No No
SMS Notification Yes Yes No
POP3 Yes Yes Yes
IMAP Yes Yes Yes
Access other accounts Yes N/A Yes
Folders No Yes Yes
Labels Yes No No
Threaded conversations Yes No Yes
Rules and filters Yes Yes Yes
Built-In protection (Legal) N/A Yes N/A
Apple Support Yes No No
Spam Rating 10 7 7
Integration Rating 10 7 8
Site Management 9 8 8
Widgets/Web 2.0 Mash-up framework Yes No Planned
Mobile Apps (BB, iPhone, etc.) Yes No No
Data Portability (move you data to another solution) Yes Limited Yes
Backups No Optional Optional
Web Site/Portal Yes Yes No
University Domain Yes Yes Yes

Microsoft and Google are free provided that they can display ads for alumni and Zimbra costs $2 per year per student.


Microsoft Live@edu:

Microsoft Live@edu video
Live@edu with Exchange Labs
Web Collaboration

Google Apps for Education:

Google Apps video


Compare Hosted EDU Products


Google Maps For Blackberry Adds Street View

As I was driving home from the Blackberry Bold Experience Event last night, I received an upgrade prompt from my Blackberry 8820 for Google Maps. On the way home I upgraded to version 2.3.2 which to my pleasant surprise provided “Street View” giving you the capability of viewing imagery while driving or walking.

Google Maps for mobile makes it easy to see Street View imagery when you’re on the go. View imagery at each turn in driving or walking directions, and study a storefront’s facade so that you don’t pass it up while you’re moving by.

Street View is currently available for BlackBerry and some Java-enabled phones.

Using the trackball you can rotate the view 360 degrees and also expand the “street view” to fit the whole screen.

Watch the video below to see a demo.


If you already have it, then upgrade. If you don’t then you can pick it up by pointing your BlackBerry browser to:

You can click here to fill out a survey and let Google know what you think of Google Maps for BlackBerry.