11 December 2009

More Commentary on Facebook Privacy Changes

From the Electronic Frontier Foundation, highlighting that several "improvements" to Facebook privacy will lead to more information on users being exposed to more people.

It is clear Facebook is, indeed, still a Silicon Valley start-up and hungry for improved revenue. Unfortunately, Facebook's key asset - its users - may suffer as a result of the competition with Twitter for relevance in the investor community.

10 December 2009

Facebook, Google, Real-time Search, and You

On the heels of Google's announcement of real-time search capabilities, Facebook is implementing "new, simplified privacy settings" to provide users "more control over the information you share."

Of course, in the spirit of "more control over the information you share", the Facebook team recommends you make "Posts I Create: Status Updates, Links, Photos, Videos, and Notes" available to "Everyone". Nice, huh?

Following Facebook's recommendation means not just exposing that late-night sarcastic comment, the shared stupid joke, or the statement of personal feelings with your friends and network. It means sharing it with anybody who has access to a computer and making it searchable on Google. What a long way Facebook has come from the closed, students-only service it once was.

07 December 2009

Google Real-time and Goggles: Whee!

Back in May I wrote about Twitter's then-new search functionality, calling it "enticing, exhilarating, and exasperating." I thought it was pretty slick, though still primitive, and destined to be a handy staple for marketers interested in managing their customer relationships.

Now Google brings real-time search to the masses, including Twitter, Facebook status updates, and news as it happens... or at least as it's published. Time will tell how valuable this firehose of information turns out to be, but be sure that new insights and uses for the information will arise.

While we're on the topic of Google announcements, Google Goggles also seems pretty darn intriguing. Think of the social media applications. Want to rate a hotel, brand, or anything else? Point your phone at it, click a menu option, and rate it on the spot. Want to do a search for ratings? Do the same.

This Goggle technology and other similar solutions will provide new means to search for or receive promotional offers. Think of Catalina-style coupon offers delivered via mobile devices. Someone pulls up Pampers on their phone and gets an offer for $1 off Huggies, on the spot.

03 December 2009

Comcast NBC Deal Just the Start of Change?

The announcement of the long-anticipated Comcast deal to acquire NBC Universal could signal the start of significant shifts in ownership and structure in the entertainment industry. Although the focus of commentary is on television entertainment, there could be intrigue for related categories such as DVD rental and internet video services.

Comcast, as leading cable provider, benefits from greater use of video on demand access to movies. Now, with the firm in control of a large content portfolio, will it move to restrict access to its content in other channels? How will the newly acquired content be distributed on the internet?

NBC Universal owns a third of Hulu, the increasingly popular - and for now, free - online service which allows viewers to access television content via the web. Comcast is a major stakeholder in the TV Everywhere initiative, which takes a different approach to television content online. Essentially, the TV Everywhere model only allows paying cable or satellite customers access to the content.

In a conference call with investors about the NBC deal, Comcast indicated that TV Everywhere is complementary to Hulu, with cable content to be available on TV Everywhere and broadcast content on Hulu. It sounds nice and logical, but it may not fly with the other partners in Hulu: News Corp. and Disney. Hulu is projecting a $33 million loss in 2009, so some change in business model is to be expected.

This evolution is in its early stages, so expect more news as we roll into 2010.