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If TechCrunch's Sarah Lacy is to be believed, Silicon Valley has lost its way. There was once a golden era of innovation in which every startup sought to change the world (and make billions of dollars in the process).
So to get Silicon Valley back on track, Lacy is sending a message to startups: "you're supposed to be changing the world, remember?"
Microsoft has surprised many with its latest attempt at cracking the search engine market. While its 'decision engine' Bing is no threat to Google, it's starting to look like Yahoo had better hope its deal to outsource its search business to Microsoft passes regulatory scrutiny.
According to Nielsen, total searches at Bing hit 1.1bn in the month of August, a 22% jump from July. That gave Microsoft a 10.7% market share amongst search engines for the month. With 1.7bn searches in August and a 16% market share, Yahoo is starting to become a visible target on Bing's horizon.
Marko Balabanovic won an award for Innovation in Multichannel Marketing at Econsultancy's Innovation Awards last year, and this year he is a member of the judging panel.
I've been talking to Marko, who is Head of Innovation at lastminute.com, about lastminute.com labs, how the team looks to innovate, and some of the products it has created...
Yelp's has cunningly added augmented reality functionality as a hidden feature in its existing iPhone app, for iPhone 3Gs users.
The Easter egg can be unearthed by simply shaking the app a few times (actually, to the amusement of my colleagues, I shook my phone for about five minutes before it decided to work). It's only available for the newer version of the iPhone because it needs to use the compass.
Augmented reality (AR) is an engaging way of combining live video with computer-generated data and visualisations. It is an area that has grabbed my attention lately, and it’s going to be a big deal.
Amazing things will happen in this space in the years to come, but what about today? Are there live applications out there already? Sure there are, although it is early days and many of these examples are alpha demos. Nevertheless, they truly shine a light on the possibilities with augmented reality.
I have collated a bunch of videos that highlight the opportunities with augmented reality. You will be able to use AR to create real-world applications that fulfil human needs in a way that still feels ever so slightly sci-fi. You can try out a number of these AR demos from your desktop if you have a printer and webcam.
I have to say that the possibilities for world-class mobile applications are really exciting, but the upside for brand marketers is also vast, as AR can improve on-pack promotions, point of sale, print and billboard advertising, and so on. And if you think this is all tomorrow's world, it isn't. Take a look at the Glasses Direct interactive video mirror, for an example of how augmented reality can play a role in helping improve your conversion rates today.
So sit back and tune into augmented reality. And have a think about what you might be able to do in this space...
Last week we entertained the Traveling Geeks here in London on their week-long mission to share knowledge and ideas.
Our roundtables took place at The Globe theatre where we explored trends, challenges and common issues experienced by internet-focused companies on both sides of the Atlantic.
Much is made of the physical and cultural gulf between Silicon Valley and everywhere else. Even in the US there is a marked difference between those tech companies that inhabit The Valley, and everyone else. So Europe, and specifically London, must be totally alien, right?
At Econsultancy, alongside best practice, we love to see innovation and creativity within the marketing sphere. Interestingly, it seems that as companies are increasingly scrutinising budgets and resources, the assumption is made that the room for manoeuvring in this way is restricted.
Retail giant Tesco is set to make a few changes to its website this year; it has already launched an improved wine site and the grocery service is due to be relaunched this summer.
Yesterday's release of "computational knowledge engine" Wolfram Alpha generated a lot of debate, with some folks falling over themselves to praise it, while others poured cold water on it.
To try to cut to the chase I thought I'd ask a few of the UK's search industry ninjas to comment. So is it a Google killer, or just Cuil MKII? Here's what they had to say...
If there's a bastion of stodgy business thought, it's McKinsey & Company, where deep consulting reports have long ridden the leading edge of globalization, innovation, and management thought.
McKinsey has never been exactly dialed in to online innovation...until now. Without much fanfare, McKinsey has embraced social media, making it safe for MBAs around the world to tweet and retweet.
New Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz had her first public appearance at the Morgan Stanley conference yesterday. She took the opportunity to continue her message to Wall Street that the sliding search company is considering a whole menu of options for the future. The operative quote: "Everything is up for evaluation."
The problems with Yahoo begin and end with that attitude. Here are five things Bartz could put in motion tomorrow that will get the company back on track:
In a challenging market environment it’s a good idea to have a plan, especially when that plan is bold and forward-thinking.
It turns out that lastminute.com has such a plan, for the online pureplay is moving into the seemingly perilous world of offline retailing.