Tag Archives: google

Websites Should Be More Willing To Connect Brands With Consumers

In a Terms of Service update released last week and to be effective on November 11, Google announced it’ll start using Shared Endorsements on it’s advertisement network. It’s similar to Facebook’s Sponsored Stories, launched back in 2011: users that reveal their liking of, say, a brand, might serve as pitchmen for it to their friends in an eventual ad.

The most appealing aspect of the approach is that it resembles the word-of-mouth effect, a powerful advertisement strategy in real life. Another possible reason for Google’s move is the fact that Facebook has already experimented with the option, so online social-network users should by now be more open to the idea. Finally, the search giant might be just adopting the competitor’s approach out of the fear of missing online ad money’s migration to social.

But Google shouldn’t bother copying Facebook.

First, because, although the ad format is relatively successful — Facebook made about $4 million per day out of Sponsored Stories by the end of Sep 2012 — users complains eventually led Zuckerberg’s company to decide dropping the feature. In fact, Facebook was subject of a class action for using Sponsored Stories without permission.

Second, while advertisers are indeed becoming more faithful about social websites, simply adopting a competitors format is not guaranteed to grab their attention if the website doesn’t have an appealing audience — which still is the case of Google Plus.

Third, the word-of-mouth effect is very difficult to implement, for the nuances of influence in real life are too complex to simulate — specially since the psychology of online interactions differs from that of face-to-face relationships.

The main problem with most online ads is that the websites portraying them seem to be sorry to show ad content, instead of proudly trying to connect brands with consumers. Most websites are afraid of bothering users by asking them directly about what kinds of products they would like to hear about, and instead try to guess what they want based on their online behavior — a task difficult even for a human expert.

Consumers are eager to learn about new products. Besides, people who ever tried to get their business to reach an audience understand how important advertisement is. These users would probably not mind spending a few minutes telling a website what kinds of ads they’d like to see.

If a website were to show quality ads, if it were really willing to put business in contact with consumers, and vice-versa, perhaps users would be less afraid of releasing personal information. And if Google Plus were the one to do so, perhaps people would finally seriously consider using it. Copying Facebook’s approach certainly won’t do it.

(A version of this article appeared in Washington Square News.)

Google Glass: Meh…

We’ve been irreversibly spoiled, it seems. Apparently, it has been too long since Apple launched its last market-changing device. The anxiety is causing its stock to fall (it dropped more than 40% over the last seven months), and the quarterly profits of the iPhone maker went downwards for the first time in a decade, the company reported.

Apple is almost certainly working on something new, and speculations abound: a television, a game console, and a smart watch are among the most popular guesses. However, the currently most expected new tech-device is not from Apple, but Google: an internet-connected eyewear known as the Google Glass.

The main idea of the Google Glass is to provide easy access to information of the kind offered by a smartphone, as well as a camera conveniently located for videos. The concept has been around for a while, such as in a ski goggle made by Oakley, for instance, which displays speed, altitude, and incoming text messages.

At first, technologies like the Google Glass seem appealing. For anyone who tried to type a message while walking on the street, it would be interesting to interact with a computer via voice, having visual feedback at the corner of a glass. But while this would prevent people from weirdly walking holding a piece of rectangular glass with two hands, it wouldn’t prevent them from looking like a zombie.

As it turns out, the human visual system cannot focus on two things simultaneously. Speaking of the mentioned ski googles, neuroscientist David Strayer, who for decades studied attention and distraction, warned: “you are effectively skiing blind; you’re going to miss a mogul or hit somebody.” Smart glasses undoubtedly present a risk, whether in practicing some sport, walking on the street, or driving.

The second issue is with purpose. If you look at Google Glass’ website, you’ll see an advertisement campaign centered at the word “share.” Let alone the fact that the term has become a cliche, sharing is only really appealing to people who perform activities where first-person movie-recording is minimally interesting. I mean, if you’re a skydiver or a circus artist, than maybe the Google Glass is for you, otherwise your video won’t get that many “likes” or “+1’s.”

Last, and most important, there’s the concern with privacy. As the Google Glass has a camera, most users will cause others to frown, for they’ll be rightly afraid of being filmed.

Though versions for developers are already available, the hyped Google eyewear is not expected to reach the general market soon, Google’s Eric Schmidt said last month. When it does, I doubt it’s going to be of much success, except perhaps for a niche market. A market for people who like to look cool and record first-person perspectives of the accidents they get involved in.

(A version of this article appeared in Washington Square News.)