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Push for 'instant-on' web search

A company that provides "instant-on" computing will bring "instant search" to the PC for the first time. Splashtop, made by DeviceVM, already lets consumers access email, chat with friends, share photos or surf the web seconds after turning on their PC. The deal involves three search leaders including Yahoo in the US and Japan, Baidu in China and Yandex in Russia.

[Estimated timeframe:Q3 2009-onward]

DeviceVM's Dave Bottoms said the deals make sense because web searching is fundamental to computer users.

"Search is the tip of the iceberg in being able to offer a lot of different web services, but when you think about where people spend their time online, it's in search," Mr Bottoms, senior director of product management, told BBC News.

"I think this is the next new start experience frontier we are witnessing at the device level."

A web analytics firm, Comscore, found that in June alone Americans conducted more than 14 billion core searches, up from 10.8 billion in 2008.

"A lot of people use search as a basic navigation tool," said DeviceVM's marketing director Sergey Krupenin.

"Instead of typing in Facebook.com in the address bar, users are typing it into the search box."


Depending on what part of the world users are in, as soon as they switch on their computer, they will be greeted by a front page that offers a free Yahoo branded search box or one that says Yandex or Baidu.

Earlier this week Yahoo rolled out a new front page make-over

"Web search has emerged as the dominant and universal navigation tool...and providing instant search will further expand our search leadership in China, the largest and fastest growing internet search market in the world," said Haoyu Shen, vice president of operations for Baidu.

"The search distribution landscape is changing, and instant search is one of the ways Yahoo provides our users with a convenient and highly accessible Yahoo search experience," said Tim Mayer, vice president of North America search and social experiences for Yahoo.

In America analysts are not so sure this "instant-search" feature will make a big difference in driving more users to Yahoo, which has 20% of the US market versus Google's 65% share.

"I don't think these deals have a dramatic impact on market share," said Greg Sterling of search news site SearchEngineLand.

"People's habits are fairly well established now when they go online. However some people will undoubtedly use Yahoo for their search because they are lazy and it's right in front of them," said Mr Sterling.

"That might mean Yahoo will get an incremental bump, but it won't be significant."

'Instant internet revolution'

Splashtop comes pre-installed on computers. At the moment it is on over 10 million PCs across 200 models made by Asus, HP, Lenovo, Sony, Acer and LG.

Mr Bottoms said the company estimated that by the end of this year, Splashtop -and the "instant internet revolution" that it heralds - will be on 40 million devices.

By the end of 2010, he believes, that number will be up to 100 million computers.

The new search feature will be on devices from September onwards

DeviceVM said the growing popularity of netbooks is key to this success and that this new instant search feature plays nicely into how people use these low-cost mini laptops.

"Users generally use netbooks on the go for chunks of a half an hour or so compared to notebooks or laptops where they will spend around three hours at home or in an office.

"With the emergence of netbooks, we are definitely seeing a lot of consumer demand for always being connected, always on and being able, at the press of a button, to get searching on the web quickly," explained Mr Bottoms.

A report by DisplaySearch said that demand for netbooks has been hot and looks to get hotter.

They are projected to grab a 20% share of the worldwide market for this year with consumers expected to buy almost 33 million netbooks - a doubling of last year's 16 million.

"The culture of 'on-the-go' means that speed is important to these users," said SearchEngineLand's Mr Sterling.

"I think that will be a benefit to the netbook experience and this is where that quick search box will have its appeal."

Windows 7

Splashtop and other "instant-on" offerings from other companies bypasses Microsoft Windows, the dominant operating system on PCs.

But software giant Microsoft has said Windows 7 promises to be a leaner, lighter propositsion that can compete in this space.

The company has just released Windows 7 into the hands of computer makers in a process known as "release to manufacturers". This is the last big step before the product reaches users in late October.

Microsoft claims that Windows 7 test results showed PCs have gone from a "cold boot" - from switched completely off - to a ready desktop at speeds comparable to the instant-on environments.

But DeviceVM's Mr Krupenin said that still does not solve the basic problem of speed.

"It is not about how fast an operating system is but how much is loaded onto it. Six months after people have bought their computer, it works at least two times slower because of all the applications that have been added on.

"Splashtop is an optimised environment around the browser and you are not installing anything there," he explained.

The company said it expects to see their 'instant-search' page on devices from September onwards

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: BBC.co.uk
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4566

Global online growth of 45% expected in next five years

The number of people online around the world will grow more than 45% to 2.2bn users over the next five years, according to a new report by Forrester Research.

[Estimated timeframe:Q3 2009-2013]

China's internet population will overtake the US by 2013, growing by 11% each year over the next five years.

Nearly half of all European Internet users are currently clustered the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy.

Within these five markets, however, internet penetration is highest in the UK at 69%.

From 2008 to 2013, the online population in the UK will grow from 41.3 million to 48.7 million (81%).

Europe's internet growth will be fuelled by the continent's emerging markets. Internet usage in Russia and Turkey will grow by almost 8% annually, while growth in Spain's online population will increase by an average of more than 5% each year.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: BrandRepublic.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4527

One in four UK internet companies could be bought within the next year

A quarter of UK companies in the internet services industry could change ownership in the next year, according to a report by financial analyst firm Plimsoll. The report predicted that, due to current economic conditions, the market is set for a prolonged period of consolidation.

[Estimated timeframe:Q3 2009-onward]

The analysis of 370 companies with a turnover of more than £1m found 142 were ready to be taken over.

David Pattison, author of the report, said, “Buying one of these businesses represents a massive opportunity for someone to enhance their share of the market. Either way, the market is set for a wave of takeovers in the coming months.”

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: NMA.co.uk
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4501

Google Unveils a Conversation Service

Google Inc. previewed a new communications service that combines features of email, instant-messaging and document-sharing to facilitate multiperson conversations online. The Google Wave service caps a years-long project to come up with a way to break down the barriers between different types of online communication services, said Lars Rasmussen, the Google engineer who led the development of the service along with his brother, Jens Rasmussen.

[Estimated timeframe:Q2 2009-onward]

The service, which won't be open to the public for several months, will allow users to start a conversation, called a "wave," and to invite their contacts to join it. Any member of the wave can put photos, notes or other content into the group, which updates in near-real time.

People see an "in-box" with the most recent waves they have joined and whether others have added any new notes or content to them. They can click to scroll through the wave and see what content has been added to it.

Dozens of Internet companies, including Facebook Inc. and Yahoo Inc., are racing to come up with new methods for sharing and organizing online information.

Google, which announced the new service at its developer conference in San Francisco on Thursday, envisions Wave as not only a way to share messages with friends and colleagues, but also to share and access a variety of information online. For instance, a user could create a wave that is an article he or she wrote and then invite people to read and comment on it.

Mr. Rasmussen said it is too early to tell how consumers will use Wave, but he expects that the various applications and services Google hopes developers will build on top of it will be a big draw. Videogame developers could build a game that began as a wave, for example, and Google will allow other Web sites to embed waves into their Web sites.

He added that Google hasn´t thought much about how the service could generate revenue. "One of the great luxuries of Google is that we get to not think about that yet," he said.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: WSJ.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4127

German cities demand faster internet

The German city and community alliance (DStGB), urged the government on Monday to “remove regulatory shackles” in the task of providing the entire country with speedy internet connections. There are still large swathes of the German countryside – and a total of five million Germans – without a broadband connection, DStGB head Gerd Landsberg told daily Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

[Estimated timeframe:Q2 2009-onward]

According to Landsberg, just one percent of German households are connected to the fibre optic cable network per year, compared to a rate of 10 percent in the US. Meanwhile Japan has already connected some 85 percent of their population to the network.

“Germany will only find its way into the information community if fibre optic construction is no longer hindered,” he told the paper, adding that this would create some 250,000 jobs.

Early this year, the government announced a goal of making fast internet connections available to the entire country by the end of 2010.

The Bundesrat, or the upper house of parliament, decided in mid-May to improve internet connections in rural areas, but German states want to know who will take on the cost of these projects. This question will likely be addressed in June.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: TheLocal.de
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4110

New Technology Will Fit 300 DVDs on One Disc

A new optical recording method could pave the way for data discs with 300 times the storage capacity of standard DVDs, Nature journal reports. The researchers say this could see a whopping 1.6 terabytes of information fit on a DVD-sized disc.They describe their method as "five-dimensional" optical recording and say it could be commercialised.

[Estimated timeframe:2009-onward]

The technique employs nanometre-scale particles of gold as a recording medium.

Researchers at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia have exploited the particular properties of these gold "nano-rods" by manipulating the light pointed at them.

The team members described what they did as adding three "dimensions" to the two spatial dimensions that DVD and CD discs already have.

They say they were able to introduce a spectral - or colour - dimension and a polarisation dimension, as well as recording information in 10 layers of the nano-rod films, adding a third spatial dimension.

The scientists used the nanoparticles to record information in a range of different colour wavelengths on the same physical disc location. This is a major improvement over traditional DVDs, which are recorded in a single colour wavelength with a laser.

Also, the amount of incoming laser light absorbed by the nanoparticles depends on its polarisation. This allowed the researchers to record different layers of information at different angles.

The researchers thus refer to the approach as 5-D recording. Previous research has demonstrated recording techniques based on colour or polarisation, but this is the first work that shows the integration of both.

As a result, the scientists say they have achieved unprecedented data density.

Their approach used 10-layer stacks composed of thin glass plates as the recording medium. If scaled up to a DVD-sized disk, the team would be able to record 1.6 terabytes - that is, 1,600 gigabytes - or over 300 times the quantity stored on a standard DVD.

Significant improvements could be made by thinning the spacer layers and using more than two polarisation angles - pushing the limits to 10 terabytes per disc and beyond, the researchers say.

Bit by bit

Recent efforts based on holography have shown that up to 500 Gb could potentially be stored on standard DVD-sized disks.

Holographic methods take all of the information to be recorded and encode it in the form of a graph showing how often certain frequencies arise in it.

That means that the recording process is a complex, all-at-once, all-or-nothing approach that would be difficult to implement on an industrial scale.

By contrast, 5-D recording is "bit-by-bit", like current CD and DVD writing processes in that each piece of information is read sequentially.

That is likely to mean that recording and read speeds would be comparatively slow, but the approach would be easier to integrate with existing technology.

"The optical system to record and read 5-D is very similar to the current DVD system," says James Chon, a co-author on the research.

"Therefore, industrial scale production of the compact system is possible."

Now that the method has been demonstrated in custom-made multi-layer stacks, the team is working in conjunction with Samsung to develop a drive that can record and read onto a DVD-sized disc.

Dr Chon says that the material cost of a disc would be less than $0.05 (£0.03), but there are a number of advantages in moving to silver nano-rods that would bring that cost down by a factor of 100.

For optical data storage expert Tom Milster, at the University of Arizona, the beauty of the approach is in its simplicity.

"It's not just elegant - there are a lot of experiments that are elegant - it´s relatively straightforward," he told BBC News.

For the moment, Dr Milster says, the equipment needed to write the data would make a commercial system expensive. However, that has not stopped the development of optical storage solutions in the past.

"For example, a Blu-ray player is not an easy system to realise; they´ve got some wonderful optics in there," Dr Milster said. "People thought that would be pretty difficult to do, but others managed to do it."


All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: BBC.co.uk
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4095

Calculating Wolfram Alpha's Business

The much-hyped Wolfram Alpha launches Friday night, and it has Internet-goers howling with anticipation. But the new search engine's business model could prove to be a real dog. Wolfram Alpha is the latest project by Wolfram Research, the software company behind Mathematica, a popular computational program designed by scientists, mathematicians and engineers. Instead of retrieving ready-made Web pages that match a user's query, Wolfram Alpha calculates answers on the fly based on a relevant set of data presumably located somewhere in the cloud.

[Estimated timeframe:2009-onward]

The new search tool works similar to the way Google ( GOOG - news - people ) answers basic math questions, but across much more data. You can, for example, compare the properties of sugar maple to black maple, figure out the nutritional information of swiss cheese or calculate fixed-rate mortgage payments.

Stephen Wolfram, the eponymous entrepreneur behind Wolfram Research, hopes Wolfram Alpha will introduce "a new paradigm for using computers and the Web." Indeed, Wolfram Alpha is already being compared to Google, though the creator says its not a "Google killer." Still, Internet bystanders are positioning the two companies to battle over search market-share, mind-share or both.

But even if Stephen Wolfram´s search calculator can compete with Larry Page and Sergey Brin´s search index, can his business model? Google generated $21 billion in revenues last year, 99% of which came from advertising. According to Wolfram Alpha, that´s more than $3 per person alive today.

It would be more than foolish to assume Wolfram Research can monetize Wolfram Alpha in the way Google has monetized its search engine through its lucrative paid search business. After all, the search index is only one of two inventions that made Google what it is today. The other was AdSense, the self-service advertising platform that allows businesses to buy clicks from Google users.

Wolfram Research has not said how it intends to monetize its new search engine, but a preview of it offered to Forbes hints at one approach: There´s a "Featured Sponsor(s)" module hidden in the code, commented out by the developers. The copy used is dummy text, but suggests that one revenue stream for Wolfram Alpha will be from display ads.

The "powered by" business model is nothing new, and certainly not as innovative as the novel approach to search computation. It suggests that Wolfram Alpha´s biggest strength may also be its biggest weakness: The datasets behind its calculations are curated by hand--hundreds of them--and somebody plugged them into the system.

As the amount of information, users and computed knowledge scales exponentially, can paid sponsors support the tool? It may be too early to say, but those are numbers Wolfram Alpha will have to learn to compute.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: Forbes.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4070

Internet Will be Bext Driving Force for Global Economy, Says Chinese Web Entrepreneur

The Internet will become the next driving force for the global economy, and China is expected to become the center of the global Internet due to its massive population of netizens and strong Internet demand, said Robin Li, Chairman and CEO of Baidu. He made the remarks while giving a speech to hundreds of Chinese Internet elite during the company's fourth summit held in Sanya, Hainan Province, on May 14.

[Estimated timeframe:Q3 2009-onward]

Li said economic development over the past 100 years has experienced two important stages. Firstly, the production line invented by Henry Ford prompted the manufacturing industry to take off, driving the first 50-year period of long-term development in the global economy.

This was the 50-year-long producer-driven economic phase. With the advent of the Great Depression induced by excess supply in production however, the world´s economy was prompted to enter a new stage and a new consumer credit system started to take shape. This kind of financial innovation fully liberated the demands of consumers, thereby ushering the world´s economy into a consumer-driven period for the ensuing 50 years.

He added that today, the Internet, the greatest invention of the late 20th century, is unifying producers and consumers. Internet users are both content producers and content consumers. This feature of the Internet is certain to make it another driving force for the world´s economic development.

Li also mentioned that since the number of Chinese netizens surpassed that of the US last year, the curtain on full-scale development of China´s Internet industry is being lifted gradually and a series of "wonderful dramas" will successively be staged.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: People.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4064

Vodafone to Tap Application Market - WSJ.com

Vodafone Group PLC joined the scramble for a slice of the mobile-applications market Tuesday, announcing plans for a kit that will let developers create and sell software that will work across its range of phones.

[Estimated timeframe:Q3 2009-onward]

Customers will pay for applications through their Vodafone accounts. The company will split the proceeds with developers, with Vodafone taking 30% of the revenue generated through its network. Mobile operators like Vodafone are looking for new sources of revenue to combat weaker growth in voice.

The move into applications pits the company against handset makers such as Apple Inc., Nokia Corp., Research In Motion Ltd. and Palm Inc., as well as operating system developers Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp.

The services that are developed using Vodafone's software developer kit, due to be launched in the summer, will be sold in an app store some time towards the end of 2009. Applications developed on its software will be usable across all phones on its network, a feature that Vodafone believes distinguishes its proposition from rivals, where each application has to be written separately for phones that use different operating systems.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: WSJ.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=4049

Microsoft and Verizon Plot an iPhone Rival

Microsoft Corp. and Verizon Wireless are in talks to launch a touch-screen multimedia cellphone on the carrier's network early next year, in an ambitious effort to challenge Apple Inc.'s iPhone, according to people familiar with the matter. The discussions are a gambit by Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer to energize a mobile business that has lost buzz among consumers and software developers to Apple's iPhone and Google Inc.'s Android.

[Estimated timeframe:2009-onward]

The market for smart phones may soon heat up. Microsoft is set to team up with Verizon to launch a competitor to Apple´s iPhone, according to reports. The new phone would join a crowded arena that contains BlackBerry's Storm and Palm's Pre.

Microsoft is a major player in software for cellphones, but it is working hard to develop a new device that will rival Apple´s.

Verizon, meanwhile, is pushing on several fronts to extend its smart-phone offerings and compete with AT&T Inc., which is the iPhone´s exclusive U.S. carrier.

Verizon has also had discussions in recent months with Apple about partnering on devices other than the iPhone, people familiar with the matter say.

In a recent interview, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg declined to comment on whether Verizon and Microsoft were planning an iPhone-like device.

Microsoft´s project, which is code-named "Pink," aims to produce a phone that will extend the tech giant´s Windows Mobile operating system, adding new software capabilities. It would also likely include Microsoft´s new Windows Marketplace for Mobile, a store for cellphone downloads along the lines of Apple´s App Store, these people said.

The discussions with Verizon Wireless are a gambit by Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer to energize a mobile business that has lost buzz among consumers and software developers to Apple´s iPhone and Google Inc.´s Android. Above, Mr. Ballmer speaks at a forum on the future of computing in Cologne, Germany on Friday.

While Microsoft is involved in the design of the phone´s software and hardware, a third party is expected to build the device, just as Google has worked closely with partners to make handsets based on its Android operating system, some of these people said.

The Microsoft-Verizon relationship is evolving from a search-and-advertising partnership the companies struck early this year. The companies have been working on the Pink project for several months, but haven´t yet decided key details such as how the device would be branded, one person familiar with the situation said.

Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC, is separately developing its own mobile application store, which it plans to announce soon, according to people familiar with Verizon´s plans.

Various companies have their own download stores, but Verizon may add a twist: the company is considering selling applications for businesses, these people said.

AT&T´s exclusive rights to the iPhone in the U.S. expire next year, but the carrier is trying to get a one-year extension, people familiar with the matter say.

Apple has had discussions with Verizon recently about its product plans, including a multimedia device that is bigger than the iPod Touch but smaller than a laptop, a person familiar with the situation said. However, the talks haven´t become advanced, the person added.

The Pink project is the work of a team of designers within Microsoft´s mobile division that includes staffers from Danger Inc., a company Microsoft acquired a year ago. Danger designed the software in the Sidekick, a popular cellphone sold by T-Mobile.

In the past, Mr. Ballmer and other Microsoft executives have said the company doesn´t plan to build its own cellphone. A Microsoft spokesman, without commenting on the Verizon talks, said Microsoft hasn´t changed its strategy of licensing Windows Mobile to handset makers.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: WSJ.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=3952

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