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Digital trends 2011
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Digital trends 2011

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Websites and social media melting together, closed social networks, intelligent web sites, TV - the comeback kid

Websites and social media melting together, closed social networks, intelligent web sites, TV - the comeback kid

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  • 1. Jørgen Dalen<br />Kristian Singstad Pålshaugen<br />DIGITAL TRENDS 2011<br />
  • 2. Digital trends 2011<br />TV – the comeback kid (5-14)<br />Closed social networks (15-23)<br />The battle for your credit card (24-32) <br />The return of the curators (33-40)<br />Service Design breaks through (41-49)<br />Specialized search (50-61)<br />Intelligent web solutions (62-70)<br />Websites and social melt together (71-78)<br />
  • 3. About the authors<br />Jørgen Dalen<br />User experience specialist<br />Twitter: @JorgenDalen<br />Kristian Singstad Pålshaugen<br />User experience specialist <br />Twitter: @halo_kris<br />
  • 4. About the authors<br />Halogen AS is a Norwegian consultancy company specializing in web communication, user experience and web analytics<br />Home page: www.halogen.no<br />Blog: http://kjokkenfesten.no<br />
  • 5.                <br />TV – the comeback kid <br />
  • 6. TV – the comeback kid <br />Are you one of those people who watch TV with a laptop in your lap? Do you scramble like a lemming between your TV and your Mac in the other room? <br />Or is the TV where you run to when you desperately need a break from the Internet?<br />Do not despair, all this may soon be a thing of the past - or maybe just get worse.<br />
  • 7. TV – the comeback kid <br />TV hasn't got a lot of attention from the tech crowd in recent years. Beyond being able to record and pause programs, not much has happened with TV apart from picture quality and screen thickness - and there’s not much revolutionary or exciting about that. <br />It's perhaps no wonder that TV is getting little attention. After all, it's a dumb, one-way communication box living in a time of interaction and participation.<br />Well, eat snack on this: watching TV is often more social than using social media, at least if social interaction in the physical world still counts for something. <br />We rarely gather a group of friends in front of a Facebook profile or a Twitter account – ironically most of the time we spend on our "social" media, we spend alone.<br />
  • 8. TV – the comeback kid <br />Your TV is the biggest screen you own, guaranteed. The TV is taking up more and more space in the living room (fortunately now only in width and height and no longer in depth). Is the big screen making a small comeback as the place where it's all happening?<br />It looks like both Apple and Google believe this, with interesting underdogs like Roku and Boxee Box snapping for a piece of the action – of course without the same muscle. <br />True enough, Apple TV was not a great success when it came on the scene a few years ago and although there are few who buy Apple's contention that so far it's only been a "hobby", the giants now seem to be determined to own the largest of your digital screens and add it to the ever-growing gaggle of gadgets we deal with daily.<br />
  • 9. TV – the comeback kid <br />Both Google and Apple are lacing up the same pair of boxing gloves they use in the fight for the phone market. Google is using its open Android platform and aims for distribution via more or less any manufacturer of TVs, Blu-ray players that wants in on the action.<br />Apple uses its stylish, but closed iOS system, which means you better be satisfied with what is on offer on iTunes (OK, Netflix is already onboard, and more are likely to be on the way, but it’s still going to be very far from wide-open). <br />Where Apple wrestles with content providers, Google relies on content that is already available on the open Internet.<br />
  • 10. TV – the comeback kid <br />Will that old charmer from the 80s, picture-in-picture, get a new life? And will people really follow a Twitter feed on the same screen as Grey's Anatomy? <br />Or is the web more like Moses and the mountain - TV via Internet just makes a lot more sense than Internet on the TV?<br />Many have pointed out that the Web and TV have two very different usage patterns – the one is seeking and interactive, the other is passive. But passive consumption need not be a bad thing in our hectic lives. Families don’t sit through a whole Friday night in front of the TV with their favorite food for lack of being able to get their favorite YouTube clips on the big screen.<br />
  • 11. TV – the comeback kid <br />Downloading a film and watching it on TV is already commonplace and it is easy to predict that this will happen even more in a wireless world. But then the computer acts, after all, like a glorified DVD player, when it could be used for a lot more.<br />The question is: Where, if anywhere, will it go from here? Will the TV be an extension of the Web in the home? Will Internet content free itself enough from websites that consuming it on the TV can be tailored to the format instead of feeling so much like a browser experience? Can cable companies maintain their grip and provide good enough content on demand to make it hard to justify buying yet another box? <br />Those who succeed with the New TV Experience will certainly have to thoroughly understand the entire digital universe.<br />
  • 12. TV – the comeback kid <br />One thing is certain - checking e-mail or writing Word documents on a TV is never going to be a big hit. Google also has a little problem in taking advantage of its greatest strength – search – since inputting text is notoriously cumbersome on anything but a keyboard (and who would want a keyboard attached to a TV?) <br />Whether Apple TV has a better chance this time around is hard to say. Upon launch it seemed a bit underwhelming, but maybe a simple hub to tie your TV to the rest of your iGadgets is just what was needed, but it was only too obvious for everyone to realize it? <br />After all, it’s less about functionality and more about user experience. That’s why the TV manufacturers should leave it to the big boys. <br />
  • 13. TV – the comeback kid <br />Our prediction regardless is that what will really pull TV into the ecosystem is when the giants open their platforms for apps like they have on their smart phones. If we see the same innovation from smaller developers on TVs as we have seen on smart phones (and eventually on tablets), then anything can happen.<br />Nevertheless, we believe TV, like tablets, must find its niche among all the other screens we gaze at daily – all of them will not be used for everything. And although some apps might work across phone, tablet and TV platforms, we do not believe that «one-design-fits-all». Interfaces, apps and services must be designed specifically for TV, both in terms of screen size, input options and context. Just like every other platform, in other words.<br />
  • 14. TV – the comeback kid<br />Why? 40 inches is cooler than 4. It's great that we can watch films on a screen the size of a credit card on the bus, but few would choose this for its own sake. Virtually nobody has a desktop computer anymore, and smart phones and laptops are just different gadgets for different degrees of being on the move. When the Internet is now an integral part of our social life and available everywhere, it would be odd if TV didn't find its place among all of this!<br />Why not? Even though we are increasingly online, we still spend many hours in front of the TV. So maybe it doesn't need saving? We have a real need to passively consume, alone or with others. The fact that TV doesn't have the constant interruptions of open windows, incoming messages and clickable elements is a strength, not a weakness. And how will you interact with your TV? Certainly not by sitting in complete darkness with a keyboard. Nor by dragging potato chip greased fingers across the screen. Moreover, it's tiring enough to argue about which channel to watch – surfing the Web together with others would be even worse. <br />
  • 15.                <br />Closed <br />social networks<br />
  • 16. Closed social networks<br />Do you think Twitter feels more like Grand Central Station during rush hour than an interesting discussion in a comfortable social setting? <br />Are you tired of seeing pictures of kids from people you barely know? Did you not see the invitation to the weekend party until Monday while all weekend you waded through messages about what people were having for dinner? <br />Now that everyone has gotten used to sharing everything with the world, the time has come for more targeted communication in closed social networks.<br />
  • 17. Closed social networks<br />What is the future for social media? Better filtering of information? More social conventions and control? Rewards for those who provide valuable content?<br />Up until now social media has focused on meeting our need for attention and teaching us to live out our social lives online. During the past year it has become less and less fun but increasingly important, as it has changed from an amusing pastime to an integral part of how we socialize. <br />We believe the services will now climb up the social hierarchy of needs by offering sharing with peers and quality time with those you actually care about.<br />
  • 18. Closed social networks<br />We can already hear the sound of what's coming around the next bend. <br />Take filtering of information. Google just launched their Priority Inbox in Gmail which automatically attempts to highlight the emails you are likely to read while pushing out of sight the newsletters and emails you can't be bothered with.<br />Although there is still a veil of mystery over the social component Google Me it is clear that the Giant gets it: communicating via social media today is like quenching thirst with a fire hose - current services do not take into account that you communicate differently to different parts of your social circle. <br />
  • 19. Closed social networks<br />Facebook has also worked with filtering, first with the Top News version of the news feed as an alternative to chronological viewing - a feature that is now starting to function pretty well. <br />The next steps are their newly redesigned group functionality and their upcoming "social messaging system" which promises to serve us messages we actually want to read (primarily through the manually-managed groups that are shared by all members, in addition to our actual friends).<br />Dedicated solutions for small networks, like Path, have already hit the market. Will the lightweights be wiped off the map by a group feature in Facebook or will they survive? Time will tell.<br />With Twitter you have to try to separate the wheat from the chaff yourself using third-party clients. Twitter is currently the service where it is easiest to get lost in the chaos.<br />
  • 20. Closed social networks<br />We believe the steps we are now seeing to compartmentalize our digital social lives are totally necessary and only the first steps out of the mess we've ended up in. <br />The challenge is that there is no universal answer to what is relevant (if we had that answer we'd be billionaires). The concept of relevance in social media is in many ways even more complex than for example ranking search results, because small individual differences have major significance. Some love Leeds, while others love their mother, for no apparent reason. <br />The value of a short status message is not universal but highly dependent on the relationship between the sender and receiver and their common references. Faced with this, even the most advanced technology has no chance.<br />
  • 21. Closed social networks<br />Without a common set of conventions, social activities often don't work well. When, in addition, various conventions and codes apply to different social contexts, the picture becomes even more complex. <br />Even if reasonable conventions existed we would not be able to decide which of our 300 friends to share with every time we had something to say - this would be a full-time job.<br />If interaction in our private lives is ever to work, we think the solution will be to distinguish between different circles and facets of our social graph. The result of this will be more closed, but also more meaningful social networks.<br />
  • 22. Closed social networks<br />Social media has been a bit like the Wild West - lawless and constantly changing. Is there a digital neo-puritanism on the way? Not exactly, but the need for more meaningful communication is becoming acute. We are optimists and believe that already by the end of next year many of the problems will be reduced. <br />This is because the solution is not primarily more advanced technology but more sensible use of what already exists.<br />And in a couple of years we will be comparing chronological, unprioritised communication with the old days when e-mail had no spam filtering.<br />.<br />
  • 23. Closed social networks<br />Why? Social media has so far trained us up to share everything we do with our social networks, but we are reaching the breaking point in terms of irrelevant messages. It is impossible to rely only on social conventions when the network becomes too large, so we need simple and almost invisible tools for more targeted and meaningful communication.<br />Why not? The temptation to share our messages with everyone is just too big. Pure laziness and our need for attention means we will follow the path of least resistance and accept the fact that we know everything about each other anyway - at least everything we choose to reveal through our polished, digital façade.<br />
  • 24.                <br />The battle for your credit card<br />
  • 25. The battle for your credit card<br />In the last couple of years there has been a battle raging to own your digital identity. <br />Now they want your credit card.<br />
  • 26. The battle for your credit card<br />The essential raw material of social networking services is of course the network itself. Meaningful networks take a lot of time to build, so if you're sitting on this gold mine you wouldn't want to give it away. <br />Yet this is exactly what Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google have managed to squander. Through the e-mail services Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail and Gmail they knew who your contacts were and who you communicated with. <br />A few years ago we predicted that Social Inboxes would be the next big thing and that the Giants would see the light in time and be uniquely positioned to build social network services since they already had the users, network and communications. <br />How wrong a person can be.<br />
  • 27. The battle for your credit card<br />True enough, they have made recent attempts. Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail offer you a feed of status messages and events. <br />Google tried at the beginning of the year with a sort of Facebook / Twitter hybrid called Google Buzz. But it was all too little and much, much too late. <br />Facebook has already won the battle for your identity and your network and as e-mail rapidly loses ground as the preferred form of communication in our daily social life, it will take more than pale imitations of Facebook and Twitter to win you back…<br />
  • 28. The battle for your credit card<br />Meanwhile, the battle has shifted to new areas. Now they are fighting for your credit card. Simply put, there are two ways to make money in this context - indirectly through advertising and directly from the user's wallet (there are a lot of exciting things happening on the advertising side too, but that'll have to wait for another time.)<br />If Facebook won the last round, it's Apple that has the lead this time. Admittedly, Apple's launch of the new social aspect of iTunes, Ping was no great success after Zuck pulled the plug on the Facebook integration at the last minute and Ping didn't have much more to offer than suggesting users follow Mariah Carey and U2. <br />There may not be much social interaction happening on iTunes but Apple is sitting with credit card information for millions of users.<br />
  • 29. The battle for your credit card<br />Why is this so important? Because it is infinitely easier to spend money when you can do it with one click, rather than having to enter a name, a 16-digit card number, expiration date and security code, especially when we're talking small amounts, like under $5. <br />When Apple also skims 30% off all such purchases (as they do through the App Store for the iPod / iPhone / iPad, not only for the applications but also content and anything else you buy through the apps) they are sitting on a money machine. <br />Facebook may have 500 million users and an ad platform that has become a billion dollar industry but we can guarantee that they are also working very hard to get a piece of your purchases. If they can get you to buy once, then next time you are just a click away.<br />
  • 30. The battle for your credit card<br />If Google manages to create something similar on its Android mobile phone platform (which will soon have more users than the iPhone) and ties it all to a Google user account, then they could greatly improve their position. <br />Google has had Google Checkout for a while, used mostly for PayPal payments, and it could get a new important role. This is a war being fought on many fronts.<br />
  • 31. The battle for your credit card<br />So what is Facebook's battle plan? They have launched Facebook Credits, a currency valid within the Facebook universe including all its applications. Although the idea of exchanging hard cash into Facebook money might not be so tempting, at least Facebook has an enormous range of potential places to use it, if they manage to get it off the ground. <br />Being able to buy plane tickets directly through an airline's Facebook page, for example, seems attractive, although Facebook can only dream of getting Apple's 30% margin. <br />And if they manage to spread Facebook Credits outside Mark's closed world and all over the Web like they have with Facebook Connect and Like buttons, exciting things could happen.<br />
  • 32. The battle for your credit card<br />Why? Shopping online no longer just means plane tickets and cosmetics from abroad. An increasing number of small goods are being sold and a bleeding media industry is desperate to get paid for digital content. Facebook now accounts for over a quarter of all page views in the US. When we already spend half our day on Facebook and increasingly relate to other brands there, it is a small step for Facebook to put a straw right into your wallet.<br />Why not? Okay, so we buy a few MP3s on iTunes (but fewer all the time) and we follow a bunch of brands on Facebook to get good deals. But a fan page is still a far cry from a proper web shop. For the big ticket items, using 30 seconds to fill out a credit card screen is a small sacrifice and in fact is a bit reassuring (it shouldn't be as easy to buy a new refrigerator as it is to click on "Like"). And all the small content items? Well, the media industry may think that if we just get a fancy, glossy iPad app then we will be willing to pay for things we can find for free elsewhere. Hope springs eternal. Maybe virtual currency works for online gaming, but will users really want to play store?<br />
  • 33.                <br />The return of the curators<br />
  • 34. The return of the curators<br />Journalists are getting laid off, media outlets are closing down and the survivors are clinging desperately to the faint hope that people will soon start paying for content. <br />We watch the films that are most popular with our friends and buy the books that others have bought on Amazon. <br />Some believe that crowdsourcing, the summarized opinion of the masses, will give us everything we need. We believe that we still desperately need experts who can act as curators.<br />
  • 35. The return of the curators<br />We now have access to everything in real time, from gut-reaction messages from our friends to seven-second-old news flashes. Online encyclopedias are updated with the date of death while the celebrity's body is still warm. And this is fantastic! <br />Real-time opinions have become a sign of authenticity because the sender has not had time to be calculating. <br />We have never lived so much in the moment…<br />
  • 36. The return of the curators<br />But why are you checking Twitter when you did it two minutes ago? <br />We do not believe the fantastic nature of real-time information is the only reason we can't get enough of it.<br />Psychology has taught us that the best way to get people hooked on something is to give them a random reward (or variable ratio reinforcement as B.F. Skinner called it). The result is an all-consuming desire for the reward. <br />Twitter quickly becomes like a slot machine in Las Vegas - you never know when you'll get a bite and a response to a tweet, so you might as well drop in another quarter.<br />
  • 37. The return of the curators<br />Our ability to remember information is no better than Stone Age man's. When ten seconds on Twitter represents as much information as the collected life work of a famous writer, we are forced to make choices. <br />If you truly want to live in the moment, your time horizon will be reduced to just a few seconds. Are we all in the process of developing a collective digital Korsakoff's syndrome with reduced time horizons, lack of insight, apathy and meaningless conversations?<br />LudvigHolberg is a Norwegian writer whose popularity has fluctuated over the last 300 years, but maybe it is time to dust off The Fidget, the story of a man who was too busy to get anything done. <br />.<br />
  • 38. The return of the curators<br />We need someone who can cure us of the misery in our digital reality. <br />With ten million songs to listen to, a million films to watch and 25,000 newspapers to read, what can you do? All the opinions your friends spew out sound like a conversation with 250 taxi drivers. <br />People are different. There is a reason that any good night club has a professional DJ at the controls and doesn't let the guests crowdsource the playlist. <br />We need someone who can lead the way and place events into meaningful contexts. We need someone who can master mass communication. We need someone who can impart knowledge and not just one-liners…<br />
  • 39. The return of the curators<br />When everything comes at you in real-time, there's not much room for research, naturally enough. <br />That's why we need people who are already familiar with what we are looking for or where we can find it. If you base your choices solely on what your friends like, then all the choices will become more and more alike. We also need experts and opinion makers who can serve as a breath of fresh air. <br />Until now, social media has been a wild horse that has thrown off the experts - we think they are getting back in the saddle..<br />
  • 40. The return of the curators<br />Why? The need for good, accurate and relevant information is timeless, even if we want to receive it in real-time. Social networks and good tools have given us something new, but have not replaced the need for experts and curators for our digital lives.<br />Why not? The social tools have forever changed the way we communicate. At the same time, as a species we are still communicating as we always have - with those who happen to be in our social circle, even if the tribe has now been replaced by a cloud of contacts. The experts are toppled from their pedestal for good.<br />
  • 41.                <br />Service design breaks through<br />
  • 42. Service design breaks through<br />Horrible digital solutions have become rarer, fortunately. The biggest cause of user frustration now is the missing link between the product or service and everything else around it that affects the user experience. <br />Service Design is a buzzword that has suffered from "define the damn thing" syndrome. This is typical for new disciplines. <br />We think it will become an essential part of the toolbox used by anyone wanting to create excellent user experiences.<br />
  • 43. Service design breaks through<br />Service Design is more a methodology than a profession, although there are competent companies that have specialized in it for years. By turning the notion of individual products into connected services, it becomes easier to streamline the whole user experience.<br />After your cool gadget from the online store arrives at your door in the world's saddest cardboard box, a week late, your user experience is already on thin ice. And when the online ticket service is brought to its knees every time tickets are released for a popular event, it doesn't help much that it runs smoothly 99% of the time. <br />Products and services do not exist in a vacuum and when working with design it is easy to overlook the fact that much of the user's experience happens outside the screen. The buying process, use, follow-up and customer service are essential aspects of how your customers live with what you create.<br />
  • 44. Service design breaks through<br />Digital thinkers are often in the forefront of developments, but with service design they are lagging behind. <br />Traditional, staid business sectors like hospitality and tourism have always understood customer service and have been better at integrating digital channels into their service concepts rather than staring blindly at new gadgets.<br />Service Design has been practiced consciously or unconsciously for ages but it seems like it must be re-learned every time a new medium appears or a new group has to deal with it.<br />
  • 45. Service design breaks through<br />Consumers must deal with more channels and media than ever before. Designers, for their part, often have a favorite medium. Maybe it's professional pride that leads many to stick to what they know. <br />In addition, design of physical products has had a higher status than the design of services. This is rather unfortunate, considering that most of the workforce in the western world works in service industries. <br />This means there is plenty of room and opportunities for businesses and new gurus.<br />
  • 46. Service design breaks through<br />Service Design can also be connected to the trend of using design processes to solve problems not typically associated with design, for example jostling for spots at outdoor bars and urban pollution. <br />This design approach therefore opens the door for other perspectives (and disciplines) than those traditionally working with user experience. And this is great! <br />Academic communities have been a strong driving force here. The service design network – established first in academic circles – is beginning to gain momentum. <br />
  • 47. Service design breaks through<br />Being responsible for a "holistic" approach can easily be confused with sitting in the driver's seat of a project. So it's not surprising that there has been a heated debate around the service design concept. <br />We don't know if the following statement is typical for the UX community - "I think any distinction that you could draw between service design and user experience is purely academic" (Jesse James Garrett) - but it certainly pushed Jeff Howard's buttons and led to his blog post Rock Stars Need Not Apply. <br />Anyway, it's hard not to feel a massive sense of déjà vu with the never-ending interaction design vs. information architecture debate, which seemed to fade away last time more because people got tired of it than because clear boundaries were defined.<br />
  • 48. Service design breaks through<br />Whether UX vs. service design is a pseudo debate or a deathmatchremains to be seen, but it will be a sad paradox if those who are responsible for keeping a "holistic" perspective try to use this to exclude other approaches. <br />If a total user experience is what we're trying to build, then all the disciplines involved should have a common goal to work towards. Whether we call it a way of thinking, a discipline, a methodology, a philosophy or "same shit, new wrapping" there is little doubt that service design is sorely needed.<br />
  • 49. Service design breaks through<br />Why? More and more people are being exposed to solutions that have taken service design seriously and the fact that digital solutions are now integrated into our lives rather than something we use in isolation makes it imperative to design with the entire user context in mind. Smooth services lead often (although not necessarily) to more efficient use of resources - saving money and the environment. <br />Why not? A holistic view of all the service aspects can take away from a clear focus on the core product. Where do you draw the line on what to look at? Creating an effective channel strategy is still a very daunting task that few master. We also expect a professional battle here - who are the real experts in this interdisciplinary field? It could all end in an academic quarrel which will turn off the practitioners in the "real world". Besides, haven't we just been doing this all along - isn't it just a question of good or bad products and services?<br />
  • 50.                <br />Specialized search<br />
  • 51. Specialized search<br />After a decade of total dominance by Google, we believe search is now standing at a crossroads.<br />Small (and large) companies have tried to challenge the Giant, with varying degrees of success. We believe 2011 will be the year when Google's one size fits all concept is seriously threatened. <br />The open web (a prerequisite for Google's success) is not dead, but the trend toward locking up various types of information means that the playing field is changing. <br />After numerous attempts, the time has finally come for niche search.<br />
  • 52. Specialized search<br />It may have started to get serious with person search. Users started to see how effective social distance is for finding people, whether searching on Facebook or an Intranet in a large organization. <br />The social graph is a completely different way to rank content than the familiar Google Page Rank. The Giant is struggling to corral the growing herd of different content types. <br />Another example is real-time information (mentioned in last year's Trends). We have seen twitter messages fly up and down on search results lists without quite managing to find their place. <br />We have also witnessed the exceptionally weak Google Products offering, which hasn't exactly set our credit cards on fire..<br />
  • 53. Specialized search<br />After a decade of total dominance by Google, we believe search is now standing at a crossroads.<br />Small (and large) companies have tried to challenge the Giant, with varying degrees of success. We believe 2011 will be the year when Google's one size fits all concept is seriously threatened. <br />The open web (a prerequisite for Google's success) is not dead, but the trend toward locking up various types of information means that the playing field is changing. <br />After numerous attempts, the time has finally come for niche search.<br />
  • 54. Specialized search<br />The battle is no longer just about the best possible way to search through all the open information on the Internet. <br />Much of the really useful information is increasingly locked up in specialized services that will not give away their data to just anybody. This applies to Facebook and Twitter as well as Groupon (a two-year-old company that just turned down an offer from Google for six billion dollars), and a host of other services who protect their family jewels.<br />New types of content and needs create opportunities! Here are a handful of examples of specialized search we think can survive in the future:<br />
  • 55. Specialized search<br />The curated search<br />In larger knowledge-based companies we have seen subject area experts tasked with monitoring search queries within their field to help make valuable content available. The result is curated lists of search result lists within key domains, much to the joy of other employees. <br />Maybe we'll see this phenomenon on a larger scale, with experts taking on the job of monitoring and filtering Twitter messages for example?<br />
  • 56. Specialized search<br />The product search<br />When you buy a gadget today you're only interested in two things: which online store is cheapest (overall) and where are the best product tests? <br />The potential for improvement is enormous. We suggest: drop the online stores that do not sell to your country, give a higher ranking to the stores that actually have the item in stock, drop the flaky product promotion pages with 0 reviews, make it possible to buy directly from the search result, etc.. <br />As already mentioned, Google launched one of its most dismal new initiatives, Google Products and has also been at constant war with various directory, price comparison and product review services that have littered the search results pages, turning Google into a Russian doll where you never get through to the information you really need. The Giant has become a kind of victim of its own business model, which has had a negative impact on quality<br />
  • 57. Specialized search<br />The fact search<br />If you want to find the most correct answer to a question, you shouldn't ask your friends or celebrities. <br />Currently, Google has solved this by giving Wikipedia an enormously high ranking in almost every knowledge area. We see other niche search services that have focused on the hunger for facts, like the much talked-about Wolfram Alpha. <br />We believe the potential here is huge - and perhaps it is this that best fits into Google's existing concept.<br />
  • 58. Specialized search<br />The alternative input search<br />We have blogged previously on how the TV interface is changing. Since streaming services will likely become more common, we need an alternative search that is different from that offered by Google TV. <br />We don't think users will watch TV with a keyboard in their hands. The two needs here are an easy way for users to input what they are looking for and a relevance model which takes into account that television is a completely different medium. We will see new and exciting combinations of push and pull - combining social media's way of sharing content, user-defined search and the content providers' need for visibility.<br />Google is not resting on its laurels and has launched the far more exciting Google Goggles which lets you take pictures with your mobile phone and then gives you search results based on them. Take a picture of some text and it lets you translate it. Take a picture of AnkorWat and it gives you search results for the landmark. We have great faith in this type of search and if the Giant can manage to achieve high enough accuracy and find more uses for it, this could really be a killer app.<br />.<br />
  • 59. Specialized search<br />The person search<br />We already see growth in the previously mentioned area of person search, including Facesearch, Google's recent purchase Ångströ, pipl and several other services. <br />Free-standing person search suffers from the lack of unique identifiers for individuals, so the benefits only begin accruing when you connect person searches to applications with more complete personal data..<br />
  • 60. Specialized search<br />What will happen to Google?<br />Google has the muscle to both buy up solutions and further develop in many directions. The future may see Google losing much of its dominance or managing to hang on to users through acquisitions and new agreements with content services. <br />The recent experiments with real-time information and product search must be straining against their deep reluctance to integrate all sorts of features for fear of destroying the core product - the simple and efficient user interface. <br />Hopefully Google will not end up like a Swiss army knife that is too big for your pocket. They probably have some critical decisions ahead of them. It will be interesting to follow developments.<br />
  • 61. Specialized search<br />Why? The spread of more closed applications on the Internet will fuel the development of specialized searches. The increased use of mobile solutions and social media means that you need different search interfaces for different tasks. Searching for other content types than text could be the chink in Google's armour where newcomers can thrust in a sword.<br />Why not? A consolidated search (one search box to rule them all) is still the simplest mental model. Google still has too strong a position (and brand), and when even all the billions Microsoft ploughs into Bing only create little dents in Google's armour, it is clear that this is no game for small players. A search is also only as good as the quality of the content being searched and this is going to be a problem in many of the niches that players like Facesearch are trying to carve out. And anyway, it's ads and not search where Google rakes in all their cash - so all the challengers must also figure out how to make money.<br />
  • 62.                <br />Intelligent web solutions<br />
  • 63. Intelligent web solutions<br />Why are websites full of content you couldn't care less about? Why don't they focus more on meeting YOUR needs? <br />Major players like Amazon have been good for a long time at guessing what you like. Now smart solutions are appearing that combine personal preferences, crowdsourcing and hard facts in new and exciting ways. <br />The services will teach, tailor content and help you to choose the right gadget or which school you should apply to. It's been a long time since Jeff Bezos told us that data trumps intuition and he's never been more right. <br />
  • 64. Intelligent web solutions<br />The functionality used by Facebook and Amazon to customise the display of ads and recommendations will not be easy for others to copy. <br />Now we are seeing "mass market" solutions like BTBuckets. When integrated with tools like Google Analytics it enables web solutions to offer special deals to first time visitors, customise advertising based on the user's previous navigation, etc. <br />
  • 65. Intelligent web solutions<br />Other and even more advanced solutions are on the way, like our local Norwegian newcomer cxense which markets itself as an intelligent service that sits on top of the web solution and acts as a kind of sixth sense (we anxiously await the launch!). <br />As web analytics matures as a discipline it will be easier to apply and implement much of the knowledge we have about user behavior. <br />We expect that it will become mainstream for sites to take into account the user's location, how they navigate and past actions - without the user needing to create profiles and checking off lots of boxes. <br />
  • 66. Intelligent web solutions<br />We also believe that usage statistics will be better integrated into publishing solutions so that editors do not have to wait a month to see how an article was received and make adjustments. <br />Wouldn't it be nice if the number of visitors came up directly in the publishing solution in real time! Some businesses have this in place already - we hope it will soon find its way into off the shelf solutions.<br />
  • 67. Intelligent web solutions<br />Other and even more advanced solutions are on the way, like our local Norwegian newcomer cxense which markets itself as an intelligent service that sits on top of the web solution and acts as a kind of sixth sense (we anxiously await the launch!). <br />As web analytics matures as a discipline it will be easier to apply and implement much of the knowledge we have about user behavior. <br />We expect that it will become mainstream for sites to take into account the user's location, how they navigate and past actions - without the user needing to create profiles and checking off lots of boxes. <br />
  • 68. Intelligent web solutions<br />Solutions have also popped up that help solve problems based on information users provide about themselves. One example is Hunch which asks 20 questions to create a taste profile which is then used to recommend products. <br />Another is the online store Measy, which supports you with the most important activity of all: helping you find the perfect gadget. <br />Several players have tried with artificial intelligence technology to create smart helpers, like IKEA's Anna. Most are now gone - and for good reasons. People still rely more on recommendations from their friends than a digital puppet. <br />We are placing our money on solutions that manage to combine fact-driven decision-making mechanisms with recommendation from social media, such as Let Simon Decide.<br />
  • 69. Intelligent web solutions<br />Various online dating services already use psychological profiles and user preferences to make choices easier - perhaps the bravest will dare to include Crowdsourcing and hard facts from the real world (read: chances for divorce) to come up with the optimal partner choice? <br />All the pieces here have been tried before - finding smart new combinations of already established technologies. <br />The possibilities are endless.<br />
  • 70. Intelligent web solutions<br />Why? Technology previously available only to the big players is beginning to trickle down to the rest of us. Facebook will eventually offer direct purchase of products - and they'll have a huge advantage when it comes to personalisation. <br />Traditional online retailers need to really get themselves in gear if they are to remain competitive. Web analytics is maturing as a discipline and it is becoming easier to apply the most important insights about users. <br />Why not? If personalisation requires a lot of effort from the user, this will be a turnoff for many people. Many sites will use this for showing ads - it can quickly get stigmatized as an advertising machine. If the system needs a lot of monitoring and tweaking to work, much of the point will be lost. <br />
  • 71.                <br />Websites and social media melt together<br />
  • 72. Websites and social media melt together<br />Many traditional websites now offer social media feeds and opportunities to share content. It's nice to be able to comment but other social functions seem a bit pointlessly lumped on top of what's already there. <br />We believe 2011 will see many people discussing how the various media can best merge. The result will be a second life for the old workhorse The Website and the creation of new solutions that take the best from both worlds.<br />
  • 73. Websites and social media melt together<br />The most likely reasons that many websites have added social features are because users now expect them, because it has been technically easy and partly as an attempt to reverse declining visitor numbers. <br />We think social functions will get a better defined and more focussed role on the traditional sites. Here are some of the things we might see:<br />
  • 74. Websites and social media melt together<br />Theme pages<br />We see a growing need for editor-curated theme pages that separate the social media grain from the chaff and collect it so users do not have to plough through all the media themselves. In this way users also benefit from the structure of the site, which is its strength. <br />A good example is the fashion website asosfollowsfashion.com, which almost exclusively retrieves content from social media. For business websites, we believe this can work well for web pages devoted to discussions on product and service development.<br />
  • 75. Websites and social media melt together<br />Organization-facilitated communities<br />Discussions in social media so far have had a "Lord of the flies" flavor while traditional sites have suffered from too much one-way communication. <br />We believe that more large businesses will create and facilitate communities where they contribute more actively to the dialogue with their main target groups - thus giving more of themselves - while at the same time retaining some control over the information that comes out.<br />
  • 76. Websites and social media melt together<br />Social press room<br />Journalists are like the rest of us - if they can get the information they need dropped in their lap, they appreciate it. The new social press rooms not only make available a wide range of content from different sources (all quality-assured of course), but also connect this content to specific employees. <br />An example would be comments made by a subject area expert. The fusion of information here makes the journalist's job easier - but also demands more discipline from the employees themselves.<br />
  • 77. Websites and social media melt together<br />Rewarding contributors<br />As the number of blogs and social networking sites increase, so does the competition for involved users and their comments. <br />Websites will therefore need to be able to promote and reward contributors (preferably with more than digital buttons and glossy pictures), such as with lists of "comment heroes" on the front page.<br />
  • 78. Websites and social media melt together<br />Why? Users take for granted that all the features on the site are social. Users are still most concerned with finding the answer to their questions - by integrating media more closely it will be easier for users to get what they want.<br />Why not? The threshold for stating an opinion is lower on social media than websites - by integrating them we will lose much of the special character that makes social media popular.<br />

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