Sam Sebastian - Google, Inc.


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Where are we all headed? - Key digital trends affecting business and the consumer.

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  • At Google we believe that open systems win. They lead to more innovation, value, and freedom of choice for consumers, and a vibrant, profitable, and competitive ecosystem for businesses. There are two components to our definition of open: open technology and open information. Open technology includes open source, meaning we release and actively support code that helps grow the Internet, and open standards, meaning we adhere to accepted standards and, if none exist, work to create standards that improve the entire Internet (and not just benefit Google). Open information means that when we have information about users we use it to provide something that is valuable to them, we are transparent about what information we have about them, and we give them ultimate control over their information. The conventional wisdom goes that companies should lock in customers to lock out competitors. There are different tactical approaches
  • razor companies make the razor cheap and the blades expensive, while the old IBM made the mainframes expensive and the software ... expensive too. Either way, a well-managed closed system can deliver plenty of profits. They can also deliver well-designed products in the short run — the iPod and iPhone being the obvious examples — but eventually innovation in a closed system tends towards being incremental at best (is a four blade razor really that much better than a three blade one?) because the whole point is to preserve the status quo. Complacency is the hallmark of any closed system. If you don't have to work that hard to keep your customers, you won't. Open systems are just the opposite. They are competitive and far more dynamic. In an open system, a competitive advantage doesn't derive from locking in customers, but rather from understanding the fast-moving system better than anyone else and using that knowledge to generate better, more innovative products. The successful company in an open system is both a fast innovator and a thought leader; the brand value of thought leadership attracts customers and then fast innovation keeps them.
  • Networks have always depended on standards to flourish. When railroad tracks were first being laid across the U.S. in the early 19th century, there were seven different standards for track width. The network didn't flourish and expand west until the different railway companies agreed upon a standard width of 4' 8.5". (In this case the standards war was an actual war: Southern railroads were forced to convert over 11,000 miles of track to the new standard after the Confederacy lost to the Union in the Civil War.)
  • In the book Wikinomics, Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams explain how in the mid-1990s private firms were discovering and patenting large amounts of DNA sequence data and then assuming control over who could access that information and at what price. Having so much of the genome under private ownership raised costs and made drug discovery far less efficient. Then, in 1995, Merck Pharmaceuticals and the Gene Sequencing Center at Washington University changed the game by creating a new, open initiative called the Merck Gene Index. Within three years they had published over 800,000 gene sequences into the public domain, and soon other collaborative projects followed suit. This in an industry where early stage R&D was traditionally pursued individually in closed labs, so Merck's open approach not only changed the culture of the entire field but also accelerated the pace of biomedical research and drug development. It gave researchers everywhere unrestricted access to an open resource of genetic information. So if you are trying to grow an entire industry as broadly as possible, open systems trump closed. And that is exactly what we are trying to do with the Internet. Our commitment to open systems is not altruistic. Rather it's good business, since an open Internet creates a steady stream of innovations that attracts users and usage and grows the entire industry. So there was some precedent in 1974 when Vint Cerf and his colleagues proposed using an open standard (which became TCP/IP) to connect the several computer networks that had emerged around the U.S. They didn't know exactly how many networks were out there so the "Internet" — a term Vint coined — had to be open. Any network could connect using TCP/IP, and now, as a result of that decision, there are about 681 million hosts on the Internet. At every step of the way, the transaction, a consensual agreement where each party gets something of value, was powered by a new type of information that allowed a contract to be enforced. On the web, the new form of commerce is the exchange of personal information for something of value. This is a transaction that millions of us participate in every day, and it has potentially great benefits. An auto insurer could monitor a customer's driving habits in real-time and give a discount for good driving — or charge a premium for speeding — powered by information (GPS tracking) that wasn't available only a few years ago. Trust is the most important currency online, so to build it we adhere to three principles of open information: value, transparency, and control. First and foremost, we need to make products that are valuable to users. In many cases, we can make our products even better if we know more information about the user, but privacy concerns can arise if people don't understand what value they are getting in return for their information. This should be our default approach: tell people, in obvious, plain language, what we know about them and why it's valuable to them that we know it. Think that your product's value is so obvious that it doesn't need explaining? There's a good chance you're wrong. Next, we need to make it easy for users to find out what information we gather and store about them across all of our products. Finally, we must always give control to the user. The ability to switch is critical, so instead of building walls around your product, build bridges. Give users real options.
  • The iPod revolutionized how people listen to their music. When it introduced it increased the amount of music that a person could carry with them and presented an easy to navigate interface. Since the introduction, the interface has changed a few times, the amount of music it could carry has increased, they have added different colors and sizes, and the screen has changed. These changes are necessary to sell incremental iPods to both new users and people who already own an older model. The sustainable business related to the iPod is iTunes. In comparison, it’s an open business where anyone with or without an iPod can purchase and enjoy music and video content. All you need is a computer.
  • Selling your old things is nothing new, in-fact I can’t think of anything more American. Newspapers were helpful, allowing people to reach a larger audience but were still relatively closed. Online, open markets for selling have created a new industry where individuals have created businesses out of selling their things and selling other peoples things at a small cost to the seller. Ebay and craigslist are not simply online versions of the classified section, they use the power of the internet to make the selling your things easier and more effective.
  • listings going online - mls walled communities becoming open/sharable/searchable > zillow, trulia
  • All the world's information will be accessible from the palm of every person Mobile is the fastest growing communications medium in history. How fast? When the Internet was first made available to the public, in 1983, there were 400 servers. Twenty five years later: well over 600 million. Today, over 1.4 billion people, nearly a quarter of the world's population, use the Internet, with more than 200 million new people coming online every year.
  • More than 4 billion people have mobile phones, with 1.2 billion new phones expected to be sold this year. More Internet-enabled phones will be sold and activated in 2010 than personal computers. This means that every fellow citizen of the world will have in his or her pocket the ability to access the world's information. Other communication mediums don’t even come close to mobile. You’d need the readership of 8x as many newspapers, 4x as many television subscribers, or 2.5x as many laptop owners to achieve 4B in reach. In fact, not only is mobile bigger than the internet and bigger than TV, it’s bigger than the internet and TV combined. Mobile is a personal device and therefore enjoys a 1-to-1 relationship with its owner, while televisions and PCs are often shared amongst families and are thus 1-to-many devices. Because mobile phones are tied to a single owner, mobile will create the ability to individually target more people than any other channel—and while this is an opportunity that you may not have thought about yet, it’s going to be something that you want to start thinking about today. Because we’re not talking about tomorrow or five years later, we’re talking about 4B today and who knows how many more in the future. Source:
  • As this growth happens, search will remain the killer application. For most people, it is the reason they access the Internet: to find answers and solve real problems. But with the addition of geo-location functionality, smart companies will figure out how to do things better than they can in other mediums. Already companies are harnessing the power of mobile to bring more benefits to their user base. Fandango’s app will tell you what movies are playing near you and what theaters are near you. Google maps and earth will use your location to deliver information relevant to you given your current location. Nike created a whole line of shoes that work with the iPhone to track runner’s workouts. The creation of this technology increased their share of running shoe sales significantly. Shazam allows a user to record, look up, and buy music they hear, where ever they hear it.
  • The Navionics Ski app not only gives you ski resort maps and allows you to geo-tag pictures, but it tracks where you’ve skied on the map along with your number of runs, max speed, distanced travelled, and more. The Flight Track app allows you to track your flights in real time, giving you gate info, flight delay and cancelation alerts, flight maps with weather radar, and other helpful travel information.
  • The Internet allows for deeper and more informed participation and representation than has ever been possible. We see this happening frequently, particularly with our Geo products. The Surui tribe in the Amazon rain forest uses Google Earth to mark the boundaries of their land and work with authorities to stop illegal logging. Sokwanele, a civic action group in Zimbabwe, used the Google Maps API on their website to document reported cases of political violence and intimidation after the controversial Presidential election in March 2008. Armed with this map, the group can better convey and defend their argument that elections in Zimbabwe are neither free nor fair. The stakes couldn't be higher for these people. We can give them a fighting chance. Most government websites can't be crawled, but with Sitemaps, thousands of pages have been unlocked. In the US, several states have opened up their public records through Sitemaps, and the Department of Energy's Office of Science & Technology Information made 2.3 million research findings available in just twelve hours. Information transparency helps people decide who is right and who is wrong and to determine who is telling the truth. But as powerful as it can be in politics, data has the potential to be even more transformational in business. Oil fueled the Industrial Revolution, but data will fuel the next generation of growth. All of our products should reflect our bias toward giving our customers, users, and partners as much data as possible - and letting them do with it what they wish. Then they can run their business like we do, by making decisions based on facts, not opinions.
  • Too often we do not sit back to think where large data sets can influence the precision with which you make marketing decisions. Google Analytics and other similar packages are the best friend of any webmaster and some SEM analysts. Insights for Search is often in the holster of the same SEM analysts. But when do we stop to think to use these tools for the greater use of our businesses? Earlier we discussed how you can use search to identify emerging consumer interests. We can also use search data for further powerful data analysis: tying search into what is actually happening in the consumer marketplace.
  • Google Analytics - Screenshot of daily alerts.
  • Within the next decade, people will use their computers completely differently than how they do today. All of their files, correspondence, contacts, pictures, and videos will be stored or backed-up in the network cloud and they will access them from wherever they happen to be on whatever device they happen to hold. Access to data, applications, and content will be seamless and device-agnostic. The power of innovation and the cloud are driving two trends. First, because the tools of innovation are so easy and inexpensive to access, and consumers are so numerous and easy to reach, the consumer market now gets the greatest innovations first. It's easy to forget that just twenty years ago the best technology was found in the workplace: computers, software, phone systems, etc. Thirty years ago all you software geniuses working on Search, Ads, and Apps would have been programmers at IBM; forty years ago, at NASA. Now, the best technology starts with consumers, where a Darwinian market drives innovation that far surpasses traditional enterprise tools, and migrates to the workplace only after thriving with consumers. Think of Google Video for Business, which started out as YouTube and then evolved to the enterprise. How many businesses out there have even conceived of how useful this can be to them? Not many, perhaps because only a year ago the costs of having such an internal service were prohibitive. No longer.
  • The cloud is changing out we go about our personal lives. We used to display our memories in photo albums and now use photo storage and sharing websites like Picassa, Flickr, etc. Your local video store used to be the only place you could go to find a movie, now you can have movies sent to your home or stream movies from your computer online. Second, it used to be that every growing business would at some point have to make a big investment in computers and software for accounting systems, customer management systems, email servers, maybe even phone or video conferencing systems. Today, all of those services are available via the network cloud, and you pay for it only as you use it. So small businesses can scale up without making those huge capital investments, which is especially important in a recession. Access to sophisticated computer systems, and all the value they can deliver, was previously the realm of larger companies. Cloud computing levels that playing field so that the small business has access to the same systems that large businesses do. Given that small businesses generate most of the jobs in the economy, this is no small trend. Computers now mediate virtually every commercial transaction, recording it, collecting data, and monitoring it, which means that we can now write and enforce contracts that were previously impossible. When you rent a car, you could be offered a thirty percent discount for agreeing not to exceed the speed limit, a deal that they could actually enforce with GPS reporting! Would you take it?
  • The Give It A Ponder campaign is an example of how a company can harness the power and efficiency of popular social networking websites. The Campaign Elements: TV Commercial that drives traffic to Vanity URL Simple site at Vanity URL  that tells you what to do.  This is probably the best combined use of Social Media I've seen.  The link names and destination sites are outlined below. Videos: YouTube Friends: Facebook Pics: Flickr Ponder This: Twitter Mobile Harassment: Wikipedia
  • One thing that we have learned in our industry is that people have a lot to say. They are using the Internet to publish things at an astonishing pace. 120K blogs are created daily — most of them with an audience of one. Over half of them are created by people under the age of nineteen. In the US, nearly 40 percent of Internet users upload videos, and globally over fifteen hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. The web is very social too: about one of every six minutes that people spend online is spent in a social network of some type. As our economist Hal Varian has noted, in the early days of the Web every document had at the bottom, "Copyright 1997. Do not redistribute." Now those same documents have at the bottom, "Copyright 2009. Click here to send to your friends." Sharing, not guarding information, has become the golden standard on the web. The clamor of junk threatens to drown out voices of quality. Just like a newspaper needs great reporters, the web needs experts. When it comes to information, not all of it is created equal and the web's future depends on attracting the best of it. There are millions of people in the world who are truly experts in their fields — scientists, scholars, artists, engineers, architects — but a great majority of them are too busy being experts in their fields to become experts in ours. They have a lot to say but no time to say it. Do you have any info or data that shows how any of these trends might affect how consumer make buying decisions or what the role of experts (in whatever field) may be if consumers now have so many ways to gather and synthesize information from other consumers (non-experts). Are consumers overwhelmed with information, thus needing an expert to guide them moreso than in the past, for example? The non-real estate example I think of is the fact that there are thousands of mutual funds available to consumers, but the fact that there is this breadth of choice either causes investors to do nothing or seek the advice of a financial planner.
  • This is a screenshot from Gary Hayes’ Social Media Counts website. This site applies growth equations of various types of social media content to display the amount of content being created in real time. The screenshot is showing how much content will be created over the period of one day and 15 seconds. In that time there will be an estimated: Nearly 900k blog posts 4M tweets sent on Twitter 5M iPhone apps downloaded 30k hours of video uploaded to YouTube 2B searches made on Google 2M images uploaded to Flickr This speaks to the extraordinary amount of data being created by people worldwide. There are a few things to consider: If your company is still releasing data once a month, qtr, or year, you are not operating at the current speed of the internet and are likely losing voice. Home buyers and sellers looking for information regarding their real estate transaction are looking through an overload of information from sources both credited and uncredited. There are many opportunities to connect with home buyers and sellers to strengthen your business Living statistics - All of this personal content opens opportunities to connect on new levels.
  • Master Card Priceless Picks Looking for the best burger in town? The perfect bench to catch a sunset? Or a secret place to watch the world go by? You'll find them all with Priceless Picks. Also available as an iPhone app , use Priceless Picks to find offers, reviews and recommendations in your area. It uses 3D Bird’s-Eye Map View to show all the picks around you. And it even has filters that make finding what you’re looking for easier. So whether you’re looking for priceless things around you, or want to share your own, you’ve come to the right place. Users post their favorite spots around the world to create a personal experience on behalf of MasterCard.
  • When Starbucks launched their instant coffee product, Via, they reached out to the YouTube community to find out how people were using the product. They received videos ranging from first taste reactions, locations where people are making and enjoying the product, even recipes. This campaign created entertainment and engagement surrounding the brand in addition to learning valuable information surrounding their new product and how it is being used by consumers.
  • Closing remarks These are huge trends we are seeing in the market place that are changing how consumers consume, and how businesses operate
  • Sam Sebastian - Google, Inc.

    1. 1. Where Are We All Headed? Key Digital Trends Affecting Business and the Consumer Sam Sebastian, Director, Classifieds, Local & B2B Markets March 2010
    2. 2. Five Digital Trends Affecting Business and the Consumer <ul><li>Open vs. Closed </li></ul><ul><li>Information in the palm of your hand </li></ul><ul><li>When data is abundant intelligence can win </li></ul><ul><li>Computing will happen in the cloud </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone will publish </li></ul>
    3. 3. Open Vs. Closed
    4. 4. How Many Blades Does It Take To Sell A New Razor?
    5. 5. Main Frame Computers
    6. 6. It Took A War To Set The Standard And Grow The Railroads
    7. 7. Mapping The Genome - An Open Effort
    8. 8. iTunes Created A New Market For Music Closed Open
    9. 9. Open Revolutionized How We Sell Our Old Things
    10. 10. What Does “Open” Mean For Real Estate?
    11. 11. Information In The Palm Of Your Hand
    12. 12. 6.7B 4B Source: TomiAhonen Consulting 2009 8X 4X 3.5X 3X 2.5X Mobile Is Too Big To Ignore
    13. 13. How Do We Use Mobile To Improve What We Offer? Location Movement Music Fandago Nike Plus Shazam
    14. 14. How Do We Use Mobile To Improve What We Offer? Navigation Timing Navionics Ski Flight Track
    15. 15. When Data Is Abundant Intelligence Can Win
    16. 16. But Mining Through This Data Is Not Easy
    17. 17. 192MM searchers in the U.S. and they want more from their Search results Source: eMarketer Dashboard, September 2009, 2.Hitwise, June 2009 Longer search queries, 4-8+ words, have increased up to +34% between June 2008 and June 2009. Shorter search queries - those averaging one to two words long - have decreased up to -18%. Consumers Seek More Specific Answers Subject June 2008 June 2009 Year Over Year % Change One word 32.42% 26.48% - 18% Two Words 29.92% 28.25% - 6% Three Words 19.24% 22.31% + 16% Four Words 10.16% 12.68% + 25% Five Words 4.6% 5.77% + 25% Six Words 1.79% 2.40% + 34% Seven Words 0.96% 1.00% + 4% Eight + words 0.89% 1.10% + 24%
    18. 18. Tools Are In Place To Stay Organized
    19. 19. Data Beats Opinion
    20. 20. Do Homebuyers And Sellers Need Information Brokers?
    21. 21. <ul><ul><li>Computing Will Happen In The Cloud </li></ul></ul>
    22. 22. <ul><ul><li>Cloud Computing Has Already Changed Landscapes </li></ul></ul>What was offline… … is now in the cloud
    23. 23. <ul><ul><li>Companies Are Using The Cloud To Connect </li></ul></ul>
    24. 24. Everyone Will Publish
    25. 25. Web Content Is Growing At An Enormous Scale
    26. 26.
    27. 28.
    28. 30. Thank You!