Posts tagged "foursquare"

Microsoft Betters Bing with New Design and foursquare

In addition to some sunshine, the next few months are going to see interesting updates from Bing. Microsoft previewed several new features for their search engine at the Search Engine Strategies 2010 Conference in New York this week, highlighting foursquare integration and new design concepts.

Better Looking Bing

The self-proclaimed "decision engine" has always had roots in the visual side of things. For instance, unlike the simple Google interface, Bing results include a list of links for enhancing your search. Dubbed Quick Tabs, the left-side column of links offers drilled-down suggestions based on your initial query. For example, if I search the word 'sheep', in addition to the regular top results, my Quick Tabs will list links for sheep facts, sheep breeds, cute sheep pictures and raising sheep:

bing_search_results.JPG

Bing search results

It looks a bit busy, doesn't it? In order to remedy that, Microsoft is moving the results to the top of the page (we're not sure whether or not they'll be hidden, but it would be nice).

"We have a vision for Bing to serve as a vital assistant to your online decision-making," said Jeff Henshaw, GPM of Bing's user experience team. "In these latest designs, you’ll see a lighter, cleaner presentation of results that highlight key actions that will efficiently guide you toward your goal."

Fun with foursquare 

Microsoft will also be incorporating foursquare's popular location-based data for a real-time experience with Bing Maps.

"The foursquare map app is a powerful combination of the spatial canvas that Bing Maps provides, combined with foursquare’s user reputation service … making it easier to explore any city in the world as if you were a local," Schwartz continued. "It's like an interactive day planner, designed to help find the best things to do in the area."

Additionally, Microsoft plans to involve Bing with everyday activities as well. Recent focus has been on the world of real-time, and partners include big names like Twitter. Microsoft hopes to incorporate much more significant data into the Bing search experience—an effort you can already see being tested. For example, when you search for a publication like New York Times, Bing now gives you both access to specific sections of the destination website, and the most popular shared links from that publication.

Users can expect all of these updates to be rolled out before the weather goes bad again, and our best guess is they're interesting enough to gain the search engine a few more fans.

Social Media Minute: Facebook Rockets to #2, Mobile is Hot With Socialites

Social media moves so fast, it's hard to keep up. Here are the week's top stories in scan-friendly format:

  • Facebook is now Number Two Site in the U.S.
  • PleaseRobMe Lets Burglars Know When You're not Home
  • Google Admits to Privacy Foul-up
  • Social Networking is Hotter on Mobile than Desktop Web

Facebook Now Number Two Site in the U.S.

The ever-popular social networking site Facebook has moved ahead of a web pioneer company to become the second most popular site in the US. According to compete.com, an Internet analytics company, Facebook is now generating more online traffic than Yahoo.

In January, Facebook was accessed by 133 million unique visitors in the United States, whereas Yahoo garnered 132 million visitors in the same time frame. As a blog post points out, Facebook is also doing very well in the user engagement arena as well. This means that when a Facebook user comes to the web site, they stay on the site for long periods of time, a figure advertisers look to for where to market their goods.

With Facebook crossing the mark of having 400 million users, there is no indication of this traffic growth letting up. With Google ahead of Facebook in terms of monthly traffic, we will all watch and see if Facebook surpasses the search giant in web site popularity amongst U.S. web surfers.

PleaseRobMe Points out When You're not Home

Location based sites (LBS) and games are very popular amongst smart phone owners right now. Services such as Foursquare, Loopt and Gowalla allow you to share your location (and play a game in Foursquare's case) with the public and your social network. If Twitter was voyeuristic, these new class of games take it to a whole new level.

One site, called PleaseRobMe.com aggregates all the updates that folks using these LBS sites and points out "all those empty homes out there." This is because if you're checked in at the Starbucks down the street, your house might be empty for burglars to potentially pay you a visit.

The site has garnered some privacy concerns, but is is pointed out that PleaseRobMe is merely aggregating publicly available information that anyone could find on Twitter. What about you, do you use location based games? Does this site and others alike give you pause the next time you 'check-in"?

Google Admits To Privacy Foul-up

Google launched their Facebook-like social application Buzz and was immediately flooded with privacy concerns from the public regarding the information it allows to see. With Buzz, personal email addresses could be harvested by merely viewing the messages going back and forth between users. Also, without any action by the user, your Gmail and Google Talk contacts were publicly revealed for everyone to see.

At the onset of Google Buzz's launch, many users online protested via Twitter, blogs and other outlets. Google made adjustments over the weekend and now users have more control on what content Buzz displays to the all Internet users. Why did Google let this happen? Buzz was initially used internally to Google, where all email address are available amongst co-workers. When Buzz was made public, they didn't envision the privacy issue until after the public outcry was all over the Internet.

The ironic part of Google's privacy failure is that recently, rival Facebook has received loads of criticism for their handling of similar privacy matters. Users online are very particular about the manner in which their private information is used on the Internet. Google will hopefully take the Buzz incident into mind when rolling out other social systems in the future.

Social Networking Is Hotter on Mobile Than Desktop Web

A study out of Ruder Finn, shows that Americans are using their mobile phone for a period of around three hours per day. That begs the question: what do people do on their phones for that long?

The mobile web is mainly being used to socialize with friends, family and colleagues. Finn's study show that 91% of mobile phone users are making connections with friends. This is compared to 79% who report using their computers for socializing.

These number point to a trend that has been covered here on Social Media Minute, cell phone users are highly social folks who utilize their mobile phone as a gateway for their friends. The mobile phone, therefore, can be seen as the ultimate onboarding device for social activities.

Recent figures show that smartphones now make up around 30% of sales volume in the mobile handset market. It is now 'cool' to have a smartphone and usage models are showing that more and more folks are using smartphones to access Facebook and other social networks. Advertisers and other stakeholders should be on notice: people of all ages are hopping online via their mobile devices: how are you going to reach this new market?