Archive for Google

Gilbane Advisor 2-29-16 — Google, Facebook, and the open web

The platform competition for last mile content delivery continues to ramp up. Google’s AMP has launched and is available to everyone; Facebook’s Instant Articles becomes available to all on April 12th; and both have gained some open web credibility in the last week. Platform publishing is no longer only for major publishers. Anybody with a blog or website needs to pay serious attention to how platform publishing will affect their reach. Content strategists and marketers need to dial in.

The good news is that in many cases it is possible to feed the beasts automatically with no more effort than publishing a post on a blog, and keep control of your content and web presence. CMS vendors should be ahead of this curve. Our own blog, thanks to WordPress and a few plugins, is already setup to publish to Medium (it works), Google AMP (it works but the rendering is a little funky), and Instant Articles (as soon as Facebook turns the switch in April). We’ll also be testing Apple News.

Google Is Going to Speed Up the Web. Is This Good?

Good for us as web consumers that is. Dan Gillmor provides a non-technical and cautiously optimistic review of Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages).

I still have a million questions about this, and some are the ones I began with: What if Google changes its strategy, by making it more proprietary and centralized? What if news sites had just done the right thing in the first place? Or, since they didn’t, what if they just resolved to build faster pages — using standard HTML markup and loading components in a non-annoying way — now? Wouldn’t that have gone a long way toward solving the problem? Do they, and we, really need all this? … For now, at any rate, the answer seems to be yes. Read More

How Instant Articles helps the open web

This is a remarkable post. RSS dad Dave Winer says that Instant Articles is built on RSS, that he has been in the loop for two years, and can now vouch that it works. This is a very welcome development.

Facebook is using open web technology to power Instant Articles. I’m not sharing anything that isn’t already publicly documented on the Facebook developer site. People have trouble understanding this, I assume, because it seems so out of character for a big web destination like Facebook to care about the open web. It’s kind of a miracle. But there it is. The open web is about to get a real shot in the arm from a most unexpected place. Read More

Aligning Business Goals with User Goals in Content

Is content marketing ‘heading toward a “trough of disillusionment” following a period of “inflated expectations.”’? It already has for some. This thoughtful post by Michael Andrews digs into how unrealistic expectations happen and how to avoid them.

… One erroneous assumption is to believe that  a group who shares a common personal goal are equally likely to buy something.  Conversely, just because a group of people all want to buy a certain type of product or service, that doesn’t mean they share the same purchase motivations or care about the exact same features or benefits. Read More

Branding in the Age of Social Media

Douglas Holt argues for an alternative to branded content.

It turns out that consumers have little interest in the content that brands churn out. … Most view it as clutter—as brand spam. When Facebook realized this, it began charging companies to get “sponsored” content into the feeds of people who were supposed to be their fans. …celebrities are all garnering the superengaged community that pundits have long promised social media would deliver. … That shouldn’t be surprising… What works for Shakira backfires for Crest and Clorox. The idea that consumers could possibly want to talk about Corona or Coors in the same way that they debate the talents of Ronaldo and Messi is silly. Read More

What’s Next in Computing?

Chris Dixon does a really nice job with this. Accessible, to the point, and I agree the next era will be multimodal. A good historical perspective post to share with c-suite colleagues.

I tend to think we are on the cusp of not one but multiple new eras. The “peace dividend of the smartphone war” created a Cambrian explosion of new devices, and developments in software, especially AI, will make those devices smart and useful. Many of the futuristic technologies discussed above exist today, and will be broadly accessible in the near future. Read More

A good companion piece…

On Bots, Conversational Apps and Fin

Sam Lessin with a developer and investor perspective on what’s next…

2016 is being declared the year of bots. And it feels like there is a broad shift in the developer ecosystem away from traditional point-and-click apps, towards chat-based user interfaces. … It’s happening because there is broad consumer and developer fatigue with apps. Consumers don’t want to install or use new traditional apps. … The bet I am making, both as an investor and operator, is that the 2016 bot paradigm shift is going to be far more disruptive and interesting than the last decade’s move from Web to mobile apps… If the app shift moved developers away from server side development and towards clients, the most important part of the current shift is a move back towards the server and away from client software in the form of bots. Read More

The End of Streams

Jessica Lessin has some interesting thoughts on what I think is more like the comeback of channels.

There has been a quiet shift in product design away from streams and towards channels, and the shift is likely to accelerate with messaging platforms. Read More

Is Holistic Customer Experience Management even Possible?

Scott Liewehr is talking about SAP in this post, but raises the general question, and pointing out that products aren’t enough if your partners are not in sync – and why should they be?

I’ve thought for years that when SAP decided to jump into the Customer Experience race, it would be game-over for many other vendors. Now that they have, I’m not so sure. I see that their customer experience strategy has a greater dependence on service provider partners than they’ve ever had, and it’s not obvious to me as to which partners are going to be interested in helping them succeed in this realm. Read More

Mark your Calendar!

Gilbane Digital Content Conference 2016
Content Management, Marketing, and the Digital Experience

Main conference: November 29 – 30 ● Workshops: December 1
Fairmont Copley Plaza, Boston, MA

Short takes

Too much “thought leadership” and personalization… Avoid These Common B2B Content Marketing Mistakes via hbr.org 

Is digital advertising is becoming a rather simple proposition: Facebook, Google, or don’t bother?… The Reality of Missing Out via stratechery

Bill Thompson channels Karl Popper, but don’t be scared… The Open Web and Its Enemies via Medium

Internet of Things security is so bad, there’s a search engine for sleeping kids and it (Shodan) has been around for years. via ars technica

News Publishers Need To Jump Into Bots Will this provide the added value they need? via Monday Note

For some of you, but streaming is mainstreaming… Open Source Streaming Analytics at the Edge for Internet of Things Devices via prnewswire

CMS, etc., corner

DAM Market growth, Adam… Digital Asset Management Round-Up, February 2016 via Digital Clarity Group

More on DAM… Updated DAM research: ADAM, Nuxeo, Bynder, Canto, WebDAM, NetX, WAVE, and MerlinOne via Real Story Group

Amazon and Colis Privé, Gilt Group, Hudson’s Bay, Groupon… E-Commerce Round-Up: January 2016 via Digital Clarity Group

About

The Gilbane Advisor curates content for our conference community of content, computing, and digital experience professionals throughout the year. You can also subscribe via our feed.

The Gilbane Conference on Content, Technology, and Customer Experience helps marketers, IT, and business managers integrate content strategies and computing technologies to produce superior digital experiences for all stakeholders.

Google deep linking progress

In How Google is Taking Search Outside the Box Steven Levy comments on this year’s I/O event. He does a nice job of explaining deep linking / app indexing, and the much mentioned Google Now on Tap in the context of Google’s mobile and search challenges.

Google now says that it has expanded its app indexing program to Apple’s iOS platform. “App indexing” is the practice of Hoovering up the data that lives inside apps, the first step to making that information available by Google searching — it’s analogous to crawling the web. Google has been doing this since 2013 for Android apps, essentially creating an index that lives on a simulation of a giant Android phone. And I do mean giant: there are 50 billion deep links indexed so far. (Deep links are those which take you directly to relevant information inside an app, as opposed to leading you to the front door.)

I found the 50 billion indexed deep links surprising, especially since they are almost all from Android apps, and from only a little more than half of the developers asked to participate. There is a decent developer value proposition, but it will be interesting to see what Apple decides to do to keep control of its ecosystem. And then there are Facebook, Twitter, and others. Google would most likely be the biggest beneficiary of a deep linking standard if there ever is one. Read more

Our new Gilbane Google+ page

We will be more active on multiple social channels for the Gilbane Conference this year. In addition to Facebook we also have a new page on Google+ for those who prefer it.

Follow us on Google+

 

Google Integrates eBook Sharing in Their Social Networking Site

Google announced that they made a new feature for users to share the books they are reading on the new Google+ social network. Any book on Google books, whether it is a free or paid book, can be shared with your Circles. This feature allows one to share books, passages and details, such as cover art and the description, with friends. To share a book, visit the “About the Book” page on the Google Book listing and click “Share.” While sharing books, one can also “+1” them, and the titles will appear in on the Google+ profile under the +1 tab. http://books.google.com/

Google Now Supports “Author” Tag

Google announced support for authorship markup—a way to connect authors with their content on the web. They are experimenting with using this data to help people find content from great authors in our search results. They now support markup that enables websites to publicly link within their site from content to author pages. For example, if an author at The New York Times has written dozens of articles, using this markup, the webmaster can connect these articles with a New York Times author page. An author page describes and identifies the author, and can include things like the author’s bio, photo, articles and other links. The markup uses existing standards such as HTML5 and XFN to enable search engines and other web services to identify works by the same author across the web. If you’re already doing structured data markup using microdata from schema.org, they will interpret that authorship information as well. http://www.google.com

Google Grabs Aardvark Social Search

Aardvark, a social media search engine, has announced that it has been acquired by Google. Aardvark is now a tool available in Google Labs, and will remain free of cost and fully functional. Aardvark’s defining characteristic as a search engine is that once the user’s question has been input, it will search that user’s social network and attempt to identify a connection who could best answser the question. Under Google Labs, Aardvark is expected to be further developed. http://vark.com/

Observations from Gilbane Boston 2009

The 2009 version of the Gilbane Boston conference was held last week. It was the second one I have attended and my first as a track coordinator (I designed the Collaboration and Social Software track and made it happen.) The event was well attended (c. 1100 people) and the number of sponsors and exhibitors was up significantly from last year’s Boston conference. Many of the sessions I attended offered valuable insights from speakers and audience members. All in all, I would label the conference a success.

The Collaboration and Social Software track sessions were designed to minimize formal presentation time and encourage open discussion between panelists and audience members instead. Each session focused on either a common collaboration challenge (collaborative content authoring, content sharing, fostering discussions, managing innovation) or on a specific technology offering (Microsoft SharePoint 2010 and Google Wave.) The sessions that dealt with specific technologies produced more active discussion than those that probed general collaboration issues. I am not sure why that was the case, but the SharePoint and Wave sessions spawned the level of interactivity that I had hoped for in all the panels. The audience seemed a bit reticent to join in the others. Perhaps it took them a while to warm up (the SharePoint and Wave sessions were at the end of the track.)

Here are some other, high level observations from the entire Gilbane Boston 2009 conference:

Twitter: Last year (and at Gilbane San Francisco in June 2009) attendees were buzzing about Twitter, wondering what it was and how it could be used in a corporate setting. This year the word “Twitter” was hardly uttered at all, by presenters or attendees. Most audience members seemed to be fixated on their laptop or smartphone during the conference sessions, but the related tweet stream flow was light compared to other events I’ve attended this quarter. The online participation level of folks interested in content management seems to mirror their carbon form patterns. Most are content to listen and watch, while only a few ask questions or make comments. That is true across all audiences, of course, but it seemed especially pronounced at Gilbane Boston.

SharePoint 2010: This topic replaced Twitter as the ubiquitous term at Gilbane Boston. If I had a dollar for every time I heard “SharePoint” at the conference, I would be able to buy a significant stake in Microsoft! Every company I consulted with during the event was seeking to make SharePoint either their primary content management and collaboration platform, or a more important element in their technology mix. Expectations for what will be possible with SharePoint 2010 are very high. If Microsoft can deliver on their vision, they will gain tremendous share in the market; if not, SharePoint may well have seen its zenith. Everything that I have heard and seen suggests the former will occur.

Google Wave: This fledgling technology also generated substantial buzz at Gilbane Boston. The session on Wave was very well attended, especially considering that it was the next-to-last breakout of the conference. An informal poll of the session audience indicated that nearly half have established a Wave account. However, when asked if they used Wave regularly, only about 20% of the registered users responded affirmatively;. Actual participation in the Wave that I created for attendees to take notes and discuss the Collaboration track online underscored the poll results. Most session attendees said they see the potential to collaborate differently, and more effectively and efficiently, in Wave, but cited many obstacles that were preventing them from doing so at this time. Audience members agree that the Wave user experience has a long way to go; functionality is missing and the user interface and features that are there are not easy to use. Most attendees thought Wave’s current shortcomings would be improved or eliminated entirely as they product matures. However, many also noted that collaboration norms within their organization would have to change before Wave is heavily adopted.

Open Source: This was the hot topic of the conference. Everyone was discussing open source content management and collaboration software. An informal poll of the audience at the opening keynote panel suggested that about 40% were using open source content management software. Many of the other attendees wanted to learn more about open source alternatives to the proprietary software they have been using. Clients that I met with asked questions about feature availability, ease of use, cost benefits, and financial viability of providers of open source content management and collaboration software. It was clear that open source is now considered a viable, and perhaps desirable, option by most organizations purchasing enterprise software.

My big take-away from Gilbane Boston 2009 is that we are experiencing an inflection point in the markets for enterprise content management and collaboration software. Monolithic, rigid, proprietary solutions are falling out of favor and interest in more lightweight, flexible, social, open source offerings is rapidly growing. I expect that this trend will continue to manifest itself at Gilbane San Francisco in June 2010, and beyond.

Google Wave Protocols: Clearing the Confusion

Today is the long-awaited day when 100,000 lucky individuals receive access to an early, but working, version of Google Wave. I hope I am in those ranks! Like many people, I have been reading about Wave, but have not been able to experience it hands-on

Wave has been a hot topic since it was first shown outside of Google last May. Yet it continues to be quite misunderstood, most likely because it is such an early stage effort and most interested people have not been able to lay hands on the technology. For that very reason, Gilbane Group is presenting a panel entitled Google Wave: Collaboration Revolution or Confusion? at the Gilbane Boston conference, on December 3rd.

The confusion surrounding Wave was highlighted for me yesterday in a Twitter exchange on the topic. It all started innocently enough, when Andy McAfee asked:

Andy1

To which I replied:

Larry1

That statement elicited the following comment from Jevon MacDonald of the Dachis Group:

Jevon1

I am not a technologist. I seek to understand technology well enough that I can explain it in layman’s terms to business people, so they understand how technology can help them achieve their business goals. So I generally avoid getting into deep technical discussions. This time, however, I was pretty sure that I was on solid ground, so the conversation between me and Jevon continued:

Larry2

Larry3

Jevon2

Now, here we are, at the promised blog post. But, how can Jevon and I both be correct? Simple. Google Wave encompasses not one, but several protocols for communication between system components, as illustrated in the figure below.

wave_protocols

Figure 1: Google Wave Protocols (Source: J. Aaron Farr,

The most discussed of these is the Google Wave Federation protocol, which is an extension of the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP). However, Wave also requires protocols for client-server and robot server- (Web service) Wave server communication. It is also possible, but probably not desirable, for Wave to utilize a client-client protocol.

Jevon was absolutely correct about the XMPP protocol enabling server-server communication in the Google Wave Federation Protocol. The Draft Protocol Specification for the Google Wave Federation Protocol lays out the technical details, which I will not explore here. XMPP provides a reliable mechanism for server-server communication and is a logical choice for that function in Google Wave, because XMPP was originally designed to transmit instant message and presence data.

It turns out that the Google Wave team has not defined a specific protocol to be used in client-server communication. A Google whitepaper entitled Google Wave Data Model and Client-Server Protocol does not mention a specific protocol. The absence of a required or recommended protocol is also confirmed by this blog post. While the Google implementation of Wave does employ HTTP as the client-server protocol, as Jevon stated, it is possible to use XMPP as the basis for client-server communication, as I maintained. ProcessOne demonstrates this use of XMPP in this blog post and demo.

Finally, there is no technical reason that XMPP could not be used to route communications directly from one client to another. However, it would not be desirable to communicate between more than two clients via XMPP. Without a server somewhere in the implementation, Wave would be unable to coordinate message state between multiple clients. In plain English, the Wave clients most likely would not be synchronized, so each would display a different point in the conversation encapsulated in the Wave.

To summarize, Google Wave employs the following protocols:

  • XMPP for server-server communication
  • HTTP for client-server communication in the current Google implementation; XMPP is possible, as demonstrated by ProcessOne
  • HTTP (JSON RPC) for robot server-Wave server communication in the current Google implementation
  • Client-client protocol is not defined, as this mode of communication is most likely not usable in a Wave

I hope this post clarifies the protocols used in the current architecture of Google Wave for you. More importantly, I hope that it highlights just how much additional architectural definition needs to take place before Wave is ready for use by the masses. If I had a second chance to address Andy McAfee’s question, I would unequivocally state that Google Wave is a “concept car” at this point in time.

Postscript: The heretofore mentioned possibilities around XMPP as a client-client protocol are truly revolutionary.
The use of XMPP as the primary communication protocol for the Internet, instead of the currently used HTTP protocol, would create a next generation Internet in which centralized servers would no longer serve as intermediaries between users. Web application architectures, even business models, would be changed. See this post for a more detailed explanation of this vision, which requires each user to run a personal server on their computing device.