Monday, December 20, 2004

The Next Google?...No, Much Much Bigger...

I know it sounds like a cliché, “the next Microsoft” now “the next Google”, but I think when you combine the mobile PC (cell phone), with commerce and advertising, the “next Google” will come out of this combo, and it will be much, much bigger.

Go back 15 years and try to explain what the World Wide Web is and what it would encompass to an average Joe. In trying to explain this, envision trying to explain what the World Wide Web is or would be in15 yrs. Huh? Computers connected through the phone line to look at digital images (websites)? What am I going to do w/ that?

The pattern that emerged, porn, chatting , email and then commerce.
The WWW seemed so foreign back then and now we can’t imagine how we would ever live without it.

Take the TV remote control. Years ago, we had to get up every time we wanted to change the channel. TV advertisers hated the remote, because we were no longer a captive audience to the 30 second ad.

Think about the cell phone, NOBODY can imagine living without the cell phone now.

With each one of these inventions it seems that information retrieval keeps getting faster and faster… and,now its going mobile.

Here’s the big opportunity.

How do you retrieve information when you’re not at your desk using Google? How will you buy items on Amazon when you aren’t at your desk?

Find the protocol that makes the cell phone as functional, if not more than the PC.

Find the platform that allows mobile purchasing and interactivity with the physical world.

There’s your next Google.

The next Google will be “that” platform that allows me to do the same things as my PC, only with my mobile phone.

What makes Ebay, Amazon, Yahoo and Google so successful? They are all portals catering to specific task on the web. What makes Google so successful? They are the best at enabling a user to search for anything and advertisers know that this is where the traffic is going. There are millions of different search queries performed everyday. This means there are millions of different websites advertisers can use.
Google is a portal that leads to endless sites for endless advertising. Every search request is different, and contains different keywords, which allows all advertisers to be able to advertise.

Advertisers can advertise w/ any of the smaller SE, but they choose to advertise where the traffic is. With TV it was an organized model. It’s a 30 second ad that’s placed in a slot of the half hour show. But now with millions of TV channels (the Internet), the model where to place advertising has become quite complex.

I bet the concept of advertising on a 13” screen when the previous norm was 30” plus for years would seemed far-fetched too. And now you want to take it down to 4 square inches?

With the Net, the eyes are on the Google channel now. There are two components to search . First, the user wants to find something. Second, the advertiser wants to get the users attention and direct traffic to their site. Search engines have tried to “match” the users info search with relevant ads that pertain to that query.

The search engine is the equivalent to the TV channel and search queries are the requested shows. That is how Internet advertising can be summed up now.

What I find baffling is that more attention is paid to building the website than how to get traffic to it. This is a fundamental flaw with Internet advertising. The model should be reversed.

It’s all about traffic. Brands get more traffic everyday than ANY search engine could ever produce. Think next time you go to Circuit City, or any supermarket. Every DVD, TV , can of soup or box of Tide is a website. Every product in every store is a website. Everyday people walk past your site and you’ve never been able to grab their eyes, until now. The traffic is there everyday, the difference is converting physical traffic to website traffic. The brands have presence in both the electronic and physical worlds.

Ask your self.

What is the one CHANNEL you turn on EVERYDAY?

A day doesn’t go by that you look at it several times? FOX News? CNN? Yahoo? Google?….Naaah, it’s your service provider channel.

Every time you look at your cell phone, you’re basically watching the Sprint, Verizon, Vodafone etc channel.

Think about that.

It doesn’t matter if you’re surfing, texting, chatting, you’re on the Sprint channel. Your 2x2 inch screen is always on, always with you and ALWAYS gets your attention when it lights up. THERE’S THE NEXT SPACE ADVERTISING WILL TAP. IT IS WAY TOO VALUABLE NOT TO.

But advertising on the cell phone will be much different than the PC. The PC is viewed at work and at home in 2 different environments. The cell is with us in the car, at lunch, at the ballgame. Advertisers have a captive audience. They only need to get “permission” and give us a reason.

It will have to be “permissioned”. You will not want spam when you’re chatting, surfing, or texting. You also won’t allow endless spam to eat into your minutes and battery life.

Yes, mobile advertising will be very different.

Take an object , the cell phone, that everybody has with them at all times, and make it truly functional. The platform/OS will make a smartphone really smart. In 5-10 yrs we will be saying, do you remember when all we did was talk and text on these?

Revenues from voice are being commoditized and Service Providers are seeing their ARPU (avg revenue per user) decline. How do Service Providers increase their ARPU?

How about making the device they service interactive.

Maybe the Sprints should wake up and turn the phone into an interactive device. An interactive device extracts data, and allows the purchase of goods. How will Service Providers make their phones interactive?

I betcha never thought a camera would be put on a cell phone 5 yrs ago. That cute app is a huge revenue opportunity for the SP but they don’t see it yet. The huge revenue opportunity is not taking fuzzy pictures and sending to your friends. The camera is an appliance that “turns on” any machine readable identifier. The camera along with a physical world hyperlink will allow a direct connection to any website with any physical item in the world.

The physical world hyperlink allows any cell phone to do a one click purchase, one click coupon, one click download, one click customer service. The PWH (physical world hyperlink) gives a website physical presence. A PWH is a barcode, a 2-dimension created code, a registered Word, a fingerprint. Don’t think of a barcode as a barcode, imagine it’s a web address and your cell phone’s browser works just by clicking on it. No need to type the web address in, just click on it.

And the reverse is true. Any website can create a 2-d code/word and be applied to anything in the physical world to direct the user to his site.

Brands have the opportunity with millions/billions of physical items to get people to their website. With a PWH, every physical item in the world can be linked to a website. A barcode and 2-d code are as foreign looking as a web address. The value lies in deciphering it with a browser. Access to a website can now be anywhere in the physical world that a code can be applied.

Think of it this way, the cell phone is the mouse of the physical world. By clicking on items (with a PWH) the phone will take you somewhere or do something. A cell phone is a portable mouse and barcodes/2d codes are web addresses . The “next Google” is the browser that connects these.

This platform/ browser will truly make the phone smart.

The mouse enabled us to eliminate a lot of the keyword work associated with the PC. Will the camera and speech recognition do the same for the cell phone? The mouse simplified the functions on the PC. Instead of typing commands, you will now click on those physical world links.

Now carry this over to the cell phone. Will you be typing long confusing web addresses into the browser bar? I don’t think so. Or will the camera function as the mouse for the cell phone in the physical world?

It won’t matter if you have a Nokia, Samsung, or Treo. It won’t make a difference if you’re a Sprint or a Cingular subscriber. This protocol will be universal. You wont need to go to a website to use it. It will be a platform, built into the cell phone, an operating system for your mobile phone.

You, through your cell phone, will be directly communicating with the website owner through the PWH. Instead of leaving a cookie with your browser on your PC, the cell phone will give the cell phone number (cookie) and allow SMS (text messaging). This is much more personal interaction than an email address and its REAL TIME.

This is like getting customer feedback cards everyday. It’s the equivalent to telemarketers getting call-in business. It’s being able to interact with EVERY person that walks into your store.

People no longer wait for email, they text/instant message. Same thing will be applied with advertising. Because it’s instant an SMS is faster than email, more personal and MUST BE “PERMISSIONED”.

A company sending an SMS is “permission marketing” or a “very qualified” lead.

The cell phone and the physical world hyperlink will be the permission interactive advertising model of the future.

This will be a highly sought after application that Service Providers, brands and cell phone users are all going to want. Each party will gain something from the PWH (physical world hyperlink). The Service Provider gets increased ARPU. The brand gets millions of qualified leads and direct interaction. The cell phone user can click on a Elton John CD and download one song or buy tickets to his next concert.

Yes this will be “the next Google”, but much, much bigger.


Anonymous said...

This like most technology speculation, which I am afraid suffers from hyper-bloat akin to a suspicious car salesmans repetoire, is at best soothsaying and at worst absolutely incorrect and actually a waste of time. Waste my money and I will be annoyed. Waste my time and I will be PISSED off. My friend, I think that you mean well, but there is not the slightest bit of substance here on your blog. I have worked very closely with the technology that framed the development of the internet, before the hype and to this day. The mobile platform is getting better, however it is quite limited at this point in time. Don't hold your breath. Wait until something substantial comes along, like the discovery of lightning quick bandwidth for mobiles, better processor chips for computing power, software and human interfaces to support the hope and not the hype. Get real and get smart.

Anonymous said...

The guy/gal posting above this must be short NEOM....LOL!!

Anonymous said...

No, the guy above is realistic. Nobody surfs the web on their cell phone because:

1. Connection is SLOW
2. Screen is too SMALL
3. User interface is CLUMSY
4. Processor speed is TOO SLOW

But if you insist the guy above is a short, then you must be a pumper.

Anonymous said...

Vangorilla has nailed it..take a trip to Korea and look at their wireless infrasture and their 3.5G and 4.0G phones...they are light years ahead of us in the US, but we will catch-up and then this vision is reality.Remember in the US we didn't even have a common SMS platform until June 2004. The rest of the world is years ahead of us...104% wireless connectivity in Asia, 98% in Europe.

Scott Shaffer said...

Thank you.

What is nice is that we are able to "see the future" and adapt.

I think that most of the mobile applications Japan, S Korea are developing will be adopted in the States.

Benjamin Tange said...

There is a big asset which destincts the mobile from the Internet at your PC: the mobile can be localized more accurate than the PC!
And you are right, if you ask for the interactivity or connectivity to the real world. Localization is the best filter for the information collected in the cyberspace. Most business is local - and the mobile is our information, communication and entertainment center which enables local search automatically.

Feel free to have a look at for information about LBS or for some nice travel pictures .

Anonymous said...

I don't see any speculation here, and I think that Google and every other search engine is looking at their acquisition and R&D strategies right now to work out how to crack mobile.

Why? Well, look what happened when Microsoft misunderstood the internet and Netscape came along.

Look, the technology is out there it's just a question of who overcomes the obstacles (technology, standards, carrier walled gardens) and creates the mobile experience and functionality that subscribers are looking for.

I mean, if you could actually snap a picture of something you were about to buy in a shop, and immediately get results from comparisoon shopping engines of that same item, don't you think this would be hugely popular (and a massive threat to online only search engines)?

Well, all the technology exists now and is deployed. The issue is distribution and marketing: getting it on enough handsets and telling people it exists.

Scott Shaffer said...

"I mean, if you could actually snap a picture of something you were about to buy in a shop, and immediately get results from comparisoon shopping engines of that same item, don't you think this would be hugely popular (and a massive threat to online only search engines"

So the ability to click on a physical object or image, will be invaluable to a search engine?

I agree.

Robert Dewey said...

The current problem is, most cameras are too crappy to snap a photo of a product/UPC and get an accurate assesment.

If you could just send the UPC code (12 digits) via SMS or login to your phones browser and type in the UPC, you'd be golden.

Make a platform that shows you the price comparison of all the products in a database (from different retailers - both online AND local) with the ability to "instantly purchase" the said item (or at least "tag it" to an account for purchase later) and you'd be set.

To tell you the truth, my WAP/GPRS connection is FAST. I hook up my cell phone to my laptop, open up iTunes, and download several songs at once. Sure it's slower than broadband, but it's a hell of alot faster than 56K.

To add, with the user-generated content craze, I could very well imagine a Flickr+YouTube service for cell phones...

Scott Shaffer said...

I agree.

I dont think price comparison will be the app for your camera phone.

The public needs to decide what they want from this technology, and then build mobile marketing campaigns around it.

In order to push, you need to get pull. There has to be an incentive to pull.

hjkl said...
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