Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category.

Google – Pure Weapon of Marketing

For the uninformed: marketing is math. Without a solid grasp of Return On Marketing, Customer Acquisition Costs, Customer Lifetime Value and a list of other marketing key performance indicators you should not call yourself a marketer.

The most visible example for the power of math over marketing is Google’s money-making machine: pay-per-click. Every aspect of pay-per-click is a result of a calculation including the fundamental PPPP of marketing:

  • Product (including features and support!)
  • Pricing (not only monetary but also time and energy!)
  • Promotion (branding, PR, advertising, sales)
  • Placing (geo, channels, market segments – gender, age, education etc.)

With more data becoming available at ever lower efforts and costs every day “Big Data” is on most marketers mind. As with most fashionable terms that have not yet clearly been defined by academia the term “Big Data” is being used (and abused) by marketers on a daily basis which try to put a slant on it fitting to whatever flavor of the term might be most conducive for the promotion of their own product.

Cathy O’Neil takes an interesting stands on the term is her recently released book Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy. If you are interested in the social significance of how big data and mathematics are being today, you should go out and get a copy. Cathy has been blogging for quite a while at Mathbabe, which you should be following if you are in marketing.

To Cathy, Facebook is clearly the most worrisome of all the Big Data concerns in the book. The social media giant exercises an incredible amount of influence over what information people see, with this influence often being sold to the highest bidder. Together with Amazon, Google and Apple, the US economy and society have become controlled by monopolies to an unparalleled degree, monopolies that monitor most of the populations behavior (for commercial purpose). And, in the context of government surveillance measures, Edward Snowden remarked that we are now “tagged animals, the primary difference being that we paid for the tags and they are in our pockets.” A very small number of huge extremely wealthy organizations have even greater access to those tags than the government does, recording every movement, communication with others, and even every train of thought as we interact with the web.

google will destroy the worldHowever, I think that Cathy clearly underestimates the second order effects that Google’s money machine (originally “borrowed” from Yahoo) had on the world wide web and by extension on the world at large. Google inadvertently created an entire ecosystem that spews out misinformation a million pages at a time – charitable referred to as ‘Search Engine Optimization’. And, why Internet users might spend more time on Facebook, most will turn to Google to find ‘information’ on products, services and the world at large. Since reality does not have a marketing budget, content now often written by bots serve the Google algorithm and its commercial intent. Keep in mind: if you are not paying for it – you are the product.

So, to that extent, increasing shareholder value of one entity (Google) has become the overarching principal of information distribution. And, while capitalism is the motor of most progress unrestrained capitalism and its second and third order effects are without a doubt the main driver for the destruction of the environment we live in as well as the exploitation of most people living in it.

Apple did not invent the iPhone or the iPad

Apple did not invent the iPhone or the iPadThe first iPhone was not created by Apple released in 1998 by InfoGear Technology Corporation. In 1997, prior to the release of iPhone, Infogear entered into a partnership with Cidco of Morgan Hill, California.

The iPhone was an innovative internet appliance that featured a sliding keyboard and an LCD touchscreen that accessed an embedded web browser and an email client. It was one of the first wave of internet appliances.

On December 18, 2006, Cisco Systems re-branded an existing line of Linksys Voice over IP internet phones, as it introduced some additional models.

Linksys was acquired by Cisco in June 2003, long after the production of Infogear iPhone had ceased. Unlike its name-sake predecessor, the new iPhone devices use an existing network and proprietary protocols, such as Skype. Rebranding did not involve any feature changes or introduction of new proprietary technology.

InfoGear also developed a touch-screen tablet with stylus which they called iPad (it was never manufactured though).

Search and find game: Visual breadcrumbs

search and find game

CrowdOptic has patented the technology (U.S. Patent No. 8,527,340) that captures dynamic shifts in where people are looking through their electronic devices (think Google Glass). The technology should enable users to share their routes with each other (for a high-tech game of search and find), especially in complex multi-building environments such as universities campuses  or shopping malls, and allow people to reroute  in response to changing environmental conditions and the paths of other users.

Very cool and well positioned to get snapped up by you know who 😉

CPU Comparison – Now and Then

cpu comparison 2013Freescale just announced the world’s smallest ARM Powered® MCU. Available in the ultra-small 1.9 mm x 2.0 mm wafer level chip-scale package, the KL02 CSP requires very little board space while retaining MCU feature integration. The KL02 CSP consumes 25 percent less PCB area, yet delivers 60 percent more GPIO than the nearest competing MCU.

The Kinetis KL0 family is the entry point into the low-power Kinetis L series MCUs based on the ARM® Cortex™-M0+ processor, delivering 32-bit performance with class-leading code density, integrated flash memory, precision analog, connectivity and timers.

On the right you see how the chip compares to the first commercial 32-bit processor.

How Google pollutes your environment

google-polutesDid you know that one Google search creates CO2 emissions of at least 1g? And Chris Goodall, author of Ten Technologies to Save the Planet, even estimates the carbon emissions of a Google search to even be more like 7g to 10g (assuming 15 minutes’ computer use). Wissner-Gross has also calculated the CO2 emissions caused by individual use of the internet. His research indicates that viewing a simple web page generates about 0.02g of CO2 per second. This rises tenfold to about 0.2g of CO2 a second when viewing a website with complex images, animations or videos. Nicholas Carr, author of The Big Switch, Rewiring the World, has calculated that maintaining an avatar in the Second Life virtual reality game, requires 1,752 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. That is almost as much used by the average Brazilian.

But what’s much worse is that Google through its business model (AdWords/AdSense) has created a never-ending pollution engine for the World Wide Web. Since there’s is is money to be made by having a page show up in Google’s search results an entire industry sprung up our off nowhere (SEO). And every single ‘contributor’ to that industry has only one goal in mind: how can I get my page to show up on top of Google’s result to sell what I have to offer. To this day the Google algorithm still employs a largely popularistic approach: mainly a page’s importance is measured by how many other pages/sites point (link) to it. Every other aspect of the logic just provides nuances.

So, just like 85% of all emails sent are SPAM, it is very likely that 85% of pages on the World Wide Web are SPAM and a lot of it is being presented to you by Google (and of course any other search engine) as legitimate content. Just ask yourself: if you search for ‘best cell phone’, ‘best car loan’ – what do you expect to find? A legitimate research paper?