Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Web Secret #190: Google Demo Slam

It is no coincidence that Google is, well, everywhere.

They could sit on their laurels like many successful businesses. But they don't.

Sometimes they go wayyyy out of the box to remain, well, Google.

Take Google Demo Slam. "Google Demo Slam: Technology is awesome. Learning about it isn't."

The idea was to invite web users to come up with very clever, very short, videos about Google's many products. You post your mini video - that's phase one, phase two, your video is pitted in a popularity contests against other videos. Now a different set of users is engaged. Finally, in phase three, some videos are so entertaining that they become insanely popular. A third set of users are now e-mailing the links to these masterpieces. Of course Google is the biggest winner.

Here are some of my favorites:

1. Grow Google - how to use Google Custom Background. The somewhat scary premise was to grow colored Google bacteria. Aside from the lunacy of the idea, the old professor and his Igor-like assistant add to the campiness of this vide0. The music is also a plus:

2. Google Translate - how to use Google Translate to order Indian food in Hindi. Epic and sitting in first place with almost 1 million views:

3. Google Instant - how to search results automatically as you type. I am a huge Gilbert and Sullivan fan, so I appreciate this cavalcade, which uses Google to find all the elements of the Periodic Table.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Web Secret #189: 4.74 Degrees of Separation

The world is even smaller than you thought. Scientists reported in November 2011 that there are only 4.74 degrees of separation between any two people in the world instead of 6.

The original "six degrees" finding, (published in 1967 by psychologist Stanley Milgram,) was drawn from only 296 volunteers who were asked to send a message by postcard, through friends and then friends of friends, to a specific person in a Boston suburb.

The new research used a much bigger cohort: 721 million Facebook users, more than one-tenth of the world’s population."

Why should you care?

“People can share ideas with only a few jumps to a large portion of the world’s population and with even fewer steps to the entire population of a nation.”

We have more influence, on more people, than ever before.

For good, or evil.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Web Secret #188: LAL

So what kind of social media site got funded to the tune of $1 million in 2011?

If you weren't born between the late 1980s and the early 1990s, you would never guess.

Not only that, you probably would never know, unless you are a college aged millennial or a passionate fan of Tech Crunch.

To quote Tech Crunch:
"Anytime there’s a startup that has been quietly catching fire, you can always find a trail of investors warming themselves by the flames. Take LikeALittle, for example. Though they’ve kept it quiet, we’ve now confirmed with multiple sources that they raised $1 million..."
What, you may ask is LAL (aka LikeALittle!)?

"LAL lets you interact with the people nearby. Meet new people, anonymously flirt with that person who caught your eye and discover if someone likes you." (I'm quoting from their site.)

That's it. That is all it does.

The young reviewers at Tech Crunch go on to say:
" makes sense. LikeALittle first popped on our radar back in December of last year while we were looking into a Hacker News thread claiming that one of the Y Combinator Winter ’11 startups had done 20 million pageviews in six weeks — and was growing by over 1 million pageviews a day. That startup, of course, was LikeALittle, a social network for flirting."
Growing by over 1 million pageviews a day!!!!!????

Do you get it?

I don't.

PS Want to feel even older and more out of it? Meet the founders and visit the headquarters of LAL.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Web Secret #187: Pew Research Center

Trying to make an informed decision about how much your business needs to invest in technology, apps, or social media?

There is one place to start all your research efforts: The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.

The project is one of seven that make up the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit "fact tank" that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. The Project produces reports exploring the impact of the Internet on families, communities, daily life, and health care.

Here are but a few of their reports:

Half of adult cell phone owners have apps on their phones. Key finding: The share of adult cell phone owners who have downloaded an app to their phone nearly doubled in the past two years – rising from 22% in September 2009 to 38% in August 2011.

Teens, kindness and cruelty on social network sites. Key finding: 95% of all teens ages 12-17 are now online and 80% of those online teens are users of social media sites.

The Social Life of Health Information, 2011. Key finding: The internet has changed people’s relationships with information. Online resources, including advice from peers, are a significant source of health information in the U.S.

Knowledge is power.