Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Is mobile your company's biggest challenge?

So..... 40% of Fortune 500 companies claim their biggest mobile challenge is developing their online services across multiple operating systems and devices

 do they?

Well fragmentation in the online industry isn't anything new for web developers. We've been living with this since the the days of the Mosaic and Netscape browsers (and if you don't know who they are, then I'd stop reading this blog now if I were you). This confusion was then multipled with the arrival of Microsoft 16 years ago, who then went onto make a complete mess of browser standards, that we've been living with ever since.

However things have got even more mixed-up in the last few years with the growth of the mobile channel, fueled by smartphones and tablets such as Apple's iPhone & iPad, as well as a host of Google's Android mobile OS powered phones. For me 2011 has definately been the long-awaited "year of the mobile". Although this is a title that online marketing consultants have been foretelling for the last decade, in my opinion this year is it and according to research from Gartner.... smartphone sales globally will reach 467m in 2011.

But the fragmented mobile landscape is directly affecting many organisations’ plans to implement an effective mobile channel. No one device or operating system entrely rules the roost (at least not in the UK) and right now if a company plumps for just one.... typically the iPhone... then it is excluding a huge user base. But to try and get comprehensive market coverage is an expensive and exhaustive process....

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Google & birthdays - personalisation to make you smile

Today is the 14th of September, my birthday. And when visiting the Google homepage this evening I saw a great 'Google Doodle', that of a birthday present and a cake with a candle in it.

"Oh" I initially thought "it's Google's birthday as well as my own". But then thought back to reports I had read recently about Google's birthday being in January or a range of dates in September including the 15th .... but not the 14th. Had Google got its own birthday wrong? Was a server giving the wrong date and showing the present and cake image a day ahead of time?


Google knows my birthday thanks to a complete profile of me I entered some while back. It would therefore seem that some clever programmer there has created a small bit of personalisation code to display this image when the anniversay of my birth comes around.

Clever, engaging, thoughful and just a little bit all-knowing. Just how I like my search engines.

Friday, September 9, 2011

My favourite error page

OK, not the most inspiring of blog titles, but bear with me....

I was about to watch some stuff on Youtube earlier today, to catch-up on some videos posted by far-off friends, when I got the message below. Now an Error 500 on a website is usually a sign that something is wrong... its the online equivalent of a car breakdown. Its not like its stablemate, the 404 (page not found) error... which is the web equivalent of a dead-end sign, an indication to metaphorically turn around and retrace your route using the back button. Oh no... the 500 error says to the user "something so important has gone wrong, that even we don't know how to fix it".

So its actually quite welcome to see a company at least communicate that its aware of the issue and (albeit jokingly) planning on doing something about it.

Well done Youtube for dispatching a team of highly trained monkeys to deal with my problem. I'll be back soon.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ealing Tweetup - the biggest ever

It isn't often you get home from an infomal local social media event, exhale gently and take a while to relax... but then isn't every day you help run one of the UK's largest digial events and quite possibly the biggest Tweetup ever.

If you're not aware of what I'm referring to... on Thursday 1st September the Ealing Tweetup took place. This involved: two bands, 200 people, free drinks, senior London politicians and almost £1000 raised for the Ealing Mayor's fund to help those affected by the recent Ealing riots.

But don't just take my word for it, here's what Ealing Councillor Bassam Mahfouz said about it:

"A synonym for fantastic live music, great company and flowing drinks the Ealing TweetUp has become an event that draws the good, the bad and even the politicians together in the name of social networking. Addictive, welcoming and energetic every attendee left wanting more whilst others are joining twitter in their droves just so they can get an invite. With over 200 tweeters, we may have to move the #EalingTU to the Wembley Arena before long."