Oh! The Google+

And before this statement comes true it is clear that Google needs to rethink the whole strategy around the Social Network.

Why the Social Network?

And no matter what you say this is what everyone else hear “because Facebook!”.

Now user did move from Orkut to Facebook not because“Why Facebook?” and the answer being “because Orkut”, there was clearly more, a superior product offering, more than what Orkut ever offered, capable of engaging millions of people across the globe.

So Why Google+?

And more I think about it, answer still remains “because Facebook” and that possibly is the reason 1 besides may be slightly better privacy controls and different layout to offer why it would just not be able to compete with Facebook. Because that is not what users want.

Or the Brands, I mean yes they would love to slice and dice their communications addressing different groups (Circles) within their single large network (instead of creating multiple pages like on Facebook) but then they want “Users” to begin with and Ghost Town ain’t got it.

Go Mobile (Stupid):

Q: Where are the millions of the users ready to switch?
Answer: On Mobile.

Why? Because, well Facebook on Mobile is not a great (not even good) product and that’s where this war would be won/lost. You clearly need to concentrate on building a great product for mobile one that would be a delight to use across platforms/networks/devices. Users would want it every time Facebook fails to perform.

Mobile is where users are going to access their Social Network from, more often than not, and they would expect the product to perform at the least. What performs better on Mobile leads the game.

Facebook continues to struggle fixing Mobile, building monetization strategy while you gain momentum with superior usable product optimized or may be even built for MOBILES gaining more and more users as we all go along.

Are there not more Android getting sold than other platforms put together yet? A superior Mobile product is the only game you need to play and play it really well.

Hint: There are obviously more ways to make any Android phone a seamless appendage of Google+ social platform 🙂

Bigger Offerings:

Currently Brands use Google Advertising to drive traffic to their pages on Facebook or independent destinations further linked to Facebook. While you drive traffic, Facebook gains and so does brands but is it what you would continue doing?

Your Sales Teams need people beyond the regular messenger boys, you need Sales Consultants to do strategies for the brands, right from making Pages on Google+ to driving traffic to page to building communities to benefit Brands and the Platform itself. End-to-end!

You need to utilize social data better combined with mobile data (location, user search history, user interaction behavior patterns, on Android platforms even re-targeting) because you can, to deliver more effective even if less engaging brand solutions which works as well with the brands in fact may be even better.

Better Hangouts:

Differentiation is great and you have done a good job with Hangouts so far. It still begs to differ and want more.

– Let people play social games on hangouts. Open up the damn APIs.
– Let Hangouts reach out to third party sites. That is way better than Facebook connect offering limited functionalities in comparison.
– Hangout within Youtube. Video is the future and has immense power to bring users together.
– Have prominent actors, athletes, authors, CEOs, and other industry leaders raffle off invitations to specially scheduled Hangouts and watch the masses sign up. (Twitter Celebs)

Hangouts are FUN! but who knows? So REPOSITION!

Repositioning:

As the repositioning strategy start Aggressively designing for users first, not nerds. Siri de-nerdified voice interaction on a mobile device. Google had the opportunity and the technology to do this with Android’s Voice Actions and you didn’t. Suddenly Google is playing catchup on a technology they had a huge initial jump on.

STOP playing the catchup game.

Rethink OPEN, Rethink CONTROL:

Control Android, just throw your weight around. Any device that carries Google logo, make it adhere to strict quality checks for usability and un-uninstallable crapware, sometimes even disabling the core Android features.

Open” doesn’t necessarily mean every feature gets included, and it doesn’t necessarily mean cheap and mediocre. New iOS is doing away with you, you need to do away with other crap ware for starters and it still remains “Open” for anything that passes the quality checks.

To Sum up – Go Mobile!

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QR Codes – Digitize your Print

I first only noticed the QR Code being used in advertising when Ford Figo print ad came with one and it took me some time to figure out as to how I can go about scanning the same for which apparently specialized programs are required.

What is QR Code?

A QR Code is a matrix code (or two-dimensional bar code) created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994. The “QR” is derived from “Quick Response”, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.

(More on Wikipedia)

The idea of linking spaces to information is not new, but QR codes combine simple creation with easy access to QR code readers. As a result, QR codes might kick-start widespread thinking and innovation around information connected to locations and objects. In museums, for example, QR codes might appear on plaques beside art displays, directing patrons to information about the art­work and the artist.

Next time you don’t necessarily have to only read that article in newspaper or magazine, scan the QR Code and watch the related video on your hand held device.

Ford Figo – Case Study

On 15 March I was happy to see a QR code in the print ad for Ford’s new hatchback, Figo and quickly started following the Instructions given to get the resultant text reading

“Thank you. Visit http://www.blufi.mobi/fordfigo from your GPRS enabled phone to download & install application. Further instructions in the Ford Figo ad.”

For some reason the only clickable part of the url was http://www.blufi.mob leaving i/fordfigo which obviously resulted in error. I added much needed ‘i’ to the URL making it http://www.blufi.mobi which shockingly took me to an index with folders for many other QR clients. The list included clients like Gateway, Accenture, Barista, Disney, IBM and Nike, among many others.

In such scenarios which unless is a PR tactics from the vendor, is easily avoidable.

Anyways, back to the application (finally getting to the actual URL by copying it fully and pasting it in the browser address bar on my phone), I finally managed to install the application.

Then as instructed I pointed the camera to the QR Code given and click which when I did a small video started loading and played a Ford Figo Ad.

Update: I tried the same again after few days and the link redirected me to Wikipedia.

That’s it? After so much of pain all you wanted from me was to watch your TVC play? Who planned the whole thing for you, Ford?

I mean before you did this you already had close to 2000 fans on Figo’s Facebook page and hundreds of followers on Twitter account then why did you stop at just playing the TVC on my phone instead of taking me to facebook or twitter account and become part of the community itself where I would have extracted more value from?

However, gripes aside, Congratulations! to Ford for trying this before any other brand in India and building interactivity within otherwise a static medium.

Future of QR Codes

Huge! One drawback Print as a medium had is being addressed using QR Codes which not being able to offer audio & video that are much more engaging as compared to text only.

Newspapers & Magazines can now have QR Code for ads and top news articles linking to videos thus more engaging versions of whatever they carry otherwise.

You can now add to any print advertising, flyers, posters, invites containing:

  • product details
  • contact details
  • offer details
  • event details
  • competition details
  • a coupon
  • Twitter, Facebook, MySpace IDs
  • a link to YouTube video
  • Audio Files

Did anybody say Print is not engaging enough anymore?

Advantage SEO

Adding QR Codes to your website will tell search engines that your pages have changed or that you are updating pages. The search engines will see a new image and index it in accordance. At some point soon, the search engines will likely recognize QR codes and possibly start indexing the content in them.

Early bird advantage is on offer 🙂

Tips:

If you are an iPhone user then download this Free application from App Store called Neo Reader which is amazing and fast with QR Codes. All you have to do is point and hit scan on the application and you will straight be redirected to the pointing URL.

.

^^^Try it here^^^

You can generate QR Codes for any url using:  http://qrcode.kaywa.com/

Also Read

5 Unique Uses for QR Codes

QR Codes – Bit.ly Edition

Anubhav Sharma