Google Launch Realtime Search

I’m surprised its taken Google so long to launch Realtime (social) search. Last year, their Updates feature was very cool, especially at monitoring hashtags. I don’t feel this new feature will replace proper sentiment monitoring tools such as Radian6 or Scoutlabs. But it’s certainly not a bad free tool. Now, I wonder what monitoring realtime goodness Microsoft will add to Bing?

Remember, be careful what you tweet. They are being archived for a very long time to come.

The Facebook Effect – A Book Review


I first heard about David Kirkpatrick’s book during Robert Scoble’s interview of him at the 2010 F8 Facebook conference. Both Scoble and Kirkpatrick discussed how Facebook was evolving from a social networking platform to an identity platform. Facebook’s recent privacy issues, left me intrigued. Over the past eight months, I had found myself going to my Facebook profile less and less. Instead, I devoted my time in following interesting people on Twitter. So, learning more about Facebook’s plans during F8 and the interesting insights from Scoble and Kirkpatrick led me to purchase the book.

Amazon delivered it within a few short days and upon arrival, I immediately skimmed the Prologue. It became apparent early on, that Kirkpatrick was asked to write this book by Mark Zuckerberg, to pen an historical account on how Facebook started, Zuckerberg’s vision for Facebook and how his friends helped him to change the world by building an infectious social network.

The book itself consists of 17 chapters and is a very engaging read. The 333 pages are packed with some truly interesting insights, and I couldn’t help feeling in awe at the research time and commitment that Kirkpatrick put into this work. Hours of interviews with people in Zuckerberg’s inner circle are recalled and provide a great backdrop to the true story behind the world’s leading social network. Zuckerberg describes Facebook as “a social movement”, not as a publishing platform. He is motivated by a passion for radical transparency. Through the sharing of our data and making our lives publicly available, he believes it turns us into better people. Many people disagree and the recent controversy over privacy controls as only fuelled the fire on what Facebook is sharing about us.

Kirkpatrick has written the definitive book on the company so far. It left me with a deep under­standing of how the company thinks, its philosophies and it stunned me on its true power. Anyone who is interested in Facebook’s history will absolutely love this book, as will those who are interested in contemporary geek culture.

The Facebook Effect is a great weekend read, buy your copy of the book from Amazon here.

Facebook Launches Places [Updated]

Last night, Facebook launched “Places”. You can see the announcement and launch video above. This new service from Facebook is similar to other Local Based Services (LBS) such as Foursquare and Gowalla, where you “Check in” at various locations and announce your presence.  Places allows you to see where your friends are and share your location in the real world. When you use Places, you’ll be able to see if any of your friends are currently checked in nearby and connect with them easily. You can check into nearby Places to tell your friends where you are, tag your friends in the Places you visit, and view comments your friends have made about the Places you visit.

Facebook is working with a small group of LBS developers including Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp and Booyah to build Places check ins into their own services. However, Facebook is also launching its own Places API, which means that Facebook will eventually become the key platform on which other location based applications will be be built upon. This is huge for Facebook and no doubt worrying for Twitter and Google.

Places works in conjunction with geo location supported smartphones and allows you to:

  • Check in and your Places update, which will appear on the Places page, your friends’ News Feed and your Wall.
  • Tag the friends you’re with so they can be part of your update.
  • Appear in "Here Now" to friends and others nearby who are also checked in.
  • Browse status updates of friends checked in nearby.

[Updated] Facebook releases, “Why to Check In?” video

It will be interesting to see the uptake of businesses on this new feature. To help them, Facebook has released a short guide to help advertisers, you can read the guide below.

Places creates a presence for your business’s physical store locations- encouraging your customers to share that they’ve visited your business by “checking in” to your Place. When your customer checks into your Place, these check-in stories can generate powerful, organic impressions in friends’ News Feeds, extending your brand’s reach to new customers.


As of writing, the new service is not available outside of the US. However, a global rollout is expected over the coming months. Use Places on or the Facebook for iPhone.

NB. Places is currently available on phones that support W3 geolocation.

Rohit Bhargava on Reinventing Marketing


A fantastic presentation by Rohit on reinventing marketing. I have been a long term fan of his work for many years and I found this recent Tedx talk particularly inspiring. In this talk, he states why we are all in the business of marketing. In everyday life we try to influence others to do something, whether its trying to convince a spouse over what dinner choices to make. Or, trying to convince our kids to eat their vegetables.  However, over recent years marketing has experienced a bit of a bad reputation because “it will bend you to its will”.

Rohit continues to state that marketing suffers from what he calls “The Marketing Mirage”. Namely products have traditionally been marketed on the basis of:

  • Features – People buy things because of features. Or, the belief that it solves a particular need.
  • Promotions – If I give you something for free or discount it, you will buy it or more of it.
  • Demographics – If I know my target audience, I can just purchase media to target my segment better and succeed.

Such models worked particularly well during the 1960s and 1970s, when consumers were “mass media consumers”.  However, consumers have changed and many marketing teams have evolved and become more complex (teams are spread throughout the world, some work together others work in silos). The consumer of today is different, they have full control, it’s become “a one button economy”. All the consumer has to do is publish his or her thoughts online, by a touch of a button and share them with the world quickly easily and cheaply than ever before.

For the first time, we have a huge shift where "virtual trust" now exists. In essence, I will trust the opinion of someone I don’t know, who no one in my network knows and I have no way of verifying whether they are real or not, or credible or not. But I will still trust them. If ten people all say that a digital camera is not good on Amazon I will believe that. Even if i don’t know who those ten people actually are. 

Rohit, ends the talk with a great quote:

When it comes to marketing and when it comes to reinventing marketing, it’s not about retelling the features and benefits and having something that somebody can connect to. What it’s about is having a story that you can tell and that someone else can take, make their own and retell.

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