program on the Web 2.0 Revolution
are either dead or ready to explode
Google Sees Cellphone As Ticket Into Continent
web is the future
to focus on mobile internet in SA
|Google SA mobile
web will define the future"
|Six Types of Mobile
becomes increasingly mobile
on Mobile Phones
Internet, is it the next big thing in India?
Mobile Phones Are The Future Of The Internet
Meaning of Life - Interview with Rick Warren
why web based applications are better than desktop
Mistakes in Online
is it the next big thing in India?
tips for creating simple tests that improve email
marketing results, by Gail Goodman of www.constantcontact.com
|Are You Ready For The Mobile
|Interview on Moneyweb with
Web 2.0 Revolution, by Carte Blanche
Transcripts of a TV program produced by Barbara
Folsher, aired on 2 March 2008, presented by John
Webb, compliments of M-Net:
Rafiq Philips: "There's always someone up.
That's the cool thing, there's always company
online. Usually at night I say, 'Hi, who's awake?'
You get responses, one from London, one from California,
one from Florida. My phone basically lives next
to my bed and when I wake up the first thing I
usually do, before I go to the toilet, is check
my mail. If there's anything urgent that needs
to be handled. The next thing would be to greet
the people, on Twitter or on Google Talk, and
say good morning to friends and co-workers. I'm
always connected, always."
John Webb (Carte Blanche presenter): "Rafiq
Philips, on the face of it, an ordinary young
man living on an ordinary street in Cape Town.
But that's in the world that we see. In the parallel
universe of cyberspace, Rafiq is known as a guru,
and his habits point to a fundamental change in
society. Rafiq is one of the drivers of the Web
2.0 Revolution. But what exactly is this revolution
that is gaining force all around us?"
Web 2.0 sees the Internet as a platform for interaction
and social networking. Anyone with an Internet
connection can now be a publisher, a journalist
or an advertiser. The phenomenal rise of networks
such as Facebook, YouTube and MySpace gives anybody
a potential audience of millions. Some say the
change to our society is as fundamental as the
invention of the printing press. To Rafiq online
communication has become more natural than talking.
Rafiq: "It's continuous, it's always happening.
Someone is always asking you a question or asking
you to send them an email. You're always communicating.
It's not just like stuck in work and sealed off
from the rest of it because you're always connected.
In the office here, if you need anything, like
let's go for lunch, you send them a message."
John: "And you don't find it strange that
you don't actually get up and walk across the
room to talk to somebody."
Rafiq: "Strange, how strange? That's the
only way I've been doing it, ever. I don't know
any other way."
Today he invites two colleagues to meet at a
café with free Internet access. Hours later the
meeting takes place, partly face-to-face, partly
via laptops and cellphones. Rafiq has his own
online business, writes a successful blog and
works at an e-marketing company. He has won several
awards for his work.
Rafiq: "I help clients or companies to be
found on search engines for the products they
In a world where over 6 000 Google searches are
performed every second, that's a useful skill
to have. In true Web 2.0 style, Rafiq posts a
photograph of the meeting on the Web, friends
respond, business contacts contribute and so it
But what has this done to the 'old world', to
traditional sources of news and communication?
Some say today's seven-year-olds will never read
a printed newspaper.
The country's largest media company, Naspers,
is changing radically to adapt to the market.
Arrie Rossouw, a former newspaper editor, has
made the switch to digital.
Arrie Rossouw (Editorial Director: MHI Digital
Africa): "The user is in control, more than
ever before. They actually decide what they want
to read, when they want to read it, how they want
to consume media content."
Rafiq: "The news I want comes to me, I don't
want to know about people taking showers. There's
specific news that I'm interested in. When I get
home at night and my Dad is reading the paper
and I'm like, 'why is it so familiar?' But then
I realise as it happened or the news is released
I get it on my phone or on my feed reader. When
the news gets published its old news."
Arrie: "We compete actually with Facebook
and YouTube and MySpace. We compete with the Googles
of this world. What we've learnt in a very short
time, you have to be open to changes. Because
what you've planned now, if you can't deliver
that within three months, you've almost missed
the boat. If you wait too long someone else comes
along sitting in his garage or study somewhere
and comes up with a neat new product, people talk
about the new product, it gets traction and there
But people do not only go to the Net for news
and information. More and more people prefer to
shop online. Rafiq's blog, which is a combination
of an online diary, publishing platform and business
tool, attracts thousands of new visitors every
day. What is said about a brand or product on
a blog like this is very influential.
John: "Web 2.0 is changing economies and
mindsets. Its forces have the power to make or
break companies within the space of a couple of
hours. All over the world universities and business
schools have recognised the urgent need to understand
and navigate this new environment. Here at the
Graduate School of Business in Cape Town, new
collaborative ways of thinking and creativity
are being introduced."
Dave Duarte advises big business and lectures
at the GSB and elsewhere on the 'new' economy.
Dave Duarte (Lecturer - Graduate School of Business):
"The pace of change now is not only unforeseen,
it is unmanageable. So we've got so much stuff
coming at us, the expectation for us to keep up
with it is not really realistic. We've got to
make choices and people like me help people to
make the right choices."
John: "How much of a problem is it if businesses
don't respond to these huge changes in the environment?"
Dave: "I think part of the big problem with
companies who've got it wrong is that they saw
an emergent crisis and they took it back to the
boardroom. They discussed it and they formulated
a strategy by which time the problem had morphed
into completely something else. There will be
a blogger who's connected and word will go to
other bloggers and the inevitable result could
be that over a few months a listed company can
lose six percent of its share value."
John: "Would I be accurate in saying that
South Africa is one step behind?"
Dave: "In some regards, yes, sure, we've
got a horribly low rate of broadband penetration.
But in regards to the mobile Internet and mobile
applications, we are strides ahead to the rest
of the world and we're doing stuff which isn't
even seen there yet."
Never before have ordinary people as users or
consumers had more power. A real shift of knowledge
and power is taking place, followed closely by
a shift in the lines of wealth.
The advertising world is reeling from the effects
of the digital revolution. Senior advertising
executive Gail Curtis says the industry will have
to change radically if it is going to survive.
Gail Curtis (CEO Saatchi & Saatchi SA): "You
can't just throw your budget out and hope you're
going to get your consumer like we did before.
It's about how you're going to get them to interact,
that is becoming really, really crucial. It's:
'What's in it for me?'"
Interactive, personalised marketing means that
people play with brands to create their own online
identities. They choose features, they vote for
products and take part in competitions - all of
it feeding into the consumer's need to feel noticed
Rafiq: "What this technology enables us
to do is it puts you in the centre. It's like
you become more important. It's not about what
everybody else thinks, it's about what you think
and what you can do with it, because it's now
focused on a market of one."
Gail: "The consumer is actually asking us,
'Tell me what it is you want me to know about
your product'. As opposed to, 'Don't talk to me
in a way that you think that I want to be spoken
to because I can switch off very, very quickly
to something else that is more exciting and more
fun'. What the new generation is doing and particularly
the youth market, they're doing their homework,
they're talking on the mobile phone they're playing
games and they're watching TV. So they're multitasking
and working very, very quickly.
Rafiq: "Continuous partial attention, that's
what it's about, because you're always busy with
The communication and social habits of an entire
society are changing. In the US one out of eight
couples getting married met online. Locally the
trend is also increasing. Bradley Voges met his
German fiancée Sarah on a South African social
Bradley Voges: "I saw her profile because
I have a profile on the website as well. And so
I contacted her and we started chatting on the
site and we sent each other a couple of photographs
and we started meeting each other in chatrooms."
Sarah: "You never really know, is it
a 25-year-old guy or is it a whatever 45-year-old
guy who wants to meet with you for a drink. I'm
always a little bit careful with that but it turned
out just fine."
Bradley and Sarah are getting married, but the
inherent problems of too much personal information
on the Web have been well documented, especially
for younger users who fall prey to sexual predators.
What has been less well documented is the psychological
and cultural impact of a generation growing up
communicating on screens.
Gail: "I think we do have to take care that
they don't disconnect. Technology is there for
ultimate connectivity. They sit on the beach and
they don't swim, they're too busy smsing each
other. They date one another and they haven't
met each other. It's through pictures and smsing.
You can say things via sms that you won't necessarily
say to someone if you are looking across the room."
No one knows where the rapid development of the
Internet is leading us. All we know is that the
pace of change has exceeded our ability to keep
up, plan and interpret its impact. We also know
that the divide between those who are plugged
in and those who are not, is widening.
Rafiq: "If you don't catch up, you're going
to be left behind because the world is changing,
or it has changed already. People need to plug
in and continue."
John: "Web 2.0 may be changing the world
in which we live, but I can't imagine a Sunday
without the feel of the morning papers between
my fingers. It may be old news when compared to
what is available on the Internet, but at least
its read in a world that I can touch and taste
applications are either dead or ready to explode,
by MG Siegler 02.25.08
There’s a healthy debate going on right now
about the direction mobile applications going forward.
While the norm on mobile computing devices for a
long time was native applications, the rise of Internet-enabled
devices has brought with it access to web applications
- and those web applications are increasing being
specifically built for mobile usage.
On one hand, former Palm executive Michael Mace,
believes native applications on mobile devices will
give way to the web application variety. He speaks
of the multitude of different operating systems
and platforms we now see on mobile devices. He also
talks of mistakes Palm made in thinking that mobile
computing was different from the PC variety.
Mowser’s Mike Rowehl also believes this is
very much an extension of the web application vs.
native application debate going on in the desktop
world. While he doesn’t believe it will be
quite as simple as one killing the other he did
tell us that going forward, “an increasing
number of apps will be deliverable on the mobile
web, with an increasing amount of revenue tipping
On the other hand, ZDNet’s Matthew Miller
lays out some compelling points as to why he believes
some native apps are here to stay. He contends that
as easy as mobile web applications are to acquire
sometimes (simply by going to their web address),
that cannot replace the convenience of having it
reside right on your device. He would willing to
even pay for such applications versus paying nothing
for the web-based ones.
Towards the end of his piece, Miller talks about
Apple’s iPhone which is an interesting player
in this debate. When it launched, Apple disappointed
my developers by announcing that development on
the device would only exist through its built-in
Safari web browser. This basically meant that Apple
was forcing developers to create web applications
them access to all the bells and whistles Apple
offers to its native applications on the device.
However, only a few months after its launch, Apple
changed its stance on 3rd party native apps, and
announced that an SDK would be coming in 2008 to
grant developers access to the device. This is interesting
in the context of this discussion because it would
seem to indicate a trend that is the exact opposite
of what Mace is saying (coincidentally, Mac formerly
worked at Apple).
In fact, Miller believes that 3rd party applications
on the iPhone will start a trend of people wanting
more native applications across the whole spectrum
of mobile devices - something which could make Microsoft
happy if Google’s Android is too reliant on
web applications to mount a quick charge on Windows
Google Sees Cellphone As Ticket Into Continent
by Leslie Stones, Business Day, 19 Feb 2008
GOOGLE, the world's most popular search engine,
had to tailor its offerings to work better on
cellphones if it was to make real headway in Africa,
the group said yesterday.
In a continent with a dearth of computers, the
cellphone is the only way most people can get
online. And as only 22% of cellphone users have
computers, even in relatively wealthy SA, Google's
local branch is making mobile search technologies
Google set up an office in SA last year, poaching
Stafford Masie from networking company Novell
as its country manager. Yesterday it held its
first local media briefing, and was big on promises
if thin on figures. Masie would not say how many
people it employed in SA, although "a lot"
were South Africans who had worked abroad for
Google and had come home to launch the local branch.
Most of the staff are sales people out to convince
advertisers to switch some of their adspend from
TV and radio to online. "We are seeing an
increase in advertisers in SA since we announced
our presence here. We are building capacity because
there's a need for direct interaction," Masie
"Our goal is to hire as many really brilliant
people as we can," said Google's vice-president
of engineering, Douglas Merrill.
Google was launched in the 1990s with the ambitious
aim of organising all the information in the world
and making it universally accessible. Considering
that 80% of information is still not online, it
has a long way to go. But the information already
online had to be made available to everybody,
and in Africa that meant via cellphones, Merrill
"The majority of people coming online will
be doing it through mobile. We have to find better
ways to conduct a search over a mobile phone."
That could involve entering key search words by
SMS or speaking into the phone to tell the search
engine what you are looking for. Users should
also be able to consult maps on their phones and
have the directions sent to them via SMS.
"We have a lot of work still to do on mobiles,"
Merrill said. The race to migrate traditional
internet services to the far more densely populated
cellphone market has already seen rival player
Yahoo declare that more people would soon use
its services via cellphones than through computers.
So far, 600-million people have downloaded Yahoo's
oneSearch software so they can search for internet
content via their cellphones.
Masie said he avoided a life of crime only by
being schooled abroad and gaining a different
perspective. He said he passionately believed
that Google could expose young Africans to a better
way of life.
Google's technologies allow people to create their
own websites and conduct secure financial transactions
on them. Google assists businesses to make the
most of their sites and ensure a relevant search
from anywhere in the world that would propel their
website onto the results list.
Google is working with Internet Solutions and
the internet division that Vodacom is due to launch
this weekend to help companies get the most from
With hundreds of thousands of people due to visit
SA for the 2010 World Cup it was crucial for companies
to ensure their services received maximum prominence
online, since most visitors would search for information
before travelling, Masie said.
Entrepreneurs could also make money from their
websites because Google shared the revenue from
advertisements on those pages.
Google's support for multiple languages sees it
offer its search services in Afrikaans, Sesotho,
Zulu and Xhosa. Merrill said he was keen to add
SA's other indigenous languages, but the local
branch would guide how much priority that received,
given SA's internet user demographics.
CEO sees mobile Web as the future
Reardon, 12 Feb 2008
BARCELONA, Spain--The Internet is the future of
mobile and carriers need to be more selective
about the technologies they choose if they want
to succeed, Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin said during
his keynote speech here Tuesday.
Sarin, who was speaking on the second day of the
GSMA's Mobile World Congress, said that mobile
operators need to be at the forefront of developing
new services for cell phones, such as music, games,
and video. If they don't take an active role now,
he said, they risk losing their relevance in the
"Operators need to invest to bring important
mobile Internet services to life," he said.
"We can't sit back and become bit pipes."
Sarin also encouraged the industry not to get
into a technology standards war between emerging
4G wireless technologies WiMax and LTE. And he
called on the industry to combine the two technologies
into a common standard so that the research and
development community will not be split between
"The old debates around TDMA, CDMA, and GSM
weren't very productive," he said. "So
we need to encourage folks to merge WiMax into
He also encouraged operators and handset makers
to look at Apple's iPhone as an example of how
to improve user interfaces. And he suggested that
carriers consolidate the number of operating systems
they use on their handsets to ensure that new
applications and services are launched quickly.
He said that Vodafone, which is the largest carrier
in the world in terms of revenue, has between
30 and 40 operating systems working on its network
"I'd argue that is too many," he said.
"There's no way that an application developer
can develop applications for 30 different operating
systems. We have to narrow the range to three,
four, or five."
He was careful to note that the mobile industry
is not looking for any one company to monopolize
the mobile operating system market, the way Microsoft
dominates the PC operating system market.
He said he welcomed new entrants, such as Google,
which announced in November its Android mobile
software. Several companies are showing demonstrations
of the software on prototypes at the Mobile World
Congress. But Google's emergence in this market
has also sparked debate over how many open operating
systems are actually needed. Sarin said he didn't
care if operators and handset makers use Symbian
or Microsoft's Window's Mobile--or Google's Android
or the open Linux operating system from the Limo
Foundation. Sarin said that the market will ultimately
decide but also noted that the GSMA might provide
guidelines to help narrow the playing field.
SA is mum about mobile plans
, By ZWELI
MOKGATA 19 Feb 2008
INTERNET search engine giant Google is accelerating
its efforts to bring South African information
onto the Internet.
The US-based company started operations in South
Africa last year, but is tight-lipped about its
intentions for the South African market.
Stafford Masie, Google South Africa’s manager,
said: “We’ve been in talks with ISPs
who do a lot of hosting in order to build a presence
“We don’t want to say how many people
we’ve employed or what Google products we’ll
be bringing to South Africa, but we’ll be
looking specifically at mobile usage.”
About 75 percent of mobile users in South Africa
don’t own personal computers and out of
that, 85% will never have a PC, according to Google’s
vice president of engineering, Douglas Merrill.
He said: “What people do with a mobile device
is unique, and our goal is to communicate the
potential for the South African market.
“There are many companies out there that
are making money from our products, and we just
want people to maximise their own businesses,”
Google set up shop in June last year and brought
back into the country South Africans who had left
to work for Google in other countries.
The company launched a sales team that sold advertising
space and advised on website construction that
would lead more visitors to web pages.
Tshepo Tsele, Paperless Consulting director, said:
“Google has moved on from just being a search
engine to doing more research and census work.
They haven’t placed themselves completely
in South Africa, since a lot of their products
are still broadly directed at an international
The search capabilities for South Africa are still
scattered on google.co.za, and many search results
are still imprecise.
The company intends to collect key information
about South African culture including tourism,
traditional medicine and stories.
The company that hopes to make all the world’s
information universally accessible has a long
way to go.
Merrill said: “Over 80% of the world’s
information is offline. We want to take all that
information, especially in Africa, where a lot
of the knowledge is passed down orally into people’s
to focus on mobile usage in SA, by Zweli
Mokgata, 19 Feb 2008
Internet search engine giant Google is accelerating
its efforts to bring South African information
to the Internet.
The US company started operations in South Africa
last year but is tight-lipped about its intentions
for the local market.
Stafford Masie, Google’s manager for South
Africa, said: “We’ve been in talks
with Internet service providers to build a presence
“We don’t want to say how many people
we’ve employed or what Google products we’ll
be bringing, but we’ll be looking specifically
at mobile usage.”
About 75percent of cellphone users in South Africa
don’t own a personal computer, and 85percent
of them never will, according to Google’s
vice-president for engineering, Douglas Merrill.
He said: “What people do with a mobile device
is unique and our goal is to communicate the potential
to the South African market.
“Many companies are making money from our
products and we want people to maximise their
own businesses,” he added.
Google set up shop here in June and launched a
sales team to sell advertising space.
Tshepo Tsele, director at Paperless Consulting,
said: “Google has moved on from being a
search engine to doing more research and census
web ‘will define future’ Toby
Shapshak, online services via cellphones
is the key to the success, conference
told, 13 Feb 2008
Mobile broadband has emerged as the biggest new
development in the cellular industry this year.
Vodafone chief executive Arun Sarin told this
year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
— the world’s biggest telecommunications
conference — that mobile Internet would
define the future.
Cellular operators need to adopt new, data-centric
business models, simplify their pricing and creatively
integrate broadband offerings or risk losing their
customers and revenue, he added.
In the main address at the conference, which attracted
about 55000 visitors, Sarin said: “Our industry
is at an important crossroads. Operators need
to invest to bring important mobile Internet services
to life … we can’t sit back and become
Robert Conway, chief executive of the GSM Association,
said: “The leading indicators show we have
reached the tipping point with mobile broadband.
We have the networks, we have the devices and
we have the speed.”
Sarin agreed: “Customers want fast, wireless
broadband. The new, new thing is Internet on the
He added that Vodafone, the world’s biggest
operator by revenue and a 50 percent shareholder
in Vodacom, already has 21 million 3G subscribers
and is looking at combinations of providing wired
and wireless broadband.
He said that the current HSDPA technology has
been an excellent investment that has lived up
to its promises where previous 3G technologies
Highlighting growth in emerging markets, Sarin
said Vodafone’s Indian operation was growing
well, while South Africa experienced 15percent
growth. Vodafone’s data revenue has increased
40percent year on year, as call prices were dropping
by 15percent to 20percent a year.
Rick Stevenson, head of Samsung’s US telecoms
business, said mobile WiMAX would be a key driver
this year, with 196 operators around the world
running these networks, which use a super-fast
wireless connectivity system that is backed by
chip maker Intel.
He said: “We’re seeing a new business
model. Operators are stepping away from the subsidy
model. We’re seeing WiMAX- embedded devices
sold through consumer electronics retailers [directly
Nokia chief executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said
a Village Connection system by Nokia Siemens Network
aimed to get emerging markets online. These first-time
users would experience cellphones and the Internet
very differently from the first one billion, as
new technology would give them much greater opportunities,
analyst group Point Topic says that it has identified
six main types of users of mobile Internet,
By Mark Sutton, 12 Feb 2008
With uptake of mobile Internet services growing
rapidly, Point Topic believes that six distinct
clusters of users are emerging - road warriors,
gadget joys, MI lifers, mid-market moderates,
entertain us and light & easy.
While categories such as road warriors, who use
mobile Internet for business while travelling,
and gadget joys, who are classic early adopters
are already recognizable technology user types,
there are new types of users emerging. Entertain
us are predominantly young people using mobiles
for entertainment, while light &easy are older
users whose main method of Internet access is
through mobile devices. Mid-market moderates are
late adopters who have yet to find a compelling
use for mobile Internet.
According to the company, around 83% of all mobile
Internet users fall into these categories, and
it is important that service providers understand
them and their habits to target services effectively
"Think of them as like the audiences for
different radio channels," said Tim Johnson,
chief analyst at Point Topic. "You've got
to have the right mix of content and features
to get the audience to tune in. People can use
the profiles of these clusters in the same way,
to work out what they need to offer a particular
segment of the market."
becomes increasingly mobile,
by www.itweb.co.za, 18
Mobile Internet usage in SA is increasing, providing
several marketing opportunities.
The boom in mobile Internet use in SA is largely
due to low data tariffs, and access to mobile
Web and Web sites designed specifically for mobile
phones, says Rian Groenewald, Multimedia Solutions
Admob, a mobile advertiser, says SA is ranked
third in its worldwide advertising statistics,
garnering 144 million impressions in December
Instant messaging service Mxit is also enjoying
a boom, with six million registered users and
a growth rate of between 10 000 and 11 000 new
subscriptions per day.
This kind of traffic has caused mobile service
providers to jump on the instant messaging bandwagon.
“MTN has already launched its instant messaging
(IM) service, NokNok while Vodacom announced it
would be launching The Grid and Meep early in
the new year,” Groenewald says.
This all leads to the conclusion that 2008 will
be a good year for mobile, says Groenewald. But
he questions whether South African retailers will
According to Groenewald, retailers and corporates
need to incorporate mobile Internet into their
marketing plans for this year, because regular
Internet users in SA number a few million, while
mobile phone users number around 25 million.
“And a large percentage of the cellphone
base is now starting to actively look for information
online. While most are browsing mobile content,
sports news, entertainment news, weather, etc,
from their phones, they could just as easily be
browsing retailers' mobi sites if they were available.”
Mobile Search, By Scott Van Achte,
Google Search Offered on Nokia Handsets
Tuesday, Nokia announced a deal to offer Google
Search to customers worldwide.
Google will now be the default search integrated
into new select Nokia handsets. The deal will
offer users faster, easier access to online information
from their mobile devices as well as the ability
to search the handset itself for any content they
have stored within it.
Nokia offers easy searching only one click away
from the active standby screen. By increasing
the ease of use, ultimately it will increase the
number of users taking advantage of the feature.
"Providing choices for our consumers is an
important driver in Nokia's Internet service strategy,"
said Ilkka Raiskinen, vice-president, software
and services at Nokia. "This integration
allows our consumers the ability to use the innovative
search technologies, which have made Google almost
synonymous with Internet search.
Nokia and Google have had a previous relationship.
Last year the Nokia N95 became the first mobile
device to support YouTube, and Google Search has
been available on Nokia Internet tablets for some
Google Searches Abundant on iPhones
On Wednesday, Google reported that it has seen
more mobile searches by users using Apple iPhones
by 50 times that of any other mobile handset,
according to the Financial Time. This shows that
the increasing use of mobile search will prove
to be a significant source of revenue for Google
and others involved in mobile search into the
future, but the statistic had Google second guessing.
"'We thought it was a mistake and made our
engineers check the logs again,' Vic Gundotra,
head of Google's mobile operations told the Financial
Times at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona."
Gundotra went on to note that the number of mobile
searches could outnumber that of fixed internet
searches "within the next several years"
if other manufactures improve the ease of web
access as Apple has.
Internet, is it the next big thing in India?
Published by Abhishek on Thursday, October 25,
2007 at 6:50 PM
We had been struggling to increase our Internet
base and PC penetration but slowly a new realization
has happened to all the companies that instead
growth lies in a format which has a much wider
reach than any other medium in India and this
medium is Mobile the fourth screen as this week's
business world calls it. It has emerged as the
alternative to cinema, TV and the computer screens
— all put together. Now, it promises to
change the way an average Indian entertains himself
and conducts business.
Some of the reasons for the hype over mobile
Total number of Mobile users in India are more
than number of TV households in India .
India's internet based mobile revenues have jumped
from anemic $150 millionto $700 million within
Nokia's service Mosh's most users are from India
and it is in talks with indian providers to offer
its service Ovi in india.
Companies like Bharti are trying for licence
from SBI that will allow people to remit money
Reliance's non SMS services accounted for 75.4
% of total data revenues.
All the Internet biggies starting from Google
and yahoo to portals like Cricinfo and startups
like Mundu are creating applications for the mobile
There are some serious drawbacks which are hindering
Telecom Operators in India keep 70-80 percent
of revenue compared to companies like NTT Docomo
of japan which shares 90% of revenue with the
operators and served as catalyst for mobile internet
boom in Japan
Out of the 30 million subscribers figure 10 million
belong to Reliacne's R world only.
Feature rich handsets are not affordable.
Lot of services including Google's local searches
are pretty crappy on mobile
This is an example of how the Internet economy
Satish K., a restless 25-year-old techie from
a Gurgaon-based software firm, logs on to Airtel’s
network using his Nokia N 95 handset. He gets
to Google and searches for Nike, clicks on the
latest offering from the world’s largest
shoemaker, checks out its price tag and logs off
without buying the shoe. What heisn’t aware
of is that with his idle browsing, he has just
triggered a transaction in the mobile internet
space. Nike will pay Google a click-based fee
for being the conduit for a potential customer
and Google, in turn, will share an undisclosed
proportion of the revenue with mobile operator
Mobile Phones Are The Future Of The Internet
By Stephen Wellman, Feb 20, 2007
The future of the Web is smaller than you think.
And also much bigger, according to Google Vice President
Vinton Cerf. Cerf, speaking in India this week,
predicted that mobile phones, not PCs, are the future
of the Web.
Cerf said that while the number of netizens has
rocketed from 50 million in 1997 to 1.1 billion
today, it still only reaches one sixth of the earth's
population. Compare that to the world's 2.5 billion
cell phone users. India alone adds seven million
new cell phone users every month.
Cell phones continue to outpace PCs in terms of
growth in emerging markets and there is little reason
to think that this will stop.
That's why the way to the remaining 5.5 billion
people without the Internet is through cell phones.
Mobile phones are cheaper than PCs and they are
more ubiquitous. And thanks to the continued growth
of 3G, mobile broadband will likely be a better
bet for high-speed access in most of these markets
than wireline broadband.
Last week at 3GSM, the wireless industry kept talking
about emerging markets. This is one of the reasons
the industry is so excited about the falling prices
of smartphones. The more inexpensive, software-enabled
phones there are on the market the easier it will
be to get people in emerging markets online.
|This is an absolutely incredible interview
with Rick Warren, author of "Purpose Driven
Life" His wife now has cancer, and he now has
"wealth" from the book sales. In the interview
by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said:
"People ask me, "What is the purpose
of life?" And I respond: In a nutshell, life
is preparation for eternity. We were made to last
forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven
One day my heart is going to stop, and that will
be the end of my body--but not the end of me.
I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am
going to spend trillions of years in eternity.
This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal.
God wants us to practice on earth what we will
do forever in eternity. We were made by God and
for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't
going to make sense.
Life is a series of problems: Either you are
in one now, you're just coming out of one, or
you're getting ready to go into another one.
The reason for this is that God is more interested
in your character than your comfort
God is more interested in making your life holy
than He is in making your life happy.
We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but
that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow
in character, in Christ likeness.
This past year has been the greatest year of
my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay,
I used to think that life was hills and valleys
- you go through a dark time, then you go to the
mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that
Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe
that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad
track, and at all times you have something good
and something bad in your life.
No matter how good things are in your life, there
is always something bad that needs to be worked
And no matter how bad things are in your life,
there is always something good you can thank God
You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus
on your problems. If you focus on your problems,
you're going into self-centeredness, "which
is my problem, my issues, my pain."
But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain
is to get your focus off yourself and onto God
We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers
of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not
going to heal Kay or make it easy for her.
It has been very difficult for her, and yet God
has strengthened her character, given her a ministry
of helping other people, given her a testimony,
drawn her closer to Him and to people.
You have to learn to deal with both the good
and the bad of life.
Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the
good is harder. For instance, this past year,
all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million
copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.
It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had
never had to deal with before. I don't think God
gives you money or notoriety for your own ego
or for you to live a life of ease.
So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do
with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave
me two different passages that helped me decide
what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.
First, in spite of all the money coming in, we
would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made
no major purchases.
Second, about midway through last year, I stopped
taking a salary from the church. Third, we set
up foundations to fund an initiative we call The
Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist
the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next
Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid
me in the 24 years since I started the church,
and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be
able to serve God for free.
We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live
Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt?
Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for
When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side
of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything
else done today, I want to know You more and love
You better. God didn't put me on earth just to
fulfill a to-do list.
He's more interested in what I am than what I
do. That's why we're called human beings, Not
Happy moments, PRAISE GOD. Difficult moments,
SEEK GOD. Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD. Painful
moments, TRUST GOD. Every moment, THANK GOD. "
Reasons why web based applications are better
than desktop applications – by Vinny Lingham
Browser based software never requires installation
processes or hard drive space. It lives in a virtual
cloud in the Internet and this means that whenever
you launch it, it always has the latest version.
Ajax has made it possible to deliver Desktop-like
look & feel, and functionality, with no loss
Updates are seamless
Instead of having to patch each and every individual
user, the patches/upgrades are applied to the
server and each user received the updated version
the next time they log in.
This is a big issue for traditional software
vendors. Users who purchase previous versions
of a software almost always will result in legacy
versions lying around which need support (which
is costly). The problems relating to legacy software
are almost limitless, and often is not efficient
for both the vendor or the customer.
No admin rights required
Finally, a world where the network administrator
in the company does not have to approve the installation
of your software!
Available anywhere, anytime
Ok, so the anytime comment is a stretch, but
that’s only until Adobe’s Apollo gets
here (here’s hoping!). The same way that
people access their email from any browser, web
apps are exactly the same.
This opens a wider market for software vendors
– no longer do they have to build technology
around a specific platform and limit their market
(or incur additional costs to build for another
platform). The browser is the platfom and therefore
I believe you will see increased uptake in OS’s
like Mac OS and Linus, due to the increased availability
of Web Applications.
Less environmental conflicts
There are certainly going to be a lot less bugs
in Web based software, due to the fact that it
is not depending on any of the hardware or environment
settings in the OS that may usually cause a problem.
Enables social possibilities
Many Web Apps are creating chat facilities and
the ability to share your work in real time. This
removes the previous “stand-alone”
functionality that use to exist with most installed
desktop applications. The world is becoming more
and more social - people want to collaborate and
work online together - Web Apps allows this, painlessly.
Lower cost of sale
No boxes, printed manual, expensive shipping
costs, CD’s, distribution channels, middlemen,
etc. Desktop apps are going to be more economical
to produce and will result in a lower cost of
Usable from inexpensive PCs
$100 Laptops, here we come! What do you need
a dual core processor for, if you’re running
a thin client application? This opens up a world
of cost savings for both companies and consumers,
especially in the field of productivity apps (obviously,
Here is a big one. Imagine a world without software
piracy. That world is here, and Web Applications
are the solution to that problem. Next problem,
No bad debts
Sofware companies are often owed money from distributors,
that invariably go bust from time to time. With
Web Apps, the cash is collected upfront and as
long as the customer pays, the account is in good
Low-cost support and maintenance
Given that the browser is now the platform, operational
support costs and maintenance for Web Application
providers will drop substantially. No need to
have expensive operating system gurus on hand
to help with installation problems. Also, using
products like the Amazon EC2 cloud, will allow
scalability, without a proportionate increase
User’s data is kept safe in hosting
Although this is probably not going to be true
for all Web App companies, but using providers
like Rackspace or Amazon’s EC2 cloud will
go a long way in reassuring your customers that
their data is safer than on their desktop!
No installation, means no viruses. Start shorting
all those Anti-Virus stocks! Enough said!
Low cost global distribution
No more channel reliance. Most software companies
make it or break it, depending on their channel.
Forget that – focus on the biggest channel
of all – the 1 billion users online!
Lower software price entry point for
Given the benefits above, you will see more products
such as Basecamp and Synthasite that will offer
far greater value than their desktop equivalents.
Access to the entire assets of the Web
(APIs, widgets, messaging, collaboration)
By being wired into the web, Web Apps are able
to integrate seamless into API’s etc and
are a lot more customizable, than traditional
Mobile is here
Compiled desktop applications are going to have
a hard time being adapted for mobile devices.
Web apps are ready made (in most cases).
Widest potential audience
For all the points above, this basically unlocks
markets for software vendors that previously were
inaccessible due to technical reasons.
10 Mistakes in Online, compliments
of Laura Chisholm of www.eclipsegroup.com.au
there are some frustrated web designers, consultants
and engineers out there because, as history has
shown us, the same classic mistakes are made (online)
over and over again.
The following is a top ten list from the collective
wisdom of 50-plus designers, engineers and consultants
who have worked on thousands of websites for a
combined total of over 500 years. Listen to them
and don't make the same mistakes yourself.
Mistake #1: No vision or objectives
'We need a website!' I hear companies cry. Why?
Because everyone else has one. All too often companies
create websites without a clear understanding
of the reason behind it. Not having a clear vision
and understanding of your objectives can lead
to a disorganised and purposeless site.
Take the time to think about your website's objectives
and measure its performance accordingly. Is your
website going to be used to sell products online,
drive leads to your sales team, provide support
or self-service, provide information or deliver
online content? Every one of these objectives
will require a different design focus and different
methods of measurement.
Mistake #2: Forgetting the user
This is the most heinous of online crimes. After
all, the user is the only reason we are here at
User-centred design is a philosophy founded on
the users. It focuses on designing interfaces
around how people can, want, or need to work,
rather than forcing the users to change how they
work to accommodate the system or function. Of
course, this is a very difficult thing to do if
you don't understand your audience. A good way
to get a better understanding of your online users'
needs is to develop personas. Personas, also known
as user types, are fictitious characters that
embody characteristics and attributes of real
target user groups. Personas should be used to
keep the user front of mind throughout the design
process and to validate design decisions.
Mistake #3: Poor alignment and integration
with other channels
Consumers these days switch between many channels
to complete their tasks. They are just as likely
to want to interact with your organisation on
the web as they are in person or on the phone.
In most organisations the online channel is treated
as a poor cousin to the other channels in the
mix. It doesn't command the same respect as call
centres or shops. It's time to face up to it;
the web is now a mainstream channel and should
be treated with the same respect as your other
Integrate your marketing approach so other channels
are driving traffic to your website and visa versa.
Common mistakes are not including your URL in
your offline marketing collateral or not providing
your customer service number on your website.
Mistake #4: Neglect
A classic and oh, so sad mistake. Organisations
too frequently invest in a beautiful new website
only to ignore it from that point onwards. Websites
are neglected in two major ways.
Firstly, most organisations seem to operate their
websites under the assumption of 'build it and
they will come'. Once the site is launched, no
attempt is made to drive traffic to the website.
My Creative Director likens launching a website
to giving birth. The responsibility doesn't stop
with the delivery, but continues for the rest
of its natural life. At an absolute minimum you
should ensure that your website is optimised for
the major search engines. Not doing this these
days is the equivalent of not listing your business
in the Yellow Pages.
Secondly, the content on websites is too often
out of date. An out of date website disappoints
the user and makes your company look shabby. If
a user has a disappointing experience in your
online channel, t will lead them to expect a similar
experience in your other channels.
Mistake #5: Content crisis
Too much, Not enough, Incorrect information?
The most common mistake is to cram too much information
onto one page, which makes it difficult to absorb
and fails to get the message across to the user.
However, it is not so much the content itself
that tends to be the problem but the delivery
of that content. For example, a 5,000 word report
would be very difficult to digest online no matter
how interesting it is. If the same report were
transformed into a five minute podcast for users
to download it would be ideal.
Mistake #6: Creative craziness
To all you creative folks out there, sorry but
this one is going to hurt. All too often usability
falls prey to gratuitous creativity. Very few
websites have the objective of simply being cool
to look at. Jazzy, flash-heavy websites almost
always detract from the main purpose of the site.
What is more, these sites have low accessibility
and usually take a long time to load. Use creative
design to help deliver your messages but do so
Mistake #7: Poor usability
Usability is the key to successful website design.
If people don't or can't use your website it is
a waste of money.
To avoid making this mistake follow the 'Rule
of Least Surprise'. - always do the least surprising
thing in interface design. Break with tried and
tested paradigms only if you have a very good
reason to do so - not just to because you think
it's clever or different. It takes users a long
time to learn new paradigms and you don't want
to be the one to teach them.
To find out how usable your website is, test
it with some users. If at all possible run the
designs past your grandmother. If they don't pass
the grandmother test, you are in trouble.
Mistake #8: Navigation or orienteering?
Information architecture (IA) is the practice
of structuring information for a particular purpose.
Your website may be full of great content but
none of this is worth a thing if no-one can find
A classic navigation mistake is for companies
to organise the information on their websites
according to their own internal organizational
structure and terminology. This type of external
projection usually makes very little sense to
your common or garden website user and results
in confusion. When developing your information
architecture use personas and scenarios to test
whether your navigation titles and hierarchies
make sense for your user.
Mistake #9: Silver bullet syndrome
The silver bullet syndrome is the belief that
your website site will fulfil all the needs of
all users every single time they visit. There
will always be at least one user with a quirky,
out of left-field need that your website will
not be able to satisfy. Make it easy for them
to find your contact details - don't leave them
banging their heads against a cyber brick wall.
And despite all your best efforts with the IA,
navigational nirvana is hard to come by. There
will always be someone out there who wants to
take an alternative route to the information they
are after. Providing good search functionality
as an alternative is vital as it allows users
to apply their own reasoning to the goal of finding
Mistake #10: Personalisation panacea
This mistake is to think that by allowing personalisation
the user experience will automatically be improved.
The undisputed guru of personalisation is Amazon.com.
This website knows what products you have bought
in the past and matches that information with
the purchases of others who bought the same books
to recommend something else you will probably
enjoy reading. Here, personalisation improves
the user experience. Do not provide personalisation
if it does not add value to the user's online
Users will be annoyed if you make them jump through
hoops for no apparent reason or value. Invest
in core functions such as content, usability and
information architecture before all the bells
and whistles of personalisation.
So, how many mistakes does your company make?
If you're not making any of these mistakes, enter
some awards. You'll probably win. If you are making
even one of these mistakes it could be putting
the performance of your website at risk
Hot tips for creating
simple tests that improve email marketing results,
by Gail Goodman of www.constantcontact.com.
What if you could make a slight change to one
of your e-mails and get a 20 percent lift in opens
or a 10 percent increase in sales? You would do
it in an instant. But how do you know which element
to change? That's where testing comes in.
E-mail marketing makes it easy to quickly test
important elements of your e-mail at very little
or no extra cost. With testing, you can find out
what factors influence the success of your e-mail.
Follow these five steps to create an effective
and measurable test.
1. Decide what to test.
Because testing with e-mail is so easy, it's tempting
to test many elements at once. Start by testing
just one. Why? If you test more than one element
in the same e-mail, it's challenging--and sometimes
impossible--to determine what influenced the response.
Here are some easy and telling tests:
two different subject lines for the same e-mail
communication. For example, a boutique owner just
added a home and garden section and wants to get
the word out to her customers. Here are the subject
lines she'll test.
• Subject line No. 1: New! Home and garden
• Subject line No. 2: Get what you need
for your home and garden
Long vs. short copy--
Is less really more? Create a shorter version
of your current newsletter with teasers and links
to your website. Or create two versions of a promotional
e-mail. Keep one very short and to-the-point and
make the other a little longer by adding additional,
two different offers. For example, an online bookseller
wants to get rid of last season's bestsellers.
He sends the following offers to see which one
gets a better response.
• Offer No. 1: Buy three books and get one
• Offer No. 2: Buy three books and get free
Other tests could include the time of day or day
of the week you send, whether you include an image,
types of calls-to-action, and the placement of
a call-to-action button or link. I'm sure that
you will come up with other areas you would like
to test as well.
2. Decide how to measure success.
What will you measure to determine success? Possibilities
include website traffic, response to an offer,
sales, opens and click-throughs. Whichever you
decide on, be confident that you can attribute
an increase--or decrease--in the area you measure
directly to the e-mail you send. The easiest place
to start is with your e-mail communication opens
and click-throughs, data that your e-mail marketing
service provider makes available to you.
3. Determine how to divide your e-mail
When it comes to who you will send your test to,
you have two options. You can either split your
entire list in half and test one half against
the other or take a random sample and do a pre-test.
A pre-test is an excellent way to find out what
works before sending the e-mail to your entire
list. This knowledge can greatly improve your
overall response rate. It also protects you from
sending a poor e-mail test to a large portion
of your list--and wasting your efforts. To pre-test,
choose a random sampling of 100 people from your
master list, then split that in half and send
each half one of the two test campaigns.
4. Test, measure, and declare a winner.
Once you have everything ready, send your test
e-mails. The great thing about e-mail is that
you get your results quickly: within a 24-to-48-hour
period you will know which e-mail communication
got a better result. Declare your winner, send
that e-mail to the remaining members of your list
and watch the results come in.
5. Have fun and keep it up.
Did I mention that testing is fun? Make a guess
about which version will win before you send and
see if you are right. What's amazing about testing--and
what proves its incredible value--is that many
times the results are not at all what you expect.
Let your customers, clients or members tell you,
through their actions, what they respond to best.
This is an excellent and trustworthy way to improve
your e-mails. Test often. You may be surprised
Gail F. Goodman is the "E-Mail Marketing"
coach at Entrepreneur.com and is CEO of Constant
Contact, a web-based e-mail marketing service
for small businesses. She's also a recognized
small-business expert and speaker.
You Ready For The Mobile Computing Revolution?
2007-09-08 Compliments of www.informationweek.com (by
Peter Rysavy, summary by Art Wittmann)
We're on the cusp
of a revolution in mobile computing and application
deployment. That's the primary finding of our research
on mobile applications. The question is, are you ready
to keep your mobile workers competitive?
We don't use the "r" word lightly. But in
an industry that tends to advance by evolution, this
is something different. Several potent forces are acting
in concert to dramatically expand the ability of mobile
workers to access any information, at any time, from
anywhere. Companies will function in completely new
ways by streamlining business processes and extending
them to a highly mobile workforce.
The challenge for IT will be to transition from tactical
use of mobile computing to strategic deployments. Two
of the three necessary pieces are rapidly falling into
place: The latest 3G networks being built by carriers
will have the reliability and bandwidth to support critical
applications, and mobile workers now commonly carry
3G-connected (or easily connectable) laptops and handheld
devices. What's missing is a wide selection of off-the-shelf
applications as well as the mechanisms to easily create
mobile versions of existing enterprise apps. Our survey
results bear this out: While 70% of respondents said
they were adopting mobile technologies, only 17% said
they were doing it with companywide strategic initiatives.
While the game-changing value proposition for mobile
applications is hard to dispute, there are also significant
obstacles, notably complexity and the need for carriers
to provide services over their 3G networks. With a little
luck, advances in the latter may significantly help
with the former, but until that happens, developing
mobile applications is not for the faint of heart.
Carrier services will come in the form of the IP Multimedia
Subsystem, or IMS. Today's networks primarily deliver
packets or messages, but operators such as AT&T,
Sprint, and Verizon are laying the foundations for more
sophisticated communication. IMS is a (frame)work in
progress, based on the Session Initiation Protocol.
It will support the dynamic blending of a variety of
communications components, including circuit-switched
voice, packet-switched voice through VoIP, video, user
location information, and messaging.
The first use will be providers creating their own services,
such as video streaming and push-to-talk over cellular,
but they also will open up IMS interfaces to third-party
apps. The result will be rich, multimedia-oriented applications
that will captivate consumers and, presumably, enhance
enterprise productivity. Imagine an app on a desktop
at corporate headquarters that graphically shows the
location of an employee in the field and can initiate
an IM session simply by clicking on that person's icon.
Given today's 3G networks, powerful laptops, and handheld
devices, we already have the systems and infrastructure
to extend data to mobile workers. However, running applications
designed for always-connected, high-speed networks with
low latency over wireless links usually results in sluggish
and unreliable behavior. It's common to experience temporary
loss of connectivity, reconnections with different IP
addresses, and inconsistent throughput levels because
of high network load or poor signal conditions. All
of these will flummox today's desktop applications.
Older networks, such as GPRS, simply moved packets too
slowly (tens of kilobits per second) with too much latency
(hundreds of milliseconds). Dealing with the foibles
of 2G wireless often meant employing wireless middleware,
which could involve rewriting the application or developing
custom apps using programming interfaces specific to
the middleware. The result: Expensive and cumbersome
application deployment, often justifiable only for focused
vertical-market applications, such as dispatch or field
Three factors are working to improve the situation.
First, 3G networks are much faster than their predecessors.
Second, wireless middleware has become much more sophisticated
and can often be deployed without changing the overlying
application. Third and most important, application and
software-as-a-service vendors are finally delivering
versions of their enterprise apps that directly support
mobile devices. Effectively eliminating the mobile middleware
component makes IT's job much easier. In some cases,
you may still want middleware to provide security, management,
or mobility features, but the good news is that increasingly,
you won't need it.
This doesn't spell the end for third-party gateways,
at least not right away. Some enterprises will always
be willing to pay a premium for greater networking efficiency,
support for a broader set of target devices, increased
security, and better configuration policies and inventory
management. What this change does mean for IT, however,
is an easier path to initial mobile application deployment.
As part of our request for information, we sought to
uncover the extent to which major software application
vendors have developed support for mobile systems.
While the situation is getting better, serious impediments
to mobile application deployment still exist. Multiple
mobile platforms, wireless network foibles, and challenging
integration translate into complexity for IT managers
and CIOs. It's this complexity, more than anything else,
that's inhibiting broader deployment of optimized mobile
An optimized mobile app works within the constraints
of mobile devices, especially handhelds, and makes effective
use of available wireless networks. For smartphones,
the user interface is particularly important, because
entering text is cumbersome and the display is small.
Differences in form factor, types of operations, and
the manner in which users interact with the devices
will be inherently different than with larger laptop
platforms. A well-designed mobile application won't
require any more user input than absolutely necessary
and should go to the network only for the information
Applications should operate fundamentally differently
on a mobile device. For example, desktop applications
leverage free bandwidth to poll servers for information,
but in a wireless environment, it's more efficient from
both network utilization and power management standpoints
to dispatch data to the mobile system only when there's
new information. The most vivid example is wireless
e-mail, where today's systems push messages in real
time, but the concept can apply to any dynamic information
that mobile workers need to receive right away. Currently,
however, it's only e-mail systems that widely employ
this push model. Other mobile applications and middleware
generally use time-based polling.
Security requirements also are fundamentally different
than on a desktop. People constantly lose their mobile
phones, and that's bad news for IT given the huge amount
of storage available on these devices combined with
their ability to access sensitive data. The big question
is, should your app incorporate native security features,
or will you employ a separate security system?
Features to look for when deciding include encryption
of data on the device itself and while in transit, user
authentication with an inactivity time-out, and the
ability to remotely wipe data on devices or kill them
entirely if lost. Note that VPNs protect data transmission
but do nothing to safeguard information on the device.
The trend is for mobile applications to incorporate
For enterprises willing to take on the development task,
there are numerous architectures for mobile applications.
The simplest uses Short Message Service, or SMS, to
send text messages to the mobile device. Cellular operators
also offer gateways where, under a contractual agreement,
you can dispatch messages via your application in a
more controlled fashion through a well-defined interface.
The advantage is that the system will work with almost
any cell phone.
Browser-based applications make for a better user interface.
Using a mobile browser for an application is relatively
straightforward so long as the application takes into
account screen size--and minimizes the amount of data
presented. Over 3G networks, browser operations are
fairly snappy, but on slower 2.5G systems they can be
quite sluggish, with users often waiting tens of seconds
for screen refreshes. Like SMS, the advantage of using
a browser is that you can support a wide range of devices,
independent of the underlying operating system.
For local code, a Java client works across the greatest
number of mobile devices. One common Java approach uses
Java 2 Micro Edition in conjunction with specifications
that define a complete mobile application run-time environment
for mobile systems. J2ME has seen its greatest success
with consumer applications, but it's increasingly viable
for enterprise apps. Another Java approach is the RCP
(Rich Client Platform), based on work by the Eclipse
Foundation. Performance tends to be significantly better
than for browser-based applications, but on some devices
the Java environment itself is sluggish.
The most effective mobile applications are those developed
for the native environment. They can leverage all the
capabilities of the platform with the least processing
overhead. However, developing native apps requires substantial
expertise; it's no small feat to become familiar with
all the development tools and debugging approaches required.
It's therefore not uncommon for developers to target
just one mobile platform, most often Windows Mobile
in the United States and Symbian in Europe.
Top of page
by MoneyWeb with Dr Douglas Merrill: CIO & VIP of
Engineering, Google, and Stafford Masie: Country manager,
Google SA, 18 February 2008
MONEYWEB: I spent an evening, rather a very interesting...
[audio loss] the campus, Dimension Data's huge office
park in the north of Johannesburg, where Google made
its first appearance, publicly anyway, in South Africa.
It was a fascinating discussion, and we're going to
be taking that through for the next half hour, because
it's not every day that you get the chief information
officer or the "head geek" of Google joining
us here in this part of the world - indeed, in this
continent. But Dr Douglas Merrill is with us now in
the studio, as well as the South African manager, the
country manager, Stafford Masie. Google, if you don't
know much about it, is quite an incredible company -
it was only launched just over a decade ago. There is,
well, almost a fantasy-type story that happened, about
two guys who went to university together, found a new
way of doing things and are changing the world. Douglas,
good to have you here in the studio. Google - how many
employees do you have today?
DOUGLAS MERRILL: Just north of 16 000 worldwide.
MONEYWEB: And the market cap at the last count?
DOUGLAS MERRILL: Something north of $180bn.
MONEYWEB: The Google Story. David Vice made a lot of
money out of this [book] - if you can just pick it up
there on camera three? - if you've never seen it before,
is this prescribed reading to anybody who joins your
DOUGLAS MERRILL: We actually spend a great deal of time
with new hires - we call ourselves the Googlers - we
spend a lot of time teaching people what our culture
is about and how do we think about the world, and how
did we get where we are, because it's so important to
us. Our culture is our greatest single asset. So, although
it isn't prescribed reading, a lot of people have read
it. It's a great book and there's a lot of discussion
internally of who we are and why we are.
MONEYWEB: The question was because there's a lot of
interesting information in there. Is it true, is it
DOUGLAS MERRILL: I'm sure a lot of it is.
MONEYWEB: All right, let's move on to something else.
On Friday we had the dean of the local business school
in here, discussing The Future of Management, a book
that Gary Hamel has put together - I'm sure your top
team at Google has also had a look at that, because
you are one of the three companies that he has analysed.
DOUGLAS MERRILL: Gary Hamel is brilliant.
MONEYWEB: He is, and the stuff in that book, can we
believe that as far as Google is concerned?
DOUGLAS MERRILL: It feels pretty right. Google has a
pretty interesting management culture. Our belief is
that traditional hierarchical organisations are really
quite good at doing the same thing multiple times. The
problem is and problems many face, and we certainly
face at Google, you're not doing the same thing over
and over again, you're trying to figure out exactly
what to do next. So our management style is very, very
flat, non-hierarchical, and very communicative. We're
quite chatty, because we're trying to figure out, "Oh,
you solved that problem this way, let's try it this
way". We also do lots of experiments. So we try
lots of things, many of which we expect to fail. At
any given moment on Google.com, we have between five
and 200 experiments going on, which are things being
done slightly differently, most of which will have no
effect and will vanish off the face of the earth, some
of which might be sort of important and big and actually
change the world[?]. That's our goal. We like to try
lots of different things and be very communicative about
MONEYWEB: Those "new hires" that you spoke
about earlier, do they find it a culture shock?
DOUGLAS MERRILL: Some do. We obviously have a pretty
diverse hiring pool. One of Google's explicit hiring
goals is to hire as much diversity as we can - different
ethnic backgrounds, different cultural backgrounds -
because we want to try and get people with different
perspectives internally. When you have people with different
perspectives, they will try different things, they will
solve problems differently, they'll argue, and so that
all feeds into the innovation engine that drives us.
So some of them may come from long careers with traditional
companies, and it feels quite different to be at Google.
Some might be fresh out of university.
MONEYWEB: Well, it will be interesting to find out Stafford
Masie's story, because he's a guy from Eldorado Park
now running Google in South Africa. It was interesting
listening to you this morning, saying a lot of the guys,
your peer group, were seeing the big cars in Eldo's
and saying, well, this is perhaps the way to go, to
become a gangster - and the only difference was that
your father sent you abroad to see a different side
STAFFORD MASIE: Ja, absolutely, and I think if we bring
it back to Google, in the context of Google and what
Google is, I think Google is that epitome of the online
story about, you know, if we can get more and more people
to be exposed to more and more people's opinions, I
think your mindset changes. And the only difference
between me and the folks back home where I grew up,
and what they're doing today and what I'm doing today,
is the fact that I had the opportunity to be exposed.
And I think that opportunity every citizen of this country
and this continent should have, and I think the Google
story plays very, very well into that.
MONEYWEB: Why has it taken Google so long to get really
active in South Africa?
STAFFORD MASIE: You know, everyone, when they look at
Google - Google is a very young company. If you take
a look at where we are today, I think the way they grow
is, I think it may be slow from the outside, but it
is commitment. I think every time Google takes a step,
it takes a deep step. It doesn't necessarily just take
steps. So they took some time hiring the right people
in South Africa, and I think they're very serious about
the continent. When I came into the company, one of
the things that was pleasing to me was the founder's
view of Africa, and how committed they are about Africa.
And they really wanted people in the company that could
articulate that and creatively ensure that the Google
story in South Africa was an Africanised version of
that story. And yes, it did take a while. I think people
were anxious to have us. I don't think we were slow
in getting here. And I think the fact that we're here
now, we've got good intentions.
MONEYWEB: It's an interesting point you bring up there
about the Google founders being interested in Africa,
but there isn't a whole lot of bandwidth - not enough
in South Africa itself, but further in the continent
- so how are they going to play a role?
DOUGLAS MERRILL: I think it's really important to notice
that we are a service player and we're not an infrastructure
provider, but we're obviously very interested not just
in South Africa - although we're speaking about South
Africa now because we're here - but we're interested
in the continent as a whole. So we actually have activities
across the continent. We have the government of [indistinct]
Rwanda, where we go [indistinct], we have an office
in Kenya. Google.org, which is our foundation arm, has
launched a series of projects around transparency and
infrastructure utilisation across the continent. We
were very excited about the recent announcement by Seacom
and EASSy[?] around new cables coming down. We think
the access to information, access to [indistinct] is
the key to long-term social change. We believe that
social change arises from sustainable economic change,
and sustainable economic change arises from job creation.
Job creation is driven by small and medium-size businesses
able to try their ideas and try interesting, entrepreneurial
things. There are great entrepreneurs in Africa and
at the moment many of them are unable to reach the world.
We are very excited to see the spread of mobile and
wire bandwidth to enable those people to reach the world.
MONEYWEB: It's so interesting this, many people will
say, "Oh it's a nice PR spin that you're putting
onto it" and even the credo of Google, "Don't
do evil" - Is it true, Stafford?
STAFFORD MASIE: I think it is, I think it absolutely
is. If I had to look at how the company deals with its
employees, how we deal with ourselves in the local marketplaces
we're around, the instruction that we get in terms of
how we should behave in a Google way, we're not about
being aggressive and talking bad and being evil. We're
all about building great technologies and hoping people
utilise them, and that's how we win.
MONEYWEB: And I guess in South Africa - and you made
a big thrust about this, this morning, as well - it's
all about mobile.
STAFFORD MASIE: I think it's both. I think, you know,
if you take a look at Africa, there's a metro story
around online and then there's a rural story. I think
the rural aspect of Africa, the mobile device, is an
interesting device because most people have mobile phones.
I mean, those mobile phones, the capability on them,
they're growing, they're connected and it's going to
be interesting how that evolves. I think the metro play
is where people have PCs and they have mobile phones.
But ja, mobile is very, very important in Africa. One
of the stats that I mentioned this morning, that I heard,
was 78% of most people that have cellphones in Africa
don't have PCs, and above 85% of that 78% will never
own a PC in their entire lives. So mobile is important,
and extraordinarily important for Africa.
MONEYWEB: But what can Google, which is associated with
a PC or a laptop, do for mobile phones? How are you
going to be able to read the information that you're
DOUGLASS MERRILL: It's actually interesting. A large
number of searches worldwide actually come from mobile
devices today. Mobile is one of our fastest growing
areas worldwide. Even in the United States, which has
a relatively backward mobile infrastructure, we see
a large portion of our queries coming across mobile
channels. We have a variety of mobile search efforts
worldwide, and a variety of different ways of serving
information. Google is not the Internet; we're the gateway
to the Internet. So sometimes you can do a search on
your mobile phone and get data back which isn't ideally
representable on mobile phones. But one of the really
exciting trends in mobile is the increasing use of full-featured
Internet browsers on the phone - and you see this in
a variety of smart phones worldwide - which are [audio
loss], etc. The hardest part about it, and the most
exciting about searching on a mobile phone, is it isn't
the same as searching on a PC. On a PC you're happy
to sit there and type, no problem. On a mobile phone,
keying in a word using, for example, [indistinct], is
quite difficult, so you have an interesting UI challenge.
What you might be able to do is pick up the phone and
say, "What's the address of CNBC Africa?"
and get an answer back, and maybe even you get an answer
back that includes directions - your interaction style
with your mobile phone is quite different, and we're
actually trying many dozens of things worldwide in this
MONEYWEB: The other thing about the Internet is, it
is the great disintermediator. Once you can perhaps
get a transaction engine onto your mobile phone, wouldn't
that be unlocking a key to a whole new world?
DOUGLAS MERRILL: It could be. You know, the story of
the Internet is a story of allowing people to quickly
reach information and contribute to it, and we've seen
disintermediation. We've also seen some re-intermediation,
where you see different kinds of players helping people
perform services or provide value-add services on top
of search and interesting things like that. But fundamentally
we believe all the world's information should be universally
accessible and useful. And oftentimes what you want
to do is do a business transaction - I want to buy a
ticket, I want to buy that book. Doing that quickly
and easily is obviously a really key...
MONEYWEB: Douglas, I know you travel a lot around the
world, but when you have a look at Africa as a continent,
is there an opportunity here to leapfrog? The technology
is so far behind.
DOUGLAS MERRILL: I think all that sort of incremental
growth strategy which in technology would be, you know,
laying wire, or doing lots of things which actually
don't make a lot of sense for an environment which has
wealthy high urban concentration, but then a large percentage
of rural. You are going to build a technology infrastructure
in that world which is a pretty [indistinct] power creation,
which is pretty mobile in nature, and which is pretty
peer to peer, and you're going to try to get people
to talk to each other and then use that to hop back
to Europe or back to data in America, you know. But
that's a wholly different technology infrastructure
than, for example, we built in the United States. So
I actually think you're going to see fascinating technology
be developed here, and perhaps in a year, two years,
five years, ten years, we'll be talking about how Africa
is in the lead in some interesting ways because they
wouldn't have been hamstrung by that which we learnt
MONEYWEB: Douglas Merrill is the chief information officer
at Google in the United States, and we're also talking
with Stafford Masie who is the South African manager.
We'll be back in just a moment, stay with us.
Welcome back. We are talking with the Google guys. Well,
our "guys", anyway. Stafford Masie is the
South African manager. With him in the studio is Dr
Douglas Merrill, who is the chief information officer
at Google. Stafford, you said in the presentation this
morning that the time has come for South Africa, that
you could not have been launching Google into the South
African market at a more appropriate time. How so?
STAFFORD MASIE: I think on many fronts. I think we've
seen a big change in terms of what technology actually
means to GDP. I think government understands that the
margins are extremely important. I think we've got terminology
like the digital divide that's been spoken about in
parliament, and [audio loss] we have great examples
worldwide about people that have been connected and
have utilised technology and have great success. I think
of people like Mark Shuttleworth. You know, there was
a South African flying our flag in zero gravity - and
what was the basis of that success? Well, he had computing
power and he was online and built something extraordinarily
MONEYWEB: And he sold in February 2000 at the top of
STAFFORD MASIE: Correct. So we want to see more of that,
and I think it is very topical today. And I think that
the skills pool in Africa - we have so many people walking
around with awesome ideas, with great ideas, and I think
if we can simply connect those human beings and have
them have the capability to express themselves to the
entire world, you know, I don't see why we can't have
a Skype in South Africa. [Overtalking] I don't see why
Facebook couldn't have started here. I don't see why
Google couldn't have started here.
MONEYWEB: We don't have the bandwidth.
STAFFORD MASIE: Today - and I think that's changing.
I think Google's role in the country is to personify
that and say, here are case studies, here are examples
of people that have gone online, that have leveraged
the opportunity, and they are making a living of being
online in South Africa. And I think if we proliferated
that across the country, we could have mass upliftment.
I think the transformation story, I think about where
we [audio loss] technology plays a very big role in
MONEYWEB: You going to change the advertising model,
to many degrees. Again in Davos last month they were
talking a lot about changing analogue dollars into digital
pennies. In other words, for the advertiser it is a
whole lot cheaper to reach your new market, and Google
has brought a lot of this on. But isn't there a downside
STAFFORD MASIE: I don't think so. I think we have seen
innovation in the advertising space. I don't think we've
per se changed it. I think the way people are doing
research, they are going online, they are spending more
time online finding out where they want to go in the
world. They are spending more time on "should I
purchase this vehicle?" They are spending more
time online creating content about different things.
So advertisers - we provide them a platform that is
very targeted in terms of spend. We've got great metrics
for showing you where every single rand of your spend
went, and we're here in South Africa to prompt advertisers
to spend more online. And I think the value propositions
we are trying to display - I don't think it's a big
change, I think it's a supplementary aspect of the portfolio
of advertising. I think you've still got digital, you've
still got print, you've still got television...
MONEYWEB: Where does all Google's advertising worldwide
come from, then? Surely from the existing advertising
DOUGLAS MERRILL: It's actually quite complicated to
answer that questions. Right before I came here I was
speaking to one of the world's largest advertising agencies,
and one of the things that they have told us is actually
that they are better able to get advertising into the
pipeline because using [audio loss] just online. We
also provide radio advertisements, television advertisements,
print - we have several different. As Stafford mentioned,
you can measure your efficacy. One of the great problems
of advertising historically has been that you don't
actually know what happens as a result of that ad. In
all of our technologies you know what happens as a result
of doing ads. It changes advertising from an undirected
cost, to a cost of sale. At that moment you know not
just that I have just spent some money, but I spent
some money to get that amount of revenue, which is a
completely different way of thinking about advertising.
MONEYWEB: Absolutely, and far less wastage, as well.
Again at Davos they were talking about 80% of advertising
being wasted at the moment, whereas in the Google way,
of course, 0%.
STAFFORD MASIE: And here in South Africa on the ground
we have seen that. As we engage with clients, they may
be spending X per quarter online. Once we demonstrate
and educate and show them what Google's capabilities
are to empower their businesses online and to do more,
we see that spend trend differ completely. But we see
it as supplementing, we don't see it as, "OK, we
are going to take from this and give it to this".
We are actually seeing advertising budgets increasing
because the portfolio extends, and we've got great capabilities
in our portfolio.
MONEYWEB: Maybe we can address this in a different way.
What has happened in this and other parts of the world?
Google is in 60 countries now, where you have entered
the marketplace in the same way as you are with Stafford
here in South Africa?
DOUGLAS MERRILL: I think it's very important to notice,
if you think about Google's business model, most of
our advertising is online. Not all of it, most of it
is. And that online advertising is what's called pay-per-click,
and the advertiser doesn't [?indistinct] pay me something
to display his or her ad. The advertiser pays Google
if, and only if, a reader, a searcher, a user finds
it useful enough to click on it. So that means that
it's a lead, a valid lead. It not simply, in other words,
you are paying me for nothing. And furthermore it means
that the advertiser is only getting really interesting,
useful qualified leads. So instead of Google stepping
in and taking money out and simply sucking money like
some giant vacuum cleaner from the local market, we
only win to the extent that money flows in to these
local businesses, these local advertisers. So what we
find is that our reaching in to new markets increases
our advertising share, increases the return on investment
advertising; it can change it from pure advertising
to a cost of sales, and tends to help grow economic
development. Our perspective, again, is that sustainable
social change comes from economic change. So for us
to be able to bring money into the environment creates
the opportunity for sustainable social change.
MONEYWEB: More efficient allocation of capital.
DOUGLAS MERRILL: More efficient allocation of capital.
MONEYWEB: But it does change the cake. If I am a business
and it's cost me $100 to get a lead through a traditional
source, an analogue source, and it's going to cost me
one $1 to get a lead through a Google source, well,
it's not going to take me too long to work out that
that $100 should be better spent over here. What is
your natural percentage of the market, though? Or what
would Google, or maybe, say, online advertising's natural
share of the market be?
DOUGLAS MERRILL: It's hard to argue with that natural
share. I mean, the market hasn't existed long enough.
There are three major online advertising players...[audio
loss] last year out of a global advertising market,
a market of more than three trillion. There's clearly
quite a bit of non-online spend still in the world.
Advertising agencies in the United States have asserted
that we are many times, sort of [indistinct] more effective
than the next best form. But advertising that is online,
click-to-pay advertising versus offline, largely it's
the wastage issue you brought up already. It's hard
to argue that $16bn out of $3 trillion is the right
level. I don't have a crystal ball, I can't see the
future, but one can only imagine that advertisers are
rational beings and the natural rate will flow based
on that return on investment.
MONEYWEB: And in South Africa it's very small at the
moment, so you have a lot of upside?
STAFFORD MASIE: Yes, I think there is a lot of upside,
absolutely, and I do think that online from an international
inventory perspective is extraordinarily important to
South Africa. We've got a large export market and we've
got a large travel and tourism market. Those markets
want to get to people outside of South Africa, and online
presents a different opportunity. Some have leveraged
the opportunity, but not truly and not to the full extent
that they could. And we want to teach folks, hey, you
know what, you can get to everyone. If you want to know,
as a bed-and-breakfast, that the Germans are going to
travel more or less this time, we've got that insight.
Or if you want to know when the UK markets is probably
going to want to do a safari, we can give you some insight
into that. So I don't see it as eroding. I see it as
supplementing, and we are seeing it appending. So more
and more people are putting more money into advertising,
and they are doing it online because we have this international
MONEYWEB: The point that I did bring up with Douglas
a bit earlier, about transaction - in South Africa,
with exchange control it's a huge blockage here. You
can't go onto Apple iTunes for instance. PayPal, invented
by a South African, can't even be used in this country.
Is that not going to put a little blockage in the way
that you are looking for more transaction-based revenue?
STAFFORD MASIE: I don't think so. I think we have had
some limitations. Absolutely. But things will change.
As more and more people come online, there are different
methods to transact. I think you have mentioned a couple.
We have seen some innovative ways that people are transacting
locally, and it's not just about international people
transacting into South Africa, but it's also inter-sub-Saharan
connectivity and people trading from...
MONEYWEB: But take that German who wants to book at
a bed-and-breakfast in South Africa - how is he going
to do it right now?
STAFFORD MASIE: Well, we've got lots of relationships.
You can do it through some our [indistinct] relationships...
MONEYWEB: But he can do it directly - there's no problem
with that. But a South African who wants to book in
the United States might have a difficulty because of
DOUGLAS MERRILL: There are many countries in the world
which have pretty rigid exchange-control models, and
South Africa is obviously one of them, but there are
some others. And there are a variety of business models
that have emerged to address that problem worldwide.
To your earlier point, international currency flow is
a pretty clean, natural market, and there will be ways
to transact across exchange-control barriers.
MONEYWEB: Well, it's been fascinating looking at the
intimacy of it. Douglas, I can't let you go, though,
without picking up on the Google IPO. You are the man
behind the thought process and one would wonder - it
was so successful, why haven't you used the algorisms
that you brought in for Google for maybe other IPOs?
DOUGLAS MERRILL: There were a group of us who recorded
the idea, and I was, you know, fortunate enough to be
one of those people. The actual core idea was from Sergey
[Brin], who recognised our advertising market. Our advertisers
bid to get an ad. They don't say, you know I will pay
$5 - it's not a preset price list. They bid, and then
the person who bids the most, in conjunction [audio
loss] position. And his perspective was, why shouldn't
we do exactly the same thing for our national listing.
So, we figured out the mathematics of an auction that
would make sense. We built a set of systems to do it,
and we [indistinct] ourselves as pretty successful.
We got a good price for our company. We got a lot of
individuals into the market who might not have been
otherwise. We didn't have super large blocks going in
the traditional way allocations are done. But we didn't
view our success [audio loss] public only through an
auction. Our success was we weren't people that talk
about the allocations of IPOs, and who gets initial
grants. And we feel our conversation started and still
goes to this day. We actually feel we were quite successful.
MONEYWEB: Is there an application a little bit further
- you have exchanges, stock exchanges, foreign exchanges
- that you can take that technology and perhaps implement
it there as well in time to come?
DOUGLAS MERRILL: Who knows what we will do in the future,
but obviously you do see pretty rich auction behaviours
in exchange futures. You do see pretty rich auction
behaviours in certain kinds of exchange-traded funds.
The computational hedge fund model is effectively a
back-end auction. And you see the same technology, whether
it be us or others. The legend of...
MONEYWEB: Are you looking at it, though?
DOUGLAS MERRILL: Look, we look at lots of things. I
have not idea what we are looking at. You know, I learn
something new every day. But there are lots of brilliant
people [audio loss] the notion of applying mathematics
and computers science to problems that were traditionally
solved, perhaps, by a group of people in a closed room
smoking cigars. The more that you can render that explosive
and make it mathematical and fair, there's a social
MONEYWEB: I heard Bill Gates say three years ago that
he regarded Google as the Number 1 competitor, which
was a surprise to many people at the time. Now it's
quite clear that there is no question that Microsoft
is very worried about you. Is it the same in the Google
place. Do you worry as well about big Microsoft?
DOUGLAS MERRILL: I can't tell you what a compliment
it is for a Bill Gates to talk about this little company
of ours as the Number 1 competitor. He's an amazingly
brilliant man. He and his team of engineers have been
around, you know, they have been a profitable company
for over 20 years. They make more than a billion dollars
in profit every month [audio loss] for them to compliment
us by saying we're the Number 1 competitor - what a
compliment! We are core believers that you don't drag
your business [indistinct]. We focus on our users -
and what our users want us to do, we try to do, because
our users are always one click away from leaving us.
We figure as long as we do what our users want and we
do it well, and we keep our social [indistinct] off,
we keep not going evil, we will be successful.
MONEYWEB: Dr Douglas Merrill, who is the chief information
officer at Google in the United States - and we also
spoke to Stafford Masie. Hope you enjoyed that. That's
all from Power Lunch, which is brought to you in association
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