All Posts in Google

August 11, 2015Published by: Drew

Google becomes Alphabet and what it means for digital innovation

Alphabet

The company formerly known as Google last night announced a new company structure, name and CEO. Google as it used to be is now called Alphabet, a new holding company which oversees a bunch of new companies that used to be subsidiaries of old Google. These new companies include new Google, which now has a new CEO, Calico, which specialises in health innovations, Internet of things company Nest, and X Labs, which is all about far-out R&D and new products.

Old Google was a company and a product, but the diverse range of sister companies and products under the Google brand weren't really Google, is a Search engine, so a new brand structure makes total sense.

Why is the arrival of Alphabet and the new Google and its brothers and sisters of importance for the future of digital as opposed to this just being a corporate restructuring thing? It's all about better innovation and enhancing mainstream digital products.

Innovation in digital

Google's X Labs has to date created some some stand out some truly stand-out concepts that have pushed the boundaries of digital, such as wearable tech, drones, self-driving cars and many more. The Internet of things is the next frontier of digital innovation, and having X Labs, and Alphabet's other companies operating independently will surface more innovation and enable it to diversify even more, blending the digital and physical world in ways the average consumer does not today get to see.

Mainstreaming Google's core

Google can now focus its brand efforts more on its core products, such as YouTube, Search and Android. Less of the cars, health, labs etc. What we should expect to see here is much more of the same, but clearer focus and a more straightforward brand.

The bigger picture is that Alphabet is clearly now more than ever into a very diverse and innovative range of activities. For those keen to see boundaries pushed, at Google and beyond, this is an exciting move.


March 2, 2015Published by: Anton Perreau

So long, Google+

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Has the time come to bid Google+ auf wiedersehen?

It has been announced today that Google+ is being officially split into two (or more) parts, named 'Photos' and 'Streams'. The two new elements are being led by Bradley Horowitz, a longtime Google VP of Product Management.

Historically, Google+ has been useful for increasing authorship of a blog or website, focusing on SEO which Google has always had a big stake in through their majority share in the search market. Google+ also automatically backs up users' photos online, aggregates content from location pages, and acts as a contact book for Gmail. However, much of this functionality is already possible without Google+ although more social elements will probably be reduced with this change.

In an interview with Forbes last week, Sundar Pichai hinted that Google+ was being split up. Whilst Horowitz who's now heading up Google+ has confirmed rumours, Google has yet to make an official announcement on what will happen next to the social network. A big element of the social network that is now integrated into Android and Google for Work is 'Hangouts' although its future looks uncertain.

Read more about this Google+ news on The Verge.

March 19, 2014Published by: Drew

UK launch today: why Google’s £30 Smart TV plug is less about TV and all about brands

Courtesy of The Guardian

Big news. Google launches Chromecast today in the UK. In case you're not familiar with the product, it is a dongle-like plug that slots into your TV's HDMI socket and turns a dumb television set into a Google Android powered online entertainment experience. The end result is a fusion of TV and tablet.

While it's a no-brainer for those who enjoy Netflix and iPlayer more than the old fashioned way of watching the googlebox, the real revolution here is bringing the app experience to the silver screen, in a way that has transformed the way brands can engage with consumers through phones and tablets. Think gaming, brand experiences and innovation that can be brought about through an app developer environment similar to the one we have on smart phones. Expect new apps tailored for TV to begin coming through thick and fast.

The official Google announcement has not yet come through about availability, but check your favourite electronics retailers and you'll see the item is already appearing ready for sale online.

 


January 14, 2014Published by: Drew

What brands need to know about Google’s $3bn acquisition of Nest

Nest

Google has snapped up one of the hot names in digital right now, a physical products company that allows consumers to control appliances in their home through apps and online dashboards. Nest Labs, the maker of the smart thermostat and the smart smoke alarm believe that they are on a mission to put The Internet of Things to good use - to make the world a safer, greener place. So why should brands stand up and take note?

Firstly thing about Google's business model: advertising and consumer data. What Google will know and potentially give brands access to in the future is a new world of consumer data that reaches into the home. Nest's two current products are essentially internet-enabled room movement sensors, but who knows what's next on the production line. Belkin's smart switches, Phillips' smart light bulbs and the bevvy of connected cars we saw at CES last week will give you an idea as to what a world filled with smart objects might look like.

It would be an idea, if you don't already, to invest some time and money looking at how to get the most out of Internet of Things devices now, and jump on this wave before it becomes an overwhelming tsunami of digital innovation. Nest's products are available now and retail at £109 for the Smoke Alarm and $249 for the Smart Thermostat (UK launch imminent).

October 20, 2013Published by: Fereshta Amir

Soon you’ll be able to ‘like’ real world objects with Google Glass

glass

When we say Google Glass, you say...? There are mixed reactions to this wearable technology device as it is one of the most talked about and hotly anticipated gadgets of the year. The plans for the most recent update is what got us talking: the Google patent that lets Glass wearers "like" real life objects with a heart-shaped hand gesture:

Google Glass like

These patents aren't necessarily proof that Google intends to roll out this feature, but it shows that the company is experimenting with new ways of controlling Glass that move beyond voice commands, head gestures and the device's swipe bar.

Similar to the 'like' button on Facebook, the Glass user would be able to frame real-world objects with a heart-shaped hand gesture and using its built-in camera, the wearable device would then analyse the framed content and intelligently ‘like’ the highlighted object or location. Google said that the update would also include other gestures including forming a right angle with your thumb and index finger or moving your hand in the shape of a closed loop.

The possibilities for brands could be endless with this feature if we were to future-gaze, but for now all one can do is wait and see whether Google will actually roll this out...


August 19, 2013Published by: Anton Perreau

Google gets global with Edinburgh Festival

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It's been years since we saw the laugh-o-meter appear on a screen, but this year Google has brought it back through an unlikely online medium. The Edinburgh Fringe festival attracts people from around the globe, no surprise then that it's difficult to find a hotel room or even air-bed to crash during the festival. For the 2013 festival, Google has teamed up with Comic Relief to share many of the comedy shows from the festival through Google Hangouts.

Through these Google Hangouts, users can experience the shows live, after which they're welcomed to donate to the cause, all based upon how much they laughed - through the magic of a real (not rigged) laugh-o-meter. To add to the real comedy-show experience, viewers can be viewable by the comedian on stage, or invisible - depending on how brave they're feeling. As Piers Fawkes outlines,

The collaboration is a unique way to use digital technology to create an immersive experience whilst also encouraging donations by making viewers aware of how much they enjoyed the show (that they just watched for free) and how easy making a donation would be.

We think its a great way to bring a historic festival into the digital age, by adding an extra element of giving to it. To see how this works, see the video below:

March 7, 2013Published by: Drew

90% of media is digital

image_courtesy_of_google

Recent research published by Google shows that 90 percent of all media we consume is screen-based, and 77% of our time in front of the TV is spent also on another screen.

If there's one thing February's Superbowl showed us about building a connection with a brand, it's that relying on just one screen isn't enough. 50% of the Superbowl TV ads included mentions of Twitter. And the winner of our hearts and minds, Oreo's dunking in the dark blackout hijack, was a social media masterstroke. So how will brands react in light of the flurry of articles analysing the 'realtime marketing' success story that we saw?

Seeing advertising becoming more like PR and more like social is surely a massive step forward. Keep an eye out for Twitter's increasing focus on the TV game. With its recent acquisition of Bluefin Labs, this space is hotting up.