Links of the day | 在网上找到

Google Glass vs. Segway: designs heavily criticized by Marc Newson | BGR

Data point: Consumers hesitant about in-store tracking | JWTIntelligence

64pc of urban Chinese say craftsmanship most defines luxury: study | Luxury Daily

Pinterest: a big traffic driver to retail sites | Marketing Forward

How the NSA Can Use Metadata to Predict Your Personality | DefenceOne – Despite assurances that metadata is free of content, new research shows that it can be highly personal. By Patrick Tucker

Is the Oculus Rift designed to be sexist? Quartz

Microsoft’s plan to never again get left behind by the changing device landscape – Quartz

China’s Bills Come Due | The Financialist

4K Tech Following Similar, But Faster, Growth Pattern as HDTV

Microsoft Paid Up To $150M To Buy Wearable Computing IP From The Osterhout Design Group | TechCrunch

Growth in mainland Chinese interest in premium Swiss watches surges | South China Morning Post  – mainland China had the highest year-on-year growth in demand for all luxury watch categories last year, at 59.4 per cent, more than 10 times the global average of 5.7 per cent (paywall)

Microsoft releases Office for iPad, subscription required for editing docs | Engadget

Line now has 390 million users | Techinasia

What are the most desired smartphone brands in China? | Resonance China

Klout acquired for $200 million by Lithium Technologies – Fortune Tech

25 Fascinating Charts Of Negotiation Styles Around The World | Business Insider

China’s CIC Seeks New Bridges for Investment – Credit Suisse

Photos just got more social | Twitter Blogs

Google I/O 2014 – interesting dynamic site

Errata Security: We may have witnessed a NSA “Shotgiant” TAO-like action – Huawei’s support contracts are the weak link in telco networks

Changes to Subscriptions 26 March 2014 – Last.fm

STUDY: Facebook’s Role In Pew Research Center’s ‘State Of The News Media 2014’ – AllFacebook

Apple hires BlackBerry’s top software VP, BlackBerry wins court battle over departure | iMore

Bridge US Is a Platform to Help People with the US Immigration Process | The Next Web

How do different types of content assets influence the consumer purchase decision process – Smart Insights Digital Marketing Advice

Daily chart: Moving up | The Economist

PSFK Future Of Wearable Tech Report

HKTV may get worldwide audience – except Hong Kong | South China Morning Post – HKTV as an international independent producer of content rather than a domestic TV station (paywall)

Qualcomm CEO aims to predict your heart attack and isn’t sure about VR — GigaOm

A “Perfect Storm” Moment for Multibillion-Dollar Open Source Companies | Re/code

Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: Motorola Moto 360 – Luxury News

MPAA: Moviegoers Use More ‘Piracy-Enabling’ Smartphones | TorrentFreak

Oculus Grift: Kickstarter As Charity For Venture Capitalists | Valleywag

Panasonic HX-A500 is a GoPro rival that shoots in 4K | T3

Adobe Expands Its Marketing Cloud With Predictive Tools, iBeacon Support, And More | TechCrunch

Don’t spread (never standardize on) bad designs such as USB | nobi.com (EN) – why the EU shouldn’t standardise on USB

Party like it’s 2007 again? Don’t hold your breath | South China Morning Post – interesting article on changing economics in developed world and BRICs countries (paywall)

Tiffany & co. QR code | Barcoding Inc. Blog Barcoding Blog

WeChat Account Types for Brands | Sheng Li Digital

Trends that drive the auto industry | GfK Insights Blog

WeChat Adds LBS Tags to ‘Moments’ Wall | Marbridge Consulting

Gemalto | Stuck at the airport again? Introducing the secure solution to speed up immigration

In Google’s Shadow, Facebook’s Zuckerberg Pursued Oculus Over Several Months, Ending in Weekend Marathon of Dealmaking | Re/code

Wells Fargo’s listening: Bank unveils ‘social media command center’ in San Francisco – San Francisco Business Times

Hong Kong banks have loaned 165% of the territory’s GDP to China – Quartz

China forces local video sites to hire govt-approved censors | Techinasia

Why China’s cities need to get denser, not bigger – Quartz

Bots And Fake Traffic – Business Insider

Resonance China | Three statistics you should know about China’s taxi APP boom.

Luxury Fashion Brands Targeting Global ‘Yummies’: Young Urban Males – Businessweek – interesting how rented goods (like the Lexus car example) are seen as diminished as people use purchased luxury goods to reflect status

China’s trillion dollar mobile payments industry is under attack – Quartz

Mobile search ‘to surpass desktop’ by 2015 | IAB UK – interesting though Marine Software do have a vested interest ;-)

WeChat Update Increases New Feature for Dianping — China Internet Watch

Google Glass – Google+ – The Top 10 Google Glass Myths Mr. Rogers was a Navy SEAL.… – the fact they had to write this shows how bad Google Glass has been handled

Expedia launches first TV commercial in Hong Kong | Marketing Interactive – the app is interesting because of its ‘mobile first’ approach

WPP makes second China acquisition this week, and it’s only Tuesday | Marketing Interactive – interesting purchase around digital experiential marketing

Asos and Nike celebrate 27 years of Air Max with first Google+ shoppable hangout – Brand Republic

Flurry Launches Database to Watch Every Step You Take In Mobile Apps | AdAge

Our search for meaning and the brands that deliver // Weber Shandwick

ATMs look to Linux as Windows XP enters its death throes | SiliconANGLE

People Are Sharing in the Collaborative Economy for Convenience and Price | Jeremiah Owyang

Pinterest gets serious about ad revenue with new ‘promoted pins’

Microsoft-Nokia deal closure pushed back until April | VentureBeat

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that made my day this week:

Valve’s documentary on the competition and passion that players have for the Dota 2 strategy game.

Georgio Armani’s Frames of Life – which are beautifully shot and largely product free

HSBC and Cathay Pacific are the major sponsors of the Hong Kong Sevens; which is an excuse for a weekend party. HSBC have put together this ad to celebrate their part in it, Cathay Pacific’s videos by comparison are a bit lame

Nice bit of heritage content from Adidas about the ZX8000; I am not terribly impressed by the modern incarnation of the design though

Whilst I appreciate that Google has some brilliant thinkers and can make (not always mind you) some insanely great products they just don’t seem to get human factors, which means their ideas come across as creepy and disturbing (like violating your shredded privacy further for fun (science) and profit. If they were made to come across as more human, their ideas would be less creepy

Messaging’s middleware moment

Back in the mid-1990s Microsoft missed out on the web as a nascent platform. In fact the first edition of The Road Ahead that Bill Gates wrote alongside Nathan Myhrvold and Peter Rinearson saw the Internet as one of the “important precursors of the information highway…suggestive of [its] future” (p. 89); he noted that the “popularity of the Internet is the most important single development in the world of computing since the IBM PC was introduced in 1981” (p. 91) but “today’s Internet is not the information highway I imagine, although you can think of it as the beginning of the highway“, the information highway he envisioned would be as different from the Internet as the Oregon Trail was to Interstate 84.

One reviewer noted that

World Wide Web receives just four index citations and is treated as a functional appendage of the Internet (rather than its driving force)

And for a while Netscape had a clear run at the browser market, building up to one of the largest IPOs ever. One of the things that made Netscape so dangerous was that the browser became the gateway to applications like sales orders, email or looking up a database and the browser became an operating system substitute. It no longer mattered so much if you had a Mac or a PC.  The browser and web effectively became middleware.

I realised last year that messaging services like KakaoTalk, WeChat and LINE were moving beyond messaging to becoming something more. By becoming platforms they could provide a richer experience to users, the integrate:

  • Gaming
  • A blogging-type platform
  • Payments
  • Social commerce
  • Travel information

This looks eerily close to Netscape’s web of middleware positioning in the mid-1990s. Ted Livingston, CEO of Kik outlined just this scenario in an article on the messaging landscape for Techcrunch last week.

Where this gets interesting is when think about what this means for the likes of Google’s Android operating system or Microsoft Windows phone, where the raison d’être of these operating systems is as a gateway to web services (and an audience for mobile advertising). The more functionality that happens inside the messaging application, the less opportunity there is for the likes of Google and Microsoft to direct the consumer towards their advertising inventory.

It corrodes the very reach Google tried to achieve by having its own smartphone operating system and competing with Apple. Google is already under assault in the operating system itself as Chinese vendors like Xiaomi and Oppo alongside Amazon have customised their own operating systems based on Android.  Google services are not provides on a third of Android devices sold already, messaging applications as a platform exasperate the situation further.

More information
After WhatsApp: An Insider’s View On What’s Next In Messaging | TechCrunch
`Road Ahead’: Gates And Our Pc Future | Seattle Times
After WhatsApp: An Insider’s View On What’s Next In Messaging | TechCrunch
Netscape’s Internet OS | Dave Winer
US versus Microsoft: proposed findings of fact | U.S. Department of Justice
Chrome OS: The ghost of Netscape rises to haunt Microsoft | betanews
Netscape complaint | Harvard University Berkman Center Openlaw site
Rise and Fall of Netscape Browsers | Strategic Computing and Communications Technology class archive University of California, Berkeley
The Browser Is The New Operating System | Techdirt

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Why Mediatek don’t share source code, and why they should! – Gizchina.com – also fits a number of other Chinese manufacturers as well

Big Four mainland China banks see profit growth slowing | South China Morning Post – (paywall)

Google Glass Getting Ray Ban, Oakley Versions | TIME.com

Vice Media Is Considering Going Public | TIME.com

Why people quit Twitter – Quartz

Eight trends for the future: web-of-no-web

The web as we know it was built on a set of underlying technologies which enable information transport. Not all information is meant to reside in a website to be surfed or queried.  Instead much of the information we need relies on context like location, weather or the contents of your fridge. Web technologies provided an lingua franca for these contextual settings and like most technological changes had been a long time in coming.

You could probably trace their origins back to the mid-1990s or earlier, for instance the Weather Underground published Blue Skies; a gopher-based graphical client to run on the Mac for the online weather service back in 1995. At this time Apple were working on a way of syndicating content called MCF (Meta Content Framework) which was used in an early web application called Hot Sauce.
hotsauce
Hot Sauce was a web application that tendered a website’s site map in a crude 3D representation.

A year later PointCast launched its first product which pushed real-time news from a variety of publications to a screen saver that ran on a desktop computer.
PointCast screenshot
The key thing about PointCast was it’s push technology, covered in this edition of the Computer Chronicles

The same year that PointCast launched saw the launch of the XML standard: markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format that is both human-readable and machine-readable. This meant that there was a template to provide documents and stream information over the web.

Some of the Apple team responsible for MCF had moved to Netscape and worked on ways of importing content from various media outlets into the my.netscape.com portal; they created the first version of RSS (then called RDF) in 1999. The same year, Darcy DiNucci coined the term web 2.0; whilst this is associated with the rise of social networks, it is as much about the knitting of websites: the provision of services online, integration between websites taking data from one source and melding it with another using a web API formatted in an XML type format or JSON – which does the same job.

By the early noughties applications like Konfabulator (later Yahoo! Widgets) launched their first application to ‘put a skin on any information that you want’.
Konfabulator

Major web properties started to license their content through APIs, one of the critical ideas that Flickr popularised was that attribution of the data source had its own value in content licensing. It was was happy to share photos hosted on the service for widgets and gizmos so long as users could go back through the content to the Flickr site. This ability to monetise attribution is the reason why you have Google Maps on the smartphone.

So you had data that could be useful and the mechanism to provide it in real time. What it didn’t have so far was contextual data to shape that stream and a way of interfacing with the real world. In parallel to what was being driven out of the US on the web, was mobile development in Europe and Asia. It is hard to understand now, but SMS based services and ringtones delivered over-the-air to handsets were the big consumer digital businesses of their day. Jamba! and their Crazy Frog character were consumer household names in the mid noughties. It was in Europe were a number of the ingredients for the next stages were being created in meaningful consumer products. The first smartphones had been created more as phones with PDAs attached and quicker networks speeds allowed them to be more than glorified personal information managers.

The first phone that pulled all the requisite ingredients together was Nokia’s N95 in early 2007, it had:

  • A good enough camera that could interact with QRcodes and other things in the real world
  • Powerful enough hardware to run complex software applications and interact with server-side applications
  • A small but legible colour screen
  • 3G and wi-fi chipsets which was important because 3G networks weren’t that great (they still arent) and a minimum amount of data network performance is required
  • A built-in GPS unit, so the phone ‘knew’ where it was. Where you are allows for a lot of contextual information to be overlaid for the consumer: weather, interesting things nearby, sales offers at local stores etc

All of these ingredients had been available separately in other phones, but they had never been put together before in a well-designed package. Nokia sold over 10 million N95s in the space of a year. Unfortunately for Nokia, Apple came out with the iPhone the following autumn and changed the game.

It is a matter of debate, but the computing power inside the original iPhone was broadly comparable to having a 1998 vintage desktop PC with a decent graphics card in the palm of your hand. These two devices set the tone for mobile computing moving forwards; MEMs like accelerometers and GPS units gave mobile devices context about their immediate surroundings: location, direction, speed. And the large touch screen provided the canvas for applications.
Halifax homefinder application
Locative media was something that was talked about publicly since 2004 by companies like Nokia, at first it was done using laptops and GPS units, its history in art and media circles goes back further;  for instance Kate Armstrong’s essay  Data and Narrative: Location Aware Fiction was published on October 31, 2003 presumably as a result of considerable prior debate. By 2007 William Gibson’s novel Spook Country explored the idea that cyberspace was everting: it was being integrated into the real-world rather than separate from it, and that cyberspace had become an indistinguishable element of our physical space.

As all of these things were happening around me I was asked to speak with digital marketers in Spain about the future of digital at the end of 2008 when I was thinking about all these things. Charlene Li had described social networks as becoming like air in terms of their pervasive nature and was echoed in her book Groundswell.

Looking back on it, I am sure that Li’s quote partly inspired me to look to Bruce Lee when thinking about the future of digital, in particular his quote on water got me thinking about the kind of contextual data that we’ve discussed in this post:

Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.

Lee wrote these words about his martial arts for a TV series  called Longstreet where he played Li Tsung – a martial arts instructor to the main character. Inspired by this I talked about the web-of-no-web inspired by Lee’s Jeet Kune Do of ‘using no way as way‘.

In the the slide I highlighted the then new points of interaction between web technologies  and platforms with the real world including smartphones, Twitter’s real-world meet-ups, the Wii-controller and QRcodes.

A big part of that context was around location aware applications for instance:

  • Foursquare-esque bar and shop recommendations
  • Parcel tracking
  • Location based special offers
  • Pay-per-mile car insurance
  • Congestion charging
  • Location-based social networking (or real-world avoidance a la Incognito)
  • Mobile phone tour guides

And that was all things being done six years ago, with more data sets being integrated the possibilities and societal implications become much bigger. A utopian vision of this world was portrayed in Wired magazine’s Welcome To The Programmable World; where real-world things like getting your regular coffee order ready happen as if by magic, in reality triggered by smartphone-like devices interacting with the coffee shop’s online systems, overlaid with mapping data, information on distances and walking or travel times and algorithms.

What hasn’t been done too well so far has been the interface to the human. Touch screen smartphones have been useful but there are limitations to the pictures under glass metaphor.  Whilst wearable computing has been experimented with since the early 1970s and helped in the development of military HUDs (head-up diplays) and interactive voice systems, it hasn’t been that successful in terms of providing a compelling experience. The reasons for this are many fold:

  • Battery technology lags semiconductor technology; Google Glass lasts about 45 minutes
  • The owner needs to be mindful of the device: smartphone users worry about the screen, Nike Fuelband wearers have to remember to take them off before going and having a swim or a shower
  • Designs haven’t considered social factors adequately; devices like Google Glass are best matched for providing ‘sneak information’ just-in-time snippets unobtrusively, yet users disengage eye contact interrupting social interaction. Secondly Google device doubles as a surveillance device antagonising other people
  •  Many of the applications don’t play to the devices strengths or aren’t worth the hassle of using the device – they lack utility and merit

That doesn’t mean that they won’t be a category killer wearable device or application but that they haven’t been put on the market yet.

More information
Fragmented Future – Darcy DiNucci
Data and Narrative: Location Aware Fiction – trAce
William Gibson Hates Futurists – The Tyee
The future of social networks: Social networks will be like air | Empowered (Forrester Research)
Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff
Welcome To The Programmable World | Wired
A brief rant on the Future of Interaction Design | Brett Victor
The Google Glass post | renaissance chambara
I like: Sony’s Smarteyglasses | renaissance chambara
The future of Human Computer Interaction | renaissance chambara
Consumer behaviour in the matrix | renaissance chambara
Eight trends for the future
Eight trends for the future: digital interruption
Eight trends: Immersive as well as interactive experiences
Eight trends for the future: Social hygiene
Eight trends for the future: contextual technology
Eight trends for the future: Brands as online tribes
Eight trends for the future | Divergence
Eight trends for the future: Prosumption realised