Siri…life beyond Speech Interpretation and Recognition

Siri, the personal assistant tool from Apple has the potential to
change how people use their smartphones, mostly by “reforming” their
shopping experiences.

Data from Catapult Marketing-Feb 2012, shows that more than thirty
percent users have already used/could be using Siri to compare prices
at their nearby grocery shops or even to the extant of checking the
inventory availability at another store.

Few Smarter smartphone users have been using Siri to search for
coupons and deals while the users shopped.
Predominantly the data also shows that, the list making capabilities
are being put to use while shopping for electronic goods and home
appliances also.

What’s interesting is the fact that worldwide, the Siri users and the
awareness of this personal assistant are still catching up. This looks
promising as more and more users continue to upgrade and become
savvier in using this tool, the rate of comparison and usage for
shopping purposes could definitely see a big increase.

What’s more?? with this experience mobile shopping could become
frequent and relatively easy. eMarketer estimates that 68.6 million
Americans will use a smartphone to conduct mobile research and
browsing activites this year.

Google and its new privacy policy

Back on January 26th if you remember (yes it was the republic day for us in India), a courteous email from Google dropped in .It clearly explained that the company was about to distil 60 different privacy policies into one “easy to read” document. It was more than 2000 words long and put forth in a very difficult to read even for a seasoned privacy professional to understand.

Google however maintains that the policy remains unchanged, however many of the data protection agencies across the globe were not ready to accept it.

So what is the difference? From yesterday, Google altered its internal system in such a way that while using any of its products, it can now be used to tailor your search results while using another. So if I am searching for baking recipes, the next time I log onto YouTube, I could be face a video on “how to bake a cake”.

What is the motivation for Google to come up with this change? Mostly revenue driven, the higher the relevancy of its search results and advertisements are, the higher would be the revenue it could generate from its advertisers. Facebook and Twitter have become a huge competition for Google as they are driven by referrals through friends.

Should we be alarmed by this? Well, keeping in mind the relevancy of interests and search results tailored to our needs and preferences, then my view is we shouldn’t. Yes, it is creepy to find our interests appearing to follow us like a Vodafone pug around the web, but Google has a point in terms of serving us what is only relevant to us.

What is infuriating many of the legal privacy professional are the difficulty of opting out of its data collection mechanism. Browsers like Mozilla and Safari offer a “do not track” option, Google says it would take them a year to implement the same on its very own Chrome browser.

For many, it’s a daring remark from Google that if we don’t want to use its services, then so be it. Considering Google services are available at no cost for users, the cost that would be incurred is now our personal information. If you aren’t happy about it….there are other search engines.

Facebook squares up for Google fight

Ever since the launch of Google+, Facebook and goggle have been embroiled in a fierce battle on who would rule the online advertising revenue in the social media space.

Facebook has been revamping its advertising to try and commercialize it as much as possible. Around 85% of it revenue comes from online advertising, this is expected to increase as Facebook is looking at innovative ways to reach out to its 845 million users.

Mobile phone app advertising is something which Facebook is pushing for, which until this time were ad-free….the rationale being more than half its users access it while on move.
In simple terms, if someone has their Facebook page open in one browser and surfs the web in another, data could be taken from the Facebook profile and an advertisement tailored to their preference would appear in the search engine.

If you are a Chelsea fan and the search engine knows about it, then you will get adverts for Chelsea products (sounds a little spooky).

However, what is still under discussion are the revenue models and the revenue share split between Facebook and the search engines.
One debate that would arise are privacy issues and if (only if) Facebook can address these concerns experts believe that this would significantly make Facebook take on Google(atleast in terms of revenues).