News

These are the headlines from some of the web sources that I follow.

  • Why Mobile App Developers Turn to PaaS
    For better or worse, Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) will continue to pull business workflows into mobile and personal devices. Efforts to keep business functions in their traditional channels have largely failed and according to analysts, we should expect sharp double-digit growth to continue.This paints a picture of a much more challenging application development environment. More applications must now be accessible, directly or through some intermediary, to a wider range of environments than ever before. Management and rank-and-file people now expect access to once sacrosanct information — inventory data or customer files, for example — no matter where they are or what time of day it is. Read full story... Follow us on Twitter Join free newsletter View upcoming events Find a new job
  • Executive Involvement Aids Successful Online Communities
    In spite of growing evidence of the value of internal and external communities, executives still hesitate when it comes to funding online community initiatives. This is just one of the findings of The Community Roundtable’s fifth annual State of Community Management 2014 report, released today. At 77 pages, this report is the most in depth to date, offering a body of data against which communities can benchmark their efforts. It builds on the quantitative methods established in last year’s report to create a set of community maturity indicators. This is not only a report on the performance of communities, it is a testament to the knowledge gained from them. The methodology and examples included throughout the report were informed through the active involvement of TheCR network members, who make up 43 percent of the 164 communities surveyed. Read full story... Follow us on Twitter Join free newsletter View upcoming events Find a new job
  • Brands Need 'Programmatic Creative' to Keep Up with Ad Tech
    With the rapid adoption of programmatic technology there has been much more efficient ways to buy and sell online advertising. About 85 percent of advertisers and 72 percent of publishers participate in programmatic, a number that is expected to continue to grow even more rapidly in the next two years, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). But an unexpected problem has arisen because of this growth. The creative portion of the advertising process is having trouble keeping up. Many advertisers are struggling to take advantage of programmatic technologies because they don’t have required creative messages in nonstandard sizes and formats. The reality is we need programmatic creative automation to fully leverage programmatic ad exchanges. Read full story... Follow us on Twitter Join free newsletter View upcoming events Find a new job
  • From Mobile Tasking to Mobile Productivity
    I love my mobile phone. Aside from helping me screen calls and serving as my primary phone these days, it is my lifeline when I’m away from my computer. Most often, its role as my connection to the world takes place when I am out running an errand or away from my hometown. While my mobile phone is my lifeline to the world, it’s very hard to do work on it. Sure, I can check email, review very short documents and manage my blog. But real work is a challenge. Most mobile applications are task-based and focused on providing a single feature very well. If we want to move past this focused mindset to a world of true productivity, we have to give serious thought to an important question. What, if anything, do people really need to accomplish on their mobile devices? Read full story... Follow us on Twitter Join free newsletter View upcoming events Find a new job
  • How Yahoo Could Get Back In The Search Game
    Google is the clear winner in Web search, but Yahoo still thinks it can make a dent in the market—even though Yahoo Web search technically doesn't exist since the company handed over its search technologies to Microsoft in 2009.  As Kara Swisher at Recode reported last week, Yahoo wants to convince Apple to make Yahoo Search the default search engine on iPhones, iPads, and other iOS devices. The strategy takes advantage of an ongoing rift between Apple and Google: Apple booted Google Maps and YouTube from iPhones' homescreens in 2012. There’s a logic to the push—if only that Google's Android devices and Microsoft's Windows devices seem out of reach to Yahoo’s products. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's "plan to pitch Apple on the idea as its marquee mobile search partner is far along," Swisher reported. According to people close to the company, Yahoo "has prepared detailed [presentations], including images of what such a search product would look like, and hopes to present them to Apple execs." Still, the idea seems farfetched. Yahoo is reportedly working on efforts to juice up its Web search technologies after handing them over to Microsoft, but it’s unlikely Yahoo can unseat Google as the Web’s most trusted search engine. Ah, but that assumes that we define search the way Google does it. Yahoo’s best shot is not to play Google’s game. Moving Towards Mobile Thanks to a loophole in Yahoo’s search deal with Microsoft, Yahoo is free to pursue mobile search deals. And that's conveniently where it could help Apple—and bypass Google. On mobile devices, people often aren’t searching for Web pages. They’re searching for apps.  Apple’s App Store generates billions of dollars in revenue, but it’s weak in surfacing relevant applications that consumers might want to download. At the same time, it’s nearly impossible for users to search for information across existing apps, because the technology to index applications like Web pages hasn’t been developed for the mainstream—yet.  See Also: Why Google’s App Indexing In Android KitKat Is A Game Changer Google recently updated Android to simplify search within apps and link directly to specific locations within an app, often called “deep linking.” Android developers can now index their applications so that these links appear directly in Web searches, which will take users to specific pages within apps. App indexing, or deep linking, is going to change the way developers and marketers distribute applications. We'll likely see people optimize their apps for search in the same way that they currently do for websites. But more importantly, this kind of indexing will make it much easier for users to find relevant applications.  Apple doesn’t have a search engine like this, which puts it at a big disadvantage with both developers and consumers. Yahoo’s technologies could overhaul the iOS app ecosystem the same way Google did with Android. And Yahoo could extend this deal to the desktop. Another loophole in the Microsoft deal allows Yahoo to offer contextual search, which essentially means delivering formatted information in response to a search query rather than a list of links to Web pages. For example, a search for "weather" might display the current temperature rather than a list of weather websites. Yahoo could serve up links to relevant apps from its desktop search as contextual answers to queries, driving more downloads—which fits neatly with the agenda of Apple and its large army of developers.  Delivering Information In The Moment App search is still a wide-open field, and two startups recently acquired by Yahoo could help fuel this app-driven reinvention of Yahoo Search. Aviate, an “intelligent homescreen” application, redistributes applications on Android homescreens to provide helpful apps when you need them. For instance, if you’re an avid Twitter user in the morning but prefer browsing Facebook on your train commute home, Aviate will put Twitter front and center first, then replace it with Facebook when you leave the office in the afternoon.  See Also: Can Yahoo Inspire Us? If and when Aviate—or a technology like it—finally comes to iOS, it could be the default application manager across Apple’s devices, giving users a more personalized experience by surfacing important applications when they're needed and putting infrequently-used applications in the background. Aviate’s technologies could also fit more generally into an app search engine’s infrastructure. Sparq, a mobile marketing company brought into the Yahoo fold in January, also offered technology that allows people to jump from app to app via deep links. Sparq's product was shut down, but it’s clear how Yahoo might integrate the underlying technologies. Together with Aviate, users could discover more mobile content without ever needing to leave the search bar. And that's exactly what Yahoo—and by extension, Apple—would want. How Do You Map An App? For Yahoo to succeed in in-app search, it would first have to convince developers to give Yahoo access to their APIs and opt to be a part of its mobile search index.  On its own, Yahoo might have a hard time convincing app creators to share their data, but by building services that appeal to mobile developers—and partnering with Apple, of course—app developers would have a financial interest in enabling Yahoo's mobile search engine. Perhaps they might go beyond allowing Yahoo to index their apps and also promote Yahoo’s search within their products.  App indexing requires extra steps on the part of developers to configure the relationships between websites and apps. First, it needs filters on a website that specify how a page’s content can be reached in an application, then it needs filters that can tell how, exactly, that information can be opened in an application. Google provides deep technical details for Android here. Part of Yahoo's challenge is to build similar tools for developers. By bridging contextual and mobile search, Yahoo could provide a mobile search engine that would send users to the right application at the right time—which is something Apple will need to compete with Google in the years ahead.  Of course, Apple wouldn’t partner with Yahoo because Mayer shows Apple executives some pretty slides. A search partnership with Yahoo would free Apple from sending billions of dollars of advertising business to its mobile archrival through its devices. In the long term, Yahoo could give Apple what TechCrunch columnist MG Siegler calls “the Google-free iPhone.” It's a high-risk bet. But for Yahoo and Apple, the only other choice is letting Google run away with app search the way it did with the Web. Lead image courtesy of TechCrunch via Flickr.
  • Google Has New Targeted Ads That Encourage You Dive Into Apps
    You’ll soon be seeing mobile ads from Google that can take you directly into an app. These ads will appear in Google’s mobile search, on YouTube, and on third-party websites that use Google’s ad network. Today the company announced it will offer ads that display a button that will open up the advertiser's app for more information. If users don't have the app installed, it will prompt them to download it. Known as deep linking, this technique will take you directly to specific information in an app. Similar to other advertisements Google offers, these deep linked ads will use your personal data—such as which apps you frequently use and the types of in-app purchases you make—to serve up tailored app install suggestions. “If you exercise regularly and use an app to measure how far you run, you might see an ad for an app that helps you measure the foods you eat and calories consumed,” the company said in a blog post. App install ads have proven hugely successful for Google since it launched them in 2011. Both Twitter and Yahoo have begun using app install ads as well.  Correction, 1:15 pm PT: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Google was unveiling app install ads, which it has offered since 2011. The new ad product it launched today features deep linking.  Lead image via Dan Rowinski for ReadWrite, search image via Google


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