Posts tagged physical
One of the more desperate requests I get from clients interested in Local Search is wanting to rank well in Google for local queries when they don’t have a physical location in the searched city. The challenge is that Google appears to not want to show businesses that are not physically…
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Tech insiders call the successful acquisition of a start-up an “exit.” The implication is that the people who founded the start-up have accomplished their mission, and now they’re out. That hasn’t been the case for the team formerly known as Yobongo. They’re about to release something unique and wonderful for shutterbugs.
Six months to the day after Mixbook acquired Yobongo, the former Yobongans are lifting the curtain on Mosaic. It’s an iPhone app for printing physical photo books, turning pixels into atoms. You can sign up for access starting today, and the first 100 RWW readers who click this link will get in early.
Mixbook’s Caleb Elston has shown me the app, and when you get your hands on it, it will surprise you. Its every digital surface has been crafted to match the physical book you’ll receive in the mail. And that book will look like a dream object from the future, like a totem from the film Inception, more real than real, all because you made it out of pixels before the atoms arrived at your door.
Photo albums have two problems that the iPhone can solve. They don’t start spontaneously, and they take a long time to finish. Because physical photo books take so much work, we tend to reserve them for weddings, anniversaries, and other major life moments. And even then, they’re a chore.
Mosaic brings the process right to the place where our photos live: the smartphone. The team learned from Yobongo’s chat rooms that most services need to be rethought entirely to be primarily mobile experiences. When this app launches, it will present you with the chance to compile every day into a physical album if you want to.
“People won’t spend 10 hours building a photo album about an everyday thing,” Elston says, “but they will spend 60 seconds.”
The team came together to build artisanal software, but they’re loving this opportunity to build physical products. “Whatever I work on next, I want it to be physical,” Elston says. “Taking the digital bits and putting them into physical atoms is where the value came from.”
Mixbook is debuting the Mosaic concept today, and the team looks forward to hearing user feedback. If you sign up on heymosaic.com, you’ll get the app as soon as it’s available. And the first 100 RWW readers will get it quicker.
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The barrier between consumer and product is growing ever smaller, as retail stores both physical and online extend their sales into realms beyond their original spheres of influence. UK grocer Tesco’s interactive virtual grocery stores in London’s Gatwick airport is only the latest example.
The Gatwick stores follow on the heels of last year’s pilot program in South Korea that sold items via billboards displaying photos of products in subway stations and bus stops. Using smartphones to scan QR codes next to the products’ images on the wall, shoppers of Tesco division Home Plus would have their groceries selected, bought and delivered to their homes.
At Gatwick, though, instead of static photos of products on the wall or display stands, departing passengers will use an Android or iOS app to scan products displayed on one of four interactive “fridges” within the virtual store.
Putting the virtual store into the Gatwick airport takes advantage of the travel habits of Britons as they depart the UK on their annual holiday (or “vacation”) and may want to have groceries delivered to their homes when they get back, saving them the inevitable re-stocking trip at the supermarket when they return.
Tesco’s experiment puts the virtual stores where potential customers will be and may have time on their hands for some fast shopping: public waiting areas. The pilot has already paid off in South Korea: Tesco’s subsidiary there reported a 130% rise in online grocery sales.
Billboards and screen displays of products fall into a fast-rising category of sales known as etailing, which is a blend of what works best in the online and brick-and-mortar worlds. The concept of a 24/7 store window happens to be the most popular because it’s the easiest to implement: display a product with some kind of barcode and you immediately can get customers buying, as eBay and designer Jonathan Adler are trying in New York and Proctor & Gamble is doing with virtual drugstores in the Czech Republic.
It’s not just public screens. Ebay’s “Watch with eBay” app lets users specify the TV channel they are watching and displays items currently on sale that relate to the show. Think sports memorabilia or fan gear.
Meanwhile, e-commerce sites are extending their reach into the physical world. Amazon is now formally launching its Amazon Lockers program that will have the mega-retailer ship customers’ items to secure lockers located in convenience stores and pharmacies for later pickup. The program was first trialed in Seattle last year, and it’s been enough of a success to deploy across the nation. The lockers offer customers more security in product delivery, particularly in urban areas where theft from doorsteps can be a problem.
Now that Amazon is giving in to collecting sales taxes even in U.S. states where it doesn’t already have a physical presence, it’s also reportedly establishing regional distribution centers that could enable hyperlocal, same-day delivery. Or at least next-day delivery for many items.
Whether or note they make it to the U.S. market, all of these developments play into etailing’s key trend: reducing the friction between seeing an item and buying it.
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In what has long been a nightmare scenario for booksellers, the physical bookstore is becoming a showroom for the online shopper. After casually browsing the tomes in comfort, people will use their smartphone or tablet to buy their choices online at a much lower price. While most booksellers can do little more than fume, Barnes & Noble is not just meeting the threat head on, it’s embracing the change.
William Lynch, chief executive of the New York-based company, told Fortune magazine Tuesday that he planned to have near-field communication installed in Nook e-readers as early as this year. The technology would make it possible for browsers to touch books in the store with Nooks to get more information, such as reviews, and then purchase titles in whatever format they want.
The company declined to discuss its strategy Wednesday. “We haven’t announced anything further,” a spokeswoman said in an email.
The success of Lynch’s idea depends on convincing publishers that it’s in their best interest to embed into their books information-storing chips that the Nook could read. If they agree, then Lynch would move a step closer to merging the physical and virtual words.
Barnes & Noble is in a unique position in having physical stores, an online store and an e-reader. “[The stores] remain a very important advantage for the company – the only retail player in the category with integrated three-channel distribution under one brand,” said Peter Hildick-Smith, president of the Codex Group, a book market research and consulting company.
Even Amazon, which has about 60% of the U.S. e-book market to Barnes & Noble’s 30%, understands the importance of having physical stores. The online retailer has been selling its Kindle e-reader through retailers since at least 2010 and is currently in chains such as Target, Best Buy and Staples (although Target announced Wednesday that it plans to stop selling Kindles).
Balancing Physical, Online Sales is Key to Success
Getting the right combination of the physical and online sales channel is key to survival. For example, Borders sold e-readers from Sony and Rakuten, maker of the Kobo, and had Amazon run its online store. With no connection to the online customer, Borders didn’t have enough to survive. The bookseller went out of business last year.
Barnes & Noble has not made the same mistakes as its one-time rival, and its current strategy actually plays into the habits of book readers. Codex has found that people who own e-readers also buy physical books. “They’re not just pure-play e-readers; they are living in the print world, as well,” Hildick-Smith said.
In a February survey, Codex found that only 2% of book buyers bought only digital books. In general, people read nonfiction on e-readers and fiction in physical books, Hildick-Smith said.
Of course, Barnes & Noble still faces a number of hurdles in its online business. Nearly all Nook sales originate from the company’s 691 stores, which are only in the U.S. The company needs to reach the international markets, which is why Barnes & Noble partnered last month with Microsoft. The software maker agreed to invest $300 million in a new subsidiary comprising Barnes & Noble’s Nook and college bookstore businesses.
Under the deal, Microsoft will develop a Nook application for Windows 8, which is expected to ship this year, Lynch told the financial news agency Bloomberg. The app will take Barnes & Noble’s digital books to consumers in Europe, Asia and Latin America, according to Lynch. Along with selling e-books, Barnes & Noble will also have to sell Nooks, which it hopes to place on the shelves of retailers in other countries.
If successful, Barnes & Noble could become a stronger competitor to Amazon, which has a tremendous head start. The online retailer sells its Kindle e-reader in stores in the U.K., Germany, France, Canada and Australia, and through its website in 175 countries. Amazon also sells books in seven languages.
Despite being the underdog, Barnes & Noble seems committed to putting up a fight by proving that the physical and virtual can coexist and prosper.
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Shapeways held a contest to see what designers thought Siri might look like. This and more in today’s Daily Wrap.
Sometimes it’s difficult to catch everything that hits tech media in a day, so we wrap up some of the most talked about stories. We give you a daily recap of what you missed in the ReadWriteWeb Community, including a link to some of the most popular discussions in our offsite communities on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ as well.
A contest to imagine what Siri’s physical form might look like yielded some interesting results. The winner, Omniscent Siri, by SaGa Design, looks half alien, half human. To learn more about the contest and the winner, check out What Siri Would Look Like If It Were a Person.
More Must Read Stories:
The fact that smartphones have made a huge mark on photography is no breaking news. The company that was once most synonymous with taking photographs is now in bankruptcy, while the most frequently-used camera on Flickr isn’t one of Nikon or Canon’s DSLRs, but the iPhone 4. (more)
I met Peter Griess last night and heard him talk about his career. Even though he still has plenty of years ahead of him, he has already worked for NetApp, Yahoo, and now Facebook. He was part of a nine-person startup that worked on some interesting social email apps that eventually got acquired by Yahoo. Along his career he has seen very different kinds of cultures in these various software engineering departments, and as I was listening to his talk, I thought about the many software companies that I have covered over the years.
I would break them down into three different kinds of cultures (the names are my own construct)… (more)
Fortune magazine released an exposé of Facebook that portrays Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg as a leader who promoted friends over qualified Facebook employees and may have been too focused on “extracurricular” activities as the public face of the soon-to-be public social network. (more)
When it comes to data throttling, there is no way that U.S. mobile carriers can win the war of public opinion. That goes double for AT&T and its PR fiasco over the last couple of weeks over its throttling of unlimited data plans. A California man won an $850 settlement in the Simi Valley small claims court, opening the door for thousands of similar court cases to be brought about the country. Several petitions on Change.org have been started to challenge the throttling policy, including one from Yonker’s New York yoga instructor Jane Foody that has about 11,400 signatures since it was launched. (more)
St. Louis became the 22nd city to have a branch of the Founders Institute today. The operation helps entrepreneurs in a very structured four-month paid mentoring program. It involves intensive coaching and has resulted in more than 700 startups, with over 40% of them receiving funding. We have written about FI before here. (more)
News.me launched its free iPhone app this morning, which introduces Facebook integration, a saved offline reading list that syncs with the iPad app and Instapaper, and new, simple social dynamics of its own. It digests the links shared by Twitter and Facebook contacts, checks Bit.ly for their popularity, and presents a list of the top news stories in a clean, readable environment. (more)
Over half of U.S. cellphone owners now own smartphones, according to new data from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. 53% of U.S. cellphone owners are now of the smart variety and 46% of American’s overall own a smartphone. This is a significant inflection point in the mobile revolution, marking a significant trend in how the average interacts with information. (more)
China’s Internet censorship regime, known as the Great Firewall, can appear monolithic. A few days ago, however, that wall was breached. Chinese citizens rode a glitch and jumped onto the momentarily unencumbered information super highway, according to reports from CNET. Where did Chinese Internet users head? Straight to President Obama’s Google+ page. (more)
Everyone knows you can learn a lot by trawling data coming from social media services like Twitter, Facebook and Flickr. But sometimes the data will surprise you. For instance, you’d expect to be able to glean product feedback from Facebook’s public feed, but did you know that shoplifters tend to brag about it in social media? (more)
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As with the release of any new version of a major operating system, the security holes will be picked out as users get their hands on it and starting putting it through the paces. Apple’s newest iOS 5 is no different.
Chester Wisniewski of Sophos points out that iOS 5 has the same flaw in encryption that iOS 4 did. In addition, reports have surfaced that there is a flaw in iOS 5 that lets users access a password-locked iPad with one of Apple’s smart covers. Users should take note and use caution with leaving their iPads in places where a nefarious character might have physical access to it.
Wisniewski points out this sentence from the iPad Business Security document from Apple that is misleading when it comes to data encryption.
“iPad provides hardware encryption for all data stored on the device, and additional encryption of email and application data with enhanced data protection.”
Wisniewski has this to say about the encryption in iOS 5:
This type of misleading statement shows how the specific meaning of a statement might imply that all of your data is protected where the reality is the devil is in the implementation details.
iOS 5 devices have the exact same implementation flaw of the AES 256 encryption as iOS 4. While the data is encrypted, iOS provides unfettered access without knowing the passcode or possessing the encryption keys.
All media (photos, videos, sound recordings and music) can be accessed from a computer that can speak Apple’s control protocol without any authentication, even if the device is locked.
Siri Bypasses Passcode
A website called Macnotes.net noticed that a passcode-enabled iPhone running iOS 5 has a security flaw where it will allow users to return a missed mobile call with the swipe-to-call feature.
It turns out that the bypass passcode problem is not unique to returning phone calls. Siri, the personal voice activated assistant that lives in the iPhone 4S, also has been allowing users to get through the passcode without approval. Graham Cluley of Sophos said he as able to pick up a co-worker’s iPhone 4S, press the home screen button and give Siri a command. He sent an email and a text message without entering the passcode.
Smart Case Plays Dumb
An iPad 2 with a smart case will unlock itself when opened in iOS 5. Basically, if a device is in the off-ready state when the smart cover is put down, when a user takes the cover off, it will allow a person to hit the cancel button out of the off-ready screen and give it access to whatever was the last app or browser open on the iPad. Take a look at the video from 9to5 Mac below.
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Google: Local Now 40 Percent Of Mobile, Physical Distance Becomes A Ranking Variable For AdWords by @gsterling
Today Google is introducing some new ad formats for mobile and announcing that it will now use location proximity as a scoring factor in deciding which AdWords to show the mobile user. Google’s Surojit Chatterjee also shared some mobile data in the context of announcing the new units…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
The European project, “First World War in everyday documents” has combined real people and the physical artifacts they’ve inherited with the power of the Web to preserve and communicate on a mass scale. This effort has the potential to bring back into focus a horrendous period of time that, almost 100 years later, is often regarded with a soft focus. Real people lived, killed, died and suffered through the first global conflict in history and now they are regarded as Edwardian ornaments for a sentimentalist view of history that disgraces their sacrifice.
Run by Europeana, the European archive, the project began in March and will end in July. It combines online uploading with real-life roadshows to assemble an enduring, highly-personalized Web archive of the war.
“The First World War archive is based on an initiative at the University of Oxford where people across Britain were asked to bring family letters, photographs and keepsakes from the War to be digitised. The success of the idea – which became the Great War Archive – has encouraged Europeana, Europe’s digital archive, library and museum, to bring the German National Library into an alliance with Oxford University to roll out the scheme in Germany. The collaboration will bring German stories online alongside their British counterparts in a 1914-18 archive.”
At the roadshows – still to be held at Dresden, Kiel and Regensburg – the objects brought are digitized on the spot.
The archive is already up and running and you can use their search page to look for specific artifacts or types of artifacts or images.
Among the objects already digitized, the editors point out a “delousing chit” (above).
“Looking rather like a cartoon bank note this informed the bearer that he was now clean and free of the vermin of the trenches. Most likely a completely unofficial document, this comic piece of memorabilia was probably limited to one unit, and may therefore be quite uncommon. However it is also good documentary evidence of the cleaning up process, soldiers being communally bathed, or perhaps more accurately dunked and rubbed down, in disused breweries, or washed by the efforts of mobile bath units with their own traveling water heater.”
Another is the heart-breaking “red stripe” card. When a medic triaged an injured soldier, he affixed a card to the person. The cards were no-stripe, for walking wounded; a single stripe for the seriously injured but movable; and two stripes for too seriously wounded to be moved and likely to die. The one to the right, with one stripe, belonged to a soldier named Schroeder.
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North Korea Warns of Physical Retaliation Against South Korea Over Drills
North Korea said it will counter with “strong physical retaliation” joint military exercises by South Korea …
Korea's Stocks, Asia's Second-Cheapest, May Rise, Oberweis Says
Iran sanctions a Korean conundrum
S. Korea Begins Drills Despite NoKo Threats
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When ranking search results, do google and yahoo take into account the path and html file name? I’m adding new copyrighted content for publishers and artists. I’ve decided to make the content into static html. The content is stored in a DB. I was wondering whether I should place and name the static html according to the DB’s identification, or the actual publisher and artist name. For example, for publisher ID 1 and artist ID 5, which gets better ranking
1- URL www.mycompany.com /new/publisher/ 1/5/index7.html
2- URL www.mycompany.com /new/ publisher/ XYZStudios/ I_AM_A_FAMOUS_ARTIST/ page7.html
would be great if you can provide resources that cover this subject.