Posts tagged Take
One of the first things all new and prospective clients want to know is how long it take for a content marketing strategy to see real organic results on Google (yes, I know they aren’t the only search engine). Some want to know how long it will take to get from zero, as they don’t […]
The post Case Study: How Long Does It Take to See Organic Search Results? by @billbelew_com appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
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ReadWriteBody is an ongoing series where ReadWrite covers networked fitness and the quantified self.
Simple step trackers are going the way of the dinosaur, as a new generation of fitness devices cram more sensors and smarts into smaller and smaller shapes. This next wave will track our movements in three dimensions—and that’s a crucial difference.
Why? Because the kind of vigorous exercise that really advances our health is multidimensional, too.
As someone who sprints up stairs, lifts weights at the gym, and dabbles in yoga and bodyweight workouts, I’ve long been dissatisfied with fitness trackers that count steps and stop there. And I’m not alone: One friend clipped his wrist-based Nike FuelBand to his shoes to get points for a bike ride. I’ve heard similar tales of gyrations done in the name of counting gyrations.
Tracking What’s Next
Atlas Wearables, Lumo BodyTech, Amiigo, Moov and others are among the companies whose devices promise to work with the way we actually move—and quite possibly displace incumbents like Jawbone and Fitbit.
Two key developments are enabling these new devices: small sensors and big data.
Moov, for example, packs an accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer into a package the size of a few quarters. The addition of a magnetometer allows it to consistently orient itself to the Earth’s gravity, Moov cofounder Nikola Hu told me. That means Moov can accurately track the motion of a fist jabbing through the air during a cardio boxing workout, with a virtual coach comparing your punches to a real boxer’s recorded movements. Moov started taking preorders Wednesday for its $59 device, which the company hopes to ship this summer.
Atlas’s tracker uses multiple accelerometers and a heart-rate sensor to track not just your movements—it counts sets and reps of exercises for you—but also the vigor with which you do them. Even though the device sits on your wrist, Atlas says it can detect distinct patterns that let it tell a pushup from a deadlift. The company is taking preorders on Indiegogo through March 8 for the $159 device, which it plans to ship in December.
Lumo is making a posture-oriented device, the Lumo Lift, that aims to prevent you from slouching. But the company could have greater ambitions: At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, founder Monisha Perkash demonstrated to me how a companion app for the Lumo Lift can accurately track your body position. A next-generation product might analyze your form throughout a sequence of yoga postures.
And I recently met with Stéphane Marceau, the CEO of OMsignal, which is planning a line of athletic shirts which will measure a full range of biological signals, down to your breath. It also takes much more detailed heart-rate signals, capturing the minute fluctuations known as heart-rate variability that provide deeper clues to your health and physical performance. The company plans to take preorders in the spring and ship its shirts this summer.
Fitness entrepreneurs have a lot of choices these days—build your own, or just rely on the sensors built into smartphones and smartwatches. Jamo, for example, introduced a dance-fitness app earlier this week that relies on the iPhone’s built-in accelerometers to tell you if you’re matching an instructor’s sweet moves. And Focus Trainr uses sensors in the first-generation Samsung Galaxy Gear to analyze your movements in a way that’s conceptually similar to Atlas’s approach. The “peculiar but impressive” wrist devices Samsung unveiled this week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona promise even more fitness-related applications.
A Flood Of Personal Data
While several of these hardware startups have succeeded in taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in preorders, it’s not clear if they’ll make the leap to the mass market the way simpler fitness trackers have. One big problem is taking all the data they’re generating and actually making it useful.
OMsignal, from what I’ve seen of the shirt’s companion app, gets closest to this idea with its “OM index,” a metric for stress. Even with simplified indexes and measurements, though, we can easily get more data without getting more information about our bodies. The best apps will provide context and behavioral cues.
As a gym rat, I’m drawn to the sheer butchness of the Atlas device. But I can’t recall ever struggling to count sets and reps. (I use a simple and efficient app, GymGoal, to do that.) I would like a device that doesn’t just evaluate my form but coaches me with audio prompts in the middle of an exercise to drop lower in a squat, say, or make sure my chest touches the ground in a pushup.
Or better yet, how about a device that can capture my workouts and report back high-level observations to my personal trainer, so I don’t have to do the fiddly work of analyzing the data and massaging it into usable form? It’s clear that inventors are doing clever things with the latest hardware, taking advantage of the ever-dropping cost and power consumption of sensors. But when it comes to tracking our performance in the gym, they must remember that their competition is a mirror, a notebook, and a pen.
Images courtesy of Atlas Wearables, Lumo BodyTech, and OMsignal
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Imagine people in developing countries thinking Facebook is the gateway to the Internet. They would log into Facebook to access email, Wikipedia pages, weather information, and food prices. If they wanted additional services like the ability to stream video, they can buy it with a simple click—through Facebook.
That’s Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for Internet.org.
At the Mobile World Congress on Monday, Zuckerberg delineated some of his plans for moving forward with Internet.org, the initiative led by Facebook to bring Internet connectivity to poor countries around the world.
While Zuckerberg touted the altruistic vision of his company’s goal to connect the next one billion people, it’s important to note that the project isn’t just for the sake of bringing basic services to those that don’t have it, but rather bringing millions of additional eyeballs to Facebook and its advertisers.
“[We are] making it so that we can increase the amount of up-sells to subscriptions when they’re using these basic services,” Zuckerberg said in his keynote. “They will come to a link that isn’t included in the basic services package; a popup that says, ok if you want to consume this, you have to buy this data plan.”
Facebook is making a long-term promise to both data carriers and advertisers—Zuckerberg said the next one billion people to attain Internet access will not be as affluent as those already on Facebook, thus making it harder to monetize the company’s services. Zuckerberg said the social network will subsidize Facebook, Messenger, and other services like weather or basic news and information, and then provide up-sells in applications to deliver the whole package—like a gateway drug. Those up-sells are where carriers and Facebook make money.
“The reason why they’re not on [the Internet] is they don’t know why they would want to get access to it,” Zuckerberg said. “[We will show] people why it’s rational and good for them to spend the limited money that they have on the Internet.”
How WhatsApp Fits Into Internet.org
Facebook recently spent $19 billion to acquire the mobile messaging application WhatsApp, an application Zuckerberg claims will be one of the few services to amass a billion users in the future. He claimed that, by itself, WhatsApp is worth more than what the company paid for it.
In developing countries like those Internet.org is targeting, many people rely on SMS communications due to a lack of data services. WhatsApp is already popular in many emerging markets, including those in South America and Asia where Facebook’s growth was stagnating.
While exploding in popularity, WhatsApp was facing pressure to monetize. It already had a subscription-based business model, but in order to handle the influx of customers, WhatsApp would’ve needed to focus on building out a business model. With the Facebook acquisition, WhatsApp was given the opportunity to focus exclusively on growth without worrying about revenue models, since Facebook is footing the bill.
The Next One Billion
“Connecting the world” is Facebook’s vision—one that can’t be achieved without the support of other organizations, including the six telecom companies it partnered with for the Internet.org initiative.
Zuckerberg said the organization is looking for an additional three to five partners to bring on board, ones that will bet big that Facebook subsidies of social services will pay off by up-selling their data plans. In most underdeveloped countries, 2G and 3G data networks are already available; people just don’t understand the value of the Internet yet.
“One thing I think is easy to take for granted is that most people in the world don’t have access to the Internet,” he said.
In order for Facebook’s strategy to work, it will have to make Internet relatively affordable, and provide incentives—like free Facebook access—for people to use it. Cheaper infrastructure, easier accessibility and up-selling additional data use will ultimately grow the company into a global Internet provider.
A Facebook phone may have failed in the U.S., but it might just work in international markets. By using Facebook as an on-ramp to the Internet, the next one billion people will use social logins not just to control various apps, but their entire Internet usage.
Lead image via screenshot of Zuckerberg’s keynote at the Mobile World Congress
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Twitter and Facebook want to trade places with each other, as we’ve noted before, which is why the two companies continue borrowing features from one another. In the latest chapter of this social rivalry, Twitter is reportedly testing a major redesign to its user profiles that would make it look a lot like, well, Facebook.
On Tuesday, Mashable’s assistant features editor Matt Petronzio reported a big update to his Twitter profile page, which swapped a vertical column of tweets and user information for a “floating card” structure that resembles Facebook’s Timeline profiles, which were introduced in late 2011. Google has been similarly accused of copying Facebook’s user profile design for Google+.
It’s not uncommon for Twitter to roll out experimental features to select groups of users before releasing a major update to the public. But even if these features never see the light of day—it’s only “testing” this redesign, after all—Twitter users should probably brace themselves for further changes that stress visuals over the company’s traditional emphasis on text.
Now that its shares are publicly traded on the stock market, Twitter faces intense scrutiny from investors on a regular basis. At its first-ever earnings call earlier this month, Twitter admitted slow growth despite increasing revenues, and investors promptly hammered the stock down 25%. (It’s since recovered a bit.) So the company is now charged with finding new ways to retain and expand its online audience.
Last month, Twitter rolled out an update to make its desktop client look more like its mobile counterpart. Before that, Twitter overhauled its messaging platform and updated its search functionality to include a new “Discover” section on the mobile site. Twitter has been swift about releasing these updates over the past few months, so the company could move quickly with these redesigned user profiles, especially since they’re already in the news cycle.
See also: 2013: The Year Social Media Went Copycat
But new user profiles on Twitter, should they happen, would only be the latest chapter in the ongoing tale of mass convergence in the social sphere. As we reflected late last year, Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest are all more similar than they are different, especially when it comes to user features. And as these major platforms develop, they continue to copycat features from one another just to keep up with users’ changing social tastes.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone if Twitter rolls out Facebook-looking profiles; as my colleague Matt Asay noted yesterday, Twitter wants to be more like Facebook (for its approachability with casual users), and has been willing to make changes to become a friendlier service, even if it never becomes a hub for friends to congregate online, which is how Facebook succeeds.
Redesigned user profiles wouldn’t change the way people use Twitter, but it might make the platform look more familiar to Facebook and Google+ users—since their profile pages look nearly identical—and thus more approachable to new users. Twitter would also enjoy some additional exposure from the news cycle by implementing these changes—you’re welcome, Twitter—even if the new profile designs are far from innovative or “new.” Plus, it would be a good way to get back at Facebook for introducing hashtags last year.
Lead image courtesy of Reuters
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Last week Telenav acquired Skobbler for roughly $24 million in cash and stock. Skobbler is based in Berlin, Germany and is to OpenStreetMap (OSM) what Red Hat is to Linux according to Ryan Peterson of Telenav. For those not aware, OSM is the Wikipedia of digital mapping. It relies on a global force…
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In an anticipation of the big game Sunday night, Bing has tallied searches for both Super Bowl teams across the country and found the Seattle Seahawks won the largest share of search volume in 33 states. The search engine was quick to note the percentage of searches are “generally evenly…
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The dreaded Google penalty. It can strike you out of the blue quickly, and is very unpleasant to deal with. In the face of plummeting web traffic, you have to pinpoint the cause and then take steps to recover. Often an unexpected algorithmic update is the culprit, especially if several occur in a row (we’re […]
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It’s like geek Christmas: The newest version of Android comes out and it’s full of exciting new features and designs. You rush to the Android Developer portal to learn about all the new functionality and check your smartphone manufacturer’s website to see when your phone will receive the latest and greatest from Android.
Then you wait. And wait. And wait.
So why exactly does it take so long for Android updates to reach your phone? The signal originates at Google, but an update must traverse a complicated series of portals through manufacturers, chipset makers and carriers before it finally reaches your smartphone.
Google’s Nexus Smartphones Vs. The Rest Of Android
Unless you rock a Nexus device, there’s a fairly good chance you’re going to have to wait several months for the latest version of Android to hit your smartphone or tablet.
For instance, the initial release for Android 4.4 KitKat was October 31, 2013. As of January 8th, 2014, only 1.4% of Android devices that touch Google servers registered as using KitKat; Android 4.3 Jelly Bean was released in July 2013 and is only installed on 7.8% of Android devices. Those numbers will continue to climb, but the fact of the matter is that it takes months for new versions to come from the engineers at Google, through the manufacturers and carriers and onto your smartphone.
The wait times for new Android updates is appalling, especially when you consider how Apple can push its latest version of iOS to millions upon millions of users at once. Apple says its latest update, iOS 7, is currently installed on 80% of all iOS devices; again, KitKat is installed on less than 2% of all Android devices.
So why can’t Android versions reach all of its users in a timely manner? The answer is more complicated than a one-to-one comparison of Apples to Androids.
“We understand that there are different versions of Android available and we want to get people on the latest versions,” lead Android engineer Dave Burke said in a ReadWrite interview last year. “There are two things to understand. One is I see an Apple diagram of Android and they show how many people have updated to the latest versions of iOS. Well, first of all, if you want to do those comparisons you should compare that to the Nexus program because that is comparing apples to apples in that case. For the Nexus program, about 90% of them are updated to the latest version within 24 hours.”
How An Update Navigates From Google To Your Smartphone
The fact of the matter is that most Android devices aren’t Nexus smartphones or tablets. They’re built by Samsung and HTC, Motorola and LG, ZTE and Huawei, and a dozen other smartphone makers out there. Each one of these companies has its own engineers, partnerships, skins and launchers that must become compliant with the newest version of Android once Google releases the source code.
But keeping everything and everyone up-to-date isn’t that simple. First of all, Google sends out what it calls a Platform Developer Kit (PDK) to manufacturers, which is kind of like the hardware version a software developer kit (SDK) that app developers use to integrate features into their software. Google also must distribute the source code of the newest version to chipset makers like Samsung and Qualcomm, which will determine if they can support it.
If the phone’s chips can support it, the chipset makers will tell their partners that their smartphones can or cannot accept the latest Android version on their devices. If they can’t install the newest Android treat, those devices are forced to remain on the version of Android they are currently on, and it ends there for those phones. But if it the chipset makers approve, they send a “Board Support Package” (BSP) back to the manufacturer to implement into their smartphones and tablets.
But it doesn’t end there. The manufacturer at that point must get its team of developers and engineers to implement the newest version of Android, at which point, it’s time for testing.
Testing is perhaps the biggest bane of any manufacturer, developer or cellular carrier that works with Android. Because testing is where the carriers come in.
Most Android manufacturers have agreements with the likes of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon on what can and cannot be allowed on a device (for a variety of reasons) and what the carrier says must be included, like its own apps (often called bloatware). Once the carriers review the modifications, they send it back to the manufacturer to institute.
Then there is more testing, this time by the carriers, regulatory authorities (like the Federal Communications Commission) and Google. Both the carriers and Google must issue a “Technical Acceptance” (TA) before the updated version of Android can be shipped to end users.
The route from Google to an over-the-air update is fraught with complications. Sometimes the hardware on a device won’t support the newest version of Android (something Google is trying to eliminate with the smaller memory profile in Android 4.4 KitKat). Sometimes the manufacturer would rather ship a brand new smartphone than issue an update to an old one. Maybe the carrier would prefer a new smartphone for its retail stores than to use its data pipes to update old versions. Carriers and manufacturers often drag their feet, preferring new devices than updates to old ones.
See the infographic from HTC below for a visual representation of the flow of an Android update from Google to consumer.
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