All posts in “Android”

Dabbling on the Darkside: An iOS’ers Android Confession

Jordan Benedet is a Manager on the Client Strategy and Innovation team at Social Media Group. Follow @jbenedet.

I’ve been an iPhone owner since 2008 when the 3G first came to Canada, although my initial experience with iOS came slightly before this when I bought, and quickly sold, a first generation iPod touch. At this time most people had a simple flip or candy bar phone with highly advanced T9 text input and battery life of over a week. A smartphone was a BlackBerry, and having one meant you were a rich and powerful businessman who needed to be able to tap out important emails on a tiny keyboard 24 hours a day. Things have changed since then, mainly due to smartphones achieving the fastest adoption rate in tech history.

I’ve also been an iPhone / Apple evangelist, enlisting friends and family to jump into the iPhone world. My wife used to say she would never like or use a phone as much I do, but now I see her continually switching between her second iPhone and an iPad all evening while relaxing. It is not surprising to hear that 84% said they could not go a single day without their phone, and 60% of people would rather lose their wallet than their phone.

A Spark for Change

After years of living in the iOS ecosystem, I found myself a little bored. Normally when getting a new gadget I get excited to learn and tweak it, but when I got my shiny new 4S last year I felt like nothing had changed. The feeling was correct, because in my opinion nothing substantial had changed; it just had a better camera, in a faster and thinner phone. When iOS 6.0 came out the feeling continued; it had brought absolutely nothing new to the table that particularly interested me. Late in 2012, I started seeing many others writing about the same thoughts I was having, the most notable titled “An iPhone Lover’s Confession: I Switched To the Nexus 4. Completely” from Ralf Rottmann on Gizmodo. I felt the urge for change, and decided that I needed to dabble on the metaphorical dark side. After validating that my key IOS apps now had Android counterparts (something that was not the case last year), I was officially ready to take the plunge.

Jump Right Into It

It only took a day before I had explored Android, and customized the phone to my liking. It wasn’t long before the phone was rooted and I was installing a variety of custom ROMs. The big screen and larger phone took a bit longer to get used to. I still find it very awkward and cumbersome to reach the frequently used top left corner of the screen while holding it with only my right hand, but viewing anything on the large screen is quite amazing. I now realize that I would not want a phone any bigger in dimensions than the S3, and I would actually prefer if the width was shaved down a few mm as well in order to fit in my hand better.

I also liked how 3rd party apps can easily be made default for specific actions. The notification centre was a dream, allowing quick access to anything from music controls to system settings. It took me a while to get used to the “back” and “menu” buttons, but it wasn’t long before they became second nature. When I first picked up my old iPhone after a week with the Galaxy, I found myself trying to clumsily press a non-existent back button.

The Bad

Both operating systems are not perfect, and they both have pros and cons. I really like the Galaxy S3 because of the flexibility / customizability of Android, using the large screen real estate, and the hardware back button. The negative side of things for me really centres on the battery life. Using the phone drains the battery much quicker than my 4S did (with LTE off too), and it also drains much quicker in standby. Micro managing background apps and resources also can be a pain because you never know if a background app is just sucking your battery dry.

What I Miss

I do miss my iPhone for some very specific reasons.

  • The first is iMessage; most of my friends and family all have iPhones so group text chats are now much more difficult now. Replacement 3rd party apps just aren’t the same since Apple introduced the blue text bubbles!
  • The second is battery life. I don’t care if it is not user-replaceable, my iPhone simply had a longer lasting battery during every day usage.
  • Lastly, I do miss the passive multi tasking and push notifications that iOS uses. This definitely helps battery life, since I find Android apps that utilize notifications require a background service to be always running sucking up CPU cycles.

I haven’t decided if I will stay on Android permanently, but I’m definitely keeping both devices as it allow me to become an expert on both platforms. I’m going to wait patiently to see what IOS7 offers up – your move Apple.

Instagram for Android: Love at first download

James Cooper is a strategist on the Content and Community team at Social Media Group.

Follow @jamescooper

I’m at a loss for words to describe how happy I am to finally have the Instagram app for Android. For months, I’ve listened to my iPhone-toting colleagues rave about Instagram. All this time, I have felt alienated while eking out a meagre digital photo existence on my Samsumg Galaxy SII.

No more. Now I have the power of Instagram in my hand.

Instagram app for Android on screen of Samsung Galaxy SII in palm of hand

Instagram in my hand (Photo: Karly Gaffney)

The app is one of the most anticipated releases in Android history. If you use your Android phone as a camera, you should definitely take it for a spin.

After using the app for a couple of days, I must admit that, as Alexia Tsotsis puts it in her TechCrunch post, “the app is pretty simple, and that’s what makes it amazing.”

To summarize my current knowledge of photography:

  1. I know which way to point the camera
  2. I know that lighting matters
  3. I know that cameras should not be used after the first hour of any cocktail party

That said, I think this app has the potential to turn me (and many other Android users) into a hobbyist photographer extraordinaire.

What does Android mean for Instagram?

After only 18 months on the market, Instagram has surpassed 30 million registered users. With Android at 500 million activations and accounting for 50 percent of smartphone market share in the US, the mobile OS has huge implications for Instagram.

As Tsotsis points out, “Facebook took about four years to reach its first 100 million; The idea of Instagram becoming the world’s first formidable, mobile-only social network is extremely compelling.”

What does Instagram mean for brands?

Lindsay Stanford made a case for Instagram as a content machine for brands in a previous SMG blog post. In her post, she provides some great examples of how brands and bands have used Instagram to drive engagement with friends, fans and followers.

Now that Instagram is available on both Android and iOS, I think that marketers, if they’re not doing so already, should put some serious thought into how they might work Instagram into their strategies.

Here’s one of my first Instagrams, which was taken in SMG’s back alley:

Street art graffiti of woman's head on octopus body on brick wall in alley

Armoured Soul street art in SMG's back alley (Photo: James Cooper)

Here’s my Instagram of SMG’s nameplate in our Toronto office:

Social Media Group nameplate with reflection of office in glass

SMG's nameplate with reflection of office in glass (Photo: James Cooper)

Download the app for yourself — it works with Android version 2.2 and higher and it’s free.

What do you think of Instagram for Android?

The Next Wave of Visual Content Curation

Last month, during Social Media Week, SMG hosted an Ignite-inspired event called Spark. I was thrilled to be one of the six speakers and chose to speak about a topic near and dear to me: Vistual Content Curation. Over the past year, visual content curation sites have been making some big waves. The most popular are Instagram, Tumblr and, of course, the new kid on the block, Pinterest. In my presentation I spoke about how brands are leveraging these platforms to engage with users and showcase their products. I also gave some data points about the number of users on each platform; Instagram had 15 million users, Tumblr had 44.3 million blogs and Pinterest had broken the 10 million-user mark with 11.7 million.  To me, a month in internet land is like six months in real life, and some exciting and interesting news has been announced in that short time that will really push these visual content curation platforms further into the mainstream spotlight.

Instagram announced last week they have reached 27 million users on the iOS-only app, nearly doubling their user base in two months! With more and more brands utilizing the application to promote products and integrating the API for content creation, the pressure to expand to more mobile devises is on. There have been rumours swirling for months of Instagram expanding to an Andriod app but last week at SXSW they announced it was in beta testing and would be coming “very soon”.

Tumblr boasts 48.6 million blogs to date and recently rolled out their ‘highlighted posts‘ feature early last month. Well-known for not wanting to integrate advertising to the platform, Tumblr has struggled to turn a profit. The highlighted posts feature could be a way to remedy this and get brands to pay for their posts to be featured. Essentially, for one dollar you can mark a post ‘highlighted’ and it will show up on the dashboard with a customizable sticker. This announcement was received with mixed reviews. Understanding and commending the desire to keep Tumblr authentic for artistic expression, some still feel that ‘highlighting’ is the same as advertising.

Pinterest, which estimates to be at 13 million users,  announced last week at SXSW that it would soon be introducing new and improved profile pages which were launched Friday. The profile esthetic is very similar to the new Facebook timeline, clean and visual with less content, and allows for larger images to be visible on the profile. For brands, this is an exciting opportunity to create a customized brand experience in an interface that users are familiar with. The infograph below has some really great information the growth of the platform and features brands that are seeing success on Pinterest.

What can we expect in the coming months as these content curation platforms continue to grow and more and more brands get on board? How can you leverage your brand now on these exciting platforms and prepare for what’s to come? Check out my full presentation from Spark to inspire and ignite your content:



Some interesting points on Pinterest:

The Power of Pinterest


Social Media Round Up for February 3rd

By Kirsten McNeill and James Cooper

Kirsten McNeill is a Co-ordinator on the Content and Community team at Social Media Group. Follow @kirstenmcne.
James Cooper is a strategist on the Content and Community team at Social Media Group. Follow @jamescooper

This week, we got our first look into Facebook’s financials with their historic IPO, saw a lot of action on Google+ hangouts, watched a video of Steve Jobs being mocked in an ad for an Android tablet and learned of a partnership between Foursquare and American Express that will save us some money on Pizza Hut pizza for Super Bowl XLVI.

Obama, Giants Hangout on Google+

We saw a lot of action on Google+ this week with both U.S. President Obama and the New York Giants engaging with the public through Google+ Hangouts.

Obama held the first all-digital interview from the White House on Monday night in a Google+ Hangout.  The Hangout — which aired on the White House’s newly created Google+ page — attracted more than 227,000 questions from YouTube users, five of whom were invited to participate in the live event.

To feel the support of their fans and get psyched for Super Bowl this Sunday, the New York Giants hosted Hangouts last night. Twenty lucky fans were randomly selected to chat live with Giants Victor Cruz, Corey Webster, Mark Herzlich and Henry Hynoski.

Fans not selected for the Hangouts weren’t completely left out. They were invited to submit questions to their favourite players via Twitter, Facebook and Google+ using the hashtags: #askBallard, #askSteve, #askSash and #askPrince to be answered during the live webcasts.

Facebook Files an Historic IPO

On Wednesday, Facebook filed for an initial public offering that could value the social network between $75 billion and $100 billion. The offering has put Facebook on track to be one of the biggest U.S. stock-market debuts of all time. The first look at Facebook’s financials showed the company produced a $1 billion profit last year from $3.71 billion in revenues, deriving 85% of those revenues from advertising, with the rest from social gaming and other fees.

Android Tablet Ad Mocks Steve Jobs

A Taiwanese ad for an Android tablet hit YouTube this week with what looked like Steve Jobs, talking up the Android tablet. While not actually mentioning Jobs by name, the ad features Taiwanese comedian and impersonator Ah-Ken dressed in a black turtleneck, jeans and round glasses, with a halo and wings.

See the ad here:

A spokeswoman for Action Electronics, Chelsea Chen, told Reuters that there is nothing wrong with the ad because “Steve Jobs always promoted things that were good for people, Apple products, so his image can also promote other things that are good.”

Apple reps have not made any comments about the ad. What do you think, too soon?

Foursquare + Super Bowl + Pizza Hut + American Express = Savings

Thanks to foursquare and American Express, you’ll be able to save some dough on your Super Bowl pizza order this Sunday. By checking in to the nationwide Super Swarm (which foursquare offered on gameday during last year’s Super Bowl), you’ll be eligible for $5 off at Pizza Hut when you pay for $10 worth of pizza using your American Express card.

Here’s how you take advantage of the deal:

Planning on checking in to get the deal?

The Connected Evolution

Jordan Benedet is a Manager on the Client Strategy and Innovation team at Social Media Group.

Smart Washing Machine

Historically, connecting to the Internet has always been on computers, but over the last five years connectivity is no longer confined to a desktop or laptop – all thanks to the evolution of “smart devices”. Smart, or connected devices are changing how people create, consume, share, and control the content in their life.

Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in January provided preview of the new direction of major electronics manufacturers, and how they plan to design devices that not only provide value by leveraging smart capabilities, but also solve problems in an intuitive way. According to the GSMA and a post at RedWriteWeb, 90% of TVs at CES, 70% of automotive devices, 44% of health devices, and 30% of cameras were Internet connected.

Of all connected devices at CES, 30% were from the “home lifestyle” category, which includes TVs, refrigerators, and even washing machines!

GSMA Stats

What it means for the living room

The potential benefits of having so many connected home devices are mind boggling, but this post covers how these changes could affect the current family living room.

Smart phones changed the way we use our mobile devices. They provided easier and more efficient access to music, games, social media, and communication tools like instant messaging and the almighty email. Most people I know, even the highly skeptical, never looked back after upgrading to a smart phone (be it Android, iPhone, or Blackberry).

A similar principal applies to the connected TVs showcased at CES – picture many of the benefits that a smart phone brings, and apply it to your living room on a screen 10 times bigger. Older TV owners can still rejoice that set top boxes like ROKU, Boxee, or AppleTV, and game consoles such as Xbox can be used to turn any TV into some form of Connected TV.

1. Social TV

People love to talk about TV with friends, which make social elements an integral feature for all connected devices. Social components should be integrated seamlessly when possible. One main problem is that unlike smart phones, TVs are “shared screens” – making it even more important to utilize social privacy elements. Michelle, a colleague here at Social Media Group recently shared her thoughts on The Rise of SocialTV here.

2. Apps

Apps have been integral part of making smart phones the awesome devices they are today. They provide a never-ending supply of new content to learn from or play with. The same is true for TV. Having access to apps will let users control what additional features, games or widgets they want to use, ultimately leading to a more controllable, and enjoyable viewing experience.

3. Custom Streaming

Continuing on the DVR trend, connected TVs will also allow viewers to choose what they want to watch, and when. As content producers continue to align their service offerings to support a streaming model, more people will continue to cut or cancel their cable/satellite bills. Netflix and Hulu have also helped push the streaming model to the mainstream. This is one of the largest game changing features of Connected TV – user control.

Internet Connectivity is no longer a feature that is limited to the top of the line TV models – it’s now a requirement. TV manufacturers have to rethink what a TV is, which includes how to leverage Internet capabilities, but more importantly the overall user experience that allows TVs to interact with traditional computers, smart phones, and tablets.

The Ecosystem Approach

Many major TV manufacturers lost money last year, Sony included. Samsung was fortunate to only incur reduced profit margins. The root causes were eroding retail prices, and sluggish consumer demand. The time has come where device manufacturers have to become content suppliers in order to maintain profitability and survive, which essentially means more ecosystems.

Molly Wood from CNET recently wrote her thoughts on what a connected device ecosystem really means:

A perfectly constructed ecosystem turns a smart phone, a tablet, or even a TV into a symphony of interoperable, always-on, one-stop-shopping gadget glory. No device is just a device, anymore. Now, every device is a platform, and everything works together perfectly

Love it or hate it, Apple pioneered the closed ecosystem with iTunes and iDevices. The closed ecosystem means more consumers are locked in – essentially raising the costs to switch to a different platform. Their strategy is paying off too, which is evident in their recent first-quarter record profit announcement.  Rumors also suggest that Apple is making a big play into the TV market, a move that will definitely shake things up.

Samsung and Microsoft also have the right idea. Samsung has made major moves this year to create an ecosystem that will compete head on with Apple. Their TVs will work seamlessly with both their Tablets and popular (record breaking) smart phones. Microsoft’s new Metro UI will ensure Windows 8 devices, Windows Phones, and Xbox will all share a universal user experience and content repositories. Let’s not forget about Microsoft Kinect, which could bring a Minority Report type experience to your living room!

We’re moving into an all out clash of the TV titans for 2012. Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung will likely continue to fight over patents and designs, while advancing product capabilities, and refining their service offerings.

Clash of Titans - Apple vs Smasung

To Sum it Up

A huge influx in the variety and quantity of connected products are coming directly to consumers, but the true benefit of these changes really comes down to implementation.

Only time will tell if these products solve more problems than they make, but the awesome part is that this is one of the few circumstances where you can literally sit on the couch and enjoy the changes!

2011: The Year of the Tablet

Tablets are everywhere. In 2011 they have taken the personal computing world by storm. These thin, power packed devices are portable and allow users to be online, access email, video chat, and play games while on the go, or while relaxing from the comforts of a cozy living room chair (or the iPad chair). These versatile tablets don’t always get used on its own, recently Neilson reported that tablets make great TV companions with 40% of owners stating they consistently use their device while watching television.

Overall tablets can create value or entertainment for almost anyone – especially students, business professionals, technologists, or even Grandma! This post is a summary of major events in 2011 related to tablets and some of my own opinions and experiences.

State of the Nation

The tablet craze started when Apple launched the first iPad back in April 2010. Analysts either thought the product would be a runaway success or an epic failure. I will admit that I was skeptical at first, but that all changed once I had an iPad to call my own (full disclosure – I love it).

Since the iPad launched competitors have feverishly played catch up to try to match or beat the iPads features, functionality, user experience, and content availability. Throughout the last year and half we have had winners, some delays, and a couple of losers.  Overall the iPad still reigns supreme with an estimated 68% of the total tablet market share. Maybe that will change with the recent introduction of the Kindle Fire…but more on that later.

Another important factoid is that tablets are cannibalizing the PC industry. Forbes is reporting that European PC shipments sunk 11.4% in 2011, mainly due to lower demand for netbooks – a product that tablet functionality almost directly replaces.

It’s Not Just for Fun Anymore

Tablets are great gaming devices, so it is not surprising that ComScore says that 2/3 of tablet users play games on them at least once a month with 1/4 of users stating they play games once a day. I definitely sit somewhere in the middle of those stats, as I routinely use mine for gaming, reading, watching videos, and staying connected to friends and family.

Besides gaming and multimedia content consumption, tablets are also conquering the workplace. A prime example is that airlines have replaced heavy and expensive pilot flight manuals with iPads. Not only does it save the pilot from lugging around pounds of paper, but it also allows them to quickly search. Schools are replacing an entire year’s worth of textbooks, Doctors are using a plethora of medical apps to create efficiencies and improve patient care. Welcome to the 21st century.

How to Decide which Tablet to Buy

With a plethora of tablet options deciding which one is right for you can be a daunting task. Of course fanboys are likely to stick with their designated brand regardless of the features, functionality, or more importantly limitations. This resource from Tablet PC Comparison provides a high level overview of a large majority of available tablets. And below I provide my opinion on the subject.

Operating System / Content

The tablet OS is one of the most important factors to consider in your tablet buying decision. Until recently tablet discussions typically involved the great debate between Android’s open-ended operating system, with a variety of different products versus Apple’s closed and content-rich iPad.

The iPad comes with iTunes, which provides users with an almost unlimited amount of apps and multimedia content for their device. Although the Android App market is getting bigger, especially in the tablet app department, there isn’t a single repository where users can rent movies, or download TV shows (legally).

Of course that all changed with the Kindle Fire, which runs a modified version of Android. It is rumoured that Amazon subsidizes the sale of each Kindle Fire device at a loss as they are banking on customers’ continually buying content from them for the life of the tablet. Stream revenue is much better than a one time purchase!

Now we are seeing conversations shift to a debate between the Kindle Fire and the iPad. Will the Fire truly be the first iPad killer? Time will soon tell. Sure, we could also see another drastic change in 2012 with the recent announcement of HP open sourcing the WebOS platform, but that’s a whole other story.


Although all tablets are unique in their own way, many of the industry leaders have very similar hardware specifications. Most devices currently come with a dual core processor, up to 1GB of RAM, and on average 16GB of total storage. Other features to note are camera specifications, BluetoothWiFi, 3G (cellular), and GPS functionalities. For example, the Kindle Fire is cheaper than many competitors, but it only includes 8GB of storage, and doesn’t have GPS, camera, Bluetooth, or a microphone. To most consumers hardware specifications are not always a big deal (see iPad buyers), but for others the hardware specs may be the primary factor in their decision.

Screen Size

This is one of the biggest factors that drive a tablet purchase decision, and it really is personal preference. The RIM Playbook and Amazon Kindle Fire both utilize a 7 inch screen, the Apple iPad has a 9.7 inch screen, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab is 10.1. I love the size of my iPad, but I totally see the value in a 7 inch screen when it comes to portability.


Including price in this list is an absolute must, since most tablet buyers appear to be very price elastic. This observation is based on consumer reaction to outstanding sales of the $199 Kindle Fire, the Hp TouchPad fire sale back in the summer, and more recently the RIM Playbook price drop.

What’s Next?

It’s a given that new tablets will continually become thinner, lighter, and more powerful. Besides that I think the two key areas that will decide the fate of the tablet landscape will be content and price.

Content will be a key deciding factor moving forward. Amazon is placing big bets on their Kindle Fire, and I am excited to see how it all pans out over the next six months. In terms of price, the Kindle Fire seems to be setting the bar for entry level tablets. Consumers are currently gobbling the device up in record numbers, and Apple is rumoured to be working on a smaller, cheaper ‘iPad Mini’ that would compete directly with smaller, cheaper competitor products. I’m excited for 2012 which will most definitely bring a few surprises in tablet land.

Social Media Roundup for Oct 28, 2011

#occupywallstreet: where it all started

Last week SMG provided  National Post with insights behind the Occupy Wall Street movement using English language Twitter data. We know that the whole thing started with a single tweet from Adbusters (Vancouver-based, not-for-profit magazine) on July 4th.

I don’t know that anyone could have predicted that a simple Twitter hashtag #occupywallstreet could spread across Twitter and ignite a global movement.  This week Mashable did a Q&A session with the Co-Founder of Adbusters, Kalle Lasn -  providing  insights from the architect behind this huge trending topic. Like the rest of us, when Lasn first created the hashtag, he didn’t expect that it would cause this much attention, at least not globally. Below are some of the quotes from Lasn:

“I think that social media played a critical part, but I think it was triggered, it was catalyzed, sparked by creativity, but also people coming up with magical hashtags and posters and above all, having the geopolitical savvy to realize that the moment was right on September 17.”

“It started off with a poster in the middle of Adbusters magazine and #occupywallstreet with the hashtag on our cover and then it started off when the Twitter feed started going crazy with that hashtag. Then of course after that it began to have a life of its own.”

“I wasn’t surprised that it created a big havoc in New York because we knew this [was an] invitation to occupy the iconic center of global capitalism, Wall Street. I knew that was a very provocative move and if we could get a few thousand people out there that this would be an incredible moment. But when it started to spread to Chicago and Los Angeles and San Francisco and now it’s creeping across the border to Canada, then I just sat there in front of my TV set in wonder.”

Steve Jobs Biography finally hits the shelf

Everything about Steve Jobs hits the front page, even after his death. Steve Jobs’s biography by Walter Isaacson finally hit the shelves (physically and virtually) on Monday, Octobar 24th. Like most of his products, the book immediately climbed to the top of the charts and is believed to be this year’s top seller. Some highlights from the book that got a lot of buzz this week include: Jobs’s take on Android as a “stolen product”, and Apple’s secret development of a TV-Set with the “the simplest user interface you could imagine.”

On our reading list, this book is not only about Steve Jobs as a individual, but also the history and future about Silicon Valley and personal computing.

Topguest’s upcoming white label service

Topguest is a loyalty program which rewards users for engaging with brands on social networks.  Customers collect airline, hotel and other travel reward points for their social networking activities. The company just revealed that it has five million Facebook users in its database.  The company has announced this week that they will release a new white-label service this fall which will allow brands to to integrate with their services and to offer rewards to engaged customers.

In a study released by Bain & Company this week, we again see the direct correlation between consumers engaged with brands via social networks and sales:

People who engage with brands via social media demonstrate a deeper emotional commitment to those brands, and they spend between 20% and 40% more than other customers on the products and services offered by the brands, according to a report by Bain & Company.

Using the Net Promoter Score* (NPS) method to measure customer loyalty, the study found that  on average, customers who engage with companies via social media (e.g., following a brand on Twitter, liking a brand on Facebook, or joining a branded community) spend more buying products and services than other customers.


Facebook’s new way to recover a lost password

I keep a spare key at a close friend’s place in case I get locked out of my home. Have you ever imagined that we could (or should) do the same in digital world? I wouldn’t think it was necessary to do so before Facebook became pervasive. But for the past six years, Facebook has been brought our real life and digital life together, now it is going to move a little step further.

Facebook is testing a new method for users to recover their password. Instead of going through the ‘forget your password’ process, you retrieve a code from your Trusted Friends (Users first have to designate three to five friends they trust) to access their Facebook account.


Social Media Roundup for October 14th

Apple’s Releases

With the release of iOS 5 to the public on Wednesday and the iPhone 4S hitting stores today, there has definitely been some Apple buzz and excitement around the office. It’s been reported that pre-orders for the iPhone 4S have broken the company’s records from previous years, which I find quite interesting after all of the complaints and disappointment expressed last week when the iPhone 4S was unveiled instead of the iPhone 5. Check out this Funny or Die video taking a crack at all the disappointment.

But despite the lack of an iPhone 5, it seems people just cannot help themselves but to upgrade! I have to say, Siri sounds pretty cool and could definitely provide some amusement. Even just going through this blog is a good time-waster. What would you ask your iPhone?

And the phone can’t be too much of a let down if the Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak was first in line at the Apple Store in Los Gatos, California! He tweeted, “The long wait begins. I’m first in line. The guy ahead was on the wrong side and he’s pissed.” He’s obviously a long-time Apple fan and I think its great that he wants to join in and stand in line with the rest of the fans!

RIM’s Outages

While things are all happy over at Apple, RIM has taken a hit this week due to their service disruptions and outages worldwide. Many Blackberry users took to their Facebook and Twitter accounts to complain and there was even talk about finally being fed up and switching to the iPhone or Android. (Maybe this contributed to Apple’s highest pre-orders record?) Both Maggie Fox and Leona Hobbs were quoted in the press this week, in The Star and Financial Post respectively, commenting about how RIM’s CEOs, Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie handled the public relations fallout. See what Maggie had to say here and what Leona had to say here.

Wall Street Protests

Also in the news this week has been the Occupy Wall Street protests and the use of social media in its organization. There are many angry people and there are no signs of their confrontation going away, not when almost all of the protesters have a smartphone and are active on social media networks to regularly spread the word as far as they can. More people are engaging in social networks to get people to come out and join them. Some commented that they heard about it through a friend on Facebook or Twitter and that the turnout was so strong due to social media. We can really see the significance of social media and why engaging in it is so important to stay in the know and up-to-date. It really is the strongest tool today to bring people together and connect with others that are feeling the same way as yourself.


What is Google+?

Recently I’ve been thinking that social networks are getting a little too messy. I’ve felt it’s time for another big shift in how people communicate, and I’d love to see companies start to pull all the small pieces together – That’s why I’m so interested in the new Google+ project.

Google + image

Google has attempted many things to encourage users to spend more time using Google products doing activities other than searching. While Gmail, Chrome and Android have been very successful, we all remember the flop known Google Wave. On Tuesday, June 26th, Google started a very limited field test for their latest social network project, Google+,and unveiled the first five features: Circles, Hangouts, Instant Upload, Sparks and Huddle.

Please see the video below for a quick tour:


Everyone is saying that the project is Google’s answer to Facebook. However, there are couple of signs showing that it could be much, much more than that. Google+ could be the centerpiece to Google’s entire strategic map to link search, social, and mobile together in a seamless and intuitive package.

Google+ was developed by Google’s internal team, unlike Google Wave, which was outsourced to an Australia-based team in 2009. Google+ is the result of a year-long project led by Google’s SVP of Social, Vic Gundotra, and hundreds of Google engineers. It involves almost EVERY Google product. Google is already showing a very strong commitment to this project.

Google made significant changes to its user interface (UI), likely in order to accommodate Google+.  And remember, historically Google has been really conservative in changing their minimalist webpage, adding a black navigation bar at the top is definitely a big step for them.

Google+ is also a mobile app. By making use of Android’s dominance in the mobile OS market, Google+ has the potential to become an integral part of the Android experience, and will easily end up in the hands of all the existing users.

The key for Google is to figure out how to leverage the huge number of Gmail users. They have to identify and focus on people’s real needs for a social network, while providing the best product experience that links social, search and mobile together.

Here is the question I’ll leave for everyone: Do you think you that you will ‘hang out’ more on Google than Facebook?

P.S. Check out the Google+ virtual tour to see more videos and experience it yourself !