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In the annals of tech, we’ve endured the browser wars, the OS wars, and of course the standards battle between VHS and Betamax. Now the latest battle is upon us: the personal assistant app wars. This AI-centric battle is being waged by heavier contenders than any before it, including Apple (Siri), Amazon (Alexa), and Google (Assistant). And the winner will sway the next era of local commerce.
I’ve always considered Uber to be a wild card in local advertising. It knows where you’re going and where you’ve been, which has bred speculation about delivering local ads. And your buying intent is arguably heightened when Ubering about town. But I’ve been skeptical about Uber actually delivering ads.
Among the rampant cliches endemic to bad op-eds and conference sessions in the digital ad world, my favorite has to be the cringeworthy and often vapid “right person, right place, right time.” A close second is the delusion that ads actually “delight” anyone. And third place goes to the decade-old-but-still-somehow-invoked “walk by a Starbucks” coupon scenario.
One thing that’s always defined Apple is a knack for shaping computing’s future. But lately, it’s been characterized more as the company that’s sitting back and watching others define tech’s next transformation: virtual reality and augmented reality. As discussed in past columns, I believe VR will come first but AR will be bigger.
Due partly to its former notoriety, I often say that Foursquare is one of the most misunderstood companies in tech. It’s gone from check-in darling to an under-recognized data powerhouse. But in that transition, it’s more successful than ever. And its primary emphasis has remained the entire time: real-world consumer behavior. Meanwhile, the ad industry’s hunger for location data grows.
Apple just entered augmented reality, without anyone really noticing. Though the iPhone 7 was met with a collective ‘meh,’ the real impact is below the surface, where the world’s biggest company collides with tech’s biggest opportunity. Disappointment stemmed from Apple’s failure to launch a VR product, or at least a blatantly obvious one (read: headset).
As I’ve written and others have forecasted, virtual reality (VR) will come first, but augmented reality (AR) will be bigger. That statement especially applies to location based applications. AR will be all about local. Graphical overlays to the physical world will amplify everything from retail shopping (store navigation and product info), to finding a restaurant (ratings &am ...
It seems like we’ve reached peak Pokémon Go. The phenomenon will likely escalate then eventually flame out, but for now it’s the most downloaded iOS game in history and has eclipsed Twitter, Pandora and Netflix in active usage. Beyond thousands of headlines and millions of hazard-prone players roaming the streets like zombies, what does it all mean for local commerce? The ga ...
Facebook just had another mic-drop moment. As I predicted in December, it will now track spatial patterns of mobile users. Meant to measure local foot traffic influenced by ads, it could be the most meaningful move to date in reaching local’s holy grail: offline attribution. To put this in perspective, Facebook’s previous attribution methodology resembled what many in the ind ...
We’ve endured the desktop era, the post-PC era, the smartphone era, and don’t forget the comically overused “year of mobile.” Now we’re seeing glimpses of the post-mobile era, characterized by VR and AR. The latter will truly break away from the smartphone, and could have the biggest implications for local.
I’ve always said that that even in a digital age, a 180-year old analog technology has thrived: phone calls. This has sociological ties, in the need to use voice for personal communication. But is also has practical ties to commerce, especially in complex categories like cars. Call volume has actually increased under a digital regime, given that the past decade’s centerpiece ...
Facebook Messenger, LINE, Kik, WeChat, and of course Snapchat — we’ve entered the age of messaging apps. But it’s not just banter between friends; these apps are increasingly used to converse and transact with businesses. This type of conversation usually involves messaging a business to get a question answered.
I’ve always been a big fan of Marc Andreessen, and particularly his mantra that software is eating the world. We’re now seeing that play out in local commerce in lots of ways. The framework could even be flipped: The world is eating software. The subject of innovation is increasingly atoms instead of bits. IoT blends the two, as do beacons.
Mobile payments continue to show promise for the long-elusive holy grail that is marketing attribution. However they’ve erstwhile followed the adoption rate I predicted almost two years ago: slowly. The holdup is mobile payments’ lack of value proposition beyond a slightly lighter wallet. It needs more than that to change such an entrenched consumer habit.
The breakout topic of last week’s orgy of gadgets at CES was predictably virtual reality (VR). Among the highlights: Oculus announced the date and price for the Rift consumer release, as thousands of developers and gamers salivated. Like many tech revolutions, this will start with hardware, then compel an ecosystem of developers and supporting functions.
This has been a year of overblown topics. The list includes mobile payments and beacons, both of which are important, but attention to them has been disproportionate to actual adoption due to friction and lack of sufficient user value. On that same measure, the grand prize for overrated topic of the year goes to mobile ad blockers.
A year into the on-demand revolution, the question persists: Where’s it going next? So far, it’s gone into nearly every local vertical, sometimes comically. The common mistake: seeing attractive unit economics in one vertical, then failing to reach them in other verticals when porting the model wholesale.
Facebook is taking over the world, including publishing, shopping, and stalking. But what’s its fate in local? I recently dissed Facebook’s viability for local search, simply due to user intent: It’s regarded more as a place to find drunk pictures of my friends than someone to fix my roof. Out of fairness, let’s examine the areas of local that it’s winning: Facebook was firs ...
One of the coolest things to come out Apple’s September product event was 3D Touch. It lets users indicate levels of intent based on how hard they press apps and links. A long press previews what’s on the other side of a given link while pressing harder opens it, and swiping up reveals additional actions.
A longstanding question has re-emerged lately in the tech blogosphere: Do direct social connections add value to finding things to do, see, or buy locally? In other words, do recommendations for a contractor, flat screen TV, or where to eat lunch carry greater weight from my friends than the larger — albeit less intimate — wisdom of the crowds. For the former, think Facebook friends.