Friday Fun [FF] – Google’s Zerg Rush eats search results

It’s a fun easter egg that prompts you to share scores on g+.

Google’s “Zerg rush” Easter egg game eats up search results


– Randall Noval


Has mobile finally (actually) arrived?

According to Pew Internet, that may be true. See the research below for more details.

Nearly half of American adults are smartphone owners

46% of American adults now own a smartphone of some kind, up from 35% in May 2011; Smartphone owners now outnumber users of more basic phones

Nearly half (46%) of American adults are smartphone owners as of February 2012, an increase of 11 percentage points over the 35% of Americans who owned a smartphone last May. As in 2011, our definition of a smartphone owner includes anyone who said yes to either of the following two questions: 

  • 45% of cell owners say that their phone is a smartphone, up from 33% in May 2011
  • 49% of cell owners say that their phone operates on a smartphone platform common to the US market*, up from 39% in May 2011

Taken together, just over half of cell owners (53%) said yes to one or both of these questions and are classified as smartphone owners. Since 88% of US adults are now cell phone owners, that means that a total of 46% of all American adults are smartphone users. Two in five adults (41%) own a cell phone that is not a smartphone, meaning that smartphone owners are now more prevalent within the overall population than owners of more basic mobile phones.

* These include the iPhone and Blackberry, as well as phones running the Android, Windows or Palm operating systems.



– Randall Noval


Study: ‘digital natives’ switch devices and platforms every two minutes, lack emotional engagement

Great writeup from The Verge reinforcing the need to have a platform-agnostic approach. If a user begins an engagement with a brand on one channel (maybe a Shazam(?) with their from a TV commercial) but then doesn’t have a continuing FB or mobile or iPad or desktop engagement opportunity, they’ll move on to find whatever their looking for from someone else.

Study: ‘digital natives’ switch devices and platforms every two minutes, lack emotional engagement

A new study revealed by Time indicates that those who grew up with mobile tech are restless and emotionally detached consumers, switching between TVs, magazines, tablets, smartphones, or channels within platforms about 27 times an hour while experiencing “fewer highs and lows of emotional response.” The study says that these “digital natives” use media to “regulate their mood,” and that as soon as they’re bored or tired, they shift their attention elsewhere. And while a cursory glance at any vacuous, smartphone-equipped person might be enough to declare the findings plausible, Time’s study appears to be more scientific: researchers used biometric monitoring and point of view video capture to monitor people’s daily media consumption habits.

The study also says that these adept media navigators take their devices from room to room with them 65 percent of the time, that 54 percent of them prefer texting to talking, and that they subconsciously switch between platforms and can “pick up different pieces of a story from different mediums in any order.” In contrast, the study reveals that 41 percent of “digital immigrants” (those who adopted technology later in life) carry their devices around, that only 28 percent of them prefer texting to talking, and that they are “intuitively linear.” Time says that the findings could help content creators and marketers, and that if they want to hold the attention of digital natives, they’ll need to grab them with “content they can snack on.”

And the Press Release

Time Inc. Study Reveals That “Digital Natives” Switch Between Devices and Platforms Every Two Minutes, Use Media to Regulate Their Mood

According to a new Time Inc. study, consumers who grew up with mobile technology subconsciously move between devices and platforms 27 times per hour and experience fewer emotional highs and lows with media content than previous generations

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Time Inc., one of the largest branded media companies in the world, commissioned a study titled “A Biometric Day in the Life” to show how the proliferation of digital devices and platforms would affect the media consumption habits of “Digital Natives” (consumers who grew up with mobile technology as part of their everyday lives) and “Digital Immigrants” (who first learned about mobile technology in their adult lives).

“As a multiplatform media company, we are constantly looking at how technology affects the way our audiences consume media. Using biometrics, we were able to drill down even deeper to the emotional experience and subconscious behavior of these audiences”

This first-of-its-kind study combined Innerscope Research’s biometric monitoring and point of view camera glasses in people’s homes throughout morning, evening, and weekend day parts with a national sample survey from M&RR. The results were used to understand how different generations of consumers engage with various media platforms.

“As a multiplatform media company, we are constantly looking at how technology affects the way our audiences consume media. Using biometrics, we were able to drill down even deeper to the emotional experience and subconscious behavior of these audiences,” said Betsy Frank, Chief Research & Insights Officer for Time Inc., which owns brands including TIME, PEOPLE, Sports Illustrated and InStyle. “In order to keep Digital Natives engaged, content creators and marketers will need to think differently. Grabbing them from the beginning is essential, as is content they can snack on and offering multiple access points to every story.”

During the 300 hours of monitoring, “Digital Natives” and “Digital Immigrants” wore biometric belts, which measured their emotional engagement throughout their normal day, and glasses with embedded cameras that monitored which medium or platform they were using and when they altered their visual attention.

The findings include:

  • Digital Natives switch their attention between media platforms (i.e. TVs, magazines, tablets, smartphones or channels within platforms) 27 times per hour, about every other minute.
  • Because Digital Natives spend more time using multiple media platforms simultaneously, their emotional engagement with content is constrained. They experience fewer highs and lows of emotional response and as a result, Digital Natives more frequently use media to regulate their mood – as soon as they grow tired or bored, they turn their attention to something new.
  • At home, Digital Natives take their devices from room to room with them (65% vs. 41% for Digital Immigrants) – rarely more than an arm’s length away from their smartphones – making switching platforms even easier.
  • More than half (54%) of Digital Natives say “I prefer texting people rather than talking to them” compared with 28% of Digital immigrants – a significant indicator of how marketers and content creators need to communicate with them.

One major implication of these findings is that Digital Immigrants are intuitively linear – they want to see a beginning, middle, and end to stories. For Natives, stories still need a beginning, middle and end, but they will accept it in any order. Digital Natives are subconsciously switching between platforms and can pick up different pieces of a story from different mediums in any order.

“This study strongly suggests a transformation in the time spent, patterns of visual attention and emotional consequences of modern media consumption that is rewiring the brains of a generation of Americans like never before,” said Dr. Carl Marci, CEO and Chief Scientist, Innerscope Research. “Storytellers and marketers in this digital age will continue to face an increasingly complex environment with a higher bar for engaging an audience of consumers.”



– Randall Noval

Google Maps Floor Plans

Google has opened up their Maps floor plans to retailers. For those people working on retailer brands, this may be something to look into. For now, the floor plans are limited to Android users only.

Help improve the “blue dot” for people visiting your venue

Today we’re releasing the Google Maps Floor Plan Marker app, which enables those who’ve uploaded floor plans to improve the indoor location accuracy their visitors experience when using indoor maps within their venue. The app is available for people in the United States through Google Play. 

If you’ve uploaded a floor plan through the Google Maps Floor Plans tool, once you install the Google Maps Floor Plan Marker app, you’ll be guided through the process of walking around the entire surface area of your place of interest. Using the app, you collect data from sources such as GPS, cell tower, and publicly broadcast WiFi information that can help us make the My Location feature’s familiar “blue dot” icon accessible for Android users when they’re inside the venue. The time it takes to complete this process depends on the size of the venue, but you can pause and resume a marking task at any time if you want to take breaks. 

The information you choose to submit will ultimately help visitors and customers more quickly and easily orient themselves, see where they are and what’s around them. Customers will even be able to see which floor they’re on in buildings with multiple floors, and the map will automatically update to the right floor if they go up or down a level!

To get started, download the Google Maps Floor Plan Marker app from Google Play. The app is currently only available in English for people in United States. 

Add your floor plans to Google Maps

Help people find their way around public spaces. Here’s how:

  1. Find the building on the map.
  2. Upload pictures of your floor plans, blueprints, or directories of a floor.
  3. Line up your floor plan with satellite images in Google Maps.
  4. Submit! This will help us improve Google Maps.

Once processed, anyone will be able to see your floor plans in Google Maps for Android.

NOTE: Google Maps Floor Plans is still in Beta. We’re still working out the kinks in how we process your floor plans, so right now we can’t give estimates on when your floor plans will appear in Google Maps for Android.

If you encounter any problems or have questions, post a comment in our forum. Thank you for helping Google Maps!



– Randall Noval

YouTube is going 3D! Again!

They are automatically converting all the HD video to 3D on their site. Swing by my desk if you want to borrow my 3D glasses to watch. They have a great example video about Parahawking in Nepal and give a high-level technical breakdown of how they’re doing it in the article.

How we’re making even more 3D video available on YouTube

Last year we kicked off a beta feature that let creators convert YouTube videos into 3D with a click, and since then you’ve converted hundreds of thousands of your videos to 3D. Today we’re expanding the beta to all of you by adding automatic 3D conversion for short-form videos uploaded in 1080p. Meaning, you can select 3D viewing in the Quality settings (click on the gear icon) on the YouTube player, then pop on your 3D glasses and see YouTube in another dimension.



– Randall Noval

Post-PC Era? Not quite yet.

In response to this article:

Welcome to the Post-PC Era. Apple sold more iOS devices in 2011 than all the Macs it sold in 28 years.…

Well, not quite yet, though definitely something to consider.

We are very focused on “modern” browsers and always excited when “good browsers”  like Chrome & FF gain market share. It’s important to remember how much Microsoft still remains the market leader. Yes, things are changing, but they haven’t changed yet. To add some perspective, since it launched in Oct 2009, Microsoft has sold more Windows 7 computers (575mm) than Every Mac, iOS, and Android Device Combined (~535mm)

…Apple has likely sold about 35 million Macs, possibly 250 million iOS devices, and Google has seen almost 250 million Android activations.

I’m not trying to start a stat war here, just looking to provide some context.

Mobile needs to be part of the core understanding of a consumer’s interaction with a brand. Just having a website for the desktop is not sufficient.

To see what I’m talking about, check out on your desktop browser, iPad and phone. Or go here and click on the icons at the top to see how the site “responds” to each of the different devices.

The Boston Globe:

Starbucks is another great example:

We need to figure out what is going to happen, but to draw a map and provide the best leadership we also need to know where the brands came from and where they are now. For a lot of brands, they’d prefer to walk on the road already paved, the ability to get them off-road and to new places is part of the thought leaders in this space need to provide.


– Randall Noval

Eye Movement Study Reveals Six Must-Know Things About Facebook Brand Pages

An excellent example of giving away the diagnostic to sell the remedy. Take these with a grain of salt, but there are some interesting notes below.

(Thanks Chris Dixon!



Eye Movement Study Reveals Six Must-Know Things About Facebook Brand Pages

The Facebook Timeline that brand pages were forced to switch over to last week is “flawed,” according to an eye movement study of six brand pages by SimpleUsability, with many of the new features going unnoticed or being misunderstood.

“The average user doesn’t fully understand the new layout, or interact with it in the way intended,” said Guy Redwood, managing director of SimpleUsability. “This will likely change over time, but as the mechanics of obtaining ‘Likes’ has become more difficult for brands, they now need to drive engagement more than ever.”

The study tracked user eye movements when visiting the Web-based brand pages of American Express, Pizza Hut, Coca-Cola, Gap, Coldplay and Manchester United. In addition to pointing out problems with brand pages, the study found certain features on the pages as currently designed were more important.

What follows are the six big takeaways from the study for brands still working on configuring their timelines.

  1. Cover Photos Aren’t As Important As You Think
  2. Timeline is Actually a Valuable Feature
  3. The Timeline Only Works if It’s Current
  4. Users Notice When Their Friends “Like” or Interact With a Brand
  5. More Data Needed to Measure the Effectiveness of Pinned Posts
  6. Users Rarely, if Ever, Interact With Apps


– Randall Noval


Like Phoenix, Marvel gives digital coupons a second chance

This looks like an interesting approach to driving offline sales. I think it works because their consumers tend to buy not just one comic series but also a variety of others, tend to like & own both online & print versions and are open to new (comic) products.

And yes, I used to collect comics (still have boxes of them at my parents house…)

Like Phoenix, Marvel gives digital coupons a second chance

It worked well the first time, so Marvel hopes that a new, longer trial for its digital-comics coupon will drive even more print sales.

“The coupon bumped [digital comic] sales about 25 percent,” David Gabriel, senior vice-president of sales for Marvel, said in a phone interview yesterday. Peter Phillips, the general manager and senior vice-president of the Marvel Digital Media Group, added that it was “very well-received,” for a one-day coupon offer held on a Saturday in January.

The coupon itself is an unusual scheme, and perhaps the first time any book publisher has used digital sales to drive customers back into physical stores. If Marvel’s claims of success aren’t inflated, it’s an indication of the societal value of curation. The theory behind curation is this: online retailers, such as Amazon, are great when you know precisely what you want. Talking to a real human, the theory goes, is what helps people the most when browsing generally for entertainment, especially in niche media like comics.



– Randall Noval

Friday Fun (FF) with YouTube

In case you didn’t know, YouTube let’s you seek to a spot on the a video with your keyboard by the number keys at the top. The numbers 1 through 9 correspond to 10%, 20%, etc. of the way through the video (with 0 being the beginning). Here’s a great list of the keyboard shortcuts available.

The reason I bring this up is because with some creative planning, you can have a completely different experience with the same video. As an example, here’s a video of a squealing frog:

Once you’ve watched it, hit these numbers for a completely different experience of that same video.

6 6 6 8 56 8 56, 3??? 3 3 2 56 8 56 8 56

Inspiration from:


– Randall Noval


Facebook Terms and Conditions update

Important changes to be aware of with the rollout of the new Timeline for Brands:

Here’s a solid description of some important guidelines to know:

Important : Facebook Issue New Guidelines For Brands And Timeline

Since Facebook launched Timeline for brands last week, there has been a bit of confusion around new guidelines that brands may have to adhere to. While the rules for running promotions on brand pages don’t seem to have changed (bar a small update clarifying that you may not contact competition winners through their individual timelines), Facebook have issued some new guidelines regarding the use of the cover photo. As expected, brands cannot use a cover image that contains copyrighted images and you should also remember that by default, the cover photo image on a brand timeline will be viewable by the public, regardless of whether they are a fan or not.

No pricing information in cover photos

If you’re running a particular offer for a discount on products or want to direct people to purchase on your site, you’re not permitted to advertise this through your cover photo. The guidelines state specifically that you must not include :

price or purchase information, such as “40% off
Download it on

No calls to action

As well as being restricted from using calls to action that relate to your own offers or products, you are also not permitted to include any calls to action such as asking people to Like your Page, or encouraging fans to use your cover photo. The guidelines state the cover photo must not contain :

references to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features
calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.

No company information

Perhaps what’s most frustrating about the new guidelines is that you can’t include any details about your company such as your web address or contact information. These details should only go in the ‘About’ section of your page, which is still a tab within the new Timeline layout. This is listed specifically as:

references to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features

These new guidelines may be frustrating for some brands that are already using these features, or had planned to. As always though, if you play on Facebook then you play by Facebook’s rules…


– Randall Noval

meta much? Friday Fun (FF)

A twitter account for the birds. A keyboard has been covered in bread and when birds peck at the bread on the keyboard, what they peck gets tweeted.

From Latvia:

Follow the Twitter account:!/ir_zilite


– Randall Noval

Google adds your Google+ Circles to Google Voice

Send your stalkers straight to voicemail…

Official Announcement:

Opinions (the comments can be fun):

Given Google’s deep integration with Sprint already, imagine if Google voice powers all the mobile voicemail systems. It becomes a slippery slope until all your communications are tracked by Google and (appropriate?) ads inserted anywhere. Could there be a free mobile service that will let you make and receive calls only after you listen to a 15 second audio ad? Or that you agree to SMS spam in exchange for free service?



– Randall Noval

Perception Gap Between Social Consumers and Professionals

Here’s an interesting article on the gap between what consumers say they want and what marketers think they want. With survey results, nice graphs and charts, the article below is a nice writeup of the actual research paper (below).

The Perception Gap is Real and Deep [Research]

There has been a lot written recently about a “gap” between the perspectives of Social Consumers and Social Professionals. Companies, and those who lead their Social programs, are in some cases working diligently to generate programs that don’t conform to what consumers say they want.

While Social marketers say they know who their Social Consumers are, the research paints a dramatically different picture. The basic benefits consumers expect from brands in Social and those that professionals believe central stand far apart. So, too, do the behaviors and attitudes of Social Consumers in core activities such as commerce and gaming, and the perceptions by Social marketers.

When Social Consumers were asked what they want from Social engagement, their desires were clear: deals, special content and rewards based on their engagement. Customer service ranks dead last in their responses. When Social Marketers were asked the same question, they indicated customer service as the benefit they felt Social Consumers wanted most. Customer needs were well back in the pack of professional presumptions.

Highlights from the report include:

  • Social Professionals feel they know who their Social Consumers are, but most have never asked Social Consumers what matters to them.
  • Consumers seek deals and special content in return for their Social activity toward brands; Social marketers, by contrast, see customer service improvement as the biggest benefit consumers want in Social.
  • Consumer use in Social gaming, daily deals and photo sharing is far more varied than the perception marketers have of it. Consumers appear variable and experimental. Marketer perceptions focus on big winners in each category.


– Randall Noval