Posts tagged: search

The real competitors of Foursquare

By , December 21, 2011 1:28 pm

foursquare american express amex deal

As a small(er) merchant, I am tempted to ask Foursquare:

Why do I have to run a campaign on Foursquare when other marketing channels are available to me?

  1. Search
  2. Context ads
  3. Facebook ads
  4. Groupon
  5. Contests on Facebook page & Twitter

On product level, Foursquare’s competitors include Facebook Places and Gowalla, which was acquired by Facebook.

On monetization level, Foursquare’s competitors are all marketing service providers available to SMEs. When Foursquare wants to scale, it’s going head-on with, gasp, Google, Facebook and Groupon.

Why I was banned from Twitter search and hashtag and how I resolved it

By , December 17, 2011 3:09 am

twitter account issue issues problem ban

Sometime in 2008 I was having issue with my Twitter account.

  1. A search of keyword "taitran" did not display my tweets
  2. My tweets were not displayed in hashtag aggregation, for example #barcampSaigon

I DM @support and received no response.

On 1 December 2011 I DM @support again and received a reply

Please file a support ticket http://t.co/AqfAUZF so that our agents can check out your account. Mention that you’re not in search. Thanks!

I filed two support tickets. The cases are resolved after two weeks. Here is the response from Twitter:

Thanks for letting us know that your updates were not appearing in Twitter search results. In order to provide the best search experience for users, Twitter automatically filters search results for quality. To understand what might have caused your Tweets to jeopardize search quality, please review this page:

http://support.twitter.com/entries/42646

It looks like at some point a third-party website was posting duplicate Tweets to your account. We’ve now updated your account settings so that your Tweets will appear in the search results. Please note that it may take at least 24 hours for recent Tweets to be indexed, and due to the dynamic nature of Twitter’s search algorithm, you may not find every recent Tweet in Twitter search.

So the issues resulted from third-party apps messing with my account. I unauthorized all suspicious programs.

So now my Twitter account is back, full-pledged and healthy.

Hello searches and hashtags, so long!

Google Book Search makes way to horizontal expansion

By , April 25, 2009 7:14 pm

A quick review of this article on Boingboing.

As search result becomes relevant to users need and free preview is provided, Google Book Search will soon become the destination of many book readers.

Soon, Google can take advantage of this and allow searchers to actually purchase the books online directly from Google search results.

In terms of business, this makes way for Google to enter e-commerce and even distribution.

If they do, Google has not and will not compete with portal sites like Amazon, but will go from their core competency: search.

Respectively, competition against Google will not be by search, but on other territories that Google has yet dominated, such as virality and social recommendations.

Facebook's Profitable Business Architecture

By , April 10, 2009 7:34 pm

I’d suspected that Facebook is moving fast toward monetization.

But Sheryl Sandberg’s confirmation that Facebook has been profitable for 5 consecutive quarters still comes as a nice surprise.

Nevertheless, considering this model, where all the money has been generated is not much a question.

Facebook Business Model Architecture

Where else has Facebook been making money on? Will Social Search come next? Will Facebook do Data Mining behind the scene?

Extending Chris Brogan's point of Streams and Stopping Points

By , January 26, 2009 4:00 pm

“Twitter is a stream. Facebook is both a stream and a stopping point (but mostly a stream). Your blog is a stopping point pretending to be a stream.”

Chris Brogan, Of Streams and Stopping Points

Flickr is a stopping point. Tumblr is a stream (Tumblr has become a visual publishing / bookmarking site of some sort (1) ).

Forums are stopping points. “Latest posts” on forum headers are streams.

A news article is a stopping point. Twitter-powered news are streams. Mixx front page is a stream of stopping points.

A Facebook album is a stopping point. Facebook Live Feed is a stream.

A Google search result is a collection of introductions to stopping points. Amazon’s recommendation is a stream.

Future?

Times of the web

Streams of publications

Streams of news information

Streams of connections’ activities

Streams of sales

***

(1) by Duy Doan

Check out these Visual Search Engines: Viewzi & Searchme

By , August 28, 2008 9:45 am

These alternative search engines are not just text. Visual is there to make a difference experience. Try them out:

Viewzi

Viewzi screenshot

Searchme

Searchme screenshot

Google services officially in Vietnam, eventually. Why and how?

By , August 22, 2008 3:12 pm

“Within the next 5 years, Google Vietnam will have been Google Indochina.”

Read the article here: Google’s Advisor for Vietnam

That article was all the way back to early 2007.

We are now in August 2008 when we receive this big news: Google has officially set their foot in Vietnam.

Google Vietnam homepage

Where is Google currently?

Currently, Google has 3 web properties standing in top positions in Vietnam market:

  1. google.com.vn at #2, after yahoo.com
  2. google.com at #7, after 4 local news portal
  3. youtube.com at #10, after another 2 news site. Read more: Vietnamese bloggers go to YouTube chiefly looking for embed code

Source: Alexa August 2008

Google in Vietnam on Alexa

Gmail is second to Yahoo! Mail

Many Vietnamese also love spending time on Wikimapia.

A predictable and inevitable move…

No need to mention the localized version of the search portal google.com.vn, Google’s presence in Vietnam could be predicted since their AdSense for Vietnamese browsers has recently displayed contents in Vietnamese, and frequently with Gmail and Orkut.

Vietnamese Group on Orkut

An Orkut screenshot, click on the image to view the original version.

The 20-million-internet-user market is rich and potential to Google as well.

…getting over certain issues

It’s important to mention some issues with Vietnam market for Google

  1. Volume of frauds in AdSense from Vietnam
  2. Buyer habit
  3. Revenues the business expect to gain from selling advertisements to Google services
  4. e-Commerce law

(2) is changing dramatically and is driving (3).

We’ve seen signals to improvements to (4)

So I guess it is high time Google was here in this rapidly developing country.

News is just news, no news is bad news.
Or is it no news is good news?

What do you think when you know the news?

I’ve observed various reactions from people in the industry.

1. “Hitting the market first” is getting tighter it’s hard to breath.

Many service providers have aimed to push their products to the market before Google comes to Vietnam.

Now they do!

Any plan to pre-ampt Google would be extremely hard.

2. The non-technical users are not as excited as the technical communities

While most agree that Google search is powerful, many non-technical are happy with Yahoo! services including Messenger, Mail, 360, 360plus and other local service providers.

Another thing to look at is connection speed. Vietnamese users suffer from bottle-neck effect to international websites. However, even with that, Google search result load speed is surprisingly amazing with their distributed network.

So all in all, non-technical users have very few reason to celebrate

3. Technical communities are jumping up and down in joy now

Because they have established the habit of relying on many Google services.

Well I have two things to say

Firstly, I don’t want to be forced to use the localized version of Google without an option to revert to the international version. I have tested the result from Google international search and Google Vietnam search and they’re much different. I’d prefer the international version, thanks. And I appreciate that Google provides the URL google.com/ncr for the international version.

Secondly, I have to ask this: does Google really love Vietnam?

No I’m not kidding. You may want to know that Coca-cola doesn’t invest too much on marketing and market penetration to compete with Pepsi in Vietnam. They’re here to make locals aware of their presence and not to let Pepsi equate cola to “Pepsi”. You may want to know that Honda introduced the Click and the Airblade with heavy subsidy in Vietnam not to head on directly with Yamaha’s Nouvo series, but not to let Yamaha dominates the whole market. This is important to keep in mind because in Vietnam, “the web” is equal to “Yahoo!” for many beginning users.

We want to see how strongly Google will push the Vietnam market…

The e-Learning 2.0 experience

By , August 22, 2008 3:29 am

The blog craze started in 2004, MySpace came out in 2002. From then till now, Web 2.0 has penetrated deeply into our lives.

You may have heard the buzz: it’s all about communications, exchange information and expressing the ego.

Have you thought of utilizing all those things for learning?

Recently I’ve been very aggressive on the net to see how we can use the applications for learning, and here I am with my key findings:

The requirements

Let’s imagine a very familiar study scenario: you’re assigned into a group to do a research on topic X.

Traditionally, the group would rely on emails, phone calls and IM to communicate and collaborate. Have you found these media difficult to classify your information?

This is how I would use Web 2.0 for learning

1. Search for information with Search EngineS

Obviously, information searching starts with search engines.

I have some hints for this:

  1. Don’t just use Google. Try Yahoo! search, Live search, Ask search and other engines. They give different results and thus, relevant information might be found from ones other than Google
  2. Try Google on different region settings. google.com/ncr (international version) yields different results from google.com.vn
  3. Try different keywords and keyword combination. Also, exploit the operators
  4. Also search for images. At least Google, Yahoo! and Live support this. Images are useful for illustrating your ideas and, in some cases, give you additional information.

Watch a slide show on Google services:


2. Ask your questions

Use Q&A service such as LinkedIn Answers to ask questions and receive information from professionals.

Watch a video explaining LinkedIn

[gv data=”http://www.youtube.com/v/RXVcq7Xg6JU”][/gv]

3. Make information comes to you with RSS

Normally you go out for information. Think about making information come to you?

Use RSS for this.

Watch a video explaining RSS

[gv data=”http://www.youtube.com/v/AwtmOPdrEL8″][/gv]

For example, if I’m looking for “globalization”, I would take these steps

  1. Go to wordpress.com/tags/globalization
  2. Get the RSS of this tag
  3. Subscribe the RSS into a feed reader like Google Reader

Then check with the feed reader everyday to see if relevant information comes in.

You can also use Yahoo! Pipes to aggregate the feeds. Click here to view videos on Yahoo! Pipes

Try exploring different sources of information you can use this trick.

4. Share links with bookmark-sharing sites

If I encounter useful webpages, I would want to share it with my group mates.

Using email would bury the link under heaps of other information. Sharing through IM stands the risk of losing the message when the program lags.

So I would bookmark the site using del.icio.us and use the function “links for friend” to share the link.

Watch a video explaining del.icio.us

[gv data=”http://www.youtube.com/v/r9s5hc3MJZo”][/gv]

5. Blog your group’s findings on group-blog powered platform

WordPress supports multiple-author. I would want our group members to blog our research everyday on our blog. This is not superficial. It helps us

  1. Collect information, thoughts, findings, analysis and intermediate conclusions
  2. Track each member’s progress
  3. Present to the lecturer our growth

5b. Share micro details

This is optional though. Some information might be very detailed and we want quick sharing methods. I would connect my mobile phone to Twitter and quickly update my thoughts on the way.

Watch a video explaining Twitter

[gv data=”http://www.youtube.com/v/ctXq1mKL7tk”][/gv]

6. Schedule activities with Calendars

Schedule activities such as meetings, field trips with Google Calendar

7. Watch and learn

Go to Youtube, not to entertain, but to learn from podcasters on the topic.

For example, this video is useful to understand Web 2.0

[gv data=”http://www.youtube.com/v/5nN-U0sDZNc”][/gv]

8. Compose Collaboratively

Use Google Docs to compose the documents. This is very convenient in such that

  1. No email chain flying around
  2. Single repository of document
  3. Better version control
  4. Many collaborators do the job concurrently

Watch a video explaining Google Docs

[gv data=”http://www.youtube.com/v/eRqUE6IHTEA”][/gv]

9. Build wiki to store develop information knowledge

Wiki is great to understand new concepts and link the information to get the big picture.

Watch a video explaining Wiki

[gv data=”http://www.youtube.com/v/hczDZXPfYn8″][/gv]

10. Relationship building

Facebook is good to build relationship with your work mates.

11. Publish your research

Publish your research as presentations on slideshare or documents on scribd to share your knowledge engage in discussion on the topic.

12. Consolidate them all into one page

There are just so much!

How’re you gonna navigate around them all?

Well, one solution is to use a homepage service like netvibes to put all these services together.

Why all these?

Too complicated? Well here are the reasons why I would do it this way

  1. Better organization of information. No email confusion
  2. Exhaustive analysis. You write on the way so no information is missed
  3. Better collaboration
  4. Man, isn’t it fun?

I know it would be much easier for you just to email. But how much time have you spent searching for information later on? I’d rather spend the time to get things organized first, then make it easier later to focus more on creating contents.

And I’m pretty sure of one thing: just next year, this entry will be outdated because many new services will come out. Semantic web, mobile apps are just a few to predict.

It’s not a fashionable fad or a time-killer, it’s a shift in the way we can be more effective. Do you want to miss the train trend?

Digital Divide

But you know, all these will never happen if digital divide hasn’t been closed.

Technology proficiency and more importantly, community habit is a big gap. I want my team to do so, but other teams may not, so some of my team members may argue “why do we have to!”

With the internet connection speed in Vietnam, using Google Docs et al is insane.

Today, a world that is flat is till a romantic dream for me.

Resources

I’ve already tried out these services. Kindly see mine as example of how things may end up evolve: taitran.com/blog/resources

How these Firefox 3-compatible addons save me one hour per day

By , August 18, 2008 11:38 am

I’m on Firefox 3 too, and I utilize addons to enrich my web experience too, like most of you there.

There have been countless of entries to useful Firefox addons, but what’s different about this post is that it measures the costs that can be saved for users when using these extensions.

What are the costs of usability and how much are they?

The descending order of severity of the costs are

  1. Screen loads: this is a pain when internet connection is slow. It usually takes most time of all interactions with the computer
  2. Mouse movements: mouse movements severely damage the wrist and this should be minimized
  3. Mouse clicks: mouse clicks are less severe than mouse movements, but are also expensive
  4. URLs: an URL takes time to type in
  5. Enters: it hurts the little finger
  6. Hot keys: hot keys usually consists of at least 2 keys, but are regarded as less expensive than Enters because they are mostly done with the left hand, reduces damage to the right hand

Now, let’s start with the addons!

The first six in the batch: Google Toolbar, Diigo Toolbar, StumbleUpon Toolbar, TwitterFox, CustomizeGoogle, Better YouTube

Google ToolbarGoogle Toolbar for Firefox

Google Toolbar provides search, “I’m feeling lucky” and images search functions without having to go to Google.com

It also supports Gmail notifications and Google PR check

If I don’t use this addon If I use this addon
Costs
  1. Ctrl+T
  2. Alt+D
  3. Input: google.com/ncr or images.google.com
  4. Enter
  5. Wait for one screen load
  6. Enter
  7. Input search keywords. Enter
  8. Wait for one screen load
  1. Move mouse to the toolbar
  2. Input search keywords
  3. Enter or move mouse to “Search the Web for images”
  4. Wait for one screen load
Cost saved
  • Two mouse movements
  • One screen load
  • Two hot keys
  • One URL
  • Enters
  • This can save me 10 seconds

Diigo Toolbar

I have used Diigo as a replacement of delicious (I still love the old brand del.icio.us)

Though delicious tagging is smarter and usability is better, Diigo supports web-highlighting which makes it an advantage.

Diigo toolbar allows user to bookmark their favorite web pages for later reference. With Diigo, all bookmarks are centralized when users move from computer to another.

If I don’t use this addon If I use this addon
Costs
  1. Alt+D to move cursor to the address bar
  2. Ctrl+C to copy the link to post
  3. Ctrl+T
  4. Alt+D
  5. Input: diigo
  6. Enter
  7. Wait for one screen load
  8. Move mouse to “My Bookmarks”
  9. Click
  10. Wait for one screen
  11. Move mouse to “Add a bookmark”
  12. Ctrl+V
  13. Enter
  14. Move mouse to “Tags” (assume that I ignore “Description”)
  15. Input tags
  16. Move mouse to “Add New Bookmark”
  17. Click
  1. Move mouse to the “Bookmark” button
  2. Click
  3. Input tags
  4. Click
Cost saved This can save me 60 seconds

StumbleUpon Firefox addonStumbleUpon Toolbar

StumbleUpon works on an interesting concept: when you hit the Stumble! button, the addon takes you to a random interesting page that matches your preferences.

The StumbleUpon toolbar makes it more convenient for you.

If I don’t use this addon If I use this addon
Costs
  1. Alt+D to move cursor to the address bar
  2. Ctrl+C to copy the link to post
  3. Ctrl+T
  4. Alt+D
  5. Input: diigo
  6. Enter
  7. Wait for one screen load
  8. Move mouse to “Post new blog”
  9. Ctrl+V
  10. Move mouse to “Post new blog” button
  11. Click
  1. Move mouse to the “I like it!” button
  2. Click
Cost saved This can save me 45 seconds

CustomizeGoogle Firefox addonCustomizeGoogle

This powerful addon modifies Google search results and display preferences. It supports options for Web Search, Images, Groups, News, Products, G Answers, G Books, Gmail, G Galendar, G Maps, G Docs, Video, Reader, Cache, Blogger, History, Privacy and Filter

If I don’t use this addon If I use this addon
Costs From Google Images Search screen

  1. Move mouse to the thumbnail
  2. Right-click to open context menu
  3. T
  4. Ctrl+Tab
  5. Wait for half a screen load (only need the thumbnail to be loaded)
  6. Move mouse to the thumbnail
  7. Click
  8. Wait for one screen load
From Google Images Search screen

  1. Move mouse to the thumbnail
  2. Right-click to open context menu
  3. T
  4. Ctrl+Tab
  5. Wait for one screen load
Cost saved
  • Half a screen load
  • One Click
  • This can save me 30 seconds

Twitterfox

If I don’t use this addon If I use this addon
Costs
  1. Ctrl+T
  2. Input twitter.com
  3. Enter
  4. Wait for one screen load
  1. Move mouse to the Twitterfox icon
  2. Click
  3. Wait for one mini-screen load
Cost saved This looks like it costs even more than the web version. However, the time to load the mini-screen is much less than it does to load the full web page

Better YouTube

This Greasemonkey-based addon loads the YouTube video faster and allows downloading the video. Generally it saves me half an hour per day for one video.

Conclusion

With the intensity of these service I use everyday, these addons easily save at least one hour each day for me.

I can use this one hour for other business purposes which can generate other benefits.

What is your experience? What do you think of my approach when analyzing these?

The e-Learning 2.0 experience

By , July 23, 2008 3:29 am

The blog craze started in 2004, MySpace came out in 2002. From then till now, Web 2.0 has penetrated deeply into our lives.

You may have heard the buzz: it’s all about communications, exchange information and expressing the ego.

Have you thought of utilizing all those things for learning?

Recently I’ve been very aggressive on the net to see how we can use the applications for learning, and here I am with my key findings:

The requirements

Let’s imagine a very familiar study scenario: you’re assigned into a group to do a research on topic X.

Traditionally, the group would rely on emails, phone calls and IM to communicate and collaborate. Have you found these media difficult to classify your information?

This is how I would use Web 2.0 for learning

1. Search for information with Search EngineS

Obviously, information searching starts with search engines.

I have some hints for this:

  1. Don’t just use Google. Try Yahoo! search, Live search, Ask search and other engines. They give different results and thus, relevant information might be found from ones other than Google
  2. Try Google on different region settings. google.com/ncr (international version) yields different results from google.com.vn
  3. Try different keywords and keyword combination. Also, exploit the operators
  4. Also search for images. At least Google, Yahoo! and Live support this. Images are useful for illustrating your ideas and, in some cases, give you additional information.

2. Ask your questions

Use Q&A service such as LinkedIn Answers to ask questions and receive information from professionals.

3. Make information comes to you with RSS

You go out for information. Think about making information come to you?

Use RSS for this.

[gv data=”http://www.youtube.com/v/AwtmOPdrEL8″][/gv]

For example, if I’m looking for “globalization”, I would do this steps

  1. Go to wordpress.com/tags/globalization
  2. Get the RSS of this tag
  3. Subscribe the RSS into a feed reader like Google Reader

Then check with the feed reader everyday to see if relevant information comes in.

You can also use Yahoo! Pipes to aggregate the feeds. Click here to view videos on Yahoo! Pipes

Try exploring different sources of information you can use this trick.

4. Share links with bookmark-sharing sites

If I encounter useful webpages, I would want to share it with my group mates.

Using email would bury the link under heaps of other information. Sharing through IM stands the risk of losing the message when the program lags.

So I would bookmark the site using del.icio.us and use the function “links for friend” to share the link.

[gv data=”http://www.youtube.com/v/r9s5hc3MJZo”][/gv]

5. Blog your group’s findings on group-blog powered platform

WordPress supports multiple-author. I would want our group members to blog our research everyday on our blog. This is not superficial. It helps us

  1. Collect information, thoughts, findings, analysis and intermediate conclusions
  2. Track each member’s progress
  3. Present to the lecturer our growth

5b. Share micro details

This is optional though. Some information might be very detailed and we want quick sharing methods. I would connect my mobile phone to Twitter and quickly update my thoughts on the way.

[gv data=”http://www.youtube.com/v/ctXq1mKL7tk”][/gv]

6. Schedule activities with Calendars

Schedule activities such as meetings, field trips with Google Calendar

7. Watch and learn

Go to Youtube, not to entertain, but to learn from podcasters on the topic.

For example, this this video
[gv data=”http://www.youtube.com/v/5nN-U0sDZNc”][/gv]

8. Compose Collaboratively

Use Google Docs to compose the documents. This is very convenient in such that

  1. No email chain flying around
  2. Single repository of document
  3. Better version control
  4. Many collaborators do the job concurrently

[gv data=”http://www.youtube.com/v/eRqUE6IHTEA”][/gv]

9. Build wiki to store develop information knowledge

Wiki is great to understand new concepts and link the information to get the big picture.

[gv data=”http://www.youtube.com/v/hczDZXPfYn8″][/gv]

10. Relationship building

Facebook is good to build relationship with your work mates.

11. Publish your research

Publish your research as presentations on slideshare or documents on scribd to share your knowledge engage in discussion on the topic.

12. Consolidate them all into one page

There are just so much!

How’re you gonna navigate around them all?

Well, one solution is to use a homepage service like netvibes to put all these services together.

Why all these?

Too complicated? Well here are the reasons why I would do it this way

  1. Better organization of information. No email confusion
  2. Exhaustive analysis. You write on the way so no information is missed
  3. Better collaboration
  4. Man, isn’t it fun?

I know it would be much easier for you just to email. But how much time have you spent searching for information later on? I’d rather spend the time to get things organized first, then make it easier later to focus more on creating contents.

And I’m pretty sure of one thing: just next year, this entry will be outdated because many new services will come out. Semantic web, mobile apps are just a few to predict.

It’s not a fashionable fad or a time-killer, it’s a shift in the way we can be more effective. Do you want to miss the train trend?

Digital Divide

But you know, all these will never happen if digital divide hasn’t been closed.

Technology proficiency and more importantly, community habit is a big gap. I want my team to do so, but other teams may not, so some of my team members may argue “why do we have to!”

With the internet connection speed in Vietnam, using Google Docs et al is insane.

Today, a world that is flat is till a romantic dream for me.

Resources

I’ve already tried out these services. Kindly see mine as example of how things may end up evolve: taitran.com/blog/resources

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