Google’s invisible helping hand
Google is trialling its first venture into what is called the ‘invisible app’ market.
This is the description given to programmes that run in the background, using a mix of AI and human direction, to deliver tailored, relevant information and alerts to mobile users.
People expect their phones to be alerting them to information as and when it happens. This has led Google to trial shopping ‘deal alerts’ in the run up to Christmas, that started on Black Friday. Searching under some broad terms on your mobile will deliver an option to subscribe to alerts from participating retailers. So each and every time a new offer comes up that will be of interest, you receive a text to your phone.
It’s an AdWords option that is being made available to retailers, with consumers able to opt out of receiving the texts at any time. If the test is a success, Google could even extend the service to become part of its Google Now personal assistant, pinging relevant information and opportunities based on a user’s search history.
Send a pressie down the Line
Staying with new ways to shop, messaging app Line, that is hugely popular in Asia, has launched a new gift shop, allowing users to send real world goods to each other.
Line, which has 212 million users, has partnered with a number of retailers to introduce the service that means people can send a coffee, a meal or a cinema ticket, among other things, to their friends.
Users store their card details within the app to let them pay for the goods. Chinese messaging app WeChat already has a similar service with more than 200 million users’ card details stored. Could this catch on over here? Watch this space.
FT’s got London mapped
Broadsheet newspaper The Financial Times is pioneering a new way to reach digital audiences in a link-up with Google Maps.
Its Hidden Cities project uses maps to guide users to recommended cultural hot spots, restaurants and bars across London, as chosen by its journalists.
Users can read reviews from the FT’s Weekend team, with the interactive map soon to include video and audio too.
Unlike the FT’s regular content, this is all available outside of any paywall.
Facebook followers get just 6% of brand posts
New statistics on the organic reach of brands on social channels has revealed fresh insight into Facebook’s barriers to anything branded that isn’t paid for.
The research from selfstartr.com shows that Facebook’s organic reach has fallen 63 per cent since 2012, with organic reach in 2014 at an average of just four per cent. This contrasts with Instagram, where posts have an average organic reach of 28 per cent.
Following a brand makes little difference to your chance of a post being seen on Facebook, with just six per cent of followers getting a post in their news feed via organic means. On Instagram, following a brand means that 100 per cent of followers see every post.
As a result of this, selfstartr.com calculates that the value of an engaged follower on Facebook is worth £36, while on Instagram that figure jumps to £43.
Accelerated Mobile Pages coming in 2016
Google’s rival service to Facebook’s Instant Articles – Accelerated Mobile Pages – is going to start appearing from the beginning of 2016.
The program to make web pages loads much quicker on mobile devices, has been picked up by publishing giants including The Guardian, Buzzfeed and Vox Media.
A total of 4,500 developers have picked up the AMP project since it was launched as an open source program last month, with 250 contributions of code.