You're probably familiar with Twitter's "Tweet" and Facebook's "Like" buttons (you should see one at the bottom of this post- please click them!) This week, Google announced their addition to the "simple sharing" collection; the "+1" button. Currently classed as an "experimental search" feature in Google Labs (click here to sign up), the feature looks set to appear on more than just the Google Search pages…
Although typically seen as unsuccessful within the social space, Google's strategy seems to be less about building a Facebook clone of their own, but more about connecting Google's various tools and forming a network through those. This is where +1 fits in; using your existing Google identity (that Google holds via services such as Gmail, Chat and YouTube), the button is an action the Google defines as "a public stamp of approval", which can then start showing your recommendations to your connections when they do similar searches, see Ads you have +1'd, or potentially anything else within the Google eco-sphere that you have chosen to interact with.
Google clearly understand the value of personal recommendation (and have been experimenting with Social Search for some time), but this looks set to create a deeper integration between their various services. While it is unlikely that people without a Google Profile are going to sign up just for "+1", it does look like it could give those who do a reason to engage with it a little bit more.
Android becomes #1 smartphone in both the UK and US
Android overtakes Apple to be UK's leading smartphone platform
Marketing Magazine reports on the UK market; "According to the survey of 2,001 people, 28% of smartphone users now use the Android platform, with 26% using Apple's iOS, and 14% using Blackberry's platform."
iPhone users were found to be the heaviest smartphone users, with 18% using their device for four or more hours per day, compared to 4% of Android and Blackberry users. Londoners are also more likely to have smartphones, with 42% owning an iPhone, 15% an Android phone and 11% a Blackberry. The survey also revealed some interesting trends in smartphone users' financial patterns, with iPhone users most likely to be in debt, while Blackberry users were more likely to be high earners, and more careful with their money.
However, the YouGov survey also reports that Nokia's Symbian platform has just a 6% share of smartphones. Considering that Symbian has been the dominant smartphone platform in the UK (and indeed, Europe) for several years (reported by comScore to have
of the smartphone market as recently as last June), this probably reveals a flaw in the research methodology— while we would expect Android, iPhone or Blackberry users to know the OS of their handset, Symbian has never been a consumer-facing brand in the same way, and we expect that many N95 or N97 owners don't know that their phone is powered by anything other than "Nokia.")
Meanwhile in the US, comScore have announced that Google's Android has overtaken Blackberry to become the leading smartphone platform there, with 33% of smartphone subscribers (in a 3 month average, up to Feb 2011.)
With Amazon Web Services, Amazon have been one of the leading "cloud computing" suppliers for some time. However, with the new Cloud Drive and Cloud Player unveiled this week, they look set to move their marketing from the enterprise to the consumer.
"Cloud Drive" provides an online storage system ("your hard drive in the cloud"), with up to 5Gb provided for free for all Amazon account holders, and paid plans for up to 1,000Gb (although not yet in the UK.) But the killer feature looks set to be Cloud Player — allowing users to play back their music collection on any Mac, PC, or Android device. MP3s purchased from Amazon can be saved directly to your Amazon Cloud Drive for free — and without counting against the free 5Gb limit.
This is just the latest element of a number of online media delivery initiatives from Amazon; with the Cloud Player platform for music, Kindle for eBooks and an Amazon Android Apps store, it is expected that Amazon will be launching their own Android-powered devices soon. Whether this would be in the form of a next-generation Kindle, a smartphone or a tablet that would compete with the iPad — or even something altogether different — is yet to be seen, but we will be watching with considerable interest.
However, there is some controversy around the service, as it is thought some record labels may be expecting licencing payments for the service. A lawyer has told the BBC that "Technically you do not have the right to format shift in the UK" (where is it still technically a breach of copyright to copy music from a CD onto an MP3 player.)
The result of a partnership between the BBC, Global, GMG Radio, Absolute and the Radiocentre, RadioPlayer launched today, bringing streaming radio from both the BBC and commercial radio in one place and allowing users to easily search for stations, locations, programmes, presenters or topics of interest.
Sadly, not mobile-friendly - although their FAQ says that a mobile/tablet version is "being considered."
With over 600 million Facebook users, a staggering 250 million of them use it via a mobile device. So it shouldn't be surprising that Facebook are keen to provide the best mobile experience possible, but with different sites for "feature phones" and smartphones (m.facebook.com, touch.facebook.com and 0.facebook.com), this hasn't necessarily been the case.
So this week, Facebook announced a new version of its mobile site, which it claims will work seamlessly across different types of handsets (rather than different versions of the site, optimised for different devices), providing features automatically optimised for the device being used.
An update to its iPhone app this week also gives users the ability to check in to Events (as well as places), indicating a growing interest in how Facebook can be used in new ways for mobile users with location-based features in their handsets.