Google put on the best tech demo ever

Rather than mimicking Apple’s “gorgeous” style of demoing products (as Facebook and Microsoft do), Google yesterday played to their geek strengths and raised the bar sky high.

Google Glass could be thought of as as a.n.other of their barking tech adventures, but by bringing to life the magic of sharing what you’re seeing in this incredible, audacious way, they’ve opened a new frontier.

How long before Sportsmen and women are wearing descendents of Google Glass whilst playing their games? I can see Sky Sports gagging for this.

Why Instagram works

There are many photo editing apps and many offer some kind of sharing.

Yet Instagram (see my previous post) is way ahead of the pack in popularity and buzz. This fantastic article goes into why. My favourite aspect is about how it deliberately limits its functionality. you can only load one image at a time. Imagine how natural it would seem to add many at once. But that would detract from the product’s simplicity and delight.

Design is finished not when there’s nothing left to add, but when there’s nothing left to take away.

Amazon amazing

When I got two copies of this CD through the post, I groaned. Not because I had been a doofus in ordering twice, but because returning items is usually so painful.

So it was with delight that I got this message from Amazon when starting the Returns process. That’s customer service good enough for me to tell everyone in ear-shot in the office.

The crisis in crisis management

Like everyone else, I’ve been beguiled by the unfolding hacking drama at News International.

It’s been well discussed that it took the confluence of tenacious, brilliant reporting from the Guardian with the amplifying power of social media to really land the killer blows.

One thing that’s really struck me, though, is the impact of social media on crisis management PR.

NI took the understandable step (eventually) of publishing an apology last weekend in all the nationals, followed by “and now let’s put it right” the day after. These are classic steps in the crisis management playbook.

However, are they relevant any more? Within moments of the apology being published, it’d been dissected, remixed, lampooned and re-broadcast by the Twittersphere – undermining its power markedly.

Traditional crisis management has relied on a scarcity of the ability to broadcast. I.e. get your message on tv/in the papers and that’ll drown out dissenters.

Not any more.

Most-read posts of 2010

The most popular posts on talkablelikeable in 2010, in exciting reverse order

10. The social web just got go-faster stripes
The introduction of easily-added ‘Like’ buttons to the web

9. A glimpse into the future of the web
Google and Arcade Fire’s fantastic demonstration of html5

8. Internet marketing – 1995 style
Superhighways and not so super haircuts

7. Rutger Hauer – The Man with the Guinness
Memories of that Guinness tv campaign

6. The birth of social TV
Real-time watercooler moments. Interesting, but hasn’t hurt Twitter at all

5. Mo’vellous
Terrific ad campaign for Movember

4. Should you buy an iPad? My experience so far…
Early thoughts on Apple’s new device. Reading it back seven months on, I pretty much still feel that way

3. If Carlsberg did action replays
Brilliant ad/spoof (and I still don’t know which)

2. If you type “Google” into Google, you break the internet
Originally posted in 2009, but still popular and still funny

1. Everything you ever needed to know about branding in 67 seconds
Almost annoyingly brilliant summation of branding from Steve Jobs.

Amazing Johnny Walker advert

This extraordinary ad/short film from Diageo makes for compelling viewing. Aside from the green screen magic (presumably?) and great choice of actor in Robert Carlyle, it is notable for two other reasons:

  • Use of story
    Appreciation of stories is hard-wired into our beings, and this is a good yarn with arcs, conflict, ambition and resolution. We’re being fed a brand story, but in such an engaging way that we accept it.
  • Breaking media format
    They’ve made an ad that is six and a half minutes long. Up until recently, such a length would have been laughably prohibitive, and indeed the days of 60 or even 90 second spectaculars seemed to be on the wane. But of course nowadays, good content spreads on digital channels where media cost is free and not constrained by programming breaks or convention.

thanks to the excellent Word magazine for the spot

conference call

Like most people, I get much unsolicited email inviting me to a wide range of dreary sounding events, so it was a pleasant surprise to receive something that actually made me laugh.

Planet of the Apps is a great name for a conference. Getting noticed always matters

The birth of social TV

The 90s brought Appointment TV – the hyping of TV schedules to create must-watch TV moments such as Friends, 9pm on Channel 4. The ensuing conversations in offices the morning after became known as watercooler moments.

These “did you see…” conversations seemed set  for the cultural junkyard in the noughties, thanks to greater choice of viewing, the explosion of excellent TV DVD box sets and Sky+ powered time-shifting. We were all watching different stuff.

I think that’s changed again. I wrote 9 months ago about  real-time watercooler moments: the emerging behaviour of using social media services such as as facebook and Twitter while watching an ‘event’ programme such as X-Factor.

Up until now, this has been pretty disjointed and not something most media owners had properly considered. However, the advent of ITV Live, conceived and led by friend and former colleague Dominic Cameron is changing all that. It’s the first serious attempt to create a joined-up TV/social experience. It recognises that people like to talk with friends and fellow fans about the experience they’re sharing – and provides the tools and content to do just that.

It’s a fledgling service, and has its clunky moments, but the ITV team should be praised for leading the way in this field globally.

They’ve even been audacious enough to run the service around matches they don’t have the TV rights to – so people can watch a game on the BBC and discuss it on ITV Live. Neat.

1UP for Google

Surely the most talkable Google Doodle for a while? A fully playable pacman, even with “Insert coin” button for two player mode!

I wrote last year about how staying likeable would help lessen worries about Google’s size and influence. After a year of fairly flat launches (Wave, Buzz), it’s good to see they’ve got their playfulness back (and some cool products too).

Meanwhile, facebook is the new 200lb gorilla that could do with a refresher in the importance of likeability. The current concerns about privacy seems to be getting real traction.