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Why Google+ and Black Friday failed #whatsgooingon

Bridge with a chain link fenceDecember is upon us and, while the focus has understandably been on politics, protests and the police this past week, a lot has gone on this week in the tech world. Here are some stories that might have fallen through the cracks:

  • Google+ failed due to limited vision according to a former designer
  • Retailers undermined Black Friday through their marketing
  • Firefox 34 launches with video chat
  • 5 innovative email policies used by corporations all over the globe

Google D+: being ‘Facebook-lite’ hampered the social network

Former Google+ designer Chris Messina(@chrismessina) has written a long and interesting post on the wasteland that is Google+. He obviously feels passionately that Google+ has lost its potential to take on Facebook. Messina is very open about his disappointment with Google+ development, but to Messina, the potential impacts to a person’s digital identity and online privacy are significant. Digital identity is important because it controls what ads we see, payment options and many other things.

Take away: Google+’s inability to give Facebook a run for its money means digital identity could end up controlled by only one company. Messina takes a very ‘data positive’ approach to argue that we should be able to choose who gets our data in return for a better web experience. You’re generating data whether you like it or not and Google+ should have been the nexus between you, your data and Google. With Google Now it is obvious that Google believes in a digital identity. The fact that Google was concerned about another Google Buzz fiasco was probably a factor in Google+ starting on too small a scale. Messina’s post is a very interesting perspective on what Google+ could have (and perhaps still can) be.

Friday, Bloody Friday: Black Friday sales fall 11%

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are an excellent example of what happens when you water down a campaign by spreading it too thin. Compared to the record sales of Singles’ Day, which we covered extensively in an earlier post, Black Friday was a bit of a bust. Unlike Singles’ Day which has strictly maintained its 24 hour window of opportunity, Black Friday added Cyber Monday and then just kept going. With sales extending weeks before and after the original four day window, it’s not difficult to see how retailers watered down this holiday with their promotions.

Take away: Retail sales are expected to increase 3.5% over the whole of November. A much lower increase than the almost 40% increase that the world’s biggest e-commerce company, Alibaba, saw on Singles’ Day. If consumers feel confident they can get the product later for the same price or better, they are less likely to pull the trigger on a sale. The reason Singles’ Day is so successful is precisely because people can only get those prices during a limited 24 hour period.

Mozilla Firefox 34 released with Hello video chat and divorced from Google search

Mozilla has just released Firefox 34, which it claims is the fastest browser out there and has a privacy first policy. New features in the updated version are a built-in Web Real-Time Communication tool called Hello that allows you to video chat with your contacts. Another new addition is a simplified search bar. Just type in a search term and click one of the little icons to target your search to Wikipedia, Yahoo, Google, etc.

Take away: Mozilla has made Yahoo the new default search in North America, while Yandex has replaced Google in Russia. This is the fallout from Mozilla and Google not agreeing on a new financial agreement, despite a decade of cooperation. Previously 90 percent of Mozilla’s revenue came from Google search, but now part of that will be footed by Yahoo, Baidu and Yandex.

5 policies to help your office fight the scourge of email fatigue

If you are anything like us, email can be a source of stress and frustration. An awesome and powerful tool, yes, but like a constantly ringing phone, email has the potential to intrude on your down time and make you less productive. Positivesharing has a list of five companies that have created employee friendly email policies.

Take away: Whether you choose to limit emails to working hours like Volkswagen or go as far as disabling internal emails like Menlo Innovations, it is important find a good balance. Email is an excellent asynchronous communication tool. The problems arise when people use it as an instant messenger. With more companies moving to services like Slack or Asana to handle internal communication, maybe email policies will need to be amended. We might be talking about Slack policies next year. If you have any good examples of inter-company social media policies, why don’t you leave a comment?

Have a gooi weekend.

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