London Olympics 2012: Digitized the Technology

An array of technology has transformed the way spectators view 2012 London Olympics Games. Technology has changed the way we consume, share, and see the world around us. Although, majority of spectators watching this year’s Olympics Games will put on their television sets, there are many people who will follow the games on their mobiles and tablets. With the influx of social network, this year’s games are aimed to reach wide audience as all digital savvy Olympians connect to their devices and gadgets to reach their fans, making the game more accessible to people all over.

Let’s go back in the history of the Olympic Games before the Internet to see how the communication evolved from birds to tweets.

Dating back to centuries, it all began with pigeons.

From 776 B.C. games until 384 A.D., Roman Emperor Theodosius I had put a ban on the Olympics so that he could impose Christianity as a state religion. During that time, pigeons were the main source used to spread news.

There was then, centuries of Olympic radio silence. It was by 1896, when the pigeons finally were replaced by telegraphs as the messengers of information. This decision was taken by the newly formed International Olympic Committee.

It was for the first time in history that the radio did Olympics broadcast in 1924. The year 1936 saw a live telecast for viewers in Berlin and Potsdam, Germany. By 1960, the Games were being broadcast on television worldwide; and then 36 years later, in 1996, Atlanta hosted the first ‘Internet Olympics’.

And today, almost 16 years later, the world is now following the Olympics at the 24/7 Olympics Athletes Hub, with various applications for smartphones. These applications help viewers track everything from the progress of the Olympic torch to the location of toilets in the host city. It also shows the London Eye full with a rainbow of colors that correspond to Twitter’s sentiment about the Games.

It is believed that by 2016, when the next Summer Olympics are held in Rio, the digital reach of the Games will have evolved even further and there will be more mobile devices on the planet than humans. In this age, we now have a different kind of bird, who has taken over pigeons as messengers of information. Even with all this advancement in technology and media, there is still one question that interests all viewers- who won?… Read the rest

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Google Fiber Launches with a Bang in Kansas City

It was just a few days ago when Google publicly released the registration of 1 gigabit fiber network. The company plans to launch Google Fiber on both the Kansas and Missouri sides of Kansas City. What’s good news for Google is that there are already more than 20 percent of the qualified neighborhoods on the Missouri side who have arrived at Google’s thresholds within two days of its opening. This network is new and super-fast.

However, things are a bit slow in Kansas City, Kansas, where the median household income is notably lower than on the other side of the city. Here, there are only three neighborhoods that have met Google’s goals. There are still hundreds of people who still have to sign up to bring fiber to their houses.

Last week, Google officially launched Google Fiber and set it up as an unusual system as the company still had to decide where to roll it out first. Google separated the metropolitan area into ‘fiberhoods’ with around 250 to 1,500 households. It wants all likely subscribers pre-register for Fiber service for a fee of $10.

Before rolling out a Fiber in an area, Google wants all neighborhoods to arrive at a definite threshold of households, which was between 5 to 25 percent. Neighborhoods that don’t reach their pre-registration goals by September 9 will be last in line. Those who reach their goals will be given priorities as per the total number of pre-registrations in each area.… Read the rest

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Mobile Traffic Jammed the Network at Olympic Broadcast

Controversy around the broadcast of 2012 Olympics Games in London does not seem to have come to a close yet. The International Olympic Committee had to request all attendees to avoid sending too many messages and texts. They have put a limit to the output of status updates only to ‘urgent’. Mobile updates by spectators at the Olympics clogged a mobile network that was being used by official TV data suppliers to transmit live telecast.

Twitter and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have both worked hand-in-hand for the endorsement of the microblog service to connect with athletes, competitors and London 2012. The IOC says that the increase in number of users accessing mobile social media at some Olympic venues has interfered with mobile networks on which the games themselves depend.

There are many television broadcasters who state that the coverage of Olympic cycling road races lacked official timing data supplied by the Olympic Broadcasting Service (OBS). There was one BBC commentator who actually relied on his own stopwatch.

However, the name of the underperforming network was not revealed.

The request to send only urgent tweets sounds ironic in the IOC’s own social media commitment. The way Twitter has undone coverage is even more agreeably ironic for all onlookers who compared the fortunes of each medium. Unlike the TV data issue, spectators do not yet seem to have experienced mobile signal issues during the games.

Some of the UK’s five main mobile carriers such as Orange, T-Mobile, O2, Vodafone, and Three had lined together with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) to plan out 3G signal requirements around London well in advance. But now they had to ask users to prioritize use of their mobile so that the burden could be lessened.

It might have been embarrassing for the industry to watch the internal strife. The networks during broadcast were broken and so these concerns regarding volume in network could have been avoided.… Read the rest

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As Facebook Stock Sinks, Will It Live Up to the Hype?

Facebook Inc. plunged to a record low in stocks as investors started dumping stock, tumbled by the slowing growth of revenue.

As per generally accepted accounting principles, Facebook actually lost $743 million, but reports a number that leaves out employee stock awards, options and related expenses. This news came as a relief to some investors, especially after the plunge in its partner, Zynga’s business yesterday.

There are some analysts who believe that Facebook’s stock will be rewarded in the future and should be viewed as tomorrow’s stock.

Founded in 2004 by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook is now going through the transition from computer to mobile as the company is trying to figure out how to earn revenues from mobiles, gadgets and tablets.

There are various analysts who believe that Facebook is full of potential and makes a good investment as the social networking site has almost one billion users and is the most wide-ranging user profile database in existence. The social network site offers great opportunity to collect a big chunk of the global advertising market, which is currently at $500 billion a year.

The share of Facebook started out at an IPO of $38.

The company’s first earnings report since its rocky initial public offering on May 18 was the second coming that didn’t quite materialize. Investors sent Facebook’s stock to its lowest level ever price this Friday. Shares fell $3.14, or nearly 12 percent, to close at $23.71 after hitting $22.28 in the morning. The previous low was $25.52, reached on June 6.

Even when Facebook’s second-quarter results met Wall Street’s expectations, with revenue one-third higher than last year, the company’s stocks took a plunge.

The shaky economy and investors’ sharp sensitivity to a stock’s value makes them all want proofs rather than Facebook’s word that it can grow its revenue and make a profit.

Facebook, for now, seems to be a tell-me story, whose success or failure will play out in the coming quarters, or even years. The company yet has to show all it can do. Its revenue growth is tipping.

The first quarter of this year saw Facebook’s revenue climb up by 44 percent, higher than the 32 percent increase in the second quarter. Following in Google’s footsteps, Facebook offered no financial guidance for the coming quarters, which makes the bet risky for investors.

The social networking site also stated its plans to increase the investments in the coming quarters. Whereas analysts believe that higher expenses could mean lower profits.

Based in Menlo Park, Calif., Facebook was valued at $104 billion when it went public two months ago, where investors placed a higher value on its stock than other established companies.

With its stocks hitting a new low on Friday, Facebook lost as much as 39 percent of its value. It’s now around $66 billion, which is in the same range as American Express.

Despite all doubts, various analysts are offering positive view on Facebook who believes that the social networking site will live up to its hype. Out of the ratings of 27 analyst ratings available on FactSet, 15 believe that Facebook’s stocks are ‘Buy’ or equivalent, while just three call it a ‘Sell’. These analysts are known to have long-term views of stocks as compared to many day-to-day investors.… Read the rest

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Google Unleashes New Search Results Page, Rolls Out to Big Change

Google is planning to get a cleaner design. A major addition in its search results page, Google has moved the search tools from the sidebar to several drops down menus under the search field.

The latest notable changes to Google’s core function; this design also includes addition of a fully functional scientific calculator to the search page and a handwriting mode for web search in mobile and tablets.

This new version is slowly rolling out to improve the user’s experience and seems to be fresh, new, and efficient. Experts believe that Google initiated this move to promote more business without the webpage looking cluttered. Revising and improving is part of Google’s philosophy as the company aims to give best services to its users.

This vertical layout looks neat and has lot of whitespace flaking up on both sides that the company might use for advertising.… Read the rest

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Game Getting Tough for Zynga, Facebook Worries as Stocks Plunge

The surprising second-quarter stumble of Zynga has created questions about the company’s prospects with the social networking site, Facebook that actually makes up a major portion of revenue through gaming. Posting a plunge of $22.8 million for the quarter Wednesday, there have been concerns whether the gaming business can sustain or not. Zynga has seen a decline in the player engagement and enthusiasm for its games in recent months.

Zynga’s shares opened at $3.06 in Thursday trading from a previous close of $5.08 that is far below its Initial Price Offering (IPO) of $10. The company has failed to demonstrate reasonable earnings on the horizon that has left all investors wishing for another game to play.

In an earnings call Wednesday, the Farmville-maker said that delays in the launch of some games mark the reason behind the company’s loss. Zynga, a social gaming giant also admitted that its high-profile acquisition of OMGPop and its “Draw Something” game has yet to pay off. Shortly after release, the game was a number-one but slipped out of the highest downloads lists on Apple’s iTunes and Google’s Play stores.

The company blamed the changes to Facebook’s Web platform for the lost interest as this platform has been directing users to newer games from other publishers.

But analysts have said that Zynga’s recent performance shows that consumers aren’t sold on the idea of buying virtual goods— a trend that could send ripples across the technology industry.

Facebook’s shares also swung into loss due to the drop in Zynga’s shares, with wary investors likely recalling that, at last count, Zynga itself accounted for 12 percent of Facebook’s total revenue.

Facebook posts its first earnings report as a public company Thursday amid concerns that it will also struggle to prove it knows how to make money off its 900 million users — who give their personal information to the site but use its services for free.

With earnings coming after the closing bell, Facebook shares opened at $27.75, down from a previous close of $29.34.… Read the rest

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Facebook Q2 Earnings: A Shot at Rebuilding Image

Tomorrow might be an awakening call for Facebook- the day of its first earning reports as the company shares its financial information since its much-hyped initial public offering in May. Thursday marks a huge financial test as to whether Facebook will fulfill all the expectations to become the blockbuster business success so many investors have bet on.

“There is a lot on the line,” states the Wall Street Journal. “Facebook efforts on advertising face a day of judgment,” says the New York Times.

Being unpredictable since its debut, Facebook has not yet managed to rise to its original $38 share price as the social network faces questions about how much of the ads it depends on for the collection of its revenue.

Apple has for years directly and indirectly promoted and inspired the rumor industry that envelops the social site.

Those concerned about whether Facebook can uphold itself long-term as a business that is supported by ads is focusing on revenue collected by the advertisements.

On Thursday, Zuckerberg is expected to provide some valuable insight into the company’s vision that many shareholders and investors want to hear. The efficacy of Facebook ads is under the gun, post General Motors dropping its paid advertising on the network just days ahead of the company’s debut on the stock market.

There have been different conclusions of studies done on the efficiency of Facebook advertising. It all depends on how Facebook steps in and manages the conversation about how well it serves users and marketers without making anyone feel alienated.

However, there is another question lined up for the social network giant: How will it manage its shift to mobile? As told to Bloomberg at the Sun Valley media conference recently, Facebook chief executive and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg stated that the biggest challenge that the company is facing is the way to figure out how to make Facebook interesting on cell phones.

As smartphones and tablets have small screen spaces, the challenge here lies in giving users full social experience without making the presentation look too crowded. Another pitfall is advertisements on cell phones as most users are not happy if their small screens are taken up by marketing space. Even advertisers won’t be happy if the network’s user base continues to rely on mobiles if Facebook has no clear strategy for making money off the switch. Shareholders, too, will be watching.

Facebook observers expect to see as to who will speak on behalf of the company for the earnings call and get a read on how much Zuckerberg is looking to please investors. They need confidence with no false promises that the company can’t keep. The young CEO faced a lot of criticism for his apparent casual manner about taking the company public and for sending other executives, such as Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, to talk with Wall Street.

There was also criticism as to how Zuckerberg appeared at the road show presentation in a hoodie and jeans instead of in a suit, which interested Wall Street bankers, already concerned that Zuckerberg was more focused on building the product rather than on ensuring its profitability.

Investors are considering many points and expect Zuckerberg to take part in the company’s first earnings call. Every word he says will be examined more carefully than reports by most CEOs.

However, his absence would also speak volumes. Let’s just wait to watch whether this one quarter report says much about Facebook’s future that is yet to be written.… Read the rest

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With a Yearly Thrilling Six-Figure Salary: YouTube Has Made Partners Rich

Shelling out six-figures from pocket is dream come true for thousands of YouTube partners, who are now bringing in over $100,000 a year, as revealed by Google SVP and Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora. The firm shared the number during Google’s second quarter earnings call on Thursday, where Arora pointed to YouTube as an acquisition that has paid off for the company.

Earlier, YouTube had claimed the number of six-figure earners in hundreds, which has now taken a rise. During the call, Arora recalled how the press had doubts regarding YouTube being a successful business model in 2006, the year it was acquired. “I think we can declare we found our model,” he said.

Google usually maintains a low-key and doesn’t talk much about YouTube during its earnings calls. The firm stuck with its tradition on Thursday and did not reveal any revenue numbers for YouTube. Instead, Arora revealed some business highlights and spoke of the site’s partnership with NBC to stream the Olympics within the U.S. There was also a mention of the YouTube upfront event, which Arora said was attended by 1,300 people.

Google is increasingly investing into programming on YouTube. The site exposed a premium channel initiative late last year that included a reported $100 million in advances both for YouTube stars and traditional media brands who took their assets to YouTube as a result. And earlier Thursday, the firm announced rewarding around 1,500 YouTube producers for successes with their channels on the site, with 80 of them to receive a golden play button, and each one to get $500 gift certificates that they can use to buy video equipment. Quite a thrilling and awesome move by the progressing YouTube!… Read the rest

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