Sayed Darwish on Google Homepage

I love this one from Google, they have Sayed Darwish image on http://www.google.com.eg in the memory of his birth … for those who don’t know a lot about him, Sayed Darwish is the one who composed Egyptian national anthem, using modified words of Mostafa Kamel

Below is Google Logo featuring Sayed Darwish

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Android on fire, Windows Phone 7 under fire!

Stephen Elop Nokia’s CEO is probably one of the most unlucky guys today, he probably choose the worst time ever to kill the symbianOS and replace it with Microsoft Windows Phone 7, a choice that many people criticized and said it would rather be much better for Nokia to partner with Google and use Android.

comScore has announced that Android, the 2 years old platform, is now the most popular operating system on smart phones in the US, having just surpassed BlackBerry, iPhone and Windows Phone 7 (WP7),  having now a market share of 31.2%.

The irony here for Nokia  is not just the lost opportunity to catch up the leading mobile operating system but also the loss  of market shares of the new partner Microsoft which has down to only 8%. This must be very frustrating for Microsoft, they launched their new WP7 last October aiming at competing Android and iPhone, what you typically expect is that their market share would grow due to this new product or at least stabilize but not fall down.

Smart Phone Market Share, Jan 2011

Smart Phone Market Share, Jan 2011

 

A good question to ask here, was Stephen Elop’s choice of Microsoft as a partner influenced by being an ex Microsoft executive or by believing so much in Microsoft products? Somebody has to answer this.

Smart Phone market share numbers in January 2011
Smart Phone market share numbers in January 2011

 

Nokia must now share Microsoft’s frustration, apple must be happy that they didn’t loose any ground against Google’s Android but rather Android took from the market shares of the other market players especially BlackBerry…

I wonder if the same market dominance will be possessed by Android on other markets worldwide.

Yellow Pages Maps vs Google Maps

One questions i get a lot about yellow.com.eg maps is what maps are you using? People see the Google map on our website so they think we are using Google maps data. This is not correct. 

What we are using is google maps API for the GUI. However, the data is compiled by us, what we do is geocoding our database. i.e. specifying the exact latitude and longitude for each listing we have. This sounds like a tough job, actually it is but we are performing very well in doing it. 

I guess it’s logical to ask why we are doing all this effort. The answer can be found if you visit Google Maps and try to find a restaurant in Egypt and if you visit Egypt Yellow Pages website 

On Google maps searching for La Bodega will produce 7 or 8 results, some of them might be correct and some are not. This is because the data source is the user generated content, which is not correct in many cases. 

La Bodega on Google Maps

La Bodega on Google Maps

on Yellow.com.eg when you search for La Bodega, you get one and only one map location, the map location is accurate and is geocoded by our local search team. If we are not sure about a map location, then we do not enter it, if you see a map location online this means the location is accurate. 

La Bodega on Yellow.com.eg

La Bodega on Yellow.com.eg

click here to see La Bodega restaurant profile page 

The nice thing about having our geocoded database is not only the accuracy, but also the flexibility of using any maps for the GUI, we have tried both Google maps and Microsoft virtual earth (now known as Bing maps), Google maps has proven so far superior in Egypt.

Google Real-Time Search: Relevance, Relevance, Relevance

Google announced today the launch of the real-time search feature as an integral part of their search engine. This means that now when you search for Copenhagen climate conference you will know what people are posting about this event on Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, blogs, microblogs, news, …

This probably explains why Eric Shmidt joined Twitter yesterday. It was actually an unexpected move from Google for me, at least the speed they have completed this. Shmidt said about one month ago that the social media is still a grey area for Google, and that the content on facebook is mostly private content that they can’t use. It seems that a strategic decision has been made after this that they should avail this real-time feature right away for one reason or another.

Moving away from politics 🙂  back to the real-time feature. It is very cool, the thing that makes it useful it that you are actually seeing very relevant content to what you are looking for… Google are the masters of delivering relevant content. Below is what you get when you search Copenhagen climate conference

Read more about this from Google official blog

Google Wave: It’s all about user education

Today i received my Google Wave invitation which i applied for about 2 weeks ago. You can request your invitation from here.

The idea behind Google wave is to replace the email system which was invented 40 years ago with a more modern and advanced communication media. The wave or a communication stream is a single entity that is stored at Google server and allows people to communicate, cooperate and collaborate. Share their media, photos, videos, and gadgets and even chat in a real-time manner. You can say it is something trying to put all the social media and web 2.0 buzz that we see these days.

 

 

I think it’s gonna be a big thing if people use it the way it is meant to be… otherwise it will be a mess, a really big mess… idea of a wave is to be one topic under which people put their contributions in one centralized place. Imagine that some recipients will open the same wave and start putting their comments  branching the topics into other topics that were not intended when the wave already started… It will be a complete mess. Imagine also that there will be no webmaster or owner of the wave, anyone can do whatever he/she wants…. No rules…

Imagine when you receive an email and you reply to it. Then after a couple of days the same person wants to send you another email, so he replies to your old email and talks about a new topic… isn’t that a mess an email that has something that is not related to the original email subject… How would this happen in Wave? much worse.

What i want to say is that wave will only work good if people get the right education to use it… and it becomes a culture… otherwise it will be one of those things that looked good at the beginning and then started to make our life more complicated after this like emails and mobile phones!

 

Pay Per Click campaign: Is it successful?

So i took the 60$ credit i have as Google AdWords credit and decided to start a mini-campaign to see how the Pay Per Click advertising model works. Here is the story:

I created a campaign for the Egyptian stock market section that we launched at Yellow Pages, i thought it could use some more traffic. I followed the guidelines and chosen my words and the minimum bidding CPC that google recommends for each word to appear in a good place in the search results page and in the Google partner network websites that are relevant to that topic. After this i specified the daily budget that i want which was 2$ per day that i reduce later to 1$ when i was about to run out of credit later 🙂

Here are some words i have chosen that were approved by google as good traffic words: Egyptian stock market, Egyptian stock market news, Egyptian Bursa, EGX30 prices, Talaat Mostafa Stocks, Mobinil Stocks, ….

CPC was pretty cheap, $0.05 for Egyptain Stock Market, some words were cheaper other words were more expensive…. I’m just gonna focus here on this word…

So everything was set and i got around 80 hits on the first day of campaign July 16th 2009.. The larger portion was coming from Google network website not from Google search results page but it doesn’t matter… very nice, i though i just put this to bed… but i was wrong.. look at the below:

 Google Adwords Traffic

On 17 July, hits dropped to 25, so i opened the control panel to see what was wrong, if found that google suggest me to change the CPC bid amount to $0.07 for Egyptain Stock Market instead of $0.05. I did that and here we go again, hits reached 80’s again.

On 21 July and 27 July, I had to re-adjust the CPC again and again until it reached $0.21 which seemed after this that it was not enough… I just started to give up, i can’t keep monitoring this way on aday to day basis… I have other more important stuff to do than adjusting some keywords CPC… I took a look after a while and i found that the CPC recommeneded by google Passed the $1.10 margin!!

CPC for Keywords

I was paying 5 cents for a keyword and getting good traffic. Now i am paying 21 cents and hardly getting any traffic.. Then i was expected to pay one dollar for each click!! All the credit i have (60$) and was planning to use for one month would now evaporate in one day.

I don’t really understand the pattern, what happened during these 2 weeks that raised the bid amount for Egyptain Stock Market from 5 cents to 1 dollar?? is it really people paying more in that word suddenly, does it make any sense that no one was interested in this word at all and all in a sudden everyone wants it?? or was this some way Google AdWords drag their customers to invest more and more by offering words for a little price at the begining and then gradually increasing the value until it reaches the market amount? i don’t really know but i know 2 things for sure:

  1.  I don’t like PPC model, too much complicated.
  2. Normal end users and SME would find it extremely difficult to manage this on their own unless provided to them by an advertising agency that manages their account. Putting in mind also the special needs of customers in the middle east and that they would rather have someone do these things for them instead of doing it themselves because it is too “technical”. Self provisioning and PPC model might not be the best advertising solution for MEA region.

The Yellow Pages time-based contractual model is simple, efficient and easy. If you compare it to PPC model it is also much more cost-effective.