AniBlurbs (Column)

Anibal's thoughts on Online Marketing Strategy, Service Design, Tech, Innovation, Business and more…

Your Online Identity Hosted In The Browser?

Weave Identity is a very interesting component from Mozilla Labs (of Firefox fame) and a possible disrupting one for the Facebook Connect’s, OpenID’s and OAuth’s of this world:

“Offering a single sign-in solution for the web is currently a hot topic. Google, Yahoo, Facebook, MySpace and countless other sites are all offering to host your identity for you. Many of these key players on the social web are also offering tools to allow third-party sites to let you log in using the identity you have hosted with whoever your provider is – Google through FriendConnect, Facebook through Facebook Connect and Twitter through its recently debuted OAuth-based system. But in the end, who knows how long any of those sites will last? It seems to make more sense to hand these duties off to something more permanent than the hot site of the moment.

That’s where Mozilla’s latest implementation of Weave starts to make sense. You can store your credentials anywhere, including on Mozilla’s servers or your own web server.”

Source: WIRED’s Webmonkey

If the Weave add-on is implemented as a standard feature in the next version of the 2nd largest browser in the world, it stands a reasonable chance of becoming THE default Online Identity Manager/Social Media Passport; allowing you to safely and seamlessly log in to your favourite Social Networks, blogs and communities, across multiple platforms (Windows, Mac OS) and various devices (think Mobile, Netbooks, Thin Clients).

All the while giving you complete and FULL control over your online identity (you can even store your Weave login credentials on your own server!), which positions it directly opposite of the Walled Garden approach that Facebook is fast becoming notorious for.

The ease of use, combined with the fact that your average internet user hasn’t even heard of Google-, Facebook- and Twitter’s Online Identity Management solutions make Firefox Weave a serious threat to the aforementioned parties. After all: Wouldn’t it seem more logical and feel safer for her to let the browser take care of her online identity?

“Something that often goes unsaid in the discussion about online identity is that while most websites right now require usernames and passwords, many people actually use the password manager feature in the browser-effectively turning their browser into a limited identity manager.”

Source: Mozilla Labs

By offering this One-Log-In-To-Rule-Them-AllTM feature as a standard option in the browser, much like Yahoo’s- or Google’s toolbar, a lot of the hassle and security issues associated with web based ID alternatives are removed from the user’s table:

“User experience in general suffers as protocols for federation (e.g. OpenID) involve complex redirects which jump the user from page to page and leave them open to phishing attacks…”

Source: Mozilla Labs

And there’s another major USP that promises a bright future for the Weave project: Firefox is an Open Source initiative, and even though OpenSocial, OpenID & OAuth are Open Source projects as well, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Google and Microsoft are commercial parties with a deep interest into becoming your single sign-in partner, so they can monitor the sites you visit and the time frame in which you did: pure data mining for marketing purposes. In a time where privacy issues are within everyone’s crosshairs, this could become Mozilla’s trump card in the battle for your Online Identity.

Of course, there’s nothing stopping Google (note that they have 300 Million accounts!) from implementing such a feature in Chrome -it’s very own browser- using Friend Connect, or Microsoft from doing the same with their Live toolbar/Live Passport and Internet Explorer. The point is that the former hasn’t yet managed to get any serious foot in the browser market. And though the latter is the current incumbent in browser market share (for now), it has failed for almost 10 years to make it’s .NET Passport/Live ID efforts a true cross-web success, even as younger initiatives from the likes of Facebook and twitter have taken off in the past year or so.

All in all, it’ll be very interesting to see how the developments around Identity Hosting continue to evolve…

[Update: Netlog now accepts Google FriendConnect, more on TechCrunch.]

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David Merill Offers Glimpse on Future of mLearning With Shiftables (VIDEO)

A very evocative TED presentation by David Merill on an innovative way to interact with computers.  (For those reading this in a feed reader such as iGoogle or Netvibes, please check out the video after the jump.)

It should go without saying that these Shiftables could be an amazing leap ahead for innovative educational tools & programs, and that the endless opportunities don’t merely lie in the smart cubes themselves, but are only limited by the possibilities of the software that powers them.

The iPhone and Wii have proven what revolutionary, intuitive control methods can achieve with regards to mainstream product penetration and adaption in niche market segments, in ways that were previously unimaginable (i.e. Smart Phones and Game Consoles).

Now, scientists like Merill and the R&D wizzards at Microsoft Labs are charging through and will hopefully do the same for mLearning.

What do you think about these kind of innovations? Will we see them implemented along with the OLPC and the future vision of Microsoft Office Labs to offer the next quantum leap in education? And when will we see this happen? As soon as 2012? Or will we have to wait untill 2019?

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Beyond Web 3.0 and Augmented Reality: Office 2019

Microsoft dares to take a peek: fast forwarding 10 years into the future of the interwebs; location based services seamlessly integrated with flexible Miniware (thin-clients!) and all topped off with a sweet layer of Augmented Reality…

Very Star Trek indeed, yet, it shows us that beyond the technology, the real challenge is going to lie in syncing all these services from various international competitors (Open Source and Interoperability Standards anyone?) AND getting the User Experience Design perfect.

Check out the inspiring video below:

MS Office Labs 2019


Siri Challenges The Way We Interact Online, Enter Web3.1?

“Users’ online lives are becoming more complicated and getting out of control for mainstream users. What if there was an easy way for normal users (non-power users) to ask the Internet to help them.”

This, in a nutshell, is the elevator pitch from US start-up Siri on their secretive CALO (Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes) project.
Together with DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) they’re working on a new, revolutionary web interface, geared not towards the digerati, but the mainstream.

“The CALO project is building an automated assistant to help manage and improve your life. The technology spans all aspects of interaction–natural language processing, speech recognition, and planning and reasoning capabilities–and interfaces with all kinds of systems, such as email and contacts…”

Siri co-founder and Vice President of Engineering, Adam Cheyer. For more, see CNET.

(Credit: SRI International)

(Credit: SRI International)

If we zoom in a little further on this announcement and take in the background info, we can actually see that Cheyer is actually referring to the Semantic Web or Web 3.0; a place of “Virtual Warmth” where Intelligence at the Interface allows the internet to pro-actively make recommendations to the user, much like a personal assistant:

The interfaces we use to interact with the world’s information are getting smarter. Web portals gave us someone else’s idea of the content we should see. Then came search engines, which let us tell the system what we want, one query at a time. We are about to see the next wave -intelligence at the interface- in which the system knows about us, our information, and our physical environment. With knowledge about our context, an intelligent system can make recommendations & act on our behalf.”

(Credit: Tom Gruber)

(Credit: Tom Gruber)

Source (via CNET): Tom Gruber.

Siri itself claims to have her business model and partners in place and is committed to success, though it is common knowledge that that hasn’t stopped other revolutionary tech-driven initiatives from failing in the past: in the end consumers must be convinced and budged to re-learn their online habits AND download and purchase the software.

At this point it seems Siri is ready to release its (possibly) Disruptive Technology during the first half of 2009, and they’ve got some impressive pedigree on board allowing them to become the biggest Nightmare Competitor since Google: their payroll includes engineering and strategic wizards from internet and tech giants/godfathers such as Xerox PARC, Google, NASA, Motorola and Yahoo!.

Microsoft have already revealed some of their amazing achievements with their Surface Computer (interface, see the video above) & their Sphere, and scientists and digerati alike admit that the way we humans interact with the screen (The Office-trashcan-directory-folder Analogy) is anti-natural and the main reason non-power users such as my grandmother still don’t know how to send me an e-mail to stay in touch

[And let’s not forget the major leaps in productivity we could enjoy from innovations like these; the various office suites such as Open, Microsoft Office and Google Apps are said to be “productivity packages” but I suggest you’d take a stroll into any office anywhere in the world and witness for yourself how counterproductive most professionals are using it, even now in 2008!]

As the social divide grows between tech/web savvy people and those whom are not, I believe that ventures such as these -looming recession notwithstanding- could give a major and much needed boost to not only internet usage and web-app uptake by the mainstream, but to (new forms of) education as well: we really need a more democratic way of spreading (access to) knowledge.

Hopefully these developments shall be one of the many small steps in making the web a truly leveraging force for education, productivity and true interconnection worldwide.

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Wat vertel jij je vrienden?

Opvallend, lekker actueel, grappig, authentiek, direct, ik zou erop klikken.

(PS het gaat om de banner hierboven) Bonus: De kwinkslag naar “Wat vertel jij je vrienden?” als campagne insteek is een schot in de roos, want zeer herkenbaar.

Volgens een onderzoek gedaan door Metrix Lab in opdracht van Microsoft Advertising dien je voor een optimale online brand awareness tussen de 3 en 7 contactmomenten te hebben.

Het staat mij nog helder voor de geest dat ik een aantal weken geleden in een korte periode echt doodgegooid werd met AMC banners van, ik meen, Rabobank Connect.

Dit kwam overigens niet door het ontbreken van een frequency cap, maar gewoon doordat er in het mediaplan goede overlap was met het inzetten van de creative. Zelf ben ik overigens net als het overgrote deel van de internetpopulatie bannerblind, al moet ik toegeven dat ik -door beroepsdeformatie- nog wel eens een banner de volle aandacht geef, zoals dus in dit geval.

I had no choice: Het maakte werkelijk waar totaal niet uit op welke Nederlandse ICT/Online Marketing gerelateerde vaksite of blog ik keek, ik ontkwam gewoon niet aan de banner, vraag me alleen niet wat de precieze strekking was. Uiteraard speelt voor het resultaat van een degelijke display advertising campagne niet alleen het aantal contactmomenten zelf een rol, maar vooral ook de creative zelf en of deze in lijn is met je corporate communicatie en het umfelt.

Destijds was de betreffende rectangle echter niet zo sterk als deze, maar wel onvermijdelijk, dus als men weer een beetje kien heeft ingekocht op alle relevante online kanalen, dan zou dit wel eens een zeer effectieve AMC display-campagne kunnen worden. Of toch niet?

Want wat dan weer wel jammer is, is dat er niet direct een Adwords-campagne bij opgestart is,  zodat de displayadvertising- en de CPC-campagnes, tezamen met een goed gesegmenteerde e-mailing en RSS-vertising, elkaar ondersteunen in het genereren van kwalitatief bezoek naar de werkenbij website, temeer daar de praktijk uitwijst dat het gecombineerd inzetten van diverse uitingen in de communicatiemix conversie verhogend werkt en de (Employer)Brand Awareness kan versterken (Tip: in de organische resultaten bij word geen juiste content omschrijving weergegeven, maar de gebruikte webanalyse tool: “ Web Analytics”).

Dit gaat al helemaal op voor de ICT-doelgroep die de Rabobank hiermee wenst te bereiken, want die gebruiken over het algemeen Firefox als internetbrowser, hebben -net als ik- grotendeels Adblock Plus en No Script aanstaan en zien dus los van bannerblindheid zelfs een prachtige banner als deze helaas sowieso niet staan…

Begin dit jaar ben ik via ACA/JES Communicatie (zijdelings) betrokken geweest bij online AMC projecten/advies voor de Rabobank Nederland, ik ben enige tijd geleden vertrokken bij ACA/JES en momenteel heb ik geen betrokkenheid bij deze of andere projecten van de Rabobank Groep of haar (in)directe concurrenten. Los daarvan: zoals aangegeven in de disclaimer rechtsonder in de Navigation BayTM: deze Online Column is volledig onafhankelijk; de hier door mij weergegeven persoonlijke visie, opinie of snelle gedachtespinsels zijn derhalve niet die van de genoemde organisaties en/of aan hen gelieerde partijen en dus ook niet noodzakelijkerwijs vooraf door hen ingezien, dan wel beïnvloed. Amen. Verdorie, mooie banner ;)]

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