Google Travel Conference

by Scott Sussman

I recently had the opportunity to attend The Travel Forward Conference at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. A group of approximately 120 individuals from the travel industry were presented the latest thinking from Google on how emerging technology can be integrated into marketing plans for travel related companies.

Currently half of all domestic travel is booked online and that continues to be a growing trend. Moreover, research for travel continues to be a growing area with over a billion travel related searches a day. Also, 70% of all travel related searches are not for a specific brand, but the search begins generically, this presents a tremendous opportunity for those in the travel industry. Google is making search more relevant by making it easier to access with less movement. For instance it is not necessary to leave the search results page to get hotel or flight rates. It is a rollover and click away.

Mobile is where Google sees the biggest growth in the next few years. Mobile traffic grew by 400% last year and that trend will increase with nearly a million new smart phones sold each day. About 50% of the population now has a smartphone. Smartphones can’t be viewed as an extension of a computer website. It is its own device and should have its own site. Mobile is a local based marketing opportunity as most purchases from this device are made within 20 miles of the transaction.

Mobile commerce is in its infancy, but will explode over the next two years. The much discussed Google Wallet is in test and should roll-out over the next year. Using Near Field Communications (NFC) technology (a chip in your phone) consumers will be able to purchase items without having to access their credit card from their wallets. The consumer will “wave” their phone over a device at the merchant and the transaction will be complete. This technology will also be used for boarding passes at airports.

Location based marketing will also develop over the next few years as messaging will be delivered through Google Spot, which will know your exact location (down to the aisle in a f store) and deliver messaging to you, such as a coupon or offer from a competitor.

As organizations like Google invest in innovation, the manner in which travel and nearly every other category is sold will evolve and change how business is conducted.

HUGE Tech News

by Gio Gutierrez

It’s no longer illegal under the DMCA to jailbreak your iPhone or bypass a DVD’s CSS in order to obtain fair use footage for educational purposes or criticism. These are the new rules that were handed down moments ago by the U.S. Copyright Office. This is really big. Like, really really big.

The office looks at copyright law every three years in order to make revisions or exemptions. The six “categories” now exempt from prosecution under the DMCA are:

1. Defeating a lawfully obtained DVD’s encryption for the sole purpose of short, fair use in an educational setting or for criticism

2. Computer programs that allow you to run lawfully obtained software on your phone that you otherwise would not be able to run aka Jailbreaking to use Google Voice on your iPhone

3. Computer programs that allow you to use your phone on a different network aka Jailbreaking to use your iPhone on T-Mobile

4. Circumventing video game encryption (DRM) for the purposes of legitimate security testing or investigation

5. Cracking computer programs protected by dongles when the dongles become obsolete or are no longer being manufactured

6. Having an ebook be read aloud (ie for the blind) even if that book has controls built into it to prevent that sort of thing.

Apple’s iAd Mobile Advertising

by Gio Gutierrez

Apple is set to deliver a mobile ad platform by the name if iAd to one billion devices (iPhones, iPads and iPod touches). This ad platform isn’t just banners and text links. It is robust brand advertising that is as fully functional as a website or an app itself. Yes, ads that are apps within an app. iAds will be defining mobile advertising and will definitely shake up the mobile market. People aren’t searching on mobile devices, they are using apps so it only makes sense to enhance this experience. No one is happy clicking a banner and leaving their current site/app. This alone is brilliant. The ads have been hinted to be “premium” which sounds expensive. Sure they’ll make money from all this but I think it’s more for Apple to be the leader in this market. They want to to be the innovator in mobile advertising, reshape the industry and stick it to Google. Another tidbit is they’ll offer 60% of the revenue back to developers (ala Google Adsense) to help the creation of great apps on the App Store. And then HTML5! Every Flash shop in the country better be sharpening their HTML5 skillz. Anyway you see it, Apple’s new iAd is an exciting move.

Only problem is Apple will now massively once again control something else. Will they approve our anti/parody Apple ad?

Twitter for Search Engine Placement

Twitter for SEP
Twitter just changed their title tags on their site to know not only show you your twitter handle but also your real name (or company name).
Minor tweak right? Wrong…. this makes now a huge impact on search engine placement. Did a search for my name and like Emeril *Bam*. My twitter is top third on Google Results.
Tried it with other names like “jimmy fallon”, “obama”, “karen denisse” and they are ALL on Google’s first page results….