Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bing up, Google down in latest search rankings

Though Google is still king of the search engine arena, Bing is creeping up, according to a report released yesterday by market researcher Experian Hitwise.
Looking at the global search engine market in January, Google took home almost 68 percent of all searches. But that marked a 2 percentage point dip from December. The number of searches run at and Bing-powered sites collectively rose by 6 points, giving Microsoft's search engine a 27.4 percent cut of the market.
(Credit: Experian Hitwise)
Breaking down the Bing results, by itself accounted for 12.8 percent of all searches, a 21 percentage point jump from December. Searches conducted at Yahoo sites powered by Bing slid 4 points, giving those 14.6 percent of the market, said Experian Hitwise.
Further, Bing and Yahoo combined outscored Google in January's success rate, which indicates the number of search results that actually triggered a visit to a Web site. This rate is considered key as it measures not the quantity of searches but rather the accuracy and relevancy of the results returned. For the month, Bing/Yahoo scored an 81 percent success rate, according to the data, surpassing the 65 percent rate achieved by Google and virtually the same as the rates in December.
(Credit: Experian Hitwise)
Google and Bing were both on the warpath recently after Google accused its rival of stealing its search results following a surprise sting operation. Reps from both companies found themselves in a heated exchange at a conference last week debating the accuracy and validity of Google's findings.
Launching such a sting operation could be a sign that Google is growing more concerned about Microsoft's rising chunk of the search engine market. Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently told reporters that he sees Microsoft and not Facebook as a major competitor, calling it the company with "more cash, more engineers, more global reach."


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Myspace set to be sold, but who would buy it?

It’s far from a secret that Myspace has been in trouble for some time. Huge recent layoffs have been accompanied by talk that the company’s future was being judged in quarters, not years.
Now parent company News Corp says that it’s looking to sell all, or at least some, of Myspace. As Paid Content reports, COO Chase Carey explained yesterday, “The new MySpace has been very well received by the market and we have some very encouraging metrics. But the plan to allow MySpace to reach its full potential may be best achieved under a new owner.”
There’s little surprise that Myspace might be offloaded, but the real question is, who would buy it? New Corp says it has had a lots of interest to date from others interested in investing in, or purchasing the service before it has even been formally put up for sale. That reportedly includes “Industry players, financial players, foreign to domestic”. Up against the Facebook behemoth though, why will anyone want to shell out for the social network of yesteryear?

The Bebo comparison

Bebo is a good place to look for a comparison. Like Myspace, it was a hit social network acquired by a big media firm (AOL in this case) for big bucks ($850m). Just two years later it was offloaded to merchant banking company Criterion Capital Partners for a reported $10m. Since then, Criterion has been investing in new features for the service, such as group video chat but it’s still too early to tell whether Bebo can fight back to regain the popularity it enjoyed at its peak.
Bebo wouldn’t have to do reach its previous heights of course, as long as it turns a profit Criterion will presumably be happy with its investment. Founder Michael Birch, who has now rejoined Bebo’s board, told The Telegaph in December, “There are lots of gaps in what Facebook provides. It doesn’t provide media or lots of games – apart from its apps. Nor are users able to change their profile that much. The site stays largely the same – whereas on Bebo we are going offer users an online location they can really personalise. Bebo is going to be the social network that offers lots of content, games, and just be a place of fun online. That’s what’s missing from the social network space – some fun.”

Myspace’s brand problem

So, could the same future await Myspace? The problem is that, probably much more than Bebo, its brand is tainted by the smell of failure. Once users started abandoning the service, it quickly became labelled as the social network of the past. Even if Myspace was taken under the wing of a new owner and revamped into something amazing, the Myspace name would probably do more harm than good. Wouldn’t it be better just to launch a new service from scratch?
Of course, News Corp hasn’t formally set the wheels in motion for a sale yet, but it’s clearly working towards that. As much as the tech press has written Myspace off, the company does say it’s seen interest from potential buyers and investors (although, hey, they would say that). Watching the possible suitors emerge should give us an idea of the kind of future Myspace might have....

VODAFONE Gains The Most as AIRTEL, BSNL, Reliance Emerge As Early Losers In MNP Race

We’ve been following the ‘churn’ from Mobile Number Portability pretty closely. BusinessLine has another article with some very interesting information about which way people have moved in Haryana. As I said in my last post on MNP, it isn’t necessary that the same trend may carry over to the rest of the country as some local factors could influence it, but the numbers are worth looking at.
We had a little table(courtesy of Informate) which reflected the percentage of dropped calls that subscribers faced across various operators. It stated that Reliance and Loop faced the highest percentage of dropped calls. The latest article has actual operator specific numbers(As of January 16th) -

BSNL had 25,ooo people opt for other providers and a net loss of over 20,000 users. Reliance GSM and CDMA combined lost over 13,500 subscribers. Tata Telservices CDMA connections took a battering too, but its GSM operations – Tata DoCoMo gained close to 10,000 subscribers. Idea lost just under 2,000 while the clear gainers are Airtel, Aircel and Vodafone.
Amazingly Vodafone saw a net increase of nearly 21,000 – twice the amount of the next gainer Aircel with 9,329. If this is any indication – it seems like the big guys didn’t have much to worry about. The article claims that initial numbers from other parts of the country are on similar lines. But we’ll wait to see actual numbers before we comment on that.
A twitter search for MNP is informative and entertaining at the same time. Operators are calling up subscribers who request porting numbers and cajoling them to stay on – some even said they were offered various discounts and schemes. Hmm..any bargain hunters getting any ideas? But on a serious note. There are others who claim that they aren’t able to migrate to another provider.

Airtel’s 3G tariffs in particular seem to be drawing a lot of ire with people talking about wanting to switch away. How many actually do is a different matter of course. There are also reports of teething issues with some of the porting codes that were generated being non functional, while the DOT said that it will be looking into such issues.
Retaining connections wasn’t so much about loyalty to a service provider as it was about keeping a phone number. Now, expect a lot of people to switch and then switch again after the 90 day period. The pressure is on telcos now to find that balance between tariffs and quality of service otherwise they are likely to see a net outflow – which is the most important figure here.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

IEC Publishes The First Universal Phone Charger

Trying to find the different mobile chargers for the handsets in your house could be a thing of the past after the IEC, (the international standards body for electro technology), announced the publication of the first globally relevant universal charger standard for data-enabled mobile phones and this time IT WUDN'T BE CHINESE..... :P 
The standard takes into consideration the charger itself, the connector and plug, its interoperability and how it impacts the environment. The charger will be based on existing MicroUSB specifications, a standard that is accepted worldwide and already in use by the world’s top mobile phone manufacturers.
Manufacturers include Apple, Nokia, Research in Motion, Emblaze Mobile, Huawei Technologies, LGE, Motorola Mobility, NEC, Qualcomm, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, all of which have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the European Commission.
It is thought the new standard will lower production costs, drive down cost for charging equipment and reduce waste, potentially cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 13.6 million tonnes a year.
IEC Publishes The First Universal Phone Charger
Now that the standard has been published, the manufacturers must act and start creating the charging equipment. Whilst no manufacturers have confirmed production of the charger after the IEC’s announcement yesterday, you could soon start to see the equipment rolling out with your new mobile phone.