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Impact - A Blog by INM

Archive for 'August 2010'

    Battle of the Web Browsers Heats Up

    IE, Firefox and Chrome logos

    It’s been an active couple of weeks in terms of web browser news with a plethora of sneak peeks and leaked screenshots. Everyone’s trying to one-up each other in the battle of the browsers.

    It started with the beta release of Mozilla’s Firefox 4 browser, which adds support touch events within the browser on Windows 7 machines. They’ve also added a few other changes like moving the tabs option to the top of the browser and enhancing the JavaScript support to beef up performance of all those slick HTML5 web app demos that are making the rounds.

    Next was the Chrome 6 Beta. Many of the changes on this version can be considered cosmetic – mainly streamlined tabs and buttons. The major feature is the addition of a new auto-fill feature with integrated synch. This allows all instances of Chrome to share form data and use it to auto-fill forms.

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    Does Location-Based Social Media Make Sense for Businesses?

    Pin on a map

    With the launch of Facebook Places this week, it got me thinking about how businesses can really take advantage of this growing trend of users “checking in” at various locations. In the early days of this technology with Foursquare and Gowalla most of the emphasis was placed on the personal social use of the application for meeting up with friends and finding friends nearby. But the value in the application has always been centered on the business angle. For retailers, restaurants, and other consumer-driven businesses it’s always been about collecting customer info and offering rewards to frequent visitors. Businesses looking to attract and award clients to drive loyalty should consider these tools as part of their marketing mix.

    In looking deeper into this technology there are some other creative business uses for it. For example, it’s also being used at conferences to encourage attendees to visit exhibitor booths. I’ve stumbled across a few examples of associations using this technique to drive traffic to sponsor and exhibitor booths. I’ve also seen a number of service-based businesses in the B2B sector using Foursquare to drive walk-ins to their offices, promising anything from free beer, to cool t-shirts, to discounts on services.

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    Why Businesses Shouldn’t Overlook Android

    Android Robot Logo

    It’s been a dismal time for Google with the discontinuation of Google Wave, but some interesting news has surfaced about the market share figures for the Google Android operating system. In the second quarter of 2010, Android Smartphone shipments have surged by a whopping 886%. During the same period, RIM saw a 41% jump in Blackberry sales, allowing it to maintain almost a 50% market share lead over the iPhone. These are some interesting numbers, but why is the Android seeing such an incredible increase? One possible issue inflating these figures is the definition of what constitutes a “Smartphone”. While one would expect a Smartphone to be a robust, app-running device, for the purposes of market share data, pretty much any device that has the power to surf the web and is running Android to do so is counted as an “Android powered Smartphone”.

    What does this higher than expected Android market share data mean for businesses contemplating getting into the mobile market? Well, the good news is that the market is narrowing down to just three major players in terms of OS (until Windows finally comes out with its Windows Phone7 OS). The even better news is that companies now have a viable delivery alternative to the iPhone for rich mobile content. The Android operating system supports Flash and has its own App Store. With its skyrocketing adoption level, Android is quickly becoming another channel for reaching consumers and it’s one that companies in the mobile space should have on their radars.

    Will the New Bing Maps Apps Help Stir-Up Some Competition?

    Bing Maps

    Going head-to-head with Google Maps and Mapquest is tough, but Microsoft has made strides recently with Bing Maps by delivering a new API and some interesting Silverlight 4 features that stir up the wow factor. The Bing Maps API has led to the development of some interesting, and even useful, applications that are available directly on the Bing Maps website.

    The latest application rolled out is the winner of the “King of Bing Maps” Competition - a Taxi Fare Calculator. This app enables users to pick a metropolitan region and type in two addresses. The app then calculates the shortest fare and gives and an estimated price based on the pick-up charge, the by-the-mile fee and the time fee. Additional examples of applications available include a Random Location Generator, a GeoSalesTax viewer, and a World of Football app that shows scores and crowd shots from stadiums around the globe.

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