Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Search Engine Strategies, New York, Day One

Hello from New York! We are at Day one of Search Engine Strategies in New York City. I attended six sessions in the “Search and the Future” track. I had several AHA’s which I’ll blog out over the next few weeks. Here’s some highlights of the day …

The keynote, given by Guy Kawasaki, was my favorite of the day. Guy’s address was entitled “Using Twitter as a Marketing Tool.” Twitter has been no friend of mine, causing me one frustration after another, so I was eager to see what all the fuss was about.

What I learned in a nutshell is that Twitter, and similar Social Networking applications, are the absolute future of the Internet. As the popularity of these tools increase, people turn more and more to asking questions of each other in real time, rather than getting their information via a secondary source like Google.

Guy gave a great example of how one business is using Twitter to take advantage of this new trend. A little automotive service center monitors tweets for people within a 100 mile radius who are discussing the term “brakes” on Twitter. Once they spot a Tweet on the subject (“My brakes are squealing. What is causing that?” or “Does anybody know a place where I can get my brakes checked?”) they immediately respond with an offer to assist the questioner, and include a “Twitter 10% discount.

This particular automotive center conducts a large and growing business this way. They simply use the tools on Twitter and on Twitter apps to create opportunity for themselves as a business. Guy gave several Twitter apps which I will share in a later post.

So it seems cutting out the middle man and getting back to the human to human element is what our future holds when it comes to the Internet. Another session fleshed out details of Goggle’s project, Cloud Computer Initiative. Google is building large data centers in anticipation of the time when computing will all take pace in the cloud. Users won’t use individual computers, but instead will have terminals connected to the computing cloud. This cloud will contain all software, data, and applications needed for computing. Likely, future versions of smart phones will serve as the access hardware. We’ve been hearing this for years and now it appears this is on the near horizon.

I ended the day in a session where Cindy Krum was the presenter. Her topic was, “Mobile Marketing Strategies.” She gave a very telling stat: 5% of cell phone owners have an iPhone. However, 75% of mobile searches are conducted via iPhone. Think that one through carefully and you tell me where online opportunity lies.

What an amazing first day at SES. See you tomorrow!

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