Our view is that the bigger threat now comes from people wanting to reduce the data they use – be that consumers who want to reduce their bill or MNOs / WiFi companies who would like to free up bandwidth to speed up their service. We get into more on this in our podcast with Balderton on AdBlocking.
A couple of new developments from Google highlight how this data issue is moving centre stage – they are pushing lighter and hence faster web pages in Indonesia and India and they are highlighting in search which pages are slow to load.
Just as Facebook have done with their light App, the focus is emerging markets where bandwidth is relatively scarce and, for most consumers, relatively expensive. But we see similar concerns over download speeds in mature markets too and services that offer to speed things up by reducing the amount of data will find an audience here in the West.
Ultimately publishers need to make their value proposition clear – if you don’t pay for the content through seeing ads or paying a subscription, then you can’t see the content.
But even this is potentially undermined by the emergence of Facebook, Apple and Google as (re)distributors – could stonewalling the people using adblockers drive them to consume the content on one of the GAFA news aggregators?
The latest deck from Luma is a great summary of the adtech market but their core point seems to be that the market is over supplied and a bloodbath is likely as the market consolidates. A WSJ article makes a similar point as it says VC money for the sector is drying up;
A view from Krux makes the point that many of these zombie adtech companies have been limping around for a while, but as both Facebook and Google step up their products and services in this space, many companies look like they are more about a feature than a product. And it’s not just Google and Facebook – Adobe, Oracle and Salesforce are all extending their marketing automation cloud into the advertising space
Whilst Atlas talk about People Marketing, Google are now talking Moments. This article goes into the Moments well and covers the DoubleClick conference where a number of interesting new products were announced. With a focus on cross device measurement and a push into Programmatic this is quite a big move. This piece compares the Google products with the Facebook ones and sees a division between deterministic and probabilistic data. Because Google routinely get the regulators attention they are using their logged in user data more sparingly than Facebook do. Given the EU has started to look at Facebook too, this difference in approach may be temporary.
The next GAFA issue likely to get attention in Brussels is facial recognition. Google are using it to power their new Photo service and Facebook Moments uses it too
In the Google service it’s an efficiency as it puts pictures of the same people together in your collection of photos. In Facebook moments it is used to see which of your friends are in the photos and offer you the chance to sync those photos with your friends. But it’s not coming to Europe – yet – as the regulators don’t like it.
It’s also becoming a big issue in the US where they are trying to get some voluntary code of conduct. but with no luck so far. With more and more pictures taken and technology getting better, this is going to be a significant issue. It’s already quite easy to search Google Images with a picture. And the Police are very interested in this technology – storing some 18m peoples photos on a database and last week scanned the face of everyone attending a festival in Leicester. They have been filming football fans attending matches for some years.
We get asked about privacy a lot at our workshops and our answer is always that people seem less concerned about what GAFA knows than the fact we have more CCTV cameras in London than anywhere else in the world.
We have been thinking a lot about how the news from both Google IO and Apple WWDC indicates that Apps are evolving. Wired think they are in a race to kill the app but we think that’s a little extreme (although this new story also suggests this). Deep linking does change everything and we think that services that mine apps and web pages for the contextually relevant information (or action) are the future. But what does mobile learn from the web and the search model that is so mature on desktop? Do the walled gardens of GAFA mean brands need to build two different services? Can the web not bridge the walled gardens?
Delivery and the Shared Economy
You don’t need to spend that long in San Francisco to see it’s not like anywhere else. It’s the one place that makes you question the William Gibson quote – The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.
How much of this could make it outside tech enclaves like SF, Brooklyn and East London is the question VCs are wrestling with; we always ask Would it work in Leeds?
As he prepares for Cannes, Evan Spiegal has taken a few moments out to explain what Snapchat is all about. But in a curious low res video shot in landscape…. Given he is imploring brands to switch to portrait video – as they are 9 times more likely to be viewed - that’s a little odd.
This video interview with Marissa Mayer is worth watching. Some good insights into their product and the ads; We’re the biggest media company that gets tech and the biggest tech company that gets media
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