The Mirror That Is Google & Artificial Intelligence

Google is a mirror of truths about ourselves. When we look into this mirror the internet stares back at us.

Your search history can reflect the truest sense of one’s self and Google often learns things about you the same time  you do… and maybe even before in some cases.  “Am I pregnant?”, “Do I have cancer?”, “How do I file for bankruptcy?”, etc, etc.

While these may be some of the more extreme scenarios, Google is often the first place people go to begin the discovery phase of life matters such as these- in addition to more common searches such as “bottomless brunch Chicago”, “Rapadito Columbian Restaurant reviews“, and let’s not forget the “erotic searches” that account for 13% of all web searches… yeah, that’s right, Google knows what you’re into. (My business partner, Jim O’Brien, and I have joked that someone should create an app that automatically sends your recent search history to your mother). Regardless of whatever you’re searching for, Google captures this data and is learning more and more about you based off your inquiries.  But you are not alone.

Google is the most utilized platform for these types of searches by hundreds of millions of people every single day.  Here is a site where you can go to see a real-time ticker of the number of Google searches being done just today… enjoy.

Consider these numbers.  Currently, Google holds a 67.5% share of the US search market and an astounding 87.1% share of the mobile search market. In just one month, Google has 1.17 billion unique monthly users and a total of 11.944 billion monthly Google searches. (Random fun fact: 56% of Google users have Googled themselves… guilty)  Also, consider that the number of people conducting online searches is continuously growing. One of Google’s primary missions is to connect the entire world through the internet… now that is a lot of mirrors.

That’s also big data at its, well, biggest. What is Google doing with all this data? Lots. However, some of their recent moves in the artificial intelligence space opens up a world of possibilities. As Google dives further into A.I. all of this big data will be mined, crafted and retargeted for consumer & commercial applications in ways that we can only imagine at this point. The movie “Her“, to me, is not too unrealistic. “Her” is about a lonely writer that develops an ‘unlikely’ relationship with his newly purchased operating system, Samantha, that’s designed to meet his every need. The movie and technology behind Samantha is seemingly a little far-fetched, but is it?

Birth of Artificial Intelligence - Binary Burst

Many A.I. experts do not believe so at all.  One expert, Stephen Wolfram, whose Wolfram Alpha drives the artificial intelligence-like component of Siri on the iPhone, thinks that an OS like Samantha as depicted in the film is not only possible, the technology behind it isn’t that far off.  It is highly conceivable that within just the next 10-15 years, personal A.I. OS’s such as these will be available for consumer usage. And yes, I also believe some people will fall for their OS’s. This guy already fell in love with Siri.  Whether or not the A.I. client falls in love back is TBD.

Who knows? If we keep feeding enough data to the big machine, Operating Systems just may even learn how to feel emotions, too…

 

“Technology is awesome”

-Brad Miller

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Minions in the Social Media Market

Perfect example of the type of opportunity social media can present to companies. This could have been a great opportunity to for Tic Tac to position itself as a customer-centric brand and gain a lot of new customer advocates and promoters. Big Revenue/Marketing loss.

Social Humming Bird

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The idea started with Lukeytoons. He designed tic tacs in the form of minions from the movie:  “Despicable Me”!  This picture was sent around the world through a range of Social Media Platforms and of course there was A LOT of interest for the product.

Some people wrote to Tic Tac to ask them when their new product line was to be release.  They replied:  ‘What product line are you referring to?’  Of course, customers soon informed them of this photograph that hit a viral market epidemic.  Tic Tac replied, and made it known, that this is not a product of theirs and they do not see them making such product in the foreseeable future.

It is interesting when businesses around the world are still recovering from the GFC, and then an opportunity like this is presented to a company whom then turns it down.  Of course, there are many…

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Social Media Broken? No, Social Media is Still Young

I recently read an article titled “The Social Media Industry is Broken… And It’s Our Fault”.

Let me start off by saying “that grinds my gears“. As of December 27, 2013, PewResearch conducted a study that found 73% of internet users 18+ use a social networking site.  Let’s use Facebook as our example where an astounding 71% of online adults have an active account in the US with well over 2 Billion social network users worldwide (there are 2.5 billion internet users as of January 2014).

The extent to which you would have to go to formulate an ad campaign that would reach that many (unique) consumers through one platformis unfathomable (unless you’re Google). Elon Musk would say you put a tattoo on the moon like Will Smith in Hancock.

HubSpot displayed some of the most remarkable ad campaigns to date. One of the most successful campaigns ever was the 2008 Presidential Campaign of Barack Obama? The campaign claimed over 2.5 million fans on Facebook alone (McCain & Palin caught on a little later with 625,000 fans). What the Obama campaign did was unlock the true power of social media- of course, with the help of David Axelrod and Harper Reed (Chicago native and “probably one of the coolest guys ever“). That power was to turn people like you and me into screaming, raving advocates for the cause that advocated to everyone in their networks simply by posting, sharing and recommending. “The cause” may be your own business, your civil rights beliefs, your preferred nail salon or how unbelievably awesome House of Cards season 2 was.

Today, with social media still in its infancy, most businesses and marketers have yet to unlock that true power of social media (with over 1 billion users).

Let us not forget that social media, as we know it, has only been in existence for just a decade…  and I am being generous by including MySpace to extend that timeframe by 2-3 years… you know before “GarageBand from the Block” was their niche.

It took more than a decade for marketers to figure out the true value of traditional broadcast opportunities such as radio & TV (and medieval hard paper publications). Businesses, corporations and marketers need to harness the fact that 73% of adults (consumers) use social media and that this growing percentage represents the majority of their customer base.  They need to unleash and mobilize their customers into screaming, raving advocates spreading the word.  Even Nielsen still finds to this day that “84% of consumers around the world say they trust word-of-mouth recommendations… a form of earned media, above all other sources of advertising” (Nielsen, 2013). Well, welcome to the new, amplified age of “earned media”.

To those who feel “Social Media is Broken”… stop utilizing social media like a band-aid to cover a little wound. When you learn to activate your targets (customers, consumers, followers, stay-at-home mothers) you will unlock the true value of social media.

Brad Miller

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The Evolution of Social Media

In 2004, just a decade ago, there were two really prominent social media sites- MySpace & Friendster. Then, this happened and Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, which exploded, redefining “social media” as we knew it.  As soon as the popularity of Facebook got around, entrepreneurs and imitators were quick to try to get a piece of the pie.  In 2007, just a few years later, Mashable was able to put together a well-organized list of over 350 social networking sites. Fast-forward to 2014 and a list like this would be virtually impossible to keep up with as new social networking sites & apps come and go every day.

Today, there are about 90 social networking sites with over 1 million users and 18 social networking sites with over 100 million users. Social media has become so integrated into our everyday lives (and the technology we use to go about them) that it is rare to find an app or site that lack any social aspects to them. Sign up for this app using Facebook, Share this article on Twitter, Pin this picture on Pinterest, connect with this this random guy on LinkedIn per his suggestion in the signature line of the unsolicited email he sent you and the list goes on… Consumers who receive their credit scores through Transunion.com now even have the option to share their credit scores on their Facebook pages.

While Facebook (currently over 1.26 billion users) and Twitter (currently over 250 million users) claim a vast percentage of the social media population, there are many other havens for people to turn to. There are the “secondary” social networking sites such as Pinterest & LinkedIn that are certainly not to be discounted. There are also rising social networks that represent a new kind of social media such as Snapchat and Whisper who have staked their claims in disappearing and anonymous user-generated content, respectively. If none of these sites do it for you, then there are plenty of other niche social media havens for users to flock to such as Ravelry, a “tight-knit” community of knitters, or Stache Passions, a social networking site for people who have a passion for mustaches. Whatever you’re buying, they’re selling.

The Long Tail Theory by Chris Anderson, a theory that is proven time and again in this digital age, suggests that countless new (niche) social media networks will continue to surface as the world continues to grow more and more connected through the internet. Social media sites for every kind of person will continue to be developed to fit their interests  (“they have a social media network for that”).

The question is not whether or not social media will be around in the future, but rather, what form will it take (see “Social Media is Broken? No, Social Media is Still Young).  Facebook’s recent moves to acquire WhatsApp & Oculus show that they are looking ahead to what they can and will be to their current and future users.  Mark Zuckerberg had this to say to investors after the announcement of the acquisition of Oculus,- a company leading the way in virtual reality gaming,- “This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures. After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a courtside seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home”.

Some of the more immediate variables that will determine the future shape of social media are: How far, and how quickly, will wi-fi reach around the globe? In what ways will wearables and other emerging technologies affect social media? –What types of new social media networks will spur from these developments? Which tech or social media giants will buy out up-and-coming social media players?

And yes, I purposely left out tougher restrictions placed on social media networks due to privacy issues. That’s a topic of it’s own.

 


Follow me on Twitter @bradmiller_

All Things Digital & Social

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