How about a little update on what’s happening with three previous blog posting topics...
1. Google Enters the Race for Mobile Payment Systems
It was a mere six weeks ago (click here) that we talked about Starbucks and their nationwide rollout of the Starbucks Card mobile payment app. Apparently six weeks was just enough time for Google to decide that if Starbucks can do it, Google can do it better. A recent Bloomberg report lets us know that Google is planning to install near-field-communication (NFC) readers in thousands of merchant locations that will allow consumers to tap their device against a register to make payments. Not only will Google facilitate mobile payment for you, but the report states that Google may combine your “financial account information, gift-card balances, store loyalty cards and coupon subscriptions” all on a single chip in your phone.
This will occur in a market of mobile payment users that is estimated at 116 million this year, with expectations of 375 million in another four years. Another big player who wants to capitalize on that growing market is American Express. It appears that an AMEX team-up with Foursquare will allow cardmembers to not only pay securely, but also to participate in location-based promotions.
Hmm... so if you take your smartphone with you, maybe you can actually leave home without your American Express card after all.
2. Myspace Continues its "Great Revival"
It was only three weeks ago (click here) that the topic of “Saving Myspace” (and its potential sale) generated considerable commentary not only here on the blog, but especially on the repost at Social Media Today (the commentary there included a surprise visit by new Myspace VP and Director of Content Socialization Sean Percival). Myspace is ranked this week at a very respectable #38 in the United States according to traffic (see the Alexa.com link).
So what’s new? Myspace was a significant player in the recent SXSW Music and Film Interactive, streaming live music from the festival to its 63 million visitors. A capitalization on its strength in the music industry? Maybe. But, on the other hand, there are reports that the site’s decline is accelerating.
Will music save Myspace? Or is it time to start making bets on how many more months before there’s nobody left there to friend?
3. Facebook Patents a Search Protocol Based on WOMOMOM
And finally, let’s add a quick update to last week’s discussion of Google’s new facial recognition search (here on the blog or here on SMT with insightful commentary by TagMeNot's Alberto Cammozzo). As much as Google is able to throw its weight around on the internet, we know that Facebook holds tight on the social networking data. And now Facebook has just been granted a new search patent that prioritizes search results based on the preferences of your personal network. This essentially automates (or completely replaces) the process of asking your friends for their opinions on upcoming events, purchases, etc. But instead of just asking friends, it’s like you’re asking "friends of friends," or even "friends of friends of friends." Kind of like word-of-mouth (WOM), but with more layers like, say, word-of-mouth-of-mouth-of-mouth ("WOMOMOM").
What does this mean for online search? It means that Facebook can use the similarities of people in extended networks to predict the search results that those people will most prefer. The end result? You may be happier with your search results because they match your “profile” as determined by your friends’ (and friends of friends’) preferences. But in the end, will your limited choice sets also limit your potential to find “less popular” options? It probably will. And here we thought you didn’t want to wear the same dress/tie/hat as everyone else at the party.
Updates on prior blogs are sensible.
Comment below (or at Social Media Today).