Digital footprints, gphone, trust and Web 30

I am on my way to Orlando to chair mobile web americas .. And I read the latest business week which has an article about the gphone ..

Like many, I follow developments from Google, Nokia and Motorola – more than from Apple .. So anything about gphone catches my eye.

Whichever way you look at it(and whenever it will finally launch) – one thing is fairly certain: the gphone will be based on advertising

So, let’s analyse what that means

A). For the advertising model to work, we need eyeballs

B). For a truly mobile advertising experience, we need personalization

C). And finally, we need trust i.e. users must trust Google

Finally, to top it all, the ‘how’ is more important than the concepts themselves. The concepts have been around for a while .. Everyone talks of context. Everyone agrees it is important.

Ironically, anyone who has been in the industry for a while will agree that the industry is hopelessly fragmented …

Hence, ‘context’ is easier said than done!

So somehow there must be a way to first unify the disparate user community and then get them to trust you

Let’s start with trust.

Take my example ..

While Google may be seen as a one trick pony; there are at least two non advertising related Google products which are central to my daily life(Google reader and gmail). Ironically, as of today,gmail still shows ‘beta’.

What does that tell you about me? I trust Google. And I suspect so do many others(especially gmail users)

This trust is critical to determining the ultimate winner ; for a very simple reason. People have to give up LOTS of personal data to a third party for personalization to really work .. And that third party has to be trusted!

Tony Fish calls it digital footprints ..

Others call it ‘digital cookie crumbs’

Or digital nuggets

And there is gold in them nuggets ..

In a sense, Google already know this.

And so do we ..

We accept contextual advertising within gmail – advertising which is based on the content of that email.

Thus, as witnessed by the uproar about the privacy concerns of gmail when it was launched and its subsequent acceptance, Google/gmail has already crossed that bridge!

All that remains is to make it ‘mobile’ – admittedly not easy – but not impossible either!

So, if we now if we accept that we trust Google with our digital footprints .. The next logical question is: how can this targeted advertising be complemented by eyeballs?

To really get a mass market, Google will have to unify the mobile user base along some dimension

How to do this?

Here is a clue ..

Eric Schmidt launched into a discussion of web 30 rather spontaneously of all the places in south Korea

After first joking that Web 2.0 is “a marketing term”, Schmidt launched into a great definition of Web 3.0. He said that while Web 2.0 was based on Ajax, Web 3.0 will be “applications that are pieced together” – with the characteristics that the apps are relatively small, the data is in the cloud, the apps can run on any device (PC or mobile), the apps are very fast and very customizable, and are distributed virally (social networks, email, etc).

The OpenGardens blog has been talking about cloud computing for some time ..

The simple fact is: Once information is in a cloud, the industry fragmentation does not matter.

A range of devices/technologies could access the cloud

How many other brands do you trust? For me, Nokia – comes to mind .. thats about it!.


  1. MassimoV says:

    Which brands do people trust? Good question!
    Well, do people trust mobile operators, for example? Banks? Department stores?
    The latter two have already A LOT of users’ information…