Le Web 12: Google, Twitter and Facebook

Liveblogged – so mistakes

On Tuesday afternoon, representatives from Google, Twitter and Facebook were on stage. The Google talk was an interesting insight into how search works and the ways Google are thinking about ‘things’ – objects they can build search results around, where there is context. (couldn’t capture all of this due to some work stuff). Twitter and Facebook were both there to do minor product announcements. Twitter about extension of trend results to more cities and Facebook to launch Messenger for all – even those without a FB account (OK, that was not so minor)

Ben Gomes, Vice President & Google Fellow, Google – Moving from Strings to Things.

Le Web Paris Dec 2012

Google starting to understand context, synonyms, spelling etc. They have to move to understanding what is being talked about, the object. They need to start to treat key words as references to things. To start to understand this, have to create a mapping from keywords to a large number of things. Have 560m data set of people, data and things, with 18n connections. This allows you to give meaning. It is a graph that is created from things on the web etc. How do you bring them together coherently? Now when you type in something, you start to get a knowledge panel about it. If you look for a person, you get the data about the person, but also projects, the people involved and connected with them etc.

A big challenge is internationalising it. So look at US and UK. Football is different. ‘Chiefs’ means different teams in different countries. Plus languages. Launching in French, Japan, Germany, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Portuguese. A lot of it comes from free sources on the web, plus own databases. There are humans cirating underlying datasets, but algorithms bring it together. They stay objective as far as possible. Loic asks about quality, if Google are using Wikipedia. Google know there are problems – and allows you to report a problem.

Have been focusing on making search a lot richer. Eg Verbal search improving. We are working on translations etc. Building up options for natural language processing. This will help with internet of things. Eg ‘find me my keys’

Q: what is search in 5 years? The path we are on, the dream is the Star Trek computer. THat is the fantasy. But we have made steps. Speech recognition; natural language interpretation. As search gets better, then people start pushing it harder. Search will get smarter in ways that you won’t recognise as it’s happening.

Q: now trying the future? It goes from search with a query, but search where the question is implicit. We can guess with time and save you a lot of effort. You can see there is a lot of space, about predictive search. Translation can bring more information to more people….eg Hindi speakers have very little web content

Katie Stanton, Vice President of International Market Development, Twitter

Role is to grow the audience of Twitter outside of the US. So increasing discovery; working with partners around events. Build the team on the ground. Been working with media companies in France – TV companies here are ahead of many places. Being great to be working here, inspiring creativity. Available in 33 languages, accessible on many devices. In about 33 markets, you can see trends per country, and in some places cities. This is being expanded to more markets and cities.

Q: How do you guide your partners in being in the rules? There is a lot of creativity, so don’t bound this. We show best practices, what to do and not to do. The biggest lesson is to be genuine with themselves. We also share real-time analytics with partners.

Q: What diferences in cultures in how people using? Everyone comes to connect. Japanese use as SMS replacement. to communicate directly. We see Latin markets, being open and expressive and creating lots. About 60% create, 40% just consume. Latin markets over index on creation.

Q: We’ve seen lost sof things. What are you favourite examples? Like the everyday things, the human touch. Like that it humanises institutions.

Q: Does it mean that orgs\celebrities are becoming more savvy about comms? Yes, celebrities see that they need to be on these platforms.

Peter Deng, Director of Product Management, Facebook

Q: How is the shift to mobile? Big. Our product teams are now focused on a mobile first company. The teams now all take care of their mobile products now. We learn from mobile now and then bring it to web

Q: So everything is mobile first? Not going to say never (turn up on web first) but that’s the aim. That shift is as big as launching platform. We have taken the platforms..they have different affordances. The phone is different. They are always on and always with you and always logged in as you. They are interuptive. They can buzz you. That is different to what a PC can do. So as a result we are focusing on the messaging (and mobile) Affordances are about what the engineered object naturally does.

Q: Would you say the internet industry have viewed mobile as smaller desktop..but now FB is thinking different. Yes, Tradiitonally, it’s a scaled down version with less functionality., But now at FB, it is about the experiences, the mobile experiences. We’ve been investing in mobilke messaginf over the last 18 months. We have built FB Messenger etc..we see that people want more than the SMS. Up until today, we assumed that you had to be FB user to user Messenger and that it was just for your friends. Now we change it today. You can just have a Messenger account and you can use it with just a phone number (for free)

Q: So why does FB care about this? We want people to care about connecting with people, Messenging has always be care. We need to give people more than the type of messaging they are used to on the phone.

Q: So there are 2 ways this can help – it’s a pathway to Facebook. And to increase usage of existing members, to give them more people to communicate it? For dev world, a lot of times it’s just messaging and we are allowing this. This could lead to them being able to do more.

Q: now you need an email address to sign up?
yes, 6% of teen use email daily., 66% of them use SMS daily. So a different shift in comms habit. People have been known to get an email address just to sign up for Facebook

Q: Should the carriers be worried? We have worked closely with carriers. A lot of people use Facebook already – paying for the data. We work with 2 carriers to provide a reduce rate of data plan for those who just want to use Messenger.

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