Erwin predicts, writes about the future & developments today.

Brand: Google

(all brands)

Google Music: another chapter in paying for content

Google expands its Google Play Music services to an online music streaming services that merges your collection with their catalog, personal recommendations using Googles advanced personalisation technology and options to explore music yourself.

It's a payed service, priced 9.99 $ in the US

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

The experience economy is actually taking place in the virtual world. We will pay lots for content. It all has just started. Soon, ‘free’ television and radio, full of ads, will only be watched/listened to by poor people. Without the disappearing opportunity to buy time in the lives of consumers, it will change the brand scape forever.

And this is only just the beginning. In five years from we’ll have bands holographically projected in our living rooms. That will be a bit more expensive, but will really add value to our lives.

And we’ll be invited to join the virtual band. Leaving one instrument to us. Or invite a friend to play instrument, to sing.

Music is a social activity, and very valuable to peoples lives. It all has just started…

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Google Voice skips your operator

Google Voice, is an alternative call apllication to run on smart phones or other devices. Google Voice is now about to hit iPhones by way of an app. This app for the iPhone has immediately access to your contacts.

Here is how it works: you don't press you regular 'Phone' application, but you select your Google Voice button. You just dial a number or select it from your contacts, as you would do in your regular phone application. The App diales out to Google and you' be a called back to connect both sides and you press the Green button. In this way, you do not only skip the standard fees charged to you by your operator, it will also allow you to maintain your calls from any other smartphone or devices. It actually disconnects your telephone number from your device. Additionally, you can also SMS people the same way.

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Google Wave: a new communication platform

Wave is a new communication platform by Google. It's a Frothy Collaborative Mix of Chat, Instant Messaging, Twitter and Google Docs in Real-Time: A "wave" is equal parts conversation and document, where people can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more..

Here's how it works: In Google Wave you create a wave and add people to it. Everyone on your wave can use richly formatted text, photos, gadgets, and even feeds from other sources on the web. They can insert a reply or edit the wave directly. It's concurrent rich-text editing, where you see on your screen nearly instantly what your fellow collaborators are typing in your wave. That means Google Wave is just as well suited for quick messages as for persistent content — it allows for both collaboration and communication. You can also use "playback" to rewind the wave and see how it evolved.

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Google shows where your friends are

Google is letting consumers share their location with friends and family on Google Maps for Mobile under the name Google Latitude. To use it, you first need to download the newest version of Google Maps for Mobile and activate Latitude. Then you can invite your friends to share their location with you. When they accept the invitation you can see their location on a Google Maps for Mobile map after which you're given the opportunity to call, text or email them or even chat with them.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

This is how even Google can grow into a social coaching brand. From Gmail and Google Talk contact lists are created in which Google can even see whom you have more and less contact with. Those contact lists can be used to look up acquaintances fast. Furthermore, with the Android phone, Google can see who’s calling and texting you. This way Google creeps very closely to your friends’ circle and can then offer more added value there.

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Google has design favicon

Google has a new favicon, based on a contest held earlier.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Brands think better and vetter about brand visualisation in the virtual world that’s being created. At the moment 99.9% of the companies has just a miniature version of the logo as favicon. It results in all sorts of small frilly things because that logo will neer fit in such a small space. Google thought about it really well, with its community at that, and that’s how it should be.

Google searches based on your voice input

Using Google Voice Search iPhone users can enter their search query by voice. The speech command will be saved on the iPhone and sent to Google. Google's central servers convert the query into text through voice recognition and then they look it up.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Brands are entering the spoken dialogue. Currently by sending files, but soon they’ll listen directly to what you have to say. Currently affordable only for the biggest companies in the world, but in a year or ten available for the baker at the end of the street. Then you can just ask whether there’s still ‘pine nut bread’ and you’ll receive an answer immediately. All automated.

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Google Flu Trends predicts the flu

Google is launching a web service that can map a potential flu epidemic in an early stage: Google Flu Trends. The company assumes that people who feel sickly will google words like 'flu', 'symptoms' and 'muscle ache'. If the term is entered in the same region multiple times that region will be given a different color on Google Flu Trends. Stopping an epidemic with Google Flu Trends. Furthermore the company thinks they'll be faster than officials.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Brands are aiming their sensors at consumers, and combine what they see. Currently with pictures, but soon they’ll be listening to our coughing and we’ll be carrying biosensors which are permanently connected to our health coaching brands. This is a step in that direction.

Google Maps Streetview on iPhone

Google Maps Streetview, the photographic display of the street like you're looking into it, is now also available on the iPhone. The photographic image can be seen full screen while a small version of the map appears in the bottom right corner.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Currently as old photographs with people from the photographic era. Soon all changes (new billboards, renovations), but also traffic will be adapted dynamically. Like you’re watching through a camera. Then you can get additional information with everything you see. Spoken, through your ear piece. This future is fast approaching.

Google shows 2001’s site

Google, in honor of its 10-year anniversary, pulled out Google 2001. They're the oldest search results still available. In the passing years the logo has changed, but searching still happens in exactly the same way. Most of the sites found no longer exist.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Traditional brand thinking is based on building a consistent image. When the strategy changes, all the brand’s expressions have to chance. It was absolutely necessarily; people are always shown the brand in a flash and based on that a brand image is formed in people’s heads. However, the times have changed. For no reason, people can spend half an hour visiting a brand (virtually). Showing how you used to look, where you came from, what your origin is, that’s only powerful. It makes a brand authentic.

Tip for every brand: always save your old websites!

Google shows speech moments in video

Google has found a way to visualize search results in videos. For example, someone searching for 'Health' will receive a line under the (YouTube) video with markers when the person says the word 'health'. This is known to Google as Gaudi.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Currently Google responds to our typed query, soon we can sit behind our tv and ask ‘health’. And after that ‘When was that guy talking about health?’ And even later it’ll search for all kinds of synonyms. It goes on and on. Not just for Google, but for all brands. We’ll be able to ask such questions of all brands. Like it’s always been the most normal thing on the planet. For now we’re very busy with reaction properly to the clicking and typing of our customers, but in the meantime technology is a few steps ahead of us.

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Google with own 3D world

Google launches its own 3d world under the name Lively. In this world users can create avatars, communicate with others and build their own spaces and objects.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

All brands are building on their own 3D brand worlds. The most fortunate and online oriented brands are at the forefront, but soon every brandsite will be a 3D world, instead of the 2D websites we encounter at the moment. And eventually this will also go for the smallest brands. And in those 3D worlds we won’t need to create our own avatars, we usually come as ourselves, just like entering a store. And sometimes we dress up, give ourselves a different name, like in the theatre, playing sports or at the carnival.

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Google Maps listens to voice

Google offers American BlackBerry users the ability to search through Google Maps Mobile using voice commands. How it works is simple. By pressing 0 the map centers around the location of the user. By pressing a special button the user can pronounce the business or the name of the business (for example 'ATM' or 'cash machine'). After releasing, Google gets to work.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Brands are starting to react to everything the consumer says, how the consumer watches, what the consumer does. In time the text the consumer writers will become less and less important. Currently we’ve still built a whole society on them. That’s going to be brought down in the coming years. It’s all about reacting to your conversational partner. It’s all about the dialogue.

Google commences battle for favicon

Since recently, Google has a new favicon, a small icon that appears in the address bar of the browser, that's shown if you've added Google to your favorites. It seems a little clumsily designed and there's been quite some debating on the web. Now Google has invited people to contribute themselves: design the Google Favicon!

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

The favicon is becoming an increasingly important element of the visual brand identity. Once a window is opened to the brand, but you’re active in a different window, often you’ll only see that site’s favicon. Furthermore the favicon is shown on many more places, like in RSS readers. And the use will only increase, for example for mobile applications for which the screens are already small and they can give you an overview of your favorite pages (brands) with their favicons.

Today the favicon is receiving relatively little attention. Too often the favicon is a shrunken version of the brand’s logo with horrific results. Because the logo isn’t designed for 16x16pixels. The earliest Google favicon was pretty strong (just the G in the typical Google colors), but maybe they deliberately chose such an ugly favicon to create some buzz.

By letting users design with them, Google increases their involvement with the brand. People feel flattered that they’re allowed to send something in at all, especially if it’s treated seriously thereafter. That person will be given eternal fame. Online-only brands like Google are at the forefront of this development.

This is how brands can involve consumers with the development of their visual brand identity. Now for something as small as the favicon, but in the long term also with other elements. Logo not excepting. The head office will facilitate rather than dictate. It’s part of the brand coming out: the decay of barriers between producer and consumer that every brand has to deal with and has to find a good mode for.

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Google starts competition in Africa

Through a context for East-African students, Google has developed new gadgets, small pieces of software with which users can share things (such as movies, games or information) on their weblog. It's expected that this will lead to locally applicable gadgets that help the community. The first prize is $600 and the 2nd to 6th prize winners get $350 each.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

And so the focus of the world is slowly shifting to Africa. Now that China and India are developing like mad we enter the last decades in which small children will produce products for the Western world seven days a week for a paltry sum.
As developed country children will be able to go to school, grow and design products that help people in the world. Cheap manufacturing will only be available through robots or underdeveloped countries. Which will develop in turn. This long term strategy of Google anticipates this. For a few hundred dollars it’s not a bad investment. wink

Google gives homeless free voicemail

Google starts a trial project giving out free voice mail numbers to the homeless in San Francisco. This voice mail number can be used as a call-back number for job applications, or for doctors and hospitals to keep in touch with their patient. If the project proves to be a success, Google wants to spread this service to other American cities (dc, Dutch). What a great example of socially responsible business. This is the brand coming out in its purest form. In this process the burden between manufacturer and consumer completely disappears, working transparently is second nature, and the brand more or less integrates in society. To operate responsibly, these brands make sure everyone benefits, and they use their core competences to help the weakest people in society. Socially responsible business is not about 'look how green we are', and then follow a new trend the next year. That is just responding to a societal (media) trend. No, socially responsible business is about the long term process of change in organizations, which after all is the only survival process. Google gives a great example here.

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