Mobile Apps and Mobile-Friendly Websites for Business: 
The Next Big Thing in Internet Marketing?

Shortly after Internet accessibility via mobile phones started to take off, marketers started to encourage businesses to build mobile versions of their websites. But there is always a gap between innovations and those who follow up in order to take advantage of the latest technologies.

mobile-friendly website with responsive WordPress theme

ComBridges’ new mobile-friendly website design uses a responsive WordPress theme

But, now that there is a meaningful volume of web visitors checking out every website (yes, even yours!) via mobile devices, spanning this gap is becoming more of a requirement. And yet, there are still a very significant number of businesses who don’t have mobile-friendly websites. The really bad news, particularly for those who are falling behind, is that the gap is widening between those who are meeting the demand for mobile-friendly web communications and those who are not. The good news is that there are a new generation of business communication tools arising in the form of apps and new kinds of websites that make meeting this need increasingly accessible. Illuminating these trends with specific examples is the purpose of this blog post.

The Mobile Web is Exploding

These changes are unquestionably dramatic. While the Web was born on desktop computers, it is obviously no longer simply a desktop medium. By May 2012, fully one tenth of the world’s web traffic was arriving on your digital doorstep via mobile phones and tablets. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s the “developing” world that is truly leading the charge. In those countries where cell phones have long outnumbered landlines, more than one-half of web use is now coming via mobile devices. This demand for mobile delivery is now forcing the issue and providing further fuel for the shift in how websites are designed. In this environment, for a company to ignore the need for the mobile-friendly delivery of its Web content not only limits that company’s engagement opportunities because they are essentially “dissing” a significant segment of their audience. In the US alone, mobile is now estimated to be about 15% of web traffic. Bottom line, this form of resistance to change (or upgrades) will also exclude that company from a significant component of how the next billion people will get online.

Chinese woman with iPad

Photo by Robert May, April, 2013

Not Your Father’s Website Design

Web development for the mobile age itself is advancing quickly. One of the latest innovations is called responsive website designs. Because responsive designs automatically adjust their layout to suit the device being used, they offer a relatively simple solution that can eliminate the complexity of having to create a separate mobile-friendly version of your website. But this means that those—like my company recently—must invest in a redesign in order to keep pace with the mobile revolution. But that’s not all. The pace of change does not slow down. It accelerates.

Span the Gap with an App

Now, at least for marketers who are committed to the leading edge of engagement with social media savvy users who love their mobile devices, a responsive design may not be enough. Mobile apps are yet another important innovation because they combine the emergence of ever-expanding Web access via mobile devices with the ability to communicate directly, in a native form (i.e. within the mobile medium) via customized business-specific functionalities from Facebook feeds, to special offers, to location-based components.

A recent article by SmartMediaTips on mobile statistics points out that over 50% of an individual’s time spent on a smartphone is spent using apps. In 2011, smartphone users downloaded 17.7 billion apps, and this number is expected to increase to 108 billion by 2015. As a result, more than 300,000 apps were developed in the last 3 years. In a sense, apps are the new websites (just like “60 is the new 40.”)

The good news is that some newly developed Web-based SaaS (software as service) resources are make building basic apps far more accessible and affordable than previously imagined. The result is a new trend in mobile marketing: the development of business apps that can be used by companies of virtually any size. Of course, many large, enterprise-level businesses have already jumped on the app bandwagon, including banks, Starbucks, Google, and even Walmart’s new checkout app. Now, there are mobile apps for the rest of us.

Mobile Apps vs. Mobile Websites

A business mobile app means that your website can be programmed to offer mobile users an interface for your website and social media content that is all the more friendly, not only with a vertical layout that fits a smartphone screen, but with an interface that features icons (rather than web-style text links) that are also a natural for the touch of a screen. Thus, an app offers more than a responsive website design. An app gives your business a mobile presence that can put local or social media interactivity in a more prominent position. In particular, an app allows your loyal customers and followers to retrieve content, like audio podcasts or video commentaries for example, that are more conveniently accessed while on the move. Likewise, Facebook posts and tweets, which are commonly accessed via mobile, can become part of your business app’s featured content.

One logical strategy is use the app to make your social media marketing and content marketing outreach more accessible. For example, when individuals are standing in line at the bank or at the grocery store, with an app at their fingertips, they will much more easily be able browse through your Facebook posts. In fact, they are certainly more likely to visit your Facebook Page while on your app rather than from Facebook’s own app where they are far more than likely to be distracted by their family’s photos, etc.

Likewise, if you host a contest, offer a coupon or some other form of promotion, those who get involved with your app can much more quickly check contest updates from an app and receive automated notifications (with permission of course). The app makes waiting for your responsive website to load, asking the user to find the contest page, then wait for that page to load, etc. seem prosaic. An app simply makes any interaction with your web content immediately available with a simple touch of an icon, rather than forcing a web page and more complex navigation through the smaller screen.

Learning from Experience

Small Business mobile app example

ComBridges’ Facebook Feed in our test mobile app

By way of example, as a boutique web design and marketing agency, our company, ComBridges used to have a mobile-friendly version of our website that was visible via smartphones. This was developed using a WordPress plug-in called WPTouch Pro. Recently, we have redesigned and relaunched our own site with a responsive WordPress theme.

What opens up the opportunity for a small business like ours (and so many others) to have its own app is online software services like Conduit.com’s Mobile. While these apps do require a small, additional monthly hosting fee, they are easy for developers like us to implement. So much so that some do-it-yourselfer small businesses could even build apps on their own. It’s a work in progress, but if you have a smartphone, you can preview our first generation mobile app via any mobile device at combridges.conduitapps.com.

You will notice that what you see on our app looks very different than what you see on our website. It’s designed for mobile interaction. In fact, thanks to Conduit, much of the content is automatically derived from our Facebook Page, Twitter feed and more. As you can see, many of our social media pages are featured along with easy options for contacting us, including click to call functionality.

Greeting the Mobile Future

According to Morgan Stanley, 91% of individuals who own smart phones keep their phone within reach 24/7. And 5.1 billion of the 7 billion people on earth own a mobile phone. With these numbers in mind, why wouldn’t every business want to make it easier for their customers, blog readers, Twitter or Facebook followers to engage with them via a mobile app?

Another benefit is that if you develop your business app now, before the gap widens further, you may well be seen as an innovator. At the very least, you will prove yourself smart enough to get an early jump on the next wave of mobile marketing strategies, rather than letting the gap widen between you and your competitors, as well as between you and your customers.


Jon Leland is author of “Internet Marketing: 8 Key Concepts that Every Business MUST Know” and is the president of the boutique web design, video and Internet marketing agency, ComBridges.com. He was assisted in this article by Tara Hornor who also writes for PrintPlace.com, an online printing company.

 

Roger McNamee Sees a Future that Empowers Content Creators

Thanks to a tweet by thought-leader, publisher, Tim O’Reilly, I was drawn to a video interview and then a TEDx talk from last summer, both by the very successful Silicon Valley venture capital investor and real life touring rock star, Roger McNamee. Both videos (and soon my concise video commentary via TheTVNews.tv) are embedded below for your viewing convenience.

Bottom line, McNamee illuminates, among other things, why HTML5 is so important and how Microsoft, social media, and I say traditional network TV, are all on the decline. In their place there will be a wave of “highly differentiated content,” and the thusly-empowered creators of this new breed of content will quite literally own their own stores—and, just to be clear, those are media “stores.”

In other words, as if we couldn’t already, HTML5, iPads and mobile distribution will enable those of us with our own “bands” (teams & other creative resources) will be able to seize the controls of our own destiny, in the web sense at least. (And, along these lines, I love McNamee’s concept of “full contact investing” where he uses his rock band’s marketing as an experiential testing ground.)

Obviously, content marketing has laid some of the ground work here, and so has blogging. But his vision is bigger than that.

Content creators with the hutzpah and the resources to develop real destination websites can include new, highly integrated forms monetization to produce extraordinary opportunities in the very near future. The time is now to act on these phenomenally potent changes. Please watch the videos below to understand more.

I’ll certainly be doing my best to do so as well as to educate you how to take advantage of these changes via NewMarU.com. So please STAY TUNED! 😉

If you prefer to read a text summary of some of McNamee’s key points, check out Facebook Investor Roger McNamee Explains Why Social Is Over

Here are the videos:

The first is via Sarah Lacy’s PandoDaily blog and this post:
Roger McNamee on the New Web: “Everything That Mattered Over the Last Eight Years Won’t Matter Anymore”

And the other video is Roger’s TEDx Santa Cruz talk (where he even paces like a rock star)
entitled, “Disruption and Engagement”

Please let me know what you think, via the comments below or any other channel. Are these insights useful to you?

The App Year in Review: My Favorite Apps from 2011

“Hello, my name is Jon, and…

I’m an App-aholic.”

Apps is me. I love ’em and I love to share ’em. And, just for the record, I consider my obsessive behavior with apps of all kinds, especially iPhone apps, iPad apps and small business productivity-oriented web apps to be a healthy addiction. Well mostly healthy. At least I’m learning about the future of mobile computing… and I’m definitely having fun.

Here are my mini-reviews of my favorite apps from 2011 (more to come in 2012). I look forward to your comments and to hearing your recommendations via the comments below.

Note Taker HD: Hand-Written Notes Come to the iPad
This is the app that changed my life. It’s a powerful tool for writing on the iPad in a totally hand-written natural way. I used to prefer using yellow-lined paper writing pads for meetings, and would journal in notebooks, but Note Taker HD has shown me that I can write almost as fast on my iPad tablet (using a stylus) and I’m eliminating the clutter of scraps of paper all over the place.  I use it now for meeting notes, journal entries and brainstorming sessions; and I just love the natural feel, especially the way that Note Taker HD’s window system lets me write nice and big while my writing is automatically resized into a page-sized virtual sheet. This app is so easy and just plain fun that I find myself swiftly moving into the promised land of an (almost) paperless and less cluttered office.

The Hit List: To-Do List Nirvana
In the incessant quest for the holy grail of an Organized Life, I’ve taken more than a few laps around the track with various to-do list programs. Now, I think I’ve finally found the one I’ll stick with forever because, for me at least, this to-do list offers the right balance between features and simplicity. It’s snappy name is The Hit List.  It’s Mac-only (via the Mac App Store), but I also use it on my iPhone and iPad. I can organize lists into categories by client, by project, or by any number of other categories. It’s very intuitive with due dates and priority settings as well as a space for notes on each item. I also like the way that it synchs between platforms and the few dollars I pay per year for that service is well worth it. I’m really pleased I’ve found something that works for me, and I highly recommend that you check it out.

Zite: The Future of News Reading
My new favorite news reader is an iPad app that trumps Flipboard. Zite is personalized news at its finest. It’s infinitely customizable in a very effortless and seamless way. Zite filters what I like according to my initial preferences, and then I continue to let it know what I like and why as I go along. As I interact with it, the app gets smarter and gives me an increasingly better fit for my interests and sensibilities in a clear, interactive, easy-to-read format. The results in terms of valuable articles is the ultimate value, but it’s also easy to share what I read, which is certainly a requirement for me in this social media world of ours.

Google Docs: My New Standard in Groupware
More and more of my clients and team members are now collaborating with me via Google Docs. I gotta believe that that’s because it works. One previous concern of mine was the lack of change-tracking features that are frequently required and available in MS Word. Now I’m enthralled with the newish “See revision history” feature in Google Docs which I like even better than the “Track Changes” equivalent in Word. I am also surprised by the ease of the collaboration process. If you haven’t seen this, you need to try it: When I’m working with someone and we’re both updating a document at the same time, it’s just seamless. You can even see what the other person is doing, in a distinct color, while you are also editing—all via the Web, of course. All the value of sharing and online collaboration is built in. Google Docs is now a standard part of my workflow.

Summify: Socially Aggregated News Delivered Daily
Facebook coined the term “social graph” to describe the mapping of social relationships online. There are clear advantages to extending these virtual relationships via other websites in order to create new kinds of information collections. Summify is just this kind of real time source of aggregated news and blog posts. What I read, pretty much every day at some point, is being sourced by Summify from my own social graph (my online relationships) via their neato web app (a web browser-based app). Summify leverages my network by sending me daily emails containing a linked list of news articles that have been referenced (linked to via Facebook or Twitter) by multiple people from within my social graph. When multiple people from my networks share the same information, that clearly increases the likelihood that I’ll find it interesting. And it works. The consistent quality of what Summify delivers has been impressive. And I like that it can be delivered by email too. I don’t have to go to the app or website to see what they’ve found for me. This is a useful and, to me at least, a valuable preview of the growing power of our social media matrix.

Nimble: Cross Social Network Messaging Power
This start-up company is a recent investment of Mark Cuban and a definite app to watch. Nimble is a new breed of virtual CRM software that connects your contacts from Facebook, LinkedIn, Gmail and Twitter into a single interface. From within Nimble’s web-based interface, I can message people on different social networks from within one platform and that message, along with all the others that may have been sent from other sites, is available in one place. Note, these aren’t post or status updates, but the embedded messages from within the particular sites themselves. This is very convenient because you don’t have to go to LinkedIn, for example, to send a LinkedIn message to someone whose regular email address you may not have otherwise. Thus, Nimble is also a great way to keep track of the increasing number of online conversations, all in one place.

Scrivener: Larger Written Documents at Another Level
I want to give an “honorable mention” to Scrivener, a marvelous and powerful writing/document management program. I’ve used it to organize references and new resources by subject area for the social media workshops that I’ve been developing and delivering. But I’m only scratching the surface of this feature rich program. It’s powerfully sophisticated, so there’s a real learning curve involved. However, I’ve heard from multiple, reliable sources that this program has been enthusiastically received by authors and others who work with king-sized pieces of content and/or research. If you’re one of them, I think Scrivener is definitely worth checking out.

iPhone Photography
My app review of the year would not be complete without talking about iPhone photography apps. Taking photographs and playing with the images on the iPhone is a source of great pleasure and fun to me. My favorite app so far is Camera+ by Lisa Bettany. I can crop and I can process with a very creative set of presets. It’s got some great filters and I can also put all kinds of artsy frames on my images, plus it easily posts to the social networks (although I’ve recently started using Instagram for that because it also connects to Tumblr). I’m just starting to explore Camera+’s actual camera features…

ProHDR makes a big improvement over the built-in HDR on my  iPhone. If you haven’t checked out HDR (Higher Dynamic Range) photography via the apps, you must do.  It just makes a huge difference and I can’t imagine doing iPhoneography without it.

Finally, I’m a fan of Auto Painter, which I use on both my iPad and iPhone to create very cool painterly effects on my photos. It’s been a big source of creative delight. And recently I’ve had some fun with SketchMee which turned a picture of my newly-wed son and his bride into a lovely pencil sketch, if I do say so myself.

Bonus List
I had the pleasure of catching up with my favorite uber-geek, Brett Terpstra (@ttscoff) at MacWorld and noticed he posted an awesome 2011 Favorite Mac Apps list. Click to discover more cool stuff.

Thanks for app-ing with me – I’m really happy to share all of this with you. Like I said, more to come (subscribe to this blog above if you want to be notified). I wish you happy app-ing in the year ahead, and I hope you have as much fun checking out these recommendations as I have had exploring them. Please let me know what you think.

More iPhone Art Fun, Apps & Viral Video

The mobile media revolution is me. Some call it “user generated content,” but I think that’s way too impersonal and lacking in even a modicum of fun. For me, it’s a surprisingly exciting new medium that opens fresh opportunities for creative expression, anywhere, anytime.

This morning’s creative expression began with the photo below. Captured at the turn-around point on my walk using my iPhone, shooting with an app called Pro HDR and then processing it a bit (still in the iPhone) with another app called Camera+. Then, I enjoyed sharing it with my friends and followers on my personal Facebook page and Twitter account along with more personal comments. It really is a “wonderful Web.” (more below)

Another form of user generated new media expression totally cracked me up. The viral video below is something like a very funny Saturday Night Live sketch which is getting extra buzz because not everyone can see that this is an audition/demo by a young actress who is having fun playing on camera. It seems that while she was at it, she has created a viral video “hit.” At least that’s my interpretation. Have a great weekend!

Follow the Data | How Netflix, Amazon & Warner Bros Are Pointing the Way

As I was preparing this week’s New Media / New Marketing report for TheTVNews.tv, my good friend, Nick DeMartino sent me a very timely reference with his post, Can Data Save the (Hollywood) Studios in the Age of Social Media?

As I produced that segment (embedded below) and continued following the news, an immediate theme emerged: The power of data mining as perhaps THE major way big websites like Amazon and Netflix (and now Warner Brothers) gain leverage, and how it motivates major initiatives—including the casting of major TV series. Of course, this same power of customer data is also in the background of the major battle between Google and Facebook! Certainly at the top of the market, user data is the ultimate weapon and differentiator. Here are a few very current examples.

First, Nick’s post led me to recognize Warner Brothers as a new Hollywood studio leader in social media marketing. As you can see in the video which is embedded at the bottom of this post, I not only connect Warner—who is the producer of “Two and a Half Men”—with the casting of Ashton Kutcher, but with their recent Flixster acquisition (see Nick’s post) and with Warner’s innovative move renting movies via Facebook.(Flixster, btw, is my favorite iPhone/iPad movie app. I’ve even posted reviews there.)

Then, in today’s news came the announcement of a major new move by Amazon.com. The power of data mining, their extensive knowledge of customer data, and their knowledge of customer behavior is clearly a big part of the leverage that has motivated Amazon to join the “big leagues” of book publishing.

Finally, my favorite example of using the power of customer data is the Netflix recommendation engine, which certainly is part of what motivated them to license their first original TV production via their House of Cards deal. Along those lines, I think everyone can benefit from listening to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on Charlie Rose to learn more about how they think.

Below is my new video analyzing Twitter’s impact on the casting of Ashton Kutcher a.k.a. @aplusk in his new role on “Two And A Half Men,” including those Warner Bros tie-ins mentioned above.

As always, I will be very grateful for any “likes” of this video and/or any comments on this blog or on YouTube. I look forward to your feedback. And, whatever you do, be sure to Follow the Data (and if you need help doing that via your own website analytics or Internet marketing campaign, please don’t hesitate to ask). 😉

 

iPhone Art, iPad Ease & the Mobile Revolution

Tonight I’m doing my first “art show” as an iPhone artist. It’s a small, private showing amongst just a few other creative people. I’m sure it’s not a career “game changer.” But, it’s certainly fun to have some images that I created with just my iPhone (and a variety of apps) that at least someone is calling “art.”

On the other hand, I am quite certain that the iPhone and the iPad are game changers—for me and for the world. As a qualified media wizard and innovator, I think there are still a lot of people who don’t yet understand what a majorly disruptive force all of this mobile tech stuff is—creatively, socially and economically.

Created entirely in iPhone

Personally, I am consistently delighted by the ways that all of this innovation provides opportunities for connections and all kinds of communications between more and more of us, all the way around “spaceship earth.”

In the spirit of all this, I’d like to offer a couple of  audio-visual “windows” into what is really an emerging new media world. Just in the past week, the following appeared to underscore this trend:

1. A two and a half year old child, appearing in a crowd-sourced video, demonstrates how intuitive the iPad is to use:

2. Twitter celebrates its 5th Birthday with a fun celebrity-infused promotion that extoles us to “follow your interests” and “discover your world” (fun):

3. I find another way to play and have fun creating “art” via an app called Flowpaper (used to create signature below)

So, whether or not my iPhone art catches on and gains any traction (fat chance) beyond my more-than-recreational enjoyment, if you don’t yet “get it” then please trust me: smart phones and smart tablets like the iPhone and iPad are hear to stay. Not only are they profoundly ubiquitous but they are remarkably easy to use (well easier to use than a PC… way!). This new electronic environment… ok, “canvas” promises to change things even more dramatically than the advent of the Web has already done. Really.

It will be a fun ride. Come on along. And, if you are already “on board,” thanks for playing. 😉

Stay tuned. Much, much more to come.

(signature image created with Flowpaper app)

Online marketing & advertising illuminated via a visit to ad:tech SF

As discussed in this Tuesday’s New Media New Marketing report on TheTVNews.tv (video immediately below), I took advantage of a press pass last week to spend a day at the very alive and vibrant ad:tech SF online advertising conference. It was very stimulating as well as a bit overwhelming, as most good conferences are. (Note: Examples and references are linked below.)

Bottom line, the conference was healthy and online advertising in general appears to be growing at a robust rate. This was evidenced in an announcement unrelated to the conference, as I was getting ready to go, I learned that global package goods giant Reckitt Benckiser was doubling their annual online advertising budget to $40 million.

In addition, [added 4/30] eMarker’s CEO says Online Video Advertising to Increase 35 Precent in 2010 (video interview via Beet.tv).

One educational note was revealed as I first entered the press room. Their sign read, “Press, Bloggers & Twerps.” I commented that I had not seen twerps get press credentials previously. At this point, I was told apologetically that the sign was an error. It should have said, “Tweeps.” We are all learning. And, apparently there were only three tweeps deemed influential enough to get a press pass, but this was a “first” none the less.

Loic Le Meur

(cc) Kenneth Yeung - http://www.thelettertwo.com

A highlight for me was the keynote by French entrepreneur, Loic Le Meur, founder of Seesmic.com, who now lives in San Francisco. Loic accurately positioned social media as the third major wave of internet marketing. The first major wave, as he described it, was just having a website. The second wave was being savvy enough to be found on Google (search engine optimization or SEO). And, the third is now the ability to “earn” interactions via social media. He emphasized that social media is not about “campaigns.” It’s for listening and engaging.

Along these lines, I also appreciated comments by Larry Weintraub of word-of-mouth marketing agency, Fanscape, who explained that engaging in social media marketing has many more benefits than old world marketing. All with enormous value. Without embellishment, the four solid reasons to go social are:

  1. Marketing (another speaker said that “advertising” is now morphing into “marketing”)
  2. Market Research
  3. Customer Service
  4. Public Relations

In my opinion, none of these benefits should be under-rated.

You can watch Loic’s keynote via this link. The Hitler video which Loic included (amongst the dozens of other Hitler parodies based on the Constantin Films movie that I mention in the video above) can be viewed here, if it’s still up. It’s very funny if you are geeky enough to imagine Hitler expressing Steve Jobs displeasure over the loss of that famous iPhone G4 prototype.

Here are other examples of advertisers’ money moving to online video, as well as other links mentioned in my video report above:

BONUS #1: TWITTER ADVERTISING
Amongst the MANY smaller businesses exhibiting at ad:tech SF, I was interested to learn that Twitter is now not only being used for social media engagement; but beyond Twitter’s own advertising expansion (the potential of which Andrew Goodman calls “huge”), there is also now a Twitter-specific “contextual, targeted” independently-run Twitter advertising platform called 140 Proof.

BONUS #2: BRANDS AS PUBLISHERS a.k.a. Content Marketing
Here’s a link to a great set of links that further illuminate the “brand-led online video” trend which is also called “Brands as Publishers” by this page’s author, thought-leader, publisher, John Battelle, and “Content Marketing” by others. Checkout It’s All About Publishing, a.k.a. it’s all about content. 😉

And, as I’m sure you know, there’s “more to come.” Including an inside track on branded YouTube channels that I’ll be covering in a new blog post and video report soon. I met with Google/YouTube at ad:tech and an announcement regarding this development is expected in, roughly, mid-May.

(Request: If you watch the video above on YouTube or Facebook, please comment etc. And while you’re here, I would appreciate any comments and/or feedback that you may have. I’d love to hear from you.)

Thanks for reading!

iPad Insights: Content Consumption vs Content Creation

My video comments on this Tuesday’s New Media New Marketing report (see video below) on TheTVNews.tv seem to resonate with others, including this online video program’s host as well as a video producer that I met today at the Apple store. Bottom line: Apple’s elegant new device is ideal for media consumption. As to media creation? Not so much.

Here’s the video report with one exception to this linked below. Do you agree?

One exception is the excellent tech cartoonist, Robb Cottingham, who explains how he created today’s cartoon with an iPad and a special drawing tool. Good notes too on iPhone art apps. Read Cartooning on the iPad? Yep.

My Top 5 List of Top Whatever Lists: Happy New Tech New Year 2010

Tis the season of lists. Too many lists? Maybe or maybe not, depending on whether or not you are looking for some perspective, or maybe some bottom line insights about trends and/or tips on how you or your organization’s tech, social media or just plain ole marketing priorities should be focused for the coming year.

My high hopes are that the following list of lists (and grand perspectives) will help you make 2010 the best yet:

5. Super Geek David Pogue’s Pogie Awards
My favorite NYTimes tech writer’s picks for gadgets, apps & such include the killer Firefox extension READABILITY and a very funny (to me) iPhone app that let’s you safely text while walking, by using the iPhone’s built-in camera.

4. Google’s 2009: A Glimpse of the Web’s Next Decade
At least at the moment, as Google goes, so goes the Web. And, if you haven’t noticed, Google is hardly standing still. In fact, they have been innovating their butts off. So, if you’re not tuned in, you should be; and this post by Mashable is packed with eye-candy charts that help make staying up to date more fun.

3. YouTube Is the Top Social Media Innovation of the Decade
Also, via Mashable, and also not technically a Top Whatever list, I’m including this post because I think the importance of YouTube is about as important as it gets. For one thing, YouTube is frequently omitted from lists of social networking sites. Come on! This thoughtful article explains why I’m going to be posting a whole lot more video in 2010 and why I think you should too.

2. 8 Things Every Geek Needs to Do Before 2010
This post is beyond practical, it could literally save your life (technologically speaking). No kidding. Have you backed up lately? Have you edited your privacy settings and pruned your feeds? This is important stuff (via leading tech blog ReadWriteWeb) that can help make your whole year better.

1. 2000s Decade Recap – Business and Technology (video below)
Originally called to my attention by the TechCrunch post Video: A Decade Of Tech Highs And Business Lows, the 3:22 video below puts the past unprecedented decade in perspective, and given the magnitude of the changes, from the dot-bomb implosion through ground-breaking iPhone innovations and social media explosions, I think it’s worth taking at least 3 minutes or so to reflect. Don’t you?

As the Grateful Dead sang, “What a long strange trip it’s been.”

May the Tech Highs continue, and the Business Lows not so much.

Google Gets Simple, Elegant in New Tech Videos (Google Real Time Search & Google Goggles)

I like clear and simple. I heard Steve Jobs quoted today as saying that simplicity is “the ultimate elegance.” I especially like simplicity when it’s used to describe complex new technologies, and so much the better if that simplicity is being offered on YouTube, via video clips that are less than two minutes in length.

Thus, the two-clip salute below to Google and two major new (complex) technologies that are designed to make our lives simpler.

The first is real time search. A hot new trend that’s featured in the #1 spot on the American Express OPEN Forum post, “5 Trends That Will Shape Small Business in 2010.” Don’t look now, but the web has taken on a whole new dimension:

The second video demonstrates something even more powerful, Google Goggles, which searches by objects using your cell phone’s camera rather than text or voice to initiate the search. I like the tweet description that I just read by @faris: “Seriously – no messin’ – Google Goggles is an entirely new paradigm of human computer interaction – ‘hey Internet – what’s that?’ ”

Let’s let Google explain it visually in two minutes:

Yes, I hear that Google Goggles WILL be coming out for the iPhone.

And, come to think of it, Google always did get simple. Just think of their home page.

What do you think? Are these exciting new technologies? Are these videos any good? I’d love to hear your opinion, view and/or feedback.