Welcome to the Weekly Tech Update with me, Mike Walmsley. It’s a look at everything that has happened in the world of technology, the Internet, Search Engines and social media over the last week. I’ve got stories from Microsoft, O2, Virgin, Foursquare plus the digital equivalent of smellavision, read on for full details!
It is thought that there are now over a billion people using smartphones across the world. Nokia released the first phone that was considered to be a smartphone way back in 1996 and it has taken 16 years to reach the one billion mark. This number is expected to double within the next three years and that is an awful lot of Angry Birds players.
On the subject of mobile phones, UK based mobile operator O2 saw a service outage last week that affected around 10% of its customers. O2 have promised to invest around £10 million pounds to improve its infrastructure to ensure that its customers do not suffer a similar outage in the future. However, O2 will not be issuing any compensation to those customers who were affected by the outage.
If you browse the web using Internet Explorer then you might be getting excited about the release of IE 10. Microsoft has announced that IE 10 will be available for download onto Windows 7 machines in November. There will be a preview version that will be available around the middle of the month and final release will be made available by the end of the month.
Virgin Media have said that they will extend their free wi-fi service on the London Underground into 2013. They say that they have 661 000 subscribers and that on the 27th of September they recorded just over 1 million connections to the service in a 24 hour period. As well as being able to browse the web, send emails and update social media sites users can also get up to the minute travel information. Now is it a sign of the times or a sign of my age that people would rather converse on social media sites than simply ask the person sat next to them how they are today?
With more and more people using mobile phones to surf the web then the mobile search market is going to grow and grow. A Brighton based company have launched a dedicated search engine for mobiles. It is called mazoom.mobi and only returns results that are for mobile websites. As well as general search the site also allows you to search locally, for news articles and apps. My thought having played with the site is that this might be a company that is looking to be bought out. There is no room for any advertising within the site and so I do not see where the revenue stream will come from and there is no app available you simply go to the website via your smartphone browser all of which suggests that the company is looking to demonstrate its technological capabilities rather than offer a long term alternative to the likes of Google and Bing.
Foursquare also appear to be moving more into local search too. They have launched a new version of their homepage that allows you to search for businesses even when you are not signed into foursquare itself. I have also played with this service and found that none of the businesses that I have added to foursquare, such as my Tai Chi class location, show in the results. I think a useful feature would be to have a subdirectory of user recommended businesses.
Facebook now allows users to post emoticons in their comments. Users of the social networking site have been able to use smiley faces in private messages to other users for a while but now the ability has also been rolled out to include comments posted in reply to public status updates. Strangely enough while you can include a smiley in a comment you cannot have one in an actual status.
Facebook are now allowing ads to help promote mobile apps. When a user clicks on the ad they are taken to the app or if they do not have it installed the appropriate app store so that it can be downloaded. Those that have trialled the system during the summer are reporting 50% higher click through rates. It is also worth noting that the results of another study published today shows that 19% of new page likes are coming from mobile devices and this is up from only 5% back in May of this year. Again showing the ever growing importance of having a strategy for mobile in place.
And finally Chaku Perfume, a perfume company in Japan, has developed an iPhone attachment that will release smells into the atmosphere. This isn’t a simple air freshener but an app that allows users to send smells to their friends with the same app. There are lots of possible uses for such a device but I have to ask why would anybody, with the exception of teenage males, want to send somebody an aroma?