Google’s Adwords Express Not Transparent

As a once owner of a small business, I very well know the needs of them. They are very different from larger scale businesses, and if I would have had the technology then that is available today, boy would I still have been successful now. It’s not so long ago that Google introduced Adwords Express, which was to be a dream come true for small businesses. If it would have worked properly.

The philosophy of Adwords Express is ‘fast and easy’. The problem is that however seducing this is, it doesn’t really apply to the target audience. Small businesses are just as dependent of precise keywords as big businesses. The automatic keyword generators are far from efficient enough to take control of that.

Different from big companies is that small businesses are slightly less in need of brand awareness. It really just matters locally. The result is that the clicks they get due to a weak automatic keyword generator are wasted and much more expensive than they are for big companies who have more value in branding their company.

Another issue is the geographical location. Consumers often just want the first shop nearby. Advertisers pay to get the first spot, which is not always what the consumer wants. A conflict of interests that has always been decided in favour of the money. Is there really no way around this?

There are more issues that make Adwords Express not necessarily the best choice. The real problem with these giant corporations, is that they try to fit everything into their megastructures. Sure, they hire teams of specialised people who seem to know all about what small businesses need, did all the necessary research, but in the end, it has to fit in with the big guys.

Sometimes I wonder if it is even smart to join up with such companies, as you can be sure that your information is namelessly sold to the highest bidder, who shamelessly will open nearby if your business is strong enough to have a go at that local market.

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Encryption in the Hot-Seat

Actually, it was Apple in the hot-seat, but with a lot of support from some big companies. Some of them somewhat hypocrite since after all, some tech giants are involved in US international politics, thus crossing a line much further than handing over a key to the CIA to solve crimes, assuming they would not abuse it for other purposes. Surely it is all about losing face to the consumer and to companies who pay for services.

And although Apple did join the anti-Trump meeting, it is not clear whether they will in any way actively support whatever has been discussed. I just don’t see Apple taking any other political statements other than ‘user-friendly ones’.

So how about encryption then? The FBI eventually paid over 1,3 million USD to get the information on that particular phone. A fair amount that hopefully will make them very selective on which phones to crack. My personal opinion is that the governments are the biggest crooks of all. Just take a look at what is going on in the world. Let the Clinton mails be your guide : England and France who made deals with the US about supporting the fall of Gadaffi in return for cheap oil, or recently Turkey supporting IS oil trades and cracking down on the freedom of speech. There is much more, and it doesn’t get more beautiful.

For those who can’t get enough encryption, Russian phone maker Yota has developed a phone that is said to offer unparalleled, corporate-level security. A few months earlier, Blackphone released their high security model in Europe.

So all hail encryption. And all hail privacy. Those small time crooks are nothing compared to the real thing. Just keep your hands of our children.

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Like so many others, I was surprised to see the announcement from twitter to move from 140 to 10.000 characters, thus destroying the whole concept of their application. I surely don’t have to spell this out for you. There are many popular public ways to share a statement that long, Facebook as the leading candidate. There is no way and no need for Twitter to compete with that.

Personally I never was so fond of the twitter concept though. The main reason is obvious : almost every week you see apologies from famous people or company leaders for tweets that were sent in haste or high emotions. I always thought there should be a warning on the ‘send tweet’ page : “The world is listening. Be respectful and think before you send.” Unless of course you consider bad advertising is also advertising, which obviously is true.

Never the less, I would prefer a shoutout like this to go no further than my friends circle. Utter my frustration where there is a better chance that I won’t get publicly humiliated. My friends know me, they understand I often say things I don’t mean. Do you?

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UPDATE : Twitter will no longer count links as part of the message sent so you will soon have 140 actual characters for it. It’s about time.

P2P Payments

I am really curious how Apple will do it. Not the money exchange process in particular, but I would like to know if every transaction will be passed over a bank or not. Or in other words if the money exchanged will electronically pass from one bank account to another through a ‘facilitaded money transfer’, or if it will really be a wallet to wallet process like bitcoin. Given the article mentions P2P is very often used in Africa by ‘unbanked’ people, the latter is likely the case. This obviously raises the same security questions bitcoin has, but the interconnectiveness with other Apple devices can likely provide some guidance.

I just wonder what governments think about this. Since about 10 years, most western countries initiated a cash hunt under the pretext of fighting criminal money and terrorism. A somewhat doubtful reason given the oil deals that IS made with many countries for the past two years, raising them billions of blood-dollars. It has proven that projects like FACTA and similar setups in Europe are merely in place from purpose of tax-control than really fighting crime and terrorism. Governments already check every payment you make, since you can no longer send large amounts of money without providing evidence or reason.

I see P2P transactions potentially as a thorn in the eye of these governments, as it opens the door to easy money exchange without control. Criminal money exchanges will all pass over this system. Makes me wonder what governments are going to do to try and get some control over this.

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What After the Smartphone?

Maybe the most significant article I recently read concerned a remark from Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai, saying he was expecting a follow-up device to the smartphone. He marked a timing of two to four years in the future where such a device could be expected.

That may be correct, although I kinda doubt the eta. I believe that the software concept that is currently dominating smartphones will first have to change drastically for that to happen.

Apple changed the smartphone into a wonderful device, but I believe the software never made the transition with the hardware. Surely there are great apps, but interaction between apps is still very poor. Operating systems barely allow cross-app interactions that would bring the software on par with the concept of the device, being practical, fast and mobile. And although the software coding is getting more and more sophisticated, allowing for amazing possibilities, the platform concepts are still holding back the real breakthrough that would enable the smartphone to evolve into a new superior concept. So the real eta would be 2-4 years after this transition, earliest.

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