Category Archives: Uncategorized

Google introduces Knowledge Graph

Remember Wolfram Alpha, the ‘answers engine’, that looks up search queries from a knowledge base of curated, structured data? Probably not, because it’s traffic is pretty small. But when it was released in 2009 Google certainly took note.

Why? Well, because Wolfram Alpha is driven by curated data, it gets more and more powerful the more data is inputted. And Wolfram Alpha users can drop data sets into the engine to see what it makes of them. It’s basically super clever and super techie.

Google, always with its eye on the future, started working on its own enhancements – not directly taking a lead from Wolfram but certainly looking to improve the intelligence of its search. Hence Knowledge Graph.

Knowledge Graph is Google’s new database product which attempts to not only catalogue all the people, places and things in the world but also – and this is the cool bit – map out the relationships between them. By understanding the relationships between things, Google will be able to work out, for example, whether your search for ‘Lion’ refers to the animal or the Apple operating system.

You can read all about it here. Or take a look at the video embedded below:

We’ve had a little play and it looks pretty cool – we’re looking forward to seeing it rolled out fully. And we’d love to hear what you think.

This post originally appeared on the Edge website.

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Filed under The Social Web, Uncategorized

Pepsi falls out of love with Super Bowl

Media sales guys don’t usually struggle too much trying to sell Super Bowl ad spots. After all, with a huge US television audience (around 90 million this year) it must be a no-brainer for brands, right?

Wrong. Pepsi, usually a shoe-in for a Super Bowl spot, have this year bucked their own trend by eschewing the NFL showpiece in order to invest the money in…you guessed it, social media.

Instead of the whopping $36million thay spent on the spot in 2009, Pepsi are running a 1-year social media stunt for the price of $20million.

It’s called ‘refresh everything‘ and it basically works by giving away the $20million in different sized chunks to fund ideas that have a ‘positive impact’. Anyone can put forward an idea, and anyone can vote on who they think deserves it. Pepsi have created six categories so they can classify the type of idea (health, arts & culture, food & shelter and so on) and and have bundled up four sizes of ‘grant’ – between $5k and $250k – aimed at different audiences, from individuals to organisations. At the end of the month, the ideas with the most votes get the cash.

They’re pushing the content out to their Facebook page, using the huge social network to drive users to their campaign, and using Facebook Connect to make it easier for people to log-in to vote.

So why have Pepsi gone all social media on us? According to Ralph Santana, vice-president of marketing for PepsiCo North America: “We’re living in a new age with consumers. They are looking for more of a two-way dialogue, story-telling and word of mouth. Mediums like the digital space are much more conducive towards that.”

Amen, brother.

The idea of the 30 second ad spot that is seen by millions but converts thousands is old and tired. The idea of brands engaging with people on their own terms, letting them interact and fostering ideas and creativity: that’s young and fresh.

Pepsi Refresh

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Filed under The Social Web, Uncategorized

American Apparel, web 2.0 and pants

A wonderful example of UGC and crowdsourcing from American Apparel:

“We’re looking for a brand new bum (the best in the world!) to be the new “face” for our always expanding intimates and briefs lines. The winners will be flown to LA, photographed and featured online. Send in a close-up photo of your backside wearing American Apparel panties, bodysuits or briefs for consideration and vote for your personal favorites.”

There are a whole lot of reasons for me to love this campaign, but right at the top is the way American Apparel have managed to get users to create a load of free content for their site, the way they’re cutting down on agency costs by directly recruiting their next model(s), and, obviously, the way they’re using the internet the way it’s supposed to be used.

It’s exactly the kind of thing we like doing.

A warning, this link has lots of pictures of people’s bottoms, in pants. So don’t click it if you’re going to get all offended.

American Apparel Best Bottom
Gold pants on washing line

Image thanks to conorwithonen

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Filed under Stuff I like, Uncategorized

Get pickled

I was in the pub the other night. Get used to that as an opening sentance on this blog, it’s going to happen a lot. Anyway. So. I was in the pub the other night, and a friend asked me: ‘what’s the point of Twitter’.

Good one.

So I had a think and rather than start blathering on about social media this and buzzword that I gave her an example, and it was this:

I do a wee bit of mountain biking, and an oft-used abbreviation for mountain bikes is ‘mtb’. When I was up in Scotland a couple of weeks ago riding some of the brilliant 7 Stanes trails I started tweeting about what I was up to and adding the hash tag ‘mtb’ so that other twitterers would be able to find my posts if they were interested in mountain biking. I also did a quick search for #mtb myself and as a result started following a couple of interesting people, including @teampickle, @bikerumor and @LostSociety.  Team Pickle especially have been really useful, they’ve already introduced me to a couple of new areas to ride that I didn’t know existed – including Lee Quarry Mountain Bike Centre, which I intend to ride very soon. I’ve also discovered Team Pickle’s blog, which I’m a big fan of – check it out if you need a bit of inspiration to get out and ride.

new-bigger-team-pickle-logo

So to go back to my friend’s question, the point of Twitter, quite simply, is to share information – and that information can be as frivolous, as geeky or as useful as you want it to be. Guaranteed, there’s someone else out there tweeting about something that matches your interests, and your life could get a teeny bit better as a result of what you learn.

The information Twitter delivers is also stuff you wouldn’t necessarily get to via Google. A Google search for mtb is clogged up with lots of official resource sites and commercial organisations – I got to page 5 and Team Pickle’s blog still hadn’t appeared. And yet, from a generic search term like ‘mtb’, the information I got from Team PIckle (via Twitter) was extremely relevant to me – potentially more so than the Google stuff.

So, Twitter = information delivered in an alternative way to Google. Not a great revelation to anyone I’m sure, but it’s always nice to clarify things for myself, especially when I’m in a pub.

And I hope everyone checks out Team Pickle. Go on, they look like nice folks!

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Filed under The Social Web, Uncategorized