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The latest ways you can leverage digital marketing

It wasn’t so long ago that marketing for most Australian businesses meant securing a spot in the phone book and a fraction of a column in the local newspaper.
Those with a healthy budget might have had a radio commercial and for the lucky few doing really well, even an ad on TV.
Today, successful marketing isn’t driven so much by the advertising dollar as it is by audience appeal, the right timing, solid strategy and sometimes, just a bit of good old fashioned luck.
Long gone are the days of weighing up the ROI of a ? vs ¼ page printed newspaper ad. When it comes to digital marketing, there is no simple one-size-fits-all solution.
It’s an all-encompassing blanket term for the new era of marketing, extending beyond merely advertising products and services, to focus on connecting and engaging with potential customers.
What that involves, and how to get it right, is unique to each and every industry. And the perfect mix differs for every company too.
Digital Marketing in Media
In fact, it’s the newspapers and media outlets we once relied so heavily upon for advertising, that have had one of the most radical and successful takeups of digital marketing we have seen in Australia to date.
Only it wasn’t so much a tactical decision as it was a necessary response to changing consumer trends.
Print newspaper circulation has been in decline across Australia for the past 10 years as more readers choose to go online for their news fix. The 2018 Reuters Institute Digital News Report reveals the number of Australians reading print newspapers each week has fallen 10% in the 12 months to November 2017, with 82% of Australians now using online news sources and 52% relying purely on social media to read the headlines.
It is here we have seen major growth in the media’s digital presence, with both national and local newspapers, magazines, radio and television news programs all using social media to publish, and now even live stream the news as it happens. This shift has not only changed the way the news is reported and received, inviting feedback and commentary from readers and viewers like never before, but has also paved the way for a new generation of exclusively digital news platforms such as the highly successful BuzzFeed and Pedestrian.TV.
Not surprisingly, advertising revenue from traditional media is in rapid decline, with newspapers dropping from 27% to just 14% of total ad spend since 2009. Meanwhile internet advertising has risen from 17% to 35% in the same period and is expected to account for at least 50% of total ad spend by 2019.
Despite the uptake of digital news, customers simply aren’t paying to get the news anymore. Most Australian newspaper websites feature a paywall and offer exclusive member-only content, but the Digital News Report shows only 10% of Australians are paying for online news content and most of those who haven’t paid for it, said it was ‘very unlikely’ they ever would.
This continues to be an ongoing battle for the media industry as it writes its new digital chapter.
Fashion, Food and Facebook
Small businesses were among the last to embrace the online marketplace. The potential for a customer base outside their immediate postcode was inconceivable, even laughable, for many.
But that soon changed.
Facebook in particular made an online presence affordable and feasible for businesses that had never even considered ‘going online’.
Now it’s the norm for your local corner store to be on Facebook, have a mailing list and even an online shop. Embracing these digital marketing platforms is what has transformed some small businesses into very big success stories, particularly those in the fields of fashion and food.
Women’s fashion store St Frock is just one stunning example, born from humble beginnings in 2005 as a weekend stall at the Bondi Beach Markets.
For four years, it was simply a relaxing escape from a high pressure job in PR and marketing for founder and fashion enthusiast Sandradee Makejev.
But in October 2009, Sydney was hit by a dust storm. That and predictions of increased rain had Sandradee thinking of other more weather-proof ways to sell her garments. Tired and weary from a hellish day at the markets, Sandradee set up a Facebook page, uploaded a few fuzzy photos, invited some close friends to check it out, and went to bed.
She woke to find she’d made $350 while she was sleeping. Within three months Sandradee had 1600 followers and enough income to quit her job, instead spending her weekdays packing orders on her bedroom floor. Within ten months, she was turning over $480,000 every four weeks.
Today St Frock, the former hobby market stall, is an international online fashion boutique with a bustling team of 35 staff, a 500-square metre warehouse in Ultimo and close to 500,000 followers on Facebook from all over the globe.

Corporates, Commercial & Professional Services
If a market stall can find fame on Facebook, anyone can right? That’s the false impression too many businesses have about digital marketing. It’s not a sure thing, it isn’t easy (well not often anyway) and there are no guarantees.
What works brilliantly for one business, won’t work at all for the next. And knowing which digital marketing platforms to employ, and when, requires careful consideration and skill.
Ultimately it’s about delivering what your audience wants, preferably before they even ask for it. This has seen many corporates, commercial ventures and professional services alike offer practical digital tools like client portals, apps and live chat services, as well as audience capture and engagement methods like blogs and content marketing, EDM and e-newsletters, and audio or video presentations now commonly distributed through social media and live streams.
It is within this sector we tend to see the greatest variations of success using digital marketing. There is a sense that many are still testing the waters with a hit and miss approach to finding what works for them and their target audience. But it’s important to remember every adventure on those ‘waters’ is embarking on unpredictable and unchartered territory.
This promo video of a government agency grad program is a prime example. The so-bad-it’s-good video has been viewed over 200,000 times since capturing the attention of the internet recently, with viewers shocked at how three minutes of corny scripting and forced acting could cost $40,000 to make. But, with the digital world being the unpredictable and ironic beast that it is, the value of the media exposure the clip has received means it has already more than paid for itself.
Image Sources:

Digital News Report 2018
Pixabay
Wikimedia

Case Study: What a Nasal Spray Can Teach You About Marketing

Every year, while many products are launched, few survive.
Soon enough, most disappear due to a variety of factors including poor marketing, competitive pressures, distribution challenges and, fatally, market indifference.
So, what can we learn from a launch that worked incredibly well?
To make those lessons even more instructive, we’re going to review how GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in the US created such a successful launch campaign for Flonase, an OTC (Over the Counter) allergy relief brand.
The healthcare industry isn’t always known for its marketing creativity. When everything clicks, however, it clicks big.
That’s why Meredith Herman, GSK’s head of digital marketing was just chosen as one of Adweek’s 10 Brand Geniuses for 2016.
Flonase’s success was no forgone conclusion. There were many established competitors out there fighting for every dollar, customer and share point.
As with most things that work, it always pays to simplify and focus on what’s important:
“From a digital standpoint, we know people are inundated with banners ads and marketing messages, and unlike TV or print, they have the option to skip, scroll past or just X us out. So we understand that we have to provide the consumer with value first,” Herman told FiercePharma.
So, what are the simple steps GSK took:
They coordinated their digital, TV and print campaigns.
This is something brands of all types don’t do enough of—reaching their audience members across all channels in a coordinated fashion.
For their Flonase launch, GSK built a coordinated media approach spanning TV, print and digital. Even though these channels were coordinated, they still had different goals for each, which was key in the success of their campaign.
TV was used to introduce people to the brand, as it provided the most general audience. The digital objective was to explain more about how the product worked, and build a platform for conversation with customers.
This was key for GSK. They needed to create initial brand awareness for their new product, but that wasn’t going to be enough to compete in a saturated healthcare market. By coordinating with their digital campaign, they were able to do both—build awareness, and start a convincing conversation with potential buyers.
They listened to their customers and found the perfect tagline.
Yes, listening to your customers is one of the most powerful and obvious things you can do to boost a marketing campaign of any kind; you just have to do it the right way.
Herman and her team wanted to drive more organic searches so they started researching what allergy sufferers were looking for.
They found that allergy sufferers felt they weren’t getting relief with their current allergy meds and didn’t like missing out on fun activities when allergies were triggered.
From there, Herman and her team developed the tagline and theme, encouraging sufferers to “Be greater than your allergies.”
Healthcare is something very personal, and touches on many powerful, core human emotions. Leveraging the power of your current customer base as a healthcare brand can help you tap into the emotions your customers already have, instead of guessing for every media campaign.
They got visual with social media.
You’ve heard many times that visual campaigns and social media go together. Sometimes you get it right, and sometimes you get it REALLY right. GSK launched it’s first online content initiative with Instagram, and it was an immense success.
GSK used six Instagram photographers with allergies who snapped photos along 24-hour journeys through the outdoors—hay fields, dandelion patches and hanging out with pets.
This visual confirmation that Flonase worked for them fuelled the “24 Hours of Being Greater” campaign, and GSK invited people to share their own photos. They did. Between 5,000 and 6,000 pictures were posted.
Herman and her team didn’t stop there: they came back a few months later with a celebrity dog “Doug the Pug,” and asked people to share their own photos again on Instagram with the hashtag #FallofFame.
It wasn’t just photos, they leveraged videos as well. In spring 2016, Flonase worked with YouTube-famous family the Eh Bees to go on an allergy road trip to 10 of the worst cities for allergy sufferers; she had a great time, and shared her experience online.
In a complicated and clinical healthcare world, humanising Flonase by leveraging the experiences of customers is really what took GSK’s social campaign from good to great. The proof is in the numbers.
According to Adweek, Flonase generated sales of $100 million in the first 16 weeks after its launch. Not only that— they captured 10% of the market just one year after launch.
The key to a successful marketing campaign is knowing your market and your audience. If you have a good handle on both, you can support product campaigns with relevance, creativity and entertainment for your current customers and potential customers.
Easier said than done, of course but that’s why the brand and their owners that do it well reap the rewards initially and for years to come.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Images:

Wikimedia Commons
Wikipedia

Case Study: How Digital Marketing Took a Business to the Next Level

Having an effective digital marketing strategy is central to creating a successful and recognisable brand in today’s digital age. With so many markets in a state of flux, being able to pivot in real-time to adapt to changing market needs is one of digital marketing’s key benefits.
SolarQuotes is a company that used digital marketing to do just that. The company helps Australians buy solar power for their homes and business.
Finn Peacock, CEO and Founder, started SolarQuotes with just $500 for Google Ads using the free wi-fi at his local public library. The company’s website now contains over 17,000 reviews of solar installers, solar panels and inverters.
Thanks to a strong digital marketing strategy, SolarQuotes now turns over about $3 million per year. While still a small business, there are several valuable lessons brand owners can learn from SolarQuotes’ success.
Invest in Valuable Content.
To build those first Google Ads, SolarQuotes needed something to advertise. Over time, the company has built up an arsenal of articles, blog posts and practical tools to help its users navigate the solar market.
These types of articles aren’t just general information about the industry, they contain useful and actionable advice and tools for their audience. You can read about how a specific product like The Sonnen Battery has an unclear warranty or about how leaders in the industry, like Tesla, are faring.
These articles highlight the key thing your content needs to perform well both organically and with paid ads: real value for your target audience. Don’t get too excited though—it’s not enough to just provide value. Your content must end up in front of the right eyes.
Leverage PPC ads wisely.
For SolarQuotes, these paid ads came in the form of Google Ads. There are many other options, like working with advertising technology that re-targets prospects, or social media ads that find a home for your content in already built niche audiences.
The SolarQuotes team has spent six years building up their Adwords account into a “highly optimised machine,” and therefore can rely on their ability to successfully target the market.
That initial $500 I told you about earlier—that went towards design, coding and the cost of clicks.
Peacock explained his strategy to The Sydney Morning Herald:
“I put up the website, tested the concept and when it looked like it had legs, I started spending on the credit card.” His next outlay was around $3,000 on advertising. “I only did it after I was confident that I would get a return,” said Peacock.
These Google ads helped him drive traffic to his website, but once these audience members were there, he had to figure out a way to keep them there.
Grow your Audience and Keep them Happy.
The company kept their audience with organic (in other words free) strategies. In addition to its website, SolarQuotes has several social media channels for which they have built a pretty robust following.
Their Facebook (26,000 likes), Twitter (791 followers with tweets every day), Google+ (423 followers), RSS, YouTube and Pinterest accounts all work toward distributing their content and allowing them to engage with their highly-active audience.
Build Media Relationships.
They didn’t just stop with content. SolarQuotes developed a mobile strategy that would allow them to harness the power of technology via apps.
The company featured several ‘Current Solar Incentive’ apps on various media websites like The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times, Weather Zone and more. They didn’t just talk about their product either, they grew their audience by talking about their success story, and putting a face behind their brand.
Customer Testimonials
Most importantly, SolarQuotes saw huge digital marketing success with their customer testimonials.
Their website features numerous testimonials from real customers and includes a blog that focuses solely on solar panel issues that customers may experience.
These testimonials and articles help build trust with new prospects that find SolarQuotes on the web and drive more leads for their business every day.
SolarQuotes’ success makes for a great story, but it isn’t unique. Businesses across the world are finding success by taking their digital marketing strategies to the next level.
There is one thing you can do to ensure your digital marketing success—ensure that the content, messaging and media coverage you promote is valuable to your audience. It’s through them that your business will inevitably grow.

What To Do With Your Old Phone

So, you have a new mobile phone?  The one with a gorilla glass screen?  Surround sound?  A quad processor?
Looks like you’ve given in to all those marketing campaigns that promise smartphones and other electronic devices to be the “best among the rest.” But are they really?  Aren’t they all the same?  Maybe yes.  Maybe no.  But one thing’s for sure: you’ve spent quite a sum to purchase that new device and your wallet is screaming at you for spending all its cash.

Don’t worry; you can keep your relationship with your wallet intact. Well, that is until you find a way to gain a little more dough from that old phone.
Making money out of your old devices is the most practical and ingenious way of disposing of your old gadgets. To make this sound a little more formal: take that vintage online and communication platform and make a profit out of it – this could be in the form of banknotes or a heartfelt fulfillment in doing good.
Here are simple options on what you can do with your old electronic device:
Sell it!
If you’re looking to make good use of your old but still in good condition device, selling them is one of your best options.  This will allow you to earn money while clearing out your cabinet of unwanted junk—electronic junk, that is.
If you’re dead serious about putting your old iPhone or MacBook on sale, aside from posting it on Facebook, you can check Amazon, eBay or Gumtree.
Trade it!
Device trading has been a growing sales strategy among retailers and manufacturers over the years.  Trade-in programs work by allowing consumers to hand in their old devices in exchange of a discount on a newer device or a gift card from the retail store.  So far, a number of stores have already been employing this scheme, including:
• Best Buy. The consumer electronics retailer allows trade-ins for a range of devices, including computers, cameras, gaming systems, etc.  As part of its online strategy, the store allows consumers to fix their trade-in process over the internet.
• Radio Shack. This retailer accepts a wide range of products for trade-in including TVs, e-readers, cameras, camcorders, phones and gaming consoles. The store will allow you to apply the value of the traded item to a new purchase or gift card.
• Apple. The consumer electronics company now allows trade-ins for its iPhones, as well as its iPods and iPads.
Donate it!
If you don’t really need the money and just want to dispose of your old gadget, why not donate it? A number of institutions and organisations are already accepting gadget donations. Such charities include:
• National Cristina Foundation. The foundation will help you find a charity organisation that can benefit from your old computer, printer, cameras and other machines.
• Salvation Army. The foundation accepts computer donations, as well as DVD players, VCRs, radios, stereos and more.
 
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iPad Mini 2 now $100 Cheaper

It seems like Apple has already thought of and developed everything perfect in the gadgets world.  Is there anything that this multimillion dollar company hasn’t developed yet?
 
Roll out the checklist and see how the Steve Jobs established electronics company has turned the world over with their expialidocious communication platform and inventions.

It may seem that Apple has achieved more than any other electronics company has in the past decade or so, however there is actually something that the Cupertino-based company has failed to offer all these years: budget-friendly gadgets.
Yes, of course we acknowledge the fact that Apple has one of leading technologies packed in their devices to optimise performance; and these absurdly—and often creepy—artificial intelligences don’t come cheap.  But if other companies can create more affordable devices, why can’t they?
Well, my friend, dreams can come true and Apple might just have the answers to our prayers.
In a recent report by Citi Research, Apple could be releasing a new iPad Mini 2 that costs less than $250.00 – almost $100 cheaper than the current first generation mini.
“Supply chain checks by Citi’s Asia-Pac Technology Team suggest a mixed shift toward Apple’s older iPhone 4/4S.  And with our expectation of a low-end iPhone slated for September launch, followed by a sub-$250 iPad mini, we expect this trend to persist,” Citi’s Glen Yeung wrote in a note to the company’s investors.
But is this idea even plausible? Or is this just another online strategy to get people hooked and expecting of the iPad Mini 2, only for our bubble to burst come release day that it is still on the $300 mark?
Well, here are a few reasons why it could work and why it wouldn’t work, then you be the judge!
Why a $250 iPad mini 2 could work?
Apple is looking at Customer Retention. Over the past years, the Cupertino, California company has created a sizable following of its products—people who wouldn’t purchase anything but an Apple. But since then, a number of gadgets and devices have already swarmed the market offering at-par items for a lot less. You can get a Kindle Fire HD for only $214, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 for less than $300. So why stay with Apple, eh?
Why it could be a hoax?
Apple looks at improving, not downgrading. Almost all of Apple’s devices now carry a retina display. With this, the iPad Mini 2 may most likely get one for itself. And if it does, then it is less likely that the device will drop price when it just upgraded its specs.
To be honest, we couldn’t really decide whether it’s true or not. While we hope the iPad mini 2 will be a lot cheaper, we can’t really be certain until we see campaigns about it already. Until then, we expect social media to be exploding about everything iPad Mini 2.
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
 
 

The Biggest E-Waste Dumping Ground

China is the largest dumping ground for used electronics or E-waste…
 
China is known for a lot of things: for its delicious cuisine, the Great Wall, Kung Fu and martial arts, Yao Ming Jet Li and so much more.  China is also the second largest country by land area at 9.6 million kilometers.  It is also the most populous country with over 1.35 billon people.  Due to its rich culture and continuous growth in resources, China was hailed as the world’s fastest growing major economy.  This year it was also noted as the world’s second largest economy. But there is one thing you may not know – it’s also the largest dumping ground for used electronics or E-waste.
What is E-waste?
E-waste or electronic waste are discarded electrical or electronic devices.  The term has been used loosely to identify surplus electronics even if they are reusable, recyclable or not.
E-waste can be in the form of a communication platform such as mobile phones and wireless landlines.  It can also be online platform devices like laptops, desktops, routers, tablets etc.
Due to the rapid changes in technology and the ever evolving world of electronics, the growth in e-waste continues to soar, especially in developed countries.  The continuous campaigns to get the newest gadgets aren’t helping this growing problem either.
According to an article published on Sci Total Environ, about 50 million tons of e-waste is produced every year.  The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) notes that USA is the world leader in e-waste production with an average of 3 million tons a year, followed by China with 2.3 million in 2010.
China: E-waste Dump Yard
According to a 2013 UN report, “China now appears to be the largest e-waste dumping site in the world” with 70% of all global electronic trash going to the country.
Notably, these items arrive in the country through illegal means.  “Much of [the e-waste] comes through illegal channels because under United Nations conventions, there is a specific ban on electronic waste being transferred from developed countries like the United States to countries like China and Vietnam,” Beijing office of Greenpeace spokesman Ma Tianjie explained.
Among these dump sites in China, the one in Guiyu may be the largest.  Dubbed as the “E-waste capital of the world,” the city employs over 150,000 workers to optimise the wastes by either disassembling devices or harvest the reusable and sellable.
What makes e-waste dreadful is the health risks that may affect the people, in which the children of Guiyu are exposed to everyday.  These scrap electronics are high in lead, cadmium and other toxic metals putting health at risk.
So far, in a test conducted by Professor HuoXia from the Shantou University Medical College revealed that in 167 Guiyu children, 88% had higher than accepted blood lead levels that could cause damage to their nervous systems and IQ.
So far, online strategy has been used to bring the news across, but even with the help of social media it could still take time before this movement is eradicated.

The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Image courtesy: Chien-min Chung / Reportage by Getty
 
 
 
 

The Changing Face of Protests

How powerful is social media today?   What else can the world do apart from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all those sites and apps that people are going loco for?
It almost seems absurd how almost all our chores can either be posted online or found online.  When we eat, we post images of our food on Instagram.  When we need to talk, we choose FaceTime, Skype or chat as our communication platform.  When we need to learn about news or trending issues, we go to Twitter.  It’s weird how social media has changed our lives today.  It has also paved the way for societal revolutions, including two recent movements in Turkey and Tunisia.
May 2013 Turkey Protests
In late May, the people of Turkey went to the streets to voice out their protests against the increasing depression of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his increasingly authoritarian governance of the country.
The protests initially sparked when news came out that a shopping mall was to be constructed at the Taksim Gezi Park, one of the last green spaces in Beyoglu, Istanbul.  However, because of the violent dispersal the police implemented on the protesters, more rallies were held across different cities.
Due to the downplay on coverage by the local media, protesters used online communication to get the news across the country.  Twitter feeds became the main source of news for people, with tweets carrying their own hashtag #OccupyGezi.
Aside from news updates, images of the dramatic protest were also posted on the movement’s Facebook Page and Tumblr site helping the whole world know what the real situation was during the rallies.
December 2010 Tunisian Revolution
In late 2010, the people of Tunisia carried out a civil resistance movement against the regime of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.  The country suffered under the governance of Ben Ali—unemployment was high, corruption was rampant, freedom of speech was non existent and poor living conditions had become a way of life.
The protests were initially sparked by the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi who suffered greatly under government maltreatment when a policewoman confiscated his vegetable cart and produce for no reason. This stirred outrage and engagement among the people of Tunisia.
Aside from being the news source of people, social media was also used as an online strategy to organize protests and support the movement. Videos of the bloody police dispersal and protest encounters quickly made their way to YouTube and other sites as well.
While the government tried to suppress such online movements, in the end, the people of Tunisia prevailed and the 23-year reign of the president was ended just 28 days after the protest started.
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

 

Apple Mulls at Exchange Plan

Hey you, Apple fan!  Got your eyes on the new iPhone 5?
 
Want to buy it but your budget just won’t allow it?  Feeling helpless, hopeless and frustrated?  Well, don’t swim in self-pity, it’s not yet the end of the world and besides, Apple has one big announcement for you.  According to reports, the Cupertino-based company will soon allow trade-ins.  Yes, you heard that right, my friend!  The people from Apple have heard our prayers!
In an aim to push customer retention, Apple fans can now get the newest iPhone at a fraction of the cost by trading in their old Apple phone and getting a discount on the iPhone 5.
In a report published by Bloomberg, the new service will be implemented in Apple stores this month. Sources who asked not to be identified since Apple has yet to confirm the news, say that the electronics company has already partnered with Brightstar Corporation, a mobile-phone distributor, for this new program.
With this new mobile marketing strategy, Apple’s new CEO, Tim Cook, hopes to lure consumers to get its newest iPhone offering. This is a move to revive the dying sales of the once biggest company in the United States, and even the world.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Apple’s shares have been bouncing back and forth from the top spot against oil company, Exxon, since 2011.  However, Apple started soaring high from January 2012, peaking at around August-September of 2012 and only slumped back down to second place against Exxon at February-March 2013.
Just as well, Apple’s smartphone market shares haven’t really zoomed up since its unveiling of the first generation iPhone in 2007.  With this, it’s not hard to think that Apple’s campaigns aren’t really working for the company.  But this may all change once the iPhone trade-in program starts.
However, Apple isn’t the first to start this program, sites and stores like Gazelle, Best Buy and Radio Shack have been doing it for some time.  The first two even offer this as an online strategy, where you can start the trade-in process over their websites.
“The biggest challenge for us has been to change consumer behavior.  It will be great to see Apple jumping into it.  We expect them to put the brand and marketing behind it and lift consumer adoption,” Gazelle CEO Israel Ganot told ABC News. “There is an insatiable demand there.”
While people like you are still waiting for Apple to officially confirm this new program, you may try checking out these other sites that offer the same service:
• Best Buy. This retailer will allow you to trade-in your smartphone, as well as a range of other devices. You will receive an electronic gift card for the trade which you can then use when you purchase a new smartphone.
• Gazelle. The site has been around since 2007. It might be one of the easiest trade-in services since everything is achieved online.  Gazelle will give you an online offer for your gadget.  If you agree, you ship it to them and then you get paid by cheque, Amazon gift card or PayPal.
 
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The Siri Killer is Here… or Is It?

Google launches its new app “Google Now”
 
When Apple’s Siri saw wide distribution in 2010 it was a godsend for the tech-savvy who were still not savvy enough to organize their lives, remember dates in relationships or ask for directions. The app was like the pocket personal assistant they’ve always wanted. It could remind users of whose birthday was coming up, answer questions, and make recommendations like what restaurants or shops to go to.
But now Google has come out with their own version of a PA, they call it the Now. Now has functions pretty much like Siri;  it’s voice-activated and can remind you of appointments and important dates and point you in the right direction.

However, it has one crucial difference.  Now is being touted as a step above Siri because it supplies data relevant to the user even before the user thinks to ask for this information.
Siri v’s Google Now

What do these two have in common anyway?
Both are PA-type voice-activated apps.  While not online platforms, they still need internet connection even for tasks that do not need online intervention like setting an alarm… let’s just get that out of the way first.
Both can supply information on demand, although Now may supply some information ahead of your asking.  The questions you can ask can vary from the weather, the nearest movie theater, the latest stock market figures or scores of a particular NBA team during a recent game.
The similarities seem to end there. The two have different “personalities” so to speak.  While Siri is chatty and offers witty remarks, Now is straightforward and no-nonsense, kind of like the contrasting personalities of Kirk and Spock on Star Trek.
A user took both Siri and Now on the iPhone and asked them for the PA’s name.  Siri replied “My name is Siri, but you know that already.” Google responded with the phrase “What is your name?”
When it comes to restaurant choices Siri has a slight advantage because of Apple’s partnership with review site Yelp and the restaurant reservation service Open Table.  When it comes to travel, especially in places you are not familiar with, Now may be a little bit more useful.
“I’ve found it particularly useful while traveling.  As soon as my plane landed in Orlando, Florida, Google Now offered “cards” with details of my hotel and my car rental, based on confirmation emails sent to my Gmail account.  Clicking the hotel card got me turn-by-turn directions to the hotel using the Google Maps app.  On the way home, Google Now gave me the gate number for my connecting flight in Charlotte, North Carolina, as the first plane taxied from the runway,” AP Technology writer Anick Jesdanun told USA Today.
It turns out you might have to give up a bit privacy to be able to use Now. You must allow Google mto scan contents of your Gmail account, calendar entries and information on recent Google searches and email marketing, all the more to be able to anticipate what information you are looking for and display the necessary data even before you ask for it.
Now also has another unusual advantage, it is available for phones running Android or iOS. Just what were they thinking arming the enemy with their own weapons?  Pundits are still undecided whether the online strategy of making an app available to a rival network is a stroke of genius or a deathblow.
But rather than have one over the other, experts are saying the two apps actually complement each other.
“Siri is the better of the two—as a voice assistant. She’ll always respond with something, even if it’s to seek clarification…Where Google Now shines is in anticipating your questions.  Open the Google Search app, and you’ll see cards fill the screen with useful information,” Jesdanun added.
One PA is cold, hard logic, the other cracks jokes and witticisms.  One is good for finding the best places to eat, the other to help you in a place where people do not speak the same language as you do.  One waits for you to ask, the other tells you what you want to know ahead.  Why not have them both?  Don’t Kirk and Spock always go together anyway?
 
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