FWM Digital Bytes

Welcome to FWM Digital Bytes, where we discuss all the biggest digital marketing and digital media news doing the rounds. This week, we look at Apple TV, Buffy the Facebook Phone and social media advertising incentives for small businesses…

Sign of the Times

The Times have opened a free-to-view Tumblr blog called The Times Opinion in a move that throws further doubt on the future of their paywall. The News International-owned broadsheet started charging users for access to their site in 2010, with web-only access priced at £2 a week and a seven-day subscription to the physical paper, along with web and tablet access, costing £6. The Times Opinion will feature contributions from columnists such as Hugo Rifkind and Oliver Kamm, and a spokeswoman for the paper said: “Like many other publishers we have created a page on the blogging site Tumblr to promote some of our journalism. No material that was previously paid has been made free. Our writers will simply give a short taster of what is in the Opinion section and link to other interesting opinion writing on the web.” The Times recently announced that they will be dropping their paywall at key dates during the London Olympics in an attempt to capitalise on the huge interest surrounding the Games.

Apple ditch Google Maps

Apple’s latest operating system will not feature Google Maps, the company has revealed at its annual Worldwide Development Conference. All iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices running iOS6 will instead have Apple’s own mapping app in a move that will come as a significant blow to Google, who could lose advertising revenue and valuable customer insights as a result. “This is a slap in Google’s face,” said Tim Bajarin, an analyst Creative Strategies. “I don’t think Apple is ever going to be able to bury Android, but this is making it clear that they aren’t going to send any more ad revenue Google’s way, if at all possible.” Indeed, Google could now find itself with a challenger in the data department thanks to Apple’s development. As Carolina Milanesi, an analyst for Gartner, explained: “The opportunity that controlling maps gives to Apple for learning more about what their users are doing, keeping that information, and then being able to leverage that for advertising purposes is huge.” Apple iOS6 is currently in beta and will be available to the public by the autumn.

The future of Google Search

Google’s Head of Search, Amit Singhal, has given an in-depth interview with the BBC in which he discusses the search engine giant’s future developments. Top of the agenda is Knowledge Graph, which Singhal says is helping the company evolove the nature of computing. “[Before] computers didn’t understand that the Taj Mahal is a beautiful monument…because of the following fundamental fact: computers are really good at representing strings of characters…What we did two years back was we acquired a company called Freebase that had found a novel way to represent things in computer memory. It was such an exciting opportunity because we can finally realise our dreams of moving search from being about strings to being about things.” Singhal also spoke about Project Glass, search personalisation and the exctiting opportunities that lie ahead in digital. “We are sitting at this wonderful junction where various technologies are ripening: mobile technologies, networks, speech recognition, speech interfaces, wearable computing. I really feel that these things put together will give us products five years from now that will change how you interact with computers. The future will be very exciting once you have a wearable computing device. It kind of changes how you experience things.”

Twitter tweaks trending topics

Twitter is revampaing its trending topic service to make it more relevant to each individual user. Trending topics will now not only be based on a user’s geographical location, but also the interests of the people you follow. A post on the Twitter blog reads: “In order to show emerging topics that matter more to you, today we’re improving our algorithms to tailor Trends based on your location and who you follow on Twitter. These Trends lists are tailored for you by default on twitter.com and mobile apps like Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android.” The service is optional and users can keep the topics they are currently served by changing their location setting.

England v France: The Social Media Match

England kicked off their Euro 2012 campaign with a 1-1 draw against France on Monday, but how did the two teams fare on social media? The boffins at Brandwatch were keeping their eye on Twitter and found that England had the greater number of mentions, with Joe Hart, goalscorer Joleon Lescott and captain Steven Gerrard among the most mentioned players. Meanwhile, Wildfire looked at Facebook and found that those running France’s brand page did a better job of engaging their fanbase than their English counterparts. More stats ans facts can be seen here.