Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

Old MacDonald went to Google E I E I/O

Big conference-based announcements from Google and re/code, the 2015 Internet trends you need to know, a focus on photo-based apps and increased visual communications, P2P payment options, a risky advertising/journalism play in Boston, the rise of Google Pants and Silicon Valley sex therapists, where we are with digital journalism, lawyers mining your data and more, it's This Week in Digital.

A roundup of relevant links affecting our industry.

Each week, we compose a newsletter that includes a series of links about current events and trends in the worlds of technology, business, digital communications and marketing in order to keep leaders up to date on changes, newsworthy items and content that might be useful in your job. Please subscribe - either to the full feed or just to this newsletter to keep up to date on developments.

If you’re on Flipboard, you can get these links and more by subscribing to the This Week in Digital Magazine.

News items are in regular text; additional commentary has been added in italics.



  • Google
    • Google revealed and announced quite a few things during the I/O conference. Some of the highlights include: a vast update to the Android system - the latest being called Android M - that include easier permissions, direct linking from apps to the web, an expansion of Android Pay, an OS for the Internet of Things called "Brillo," offline connectivity for apps (such as Google Maps) and much more. (The Next Web)
    • One of the announcements worth covering separately is the launch of Google Photos, which include unlimited backup space for your photos. Product chief Bradley Horowitz considers it Gmail for photosThis is a functionality that Google separated from the Google+ product, and it's an extremely important one, pitting Google against Facebook, Yahoo and even Apple's iCloud. Although, according to at least one high-volume photographer, it's not enough. (Venture Beat and Thomas Hawk) 
    • Get ready for Google Pants. Levi's and Google are teaming up for smart fabric that will respond to gestures and integrate with your devices. For those of you in the know, Marketing Companion predicted this development a year and a half ago. (Fusion)
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
      • Earlier this spring, Twitter held talks to acquire Flipboard. Talks have since stalled. The pairing could be beneficial to each: Flipboard could use larger audience and revenue stream and Twitter would have a more visual layout of its content. (re/code)
    • Snapchat
      • Snapchat has raised another $500 million from investors, with a valuation around $16 billion. It's clear that investors are bullish in the future of the visual communications app as the company issued common stock rather than preferred stock in the transaction. (WSJ)
      • Why are millennials obsessed with Snapchat? In short, because all of their friends are on it and it's more personalized. And BTW, here's what they think of  adults on Snapchat: "Anyone over the age of 35 registered on Snapchat is probably also registered on Family WatchDog." (Business Insider)
      • As for brands, Snapchat has a very specific way of thinking: 6 ways Snapchat is thinking about digital advertising. (Contently)
    • It's not quite dead yet. In fact, Foursquare is getting better... The latest update includes an algorithm that makes recommendations more timely and helpful, and users don't even have to create a profile to make use of them. (TechCrunch)

    Collaborative Economy 


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    Metrics / Measurement / Data

    • If you're in communications or marketing and you want to get schooled on data, it can be tricky to determine where to begin. Boston University is offering three different sessions of an intensive 5-day workshop called Storytelling with Data this summer that can help you get there. (Boston University)
    • Google is giving app developers more tools, including AdWords, AdMob and Analytics, to help with the monetization of their apps. (Venture Beat) 

    Privacy / Security / Legal

    • Here's a fun (and self-admitted creepy) extension for your Chrome browser called Marauder's Map that allows you to stalk your friends' location using Facebook Messenger. The moral of the story: always be sure to check the settings on your apps and your devices. (Medium)
    • What you post is being used by more than just your friends. Your friendly neighborhood ambulance chaser is also using Facebook and other data to track down medical victims. (Bloomberg)
    • Be careful: it's possible to get fined for using a smart watch while driving. Some people really love the Apple Watch. (CVT News Montreal)

    When You Have the Time: Essential Watching / Listening / Reading 

    2015 Internet Trends Report

    • Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers presented the company's 20th annual Internet Trends report at the Code Conference this week. At 196 pages, it's a long deck, so here are some highlights.
    • About 39% of the world's population is online and 73% have a mobile device.
    • While the impact to consumers has been great, we have plenty of opportunities ahead in healthcare, education and government/policy areas. 
    • User growth is slowing (8% last year vs. 10% the prior year). Does this mean we're in trouble? Hardly. It means stabilization and universality. But it reminds me of a former colleague who used to say, "If it isn't growing, it's dying" - as misinformed an absolutist position I've ever heard.
    • Here's why: Internet usage and engagement is growing 11% Y/Y - with mobile accounting for 3 hours a day of engagement. 
    • It's 2015 and print still remains way over-indexed with respect to time spent - particularly on mobile.

    • New ad formats for mobile, such as Facebook's Carousel, Pinterest's Cinematic Pin and Google's Local Inventory will make things easier for brands.
    • Buy buttons will permeate the social experience. 
    • Vertical video viewing is becoming a thing - but not because of poorly shot personal videos; vertical ads on visual communications-heavy apps perform up to 9X better than horizontal ads.
    • Better tools for the enterprise are widely available and have the potential to streamline business processes.
    • Messaging apps are growing in importance and their dominance will be assured with multiple functionalities and cross-platform operating systems.
    • User-generated and curated content is remaking the Internet and 12-24 year-olds are the new trendsetters.
    • Consumer spending and on-demand services are in a place where the trade-off of convenience for price is becoming more relevant. People will pay a little more for a customized experience.
    • All eyes should be on China and India for sheer mass and addition of new users, respectively.

    Image credit: Duncan Hull (Flickr)