Tag Archives: Firefox

The new Search Engine with a different method to Google

Blippex usage - now that's a hockey stick chart
Blippex usage – now that’s a hockey stick chart

In the last few months a new search engine has been released, with a different way of providing results to Google.

Google provides results based on inbound links, called PageRank, and what it thinks is relevant content – based on locality, keywords and other page information such as the title of the page, headlines and images.

Blippex takes a different approach. It provides results ordered by the pages where users spend the most time, and assumes that the longer a user spends on a page, the page must contain high quality content. It also takes keywords and other factors into account.

Blippex uses a similar model to the Alexa website to get the page view times – it needs users to install browser plugins. This is a limiting factor at the moment – who installs plugins beyond IT professionals? Where this could become more interesting is if say, Firefox, were to buy Blippex or even licence the technology. This would give holistic user browsing stats to Blippex straight away.

Blippex will naturally bias video content sites, where users spend minutes on pages. Blippex will need to manage websites showing pirate video content – for example movies and sports coverage.

Another interesting point about the technology is that part of the source code is publicly available on Github, and there’s a banner on the search engine promoting developers to further improve the product.

I’m always fascinated by companies which take on established rivals who are deeply entrenched in an industry. It forces the big companies, in this case Google, to keep innovating and pushing their products.

Please try Blippex and let me know what you think.

Review of my 2011 predictions


Back in January I made 12 predictions for digital media for 2011. I did the same for 2010 – i.e. I made the predictions and then analysed them in December, and faired well. How did I do this year?

1. Rapid demise of Flash

Bang on here. We’re witnessing HTML5 rapidly overtaking Flash, mainly because users want to view sites on their iOS devices, which don’t support Flash. Flash for mobiles has been dropped in favour of Adobe Air – the problem with Air (an irony in the product name) is that it’s too heavy for downloading over mobile: Adobe Air apps are very large. HTML5 is both very powerful and not linked to a specific vendor, which is exactly the type of technology web developers embrace quickly.

Prediction rating: 10/10

2. Local local local

The use of Google on mobile devices is increasingly rapidly, and one of Google’s most powerful functions is to provide local results on mobile devices. Facebook Check In and FourSquare will continue competing in the future, providing more relevant functionality which is only good for end consumers.

Prediction rating: 10/10

3. LinkedIn to IPO

Yes, LinkedIn IPO’d in the summer at a market capitalisation of around $6bn. At the end of the first day of trading, shares were selling at over $94. They are now worth just under $65. The actual variance has been from $55 to $122. Personally I think the future is very bright for LinkedIn, as long as it sticks to it’s core, professional-only values and steers cleer of Facebook.

Prediction rating: 10/10 

4. More “paywalls” will increase the expectations of having to pay for content

I predicted that we’d see at least six mainstream publications start charging for online content. What was very difficult to predict was that this was going to be made possible via the iPad. The iPad has been the saviour of global newspapers by offering a simple charging model for content owners. Many newspaper websites are still free, but most apps charge for content. The main point is that user now expect to pay for content, but it took the shift to a new platform to illustrate this.

Prediction rating: 8/10 

5. Financial Services move into social networks

Banks have had other things to worry about this year, and whilst many are dipping their toes into the water with Twitter and Facebook, I’m not aware of any doing it particularly well. Searching for the popular high street banks on Facebook returns a rather fragmented list. I expect this to change in the near future. 

Prediction rating: 2/10 


6. Facebook to follow Compuserve even more

Try and name a brand that isn’t on Facebook. In January I said that we should expect a Skype messaging style interface and in July, we got Skype inside Facebook. I predicted we’d have a billion users by the end of the year, although this is unlikely to come true because in September, Facebook announced they’d broken through 800 million users – still an amazing feat. 

Prediction rating: 8/10

7. A clear leader will emerge in Interactive TV

Interactive TV is now firmly called Smart TV, and no, a clear leader hasn’t emerged yet. The remotes all look different, and operating systems are different, and with the latest XBox release, Microsoft is putting up a decent fight to use your games console as the Interactive device.

Prediction rating: 0/10

8. Rapid rise in CPC

I said that CPC rates would rise, and noted the cost of some terms. Here they are:


Cost in
December 2011

Cost in
December 2012

ebook  £0.55


sandwich  £1.00


drink  £1.00


laptop   £1.25


paper  £0.75


I estimated costs would increase at least 50% over the next year however they have mostly gone up a much smaller amount, with the exception of the highly competitive ebook market.

Prediction rating: 2/10

9. A $50 A5 eReader

I was $10 out – Walmart are selling an eReader for under $60. Bearing in mind there was nothing available for less than $120 at the start of the year, this demonstrates how mainstream eReaders have become. 

Prediction rating: 6/10

10. App stores will decentralise, leading to confused customers (again)

The term app store has become abused. Now everyone has an app store whereas a year ago their product had an ‘add-on’. If you go into a car showroom I’d half expect the optional extras to be available from an app-store! Fortunately the market hasn’t become decentralised as predicted – to the benefit of end users.

Prediction rating: 0/10

11. The economy will continue to splutter

Obviously this has come true. I predicted that companies would need to start demonstrating clear revenues, including Twitter, and this has materialised as $140million this year.

Prediction rating: 10/10

12. Chrome to far exceed Firefox market share

Perhaps ‘far exceed’ is an exaggeration, however in early December Chrome overtook Firefox for the first time, and it’s here to stay. I’m a big fan of Chrome for a number of reasons (all the settings are stored centrally “in the cloud”, it auto updates seamlessly and it’s very fast), and hardly use Firefox any longer.

Prediction rating: 8/10

So there we have it. Overall I was reasonably accurate with the predictions. I’m working on 2012 predictions, which feels more difficult at this time. Maybe it’s the economy/ general outlook. Any help would be appreciated!

Photo courtesy of lacomj on Flickr

Twelve Digital Media Predictions for 2011


Well here we are. 2011 predictions below. My 2010 predictions worked out pretty good and I’ve been asked for the 2011 predictions for the last six weeks.

1. Rapid demise of Flash

Flash has two big problems in 2010: Apple (specifically, the iPhone and iPad) and HTML 5. I don’t see Apple relenting on their decision to enable Flash (specifically pre-compiled code), and users will start moving away from Flash sites out of necessity. Developers already like HTML 5, and it looks reasonably flexible to replace a lot of what Flash has historically need to be used for. YouTube is already using HTML 5 to deliver video. If the BBC iPlayer is using HTML 5 next year, let’s award 10/10 for this prediction!

2. Local local local

Local businesses will ‘never have had it better’. FourSquare, Facebook Pages and Places, and Google Places can all help local businesses. My local sandwich shop at work can now have a digital relationship with consumers for no cost. The rising use of smartphones will continue to provide more local results when searching (for example, type in hospital into Google on your smartphone – even at the moment it produces a list of local results).

3. LinkedIn to IPO

The Facebook for business, the most useful social network of them all if you want to hire staff, track companies, keep in touch with former colleagues, research ‘people’ will float in 2011. 

4. More “paywalls” will increase the expectations of having to pay for content

Paywalls will undergo new branding, and together with mobile apps charging a subscription fee, the days of free content will start coming to an end. I’m not saying all sites will become pay only within a year, however expect to see at least another half dozen main titles beyond Murdoch’s empire start charging for their hard work.

5. Financial Services move into social networks

Financial services are walking around social networks scratching their heads wondering how to approach the biggest B2C of all time. I predict at least one Financial Services organisation will get it right, and everyone else will copy and improve. Expect some big announcements of huge Financial Services brands linking together with the big social networks.

6. Facebook to follow Compuserve even more

I’ve likened Facebook to the walled garden environment of Compuserve before. Expect to see ‘new’ features in Facebook like sending files to friends, Facebook wireless access points or even broadband provision (remember – Compuserve started life as an ISP), premium (paid entrance) Facebook Pages, offline browsing or a phone service (think Google Talk or Skype). We’ll all think it’s brilliant, and then read the Wikipedia Compuserve article and realise we’ve been here before. I also expect Facebook to break into China and reach 1 billion global users.

7. A clear leader will emerge in Interactive TV

Buying a new TV at the moment? Which Internet/Interactive TV standard are you going to buy? There are so many types available, it’s really confusing to consumers. By the end of the year (Christmas 2011) there will be one or two clear leaders. And expect to see a wireless keyboard lying on your sofa next year or 2012 instead of a simple remote.

8. Rapid rise in CPC

Ad CPC (Cost Per Click) rates are rapidly rising. Take the biggest network, Google AdWords. The cost per click of the following items as of 29/12 is:

  • ebook – £0.55
  • sandwich – £1.00
  • drink – £1.00
  • laptop – £1.25
  • paper – £0.75

I estimate costs will go up at least 50% over the next year because of the growth of online businesses, and they will all want to advertise their products.

9. A $50 A5 eReader

eReaders will hit a critical mass when the price point is low enough. I estimate this to be around $50 (£35) because this is a reasonable price point where a consumer won’t be too upset at losing their eReader. At that point, schools will seriously consider replacing paper books with eReaders. Expect more mainstream books to only be available electronically.

10. App stores will decentralise, leading to confused customers (again)

The beauty of the iPhone’s app store is that all apps come through the store tested and vetted. It also provides a full backup solution if you regularly synchronise your iPhone with a computer. The Android Market is the opposite – it’s like anarchy! Apple are releasing their own full app store for Apple computers. Amazon will do something similar. You’ll have lots of app store logins, and it will all be confusing. In fact it will become so fragmented that it will be similar to how you buy software at the moment – one piece comes from Amazon, another from Apple, another from eBuyer, and so on.

11. The economy will continue to splutter

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to work this one out. However the implications will be that brands will drive their marketing organisations to produce clearer ROI on campaigns (especially Facebook, to pay for the expensive UK based full time Community Managers). This is currently difficult to do, but marketing departments will drive analytics vendors to improve their products beyond just referrer stats. Despite huge funding increases at the end of 2010, Twitter will need to start generating some serious revenues, so expect ads on Twitter similar to the reach blocks on Facebook.

12. Chrome to far exceed Firefox market share

Chrome is here to stay, and will only increase market share when the new Google laptop (and tablet) arrives. Microsoft won’t back down on Internet Explorer either. Which leaves Firefox in third place, and will just slide further down because users won’t know why they’ll want a third browser on their computer.

IE 9 early review


This morning I downloaded the latest version of Microsoft’s browser – IE 9. The browser is still in beta version, however we usually download beta versions of browsers to ensure our client sites are ready for the new browsers. (It’s like a moving target though, because the browser subtly changes between minor beta versions and you rarely get to hear about a firm date for a consumer launch).

After using IE 9 for the day, and making sure I wasn’t swayed by any other reviews, here’s my outcome.

It’s like a really slow version of Chrome.

When IE 9 loads, it still takes that trademark-long-time. I don’t know how Google get Chrome to load so quickly, but that to me is the best feature of the browser. Why do you want to have to wait longer than the fastest browser?

When IE 9 does eventually load (and I’m exaggerating about the length of the load time – it is much quicker than IE 8, but still the slowest out of Firefox and Chrome), it looks startlingly similar to Chrome. The favourite ‘star’ has moved to the left. The whole top area has moved to one horizontal area, making the actually web page a much larger area. The menus are now three small icons on the right hand side. Even the developer tools look the same as Chrome.

Microsoft will be marketing very hard that IE 9 is much faster at rendering web pages than the other browsers. They have a performance test page set up which I can only assume (but frankly can’t be bothered to do) is weighted against it’s competitors because Chrome and Firefox are so incredibly slow to IE 9 – more than you would expect from the hardware acceleration.

The sneakiest thing about the new browser though, is that Flash no longer works out-of-the-box. You have to reinstall it at Adobe.com. With Microsoft seeking domination for it’s slow-to-get-market-share Silverlight, in effect uninstalling Flash is near brilliance. Or it would be, if IE 9 came with Silverlight working out of the box. I was amazed that it didn’t work with IE 9. What an incredible own goal.