Archive for the ‘Digital Marketing’ Category

Nov
01

Virtual Reality and Future of Mobile Experience

Posted by Varun Sharma on November 1, 2014
Imagine the time when people first saw a motion picture, complete with sounds and moving pictures. They must have been surprised to the core when they happened to see movie characters and landscapes come alive on the screen. It was the “projector” that did the trick.

That was several decades ago. 

Virtual Reality Decades Ago

Image Credit: http://blog.thephoenix.com/blogs/blogs/outsidetheframe/dreamherlockjr-inthefilm.jpg

On screen virtualization involved “eyes and ears” but not so much of rest of the human body. The involvement was great but not “near perfect.”

Video games were the next big inventions that further amplified involvement of people who played them. 

virtual reality video games

Image Credit: http://bookofextremefacts.com/fact_images/games_entertain/first_home_video_game_console.jpg

Multiple, layered outcomes of a series of sequential actions in a video game were no doubt predefined by the software program but users did find themselves highly entertained due to the increased involvement.

As the computer science took center stage in all sectors including defense, entertainment, education, healthcare etc., several state funded and private organizations began allocating funds for research on Virtual Reality.

They knew the applications of a viable VR technology were immense. While some companies like Nitendo launched VR games way back in 1990s, several others jumped in and spent millions of dollars on VR R&D.

VR games were launched in huge numbers over the next few years and other organizations too found ways to make use of the advanced VR technologies.

Here’s a fine example of immersive virtual reality:

Today, VR technology is used in fine arts, game development, music creation, training etc. and even has therapeutic uses.

Virtual reality parachuting simulation
Virtual reality parachuting simulation | Source: VRS.org.uk

Image Credit: http://www.vrs.org.uk/images/us-military.jpg

The Next Big Wave of Change in VR

Virtual Reality and Future of Mobile Experience

Advancements in 3D and other such technologies have now made it possible to pass on the fruits of years of research to common people in the simplest ways imaginable.

In order to make VR more accessible to the world (as it required expensive hardware and software), a team at Google decided to develop a product that would provide VR experience right in the mobile phone

They called it Google Cardboard.

Google gifted an Android App titled “Google Cardboard” and a “cardboard” (fundamentally an Origami model) to developers this year at a conference.

Joined together, an Android Phone with the “Google Cardboard” app and this cardboard literally transformed itself into a basic but impressive virtual reality headset.

No, it’s not perfect but you do get the idea where we’re headed, right?

Can you imagine just how drastically (and for good) the mobile experience will change when VR in mobile becomes mainstream!

Consider This:

A mobile virtual world made up of the following:

  • A mobile device (which you can easily carry around easily)
  • A supplementary component to make it VR-ready (preferably less bulky than that of Oculus; its great work though!)
  • Superior Virtual Environment (preferably better than that of Google Cardboard)
  • Input devices for even great involvement (preferably smarter than Microsoft’s Kinect or Wii Controls)

Can you imagine the possibilities?

It shouldn’t be hard.

VR, I think, may take the world by storm in not so distant future. The fact that technology giants like Google are keen to take the smartphone revolution to the next level by integrating VR technologies with mobile operating systems goes on to prove just that.

I would still want to hit the road for a refreshing bike ride but 3D shopping on my mobile, I’m game for that!

Fingers crossed.

Jun
30

How Google uses the Entity Relationship Model

Posted by Varun Sharma on June 30, 2014
Computer science has for long made extensive use of “entities” and “relationships” for defining different data sets and key rules that govern their associations. Now, SEO and content writing professionals too may have to learn a thing or two about these concepts.

Let’s go through the basics first.

What is An Entity?

Something that can exist independently in its entirety can be termed as an entity.

So, your name is an entity and so is the title of this post. Any noun you can think of can be an entity.

What is a Relationship?

Multiple entities can be related to each other. These associations are known as ‘relationships.’

What is entity relationship model?

A Sample Entity-Relationship Diagram

 

Entity Relationship Example
entity relationship example

While ‘Writer,’ ‘Consumer’ and ‘Novel’ are entities here, they are related to each other through relationships named ‘Creates,’ and ‘Buys.’

This simple concept, enriched by “roles” and “cardinalities” forms the basis of Relationship Database Management Systems (RDMS).

What’s in it For SEO Experts?

If you are an SEO expert, you may now need to get into the basics of how relational database systems work or how you can use ER diagrams.

What should be of interest is the fact that Google has recently secured a patent that revolves around such entities.

In this case, Google has used the term “search entities.”

The Internet is growing bigger and search engine giants, well, smarter. The next big thing happening after Hummingbird, it seems, is Google taking “search entities” quite seriously.

Google’s Knowledge Graph, for example, is in fact an “entity graph.”

In near future, Google may use the “search entities” to a great extent to correlate different pieces of information that otherwise appear disconnected to a bot.

It’s Not a Recent Development

Google has been of course trying harder each year to better serve the end user as the Internet grows in size. If Google didn’t update its search algorithms every now and then, it would just fail to provide “relevant search results” due to the sheer size of the Internet.

Providing relevant results is Google’s core competence and there’s no way the company would want to lose out on that. It wants to ‘answer’ everything that billions of people want to ask it and do so in a manner that no one else can.

Back in 2010, Google acquired Metaweb, a company that had created a fine system of indexing “named entities” on the Internet.

A “named entity” is a specific place, person or a thing. Cristiano Ronaldo, Brazil and Football, for example, are “named entities.” Each of these named entities is given a unique ID.

Equipped with a database of tagged data (named entities) created by Metaweb, essentially a semantic search startup, Google was in a position to improvise it further and ultimately make it a part of its search engine offerings.

Today, when you search for Bob Marley, you’re shown some highly customized results because Google already has information ready to be served. “Bob Marley” in this case, is handled as a “named entity.”

Example Google Knowledge Graph
Example Google Knowledge Graph

 

Not just Google, other search engines are using such entities too. According to an internal study carried out by Microsoft, as many as 20 to 30% of all search queries processed by Bing Search were just named entities. The study also pointed out that close to 71% of all queries submitted to Bing Search had named entities in search strings.

Does that ring the bell? It should!

Search Entities – How Google Can Use Them

By successfully correlating billions of disparate “search entities,” earlier identified by making use of metrics such as keywords, images, meta tags, back links, anchor text, social signals and more recently authorship, Google may soon be in a position to further improvise its search algorithms.

Imagine how page ranks of many websites may change (for better or worse) if Google bots can effectively correlate specific information about different people, places and things.

Let’s say you create a new website on Bob Marley and make it a complete resource, by assimilating unique and high quality content as well as other information including the songs, wallpapers, videos, graphics, books etc.

Earlier, it would have been pretty hard for you to get it ranked well. It would take great effort because of highly competitive keywords. But once “search entities’ begin to play a bigger role, it would be a different ballgame.

Search Entity = Bob Marley

Related Search Entities = Songs, Music, Awards, Tours, Biography, Books, Articles, Images, Videos and so on.

If the list of “related search entities” is available with a (more) intelligent bot, do you not think it will begin to rank pages differently than how it is possibly done right now?

With “search entities” Google may be able to make some sense out of the unstructured data on the Internet. The outcomes will directly impact page ranks of websites crawled by the search engine.

What are you selling on the Internet? What are your products known for? Are you targeting a specific place? What is that place known for?

All such questions and a whole lot more may soon become more important than ever for internet marketers!

Jan
08

Good Relations Ontology, Semantic Markup and how they help in SEO

Posted by Varun Sharma on January 8, 2013
The task of an SEO is to polish the available content to see that it reaches high ranks in the popular keyword searches. However, it is not really possible for everyone to rank on the first page of the search engines because search engines frequently change their algorithms to penalize SEO oriented sites from faking the system. As search engines resort to semantic search, SEOs are steadily changing their ways and have begun using semantic SEO as the way. Semantic SEO sends more relevant search to the search engines so that your product or services ranks high in the query that is best suited for your offer.

Semantic search and semantic SEO

Semantic Markup
Semantic Markup by NY Times

Semantic SEO is one step ahead of the SEO techniques of yesteryears. Semantic SEO is fairly new web marketing technique but is fast growing in conjunction with large scale SEO perhaps for the fact that it so ably combines the facets of SEO with semantic web technology and semantic search – which instead of using keywords as the core for search results, uses searcher’s intent and meaning of the query.

Semantic SEO therefore, besides the normal focus on the user’s keyword search and links also focuses on the user’s intent and meaning of the query to provide best results on search engines.

So, when it comes to semantic SEO it becomes all the more important for retailers, bloggers, news websites, video web pages, contact, product and medical data information providing website etc. to rethink their focus on vocabularies and syntax of the structured data to rank high on the search engines following the semantic search technique.

Good Relations Ontology

It is known that structured data is responsible in sending meaningful information of data on the webpage to the search engines and other data consumers in a way that is best understood by them. There are many vocabularies and syntax that actually make a much needed difference in the structured data, but the most important that also helps in semantic search and SEO is the GoodRelations ontology or schema.org markup in RDFa or Microdata syntax.

GoodRelations ontology or schema.org in RDFa or Microdata syntax are the most powerful and effective vocabulary and syntax that can be used to send rich description of all details of products and services of a webpage in a way best suited for search engines, web browsers, mobiles applications etc.

Therefore, its believe that if a GoodRelations is used in the markup on the website then search engines, mobile apps etc have a better chance of recognizing you in the search results, which can directly increase the number of users visiting your site from the search engines. This is the reason SEOs are beginning to utilize GoodRealtions ontology.

Semantic Markup

Vocabularies and syntax mentioned above for structured data can be summed up as semantic markup. Because semantic SEO involves inclusion of semantic markup in the web page to enhance meaning of the page and make it easily comprehendible to search engines, it becomes necessary to understand what is Semantic Markup?

Semantic markup is a way to assist search engines, browsers and apps to identify the information on a web page in a language that they can easily understand. Presently the most useful semantic markup formats are RDFa and Microdata, and semantic markup is best defined as using HTML tags, which offer every clean codes that are not only easy for humans to understand and right but also for the search engine algorithms to comprehend. A reason SEOs and developers love it and semantic search recognizes.