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The RAAKonteur #82 – Google Drive, the Future of Online Video, and the Death of Display Ads

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30 April 2012

Google Drive (finally!)

So, this week, Google launched Google Drive. Finally. It gives you 5GB of cloud storage, which already contains your Google Docs and stays automatically synced with a local folder on one or more of your computers or devices (not iOS yet, but they're working on it). Despite a torrent of unfounded dismay over its Terms of Service, which is actually very straightforward and logical, the singular thing that stands out is how much it is an identical clone of Dropbox. So, what is different? The ecosystem. A future version of Chrome OS will use Google Drive as its system drive, and Google Drive launched with an SDK providing Chrome applications to be built on top of Google Drive. Like this online fax and email signing app, which launched its Google Drive functionality on the same day as Google Drive itself. For the time being though, it's just some extra Dropbox space.

Twitter destroys Facebook on sharing

A new study claims that links shared on Twitter are clicked much more than on Facebook. Since Twitter is a weak tie network, it makes sense. However, it does not follow that Twitter is a better bet for brands than Facebook. Fashion brands for example would be crazy not to use Facebook.

The future of Online Video

Youtube is great, and Vimeo is beautiful, but we have yet to see a "Twitter for video". Color wanted to be it, but failed. A Norwegian newspaper is currently doing something very interesting with online video. Dagbladet, a liberal tabloid, has launched the Dagblated Nyhetsstudio ("News Studio"), which puts the viewer in control of 7 video feeds (most of them realtime). Only one video is maximised at a time, but if you hover over any of the other thumbnails, you hear its audio, allowing you to "preview" it. Their field reporters walk around with backpacks full of video streaming gear, collecting the footage in real time. If this is not the future of online video, it is dangerously close.

Display ads are dead?

An interesting article in AdAge makes the case that display ads' days are numbered because everybody's attention is switching to platforms like Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest. We don't agree – more nuanced and correct is this article which argues that because of the blurring between ad units and shared content on these platforms, it will require a shift in skills towards 'content'. Buyers would have to have a nose for a story and a finger on the pulse of what's going down on social platforms.

All this connectivity and no conversation

Like Evgeny Morozov, celebrated MIT professor Sherry Turkle is one of the people pining for the early days of the internet. Analysing a considerable body of research, the author of 'Alone Together' this week again claimed that our relationships are suffering because of social networks and mobile phones. As per usual it was Zeynep Tufeckci who pointed out that social media is 'a counterweight to the ongoing devaluation of human lives'. Tufkekci takes the debate a step further, pointing out that a small group of increasingly disconnected people do indeed struggle to use new technologies (for various reasons). And they could increasingly find themselves at a social disatvantage.

The power of Guest Blogging, the Buffer way

It is no secret that we love Buffer, and the way they do things. This week, another one of those things intercepted our radars: 70% of Buffer's initial traffic was created by guest blogging. How did they do this? Mostly by guest blogging about Buffer! If you have an amazing application, why not? If you don't, why are you still working on it? This is one of those things that just seems so obvious, once you've heard it.

Creatives of the Week – Matt Richardson & PicturelessPinterest


Who needs images when you've got words? That's the core thought about both of these projects. PicturelessPinterest is a cheeky Twitter account that narrates the best of Pinterest, but without the pictures. Simple but funny. Matt Richardson makes it a bit more complicated: he's developed a camera that doesn't produce an image but a text description of what you're trying to capture. Wait a minute – how does that work? He uses Amazon Mechanical Turk, a service that uses real humans behind to do things for machines that machines can't easily do. Very cool!

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