Google+ growth: is the sky its limit?

It’s been a while since Google Plus became an indispensable tool in community management of a number of businesses and institutions. The infographic below provides an overview of the impressive evolution that both G+ and YouTube have witnessed in recent times.

Although Europe is still lagging behind in terms of exploiting the potentials of Google Plus there are some institutions like the European Commission that are making the best out of this platform and reaching skyrocketing levels of plusses, circles and engagement.

Google Social Revolution Continue reading “Google+ growth: is the sky its limit?”

QWANTity or quality: what’s qwant all about?

Qwant is a search engine launched by a French-owned and managed start-up. You enter your search query and Qwant provides results based on web pages, news, videos, images and also social networks.

Below the search bar you will also find trending topics of the day. Although, I haven’t managed to discover what this algorithm is based on.

CatturaWe are all aware that Google has (almost???) monopolized the world of search engines by integrating the most used services world-wide under one big umbrella (Google searches, Google maps, gmail, Google earth, Google docs). Ergo, you would think that challenging such a giant should come from a very revolutionary product.

According to their brand, Qwant’s goal is to revolutionize the way a user conducts research on the Internet. I admire the attempt and boldness of a small start up to challenge a giant in a David vs Goliath like battle on the other hand I must point out a few factors:

Here is for instance what happens if you enter “European Commission.”


It is indeed an interesting overview. On the other hand, let’s try to analyse these results from the user’s point of view.

  • Experience matters. I remember when I was 13 or 14 years old (I’m 27) and had this wide range of search engines Altavista, Virgilio, Yahoo, Arianna. Even looking for the most common term was like wandering on a J-STOR list of papers on neo-liberal international relations theory. It is indeed hard to get accustomed to new ways to look for and filter information. This should not however be a point against Qwant.
  • Where’s the added value? The integration with social media seems to be their USP. However, Google does the same, and does it pretty well to. If we take the example of Twitter, I think Google does it even better than Twitter itself especially when it comes to looking for profiles. I use Google and type “twitter [name]” and, wow, it’s right there.
  • Quality vs Qwantity: In an era of information overload, users will be looking more and more for accurate search results. Qwant provides broader overviews but still lacks of targeted result display.
  • Qwant powers its search with Bing. Bing!???

Google are just smart. 15 years or search experience smart, and it’s hard to think another search engine is going to ‘dethrone’ them or even take 0.01% of the search market. As my coach says “good effort” but Qwant is not going to bring the game home.

I tried Google Glass…and I liked it. But, do I need it?

Right, here we go. I finally managed to try Google Glass. It was at Google’s offices in Brussels (lovely offices by the way) some time ago. I had a lot of expectations from this product. I had noticed already that a few well-known communications and innovation experts had been already given Google Glass for trial and test but still it was hard for me to understand what this item could actually do. Besides, the hype around them has been really huge especially since the release of the first teaser video in 2012 so, I was very curious.


The presentation was lovely with a group of well-prepared young American (I think all of them were) Google employees who had been touring around Europe and the rest of the world to provide Google Glass demos.

Google Glass is interesting for specific uses, but you’re going to struggle to find a use for them all the time. It didn’t seem like they’re going to replace looking at your smartphone any time soon.

I’m not a particular fan of wearable computing and I admit I’m not a big fan of people using Siri or talking on the phones directly through their headphones…Brrrrrr They look to me like they have watched too many Wall Street-based movies and they actually look ridiculous. Anyway…

The device lent to me was both light and comfortable possibly also because I’m used to wear glasses . You can wear Google Glass without lenses, so you just have the frame, although Google is planning to make them adaptable for actual prescription lenses. The frame is made of titanium, which you can bend to fit your face without breaking.

Now, let’s talk frankly. When you wear them, you don’t look that cool. Although the Swedish designer did a great job making such device sort of conceivable, you still look a like Vegeta from Dragonball Z who is now claiming that he used to wear Google Glass before it was cool. See picture below in case you were born out of the Dragonball Z generation.


You turn Google Glass on by moving your head up, or tapping the side of the frame. This activates a tiny screen showing the time, and the phrase “OK Glass” floating about 10 centimetres in the upper right part. By saying “OK Glass” you get a menu with a range of options such as “Google…(something)”, “take a picture”, record a video”, “get directions to … “, “send a message to … “, “call somebody”, “hang out with … ” Regardless what I read in other reviews, I actually found it pretty accurate when I asked for instance to get “directions to the Atonium” or to “Google my blog” or to “take a picture.”
The presenter explained that in some cases, it might be good to put up an American accent but that sound recognition is constantly being assessed and improved.

A problem with the voice command is that obviously you are not inaudible. Think about other people’s reactions when hearing a man just shouting things out loud. Can you imagine being on the bus and say “OK Glass, give me directions to the nearest sushi shop…” or something like it, or worse, witnessing something unusual on the streets and start shouting “PHOTO, PHOTO, PHOTO!!!!!” or “RECORD A VIDEO, RECORD A VIDEO!!!!” Let’s not forget that “normal people” don’t do so.

There is a way around this of course. You don’t really need to say: “OK Glass, take a picture”. You can just press a button on the top of the sidepiece, or hold it down for video. But then, why wouldn’t you do it with your smartphone? This brings up the notorious privacy issue since there’s no warning to anyone around you that you’re taking photos or videos. Still, there are plenty of similar conceivable devices already available on the market so I don’t see why this very product would create a different case study.

One of the key strengths of this product is that it shows a considerable effort by Google to impose themselves as innovators. In fact, I see how some niche markets could make good use of Glass like in the medical sphere, in technological research or even (why not?) in sports refereeing.

On the other hand, regular people don’t need to walk around needing to Google things. We use our smartphones for that.