Google Glass – It’s Gone Forever?

Google Glass suffered a huge failure when its explorer version entered market. This wearable augmented-reality accessory brings rich text, navigation direction and a variety of information straight to your eyes via voice command.

It is a bold version of future interactive technology. However it’s not ready for today’s market as it raises concerns about privacy, safety, health and style.

Privacy

People fear having their photo taken and recorded without their knowledge. This is why it was banned in a few places. However it can be useful for citizen journalists to catch critical moments and report news at any time. Google Glass needs to convince the public that the benefits outweigh the concerns.

Safety

Google Glass headgear can find a route and give directions. How safe is Google Glass for driving argued from both sides that Google Glass may or may not affect safe driving when compared with Google map or apps. Despite the technology part, potentially distracting people’s attention can really be a serious issue, which is a big risk to take.

Health

Medical and public health professionals warn that Google Glass radiation could put health at risk. Moreover, eyesight can be damaged as it only uses one eye all the time.

Style

The new product needs to go with style. Google Glass looks weird to wear. The frames and design are clunky and embarrassing for users. No one wants to be spotted being strange and funny.

Not to mention that it is expensive and it is a kind of add-on accessory to our smart phone. How many people would spend this much money on something unnecessary?

Google wants us to see the world through its eyes. The ambition may be for ads to be coming to you everywhere – just another commercial approach.

Google Glass has great potential. Whether they can work out its limitations to provide real value for society will determine whether this experimental product will come back or be gone forever. Another question to be answered is how the technology evolves and how we evolve to accept it?

Here is the joy of Tech:

1

Image source: http://www.idownloadblog.com/2013/03/07/joy-of-tech-glass-vs-iwatch/

Data visualisation makes big data magical!

When reading big data from the endless numbers and words, we are confused and find it difficult to get the point. Visualising data has emerged to offer us new ways to find meaning in big data, in a more interesting and engaging manner.

There is a great example of interactive data visualization: Pain at the Pump: Gasoline Prices by Country .Bloomberg Gas Price Ranking sorts 61 countries by average price and by the portion of an average day’s wages needed to buy a gallon of fuel. Users can compare the gas price, affordability and consumption. Below are two screenshots comparing Australia and China in Quarter 4, 2014.

6 7
To effectively interpret such massive data into a simple visual comparison, Pain at the Pump has the following features regarded as great data visualisation.

Story – The purpose is to compare each country’s cost on petrol and affordability and to summarise why and how. This is of interest to everyone as it is relevant to our daily life. It is also a tool to analyse our living standard.

Goal– The interface is very user-friendly. You can scroll left or right to select a country, and examine different periods. The information changes accordingly to the number and chart  showing in different colours and shapes.

Visual Form– The layout looks neat and the information is very obvious to comprehend. The structure is clear, the left side shows the country’s overview while the right side shows coloured lines connected among three comparison criteria.

One negative aspect is that we cannot tell how reliable the original data used to build this, but we don’t discuss this in this blog.

8

Image source: http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/what-makes-a-good-data-visualization/

Using charts, graphs, and design elements, data visualisation can make complex data more accessible, understandable and usable thereby achieving the purpose of conveying the meaning.

Interactive experience is very important to invite the attention and engagement to get the message seen or it may fail to server the purpose – to communicate information.

No, Data Journalism is not the future journalism!

Data journalism is about journalists making news or stories based on data. We live in an information explosion age. Big data brings great opportunities to journalism and adds the value of accuracy and objectivity.

Big data has 4V characters: Volume, Velocity, Variety and Value.

Data journalism needs to have open data and open source available for people to mine,  analyse, visualise data and map data and tell stories.

As the guideline from Data Journalism Handbook indicates, ‘Data can be the source of data journalism, or it can be the tool with which the story is told – or it can be both’. We should be open to this quantitative tool but watch out how reliable the source is and how it can shape the news.

Gathering data, interpreting them and crafting emotional stories on the basis of facts is the process of data journalism working on the endless expansion of information.
4

Image source: http://onlinejournalismblog.com/2011/07/13/the-inverted-pyramid-of-data-journalism-part-2-6-ways-of-communicating-data-journalism/

5

Image source: http://onmedia.dw-akademie.de/english/?tag=investigative-journalism

If data is improperly managed and interpreted, journalists may lose the direction and feel trapped in the data jungle.

Limitations of data journalism:

  • The source of data is not always reliable as it could be from anywhere. Without careful research and selection, it may mislead the public;
  • Heavily relying on data may lead to a lack of deep analysis as some aspects of news or stories cannot be assessed by facts or figures;
  • If data news becomes a new type of journalism and other news was to follow this format, creativity or humanity would be lost;
  • It’s not an ideal method to tell an interesting story and to make it lively.

Data journalism becomes an important part of journalism, in particular areas, such as investigative journalism or analysis journalism, but it’s not the future of journalism. It cannot change the dynamic and principle of journalism and it should not.

EHarmony: not simple networks effect

                                     1

Image source: http://bigdata-101.blogspot.com.au/

The networks effect is all about scale and reach. The more people who use it, the more value it brings to all users.

Eharmony is a good example of how to use network effects to run a business.

When entering the market in 2000, Eharmony faced a saturated online dating market with a number of free dating sites available.

Eharmony has focused on a mature age group looking for serious long-term relationship and charged memberships fees to provide compatibility matches. With a large pool of people familiar with online dating already, the niche market could accept this deal if they believed the service was unique.

When facing more competitors offering free dating service, such as RSVP (2 million members), Oasis Active (1.6 million), OkCupid and Tinder , Eharmony has employed a different strategy: check compatibility for users based on their comprehensive profile created from detailed questionnaires.

                       network_matrix

(Image source: http://www.emergingstateofmind.com/2015/03/

Instead of users filtering through thousands of other users’ profiles, Eharmony sends a user only the matches that are selected by their algorithm. This is a smart way to reduce the negative network effects which other dating sites receive for wasting time and getting lost in the jungle. This is the case that quantity is important but quality matters more.

Moreover, this behind the curtain strategy can present “standalone-value” for users, as it can trick users into believing there is a bigger market than there is. The more members, the higher chance to meet the right person. It also enables users to effectively communicate with the possible partners.

As Eharmony titles its core tenet, “Meet compatible singles”!

Eharmony success relies not only on network effect but also because its stand-alone value.

Digital audience: where is standard and where is quality?

                                         3

Image source: http://thejournal.com/Articles/2012/04/09/Digital-quality-content-standards.aspx?sc_lang=en&Page=1

The “Bikini Girl” fitness guru Kayla Itsines war with “Banana girl” Leanne Ratcliffe is in the news again.

Ratcliffe created a series of videos for the Banana diet which has 580,710 views, more than 2.3 million instagram followers and 1.3 Facebook “Likes”

The digital world leads to a rapid increase in user-generated content and audience becomes so powerful, through online blogs, social media sites via filter, recommend, rate, like, and tweet. A good example of user-generated content is Wikipedia, which shares information or knowledge as a very useful tool for reference or self-education.

However, like the above so-called healthy lifestyle information, it can be dangerous as it could mislead the perception of being healthy and wellness, in particular because it has attracted such a huge number of viewers.

This raises the Issue: where is the standard and quality of the content?

As discussed in tje Cecar lecture, the digital audience’s role in the production of content, its consumption, access to digital achieves, change and dissemination has a big impact on the standard of content. The audience have a variety of choices of how, where and when to get information. They are everywhere, engaging across multiple channels and devices, empowered by being more active .

Youtube is very popular for open educational resources-digital content and to promote music, however, so many negative contents are generated without any meaning. This introduces a significant number of questions.Why can they attract so much attention?  What benefits are given to viewers? Why do they exist? What is the value of the news?.

Why do low quality videos show up high in the search rankings with high ratings?

Should this be a wake up call?

How do we ensure quality assurance while giving freedom to audiences to generate and publish content?

Should some tools be adopted to monitor the content?

Should audiences be educated to be more knowledgeable about their consumer behaviour?

This will take time and it’s a balance of freedom and restriction, personal taste and community interests and amateur and expert content makers.

Content is king! Where will the king go from here?

                                  w7

Image source: http://blogs.abo.fi/edge/

The majority of consumers use at least one of three common digital platforms at multiple times each day, a NAA study reports.

w7-2

Image source: http://www.realmdigital.co.za/news/integrated-e-marketing-and-multi-channel-syndicati/

Digita obviously is where the future lies. ABC director Mark Scott announced a program to fund $20 million digital investment to achieve broader audience engagement.

As Cesar discussed in his lecture, “content is King”, content is shared across different platforms and is challenging traditional journalism in the way of delivery and distribution.

Digital content, as opposed to digital platform, assists a publication to succeed. With high technology available consumers can easily access the platform designed for good look and feel without excessive traffic. They are more mature to choose alternative sites when content is not satisfying.

Multi digital platforms require instant and 24-hour news in the form of text, audio, video and interactive formats available to be disseminated. In this fast and consumption-focused age, people prefer short to long, speed to depth, gossip to documentary. The challenge is how to make high quality content to attract readers and keep their loyalty?

Do new platforms require new values? In my view, not really. The skills of accuracy, persistence, scepticism and the ability to structure a story and to tell it compellingly are the same essentials as ever.

Wechat – the new way to live

Wechat is the most popular messaging app in China with monthly active users (MAUs) to 500 million.

1

Image source: https://www.techinasia.com/wechat-leaps-banking-lets-users-set-online-investment-fund/

Arising after the microblog website Weibo, Wechat has created a social messaging network platform aimed at closed communities such as friends circles and offers competitive features such as hold to talk, sharing moments and group chat.

3

Image source: http://wearesocial.net/tag/wechat/

How does Wechat take further steps to make continuous growth of popularity and profit in a competitive social media landscape?

Opening public account services for companies, media outlets and retailers to provide new marketing tools to advertise and promote their service and products is an important start. Subscripting an account, users interact with the content and share easily with contacts, group chats or moments.

Further more, Wechat has developed an extendable transactional platform by taking advantage of innovative QR code. Consumers hit the purchase button and choose Wechat payment to book hotels, order taxis, and buy air tickets.

4

Image source: http://www.trutower.com/2014/07/16/wechat-easy-taxi-booking-alliance-launched/

Entering into banking services, Wechat launched “virtual red envelop” activities, based on social networking and mobile payment technologies, allowing companies to send money, vouchers or gifts to attract users to grabbing the red envelop. This win-win strategy brings mobility, convenience and participation.

5

When CCTV launched “red envelop” activity through Wechat and attracted the biggest ever audience to its annual Chinese New Year celebration TV program, Wechat took its massive success to a peak.

Wechat has changed every aspect of Chinese life enormously. What’s the next move of Wechat? How it will change business and consumer’s behaviours and affect commerce, finance and lifestyle?

Sponsored content- journalism becomes another product/service to sell!

Once news go live via news websites, blogs or twitters, journalism faces challenges in a digital age as traditional media confront rivers of gold lost .

Another form of media called “sponsored content”  now appears more than ever. Will this a short-term financial incentive save journalism at the cost of trust and reputation? Or could it create a virtual circle of business model to enable journalism to adapt to the new digital era?

It is very common to read the travel diary, feature writing and life style articles from the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), sponsored by travel agencies, or health organisations.

SMH has achieved the highest trust of readers, with 71%, compared with The Telegraph at the bottom with 48%, a 2013 report said. The survey shows SMH trust has not been lost by using sponsored journalism.

2
Image source: http://www.crikey.com.au/2013/12/18/trust-in-media-abc-still-leads-telegraph-takes-a-hit/

Of course, journalists writing sponsored content are prone to write more positively about the company/organisation who pays for the service, compromising the objectivity of the journalist. However, when choosing reputable clients, they can use professional skills to inform the public with insightful information and share interesting stories. On the other hand, advertising usually spends money wisely to ensure their product/service reaches more audience in a more acceptable way.

Journalism needs funding to survive, like any other industry. if not government funding, they have to sell their product (content) and service (skills) to survive.

The questions is how you can sell it smartly and ethically to make an ecosystem landscape?

Firstly, by being transparent. You must declaim its sponsored content and write it professionally and truthfully, and you should let the reader make the judgement.
Secondly, sponsored content should be restricted to certain sections, such as travel and lifestyle, and keep the sections separate. Try not to confuse the readers.

What’s the future of Technology journalism?

1

Image source: http://www.skyword.com/contentstandard/for-storytellers/walt-mossberg-of-recode-reimagining-tech-journalism/

It is an interesting time for technology journalism as every day new hardware, software, networks or gadgets become ready for consumption and to take a new role in technology world, such as the Google Driverless Car and the Apple Watch.

People expect to get the message beyond the traditional media word, and want to have the updated products’ information, reviews and analysis in ‘plain’ language.

Top 10 tech websites are popular with its different strength on reporting the latest technologies and gadgets, such as techchunch.com (reviews new Internet portals); Wired.com (provides om-depth coverage of the future trends in technology).

However tech journalism faces a number of issues, challenging whether it can survive and how to survive:

• Male dominated/White dominated

As discussed at Ben Abraham’s lecture, the tech industry is not diverse as it’s dominated by white male people.

• Accepting freebies when writing a personal tech column and reporting on early tech products. This compromises the integrity of the reporting. How then to write independent tech news, reviews and analysis sites?

• Finding the right focus, whether to work in the mainstream focused columns tech section or sole tech sites? They are similar but have different focuses towards the target audience.

• Making sure the levels of knowledge and interest among the audience is understood so that tech stories will be understandable.

Another argument is that tech journalism may be as important as any other section, or maybe no technical specialists need to exist at all because technology will be just part of everything and therefore understood by everyone.

Most technology reporting is struggling to find advertising support and a way to make money. Recently Gigaom shut down as the publication was unable to cover their costs.

Being a technology journalist is challenging, not only learning day to day to catch up with the new trend and culture but also translating the tech geek into a readable language for most people.

How can we ensure news on social media is trustworthy?

Social media creates a dynamic environment and motivates people to question, observe, make news and exchange stories.  Everyone becomes active, being creator and consumer, connecting with each other with this invisible social forum to have their own voice.

Often, information on social media meets the news elements such as timing, proximity, and prominence and about human interest, just sourcing the trending topics on Twitters so that you are aware of situations as they happen is an example. Comparing with established publishing news, more inforgraphics or videos used in Facebook, Twitter, Google+ have attracted large audiences.

UntitledHowever how much can we trust such interactive, 24/7 updated news on social media? People want to see the truth. Professional journalists have a responsibility to provide accurate information. When anyone can be a news reporter, how can we verify the source of news, the capability of analysing the flood of information and the good intention of passing on news online? There is no gatekeeper to monitor or check each piece of news before “breaking news” is pushed towards us.

Social media was a double-edged sword during the devastating Sichuan earthquakes in China in 2013, allowing immediate requests for help or provision of  assistance possible, while at the same time spreading rumours and delaying timely aid allocation. The same impact was seen during the  Queensland floods and Tasmania bushfires.

How can we ensure the news can be trusted? I think both journalists and users should take responsibility for generating quality news to inform, educate and entertain the public. To adapt the challenges arising from this dynamic world, journalists should embrace Internet news and how integrity when sourcing and researching and by acting as a gatekeeper. Internet users at least should not pass on known false information and should check the news from different reliable channels.