the browser is next.

One of the fun things about my day-to-day is thinking about what is next? A a lot of factors play into the platform, device, medium, etc that will be next. The 4 main factors from my perspective are as follows:

  • innovation – take something people understand and make it better
  • mass reach – need eyeballs to prove that the innovation worked
  • performance – once advertiser bring their check books to the party you have to show consistent results for said advertisers
  • data – data is the most important piece because it allows you to improve your innovation but more importantly protect your market lead

Mobile has been thought of as the logical next step in the marketing frontier and we are a lot closer today than we were  6 months ago thx to att and apple. But the platform [3g] is not ready for primetime [anyone with an iphone has found this out the hard way] and we are at least 18-24 months away from have a consistent multi-media user experience over these devices. Which is needed in a user based marketing experience because today sms and tiny banner ads are not cool not even close. Not to mentioned the terrible mobile internet experience that most users have on their mobile device currently. So where does that leave innovation from a sense of reaching users with marketing messages where they spend their time.

Social media has been the ‘buzz word’ over the last year or two with the likes of wiki, youtube, facebook, twitter just to name a few. But what do all these have in common?

The browser. Its where users spend the most time online. So think of the possible innovations that can be introduced to that current experience?

  • communication – what if all your email accounts were tied to your browser
  • socialization – what if you never had to go to facebook.com again but still had all the social tools at your finger tips in your sidebar
  • advanced search – what if your search results were based on your browsing habits + real user information
  • entertainment – what if all the content came to you in a single experience. One environment

…now think about the opportunity to create an amazing user controlled ad experience in this single environment. Think of it as an Advertising OS [AOS]. A consist ad experience for users no matter the brand or environment [bigger thought for another day] but think you get the point.

There are a ton of numbers out there reflecting how much user time is spent in the browser experience and they are all HUGE. Not to mention the fact the browser is due for an major update. To that point when Google launched ‘chrome’ we all wanted it to be different but it was just a simple version of the same shit.

When you look at who currently owns this space:

  • microsoft – 72% marketshare
  • mozilla – 19% marketshare
  • safari – 6% marketshare
  • the rest – what’s left % marketshare

The contenders:

Microsoft: You have to say microsoft could really do something ground breaking in this area. But not sure they even think this way. But if you take a sec and think about it they all most of it not all your contacts [outlook, entourage] so social and communication is covered, they have a decent search product [could be better] and they have the relationships to being real content to users.

problem: they cant seem to be able to do anything right at this point. And with out a mind like gates taking real interest in something like this it will go nowhere fast.

Mozilla: man these guys are already doing something about it. See local browser add on they just launched here: http://labs.mozilla.com/2008/10/introducing-geode/

problem: is they can’t close the communication and social loop without the help of others but with the open environment they play in it’s not out of the question.

The others: all the other miss one important piece of the puzzle…mass reach!

My bets are on a small company that figures it our from an application add-on approach that meets about 60-70% of the above and that innovation becomes the foundation for the next browser experience.

If nothing else its fun to think about.

marx.

update: 10.28.08 looks like microsoft was listening. lets see where they take this. see information on mircosoft releasing lite versions of the office suite and supporting other browsers as well.

via techcrunch here

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