Category Archives: Op-Ed

Musings on “The Google Keyboard”

 

DigitalWhining.com's take on the Google+ keyboard

THE ‘Google Keyboard” folks!

I could not ask for a better birthday weekend.  I just got my Samsung Galaxy S4 in this past week, Google rolls out’ The Google Keyboard” app on The Play Store for android devices. I’m certainly not complaining folks!

 

 

The Google Play Google+ page describes this app as:

The Google Keyboard is now on Google Play: goo.gl/G2OfB.  Type faster and more accurately with gesture and voice typing, word recognition,  next-word prediction, and more.

After having the Galaxy S4 for about a week, I described the keyboard as ”slippery” to my friends who were curious as to why I switched from the i5.  Without digressing my Android Fan-ily, we’ll save that conversation for a next post.  I’m a pretty savvy Android user and had the Samsung Moment, Epic, SIII and now the S4.  So I was pretty savvy with the text inputs available for android phones.

Thanks to the Google Play google+ handle, I saw that the Google Keyboard app came out on June 5th, 2013.  My fingers skedaddled to the Play Store to immediately test it out.

My Test Cases:

Swiftkey

Having used SwiftKey, which I had purchased on the Galaxy SIII, I was hopeful that I would have an easier experience.  On top of that, Galaxy S4s were reported to utilize SwiftKey into their Samsung keyboard input.  With a slightly bigger screen than the the S3, the thumb was just not quick and long enough to have the same smooth typing experience that I experienced on the Galaxy S3.  Swyping on the swiftkey seemed easier than typing in individually.  But ironically, I had to keep going back and changing individual words one by one which was counter-productive.

Samsung Keyboard

The Samsung keyboard provided some hope with smaller keys and the ability to still swype.  But I was running into spelling errors as I was typing.  The typing was not fluid.

Swype Keyboard

The Swype keyboard provided a similar experience like the Samsung Keyboard.  Its swyping capabilitie were much better than individual word typing.  But individual words had to be typed as some word suggestions/mistakes were extremely far off.

Google Keyboard

With the Google Keyboard, both typing and swyping (known as “gesture typing” in Google settings lingo) worked much more seamlessly.  The keyboard has a more reserved layout but its much easier as a simpler, usable user interface.  Punctuations are available in the number keyboard when pressing “?123” or holding down the period button (which can easily be overlooked by users).  The Google Keyboard also has a solid auto-suggest word feature (called “content suggestions” in Google lingo) much like the keyboards mentioned above.

Overall, as a user advocate, I would encourage users to not boggle their minds over a variety of keyboards, and start out with the Google keyboard first.  Being a pretty savvy user, I was having trouble with the other inputs above for a week.  The Google keyboard has relieved my english major ticks of not having crazy spelling errors in my texts and quick emails!

Don’t Eff Around with Readers’ Time and call it Social Media News

Social media humor-Tech blogs **itting on people for social media news

Technology blogs that sacrifice relevant news quality for sake of hits.

If you’re going to talk technology, do it truthfully and stick to the topic!  It’s super annoying to watch some tech blogs have their list of topical spam content ready and firing away at its readers.  Someone asked me what my favorite tech blog was while we were having conversations about our favorite phones.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have an immediate answer.

After working in the tech blog industry, I’ve see firsthand how tech bloggers are trained to go after trending content and write about it on their tech blogs – even if it doesn’t have to do with tech!  This technique is a way to enlist topical spam against trending content in hopes of getting traffic back to their site in a quick and dirty manner.  That traffic then turns into ad revenues and ”blog success” for ”new verticals” of a blog.  Before you know it, that blog is reaching out to media buyers and selling ad content packages to these folks on their new successful vertical that gets high traffic.  Press releases are flying out on that blog’s new vertical of greatness and innovation.  The “Kiss the Screen” mentality of when you see my posts come into play with these tech blog egos.

Take 2 steps back.  Ask yourself what this is doing for readers in the long run?  Well in the short run, these tech blogs continuously weaken the business mode of traffic and ad revenues.  They continuously prove how shallow their services become.

In the bigger picture, readers are being spammed by the blogs they once loved.  These readers are coming in for social media news and strategy, and now they are reading about something totally unrelated to technology [but it was trending and sounded fun to report on].  Even better, editors teach this writers to put a social media spin on this topical spam because – for example, a non-tech related vine video was shot by an iPhone that was uploaded to Youtube.  So this is now social media news that will prepare technologists and tech enthusiasts for greatness.  Really? That’s how badly they need ad traffic revenue?

I’m just too passionate about technology and social media to let these tech bloggers who’ve found mainstream success crap over readers.  Yes, I do feel like the good Samaritan making a ”citizen’s arrest” when I see poor tactics on social media and tech news being manured on people!

So not everything you read is truly social media news.  Your once starred tech blog on your RSS reader that gave you reliable news may be indeed falling into a spam bucket of topical content whose link-baiting is your time my friends.

Ask yourself and fill in the blanks:

I never got ahead with my technology / marketing knowledge because the [FILL IN THE BLANK] blog started sh***ing topical spam my way.

As Judge Judy named her book, “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.”  Your time is that tech blog’s money.  Make them earn it.  Your informed actions shape a better internet culture!

[Sound Off] Before Marketers talk down a Product, teach your audience the tool!

Rip FacebookAn article here mentions how Google+ technology, time, and engagement is not as much as Facebook or other tools like Instagram.

**tch memes aside, let’s think about this out loud!

The Digital Whine

I totally disagree with this article! I know my time spent on Google+ is increasing vs. time spent on Facebook (hardly).  I have my own opinions of how to get people on Google+. Continue reading

Digital Whining - Creating Better Relationships with Technology

Break the vicious cycle- silly content seeping into your streams

J.C. Kendall does it again with his “say it like it is” dialogues on Google+.  Using the controversial doping incident that took place in his late career, he proves a point.

Trending content via social can be vicious, annoying, negative or have nothing to do with your needs or interests.  So if we cannot stand the content we’re reading, why give it clicks, eyeballs and engagement?

As I suggest in my comment:

…if you find what’s trending stupid, change the channel, err…change the feed in this case!

iPhone needs growing up

Think again-where the iPhone needs growing up to do!

I traded in my samsung galaxy s3 for the iPhone 5. I did the trade not because I’m a die hard Apple fan. But rather, I wanted stability and reliability for my technology.

While the iOS boasts ease and stability over the Android which offers more variety and options, the iOS needs a lot of growing up to do in the following areas:

1. Calendar app-why can’t I invite other members to a meeting? Should this iPhone 5 not be a business tool?
[Any recommended app would be helpful].

2. Notifications area-bluetooth, wifi, and airplane mode shortcuts.
-Why in the world do iOS users have to dig into the Settings menu to get these?
-Has android patented the pull-down menu UI features that iOS cannot adapt?

3. Of all digital whines, how about the ability to find files? Where do the files go and get saved in iOS beyond photos?
-As a workaround, dropbox is the tool to save and find all your files.
-For the love of iOS, when will this feature be built?

4. Shortcuts for Apps:
-For the love of macness, why doesn’t iOS allow you to save more than 1 shortcut for the app?
-If you have many apps, and you forget which folder you saved your app in, how will you find your apps?
–The advantage of Android phones is that you have a menu of apps that you can list as a grid or in alphabetical order
.

5. Keyboard-in this fast moving world, by the time I finish writing a sentence, an Android swyper or swift keyer will have written 2-3 sentences.
-But to Apple’s credit, their voice to text is pretty accurate.

6. For all you google lovers, don’t hold your breath for ease of use apps like Google Talk for conversations, or Gmail for stringed emails.

Apple, what do you have to say for yourself? You are a leader in the markets but will you step a little out of your rigid ways to make iOS devices easier to use? Android bots are chirping around you to try and take your thunder. And it’s kinda working with some of their UI designs!

[Sound Off] Questioning how Social Media Delivers us Knowledge

The great thing about social media is word of mouth marketing through your network.  If you like something, chances are that you will share with your network.

However, did you question how that content got to you in the first place?  When I look at content, I ask myself, “Is this content genuine and accurate?  Or is it SEO and linkbait popularity that delivered me this content?  Linkbait is a term that gets thrown around in the online publishing industry about questionable practices to supercharge content so that search engines deliver the content to digital users.  From a marketing perspective, SEO (search engine optimization) is great because it allows marketers and advertisers to really get content in front of readers.  From a reader’s perspective, I suffer from a little healthy paranoia that makes me questions whether a controversial title has quality content behind it.  Or is that title designed to let me click on the article, therefore giving it a hit and making it successful?  In the latter case, I get really annoyed when the article has no quality behind it.  It means the online publisher just took advantage of my time and my click to make that article a success even if it’s not all that great in quality.

The trick to all of this is training your eye and becoming an educated media user.  Knowing how to evaluate content online will make you think twice about whether you want to put your personal brand behind it and share it online.

The only way we can take back our digital user experience through social media is to demand and consume quality content.

But is the way knowledge being shared through social media effective for the user, or just the marketer and publisher at the end of the day?  Are we just giving vanity stats¹ to marketers and publishers?  Or is this content really benefiting us 100% at the end of the day.

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1. Vanity stats is a term I picked up from the book “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries