The Right Ads for You
More than ever, Internet companies are looking to exploit information about users to serve targeted advertising. When Twitter revealed its long-awaited business model, which cautiously began serving ads to users, many observers argued that its biggest opportunity was in advertising targeted to people based on the information they’d been posting on the site (Will Twitter’s Ad Strategy Work?).
Advertisers have dozens of schemes to use social media to reach consumers more effectively (Advertisers Employ Social Media). Search engines are also getting into the game, hoping to predict which ads will be most effective (Fewer Ads, More Clicks).
Though social sites are generally considered to have the most valuable information about users and their preferences, even these sites are scrambling for more data. Experts believe, for example, that Facebook is trying to expand its messaging system in order to capture data that can earn it even more advertising dollars (Why Facebook Wants Your E-Mail).
Internet companies continued their efforts to get people to spend more time online. A new standard called HTML5 is intended to make it easy for websites to add video, animation, and other richer interactions (The Web Is Reborn). Companies that have noticed the success of Apple’s app store are hoping to get people to use and pay for applications for devices besides the iPhone. In many cases, they are using HTML5 to facilitate building these applications. Mozilla, which makes the Firefox Web browser, is exploring the idea of establishing an online store to sell apps for all devices (Can Mozilla Deliver an Open App Store?).
Google continues to push its vision of computing with little more than a browser. Instead of developing devices for users to load with files and software, Google has been designing an operating system that stores nearly everything online and relies on Web applications rather than software that resides on the machine. Its Chrome OS, which launched late in the year in a pilot program, has a companion app store whose wares highlight the power of the Web (The Browser Takes All).
There might, however, be more enthusiasm around app stores than there are customers. Companies that hope to sell Web-connected apps for set-top boxes, netbooks, and tablets need help attracting exhausted developers and customers (Filling Up Empty App Stores).