Two things ‘Google Now’ can do for India?

If you are using Google Now in India , you would have discovered by now that the use cases for Google Now is minimal.Though public transit information – bus and train timings are pretty decent and works well, the live traffic data as claimed by Google is not pretty accurate. It is calculated based on historical data available.

Weather information in India is good but it is not that much of a priority as people don’t check the weather every day to see if it would snow or rain – it’s always hot in this tropical country. Checking to see if it would be 35 C or 38 C does not make much sense.

Also have you received any movie or train or air tickets as a pop up in Google Now at all ? These features work only in US and few other countries I guess. To make Google Now more relevant for local population since India is a huge market for Android, Google should delegate the work of figuring out what is relevant to respective countries’  Google office since natives of the land would be well informed.

What can Google India do for Google Now ?

1.Manual Traffic Updates:

Google Maps calculate live traffic based on the GPS signals available in smartphones  from users and few other signals as well , aggregate and then compute the traffic and it is based on historical data collected over a period of time.It is  not helping live traffic. With the acquisition of Waze, Google should now should follow a similar idea of crowdsourcing traffic information and  allow users to manually update on traffic status in case of traffic jam. It should be like :  Just open Google Now, report traffic and with GPS on , it is easy.It will be bit tricky to filter inaccuracies but again its better than historical data.

2. IRCTC/Book my show or Red Bus e-tickets as alerts .

IRCTC ,Book My Show and Red Bus are some of widely used services by people in India. e-Tickets is well received and is adopted by mainstream consumers and service alike. This is why Gmail should be able to  parse  these mails and Google Now should use them effectively for remainders /tickets instead of we searching through our heap of sms or emails during the time of travel when it is most needed .

Even more awesome would be if Google is able to build a xml format  so that third-party services that sends e-tickets in emails can stick to that format and Google Now can use them effectively ,an idea similar to Passbook for iOS would be a good place to start with.

Google , are you listening?

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Use Google Person Finder to track victims during Crisis/Disasters

Last few weeks have been nightmare for many people in India who were struck in Uttarakhand floods and not able to connect with their families. Though Social Media sprung quick into action to help by sharing photos and names of person missing , helping to connect with their families ,the information is spread out in disparate sources.

Individual agencies,NGOs’ ,local authorities and Governments are maintaining their own database of information on people missing or found that it becomes increasingly difficult to check all these disparate sources for information.

Added to these , news agencies started requesting for information and it becomes a nightmare for anxious families to keep track of the number of sources in which they have to constantly monitor for updates.

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Culture of Online User Reviews in India and Improving Credibility

If you are in India and hooked up to social media like Twitter or Facebook , you would not have missed out the controversial blog post by a group of youngsters who have cribbed about the horrible experience of having a brunch in a restaurant and being mistreated pretty badly and ended up being in a police station.

What is interesting to note is that the blog post was anonymous and it described in detail the trauma that the youngsters had to go through . And being the typical social media enthusiasts we are , without trying to understand both sides of the story ,the blog post was tweeted and re-tweeted back and forth that it received nationwide attention and it is trending for last 2 days.

User Reviews are all about bad experiences

It’s quite a harrowing experience when business treat customers badly using force especially and it is quite normal that we  crib about the experience by  writing bad reviews on popular sites , lower the ratings,talk about it repeatedly in social media sites so that the business gets your attention and tries to fix the issue.Most of the bad customer experience that every one of us had in the past coupled with power of social media try to bring brand and business on their kneels. Brands too keep an eye on social media and try to reach to you to solve the issue.

But of late online reviews and social media interactions are more towards cribbing about a problem and trying to claim noise. I hardly see any interactions about how good an experience was .Every bad experience could have always 2-3 good experiences , of-course not with the same brand or business but with some thing else. But are we talking enough about good customer service and appreciations ? Lack of good reviews is one of the main reasons why users tend to choose  some products or service since they don’t have much choices in many cases.

If we look at reviews in MouthShut or Burrp or Zomato , other than a select few reviews , most of them are generally negative and it is more about trying to bring the brand down.

It brings me to the question . Are we using social media or internet effectively that all of us get immense benefit from each other’s experience ? Every time a pleasant transaction happens , are we registering it some where so that it balances the negative reviews which can help in making an informed decision?

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Re-thinking fine dining experience

There are few innovations that are currently being rolled out in fine dining space such as booking seats in advance and managing good set of content on the restaurant website. But what about the experience once the customer reaches the restaurant ? What kind of experience that can really wow the customer ?

Automated Food ordering through tablet

1.Interactive UI for exploring the menu using tablets

Visualizing the dish

Whenever i visit a new restaurant and browse through the menu , i find dishes whose names are very difficult to comprehend and come to a conclusion as to what this dish is all about.  It is always a good idea to provide actual pictures on how the dish would look like giving an idea whether it is served dry or curry etc.

Is that quantity enough for 2 or 4 ?

While ordering food , am not also not sure about the quantity that will be served as it differs from place to place and also depending on cost. This will make me conscious not to order too much. So what could be done is that a picture when taken with the actual quantity in a proper bowl will add value so that we can order food based on the quantity . It will also give a chance to people to order more than one dish since they are sure about the quantity. In some instances , i have ordered food and found the quantity to be less but would not order anything else due to time constraints. This could help in this aspect.

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Key take aways for Android OS and apps from Facebook Home ?

So the Facebook Home is revealed and so are the reviews . Every review is positive about how Facebook cleverly managed to sneak itself into an unique layer of smart-phone and OS battle front. It is neither a phone nor a OS but just a wrapper that makes it all the more unique.

Bringing people to center of smartphone was an idea flouted by M$ when launching Windows Phone 8. It even had a lock screen implementation for Facebook which looked a bit similar . But blame it on  less traction and without a clear strategy that idea did not take off quite well.

Facebook home


What was running through my mind when Facebook was making this announcement was that why no app in Android did take advantage of occupying the lock screen for so long. My personal understanding on  how Android was built made me  thing that lock screen is not accessible  for stand alone third party apps and that is why no is able to come up with cool features that takes advantage of the big screen real estate. But Facebook has proved now that it can be done and that it can make the experience good as well.

Apple Passbook to an extent used the lock screen in a good way to display the Passbook related notifications  based on geo-location though there is no clear idea on how the lock screen is going to be taken forward in iOS. But with Apple being closed , it can take more time for Apple to collaborate with Facebook to bring such a deeply integrated feature in iOS.

Though Facebook Home undermines Android OS to an extent from visual design point/app launcher and notification , there are few take away for Android which when implemented can make the experience more awesome.

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How Twitter real time search achieves human like relevance and context?

Twitter has explained how the real-time search works and ways of using real-time searches to get relevant advertisement for each of search query. It is explained in great detail and is bit vague to understand with various jargon floated around.

twitter real time search

This is my attempt at explaining the whole process in a simplified manner.

1.User makes a search in Twitter.

2.In the back ground,Twitter monitors each such keyword search and displays results from automated search result algorithm similar to how Google uses search algorithm.

3.But if the same keyword is searched for multiple times and the volume of search increases for that keyword,instead of automated search results, a different process is followed so as to get more contextual and real-time relevance.

4.Twitter sends such keywords search request  to Amazon’s ‘Mechanical Turk‘ (Amazon’s crowd-sourcing online platform for small jobs). So when Twitter sends these search queries,people would analyze and tag them with appropriate photos,articles or any relevant videos etc.

5.Once the response is received,Twitter gets more context to the search query,it has a human context and relevancy to search keyword.Finally Twitter returns the search result with the usual search result algorithm and in addition to that all the relevant pictures , links , videos tagged to search queries making the search results more relevant through the  combination of both human and machine based search algorithm.

Also Twitter will also add any relevant advertisement to these search query results there by making money from search results similar to Google. Only difference here is that the search results are real-time.

Sounds amazing right?

How Google,Facebook are killing start-ups and hurting innovation?

The patent battle between Apple and Samsung caught major news attention. While a lot of them supported Samsung claiming Apple was hampering the pace of innovation  by means of patent and IP violation which fundamentally restricts consumer choices, there is an other side of the story that is worth reading that can highlight why copying actually kills innovation.

It is very difficult and vague to define what is an innovation. Also in the software arena , it is complex enough for every one to agree what forms a legal patent these days. Gone are the days when it was considered shameful by big companies to copy their competitor’s product as such.

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Need for Single Unified Digital Content Distribution Model

Being in India and wanting to watch content produced in Hollywood was a big deal a decade back.It would take ages for critically acclaimed movies to be ever released in India.But now market is now ripe and a lot of Hollywood movies are now getting released in India as part of world-wide release.


Thanks to growth of multiplex and audience preference to watch some thing different from local regional content,Hollywood movies especially the big budget sequels and action movies enjoy a lot of popularity.

Distributing content in India – English Movies vs English Shows

The popularity of Hollywood movie is at an all time high.But the same cannot be said of English content in Indian TV.It does not stop with Hollywood but with content produced in any part of the world.If you are an avid visitor of IMDB and check the top rated  TV shows for the year,most of them would never had premiered in Indian television.

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Dear Mobile Carriers, Voice is Dead,Data is the future

Dear Carriers, Come what may – Customer is always the boss. Listen to your customer and save millions on consulting fees.This is 101 basics on managing and engaging customer.

Airtel ,a major player in India is currently re-structuring their business and know what , they are making it customer centric .Quoting from the article

This new vision, outlined till 2015, has seen Bharti erect a new organizational structure that pivots around the consumer, not its many businesses.

Then what the hell were you doing for the past 10 years being in business ? You paid some consultancy millions of dollars to understand what is your problem when in reality your  customer is running behing the customer care  through mails and in social networks crying out  for help.

Voice is Dead , Data is the Future

It is weird but the present generation will not use phones to make voice calls any more. You have cap on sms limit  ? People are using FB chat , iMessage , BBM or other chat platform to text each other while you are busy sorting out intelligent sms plans for local , national and international.


Understand technology  landscape and how fast it is changing: Repeat after me : Voice is dead , Data is the new ‘in thing’. So stop playing cheap tricks . When most of us do not require 500 free voice mins. a month , you provide this offer . And people want to use data but you restrict them with pricey plans.

Have you ever thought about users who want minimum voice and more data ? This is what Amazon has to say on buying their tablets : “We want to make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices.”

 Earn your profit when customer use your service and is really benefitted rather than trying to fleece customers for the service people hardly use.

In this day of Skype , Google  chat/hang out and other video chat, people have already or slowly migrating to cheaper free technology . You can no longer charge people for expensive ISD or STD calls.

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How to choose a Smart Internet TV?

You have been looking for that one super cool smart tv for so long and you are in the final stages of deciding to buy a TV . There are a lot of feature comparison that you would have made on different TV and their features and specifications . While most  mainly concentrate on Display , Sound quality , myths about LED vs LCD vs Plasma and whether smart tv are that smart , you may need to check if your new tv  has really smart  features that will help you connect to internet easily and make your streaming  easy in such a way that it is relevant with technology for at least few years .

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