Tag: Google

Disloyal punters ignore brands claims Salmon

Salmon-of-Knowledge-Irish-Stamp-from-An-PostBeancounters at global ecommerce consultancy Salmon have discovered that the era of the ‘disloyal consumer’ is upon us.

Apparently, brand loyalty is tumbling as consumers increasingly prioritise speed, innovation and convenience when they shop.

A new study of over 6,000 consumers across the UK, US and Benelux conducted, showed that 88 percent of consumers believe speed of delivery is more important to them than the brand being ordered (78 percent).

The study also found that consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with new and innovative ways to shop, with 45 percent using or likely to use digital assistants such as Amazon Echo’s Alexa or Google Home in the next 12 months. They are more likely to use these devices than smart lighting (42 percent), smart fridges and other white goods (42 percent), Virtual Reality (40 percent) and Apple Home (37 percent). As these services look to control the products shoppers buy, brand loyalty looks set to decline even more.

Nearly 60 percent say they can see the personal benefit of Programmatic Commerce – allowing technology to automatically purchase goods for them based on their set of product preferences – compared to 53 percent the year before.

Consumer hunger for new retail technology is growing with 23 percent identified as “digitally obsessed”, making almost all of their purchases online.

This need for speed and convenience plays into a wider shift in consumer shopping behaviour, as they value the variety of digital services on offer and experience that they receive overall: 60 percent say that if a retailer was more digitally innovative, they would be more likely to shop there – emphasising the lucrative potential retailers could be tapping into, especially as 73 percent say they plan to spend more in the future.

Two thirds of consumers in fact feel all online retailers should offer same-day delivery, compared to 2016’s research showing that the average expected delivery time was 2.6 days – no doubt fuelled by services such as Amazon Prime.

Consumers are preparing for the next generation of retail technology – reflected in the fact that on average, there are four devices per household (increasing to five in the US) and over half (51 percent) of all surveyed also said they could not comfortably live one day without connected devices.

What is holding everything back is that retailers are failing to provide these elevated digital and innovative experiences for customers.

More than 57 percent believe the technology, apps and services they use in their own life are more sophisticated than that provided by digital retailers. Almost 70 percent said they want to see greater innovation to improve the customer experience, showing a desire to shop with only the most forward-thinking stores.

Hugh Fletcher, global head of Consultancy and Innovation at Salmon, said: “Loyalty is a complex thing. Across all sectors, we’re seeing fewer people favouring and remaining strongly aligned to certain brands and companies. This is especially prevalent in digital commerce – where the consumer focus on finding the lowest prices and fastest delivery doesn’t lend itself to being loyal to a certain product.

“However, as the study shows, loyalty is still there to be captured. Consumers are increasingly loyal to services over retailers – this is largely because the likes of Amazon is seen to be innovating and delivering the best overall experience to the consumer.

“It is this ‘experience’ that drives loyalty and will be the difference between being a leader in digital commerce and being left behind,” continued Fletcher. “What this means, however, is that retailers need to offer consumers a host of convenient services and harness innovative technologies in the process if they are going to attract and retain customers’ attention. As consumers are becoming more open to trying new technologies – or expect to in the coming months –retailers need to put in the ground work from now if they are to meet high expectations.”

Google hit by weak pound

google-ICWeaknesses in the British pound  slowed EMEA growth for tech giant Google in the second quarter.

Group revenues for the firm’s parent company Alphabet grew by 21 percent year over year for the three months ending 30 June to $26.01 billion, or 23 percent in constant currencies.

Operating income meanwhile fell by 30.8 percent to $4.12 billion, largely due to Google incurring a record €2.42 billion fine from the European Commission for allegedly breaching antitrust rules to push its own shopping comparison service. As a consequence, operating margins fell from 28 percent posted in the Q2 of 2016, to 16 per cent this year.

Excluding the EU fine, operating incomes from Google came in at $7.8 billion, up from $6.99 billion reported in the same quarter last year. Alphabet’s “other bets” segment – which includes emerging technologies such as smart homes, Google’s venture capital arm and self-driving car technology –   dragged group operating income down after posting a $772 million loss.

Speaking to analysts on an earnings call,  Alphabet’s CFO Ruth Porat claimed that while all geographical regions grew on an annual basis, EMEA’s growth was slowed down by weaknesses in the British pound and the euro.

EMEA revenues hit $8.5 billion, up 14 percent annually, while the US saw 23 percent growth to $12.3 billion. APAC hit $3.7 billion, up 28 percent year over year while the America’s – which include Canada and Latin America, reached $1.4 billion, up 31 percent annually.

Google also lauded its progress within its cloud business, which is lumped in with its hardware and Android app sales under “other revenues”. This segment grew 42.3 percent annually to $3.09 billion.

The US giant also increased its headcount by 9,031 employees to 75,606 staff compared with the end of Q2 2016, with CEO Sundar Pichai claiming that the firm has driven up recruitment in its cloud business.

“In terms of product areas the most sizable headcount additions were once again made in cloud for both technical and sales roles consistent with the priority we place on this business,” he said on the same earnings call.

“Google Cloud Platform (GCP) continues to experience impressive growth across products, sectors and geographies and increasingly with large enterprise customers in regulated sectors. To be more specific about our momentum with big customers, in Q2 the number of new deals we closed worth more than $0.5 million is three times what it was last year.”

He added: “We also continue to build out our partnerships, in Q2 we announced an expansion of our partnership at SAP and a new partnership with Nutanix to integrate their products with GCP. So customers can run workloads in hybrid environments, on-prem and in the cloud.”

Most top vendors suffering

220px-Dramaten_mask_2008aNumber crunchers from Gartner group claim that four of the top five IT vendors suffered a fall in sales last year.

Out of Apple, Samsung, Google, Microsoft and IBM, only Google grew its revenues.

In its Gartner, Global Top 100: IT Vendors report, the number crunchers attempted to rank the top 100 largest tech companies based on estimates for their revenue across IT and component market segments.

Despite seeing estimated IT revenue fall from $235 billion to $218 billion year on year, Apple topped the rankings, well ahead of Samsung, which saw its haul shrink from $142 billion to $1391 billion.

Google grew its revenues from $74.9 billion to $90.1 billion, while Microsoft shrank from $88.1 billion to $85.7 billion and IBM fell from $79.6 billion to $77.8 billion.

Gartner said its figures will help illustrate the shift in the industry from the ‘Nexus of Forces’ to digital business as the driver of IT purchasing.

For those who came in late, or find it difficult to care, the Nexus of Forces, Gartner’s term for the convergence of social, mobility, cloud and information. It believes it has propped up many of the IT market’s leading players – including Apple and Google – in recent years.

Gartner vice president John-David Lovelock said that the needs of IT buyers are shifting. CEOs were focused on growth and are more focused on realising business outcomes from their IT spend, Big G said.

We are not sure about this, people have been saying that sort of thing since the 1990s when we started reporting on the IT market. In fact, it was the reason so many companies moved to outsourcing.

Digital giants, like Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent will leave their mark in 2017, Gartner said.

These seven companies will be involved in 20 percent of all activities an individual engages in by 2020, Gartner predicted.

“Digital giants effectively become gatekeepers for any business that delivers digital content and services to consumers. Any company that wants to engage consumers in, or through, their digital world will have to consider engaging with one or more of these digital giants,” Lovelock said.

Google cloud glitch forces SQL backups

cloudGoogle’s Cloud SQL service was hit by rather a nasty glitch over the weekend and more than seven percent of clients using the service’s first-generation code were not backing up properly.

Google announced it was “forcing” backups “as short-term mitigation” and was expected to issue a patch today.

The news comes just as Google is announcing the release of its new Cloud Spanner product.

For those who came in late, Cloud Spanner is a horizontally-scalable and strongly consistent relational database, combining the company’s two other DBaaS solutions, NoSQL and RDBMS, offering a wider range of services including ACID transactions and SQL semantics. It’s targeting AWS’s RDS and Microsoft’s SQL Database in the public cloud.

Product manager, Dominic Preuss wrote in his bog that Google had carefully designed Cloud Spanner to meet customer requirements for enterprise databases — including ANSI 2011 SQL support, ACID transactions, 99.999% availability and strong consistency — without compromising latency”.

“As a combined software/hardware solution that includes atomic clocks and GPS receivers across Google’s global network, Cloud Spanner also offers additional accuracy, reliability and performance in the form of a fully-managed cloud database service.”

While traditional databases guarantee transactional consistency, while NoSQL databases offer horizontal scaling and data distribution. The aim for Cloud Spanner is to offer cloud developers both capabilities.

Cloud Spanner is available now via a trio of data integration partners, Alooma, Informatica and Xplenty.

“Cloud Spanner is one of those cloud-based technologies for which businesses have been waiting: With its horizontal scalability and ACID compliance, it’s ideal for those who seek the lower TCO of a fully managed cloud-based service without sacrificing the features of a legacy, on-premises database,” Xplenty said.

Google is offering a free trial of Cloud Spanner so companies can see how it would work for them.

Amazon, Microsoft and Google need channel help

R-9020249-1473392859-8701.jpegBeancounters at Canalys say that AWS, Microsoft and Google need the channel as they look to capitalise on the “next phase” of cloud adoption.

The analyst outfit said that AWS, Microsoft and Google grew their cloud infrastructure revenues by 43 percent, 93 percent and 74 percent respectively in Q1, as the overall market rose by 42 percent to $11.4 billion.

Canalys principal analyst Matthew Ball said that the three have worked out that building an indirect business will be the only way to maintain that order of growth.

“We’re seeing the next phase of cloud adoption beyond the big marquee projects like Netflix and Snapchat. The cloud providers are now looking at corporate and mid-market accounts, and for that they need greater reach and scale, and that’s where the role of the channel comes in.

“So we are seeing a lot of the big cloud providers, AWS and Google in particular – those that haven’t come from an enterprise IT background – starting to mature their partner programmes and channel engagements. They are looking to focus on that more because they recognise that the channel has those relationships with customers. So we believe that the channel will be a part of their go-to-market strategies going forward, especially if they want to maintain their high levels of growth each quarter and year.”

Canalys said that AWS’ Q1 cloud infrastructure sales were more than $3.5bn, but the market leader’s success need not be at the cost of the channel as the rise of cloud has in some cases expanded the role played by resellers.

“The channel has made good business selling datacentre infrastructure in the past, and we believe they still will do going forward. Cloud is another choice for customers in terms of how they operate their IT environments and, for sure, it’s a concern for channel partners. But we’ve seen some partners being affected by cloud and others changing their business model to develop consultancy or professional services to help their customers define a cloud environment.”

Solution providers need to change

bodenA Google executive has warned that solution providers need to invest in next-generation technologies to stay ahead of the curve.

Nan Boden, head of global technology partners at Google’s Cloud division, said solution providers need to pull their socks up and get new skills and services. She said more customers wanted to target digital transformation for their businesses and there were new consumption models and buyers who wanted a part of the lucrative cloud economy.

Talking at the NextGen Cloud event, Boden said that industry models will be based less on products and more on services.

“This is putting pressure on partners to provide services to customers. It requires a different motion and skill set that is not optional, and we’re seeing successful channel partners get ahead of that.”

She added that punters were demanding faster time-to-value, minimal up-front commitment, and increased flexibility and scalability for their businesses, requiring solution providers to move away from a sales and marketing reseller model to a more value-added services model.

This includes offering managed services and even packaged IP technology solutions to solve customer needs, she said.

“We’re seeing partners using machine learning, the cloud and analytics together in ways that are transforming industries. We believe that if you invest in innovations for your line-of-business customers, that will pay off.”

Cloud suppliers promise not to harm customers

lightning-cloudThe UK Competition and Markets Authority has managed to get a promise from BT, Dropbox, Google and Mozy that they will not try to screw over cloudy punters with dodgy terms and conditions.

Apparently the four were compelled to take the pledge after the CMA started peering into cloud service providers’ contract terms and tutting that they discriminated against consumers.

After making its pledge, BT had promised that “free accounts will not be terminated due to inactivity during the first 365 days of the contract”. It has also promised to give 90 days’ notice in writing when it wants to zap unused cloud backup accounts. It also “agreed to amend” its terms and conditions, which at present give it the right to unilaterally change prices on a whim.

Dropbox has promised not to kill customers’ accounts without notice. Apparently that right existed in the terms and conditions and no one spotted it.

Google has agreed to “ensure consumers are given an opportunity to remedy their breaches” before terminating their accounts, as well as giving 30 days’ notice of a price increase “or storage plan decrease”.

The search engine outfit will now ensure that consumers can bring legal proceedings in their local courts and under their local laws if it breaks the terms of its own contract

Mozy, which provides Windows and Mac OS X backup services, made much the same promises as BT and Dropbox.

 

Salesforce says Twitter Ye Not

frankie-loopmasters1Salesforce has said it has given up on its plans to buy social notworking site Twitter.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff told the Financial Times his company has “walked away” from cutting a deal and he was pretty much the last one left.

Neither Google nor Disney plan to bid on Twitter, despite reports saying both were interested. Apple is long gone and Verizon immediately launghed off the speculation.

Facebook was said to be uninterested, and someone mentioned Microsoft but then realised that it made no sense for Vole which is becoming an increasingly enterprise-focused company.

This is going to put pressure on the social notworking site to work out a way to restart user growth and improve its revenue.

Twitter will update investors on its earnings again two weeks from now, on 27 October and it’s likely the company will either address or be asked about where any acquisition talks go from here.

Google buys Apigee for $625 million in cloud plan

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudGoogle is buying software development toolmaker Apigee for $625 million, to improve its cloud-based businesses offerings.

Alphabet’s Google has agreed to pay a 6.5 percent premium to Apigee’s shareholders and the deal will be completed by the end of the year.

For those who came in late, Apigee sells a platform that aids companies manage APIs to help developers build software that talks to each other and shares information without revealing the underlying code. APIs have become an integral part of cloud software development, allowing one application to pull data and use services from multiple other programmes.

Diane Greene, senior vice president of Google’s cloud business wrote in her bog: “The addition of Apigee’s API solutions to Google cloud will accelerate our customers’ move to supporting their businesses with high quality digital interactions.”

Apigee has customers which include Walgreens Boots Alliance, AT&T, Live Nation Entertainment Inc. and Burberry Group. Green said that Walgreens uses Apigee to offer APIs and analyse how the tools are being used.

Google has been improving enterprise-focused products, having lagged behind Amazon.  and Microsoft in flogging public cloud computing software.

The Apigee acquisition will also help support Google’s own set of APIs, which include ones that allow developers to pull information from YouTube as well as the Translate and Maps software to imbed in their own apps.

Google close to Paypal cloud coup

PAY-Lion-King-cloud-MAINGoogle is pushing into cloud computing and could be about to score PayPal as a key client.

PayPal is evaluating the other leading providers and hasn’t made any final decisions, but what is worrying for Microsoft and Amazon is that it has put Google into the running.

PayPal has some existing business with AWS, namely its Braintree and Venmo products, which the company acquired in 2013. In moving infrastructure to the cloud, big companies often start with test and development workloads before touching critical customer information, and that’s likely where PayPal will begin.

But cloud services would open up new technical capabilities that are difficult inside their existing infrastructure. If there are big shopping days, Paypal could obtain some servers on the fly.

There is a lot at stake, Google wants to prove that it’s a legitimate player in the rapidly expanding cloud infrastructure market and to do that it has to kick the leaders Amazon Web Services and Microsoft firmly in the nadgers.

Google has also been allocating cash to its cloud technology as well as the sales, marketing and support needed to meet enterprise standards.

But it looks like this particular battle will be settled by cost. AWS has dropped the price of a storage product by 47 percent, the 52nd time Amazon has slashed prices.

Google may use its cash mountain to start a pricing war which is an area where Amazon would not be keen to go.  Microsoft might be able to use its own cash reserves to take on the rival.

But technically Google needs to match or beat AWS in terms of speed and reliability while also winning on price against a company that’s grown up thriving on razor-thin e-commerce margins. It has a long way to go before it can give AWS a run for its money. AWS generated sales of $2.9 billion in the second quarter, almost six times the amount Google makes in an entire year, based on RBC’s estimates.

However, there are signs that things are getting better. At the beginning of the month the Synergy Research Group claimed that Google’s cloud revenue surged 162 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier. The company still only commands 5 percent of the market, but it is growing fast.

It has also poached some good clients including Snapchat, Spotify, Home Depot and Walt Disney. Getting PayPal would represent another feather in its cap.

Amazon and Microsoft are the cloud kings

PAY-Lion-King-cloud-MAINAmazon Web Services and Microsoft are the rulers of the public cloud, according to beancounters at Gartner.

The research firm’s “Magic Quadrant” annual report surveys the amount and type of cloud computing services offered for rent by big companies. However this year it appears to be a two horse race between Amazon and Vole. Amazon is coming first, probably because it was first out of the gate,  while Microsoft continues a strong push at second.

Google, IBM, VirtuStream (part of EMC), CenturyLink, Rackspace and VMware all have a horse running but are a long way down the field.

Amazon’s poured shedload of cash into its $10 billion a year business. AWS “has the largest share of compute capacity in use by paying customers — many times the aggregate size of all other providers in the market,” according Big G.

Last year, AWS ran more than 10 times the cloud compute capacity as the next 14 cloud players combined. Asked whether that means Amazon’s dominance has held steady, grown, or decreased year over year, Gartner IT managing vice president Rakesh Kumar said that the research firm does not have the exact comparable figure, but that it is “reasonable to assume” that AWS has maintained the same lead this year.

Last week, Gartner released another report showing Amazon dominating the cloud storage market as well.

Google has been trying hard to win market share from the other two powers and to prove that it is serious about the public cloud market. Google remains the third largest player by Gartner’s measures, but it has slipped a bit relative to the top.

Google’s strengths lie in its big data analytics and machine learning technologies that it has used internally and is now offering to the public at large. Even AWS supporters love to use Google BigQuery and Bigtable, to parse and explore big amounts of data, for example.

Google has also made some strides entrenching its view of container management, as embodied in Kubernetes, to outside players. Containers, are a modern way to combine all the services needed for a software application into a portable unit that can, in theory, run on a company’s internal servers, on Google, or some other public cloud.

 

Google patents sticky bonnet

Screen-Shot-2016-05-19-at-12.48.39-PMSearch engine outfit Google has been awarded patent number 61911853 which could help prevent pedestrian injuries by sticking those who step infront of its autonomous cars to the bonnet.

The idea is that if a car hit a pedestrian, the person would be glued to the car instead of flying off and this will prevent a secondary impact between the pedestrian and the road surface or other object.

Google explains that an “adhesive layer” would be placed on the hood, front bumper and front side panels of a car. A thin coating would protect it until an impact occurred.

Google patent shows how a self-driving car could protect pedestrians with a fly-paper-like coating.

The double-sided tape concept could mitigate some pedestrian injuries, the concept is far from ideal if it pinned a victim between the car and another object.

“Prospective product announcements should not necessarily be inferred from our patents,” a Google spokeswoman said in a statement.

Google targeting Office 365

google-ICGoogle is getting more agressive in its attempts to lure customers to Google Apps from Microsoft Office 365 after its initial programme was successful.

An incentive which allowed midsize businesses locked in contracts with other vendors to use Google Apps at no cost until those contracts expired was started in October and expired on April 14.

But Google has decided to maintain the incentive until the end of 2016, while also making it easier for smaller companies to qualify.

Writing in his bog, Neil Delaney, sales director for Google Apps said that the programme, which also helps fund migrations to Google’s cloud is doing rather well.

More than 20,000 midsize companies took advantage of the offer since October, launching 200,000 new Apps seats they wouldn’t have to pay for until licenses with other software vendors expired.

The original iteration of the programme applied to companies with between 250 and 3,000 employees. Delaney said Google fielded so much interest from smaller customers that it reduced the threshold to 100 employees for the extension period.

The programme aims to induce companies locked into an Enterprise Agreement (EA) to switch to Google Apps.  It gives new customers the opportunity to influence the move to Apps and gives decision makers the final incentive to make the switch.

Google wouldn’t name specific competitors from whom it sees the programme siphoning customers.  But it is pretty obviously talking about the sort of volume license offered by Microsoft for certain products, including Office 365.

 

Google expands its cloud offerings worldwide

Google's Eric "Google Glass" SchmidtSearch Engine Google is expanding its data centre operations worldwide, announcing more than 10 new Google Cloud Platform regions to take on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The first two new regions are set for Oregon in the United States and Tokyo in Japan, and are expected to be up and running by the end of 2016. The rest will follow in 2017.

Varun Sakalkar, Google Cloud’s product manager said that the outfit was opening these new regions to help Cloud Platform customers deploy services and applications nearer to their own customers, for lower latency and greater responsiveness.

“With these new regions, even more applications become candidates to run on Cloud Platform, and get the benefits of Google-level scale and industry leading price/performance,” he said.

The cloud business is getting more cutthroat with AWS, Google, and Microsoft engaged in a bitter price war in recent years, attempting to undercut each other in order to attract customers.

Google has made moves this year to boost its cloud infrastructure strategy and is thinking of buying a number of cloud companies for acquisition, endeavouring to diversify its software and infrastructure offerings to match those of Microsoft Azure and AWS.

Interestingly, AWS has 12 regions globally, the same number Google today announced it was targetting. IBM will soon have 15 major data centres around the world.

Google has just four cloud regions, but with that sphere of influence set to quadruple into new markets across the globe, international customers are about to have a much tougher choice when it comes to choosing a public cloud provider.

 

Eastern ODMs take bite out of server market

hp_serversUnless you are HPE, everyone appears to be doing well out of the global server market,  but it seems that the Asian ODMs such as Quanta and Wistron are continuing to bite out a larger share of the global server market.

According to beancounters at Gartner’s the global server market grew 8.2 percent in shipments and 9.2 percent in revenues in the fourth quarter on an annual comparison.

Those outside the top five saw revenues beef up 18.9 percent to $4.75 billion and shipments increase 16 percent to 1.26 million in Q4.

Between them they have between 31.4 and 42.5 percent of the market in revenue and shipment terms, respectively.

Jeffrey Hewitt, research vice president at Gartner said that this demonstrates that the growth of hyperscale datacentres, like those of Facebook, Google and Microsoft, continues to be the leading contributor to physical server increases globally.

Meanwhile Market leader HPE’s shipments were hit by global weakness in Windows-based x86 servers, while its revenues were affected by a drop in RISC/Itanium Unix server sales.

HPE’s share of server revenues dropped from 27.9 to 25.2 percent however it is still  10 points ahead of closest rival Dell, which grew revenues 4.5 percent. IBM grew revenues 10.3 percent, Lenovo 2.9 percent and Cisco 20.2 percent.