jueves, 3 de julio de 2014

The Google Now effect

Already 10 years ago Joseph Pine came on stage at Ted and explained to the world the really interesting insight: experiences, or the experience economy as he put it, was the new reference model for Economic Value creation.


The reasoning goes that over the last couple of centuries and in particular the last few decades, through customisation, we moved from a commodities based economy to a goods based economy, to a service, and now, to a experience based economy.  This would help explain the success of brands like Disney, Starbucks, Apple, etc.


The Profession of Economic Value
Slide from Joseph Pine's original talk (2004)


More recently, in an interview and related talk, he introduces the concept of authenticity ( or perceived authenticity ) as the ultimate expression of service to a customer and the perfect mechanism to brand-loyalty creation.  


In other words, what we have is the idea of promoting economic engagement delivered through the customisation of services, to create a memorable or authentic experience that results in brand loyalty.


If you think this is a mouthful, it is more obvious than what you might be thinking and can be explained easily by thinking of the efforts of brands like Starbuks, where the will make extensive use of natural material throughout their shops, or coffee beans intentionally left around for you to touch and remind you of how "authentic" they are.


In the digital space, things get a bit more fuzzy, or do they?   Recalling your first encounter with google now in action might actually be the best way to having had your last Digital Authentic experience.  If you haven't had that experience, I will attempt to explain it in the next paragraph and will likely fail, in which case I will resort to the famous explanation for what porn is:   you will know it when you see it!*


In Android, ever since version 4.3 (if memory serves me well) an ever present part of the OS,  Google Now, regularly delivers messages (in the form of notifications) based on the different things you do in the google ecosystem:   searches that denote interests, emails you receive with appointments, or travel reservations, etc.  


Google Now notifications, at the time I thought, served mainly two purposes:  to further the reach of google services and, as a consequence, to move customers away from other services (or Apps) and into the Google ecosystem.  My thinking now is that Google through Now, is achieving a lot more than just moving people their way. Google is delivering in the promise of a customise service and creating a memorable experience through the use of the information they already have...  the information that YOU (as a user) know they have and want them to put to good use. Right?


Good use you say?  Yes, good use: that being the key (IMO) as to why are we so willing to accept what not so long ago we would have seen as an overreach and a threat to our privacy.  After all, deep inside we know that this level of service is impossible without someone connecting the dots, without someone doing the math.


This "Google Now Effect" is a perfect example of what I would call a Digital Authentic Experience.  




* Justice Stewart was stuck on how to describe pornography, and his clerk said to him, “Mr. Justice, you will know it when you see it.”