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I’ve been a fan of web analytics startup Clicky since the beginning. This week they announced a new partnership with Olark that will allow you to chat with your customers and users in real-time. Olark is a Y-Combinator startup that offers a widget which you can place on your site to allow for chat with your customers and/or users.
In all of my years dealing with web analytics, I can’t remember ever seeing an integration like this new Clicky/Olark functionality. Clicky offers a real-time analytics monitoring service called Spy which offers you the ability to watch your traffic in real-time. It can be very addicting, especially if your blog post or startup get some good links or press.
There are plenty of companies that offer popup customer chat windows – I know when I visit the Rackspace site I try to login very quickly so I don’t get hit with a popup chat box.
The new service makes it possible to chat with your customers or users by clicking on their link in the Spy.
A simple use case for this new service is watching a potential customer move around the site and then clicking to chat with them to close the sale. Another use case would be watching a user navigate through a number of pages in your support documentation — click to chat with them to directly answer their questions and be a hero.
To use the new service, you must have a premium account with Clicky (starts at $10/month) and you must have an account with Olark. Olark has a free account which is limited to 20 conversations a month and their paid subscriptions start at $15/month.
Last week I reported that the New York City transit agency (that’s the MTA) launched their realtime bus tracker called BusTime in Brooklyn on the B63 route. BusTime allows you the ability to view estimated bus arrival times and get updates via text message. It’s a really cool service and shows where the MTA is headed in terms of technology.
This week the MTA created a developer site for use with BusTime. The BusTime service is opensource and the MTA IT team is welcoming developers to offer suggestions and code changes to make the system even stronger.
BusTime is powered by the One Bus Away open source software created by a team at the University of Washington.
There’s also a SIRI API that developers can use with the BusTime service. SIRI, or Service Interface for Real Time Information, is defined as, “an XML standard covering a wide range of types of real-time information for public transportation.”
It’s awesome to see how technology can make using public transit easier and more efficient for riders and for the organizations that manage the systems.
If you are a regular CN reader, you know that I am a railfan and a big fan of public transportation. We’ve covered real-time transit maps from around the world. My favorite up until today was the Swiss train map mashup — the map shows you where all of the trains in Switzerland are in real-time.
We’ve seen other cities including NYC, Boston and Philly get in on the real-time craze. NYC has a bus tracker on the M34 and M16 lines in midtown Manhattan and Philly is running a real-time test of a bus tracker.
Today, some developers in London, my second favorite transit system, launched a real-time transit tracker. The Google Maps mashup shows trains in the London Underground (also known as the Tube) in real-time. I’ve included a screenshot below. Yellow markers are stations and red markers are moving trains. Note that London’s transit system doesn’t run overnight so there won’t be any markers if you look during the overnight hours.
The code for the mashup is available as open source on GitHub. Here’s the overview of how the system works, “Live departure data is fetched from the TfL API, and then it does a bit of maths and magic. It’s surprisingly okay given this was done in only a few hours at Science Hackday and the many naming/location issues encountered, some unresolved. A small number of stations are misplaced or missing; occasional trains behave oddly; some H&C stations are missing in the TfL feed.”
It’s awesome to see so many transit systems embracing new technology and encouraging developers and entrepreneurs to get involved. Many of the world’s top transit systems seemed to move so slowly for decades but in the last 12-18 months, there has been a rapid pace to involve the local communities. This new London Underground real-time map is now my favorite Google Maps mashup – I hope one day we will see NYC host something similar.
This morning at the Internet Week HQ in NYC, ReadWriteWeb co-editor Marshall Kirkpatrick provided a keynote discussion regarding his thoughts and research around the real-time web. The event was setup in the barcamp style with several discussion rooms to house breakout sessions throughout the day. You can watch some of the sessions on Justin.tv.
Marshall began the presentation with his definition of “real-time web”:
The real-time web is the Web in which data is delivered to its recipients (be they human or machine) in real or near real time, as soon as it becomes available.
This morning I attended the Seesmic Look launch in NYC. You can read reviews of the new tool on Mashable and Louis Gray’s blog. Before Seesmic CEO Loic Le Meur took the stage to demo the Seesmic Look product, Razorfish VP Shiv Singh provided a good presentation about “social influence marketing” and how brands will utilize this form of marketing. I assume the video from Shiv’s presentation will be available online and I will add it to this post once ready.
One slide from the presentation stood out for me. Shiv provided a definition of “a business” from Peter Drucker. The quote reads, “The Purpose of a Business is to Create a Customer”. You can read more about Drucker on ZDNet. Shiv added to the quote to create his version of the definition for social influence marketing:
“The Purpose of a Business is to Create a Customer…who creates customers”
Take some time today and think about this definition. I believe it’s the best (and simplest) explanation of what social media marketing is all about.
Updated! Josh Weinberger has come up with an edit to Shiv’s edit that’s even better! Here’s the update:
“The Purpose of a Business is to SERVE a Customer…who creates customers”
Hats off to Shiv for putting together one of the strongest presentations I’ve seen in a long time.
This week they have launched a new search which they refer to as the, “Real-Time Social Discovery and Search”. Faroo notes that the new offering is a, “crowd-sourced approach to search, offering the discovery of new and relevant Web documents within minutes of their being published”
The new Faroo real-time search looks pretty interesting especially as you can’t attend a tech event without someone mentioning the concept of real-time search. Search results can be ordered by popularity or timeline. I can’t quite tell how they are getting their index as my startup post this morning shows a time of one-hour ago and a post on my startup’s blog this afternoon isn’t in their search results. I assume they are only indexing top and/or popular sources.
Some of the other features include:
- Tag search – refine your search based on a tag
- Preview – mouse over a result and see a visual preview before clicking to the destination
- Multi-language support – search results can include non-English language results
- RSS support – Users can subscribe to search results via RSS which can be useful for Google Reader and Friendfeed
You can also jump to search results on Wikipedia, Google, Bing, Yahoo, Technorati, Digg, Delicious, Flickr, YouTube.
Microsoft briefly posted an Office 2010 technical preview site but quickly removed it as it appeared to be posted early in error. There’s still a Google cache of the site which you can review.
Here’s the overview of the Office 2010 Web Applications version:
Office Web Applications, the online companion to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote applications, allow you to access documents from anywhere. You can even simultaneously share and work on documents with others online. View documents across PCs, mobile phones, and the Web without compromising document fidelity. Create new documents and do basic editing using the familiar Office interface. By offering more ways to access files from almost anywhere, Office Web Applications enable you to get things done according to your schedule.
The Microsoft employee in the video, Monica Mendoza, is very lucky it seems – first she was able to go work in Europe then take a trip to Las Vegas. If the video doesn’t work below – click here to view it.
After talking to a few of my friends who use Google Docs heavily, they say the demo video and images make Office 2010 look much more powerful. We’ve covered online office provider Zoho many times on CN – it will be interesting to get their take on the Office 2010 release.
I can only guess this is what Robert Scoble was very excited about on Friendfeed last week but said he was embargoed until today.