Google invents new revenue stream, Helpouts, initially designed to connect people

Tech powerhouse Google has now created a platform for individuals to fix real life problems in real time with “personalized” video advice from people. The service, Helpouts, connects individuals that seek help with those who can provide the required guidance through paid or free meetups. The service is offered in 8 different categories to start (from art & music, to cooking, to fitness & nutrition.)

The platform is able to connect users with experts across categories. Services not only include video chatting capabilities but also—with the permission of the user—screen sharing capabilities. Some classes or advice sessions are free while others have a fixed cost. In its initial stage of this project, Google already has over 1000 companies participating and hopes to continue to expand with more.

Why I’m Curious:
I’m curious to see how this unfolds. I obviously think this will be successful but I’m wondering if they will add in a community aspect (similar to a quora) where it doesn’t have to be an expert that answers questions and or if people will be able to rate the services that they receive through the platform.


Android Kit Kat hosts 3D-printed ‘Chocnology’

To promote Android’s latest Kit Kat OS, Kit Kat South Africa partnered with Google and Native VML to create the world’s first 3D printed chocolate exhibit: Chocnology.  Described as an intersection of chocolate and technology, the designs were created by South African artists using the Android OS and online 3D modeling tools.

Screen Shot 2013-11-08 at 11.56.07 AM

“To produce the artwork, a 3D printer that traditionally uses a plastic-based filament was manipulated to use chocolate as its raw material, allowing the creation of intricate, three-dimensional sculptures” – CreativityOnline.

Chocnology works are on display from Thursday November 7 until Sunday November 10 at the Museum Of African Design (MOAD) in Johannesburg. Fans can follow the gallery opening and tweet their own experiences at @KitKatSA using #Chocnology.

Why I’m Curious

The Android Kit Kat relationship is clever in itself, but bringing it to life in a tangible (and delicious) way is incredibly creative and buzz-worthy. This could have easily felt gimmicky for other OS’s, but the stretch in 3D technology is a great fit here, given this is a new operating system named after a beloved chocolate bar.

Arcade Fire’s Google Chrome-Powered Music Video

For their new “Just a Reflektor” video, Arcade Fire uses Google Chrome technology to let you interact with the music video on your smartphone.

First you must connect to the Just a Reflektor site on your desktop then follow the instructions on how to connect your phone. The project links your computer to your smartphone through a webcam, turning your phone into a visual effects controller with halos, reflections and wireframes in the video adapting to every movement.

Additionally, this project is open source so users can play with the web code (primarily JavaScript and WebGL) to build their own customized experience.

Why I’m Curious

Instead of going with a traditional approach to sharing a music video, I appreciate that the band has created an interactive user experience with their content. It’s a neat application of Chrome technology that we haven’t seen music artists use quite like this. Although it might realistically be annoying to hold up your phone to your webcam while the whole video plays, the project has a personalized element in that it adapts to your movements. That and the fact that it’s open source are enough to attract existing and prospective fans’ attention.

Android’s next version: KitKat

Google announced yesterday that the next version of its Android mobile operating system will be called “Android KitKat,” after the chocolate brand that is owned by Nestle globally and controlled byHershey Co. in the U.S. The moniker continues Android’s tradition of giving sweet-themed names to Android releases, beginning with Android “Cupcake” in 2009, continuing in alphabetical order through “Jelly Bean.”


Kit Kat’s website has been transformed to a technology parody where KitKat 4.4, ‘The Future of Confectionary’ is treated like a device itself.  The site also features a video that pokes fun at Apple’s product reveals/demos to show off the new high tech specs of the famous chocolate bar.

Promotion for the Hershey-branded mobile OS will include a tactic made famous by fictional chocolatier Willy Wonka: Hershey will distribute 50 million Kit Kat bars bearing the Android logo and a few of them will have winning tickets redeemable for a limited number of Nexus 7 tablets, as well as Google Play credits, according to a Google+ update from Android. – via AdAge and Creativity-Online


Why I’m Curious

This is such a clever and unexpected partnership between Google and Nestle, even more so because no money has been exchanged in the process (apparently).  In this sweet tech barter, Android gets a sweet new buzz from Kit Kat packs and Kit Kat’s tech savvy and credibility will see an immediate lift. I’m curious to see how the partnership continues to unfold and if Kit Kat’s 4 bars will translate to great reception…

Omate TrueSmart Smartwatch



Omate Truesmart has hit its crowdfunding target on Kickstarter to develop and produce a smartwatch that is a standalone device and can work independently from your smartphone or act as a companion.  They have raised over $100,000 in Kickstarter funds and are moving forward with production.

Why I’m Curious:

The Omate TrueSmart’s features are truly impressive.  Not only does it act as a phone and will run your Android apps smoothly it also has a five megapixel camera and is water resistant.  Some other functions include, voice call, text messaging, tracking, GPS, gesture control, and is event connected to 2G/3G data.  This smartwatch is ready for production and with Omate reaching their Kickstarter goal they can push it into full gear.

The market for smartwatches is becoming very competitive.  There are already designs for Pebble and the Samsung smartwatch out and Hyetis is planning on developing a luxury smartwatch that has a 41 megapixel camera.  Although, name brands like Samsung and Google are pushing forward with plans Omate seems to be the company to set the standards high.  The fact that the TrueSmart will be water resistant is a huge factor in the game.  Even the Nike Fit Band cannot track swimming laps because it is not waterproof.  But I think the most impressive thing about the TrueSmart is its capabilities to standalone and omit Bluetooth capabilities.

The retail price for the device is looking to be $299 and will hopefully be out in October for customers.  I wonder if it will be all the rage like Google Glass considering it is much less invasive and a multifunctional wearable technology.  And with a price like $299, I am going to put my order in now.

Omate TrueSmart Kickstarter

MIT Immersion

This is from earlier this month, but didn’t see anyone post, so figured I’d share…

A team out of MIT Media Lab launched a data visualization experiment called Immersion – Working through Gmail (and Gmail only), Immersion provides users with a web-like representation of their email interactions. Users can manipulate the time periods, as well as highlight individual contacts (represented as bubbles) for a more detailed look at the webs of interconnectivity that stem from each one.

Video below:

Why I’m Curious?

I’m always surprised by the ways in which data visualization is able to offer new perspective…It quite literally provides you with a different way of looking at something.

This tool I found particularly interesting given how clearly it lays bare all of the relationships I’ve cultivated or unfortunately let fall off over the last several years. It’s not often you’re presented with such a stark portrayal of your social interactions.

From another standpoint, it’s also pretty remarkable how quickly Immersion is able to process and analyze the data inputs, and then adjust the outputs as parameters (e.g. time period) are modified.

Only 20% of brands make a significant effect on people’s well-being.

Havas Media reports that consumers only feel 20% of brands truly impact their lives. The report, utilizing a unique framework, tracked brand connections to consumer quality of life and well-being. They looked at over 700 brands, and over 134,000 consumers, in 23 countries. Although the percent of brands impacting consumer well-being was low, the brands that did/do impact their lives, impact it at a high level. The top meaningful brands chosen for UK, US, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy and Spain were: Google, Samsung, Microsoft, Nestle, and Sony, however, on a global level, tech brands dominated.

Meaningfule brands

Some of the key insights from the report include that: (1) a majority of customers wouldn’t care if 73% of brands vanished—leaving 27% left, (2) only ~30% of customers in the UK and US believe brands work hard to improve their lives, (3) and only 21% of people in the UK, and US feel brands communicate with them honestly etc.

Only 20% of brands make a significant effect on people’s well-being.

Why I’m Curious:
We talk a lot about creating meaningful experiences, yet so much of the products and services that consumers receive feel like noise. I think it is interesting to see how little impact brands have on consumers because it’s going to challenge us to start thinking a little deeper when it comes to creating meaningful content. It will become pertinent to see the bigger picture and to create solutions that fit seamlessly into to the things most meaningful to them now—i.e. health, happiness, financial, relationships and community etc. Also, because tech feels most meaningful to them, this is a big opportunity for us to continue driving solutions that incorporate digital.

Virtual Pride Parade


In June 2012, Moscow courts ruled to uphold a ban on Pride marches for the next 100 years. So in honor of Gay Pride Month this past June, NYCPride and RUSA LGBT created a virtual parade at to support Russia’s LGBT community.

To show support, users could send a tweet with hashtag #virtualpride. As the 2.02 mile New York City Pride parade proceeded on June 30, the march’s progress was mapped virtually onto a Google Maps street view of a 2.02 mile route through Moscow. The tweet would then appear in a voice bubble along the sidelines of the online parade route.

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 6.04.48 PM

Why I’m Curious

One of the defining aspects of social media is the power to foster community. I like how this project uses social to unite a Global community of supporters around a cause. By design, the project relies on social engagement to create the full experience.

As we continue to see the roll digital/social media plays in galvanizing sociopolitical movements around he world, it’s interesting to see how these mediums are employed to amplify the voice of the people.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Goes Digital

The Royal Shakespeare Company and Google have teamed up to take A Midsummer Night’s Dream digital…What does that mean? Had a tough time figuring it out myself, but I found this video to be pretty helpful in explaining:

In short, the project is attempting to harness the de-centralized, multi-dimensional nature in which stories unfold online to add further depth to a work of fiction. Here’s Google’s Tom Uglow (Project director) with an illustrative example:

“Remember Charlie Sheen’s dramatic online breakdown in 2011? No one was in control of that story, and yet the world followed an electric plot that twisted and turned and looped back on itself. Most significantly, we found ourselves telling and re-telling Charlie’s story. Collectively we moved the narrative forward from multiple viewpoints, with differing degrees of accuracy. All via a deceptively simple mechanism – putting a hashtag [#] in-front of a word: #winning.” Read more.

The project is called Midsummer Night’s Dreaming – Click through for the project’s hub experience.

Why I’m Curious?

The project sounds incredibly innovative in theory…ultimately, though, its success will rely on whether or not its able to rally enough participation to make the digital experience rich enough.

Assuming it’s a success, it’ll be interesting to see if the format is adapted to suit other sorts of live events.

Google’s Project Loon: Balloon-Powered Internet for All

A staggering 2/3 of the world’s population is without internet access, and Google wants to change this by cutting the cord and taking to the skies with solar-powered balloons that provide internet for all called Project Loon. Given the sweeping changes that access to cell phones and internet had for developing counties and in the recent Arab Spring, these balloons have the potential to be the new frontier in digital democracy. The pilot test for Project Loon begins June 2013 and will be focused only on New Zealand.

Why I’m Curious

Not only does this have the potential to make the world smaller and more connected, Google’s balloons can help get people back online after disasters. It’s impossible to tell how we’ll evolve having this level playing field, but it’s clear it will be an evolution. Plus a service that could potentially compete with Comcast is music to everyone’s ears.

100 brilliant innovators. 11 hours. One plane. Can a single transatlantic flight help change the world?

There is a groundbreaking campaign happening this week from British Airwayscalled UnGrounded. 100 innovators are flying from San Francisco to London where they are using the time on the plane to focus on changing the world and then descending on DNA Summit at the UN to share their ideas.

More herehere and here. Hashtag is #UnGrounded.

Silicon Valley Innovators to Tackle Global Tech Challenge at 30,000 feet

British Airways launches UnGrounded, the first innovation lab in the sky, designed to connect industry leaders and creative minds for the purpose of tackling challenges that affect the next generation of global innovators. To kick off this program, British Airways is partnering with the United Nations (UN) and the Decide Now Act (DNA) Summit.

Taking place 30,000 feet in the air aboard a British Airways flight from San Francisco to London, UnGrounded participants will be tasked with connecting the abundance of emerging STEM talent in cities around the world with civic and commercial opportunities in major tech hubs, where talent crunch is increasingly an issue.

Developing a platform for discovery of opportunity for the next generation of innovators is at the core of the challenge ahead. On landing in London the group will present their work to a like-minded group of global thought leaders to decide how to put this into action. The UnGrounded flight experience will be designed by innovation firm, IDEO.

The ‘passengers’ will be selected for their energy, ideas and experience. Working with British Airways on this challenge and recruitment are leaders in the tech community, including:

  • Todd Lutwak of Andreessen Horowitz
  • Leor Stern of Google
  • Celestine Johnson of Innovation Endeavors
  • Duncan Logan of RocketSpace
  • Gerald Brady of Silicon Valley Bank
  • Marguerite Hancock of Stanford Business School and the SPRIE Project
  • Rhonda Abrams of The Planning Shop

This program is part of a larger initiative by British Airways to open the door to collaboration with the start-up community in Silicon Valley. The airline recently secured a seat at San Francisco based accelerator, Rocketspace.

Key Facts: The UnGrounded Flight

• The inaugural UnGrounded flight will travel from San Francisco to London in the summer of 2013.

• British Airways has chosen to launch the UnGrounded flight from Silicon Valley, the global hub for technology and the de-facto model for how amazing ideas can be cultivated when people are together.

• Participants on the UnGrounded flight will include some of Silicon Valley’s most prominent thinkers – from budding entrepreneurs to seasoned business leaders, VCs and scholars.

• Upon touchdown in London, flight participants will attend the DNA Summit, a meeting that connects the best minds in the world to progress talk into action.

• During the DNA Summit, passengers will present their solution to the challenge to a group of like-minded, global innovators. The session will be received by the Secretary General of the ITU – the UN agency for information and communication technologies.

The challenge aligns with the UN Broadband Commission’s mandate to achieve “digital inclusion for all”. The commission advocates that all people should have access to affordable information and communication technologies for their social and economic development.

Why I’m Curious

The infrastructure and integration on this campaign are really impressive. They have a robust microsite, custom pre-during-post videos, influencer outreach, social activations & social/digital support culminating in a live event. The social innovation piece ties to their recent commitment to startups and supporting entrepreneurs. Obviously part of a bigger strategy for them, really interesting and well-executed and it’s getting great press and traction. I’m curious to see how this positive brand awareness plays out in terms of additional usage from business leaders and also if other airlines will look to copy or replicate this model.

Google Creates Visualization of Real-Time Web Searches

Google Search

Earlier this week, Google put together and released this awesome visualization of real-time web searches. The page displays real-time search terms in a Windows phone look and feel, which can be filtered to show searches by different region (and subsequently, languages). If you see something pop-up that you want to learn more about, simply click the search term and it will take you to an SRP (SEO jargon for Search Results Page) for your viewing pleasure.

Check it out here.

Why I’m Curious

Google gets dinged on the daily for what it does with the vast amount of information it collects on us, but every now and then they put out something folks can geek out to. Beneath its beautiful design, this webpage presents an amazing opportunity to witness online trends unfold in real-time. Just from observing it in 10 minutes, I learned about a few people I’ve never heard of on top of picking up on two trends in China. It reminds me a bit of watching the Matrix in it’s binary form.

Oral-B Celebrates Father’s Day

Mouth care brand Oral-B is centering its Father’s Day campaign around touching paternal moments the brand found on YouTube.

The moments, which start with dads with babies and end with the kids as adults, will only appear online. The ad is designed to promote the brand’s electric toothbrushes as a Father’s Day gift. In addition, the brand plans to do promote the hashtag #powerofdad over the weekend. Publicis Kaplan Thaler created the ad.

(via Mashable)

Why I’m Curious

I thought this campaign was incredibly well done. The online-only video captures real life moments, there is a celebrity partnership, a charitable donation, a PR rollout that helped the campaign receive a lot of coverage and a microsite that houses all of the information. The social media campaign crosses all of their social media channels and also there are Twitter chats by Dad Central (part of Mom Central). Plus the campaign rolled out a few weeks before Father’s Day allowing it to gain momentum leading up to the holiday. Oral-B won’t “own” Father’s Day but it’s a really great way to get their product and name talked about and sure to drive positive sentiment. It’s a great example of integration not just within one agency but across agency partners.

Gmail Adds Money Attachments

There’s a new type of attachment coming to Gmail. Google announced it will be adding the ability to send money via Google Wallet to emails.

From Laughing Squid:

Users who have their bank account linked to Google Wallet or are sending money directly from their Google Wallet balance can send funds for free, and Google will charge a 2.9% fee for users transferring money from a debit or credit card. To send money using Gmail hover over the attachment paperclip icon, click the $ icon, and enter how much you’d like to attach to the email. The new feature will be rolling out “over the coming months” to Gmail users over 18 years old.

Why I’m Curious

This new addition to Gmail is pretty nice – it simply integrates the ability to send some funds to your contacts without having to use a bank or PayPal. The service also seems personable tied to email – it’s more like handing your friend cash in person than writing them a check and sending it in the mail. And if you’ve set up your Google Wallet, there’s no service charge.

On the flipside, it’s more data to track, and another potential item at risk if your account is hacked – but that’s always the case with Google, right?

The Mom-Off

A few interesting… or not-so-interesting executions for Mother’s Day coming up this Sunday.

Coke Zero is pulling a Heineken by offering the duds who forgot Mother’s Day a save. Simply Tweet @cokezero and #motherpiece with an excuse for forgetting and Coke Zero will select the best ones and send a framed “Motherpiece” of their sons to their mamas. Motherpieces will be created by one of ten classically trained painters. Because after all, says Coke, “unlike flowers and chocolates, a painting lasts forever.”

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 3.32.00 PM

Google has launched an interactive campaign designed to help users celebrate their mothers. It directs them to Google Shopping for finding the right gift, Hangout for catching up face-to-face if they live far away, YouTube for fun and creative videos, Google Maps for locating a local florist, and Google+ for creating a circle to share photos with just the family.

And Mother wanted to do something different by giving mom what she really wants: control over your life, with the Momtract (a contract that gives power over one aspect of your life to your mother).

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 3.40.53 PM

Why I’m Curious

I’m curious about which of three different approaches appeals to the group most?

My take: While it’s not one of their stronger connections (see: Chrome’s Sophie Lee and It Gets Better videos) I appreciate Google’s attempt to once again place itself at the center of our lives and relationships. This time, though, it feels like too much of a stretch – send her a YouTube video, invite mom to Hangout!

Coke Zero’s approach is on-target but a bit too soon after Heineken did something very similar on V-Day.

Mother’s card is a funny stunt that at least gets them into the conversation around Mother’s Day — as they should be! I’m going to create an “always wear lipstick” Montract and prepare for rings on my cups for the rest of time…

Customer Barometer: The Customer Journey From Research to Purchase

Prior to the Analytic Customer Journey tool that Google recently created, Google  also worked with IAB Europe and TSN Infratest to create another tool called Customer Barometer to better quantify the role that online plays in a customers journey.  Customer Barometer provides information on a customer’s journey starting from initial research to end purchase.

Because the tool is interactive, it allows users to build their own graph/chart.  This can be done by selecting options from four different categories to generate a snapshot of audience behaviors. Categories to choose options from include:

  • Country
  • Product
  • Audience
  • Topics

Click here to check it out.


Screen Shot 2013-05-03 at 12.49.34 PM

Why I’m curious:

Digital solutions aren’t “one size fits all”.  The smallest variations of digital attitudes and behaviors can and will change the type of digital experiences we need to create for a target audience.  I think this tool will be a great source to aid in the digital persona process and It will be interesting to learn more about our target behaviors.

Snickers bids on misspelt Google searches to offer candy as a solution

Snickers and AMV BBDO created a way to make bad typers recognize why it is that they were unable to spell correctly. The brand bid on misspelt Google search terms to offer up a candy bar as a solution. Each time someone misspelled a word — which was probably often, since people generally rely on the search engine to correct the terms for them — they got tailored ads asking them to “Grab yourself a Snikkers,” because “Yu cant spel properlie wen hungrie.”

Why I’m Curious: I love Snicker’s clever approach to market the value of an unhealthy product like a candy bar and connect it to a problem as universal as a misspelled Google search. I think this is smart way for Snickers to not only reach bad typers, but also those who type “diS way” for no reason. I’m curious to see how the campaign continues to resonate since they’ve already reached 500,000 people in three days of launch of this part of its “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign.

Google Analytics: the Customer Journey to Online Purchase tool

Google has launched a new benchmarking tool, Customer Journey to Online Purchase, that uses aggregated data from thousands of Google clients to show how consumers in different industries pass through the sales funnel.

This tool lets you explore typical online buying behavior and see how different marketing interactions affect business success:

  • Purchase paths based on interactions with a single ecommerce advertiser
  • How different marketing channels help get your site visitors to convert better or faster
  • How long it takes for customers to make a purchase online (in terms of visits and days)
  • Benchmarks of various industries to help you compare your results to that within your industry.Click here to learn more.


Why I am Curious

A user may see an ad, click on a link from a friend, or do a search before buying something from a website — and all of these interactions can play a role in the final sale. It’s important to understand the entire customer journey, and the distinctive roles different channels play, so we can measure all of the elements that contribute to the success of our client’ businesses.

What if Your Boss Tracked Your Sleep, Diet, and Exercise?

Inside most companies, the typical health and wellness program includes regular blood pressure checks, a list of fresh foods for the office fridge, and some sort of exercise guru who shows up every so often to tell people they should work out more. If you’re lucky, you might even get some couponsdesigned to encourage healthier eating — and cut company insurance costs.

But at Citizen — a Portland, Oregon company that designs mobile technology — things are a little different. Employees at the company are now uploading data on how much they exercise, what they eat, and how much they sleep to a central server, as part of an effort to determine whether healthy employees are actually happier and more productive. The ultimate aim is to explicitly show employees how they can improve their work through better personal habits.

Kickstarted by Wired’s Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly, the quantified self movement aims to glean more insight into our general well-being through statistics. Typically, this is a personal undertaking, but the same ideas are now moving into the business world. Chris Dancy, a director in the office of the chief technology officer at BMC Software, tracks his life in an effort to prove his worth to employers, and now Citizen is taking things even further.

C3PO taps into a service calls Health Graph — which collects data from personal activity trackers such as Fitbit and RunKeeper — but it also collects data from various software tools used inside the company, including the project management system TeamWork PM, the time tracking application RescueTime, the audio system Sonos, and the employee mood tracking service Happiily. In the future, its designers hope the system can provide all sorts of insight into employee behavior, such as whether listening to particular types of music increases productivity, or whether employees who have entered a new relationship are less productive than those who are single. Simpson says they even plan to post employee health stats to Citizen’s website.

Simpson and other developers built the system through Citizen’s Google-like “15% Time” program, which encourages employees to spend a certain amount of time on pet projects. It was originally just a way of satisfying their own curiosity.

The trouble is that it’s kinda creepy.

Sce Pike, Simon Vansintjan and Quinn Simpson are guinea pigs in Citizen’s ambitious — and creepy — plan to track how its employees live and work. Photo: Klint Finley

Hardcore self-trackers like Chris Dancy are already tracking dozens, perhaps hundreds, of variables related to their bodies and environment, such as skin temperature, heart rate, and diet. Dancy also keeps a detailed record of his work, and he can correlate his activities with what music he’s been listening to or what he had for dinner the night before. But he collects and analyzes the data for his own use. His employer has no access to any of his health data. Citizen’s approach is more ambitious — and potentially more useful — but it raises privacy questions.

“Health data can be used for many different purposes, and in an age of ‘big data’ can reveal things about you that you may not even know about,” Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with Electronic Frontier Foundation, another privacy advocate. “And the laws that protect health information often only protect that information within the health care system — [meaning] doctors and those involved in medical treatment and health insurers.”

C3PO’s particular brand of health tracking may be too much of a legal headache to really catch on, but its designers also aim to track productivity independently of health data. Simon Vansintjan, a user experience designer and one of the employees working on C3PO, says that stats such as the number of tasks completed and the number of repeat clients may provide an accurate measure how much work is getting done — and how good that work is — but the company is still exploring which metrics work and which don’t.

This sort of thing is happening inside many companies. Some outfits track hundreds of variables in the quest to measure worker productivity, says Nathan West, director of analytics products at Evolv. Evolv offers a service for companies that want to track employee productivity and minimize employee turnover. It even tries to determine how employees perform under different supervisors.

Why I’m curious: I think it will be interesting if they can use the system to change the way the company operates, to better estimate how long projects will take or find new ways of reducing employee turnover.

Google Opens Trial for Same-Day Delivery Service in San Francisco

Confirming rumors that it was to launch its own delivery service to rival Amazon, Google has begun testing its new “Shopping Express” service in the San Francisco Bay Area. Partnering with Target, Walgreens, Staples, American Eagle, and Toys”R”Us, as well as local coffee shops and independent stores, Google will offer early testers six months of free, unlimited same-day delivery.
Screen Shot 2013-03-29 at 4.18.29 PM

Google’s Shopping Express indexes the products available at participating retailers and makes them available to order via Google’s own website. Testers can then book a delivery slot and have their products delivered to them by one of Google’s delivery partners on the same day. There was news about Google Shopping Express earlier in the month, when it was reported that Google would seek to charge a $69 yearly subscription, $10 cheaper than Amazon Prime. Leading the project is Tom Fallows, Google’s e-commerce product manager, who is working to combine Google Wallet and Shopping with offerings from bricks-and-mortar retailers.

Why I’m Curious:  Amazon prime is one of the best inventions I’ve encountered in my daily life, so I’m excited to see how Google will step up to the plate with its innovation. Throughout the year we will begin to see a trend of how the big names, Facebook, Google and Amazon will fight for domination of the e-commerce space, and it is interesting to consider how financial service brands can leverage this changing purchase behavior with possible “Add to Earn” opportunities.