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A global look at Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report

Mary Meeker, a Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner, recently provided another healthy dose of data and trends, along with a number of predictions.

But the media largely overlooked the web and software globalization implications of many of these slides.

So allow me to chime in on the slides that jumped out at me.

Let’s begin with this slide:

Mary Meeker intl usage

So the “Made in USA” websites are leading the world in overall visitors. But what doesn’t get noted is that the top-7 websites average 91 languages.

That’s right, 91 languages —  an average skewed heavily by Wikipedia.

Here are my language counts:

Website Languages
Wikipedia 285
Google 145
Facebook 75
Microsoft 48
Yahoo! 47
Apple 32
Amazon 10

These “Made in the USA” websites have been “Localized for the world.” And that’s a major reason they’re so successful outside the USA.

Next slide:

Mary Meeker sharing global trend

Americans aren’t global leaders in “sharing” — though we’ve been unintentionally sharing quite a lot of our data with the NSA (a rant for a future day).

Now, I’m not sure  how different cultures define sharing, which has to be a major caveat to this slide.

Nevertheless, the fact that different cultures share different types and quantities of information is a major globalization challenge.

This isn’t just a Facebook or Google+ issue, it should factor into the degree to which you wish to integrate social networks into your website (as well as your expectations regarding engagement). Privacy concerns could very well be one of the most significant issues of the next decade and beyond.

Next slide:

China mobile trend

This slide is pretty easy to grasp. But a question that often comes up when looking at mobile trends around the world is “How many of X country’s mobile users are using smartphones?”

See below for the answer:

Mary Meeker global smartphone growth

I love this slide because it helps clarify exactly how many mobile users may actually be able to browser your mobile website (or download your mobile app).

China is a significant smartphone market while Russia is not (yet).

So when thinking global about your mobile strategy, you need to also think about smartphones vs. feature phones (those that offer poor or nonexistent web browsing).

So those were the slides that jumped out me. Let me know if something jumped out at you.

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Taking Mobile Global: Tips for Aligning Mobile and Global Web Strategies

Here’s a new article I’ve written for UX Magazine on the importance of aligning global and mobile strategies. Too often, companies develop mobile apps and mobile websites without considering localization requirements.

Here are two previous articles I’ve written for UX Magazine:

 

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Facebook hits German competitors

StudiVZ in Poland

If you’ve read this blog recently, you are aware of John’s reports on Facebook’s efforts to translate its Website into German and other European languages. I am a keen observer of the “kraut-sourcing” efforts. However, in Germany Facebook faces an entrenched competitor: “StudiVZ”.

StudiVZ is a social networking platform, very similar to Facebook. In contrast to Facebook, the positioning and the target group is extremely focused (for example, during signup you have to explicitly provide your high school or university). There are other affiliated networks like “SchülerVZ” specifically targeting younger people and pupils (until they are “old enough” to join StudiVZ).

In the past StudiVZ has tried to expand into other countries, too, and translated the Website into French, Spanish, Italian and Polish. But despite its efforts and except for Poland, the results were poor: the number of users were well below expectations. This led to a reorganisation of the staff, e.g. reduced teams which operate independently in each country. And now StudiVZ announced that it will “hibernate” its international expansion and instead it will focus its efforts in a renewed and improved software architecture.

For me this a clear move to counter Facebook’s advance in Europe, and especially Germany. Let’s see how the opponents stack up:

  • Facebook has an estimated user base of 60 million users worldwide and app. 600.000 in Germany. StudiVZ has app. 4,8 million users and SchülerVZ app. 2,7 millions. Numbers are currently increasing sharply. Facebook 0 : StudiVZ 1
  • StudiVZ is extremely focused in marketing its platform to students and teenagers. Therefore the numbers above show a deep market penetration in this growing group. Facebook 0 : StudiVZ 2
  • Facebook has a lot of venture capital backing, while StudiVZ has the backing of only the German publishing group Holzbrinck. Facebook 1 : StudiVZ 2
  • StudiVZ is trailing Facebook in technology and needs to modernize its software architecture. Right now StudiVZ is a “closed shop” and does not yet allow independent developers in its ecological niche. And the renewed technology might take some time to completely roll out. Facebook 2 : StudiVZ 2
  • StudiVZ has translated its Website into several languages and can exploit this language base in the future. Facebook has a very large and expanding global user base. Shortly they will have the same language capabilities. Facebook 3 : StudiVZ 3.

Right now I cannot see a clear winner here in Germany, but I see some small advantages for Facebook. But winning over the users from StudiVZ will be difficult and will consume time and money. Maybe a takeover would do the trick.

Moreover, the global reach of users is crucial for potential partners, e.g. for content providers or technological partners. I am referring here to the rumours of a Nokia+Facebook deal. I reckon the combination of mobile Web and global social networking will be one of the most interesting developments in the near future.

But don’t forget Orkut and Android, Google’s social platform and mobile technology… Ah, what interesting times we live in!

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