Category Archives: Internet
As a young university graduate I faced the same dilemma youth everywhere face, what do you want to do when you grow up. Destiny often plays a significant role, and it did in my case. I soon found myself working on an indexing and retrieval system, what today would be referred to as an enterprise search system, for a museum in California. Part of my responsibilities included presales support which introduced me to the world of professional conferences. In just a day or two at the best conferences, industry leaders and novices shared ideas, experiences and contacts through formal presentations and informal chats. Imbued with new insights and enthusiasm, I would return to work having reaffirmed my existing practices or determined to implement better ones.
Worried that Google may know too much if you use Google Analytics? Relax. Google already has great data.
I spy with my little eye…
When Google Trends for Websites launched, Google Analytics Evangelist Avinash Kaushik noted it (and Google Ad Planner) might have a searcher’s bias. If one accepts that this might have been the case in 2008, it is highly unlikely to be the case today, when one considers the multiple ways Google can track internet usage. The list which follows aims to illustrate this point. I put it together as a response to clients who were hesitant to use Google Analytics as for whatever reason, they were reluctant to let Google to know everything about the use of their websites.
The reality is that resistance is futile: through services like Google Search, the Google Tool Bar and the Google Public DNS, Google already knows a lot about most websites.
Digital Native: Show Trenitalia Ticket On Computer Display – And Be Fined For Traveling Without A Ticket.
Ceci n’est pas une billet – with apologies to Magritte.
There’s a not so small detail which appears at the bottom of Trenitalia regional tickets sold online: if you don’t show a printed copy of the electronic ticket, you’re considered to be traveling without a ticket and subject to paying the ticket price plus an onboard purchase fee and a €50 fine or regional fine amount, whatever that might be.
While I travel a lot using Gruppo FS trains, more than 20,000 km in the last 18 months, I rarely buy regional tickets online. Regional tickets are valid 2 months (even longer if you buy the km based tickets) when bought in a station, but the same tickets bought online expire hours after purchase. The disincentive is very clear; the only discernible benefit is to perhaps avoid a line in the station.
In an earlier article about a day long open house with the Italian National Railways, Gruppo FS / Trenitalia, I noted frustration in having to manually enter my loyalty card number every time I buy a ticket from a Trenitalia ticket vending machine. The newer machines are equipped with both smart chip and RFID readers. I had tried the RFID reader in the past without success and wrongly assumed the cards only included the visible smartcard chip. At the #meetFS event I questioned then why the POS chip reader wouldn’t recognize the Cartafreccia cards.
Tiziano Ferro Knowledge Graph Search Result including event rich snippet and Google+ data! Click to enlarge.
I just finished documenting Google’s new display of fact boxes in selected search results, enabled through Google’s use of what it calls a knowledge graph, as preparation for the next edition of my SEO Course (June 13 & 14). I thought I’d share a few of the salient points communicators probably should know:
- Google fact boxes, created from their knowledge graph, are limited to selected searches conducted in English on Google.com. I put in English in italics as query terms are often ambiguous. The term marketing, along with variants like web marketing have entered many languages, including my adopted Italian. Other terms, such as names, e.g. Tiziano Ferro, do not explicitly indicate the user’s search language.
A recent site redesign, undoubtedly motivated by the arrival of a competitor, Italo, was an opportunity for Italy’s Trenitalia to improve their booking process, key to the passenger revenue stream, and indeed there are some nice new features. If a trip includes one of the profitable trains Trenitala wants to promote, there is a nice flexible date bargain finder. If a user completes the booking process, Trenitalia will provide trip information in the .ics calendar format, enabling easy import into many calendaring applications. Nice indeed.
Effortless booking should be a Trenitalia business priority
The logistics of managing a rail network across the Italian peninsula are undoubtedly daunting. A fair assumption is that most customers will judge a railway primarily on how successful the company was in getting the passenger from point A to point B on-time for a reasonable price in a clean and safe environment. From a business point of view, it is critical that potential customers are able to easily purchase tickets. The more complicated this process, the greater the chance a person will board a train without a ticket or choose an alternate means of transport, both representing a potential revenue loss.