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Over the last couple months Facebook has been gradually releasing native shops for your Facebook Page, allowing you to sell things right inside Facebook on your company’s Facebook Page. This feature, at least in theory, should allow companies to sell more because there is less opportunity for turnover in clicking outside Facebook to an unfamiliar website to purchase an item. The jury is still out though on whether these are truly effective, and Facebook seems to only gradually be putting priority into this feature. Here’s how to set it up if it’s available. Be sure to check out my Snapchat via my username jessestay to see a quick video synopsis:
Step 1: Adding Items to Your Store
The first step in setting up your “Shop” section is to verify it is available to you. If the feature is available, without logging in, you’ll see an empty little “Shop” that looks like this:
It was 11 years ago that I started this blog. We’ve been through a lot – I originally began the blog to account for things I discovered while programming various things I built on the side. It has evolved into a combination of that, reporting on tech news, sharing personal stories, futurism, and sharing marketing insights I have with my new (un)agency, Stay N Alive, LLC.
In addition I’ve started a few Youtube channels including GeekGreens, focusing on geeky gardening tips and tricks, StayTube, my family vlog sharing our adventures, most recently with a cleft palate daughter, and The Social Geek, focusing on gadgets, tech reviews, and my adventures in tech. I most recently started appearing on my local Fox affiliate, Fox 13’s “The Place”, where I report on fun gadgets, apps, tech news and social media. I’ve decided it’s time to bring a little more focus to the blogs to match what I’m doing on Youtube and elsewhere. For that reason today I’m launching SocialGeek.tv!
SocialGeek.tv is intended to serve as a resource for my Social Geek Youtube channel content, as well as the work I’m doing with Fox 13’s The Place. I’m hoping to make this the place I share all my gadget reviews, not just in video format, but also writing. I’ll also share my visions of the future, howtos, and plain old geeky stuff. My escapades at CES this week will be chronicled there.
What happens to StayNAlive.com? This will remain the blog and home page of my (un)agency. I intend this to be the place where I share marketing news, social media insights and information that can serve my clients and others, and a place I can share info on how my (un)agency operates. Most of the previous posts on StayNAlive.com will remain here. For personal posts, I’ll reserve most of those for Facebook, as well as my more personal blog, Stay N Faithful.
If you’re not sure which one to follow, follow both, or you can subscribe to my Facebook Page at http://facebook.com/stay and I’ll share everything there. There is RSS on both sites, and soon I’ll have an email subscribe option on SocialGeek.tv.
As I expand, my hope is this will allow for more product reviews and gadgets without a mixed message. If your company has something they would like me to review, I make no promises and may even provide a bad review if I don’t like it, please contact me. I’d love to try out your product and give it as objective a review as I can.
Comment below on what products you’d like me to review or share on SocialGeek.tv. And don’t forget to subscribe to the new blog! To the future!
Recently I was asked to appear on my local Fox affiliate, Fox 13 to appear on their weekly lifestyle show, “The Place”. They wanted me to talk about my top 10 favorite gadgets of 2015. I agreed to take on the challenge, which really wasn’t a challenge since I already own most of them! You can see some of my reviews over on Youtube.com/TheSocialGeek (where I’ll post more in the future as well). If you’re coming from seeing me on TV, welcome! Introduce yourself in the comments and share with your friends!
2015 was filled with many pivotal moments in “the future”. It is 2015 after all – you know, the year when Marty McFly meets his future children as he travels to the world decades away, one we sat in amazement when we saw it in the 80s. We are in a world now of self driving cars, drones, hoverboards (just not the same as Marty’s!), and houses you can talk to! For an idea of where we’re headed, check out my predictions around “The Entirely Contextual, Peer-to-Peer, Self-Aware Future of Technology”.
I wanted to pick my 10 favorite items that matched this future. Most of them I own! Many of them you may not even realize exist, or realize their potential, but the future is evident in all of them. Here are my picks for 2015, all released (in some form) this year – let’s make this a new tradition! Click the links on each to find out where you can buy them:
- Sprout by HP With 3D Scanning Platform – $1978.88
I was privileged, among all my reviews, for the HP Sprout to be the only one on my 2015 list to receive for free from the manufacturer. Bias aside (I was not paid to include it in this list), this is one of my favorite gadgets of 2015, the year they also released their 3D scanning platform.
The Sprout by HP has a built in projector, as well as scanner that hovers above a mat below, allowing you to scan things in both 3D and 2D. The projector projects a second screen onto the desk allowing you, with the scanner, to use your desk as a touch screen for additional capabilities.
This year HP also released a platform for 3D scanning that allows scanning of almost an entire 3D object in very good detail. When combined with a 3D printer you can take things from scan, to edit, all the way to real life! Click here to see my article on how we figured out how to scan things with this 3D scanner and put them in Minecraft!
So why did I choose this in my list? My kids are always on it! My toddler daughter loves coloring with the built in Crayola coloring app, which you can use your finger on the desk to color in a virtual coloring book, being rewarded with new sounds and songs as you finish the drawing. She can also very easily just touch the screen to open her favorite PBS Kids or Disney Junior websites. It’s so much easier than figuring out how to use a mouse!
Add to that my teenagers wanting to scan things, edit them, and print them out, it is one of my favorite gadgets of 2015. This is truly a playground for my kids, a gadget I see them on most.
- Viewmaster VR Viewer – $20.93
Being 2015 I had to have some sort of VR device on my list. The truth is there are several I could have chosen. Google makes one you can cut out of cardboard and slip in your phone. Samsung makes one that only works with the Galaxy S series. Facebook has Oculus Rift, which is an amazing experience I’ve tried, but can’t be purchased yet by the general public.
The most versatile of all the products I found was one by the same company that made the first “virtual image experiences” when we were kids – the Viewmaster. If we were to see one of those in “Back to the Future”, I think this is what it would look like in 2015. Heck, it even looks like Doc’s glasses in the future!
Viewmaster has reinvented itself as an entire, multimedia, virtual reality experience. You slip in your phone, almost any smartphone (they even provide adapters you can add to allow smaller phones to work), and it immediately works with a whole variety of virtual reality apps you can download from your favorite app store.
If you download one of Viewmaster’s 3 branded apps, unlike the Galaxy Gear VR or Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard, you can use a provided circular disc that looks like one of the old Viewmaster discs you’d put in the device when we were young, and an augmented reality experience appears around the disc. So Viewmaster not only supports virtual reality, but augmented reality as well! With the AR experience, you can then choose the experience you want to start with and it takes you to a completely virtual world in 3D 360 view you, or your kids (if they can get it away from you) can learn from. I was really impressed with this $30 device!
- Sphero’s BB8 – $149.95
It wouldn’t be 2015 without Star Wars! Sphero, the makers of a ball you can control and move around with your phone, shone, bringing us to the light side in this space. When Star Wars was being made, Sphero was approached to make the technology behind the lovable little droid named BB8 who stole the show in the series (which I’ve now seen 4 times). One of the first Star Wars toys you could buy was a mini BB8 you could control with your phone.
Why is this cool? The coolest thing about this device is that, despite being able to control a ball that rolls around the floor in the shape of your favorite Star Wars character, it also has a head that through either “the Force” or magnets manages to stay on the top of the droid the entire time you control it. It also has a mode where it will “patrol” for you just like your very own droid!
- The Hoverboard – $360.17
“Back to the Future” and Hoverboards go together like Fred Flinstone and Barney Rubble. I kept hearing complaints this year that people didn’t get their hoverboard. Well, if that’s true I don’t know why people keep calling the self-moving device you can stand on without any handles a “hoverboard”. Yes, it does have wheels, but this is the hoverboard of our future (there is actually another non-wheeled version that is still far from production, but I’ll save that for one of my future lists).
The Hoverboard has dominated Christmas headlines as not only one of the most popular and most in-demand items of 2015, but also one of the most dangerous. Videos have swarmed Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter of people falling and even injuring themselves on this device. Then there are the supposed “exploding batteries”. So this gadget is not one to take lightly! So wear your helmet and put on some shoes! (Oh, and please don’t do a handstand on it like this girl!)
- Tesla Model S – $69,900 (before incentives)
You may think that Teslas are for the rich and famous, but with incentives, and new versions (including the X just announced this year) coming out regularly, there is a very good chance you will be able to afford one in your lifetime. Add to that leasing options, competition, and other ways to force the price down and this will actually, very soon become very affordable to the average consumer.
So why did I choose such an expensive “gadget” for my 2015 list? It was this year that Tesla, with a single software update, released a “self-driving” option for every one of their cars in production, making them the first car currently sold to consumers that allows them to drive without touching the gas, brakes, or steering wheel. Self-driving cars people!
But that’s just the start of it all. Tesla is owned by Elon Musk, who just single-handedly (well sorta) launched a rocket and landed it on the same rockets used to launch. Through his company SpaceX they have already launched missions with NASA. Add to that the potential of Musk’s “Hyperloop” technology, as well as a battery that powers your entire home and gets swapped out with 0 net energy cost, Tesla and Elon Musk’s other inventions are essentially space-age technology!
Now you won’t wonder why I’m so passionate about getting a Tesla dealership in Utah – Tesla is about so much more than cars! In fact I’m so passionate about this one that I’ve vowed that, assuming my own business is in shape by the time, when Utah gets a Tesla dealership and passes laws to allow it (yes, it’s illegal currently in Utah), I will buy one.
- The Apple Watch – $296
As a former Google Glass owner, I totally understand the value of a wearable device that can provide notifications and easy access to information without needing to take your phone out of your pocket. I like the Apple Watch because it is not so obvious, much less a distraction, but still gives me those “heads up” notifications I got from Google Glass. That said, it did make me “turn back time” a little bit by buying a watch for the first time since I owned a cell phone.
To be honest, most of the other smart watches should also fit in this category. If you own an Android watch you should consider one of the Android Wear devices, which are also very solid devices. I currently own the Apple Watch though, and it was Apple’s big debut for 2015 (Android Wear was released in 2014), so it gets to be on my list for this year!
- Owlet Baby Monitor – $249.99
I had the privilege to be one of the first owners of the Owlet Baby Monitor, which released later this year. The Owlet Baby Monitor attaches as a “sock” to your baby’s foot, and tracks vitals such as heart rate, respiration and breathing. The sock communicates with a base station you can put next to your bed to receive comfort in knowing your baby is sleeping and breathing safely all night long. When the baby stops breathing an alarm goes off so you can go check on your baby.
We were able to use ours upon the birth of our child with a cleft lip and cleft palate. Coming home from the NICU this peace of mind did help us sleep a little better and feel a little more at comfort. Fortunately we had no real alarms go off to worry about, but already 2 families have saved their childrens’ lives as a result of this device. That makes this device a “must buy” for families with newborns in my book!
- Amazon Echo – $179.99
While your TV may be the screen of your home, and your phone may be the interface for your home, Amazon Echo is the ears of your home. With a simple call to “Alexa”, the default name for each Amazon Echo, this device allows you to ask it just about anything and it will respond.
Alexa integrates with all your favorite every day apps and gives you a voice control for them. “Alexa, play music” plays music. “Alexa, set an appointment with Bob for Friday at 12pm” will add an appointment to your calendar. The Echo even integrates with smart hubs like the Samsung Smart Hub, allowing me to control things around my house with my voice. “Alexa, turn on the lights” will turn on the lights. I even have it integrated with my fireplace through a Z-Wave relay I hooked up to work with my smart hub – “Alexa, turn on the fireplace” turns on the fireplace!
I especially like this device because the entire family uses it. One of our favorite things to do is have it play music for us while we play board games as a family. “Who Shot the Sheriff?” is a popular song while we play the popular card game, “Bang”. Whatever it is, you’ll grow to love this device the more you use it and play with it.
- DJI Inspire – $2619
Besides the Tesla, this is one of the few on my list that I don’t own, but DO have on my wishlist for 2016! Drones have been one of the major highlights of 2015, and I’d do a disservice if I didn’t have a drone on this list. They were in fact so popular that the US Government has required all drone owners to register or get fined.
The DJI Inspire is the Mercedes of the branded drones. With legs that retract above the camera, 4K video, and a gimbal that allows full, stabilized and unrestricted view of the entire landscape, this is an aerial photographer’s dream. As a photographer myself, this is something I definitely want to own some day to get some of those tough shots from above.
- Samsung Smart Hub – $99
In 2015 Samsung released its version 2.0 of its popular “Smart Hub” device which allows you to have full control of your home. The device connects over Wifi and Z-wave (and a few other wireless codecs) allowing you to tie all those devices together.
For instance, in my home when I come within proximity of my home, my phone lets the Smart Hub know over the internet, and the Smart Hub then notifies, over z-wave, my garage door opener to open for me. Then when I leave that proximity it closes again, automatically. I never have to push a button!
Another scenario is it can turn on certain lights in the morning when I wake up, or set my Nest thermostat to a certain temperature. It also notifies me when certain people come home, or when people are traveling through the house. With the Samsung Smart Hub I have full control over everything that happens in my house, and I don’t ever have to be there!
A couple months ago, I was lucky enough to be one of a few that were selected to receive a Sprout by HP. As part of the criteria, they wanted me to come up with some ideas for cool things I could build and make using the device, which has a 3D scanner built in. I got my Sprout, and I’m loving every bit of it!
The Sprout by HP comes with a touch mat and scanner, and also has a touch screen. It comes with an optional keyboard and mouse but honestly, especially if you’re a casual computer user you can do most functions without a keyboard or mouse at all!
The scanner points down at the touch mat, and not only projects images onto the touch mat, giving you a second screen to work with, but also scans the touch mat allowing you to select objects and use the touch mat itself as a touch screen. With the Sprout by HP’s scanner you can scan anything from simple paper documents, to 3D images. And if you have the optional and separate 3D Capture Stage, you can scan even more accurate and 360 degree images that you can use for various things like what I’ll show you in this demo. I’ll share an unboxing of the unit in a future, much less formal video.
I wanted to figure out something really cool to do with the computer’s 3D scanning capabilities. My geek friend, Chris Pirillo, suggested I figure out a way to scan things into Minecraft with the 3D scanner. Naturally, since I literally wrote the book – okay, a book, on Minecraft – I thought this was a really cool idea. I’m afraid to admit I wasn’t sure it could be done at the time, but I’m proud to say I figured it out, and it’s actually fairly simple to do!
To do it, you need the Sprout by HP (go buy it now on HP.com or select retail stores!), and just a few software programs that will bring your scanned item into your Minecraft game. Here’s what you need:
- First, you’ll need a copy of the stable release version of MCEdit. You can download this by going to khroki.github.io/MCEdit-Unified/ and clicking on the button at the top. Make sure you don’t download the development versions, as those do not yet have all the features you need. Once downloaded, you can install the program – I’ll show you how to run it for your purposes later.
- Next, you need a special script, created by user pepsi_ on minecraftforum.net, that will let you convert the native Sprout by HP 3D scans in .obj file format into MCEdit readable format. I’ve created a downloadable file at www.dropbox.com/s/kn04sr9amy5ntvy/obj2mc.zip?dl=0 – I’ll include a link in the Youtube description and on the blog post about this video. When you download this file just unzip the file and remember where you put it.
Some amazing things have been announced at Facebook’s annual developer conference, F8, going on yesterday and today in San Francisco. From new apps for Facebook Messenger, to a platform for Internet of Things, to one of the most amazing explanations of the value of virtual reality I’ve ever seen, Facebook has by far made up for last year’s F8, which I suggested was a bit uninteresting. But one thing went unannounced that I think bears merit, and I discovered it within their “Developers Garage” here at the conference as I was talking to people working for Facebook at the various booths. That was the launch of Facebook’s advertising API to all developers, making the entire API public.
Up until “recently”, as Facebook reps weren’t able to give me a specific date that it went live, you used to have to apply to access Facebook’s ads API through a very hard-to-find form on the Facebook Developers website. Now, in a very prominent location, Facebook has released a “Marketing APIs” section of their developers website, allowing any developer that needs it to access Insights data, custom audience creation and access, access to a business’s pages and assets, along with the ability to create and access ads on behalf of a business. According to Facebook they released them recently but there is no blog post or official announcement about the release.
To get started with the Facebook Ads API, developers just need to create an app and under “Advanced” within the app settings, set an ad account ID to associate ads with. Then, developers have access to a slew of API calls they can use to retrieve an ad account’s ads, create and modify custom audiences, and even create and target new ads to new audiences in very custom ways. I often use this for my clients to integrate and custom target ads to very specific users that are visiting certain parts of their websites or mobile apps.
Typically, while a developer may be able to code an app like this, they likely won’t know how beneficial this feature can be to a business, which may be why Facebook did not make a big announcement about the feature. Knowing these things can be automated is something critical for marketing organizations to get to know and understand, and one reason I always suggest the more technical elements of marketing orgs visit conferences like F8. These tools Facebook just launched are extremely valuable and can be the key to, with a small update, allowing orgs to have that extra edge against their competitors.
So if you haven’t tried it out yet hop on over to Facebook’s Marketing APIs in their developer documentation and start learning what you can do. To me, this is one of the most valuable and most major announcements to come out of the Facebook F8 developer conference and it wasn’t even announced from the stage. I’m kind of okay with being one of the “few” that knows about it though!
At Facebook’s now annual F8 developers conference, 2 issues seemed to be on the mind of developers and content creators in the audience of their “What’s New With Facebook Video” session: copyright infringement and in-video monetization. But when asked about it, Facebook seemed mute.
Among the features launched at Facebook F8 this year was the ability, just like Youtube, to embed native video from Facebook on websites and other 3rd party products (see video below). This launch allows further distribution of video, and improves the capabilities of video shared on websites to be shared beyond previously available through solutions such as Youtube video.
While big news, Facebook still failed to address what was on the top of everyone’s minds: how to address the rampant stealing of video on Youtube subsequently being shared on Facebook by those who don’t own the video. When prompted by one questioner, Facebook responded saying they had not come up with a solution, and that such a solution would take a long time to come up with. “We’re learning”, Fidji Simo, Facebook’s Product Management Director over video said, suggesting these types of products take time to develop.
I pressed further, specifically citing Google’s Content Manager solution that allows copyright owners to upload their copyrighted content to Youtube in order to notify Youtube of the copyrighted material, so as others upload the same content it can be automatically flagged and removed. The response I got back was pretty much the same, citing the complexities and difficulties of such a solution. There seemed to be no plans, at least that they were willing to admit yet.
While I admit I don’t understand the complexities of such a system (in developer speak, you would just create a “hash” of the video, and for every video uploaded match the content of those videos against the hashes of other copyrighted material in the Facebook database), it was comforting to know Facebook is at least understanding of the problem. It was completely clear to me they had heard these issues before, and were actively trying to figure out a solution surrounding the problem.
As for monetization, Facebook seemed unclear on whether in-stream video ads were the future for Facebook video. They said they were trying to reach out to other content publishers to work on business solutions for the video, but nothing had materialized yet. Not quite the information I was looking for, but it’s comforting to know that they know the problems.
While I understand the complexities of video, copyright, and monetization, I am perplexed at the lack of communication on the problems surrounding these issues. It doesn’t seem to me like Facebook is doing their best to reach out to the influencers and friends of mine I’m aware of in the Youtube community (all with millions of subscribers) that could be providing feedback around the platform. At a minimum, Facebook could be calming the waters a bit.
In the meantime, we’ll continue to see videos like these produced, unless Facebook can either provide a solution or start better communications with Youtubers affected by these issues:
I had a client ask me the other day if they could identify their 10,000th fan for a giveaway. The truth is on Facebook, they don’t make it easy to know who your fans are. In the Facebook API it limits you up to only a few hundred fans that you can retrieve (and that only works on occasion). You can use Graph Search and a combination of a couple Google Chrome extensions to download up to about 5,000 fans (I’ve never been able to get more). But to get the entire list hasn’t been possible until I discovered this one cool hack, and it sorts it by most recent person who liked your page! Here’s how you do it:
The secret is in a little-used feature that allows you to easily block fans, and find fans you have banned from any Facebook page you manage. To get your list of fans, do the following:
- Go in as an admin of your page to your Facebook’s “Settings” tab at the top. This is where you can configure your page and modify how you want to administer your page.
- Select the “Banned Users” option on the left. This section allows you to configure who has been banned and who hasn’t.
- In the drop-down that appears at the top, click on it and select “People who like this”. This is the list of all people who have liked your page!
This article is part of the ‘Think Further’ series, sponsored by Alger Financial Management. For more ‘Think Further’ content and videos, click here.
As I talk to others in the tech industry, I’m often asked, what’s next for technology? First there was the PC, then the web. Then came the dynamic web experiences and “web 2.0”. Following that came social media, mobile, and the appearance of all your friends and family, as well as personal information into that web experience. So what’s next? The future of technology is all about the end user. It has no servers. It has no “destinations” that the end-user has to go to or search for on some company’s website. It’s entirely contextual, peer-to-peer, knows the user, and follows the them wherever they go. But what about beyond that? Where will we be in 20 years, 50 years, or even 100 years?
Predicting 50 years into the future is not an easy task to consider. The truth is, the number of possibilities and directions, as well as the acceleration of knowledge and technologies that will exist as we evolve in that direction are beyond what we can even imagine. But, with our limited knowledge and the paths we can currently see, we can make an educated guess at the direction for technology, and what that may mean for society. As I attempt to do this, I’ll focus on the paths I’m seeing now, and what it could mean for the future.
The Peer-to-Peer Society
One of the biggest changes in technology that will occur over the next 50 years will be the advent of what I call “The Peer-to-Peer Society”. There are technologies right now, which require no centrally owned server or business entity to ensure the success of the network occurs. Take Bitcoin, for example. Bitcoin relies on a technology called “The Blockchain”, which relies on a massive, peer-to-peer network of personal computers all verifying who “owns” money. Now imagine if this concept were applied to other things, like file systems, DNS, or even privacy?
In the future your computer, or even phone or embedded chip in your body will store encrypted copies with links to other encrypted data of everything owned by everyone in the world. Only those people with “private keys” will have access to that data, but they will also be able to designate access to that data to other people. Take, for instance, your address. You could provide access to the Post Office a public key that contains your address. Only they would be able to access your address and know where to send your packages. Then, along the way, no one will ever know your address but the Post Office and yourself.
Another element of the Peer-to-Peer society will be the advent of peer-to-peer commerce. Because of technologies like above, more people will “rent” things and “use” things, rather than buy them or own them. We will move, as we are now, from the ownership of digital content and the ability to easily share the things we create on our own, as well as things others have created, to the ability to easily share physical products and things we both create on our own, as well as use from our friends. Brands will need to come up with new ways, just as they have with virtual content, to reach people with physical content. Some are calling this “the sharing economy” or “collaborative economy”.
Taking this even further beyond, brands may not even be in the picture. In the future technology will enable people to do business with just other people, and we will all be a part of one large peer-to-peer ecosystem where everyone is sharing with each other, doing commerce with each other, and only the technology itself will serve as any form of organization of that commerce. Corporations will no longer have humans controlling them. Corporations will be autonomous and every “member” of those corporations will be their own CEO.
All your utilities will work this way as well. Everyone will run their own power – solar, wind, etc. all from their own yards and houses (which again, might even be rented from other members of these corporations), and will supply power to the rest of the autonomous power grid. Internet will be an entire mesh, with everyone containing wireless antennas that communicate with each other openly, no centralized ISP necessary. Water will be shared from house-to-house in various means. People will offer composting, recycling, and trash services from their own personal homesteads where they turn the garbage into useful items for generating more energy, plants, food, and products.
Sensory Data and Self-Awareness
We live in a world currently of mobile phones, tablets, and mobile technologies. Smart watches are emerging. Exercise tracking devices are starting to become mainstream, tracking your every move and storing other data alongside that. There is even a contest for a device that tracks health data so well, that it can identify diseases before you even know they exist. In the future, yours, and my life will be extended exponentially because sensory data will know before Doctors can even know there are statistical anomalies going on, in real time, with our bodies.
The future holds no destinations. The idea of “a world-wide web” where you have to go to a place by typing in a URL will be gone. The idea of “apps” you download and open on your phone will no longer exist. Instead, the devices you carry, if you even carry a device (you will likely have chips implanted in your body, connecting eyes, brain, even smell and taste all together), will tell you before you even need to look it up, what you want to know.
Walking by a restaurant? A notification pops up telling you your friend’s there and they’ve got a really cool idea you should go talk to them about.
Or, maybe your blood-sugar’s a little low. Another notification comes up to tell you a really good restaurant is nearby, or maybe it’s not even a restaurant – it’s someone’s house who voluntarily sells yummy cake for any visitor willing to knock. (remember my autonomous, peer-to-peer corporation that I mentioned above?)
Everywhere you go, software running within one of these autonomous corporations will know exactly who you are. Identity theft will be impossible. It will know what you like, who your best friends are, who you interact with, and the things you need to best exist in the world.
What’s an article about the future without a mention of flying cars? Well, I don’t think flying cars are necessarily in the 50 year future, but I think faster transportation is. For one, cars won’t be driven by people. In fact, those that run the mapping software will control the transportation system. You’ll simply ask (or it will detect automatically) to go somewhere, and an automatic driving car will show up at your door, no cost to you (except maybe a few prompts to go places nearby that you’re probably interested in, that others may have paid for), and take you to your destination.
The roads will be different as well. There are already prototypes of solar roadways that can be replaced by panels that inter-link together. Having powered roadways opens up a whole host of possibilities. For instance, what if magnetism were employed like bullet trains?
If there are no humans operating the cars, then the entire paradigm of driving changes. Roadways can now change to be much more like trains. Remove the friction from the wheels, and add lightning fast response times to the automated cars that all talk together, and you can be from one house to another all the way across town within just minutes. So perhaps flying cars are possible!
Space, the Capitalist’s Frontier
You can’t talk about the next 50 years without talking about the commercialization of space. As autonomous corporations take over, this is the entrepreneur’s next playing field. This is where all the future resources will come from.
Not only will people begin to be able to travel to outerspace for leisure, but they’ll also be able to stay there, and even live there. Wealthy, higher share owners of these autonomous corporations will fund the hotel chains and apartments in space. And this is just the beginning – it only starts in the earth’s outer atmosphere. We’ll venture further and further away from earth as we realize there is money to be made elsewhere in this universe.
There are already competitions to mine the moon, and asteroids, and other planets. There are practically unlimited resources in those places! As we do that, we’ll begin to settle each place we venture to, and our society will no longer be just earth. This introduces entirely new paradigms we can barely even understand today!
The end of Manufacturing as we Know it
With the advent of 3D printing, all sorts of things are changing. Currently, entire manufacturing lines are being replaced by completely automated “printing processes”. These machines that can print a device from the ground up out of varying materials will get smaller and smaller, and the number of people needed to produce the products will become less and less.
Factories will no longer be needed. People will just buy 3D printers for their homes, or for their businesses, and print the things they need, or the things they want to rent out to others. Even food will be printed! The entire problem of off-shore manufacturing here in America will be an entirely moot point.
It’s hard to wrap our minds around the next 50 years. What I’ve suggested here may sound crazy. However, contemplating current technology trends and the possibilities already available to us, I really do not think we are far off. Our future here on this earth and even beyond is really bright! And I think, with technology, there’s a good chance many of us adults living today will actually live longer than many preceding us to see it.
Paul Adams, inventor of Google+ Circles, and an all-around smart guy, wrote a post I shared earlier today on Facebook about basically the death of “the destination”. His post really resonated with me. I’ve long wondered, with the death of Google Authorship among other things being removed from Google+, if plus.google.com would stick around, instead being favored as just a layer across all Google products (Google+ therefore still definitely having a future). I’ve come to the conclusion of this: The idea of “a news feed” will be dead in the next 5 years. Facebook as you know it will be gone. Twitter as you know it will be gone. So will plus.google.com. Heck, arguably Google.com will be gone too.
Instead, the status update will still exist. Privacy will still exist. Your social graph will still exist. So will all the meta data about you – your phone location, likes, interests, and much, much more. But you won’t have to “go somewhere” to see all this stuff or consume it. It will all just be delivered to you as you need it.
Imagine getting updates on your phone, or watch, or Google Glass equivalent saying “because you like Google, your friend just said, …” Or, you go by a good restaurant and up pops a message saying, “So-and-so was just here and posted this picture”. Or, “We know you love pictures of spiders. Terrie Gray (Louis Gray’s Mom takes amazing macro photography) just posted some really awesome pictures of spiders you’ll want to see.”
This is the direction we’re headed. We’re actually almost already there with things like Google Now, Safari notifications, the lock screens on your phones, Facebook Home, and more. The truth is, the concept of “a news feed” or destination site like plus.google.com or facebook.com will soon no longer be necessary. This is why Google Inbox just launched. It’s why my phone is getting smarter and smarter, and why Apple and Google are now launching watches. It’s why Google launched Google Glass.
It’s also why Google is removing features like Google Authorship from Google+. The fact is, SEO will no longer exist in the next 6-7 years, all in favor of contextual optimization. What does that mean for a marketer? It means instead of trying to optimize what your content says and how it appears when someone searches for it, you’ll instead be trying to understand your exact audience for your content, what their location is, where they could be consuming it, and adapting different versions of your content for all sorts of different audiences. You’ll also be building apps to take advantage of all the sensory data available from your audience and building contextual experiences around that.
I finally think I figured it out though. Google+ isn’t going away. Neither is Facebook. It’s the News Feed, and in some ways, search, that are going away in favor of contextual experiences that aren’t destinations. The data and experience is still all there though – it just follows you, instead of you having to go towards it. Mark my words. This is our future.