Digital Marketing News Update – End of the iPod and Google Breaks Privacy Laws


Is this the end of the iPod?
Ipod sales have dwindled significantly over the past six months and Apple seems to have been happy to let the product slide in favour of its iPad and Macbook products. With the popularity of cloud based music software such as Spotify on the increase it comes as no surprise that the focus has shifted away from music hardware onto web based products. And Amazon seems to have pipped its rivals to the post this week with the release of its Cloud Player which been heralded as the start of a new wave of products which will change the way we store and access our music collections. It’s the end of an era, much like the shift from CDs to MP3s and will give the user much more freedom around where and when they access their music rather than being tied down to a particular device. There are already a host of services available that allow users to stream music through the web to their phone or computer from a library of songs stored on the internet. But there’s nothing quite like being able to upload your own tracks and avoid listening to adverts forced upon those who chose not to subscribe. And of course both Apple and Google will be hot on Amazon’s tail launching their own products which are rumored to be available later this year. For Apple, Amazon’s Cloud Player doesn’t pose too much of a problem as it’s only available through web browsers and mobiles running Google Android so for those of use hooked on our Apple products we will have to wait for Apple to launch it’s own version. However it won’t all be plain sailing as, according to copyright laws in the UK, copying a CD track into an MP3 is technically in breach of copyright laws and while a blind eye has been turned to this practice in the past, uploading to the internet may mean that this issue will need to be addressed by Amazon and others who chose to follow in their footsteps. So perhaps the winner in this game is not the first past the post but the one who passes without having to negotiate the turbulent world of copyright laws. With the shift towards on-demand services being seen in most other areas of the entertainment industry, it was inevitable that music would move the same way and the idea of being able to access my entire music collection (as long as it fits within the 5GB limit) anywhere I am is pretty appealing.

Editor: Two key points. For anyone that tries to work when traveling a lot like I do, relying on an Internet connection for anything, let alone listening to music is generally a disaster. I love, but I never try and stream music when I’m out and about. The delivery mechanism just doesn’t work. I look forward to the day it does, but until we start to see broader 3G coverage or some of the new 4G networks, this is fairly impractical. Secondly, the copyright issues will take a while to sort out. The music industry has been notoriously slow in adapting to new music formats and they love a court battle. I think cloud computing and streaming media are definitely the way forward, we just need more investment in infrastructure to make it work. Plus this is a non-Apple product. Why bother… 😉

Death of the iPod at Apple Insider


Google falls foul of online privacy laws
Internet privacy is making headlines again this week following an investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) into Google’s social network Buzz which was created using information from its Gmail user accounts. It appears that user’s information was held and used in the development of the network without prior permission being sought or a suitable opt out policy in place. In fact the FTC has accused Google of using “deceptive tactics” in the development of Buzz which used personal data from Gmail accounts to populate the site. This latest hit at Google’s management of user data is just the latest in a string of misdemeanors by the web giant who were sued by some of their Buzz users over privacy violations last year. And earlier this year they were fined for gathering data via unsecured wi-fi networks which they mistakenly accessed while sourcing pictures for their Street View function on Google Maps. While the company have openly apologised to their users for the errors which they state “fell short of their usual standards” they will now have to undergo privacy audits every two years for the next 20 years which indicates just how seriously the FTC are taking this issue. And with the hub of debate taking place around the new EU laws set to take effect in May it seems online privacy is something we all need to sit up and take notice of. If the likes of Google can fall foul of regulatory bodies, this is a clear indication that the subject of personal data is one that is here to stay.

Editor: If you’re going to innovate as much as Google do, you are going to make mistakes from time to time. It becoming increasingly popular to Google bash, and the FTC seem particularly keen to stand up to this ‘huge powerful company’, but realistically what does it achieve. They need to be held to account, but audits for the next 20 years feels a bit prescriptive. I may go and open a Gmail account and buy an Android phone today.

Google and Privacy on the BBC

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