Google Maps Takes You Inside New York City Restaurants


Google Maps Takes You Inside New York City Restaurants

Google Maps take users through the streetview doors and actually into the restuarants, shops and other buildings. A prelude to Google Glass capabilities?! A whole new direction for content!


Recruiting successfully in the digital era

This excellent insight by recruitment professional Ariana Shahbazi looks at the opportunities for finding the right candidates for roles online, the candidates expectations of your brand and online experience and ultimately how to pull it all together in some very simple steps. It takes onboard some key digital principles and strategies (applied to recruitment specifically) and leveraging data and analytics to show you the opportunities and the risks. The following content is unedited and published as received.

Maybe Ariana, the next post could be from a candidates perspective? What makes individuals stand out in a highly competitive and increasingly noisy online space? What part does good old, first hand relationships play? What should we expect online profiles to achieve?


Recruiting successfully in the digital era, by Ariana Shahbazi

I want you!Although we do see employers who still advertise jobs in regional newspapers, the majority realise that online is where the candidates are. After all, almost anyone under the age of 50 has at some point posted or applied to a job via a job board or LinkedIn.

Many companies we meet have tried to leverage the web for recruitment, but few succeed and finding quality employees remains one of the region’s biggest challenges. What are they doing wrong?

The recruitment mix

There is no silver bullet for finding and hiring the right people. Rather, it’s a mix of a few key elements: recruitment know-how, flexible technology and astute marketing.

Yes, marketing. It is actually one of the most overlooked aspects of recruitment.
You can have a great team of recruiters, powerful talent acquisition software and still get a lot of poor quality CVs. Maybe it’s because nobody knows you exist and even less people know you are hiring. Or maybe it’s because you are not sending out the right message to the individuals you are looking for. Either way, you need to examine this component of the mix more closely.

The online shopping analogy

In this digital age, it’s easy to reach a lot of different people in one go: marketing departments do it all the time. The key is to have a strategy and the tools to set it in motion. Think of recruitment as online shopping: you need to generate awareness of your product, engage potential customers on your website with compelling content, provide a good user experience and make sure they convert.

“Come out, wherever you are”

Look at all the places where potential applicants could be looking and advertise there. Get the attention of the right audience.

So if you are looking for an experienced individual who already has a job with the competitor, posting on a job board or participating in a career fair will probably not give you a very high return. However, targeted advertising on Linkedin and your own career site, posting on a professional forum where he/she might be looking or activating your employees’ networks will. Some employers do SEO and Adwords, others will use Facebook, it all depends on the target. Once you know who you are looking for and where to look for them, you roll out your candidate marketing plan and drive these people to your website.

Avoid the Bounce

What happens when candidates land on your website?

Simple, there are 4 things that a potential applicant can do:

  • Leave (the dreaded “Bounce”)
  • Apply (now or later)
  • Tell someone about a job
  • Subscribe to a job alert for future jobs

Here are some important tips to ensure the right people don’t bounce off your website:

Don’t send them to a website that says “send your CVs to”. That would be like doing an Adwords campaign and sending leads to a poorly designed website. Instead, put yourself in the shoes of the type of person you are looking for. Why would a top candidate send their valuable CV to a generic email address?

If you are thinking “We post vacancies on our website and have a little form with a CV-upload button, that should work,” think again. If Amazon had a list of books in alphabetical order and an “input your credit card number” form, what would happen? They would get a lot of “junk” transactions and discourage real buyers to complete their transaction. When applied to recruitment, this means you are making it far too easy for everyone to apply and you’re not making the process very relevant to the good candidates. And when you have too many applications, unless you have a sophisticated recruitment system, you will not be able to identify the good ones.

If you are serious about attracting top talent, show it. Get a proper career site where you actually promote what it’s like to be employed by your company. Use employee testimonials, talk about all the corporate events, show photos or a video of your company, talk about the benefits, show them what a great workplace your company is, and present a stream of job opportunities that are relevant to them. Remember, it’s like a shopping website: deliver compelling content. This is what ALL successful employers do.

Have a job alert functionality on your website. If you are an employed and experienced professional, you may go to the competitor’s career site once a year to check out opportunities. If you see no appropriate positions, you leave…unless you are encouraged to subscribe to a job alert. Ensure that all your vacancies pages are easy to share via email and social media.

Keep them engaged

Finally, when good individuals do apply, keep them engaged. Ask skill questions they can relate to, send an email when their application has been submitted, give them status updates, don’t make them feel like their CV has gone into an abyss. This and things like scheduling and conducting interviews are so easy to do online nowadays. There are so many good web-based solutions, employers really have no excuse. An organisation that masters all these digital tools will deliver a superior candidate experience and give top candidates a positive image of the company before they even walk through the door.

In a nutshell

The web is the best way to find candidates and build a talent database, regardless the geography and sector. However, it requires a very structured approach and the right tools, just like marketing and sales.

Unfortunately, most recruitment departments don’t have marketing expertise, nor do they have the time, because many still don’t have the proper tools to automatically screen and manage CVs – but that’s another problem. As for marketing departments, most don’t have recruitment on top of their priority list because they are too busy selling products and services. Add technology to the equation and you bring on further complexity because IT probably has a lot of other projects to handle.

Bringing these 3 functions together and making them work in tandem seems too challenging for the majority of organisations…yet digital recruitment cannot be successful without this. In the end, this is probably why so many companies still struggle to find the right people.

About the author:

ArianaAriana Shahbazi is the Marketing Communications Director at Cazar, the leading recruitment marketing and talent acquisition technology provider in the Middle East and Asia. She has 12 years of experience in the online space. At Cazar, she has the opportunity to see the impact digital marketing has on recruitment amongst top employers in the region. The company works with some of the biggest organisations in the Middle East, including Al Futtaim, Jumeirah Group, DP World and Alshaya. It helps organisations leverage technology and the web so they can autonomously recruit top talent when they need it. If you’d like to speak to her about how digital strategies and the right technology can help your recruitment function, email ( or connect  with her.

Editors Note: DigitalArabia provides the platform for any digital expert to have a go at creating original content, to share knowledge  and take part in the conversation. DigitalArabia (or associated parties) do not endorse any products or services supplied by the digital experts. If you would like to take part and share your expertise, please get in touch.

The giant-interconnected-lifescreen. Microsoft future vision

Microsofts vision of the future, released just ahead of the companies annual tech-forum, shares a future of interconnected devices which tie-in the home, work and play. This interconnected world focusses back in on the surface idea of “tap and share” info from device to device.


Interestingly, we are not really seeing the “true” convergence of technology, as brands still battle to control the user attention and experiences with distinctly separate device software, that has limited interconnectivity. I believe it is inevitable  that there will be a solution provider, that enables all devices and softwares to co-exist and communicate “synergy” will avail.

The first video below is the 2009 Microsoft Vision for the Future, the second is the 2011 Microsoft Vision for the Future. Watch the 2009 & 2011 first, see how much has become a reality? How much is developed further than originally conceived  How much opportunity Microsoft missed or gained? Then watch the 2013 Vision for the future… Are Microsoft likely to gain the lost ground based on this continuous theme?

Microsoft seem to be playing the safe ground with their vision 2013… Consider what is in the 2013 video, versus what both Google and Apple doing and how much disruption they are causing. Innovation is the key to the tech market share, the question is, will this vision be strong enough for Microsoft to maintain its market lead?

2009 Vision:

2011 Vision:

2013 Vision:


Just for fun… below is the stock evaluations over the past 10 years for Google (MKTCAP $265.64BN), Apple (406.57BN) and Microsoft (233.71B)…its easy to see where the iPod / iPhone caused a massive disruption to the market…not so easy to see with MSFT!

Screen shot 2013-03-01 at 11.12.27 PM



Tomorrows Marketer, Today

Retro TV CommercialAvoiding all the cliché’s, skilled resource is undoubtedly the most valuable asset to an organisation. Keeping your competitive advantage doesn’t come from one guy or girl at the top of the pyramid, but from the people within and only when the culture is correct can they meet and exceed the customers’ demands.

Google, Microsoft, Linkedin, Facebook….. Harley Davidson, Ford, Bugatti…. Pepsi, Coke, Mars… you name the industry, a leading force within and on their corporate section of the website, their staff are the number one asset.

Consumer habits and communications are changing rapidly. The change surrounds us in consumer buying habits, consumer researching and ultimately decision making.

So, with the undeniable changing consumer habits and the consistent mash-up of IT/eCommerce/Marketing and Sales, here is my view on the types of personalities we can expect to appear in a future organisational structure that is built for success.

To think of the future, look at the P.A.S.T…

People People
People, people– Some things will never change. Without a doubt a key element of the future marketing leader will still be about the person and their ability to lead in varying degrees of complexity and changing environments. An individual may be a tech wizard, a financial modelling genius but if they are not true leaders in a world that the specialist is often the highest paid and most respected, success is unlikely. One adage that I have always bought into is: “Leadership is about enabling people to deliver more than they themselves thought possible”. For digital/eCommerce particularly a new style of leadership is required, distancing the hierarchical “ I am the boss, therefore it is written”, to a involving, problem solving, innovation creating culture that enables experts to flourish while maintaining output and increasing value across the organisation. Advanced education, a determination to succeed and quality experience (life and work) helps to garner commitment from all of the below to be part of the journey! Look at any successful tech start-up, at the right time they will bring in the qualified leader that will take the business forward. They know business, they know leadership, and they know people.

ArtistArtists – Creativity remains an invaluable gem, even when the forces of process try to keep many companies within boundary the artists shine. The artists are the challengers, the creators, the innovators willing to take risks and put their name on the end result. Artists will look at the existing and magic a new opportunity, they will see the gaps and they will seek to fill them, they look at the broken and find a new, better fix to them. They are the Linkedin of CV’s, the Facebook of Bebo, the Apples of Nokia, the Google of Lycos, The Sir Tim Berners Lee’s of the digital world. They are passionate, driven and relentlessly challenging in pursuit of creation. They irritate the status quo and challenge the job-for-lifers; they are the upstarts and the up-setters. They know how to mash, take the existing and make it more useful. They are not always tech purists per se, but they are technical fluent. They see the bigger opportunity, faster than others and they know how to take the chance.

ScientistScientists – They ask “what if”. The big Data people. The new BI stars. They dream of attribution and arbitrage. They seek continuous improvement through models and simulations. These are the true stars of the decision making. They model risk and present the opportunities through data, they test hypotheses against simulations. They are Monte-Carlo, Regression, and algorithmic Rockstars. They are confident interpreters of trends and assertive and creative communicators to the less versed. They see the opportunity that others do not and they are skilled to take immediate action. The scientists are critical to the new-age marketing cycle of finding and speaking to individuals rather than the masses. They reduce your paid and assist increasing the owned and earned. They are invaluable.

technologistsTechnologists – The Purist creators, the systematic operators and the mashers live here. The purists speak a different language, but fluently. They write faster and more accurately in code than they do in their native tongue. They understand the business need, question it and then seek to provide a solution to a problem. In their spare time they code, they create and come up with novel solutions to known and unknown problems. If they fail, they get up and start again and again. The operators are the best friends and the worst enemies of the purists… they are systematic, process driven and represent the end consumers experience. They operate multiple devices and channels, with increasing levels of efficiencies. They are the testers of code and the stalwarts for perfection. The mashers are the modern day techies, the artists who do not write code, but know how to maximize its performance when mixing up the applications. They take the code to the next level, where even the purists did not realize was possible. They are the best friends of open source and the enemy’s proprietary code. They are conversationalist, social influencers and content creators.

“Why Google+ is awesome”!

Wayne Denner is great at providing quality insights and open discussion opportunities on digital strategy, if you have the opportunity, I highly recommend grabbing a coffee to inspire some blue ocean thinking! His recent post below about G+ provides some honest feedback on G+ from both a consumer and business perspective.

From a purist business perspective, G+ is an essential component of a digital strategy, primarily due to the inextricable connection between search (paid and natural) and building on the P/O/E media attribution model / strategy it is vital to ensure that your brand is present and active. Just think of all the Google products, and how they are now being consumed & intertwined through the use of G+  also, think of how your business is presented on them (if at all). If you don’t get this today, you need some help!

Google+ is more than just a Facebook competitor, what G+ represents for the future of (Google) Search and the user online interactions are essentially the first real steps towards the semantic web (aka a component of Web 3.0) and long-term, will ultimately change how we all use the web.

(Mashable blog posts on this subject can be seen hereoh and here among so many other places!)  (See Guardian article about G+ influence on charities).

Why I think Google+ is Awesome & some changes it needs to make…

Guest Post by @waynedenner

Digital Arabia - Google-PlusEvery so often I like to push out a Tweet saying how wonderful I think Google+ is and how I feel it’s going to be a game changer in relation to how we interact with social media.  Usually and more times than I can remember I get replies from people with statements like “It Sucks” or “Dunno how you have the patience with Google+” being examples of recent messages I have received in relation to the platform.  But here’s the thing.  Just because it does not have 1 Billion people using it yet, does not mean it sucks.

So just a few of the reasons I like it, in no particular order:

  • Loving Circles: Although with other platforms mainly Facebook you can group contacts, friends, followers etc, the whole aspect of Circles really excites me.  Within Google+ for me at least it seems a simple and straight forward way of managing interaction with different groups of people and engaging with them with messages or posts which are of most use and relevance to their interests. In a nutshell, when I decide to share content or a post on Google+, I get to decide who sees it.  This gives me further flexibility to organise my circles and add users based on connections within these.    This can also become very useful if you’re a business needing to segment your audience.
  • Hangouts:  Over the past number of months I have really started to use the Hangout feature.  I must admit when I first joined Google+ being an early adopter there was not much point in creating or using hangouts but as the platform has started to grow and more users like me are realising the benefits of + there are increasingly more opportunities to create Hangouts.   For anyone reading this who has no idea what I am talking out, it’s as the name suggests, a chat room of sorts and gives you the power to Video chat with other users by hosting virtual meetings with up to 10 people.  I like to use it most for team collaboration.  For example, if I’m working on a marketing project which has designers, developers and marketing professionals in different parts of the world we can all join the hangout and engage via video and voice.  As part of this interaction Hangouts offers a suite of productivity apps, which can allow sharing of onscreen information in Google Docs and the facility to view presentations and diagram together.
  • Integration with other Services:  Many of us currently use other services and products from Google, eg Gmail or You Tube. With it’s plans to continue to grow and acquire other products and services, integration becomes key in its strategy to position itself as a major social platform player.  With everything being integrated there is increased time spent on the platform, better engagement and less likelihood of the user seeking to want to find alternatives.

There are of course many other benefits when it comes to using the platform for business & personal purposes. There is no doubt that Google aims to become a major player within Social Networking.  It’s biggest problem is trying to move users across from the other big platforms, mainly Facebook & Twitter and users are reluctant to do that.  Other challenges include page administration which can be difficult and many Social Dashboards still don’t integrate with Google+.  Up until the launch of its mobile app, this has always been the big let down for me and an area which is proving to be key for brands seeking ways to push out content to social channels to drive engagement.  But for me the big one to date has to be the Mobile Application for IOS. As a massive mobile app user I was impressed with its clean user friendly UI.  However, If you are like me and you have a personal profile as well as pages for brands which you manage, the big letdown comes from not being able to flick between accounts without having to sign out and back in again and then choose the account which you wish to use this for me and other users particularly marketing professionals using it is a big failure and something which needs addressed sooner rather than later.

To sum up,  Google+ is a great platform but there are areas in which it needs to focus on refining its user experience and work on building connections with its current user base as well as taking steps to ensure the experience is second to none.  Although growth may be small there is still great opportunity to improve winning across user ambassadors who can champion awareness via other more well-known platforms.  Moving forward Google will need to focus a lot more on its mobile platform as this is where the Big Winners will be.

About Wayne Denner


Wayne Denner is a leading digital marketing professional and lecturer.

With over 14 years experience in traditional & digital marketing, Wayne has planned and developed successful campaigns for clients across the UK and Ireland, including Diageo, Carphone Warehouse, Specsavers,, Orange, Armagh City & District Council, Invest NI, Newry & Mourne District Council and O2.

He has been at the forefront of the rapidly-changing digital marketing industry for over a decade and is an expert on emerging trends including social engagement, online reputation management, branding media, web 2.0 & e-commerce platforms.

Wayne also lectures on the Chartered Institute of Marketing program on Digital Marketing Essentials & Integrating Digital Media & Branding and is currently writing a book on the subject.

Follow him on Twitter @waynedenner


Apps. What countries use them? Do they Pay?

An interesting find on Google, That of all Smartphone owners globally, the highest average penetration of apps per mobile device are: 

  • Japan with 41 Apps
  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with 36 Apps
  • Switzerland with 35 App

But who uses apps regularly?

  • Denmark & Switzerland use an average of 13 apps a month
  • France & the USA use 12
  • Most other use 8-10
  • Finland & Brasil use the least… 6 Apps

Who pays for them?

  • Austria, Germany & Switzerland pay more than any other countries
  • Brazil & Egypt pay for the least number of Apps.
Digital Arabia - Apps Data

Digital Arabia – Apps Data – Google 2012