Mobile Commerce

Apple And Google’s ‘Engaging’ Consumer Tracking

Apple and Google are in a new technology competition: helping engage their users by being a little more helpful.

Being a little more helpful, however, means using technology to deliver help to its users before they actually go looking for the information. Yes, Apple and Google are attempting to win the race to see if they can predict what their users need and what time they need those notifications.

A Wall Street Journal article dove into those tech giants and how they are testing their software technology by making their phones a little smarter by soliciting unprompted data from a user’s device. That means monitoring behaviors and such to attempt to learn how it could help that smartphone user make better use of that phone by having it sync data better to remind the user of booked events, etc.

Of course, Apple and Google have their own approach. Apple will be using its upcoming iOS 9 software that will tap into info that’s stored on the iPhone, such as emails, apps, etc. This means taking dinner reservations booked online and emailed about and putting them in the calendar automatically. Google will do what it does best and use online services and searches to help engage the consumer. It also syncs with Gmail, calendar and YouTube to gather data and provide recommendations.

“This is a major battleground. The companies are using this to highlight their strengths,” Rich Mogull, CEO of the research and advisory firm Securosis, told WSJ.

The two tech companies may have a different approach, but they are after the same thing: using personal data to engage consumers. And they’re attempting to stay relevant in the age where companies are creating voice-activated devices that serve as personal assistants to make consumers’ lives easier. That’s what Microsoft is doing with its personal-assistant service, Cortana, and it’s what Amazon is doing with Echo.

While Apple may limit its monitoring to the data stored in its own device, Jamie Davidson, a partner at Redpoint Ventures and a former Google engineer, told WSJ that that may help give Google the edge. He commented that “it will be harder for Apple to create a compelling experience without getting more information from the broader Web beyond the phones.”

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