By sheer chance I stumbled across a large set up of drinks and leaflets, arranged as if for a formal party. This was in the 6th floor of my University, Aston University, where apparently the pre-talk social was going to occur where people could get drinks before the talk. The talk was one of Aston’s first inaugural speeches by a guest speaker, which in this case was a man by the name of Peter Barron, the Director of External Relations in Google. It seemed pretty cool, but I wondered how I’d manage to attend the talk (or whether I’d care to do so, since I had just come from a lecture). Luckily, despite the event being sign ups only, I managed to get on the list since there were a lot of available spaces for the talk, so I decided to attend the event on the spot. And I admit, even though I had apprehensions at first, perhaps expecting it to be as lecture-y as the previous talk that day, it was honestly one of the most engaging presentations I’d ever been to.

Peter Barron seemed like a very charismatic guy. He’d obviously done a lot of talks before, and he was here not to wax lyrical about how amazing Google is  or about his entire history, though he did mention some aspects of these things. He kept everything very precise and used very visual presentation slides, making light hearted jokes that were not only appealing to the mixed age crowd but also surprisingly relevant to each of his next points. Trust me, he had a LOT of points to make, and for the 50 or so minutes this presentation lasted there was NEVER a dull moment. Honestly, you’d have to  have been there yourself to get the most out of it, but the best I can do for this blog is share some of the things he mention, as I was taking down notes not out of obligation but sheer interest. Since I love everything technology and I’m a huge advocate of the internet, information sharing and social networking, I felt like I was in a paradise of people speaking my language. Suffice to say it was a really fun presentation.

His talk was entitled ‘Google: The future of news and the power of data’. He talked in great detail about the history, present and future of google, social networking and demonstrated how metrics and analytics are key to understanding all of it. Below I’ll listen a decent amount of the main points I was really fascinated by:

-‘Aston’ is the most used word in the BBC apparently, and it carries several different meanings.
-Google went from being a search engine used for looking for websites to a search engine looking for answers. Hence why we love to ask Google long questions, which is answers in surprising ways.
-‘UGC’ is a term that refers to ‘User Generated Content’ which pretty much refers to anything that people upload to internet sites everyday
-The ‘POPE’ strategy means ‘Plan Once, Publish Everywhere’; a method where you create an idea and instead of changing it based on where it’s going you use the same idea for everywhere it’s published.
-12 Noon is the prime time for PCs and Smartphones accessing websites on a daily basis, based upon ‘social media alert’ measures.
-Google trends showed that in the past week Seth McFarlane, the PS4 and shockingly enough ‘Google’ were the most searched terms.
-The Ngram viewer is a metric that searches for term occurrences in books documented on Google, for example you can see the occurrence levels of ‘religion’ against’ science’.
-Google News gets 6 billion clicks every month.
-He referred to Youtube as ‘the world’s largest focus group’. And in a lot of ways this makes sense with the usage of video responses, podcasts and even normal Youtube comments.
-Google News was developed to incorporate different news sources in order to provide links to information and news from all over the world and different sources.

All this is but a fraction of the amazing things he explained in his presentation, and though it was by accident it was one of the most enjoyable talks I’d ever been to. I apologize if anything from my notes is inaccurate or incorrect, because I could only write very little as there was a lot to process. I’m sure you, the reader, are quite resourceful and find ways of clarifying any of these points, perhaps through the use of Google? Haha. It’s certainly got me more interested in attending these kinds of events in the future. Hopefully they’ll be as informative and as engaging as that one, or perhaps better!! Technology truly is a great thing, and one can only hope that we can continue to develop new and exciting things to make human standards of living even better.

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