With Google Maps, you are able to drive through streets in 14 different countries, explore the moon, mars, and even views from the Hubble telescope. They are currently working on getting street views up in 24 more countries and hope to have them up and running within the next year. In the mean time, Google is thinking ahead and taking it’s map feature to the next level. By using the Google Trike, you’ll now be able to explore sidewalks, park trails, university campuses, theme parks, zoos, golf courses, and boardwalks across the globe, just to name a few.
It seems that social media sites have become a search engine of sorts. A recent report released by the Nielsen Group has search engines such as Google, wondering if their days maybe coming to an end. However search engines are still the favorite option when it comes to searching at 37 percent, but social media sites are climbing up the chart.
Jon Gibs, VP Media Analytics for Nielsen, said, “roughly 18 percent of users see [social media] as core to finding new information. While still a smaller percentage than those who use search engines or portals like Yahoo! or MSN, it is a significant figure. And as social media usage continues to increase, I can only expect this figure to grow.” (more…)
In their continuing effort to dominate every aspect of your online experience, Google has taken e-commerce to the masses with the experimental release of the Google Checkout Store Gadget, a simple application that makes it possible for anyone with a blog or website to create an online store, with Google Checkout, in under 5 minutes. Google makes it sound very easy when explaining how to setup the gadget and manage the store, and with Google’s popularity and typical wide-spread adoption, this just might be the breakthrough many people need to open up the floodgates to selling online. Although still in beta-mode, Google Store Gadget has the potential to significantly empower those who normally could only turn to sites like Ebay for their e-commerce ideas.
Setting up the Google Checkout Store Gadget seems easy enough. Google states that there are 3 simple steps to getting up and running:
- Sign up for Google Checkout
- List Products in a Google Docs Spreadsheet
- Embed the Gadget Anywhere
All of these steps are obviously free and can be done by even those with very limited coding knowledge. Managing inventory in a spreadsheet and setting it up are as easy as clicking a few boxes to share it online and publish it as a website. Embedding the gadget can be done basically anywhere, as long as HTML code can be added to a site. This means bloggers, website owners and more can quickly add the gadget to their site, enabling product or service sales without the typical hassle of an e-commerce management platform.
It’s no surprise that Google has made it its mission to map every part of the world in the most detail possible. Checking out Google Earth and its intensive and detailed satellite imagery will convince anyone of this mission. But Google has expanded its project to provide even more detailed and ground level images with its Street View application.
By driving a car with a camera mount through the world’s roads, Street View is a global mission to map the world’s roads. But it has become immediately apparent that this is problematic in certain parts of the world. While the USA has an abundance of wide streets and developed back roads, other parts of the world have notoriously narrow or non-car friendly streets. Just think of the constricted, cobblestone ways of Rome to get an idea of the issue at hand.
That’s why the Google Trike has made its debut. A bicycle mounted with recording equipment, this can gather the necessary footage even on the roughest terrain or narrowest road.
But the trike is also a way to win over reluctant regions such as the United Kingdom. After all, the UK has been notoriously opposed to Street View, especially after several well publicized incidents with the program. For one, the street level cameras caught the image of a naked child, and then a Street View car was actually stopped and harassed into leaving in a small UK village.
While email has undoubtedly helped people connect with international friends, there is still a divide between people who don’t speak each other’s language. But Gmail and its latest features are currently helping its users bridge this gap.
This is because Gmail, already considered by many to be the most superior of all email providers, has recently announced the addition of translation capabilities. With a single click, Google Translate can convert an email from any language into a host of other languages.
While it won’t quite imbue us with the abilities offered by the fabled Babel Fish (Douglas Adams fans of the world unite!), Google Translate will work well enough for any Gmail user to be able to grasp what an email is saying in another language.
The applications for this feature are particularly useful for businessmen and women of the world, who can now communicate at a reasonable level with existing or prospective clients across the globe.
Interested Gmail users will have to activate this service, however, as Google Translate is a lab.
While Google has made a name for itself by implementing its trademark algorithms into its search engine rankings, they have recently taken this number crunching one step further. Now they are applying algorithms to…their employees?
That’s right. Google has had some problem retaining the most creative and influential members of its staff, and they are starting to worry that this will have a negative impact on their long term ability to compete in the online market.
As such, Google has turned to what they know best. They created a multi-element algorithm that incorporates factors such as results from employee reviews, pay history, promotion history, and much more. Still in the testing stages, Google is remaining relatively tightlipped about the exact details of this algorithm.
But, in general, the algorithm is meant to identify employees that are likely to quit for any number of reasons. Google officials have noted that it’s already worked to identify people who say they felt underutilized within the company.
While it remains to be seen how effective this algorithm is for retaining employees, it’s certainly a smart move by Google to identify key employees who may be unhappy and considering leaving. By offering them incentive packages or other benefits, they might just keep the very people that will help them remain a dominant online force.
While Google CEO and multimillionaire Eric Schmidt is best known for his business ventures, he recently demonstrated his humor, poignancy, and ability to dole out life lessons at the University of Pennsylvania commencement ceremony. Delivering the commencement address, Schmidt made some telling observations about technology, information, and the human condition in general.
He began by noting some mundane differences between his graduating class and the current graduating class, including something as simple as the drink of the day. “We had tang,” Schmidt noted. “You have Redbull.”
But his differences quickly revealed a fundamental divide between the mindset of the two age groups.
“We used $700 VCRs. You have YouTube,” which was followed by, “We got our news from newspapers…remember them? You get your news from blogs and tweets.”
There’s little debate that two of the most well known names in internet business are Google and Yahoo. These internet titans proved recently, however, that even they aren’t immune to layoffs, cutbacks, and employee shakeups.
For Google, this means they will be saying goodbye to David Rosenblatt. The former CEO of DoubleClick, Rosenblatt had been at Google less than a year before calling it quits. Rosenblatt hasn’t announced his next destination yet, but the fact that Google appears to be having trouble holding onto key creative players should cause people to pause and ask if things at Google are as rock solid as they appear from the outside.
And Yahoo isn’t faring much better. They have instigated some sizable cuts to their staff, giving the dreaded pink slip to about 600 employees. Although Yahoo projected 680 cuts in its first quarter reports, there’s still little doubt that following through with layoffs is far worse than simply projecting layoffs.
Morale, therefore, at both companies is sure to be at an all-time low, which puts them squarely in line with just about every other layoff-ridden, profit-decreased company out there right now.
Twitter, the micro-blogging site that allows users to post updates in 140 characters or less, has garnered a ton of attention lately due to rumors of acquisition talks by the search giant Google. With it’s impressive user base and over 8 million visits per month, Twitter has some serious bargaining chips, especially when it comes to real-time search. This may be where Google has interest in Twitter, due to the potential real-time search tools Twitter offers and what this could mean to the future of search. Basically, indexing the feed of updates would allow engines like Google to tap into the collective conscious of Twitter users, and therefor a microcosm of the web’s user base, with instant results. Although all the talk has been speculation, and it’s been downplayed by Twitter to just a conversation about products and search, the service is certainly on the block.
I’ve always held the belief that XML sitemaps are an important technical aspect to an effective marketing campaign, especially when it comes to blog and search engine marketing. However, this belief was only supported in theory. Sure, every piece of marketing advice and documentation pointed to why XML sitemaps were beneficial, but there wasn’t any data to back up that claim. It was a search engine optimization assumption, in that because this technology was supported by Google and all the other major engines, it made sense to include it in a comprehensive marketing campaign. The question is, does this actually help the engines index your site better or faster? Or is this just a myth pushed by myself and the rest of the SEO community to justify the addition? Couldn’t search engines find and index your site or blog easily on their own?