Posts Tagged google

Google’s Gags Worldwide For April Fool’s Day 2012

It was just last year that SearchEngineLand.com gave Google the winner’s trophy for the best April Fool’s Gags.This year they made another round of April Fool’s Day jokes span across the globe of Google’s international properties. Below is a recap of Google’s pranks from SearchEngineLand.com :

Google Maps In 8-Bit For NES

Google’s pranks began early yesterday morning with a blog post announcing that Google Japan has created an 8-bit version of Google Maps for the original Nintendo Entertainment System. You can relive all your favorite 1980s graphics by clicking the “Quest” button in the upper right corner on maps.google.com(you can still do it today!).

Google’s Really Advanced Search
Speaking of search, this one will probably go over well with our audience. Google’s really advanced search page has some pretty funny options, like this:

You can also narrow your results based on what font the page uses, what textured background the page has and which “embarrassing grammatical faux pas” is found on the page. If you’re into SEO, you’ll like this one. You may even find yourself wishing that the page actually worked.

Google Chrome Multitask Mode
The Google Chrome team thinks one mouse/hand isn’t enough for web browsing, so they’ve launched Multitask Mode — two mice/hands at once.

The YouTube Collection
YouTube’s annual April Fool’s Day prank is the YouTube Collection — all of YouTube on DVD. Once you order, 175 trucks will deliver the DVDs right to your door. Oh, just watch the video. Make your checks payable to “Matt McGee” if you’re planning to order.

That’s Not All
There are other search-related April Fool’s Day gags, perhaps my favorite of which is Google Nigeria, which jokingly asks you to input your bank account number so you can “search for inheritance.”

Don’t be alarmed: the search box just runs a normal Google search (not that you’d actually put your bank account number in there, anyway, right?) and, while this is NOT an official Google gag, it also doesn’t appear to be run by some Nigerian prince. (It’s a production from 85by55.com.)

More at : http://searchengineland.com/googles-gags-go-worldwide-for-april-fools-day-2012-117046

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Ghost town watch: People spend more time monthly on MySpace than Google+

The average Google+ user only spends an average of three minutes per month on the social network, while MySpace, LinkedIn, and Twitter are all seeing more time spent per user each month, according to research firm comScore.

In a scathing Wall Street Journal report titled “The Mounting Minuses at Google+,” the case is made that Google+ has failed to keep users interested, especially compared to sites like Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest.

In what might be an unfair comparison, comScore said Facebook users spend an average of 405 minutes per month on the network, while Google+ users spent just 3 minutes a month. To make the contrast worse, social networking pariah MySpace has users spending an average of 8 minutes a month.

Google exec Bradley Horowitz told us in November that Google+ isn’t a Facebook competitor, and that it really is more a social layer connecting Google’s products. At the time Horowitz said: “We think of Google+ as a mode of usage of Google, a way of lighting up your Google experience as opposed to a new product. It’s something that takes time to appreciate, even internally. It’s easy to think of Google+ as something other than just Google, and I think it’ll take more launches before the world catches up with this understanding.”

Google would not provide a direct comment about the Wall Street Journal article, but a spokesperson did tell us:

The reality that Google+ is much more than a destination site makes it exceedingly hard for any third-party research firm to monitor or measure its performance. Google thinks about the service not as a site but as a deepening of its relationship to billions of existing users who are already committed to Google’s services like Search, YouTube, Android, etc. By this measure, engagement is already enormous.
In reaction to the Wall Street Journal report, several Google+ watchers have also countered with their own takes. Rackspace evangelist and one of the most-followed Google+ users Robert Scoble wrote on Google+: “Stop comparing Facebook to Google+. And if this is a ghost town why does a new message show up on my street every 15 seconds? Oh, yeah, the mainstream media is threatened by Google+.”

Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land, wrote on Twitter: “Yes, Google+ far less active than Twitter & Facebook. But ghost town? Nah. & Ignore at your Google ranking peril brands.”

What do you think? Is Google+ a ghost town or is it just taking its time to grow?

You can also view comScore’s inforgraphic below that shows just poor Google+ is doing in bringing back people for more:

Source : venturebeat.com

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Interesting Facts about Google Plus+ (Infographic)

 

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Google Wallet: The Future of Money Is Here, Sorta

“Whoa, how did you do that?” I didn’t say anything when the clerk at Duane Reade—or was it Walgreen’s?—asked me how to pay. I just smashed my phone into the PayPass terminal. Money poured out of my Nexus S, and into somebody’s corporate coffers. Magic!

But then I still had to tell the dumb credit console whether I was paying debit or credit. And then I had to wait for my receipt to print out, all ten miles of it. Which made my attempt at being a mysterious stranger with mysterious magical technology quickly disappearing into the night fail miserably since it would’ve been mad awkward to stare directly into each other’s eyes for 45 seconds without saying a word.

Google Wallet is clearly a close-up glimpse at what the seamless, slippery future of money looks like—MasterCard is an appropriate enough vector for a technological Mark of the Beast, I suppose—but it’s still very much in 2011. Friction abounds.

If you’re unfamiliar with Google Wallet, read this, or here’s the rough rundown. (Really rough, since Google Wallet’s a lot of little things, banded together.) Google Wallet is an app that lets you pay for things using your phone, either by tying your credit card(s) or loading up gift/pre-paid cards. That’s the software side. Using an NFC chip embedded in a phone, you tap a pay terminal. No swiping your card. That’s the hardware side. On the online side, it’ll seamlessly combine digital coupons that you collect—either from Google Offers or merchants themselves—and loyalty cards.

The perfect theoretical—literally frictionless!—transaction looks like this: You snag a Google Offer for $1 off a Frappucino at Starbucks. (Or if you don’t have an offer on tap, Google Shopper will show you a bunch nearby.) You go to the nearest Starbucks—pinpointed by Google, of course—and order your terribly sweet concoction. When you go to pay for your drink, you open the Wallet app, punch in your pin and tap the payment console with your phone. Instantly, your Google Offer coupon is applied, you’ve paid for your drink, and you’ve racked up points on your Starbucks loyalty card. And the receipt’s on your phone. That whole scene? That’s why tapping a Google Wallet phone is potentially more convenient than a plastic card. Not the lighter wallet. Deal + payment + loyalty in one tap.

What Google Wallet looks like today, though, is different. The Wallet app will hit Nexus S 4G phones on Sprint today—and only those phones for now. (Google promised an NFC sticker to enable non-NFC-packing phones to use Wallet, but isn’t saying anything else about it—specifically, when we might see one—now.) The system exclusively uses Mastercard’s PayPass terminals, deeply limiting the number of places you can use Wallet, though Google announced today it’s licensing NFC specifications from Visa, Discover and AmEx. (Basically, the only place it’s useful to me is in NYC cabs, since I don’t shop at American Eagle or Macy’s or practically any of the other big box stores partnering with Google.) And, to top it all off, it’s only Citi Mastercards that currently get the full benefits of Google Wallet—for now, to pay with anything but gift cards, you’ve basically gotta charge a pre-paid Google Card with money from your bank account through Google Checkout. All things that highly constrain just how convenient Google Wallet actually is today.

So my experience using Google Wallet is very much what I expect it to be for most people out of the gate: a novelty, mostly. At least after I loaded it up with money, which seems weird, like giving myself an allowance, because I couldn’t use it with my Wachovia credit card. I couldn’t use it with Google Offers, either, since I couldn’t find one for any of the stores that take Google Wallet. And I couldn’t use it with loyalty cards, since I don’t use have them for anywhere but independent coffee shops far, far away from Google and Mastercard’s radar. Which nixes half of what’s actually convenient about Wallet, since tapping after punching in your pin is no easier than swiping, in most cases.

You know where it was awesome though? In an NYC cab. Trying to dig your wallet out of your ass pocket while you’re sitting down, ripping the right credit card out of your wallet, trying to figure out where to swipe it, fumbling around with the card to get the stripe facing the right direction, going through the right number of menus, swiping at the correct speed, finally, and paying the damn cabbie after he tries to convince you his credit card terminal is broken is like, um, annoying. Google Wallet fixes that.

Wallet will fix a lot of things, perhaps sooner than you’d expect, even given how slow as the financial industry moves. Because money, infrastructure like this—new terminals in every store—is a scale game. Google’s got scale. Its partners, like Mastercard and Visa and Citi, have scale. They’re gonna need it to get people on board. But eventually it’s going to wash over everything like a wave. It’ll be on lots of phones. It’ll work with lots of cards and lots of banks. It’ll be in lots of stores. And then it’ll be just as natural as pulling out a card and swiping. Maybe more, since I have my phone out all the time anyway. Besides, it’s obvious this is just the beginning for Google. Google doesn’t just want to replace your credit cards—there’s a reason they’re calling it Google Wallet, not Google Money or Google Cards. [GoogleGoogle]

Update: I didn’t really talk about security because I didn’t worry about it. Google Wallet’s pretty secure. You need a PIN to unlock the Wallet to pay for stuff. So if you lose your phone, without knowing your PIN number, it’s useless. The NFC chip itself is locked down hardcore. For instance, the chip is disabled whenever the display is off, so it can’t be skimmed. And the secure element is only turned on when the screen is on and Wallet is unlocked and ready for payment.

Source : Gizmodo

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Is Google+ the next Facebook and more?

Generally, Google+ is still new in the market. Everyone wants to try something new and can’t resist joining the hype, especially since it was developed by the search engine giant – Google. Right now it is still too early to judge whether Google+ will denounce Facebook to be the king of social networks.

But with the learnings from Google Buzz (failure) and Facebook (success), we reckon there is a high chance Google+ will be the next social network of choice.

Google+:

  • Google+ has the ingredients to become the next Facebook. This can be seen through the fact that it “mirrors” Facebook to a good extent by enabling users to post and share.

  • Google+ for business will be suitable for companies as well which is similar to Facebook.
    • Companies can use Google Offers to include special offers for their fans and customers followed by another upcoming tool known as “Google Catalog”.
    • No surprise that Google+ will find its way into being an integral channel to be used by companies to engage consumers and advertise their products.

Example of how Starbucks will looks like on Google Plus+

Below is the link for the upcoming apps from Google Catalogs:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaPgVUJ9A8w

  • Potential to be big in future with the advantage of having it sync with Gmail, as well as the best search engine in the world along with other features from Google.
  • With the new cool features “circles”, which provides better privacy, your conversations can be hidden from different groups of people.

  • A simple and user-friendly interface that allows consumers to easily adapt. The layout looks like a mind map with different ‘nodes’ that opens up to areas where users can interact with friends.
  • It may be a better option for the developers because of the speculation that  while “Facebook is now taking 30 percent cut of every game developer’s business”, Google, by contrast which brings in over $30 billion in revenue each year, could easily afford to let developers keep all the money they generate.
    • This coupled with the fact that Google also “has the fastest growing mobile distribution channel of any company (Android), would make for a very attractive platform for them to develop in.

Some of the features from Google+ that looks interesting and better than Facebook:

1. Google+ Hangouts:

Hangouts will let the unplanned meet-up come to the web for the first time. Let your buddies know you’re hanging out and see who drops by for a face to face chat.

2. Google Instant Upload

Instant Upload will let you upload your photos or videos instantly and automatically to a private album on Google+ and you need to do is select who to share them with.

3. Google Sparks

Sparks allows you to search for videos and articles that you like which you may want to share with your friends or other group of people in your circles. When you know other people’s interest in your circles, you can share related articles to them and they will surely appreciate it.

4. Google Huddle

Huddle is a good feature when a group of people need to make a decision to watch a movie or decide on a vacation place. Huddle will turn these conversations into one group chat and your guys can chat on the same page and make the final decisions.

Google-:

  • Mandatory to have a Gmail account to register as a Google+ user.
  • Currently still in beta version, which lacking of features and apps to excite users.
  • According to Chitika study, traffic peaked on the 21st of July and has been declining since. This is most likely due to the end of initial rush of excitement. Thus, this is only a post-site launch and time will now tell if Google+ will truly be the next king.

Reference:

  1. Quick look for Google Plus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwnJ5Bl4kLI
By Chrix, Chung Yu, Carryn, Shirley and Fahimah.

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Why Google has oodles of doodles

From clever to cute, Google’s doodles are more than just a gimmick, they reflect the company’s ability to be both a global and local brand…

There used to be a time when trademark lawyers advised against tampering with a logo or adding superfluous elements to it. The concern was that these additions and modifications would, by changing the original design, create further unregistered and therefore unprotected devices and that the exclusive rights to the original trademark could be weakened, or even lost. Consistency was considered to be the safest way. A key objective of corporate design guidelines was to reinforce trademark protection by ensuring a standardised corporate logo and attendant visual identification system. Most large corporations still follow this principle.

Google, though, is different. It says that “having a little bit of fun with the logo is part of the brand” and the company wilfully and regularly violates its own trademark. Since 1998, Google has used over 1,000 variations of the corporate logo in the form of Google doodles, the remodelled and playful iterations of the wordmark that appear on the Google homepage to highlight various holidays and anniversaries of historic events. (If you want to see all the doodles from 1998 to the present, just search for ‘Google doodles’ or go straight to google.com/ logos.)

In March of this year, the US Patent and Trademark office granted Google a patent for its doodles but, surprisingly, that patent does not cover the individual doodle designs, instead, it relates to the invention of the idea and method of periodically changing the logo to entice people to the website. You might wonder how a company could be granted exclusive rights to the concept of frequently varying its logo, but that seems to be what has happened.

Flexible, or as it’s sometimes known, dynamic or fluid branding, is not a new concept [see a previous CR post here]. We can all think of logos that have variants for use in differing contexts. For example, Minale Tattersfield’s identity for Heal’s back in 1983, and more recently, the Wolff Olins scheme for Aol. In my own career I have created a number of such schemes, the earliest of which, for Priba Supermarkets in Belgium, dates from 1973. I can see that Google might want to prevent search engine competitors such as Bing and Yahoo! from doing similar things, but I remain puzzled as to how the company could have been granted exclusive rights to the notion of flexible branding that’s been used by many other organisations for so long. Attitudes to brand building and brand protection are always changing and if, today, Google’s lawyers are happy that the doodles do not threaten the protectability of the core Google brand, then I can see no reason why the doodles should not be deployed.

Like most people, I use Google as my main search engine and when a new doodle appears it usually raises a smile as I try to guess what it represents. Some are obvious while others need a bit more deciphering. I particularly enjoy the more abstract designs: the recent Alexander Calder mobile, the Les Paul guitar and the Braille dots, for example (all shown above). Some of the more entertaining doodles are interactive, whilst others use animation, sound, and occasionally, live streaming.

Google is, of course, both global and local and the doodles reflect this. Some appear worldwide while others mark local events and only appear in the relevant countries. Large corporations like Google strive to create a sense of community among users and customers and the doodles support this aim. The doodles have a keen following and, although most designs are intended to have a life span of only 24 hours or so, some have been brought back by public demand and have been allocated their own individual Google web pages so they can live on in perpetuity – the Les Paul and Pac-Man doodles are two that have been honoured with this treatment. There’s even a Doodle Store on the Google website where you can buy T-shirts, stickers and posters featuring various popular doodles.

Some doodles are developed through open competition and it’s possible for the public to submit ideas and designs for consideration. In this way we’re encouraged to share in the Google fraternity. When local events are ‘doodled’, the global corporation perhaps appears a little less monolithic and a bit more approachable.

As a designer, my main concern with the Google doodles is to do with the quality of the designs. Most of them are created by Chief Doodler Denis Hwang and his in-house team of designers. Some iterations are witty, intriguing, and well put together. Others, and particularly those that are developed through competitions, such as the Doodle 4 Google competition for schoolchildren, are, unsurprisingly, often visually crude, over cute, and amateurish. But the Google brand is probably big enough and strong enough to withstand these variations and a bit of corporate playfulness is to be welcomed.

That said, a global corporation, particularly one operating at the forefront of new information technology and openly committed to leading the way in its field, should demonstrate excellence in all that it does. Google says that its doodles are intended to “reflect Google’s personality and love for innovation” and when it describes its values, the company says it has a “minimalist ethic” and is on a quest to create products that are “simple” and “beautiful” as well as “innovative”. If those are core values, then it follows that all expressions of its identity, including the design of its doodles, should convey those values and be of the highest creative and artistic quality.

It’s been suggested that Google may have grown too big or become too corporate to accommodate quirky and entertaining doodles, but I don’t hold that view; the company describes its working atmosphere as “casual”, so the informal doodles do fit the relaxed culture.

I do, however, think that Google, in its quest for ‘beautiful’ solutions, is too good a business to embrace inferior doodles. I’m all for a bit of fun, but I think there is also room here for a bit more quality control.

John Lloyd is a founding partner of the design consultancy, Lloyd Northover, and now works as an independent consultant, artist and writerjohnlloyd.uk.com

Source: Creative Review

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iConsumers: Consumer Experience in the World with a Digital Twist

Internet is becoming a more and more popular space for promoting products and building strong ties with target consumer groups. Brands know it, and people know that brands know it and they do not mind to be part of this ‘game.’ On the contrary, users are actively getting engaged into the digital activity of the global companies and easily adopt new ways of communicating with brands and enrich their experience as iConsumers. Why is it so important for brands, how can they benefit from it and what ways do they choose to get people connecting with them online? This is the theme of our today’s review.

According to the new McKinsey & Company research ‘The World Gone Digital’, people are now using digital devices and platforms more often than before—a survey, conducted among US residents aged 13-64, revealed that nearly 50 percent of US online consumers are now advanced users of smartphones, social networks, and other emerging tools—up from 32 percent in 2008.” The consulting company determined seven categories of Internet users according to how deep they are involved in the digital experience—as it turns out, there are 19 percent of ‘digital junkies’ (people, mostly young men, who adopt new technologies fast), 16 percent of ‘digital communicators’ (mostly young women, who spend much time on their favourite social media websites, 3.2 times more relative to survey average) and 14 percent of ‘video digerati’ (those who view 2.6 times more videos across all platforms as compared to the average index). In addition to this, people in the U.S. are now spending less time on games and checking emails than they used to do two years ago. In other countries the attitude to digital life is quite the same—people are spending much time on the Internet, but companies, while being quite open to this change, sometimes do not that easily adopt new approaches. Another research, conducted by KPMG Australia, reveals that businesses in the country do not use social media like companies in Europe or America, and lose quite a lot. “Compared with other countries, Australian businesses are not capitalizing on this on-line ‘buzz’ to listen to what their customers are saying, or to sell their products and services. Given Australians are one of the highest users of social media networks in the world, our businesses have a huge advantage in being able to leverage this channel for a business benefit, but at the moment, they are lagging behind,” commented Malcolm Alder, National Managing Partner for KPMG’s Digital Economy practice. Australian businesses really should change their mind as soon as possible, since social media seem to be the first place to where businesses should go in our days to win consumers’ attention.

Today, the cooler you are, the more fans, subscribers and followers you have and vice versa (thus, you can become quite popular by inviting more people to your social media page, using various methods, and launch next campaigns with support from your fans). The most popular social media channel today is Facebook—the fan pages there serve as both a place to get to know consumers closer and inform them on something important related to brands’ activity (starting from new campaigns to announcing discounts) or even selling merchandise. One of the companies, which turn their fan pages into little online shop, is Procter & Gamble, which is selling a range of its products via this platform and Heineken to name but a few. For the current moment, the most popular retail brand on Facebook is Coca-Cola(with over 33 million fans), but this page is used only for communicating with consumers and sharing news, and there are no remarkable attempts to capitalize on the popularity in a direct way. Even when brands are not offering their products straight from the page, they are generating buzz around it, by encouraging users discuss the products, and so create environment, in which a consumer gets emotionally closer to the product. Facebook also suggested an advertising that is ‘initiated’ by a user—it’s when her or she writes a message, connected with some business in some way, stories about their activity pop-up in their friend’s news feed as ‘sponsored stories’. So, users generate advertising by just mentioning a brand. This comes as addition to traditional discussions and sharing links. While now FB seems to be the major social media destination, the situation may change soon since Google+ is also stepping into this zone—so far, the new platform has 25 million registered users, but Google is asking brands to sit tight and wait—obviously plotting something really huge for fall.

Social networking in brands’ reality is nothing new, but there’s still a plenty of opportunities for businesses in this area. Just like it is with smartphones, which are also not an original, but quite an effective way of keeping in touch with a consumer. Smartphones are quietly taking the lead, becoming the device of choice for web browsing, checking emails and even shopping. “More than 60 percent of smartphone users would consider buying goods with it or have already done so. Over the past two years, iPhone users have spent 45 percent more time e-mailing on their smartphones and 15 percent less time e-mailing on their PCs,” says the research. To reach more people, brands release smart and fun apps, which both entertain and invite a consumer to take a look at the product range. One of the recent apps, which captured our attention, is adidas Originals application, which uses 3D-recogniztion, to help people choose the best change for their old shoes. Starbucks, which has recently revamped its online store, is also one of the brands, which offer its consumers new and convenient ways to shop at the retailer’s venues: recently it has launched an updated version of its iPhone apps, adding the eGift feature, and introduced mobile payment last year. Some companies use smartphone apps for educating their consumers: for example,Nestlé has created an application, which helps consumers sort used packaging in the most sustainable way.

Along with reading news and articles, people also watch a lot of videos on the Internet, and considering the fact that online versions of newspapers are getting more popular than the book format, and e-books are replacing the traditional publications, very soon web-based video will substitute TV as well. According to the survey, TVs are becoming more and more of yesterday with 69 percent of respondents preferring to watch videos on their PCs and 33 percent do view them on smartphones. With this, 24 percent of people use their TVs for watching web-content, and this is three times more than two years ago, and moreover, only a quarter of people who still watch TV say they are satisfied with pay-TV services, meaning that the companies which offer this kind of experience should start providing their product across mobile devices. In fact, Google is actively taking the lead and has a bunch of its own offerings, which work just like TV, or use TV as platform for broadcasting its content. The Internet giant provides its users with an opportunity to watch events live atwww.youtube.com/live or broadcast popular films and movies—in May, the company announced it added 3,000 movie titles for rental in the USA. But it doesn’t mean that Google wants to destroy television, on the contrary, it wants to collaborate with the industry—on August 26, Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt will give a lecture to an audience of television executives in Edinburgh, in which he will emphasize that the company really needs television. In early summer, it was announced that Google is allegedly planning to buy video service Hulu, and in January, Amazon.com is another company, which is expanding in online video direction: recently, it acquired European online rental service Lovefilm, which proves that the big Internet companies are plotting a revolution in the way people consume traditional video content.

With the visible swift towards online platforms in marketing, companies should quickly adapt to the new format and update advertising strategies and invest into the new approaches immediately, unless they want to disappear in the world, ‘inhabited’ by social media-savvy consumers. Brands revamp their websites to provide more user-friendly solutions and release numerous apps to engage consumers in a more gimmicky way. How far can this movement reach? What else can be digitalized and tailored to the e-era? Considering the fact that technology is moving forth at a great speed, in 10-15 years the whole real world may  go digital.

Source: PopSop

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