Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NY Times Sues Huff Post

Lisa Belkin, an AOL employee for nearly 30 years, writes on subjects of motherhood and parenting in a 3-year old blog. She calls her blog Motherlode, and distributes her work through The New York Times. 

Last month, after leaving her position with New York Times, she began writing for Huffington Post. Her new blog called Parentlode is an attempt to create interest and readership from other sources, "in an era when fathers are every bit the parent" and in hopes that her new blog will encourage equality through changing parental roles. 

A lawsuit filed late Friday in US District Court in Manhattan, claims the blogs' names are too similar for readers to distinguish her current work, from her previous work. 

The lawsuit claims that Belkin clearly intended to create confusion for readers who followed her work through the similarly named blog, and requests that her new blog be renamed in an attempt to avoid having readers mistake authorship. 

NY Times' Motherlode blog, according to Belkin's final post on October 7, 2011, will continue.

Both companies which are based in New York, declined to comment.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Google+ Launches Pages

 Google has now launched Pages for Google Plus. It is similar to Facebook fan pages where companies, celebrities and other “brands” can interact with their customers and followers by engaging in discussions.

But Google brings the power of open Web search by adding Google+ Pages to Google search results.

One can find any company's Twitter or Facebook page by searching on Google and find those pages at the top of the results.

Google has a shortcut called Direct Connect wherein typing a “+” in front of the company name gives the Google+ Page of the company. Moreover, just by typing “+A” into the search box can get a listing of Google+ Pages for Amazon, AT&T, Angry Birds and ABC News.

In these terms, a Google+ Page becomes a must-have for any company looking to establish a presence on the Internet, just as a Web site itself was the must-have a decade ago and Twitter and Facebooks accounts have been in recent years. Google has always been open, a place that anyone could visit to conduct a search without having to first log-in.

It’s definitely a one-up on Facebook and Twitter - but also must have Microsoft thinking again about the connection between social and search and how Bing, its own search offering, suddenly feels like it’s missing an important piece of the puzzle.

This is the face of the new interactive Internet, a one-up over the traditional Web site. These Google+ pages are powered by search, share and followers. This is a dynamic environment where companies host live video “hangout” sessions and engage in discussions with their followers. Google owns YouTube and, aside from the embedding videos into Google+ posts, you can imagine that Google+ Pages and YouTube channels might soon become chummier.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Google admits threat from Apple's Siri technology

Eric Schmidt, Google Chairman admitted to the US Senate antitrust subcommittee that Apple's Siri is a significant development in voice enabled search and could pose a threat to Google Search. He thinks that Siri might supplant Google's search engine.

Schmidt even went so far as to cite two publications for calling Siri a "Google killer" and Apple's "entry point" into the search engine business. In the letter, Schmidt backpedaled from a previous statement in September 2010 where he had denied that Apple and Facebook were a "competitive threat." However, now Eric said that his previous statement was clearly wrong and accessing answers through iPhones demonstrates innovations in search..

Google has many strong competitors and competes against search engines (Microsoft's Bing, Yahoo!), specialized search engines (Kayak, Amazon, WebMD, eBay), social networks (Facebook, Twitter), commercial software companies (Apple, Microsoft), mobile apps and direct navigation.

Apple unveiled Siri in October as a new feature of the iPhone 4S. The software, which Apple originally purchased in 2010, is currently in beta, though, and has experienced some embarrassing outages in the first weeks of usage.

Schmidt also downplayed Google's role in the search engine market, instead attributing it to hard work and luck. "I would disagree that Google is dominant," he said after senators asserted that Google is approaching a monopoly. 

"By investing smartly, hiring extremely talented engineers, and working very, very hard (and with some good luck), Google has been blessed with a great deal of success."

Google to show most recent pages in search results

Google has decided to show minute old recently updated pages and hot topics in its search results. This was announced by an Indian born software engineer. Google had to take these steps in response to Twitter and Facebook being used consistently for breaking news. 

Now, the most recent pages with relevant information will be shown in results according to the Google's algorithm.

"The most recent information can be from the last week, day or even minute, and depending on the search terms, the algorithm needs to be able to figure out if a result from a week ago about a TV show is recent, or if a result from a week ago about breaking news is too old," the company's Amit Singhal wrote on the Google Search Blog.

The algorithm aims to deliver relevant information for what the users are actually searching for whereas, it shows less importance for the text being typed in.

According to Singhal, now a user would see more high quality minute old pages on current events. Search for reviews would now give the latest pressed pages. This algorithmic improvement better understands the freshness of search queries.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Apple Siri Fails Second Day In a Row

 After acquiring Siri in April 2010, Apple integrated the feature with its iPhone 4S. At the public launch of Siri on Oct.4, Senior Vice President Scott Forestall had showed off the product's muscle.

However, the past four weeks have seen many ups and downs for the feature, with the most recent outage being on Friday. For the second day in a row, Siri suffered intermittent failures that prevented people from using it. While Siri service appeared to be restored for many people during parts of Thursday and Friday, it often quickly became unavailable again.

Siri needs to connect to external servers to perform any of its tasks. For many users Thursday, there’s been only one response to any query: “I’m sorry, I’m having trouble connecting to the network.”

Though the service has proven to be a boon for Apple, frustrations over its bugs have been plaguing it as consumers wonder when the assistant will finally outgrow its beta period.

It’s unclear whether users will cut Apple more slack over the Siri problems than they did over MobileMe, an online service whose troubled introduction in 2008 turned into a rare debacle for Apple. Since then, Apple has made big investments in its online efforts, including a major data center in North Carolina.

Siri depends on a network connection even for tasks that, in theory, wouldn’t seem to require access to the Internet. While it’s understandable that Siri would need to contact the Internet to download, say, listings for weather in a user’s area, it also needs online access to schedule a lunch appointment and play music stored on an iPhone.

For the moment, at least, Apple’s new Siri feature is back online and cheerfully responding to instructions, but it’s hard to say how long that’s going to last. All the trouble raises the question: Why can’t Apple get cloud services right?

No matter how functional your cloud service is or how well you’ve designed the interface, users won’t care if they can’t access it. This is even more obvious with a service like Siri that loses even the most basic functionality when Apple’s servers are down. Because Siri depends on servers to do the heavy computing required for voice recognition, the service is useless without that connection.

In fairness, Apple launched Siri as a beta, an unusual move for the company, and an indication that there were a few kinks to work out. But a beta label usually means that the software is still under development, not that there aren't enough servers or competent technicians to keep the service running.

There's a broader issue and lesson to be learned from it: How much should mobile devices depend on cloud services for key functionality.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Google Plans to enter $150 billion TV Business

Google, the internet search giant is looking to offer paid-for TV cable services to consumers, a move that will thrust Google into a $150bn per year market of new competitors. Such a venture has the potential to turn today's business of television advertising and distribution upside down.
Google has announced plans to build a fibre optic high-speed internet-service in Kansas City. Google will include content from major TV channels as it has concerns that low cost internet is not enough to attract customers anymore.

Google would then offer the triple communications services such as pay-to-watch cable television, high-speed Internet and telephone. The WSJ (subscription service) quotes from people familiar with the matter that Google has been in negotiations with major TV channels Walt Disney, Time Warner and Discovery Communications in distribution talks over the matter. 

Google has recently recruited former cable TV executive Jeremy Stern, adding weight to the claims. If this is the case, this move would put Google in a position to charge for advertising on the channels, as well as open up possibilities with YouTube and Android integration. Google might even be able to turn YouTube into a sort of “virtual cable TV,” where customers could pick and choose the programs they want, and it might be available on a national, or even international scale.

In a response to the newspapers article, a Google spokesperson commented on Thursday night that “We’re still exploring what product offerings will be available when we launch Google Fiber.” The high-speed internet service is expected to reach Kansas in early 2012.

Google’s negotiations with content creators could also give Google TV an advantage it has never enjoyed before, where the biggest weakness of the company’s potentially groundbreaking TV service was the lack of cooperation of content creators. If it puts itself on equal footing with the other pay TV providers, it might be in a better position to offer its Google TV service as a hub for video, no matter where it comes from.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Google Plus Business Hangouts

On November 1, 2011 it was announced that Google Plus will begin with Business Profiles. At this point they are limited to only people who have the Google Apps for Business. You can get the complete coverage here @ Google Begins Business Profiles on Google+

Who is going to have an advantage? The bloggers who have familiarized themselves with Google Plus Hangouts and sitting in front of a web cam.
Checklist before you get a surprise request for a Google+ Hangout
  1. Do you have a web cam that works.
  2. Does the mic on your webcam and the external mic work correctly?
  3. Do you have any quick lighting? A room light or lamp that can be turned on so you are not just showing a black screen on your cam.
  4. Is your cam’s position and focus adjusted to where it shows your face?
  5. What is also in your cams view? What type of business you have may be a big part as to how people view and accept your surroundings. These may be things as innocent as pics of your kids, your dog, your vacation house, or a mirror that may throw a glare.
  6. Do you have an easy to grab shirt to look professional to say the least? 
  7. Is your hair and makeup ready? For Baldys like me and Darren Rowse its just fine.
Find a friend or fellow blogger and try Google Plus Hangouts with them. Google+ hangouts can be used now by anyone with an account so there is no need to wait for business pages.

Google Plus Hangouts Video Skills

Your clients or potential customers might have questions related to your niche product or services. They might want a web cam conference with you using Google Plus Hangouts. Answering customer queries or suggestions face to face can boost sales of your product.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Google Begins Business Profiles on Google+

Google has begun with Business Profiles on Google+ for those who have Google Apps for Business (the service costs $5 per month to use and you do need to have a website). Being first at bat can have intangible benefits on the internet, including a valuable backlink to your company website from your Google+ profile. Here's how to join this limited group of users and make the most of your Google+ profile before everyone else.
First, you'll need Google Apps for Business - which is definitely useful, but we're just using it to get to your Google+ business profile for now. If your business already has that established, contact your IT administrator about adding Google+ to your account. (You can share this article for reference.)
While Google App users will be busy setting up their Business profile accounts and the rest of us who don’t subscribe to Google Business Apps wait for the global roll out it’s a good time to take a look at the functionality on offer. Remember to choose a strong password unlike your others, since this is for business. If you're already signed in to another Google account, you'll be asked to sign in with your new Google Apps account. Do it.

Regular users of the Google+ network have already become familiar with its easy sharing options, the control over privacy and data and the impromptu video group video conference ability of Hangouts. There are some more features though,

1. The ability to seamlessly create multiple users on one account and allocate specific sharing rights and controls from a central control point.
2. The ability to collaborate across the company group with departments or individuals sharing data.
3. Real-time collaboration across the company network.
4. Analytics integration .
5. Potential to socialise Google Ads.

In addition to all this there is the ability to now talk to potential clients and customers on a one-to-one basis without having to worry about mixing your online business profile with your personal one.

With Google+ offering such an enabled, from a functionality point of view, business profile it will have the ability to allow a seamless multi-media connection with other business in a B2B environment. This will pose a potential threat to LinkedIn whose recent functionality update notwithstanding, is still a lot less interactive when compared to Google+.
The Google development team responsible for the Business Profiles roll out is working feverishly to make sure potential bugs are ironed out fast and the service can go global. In the busy run-up to Christmas the uptake by businesses will probably be sketchy with some rushing in trying to capitalize while some of the bigger ones will probably create a profile but not use it until they can successfully integrate it in their marketing plans. This then looks set to make next year a truly interesting one when it comes to social networking services and their impact on both the way we do business and the way we choose to connect with each other on the web.
Google Apps Dashboard and verification

You'll be taken to your Google Apps Dashboard, which gives an Express or Custom setup option. If you're an IT manager for a larger corporation, this is where we part ways as you run off to Custom land, where you do all the stuff I don't need to tell you how to do.

For the rest of you non-technical types, click Express, then Next. A process will ask you to verify ownership of your domain. If you don't manage your own website, you'll have to send the file off to your design house to be uploaded into the root of your web directory. Copy and paste the information you're given on the verification screen to send to them, and download the required file. Click Verify once the file is uploaded, and you're off to the races.

Set up your apps

Uncheck Gmail on this screen since it's a pain to set up if your hosting provider isn't on the drop down list. Keep Docs and Calendar checked and keep on clicking Next. On the billing screen, click Do This Later unless you really want to give Google money immediately. Choose your mobile devices on the next screen (note Google's "Our Favorite!" next to Android). After this point, keep on clicking Do This Later unless you want to explore the options available to you. You're officially done setting up Google Apps, and now can get to the good stuff.

Set up Google+ on your Google Apps account

Click on the Organization & users tab on your Google Apps Dashboard. Right now, you can only enable Google+ for specific users. Click the users you want to add the services for, then click the Services tab.

Before enabling Google+, you'll need to enable Google Talk and Picasa Web Albums under that services tab. Both are automatically set to be on.

Next, scroll down to Google+ (Pro tip: It will be one of the only services not enabled automatically) and set it to On. Save your changes at the bottom of the page, and you have a shiny new Google+ profile for your business.
Set up your Google+ profile

Go to your Google Calendar or Google Docs page, as long as you've already enabled them in Google Apps. If you're still signed in under your Google Apps for Business user name, you'll see your Google+ profile in the upper right. Click on the spot where a photo should be and hit Create Profile.
Creating a separate profile for your business is preferable if you're in a larger company, since IT admins and others will have access to your Google+ stream. However, if you are a micro-business and already active in Google+ circles, Google is working on a migration tool for you to port your current profile on over to your Google Apps profile.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Google Voice Search Tests (Underwater & Desert)

After venturing into caves, underwater and into the middle of the desert in September, engineers from Google Australia's Chrome team have pushed Google Android's Voice Search to the limit. Noel Gordon and Alice Boxhall set themselves up on a boat off the Great Barrier Reef, and, using a transducer, ask questions to Google's Voice Search application.

Gordon described the undertaking as "a challenging experiment" on the deck of the boat, adding that it may require "a couple of goes". He wasn't wrong, either, with the Voice Search application missing the first attempt to understand Boxhall's query: "Great Barrier Reef".

On the second attempt, however, the Sony Xperia, with which the two were testing, picked up the search term and displayed the results accordingly.

Google engineers also ventured deep into the South Australian desert in order to test the Voice Search app where it had never been used before. Two engineers set up large convex satellite-style dishes 50 metres apart. Facing towards the two dishes, one Google engineer spoke the query, while the other captured it with the handset 50 metres away.

Questions included "how to treat a brown snake bite" and "where's the nearest toilet", which yielded a result of 66 kilometres to the south.

Lawther said on the blog post that the tests were conducted after it was discovered that Australia had one of the lowest take-up rates for Voice Search globally, despite the fact that we have the second-highest smartphone penetration in the world.

Lawther challenged users to search "using their broadest Aussie accent" from now on.

Apple has sought to burst Google's voice search bubble in the Australian market, after releasing the iPhone 4S with an "intelligent voice assistant" on-board, and capable of picking up the Australian accent.

The assistant, known as Siri, is able to set appointments, send texts, set reminders and search the web via Google, as well as find answers to questions via Wolfram Alpha.

Microsoft is also updating its voice push for the local market, yesterday updating its Kinect for Xbox 360 product with Australian accent support.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Google and Microsoft Yahoo Acquisition Plans

Both Google and Microsoft plan to buy Yahoo.

Both Google and Microsoft are talking with private-equity firms about possibly financing an acquisition of Yahoo — essentially standing in for the banks that typically dole out loans to pay for corporate deals. Google has contacted at least two venture capital firms to help buy Yahoo's core business. According to an expert, Google is interested in selling some advertising across Yahoo's websites.

Yahoo! had a string of bad business decisions and disputes in management and fired its CEO earlier this year. A takeover, acquisition or merger with various companies, including AOL and Microsoft is on the cards. Yahoo search is, in fact, almost completely supported by Bing, and an acquisition offer by Microsoft is seen as an attractive deal.

But aside from Microsoft, it seems another industry giant is interested in Yahoo! Google is reportedly also exploring to buy Yahoo! in an effort to bring the portal under its fold. Neither Microsoft nor Google are said to be actually interested in gaining Yahoo! for its assets. Rather, both Microsoft and Google want to keep Yahoo! from each other.

CNN Money says Yahoo is not a strategic fit for either Google or Microsoft. However, the company falling into each other’s hands will badly affect the other’s strategy.

Microsoft has currently extended the search deal with Yahoo to power searches with Bing. With this deal, Microsoft already has 30% of the U.S. search market, which is a big threat to Google. Meanwhile, Yahoo! falling into Google’s hands would be detrimental to Bing’s market share.

Neither company is reported to be considering an outright purchase, but they’re trying to finance private equity groups to increase their stake in Yahoo!

Yahoo! still gets good traffic worldwide, and the company’s R&D staff is said to be among the best, which means an acquisition will help bolster either Google’s or Microsoft’s capabilities and audience. But for now, acquiring Yahoo! is seen as a cheaper solution than losing the company to another rival.

Microsoft and Google are sitting on piles of cash, and lending it out for corporate deal making may be more lucrative than letting it sit around and collect essentially zero interest.

It will be hard to finance a Yahoo acquisition any other way. Private-equity firms are finding it tough to borrow huge sums of money they need to do multi-billion-dollar deals.

If they have a hand in the Yahoo takeover, Microsoft or Google may have a say in the future direction of Yahoo.

As of Sept. 30, Microsoft had $57.4 billion on its balance sheet, and Google was carrying $42.6 billion. Although the bulk of that money is overseas, cash in general is generating very little income in these days of historically low interest-rates, and companies have been searching for investments that will gain them some yield.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Firefox Role In Mobile Era

Mozilla Firefox is one of the world's leading desktop browsers, with almost 450 million users. But, with the increasing use of mobile devices and hand held PDAs, Firefox is in danger of losing its place in smartphones. 68% of all smartphone owners access the mobile web on a typical day.

Why should and what should Mozilla worry about? Apple has Safari running on all its iPhones and iPads. Google has Chrome to run on Android phones. Microsoft has Internet Explorer to run as default on Windows Phones. Firefox has no space to put its browser on.

Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs says "we believe fundamentally there's a place for competition."

Apple controls the user experience from the software (iOS) to the hardware it runs on (iPhone, iPad). RIM and HP followed a similar strategy with BlackBerry and WebOS, respectively. Google, with its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, and Microsoft through its partnership with, or a potential acquisition of Nokia are thinking on similar lines.

Little or no choice on mobile devices means it's hard, if not impossible, to compete. Apple's Safari browser has a minuscule market share on desktop computers. But on Apple's mobile devices, where it comes as the pre-loaded default, Safari dominates the market. "Today, we couldn't put Firefox in its current form on the iPhone," Kovacs says. "We can get on Android, but it's just hard. It's hard to design it into the native levels of the OS to make it as great as we know it can be."

Kovacs envisions a world where you can easily select from a variety browsers on your smartphone, just as you can now on a Windows or Mac desktop. The same should go for all other types of applications--the more choice and competition, the more benefit for consumers.

For More Visit

Monday, October 3, 2011

PayPal To Open A Pop-Up Store In New York

PayPal is going to be setting up a pop-up store in downtown Manhattan, New York to showcase some of the new tools and technologies the payments giant will debut in the next few months.

The space will be located at 174 Hudson, which is located in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan. Over the next 3 and a half months, PayPal will be inviting merchants to come visit the space where they will have the opportunity to get real-time demos of the technologies in realistic point of sale scenarios. The store, which will launch on November 1, will also feature a QR code for people passing by to scan and see more details on the PayPal’s new technologies.

So what new technologies will PayPal be showing off? As the company revealed in September, PayPal is investing in a comprehensive solution for in-store merchants to integrate PayPal into the checkout and mobile payments experience. Later this year, PayPal will be rolling out a one-stop shop for merchants, both online and local businesses, to manage payments from customers.

Features of this new offering will include location-based offers, making payments accessible from any device and offering more payments flexibility to customers after they’ve checked out. Users will have the ability to access real-time store inventory, receive in-store offers, and real-time location-based advertising from stores.

PayPal tells us that it will be debuting its technology that integrated with physical payments gateways in stores (the company is expected to announce a number of partnerships with major retailers soon).

PayPal is an online payments and money transfer service that allows you to send money via email, phone, text message or Skype. They offer products to both individuals and businesses alike, including online vendors, auction sites and corporate users. PayPal connects effortlessly to bank accounts and credit cards. PayPal Mobile is one of PayPal’s newest products. It allows you to send payments by text message or by using PayPal’s mobile browser.

A pop-up store and physical presence for merchants and consumers is actually a wise move for PayPal. The technology hasn’t really had a physical presence in a retail environment, and this can be a contributor towards adoption. For example, mobile payments company Square has in-store retail deals with both Apple and Best Buy. At the moment, PayPal doesn’t have a device to sell (like Square) so a pop-up store can be a centralized place for merchants to see the new technology, and for consumers for experiment with the payments platform.

For more Visit

Friday, September 30, 2011

Small Businesses That Are Hiring

A recent poll suggests that despite economic uncertainty, America's fastest-growing small businesses are looking for talent. Their biggest hurdle: finding it.

The entrepreneurs and CEOs leading America's fastest-growing private companies aren't letting the troubled economy slow down their hiring plans for 2012, a new survey reports.

The survey, "High-Growth Entrepreneurs Plan to Continue Growing," found that 133 CEOs who attended the Inc. 500|5000 Conference last week are readying themselves for plenty of new hires in 2012. It was compiled by the Kauffman Foundation.

Among the results Kauffman reported:

  • 96 percent plan to add employees in 2012
  • 41 percent plan to hire more than 20 employees in 2012
  • 71 percent do not outsource business operations outside of the U.S.

While the findings indicate the Inc. 500|5000 are on the hunt for new talent, the general feeling among small business owners is a bit gloomier. The Vistage CEO Confidence Index, which tracks sentiment among small business CEOs, reported this week that 1,700 entrepreneurs expect "a stagnant economy during the year ahead… and will likely curtail hiring plans."

Thom Ruhe, the director of entrepreneurship for the Kauffman foundation, says the discrepancy between the two surveys could very well be attributed to another Kauffman finding: that 40 percent of employers have trouble identifying qualified job applicants and say it is the biggest obstacle standing in the way of continued growth.

"It's two sides of the same coin," he says. "The small business pessimism could be attributed to a sense of frustration in finding [new hires], and I think Inc. companies are saying the same thing. If I had the wherewithal to wave a wand and have policy-makers pay attention to the real job creators in this country, I would point out that finding qualified people is the biggest impediment to growth, and maybe we should be addressing that, and spending less time on the debate around taxes and regulatory issues."

Others offer a simpler explanation: Inc. 500|5000 companies are in the midst of a serious growth spurt, and as a result, aren't as concerned about market challenges right now.

"You have a really skewed sample," says Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot, an inbound marketing software firm that ranked No. 33 on this year's list. "The Inc. 500 is like the Fortune 500 of the fastest-growing small businesses in the country, so of course they're going to be hiring. They're growing fast."

Halligan, who attended the conference, noted that what differentiates Inc. 500|5000 companies from the rest of the small business community is also something more intangible. "All the companies here have some unique, remarkable twist," he said. "There are no commodities here."

Monday, August 15, 2011

Google buys Motorola Mobility and its patent portfolio for $12.5 billion

Google has stunned those watching the mobile space with the announcement today that it has purchased Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in cash. Motorola was early onto the Android platform and has gone all in with it over other alternatives. Motorola CEO recently indicated that the company might be looking to bring its patent portfolio to go after other Android device makers; those companies should be breathing a little easier now that Google owns those patents.

It is not clear how Google can remain a business partner with the likes of HTC and Samsung while directly competing with them as Motorola. It also makes one wonder why Google has remained relatively hands-off (on the surface) in the legal challenges that HTC and Samsung have endured on Android’s behalf. That might be looked into by the authorities that must approve the Google purchase of Motorola Mobility.

The new Google/Motorola venture will surely give HTC and Samsung, both suffering from legal battles over the use of Android, a reason to pause and perhaps think things over. The two companies have been defending Android and their use of the platform on Google’s behalf, and now Google is a major competitor. The tenuous legal position of Android just got a lot more confused for them.

Motorola is a reasonably positioned as a mobile phone manufacturer, but it’s not one of the ones at the top of the pile – which is why many think Google chose to buy it. Motorola make some amazingthe stock, and basic workhorse to smartphones that look good and function well. Google buying them gives them a manufacturing system that can design phones to their specifications, and a more solid control over the profit created by their Android based systems. Motorola is already what is considered a ‘dedicated android manufacturer’ but many people, from Acer to analysts have decided that this bold technology move isn’t primarily going to benefit Google – it’s going benefit Microsoft. phones, however, from

Why it’s going to benefit Microsoft

Microsoft are now a major smartphone competitor, and to be honest, the Windows 7 based phones are a serious challenge to Apple and Android’s stranglehold on the market, especially after Psion finally dropped out of the race. Windows is a familiar interface and their newly announced ‘eight’ system, which many people are very excited about – and it looks like the extensible new layout for their menus and controls is going to unify over everything, though of course all of this is still speculation.

The short answer is if Microsoft can leverage a similar deal, now that Google have done so, they might find that they can come out ahead of even Apple – and create a strategic alliance with other companies. Even though Google have bought Motorola Mobility, the important thing to bear in mind here is that they were *already* strategic partners, and there was definitively a bias towards letting Motorola get their hands on the newer operating systems before anyone else (the Xoom was the first to run Honeycomb).


Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., the mobile-phone maker that's being bought by Google Inc., is reviving its iconic Razr handset to take on Apple Inc.'s iPhone.

The new version of the Razr has a 4.3-inch touch screen and is 7.1 millimeters (a quarter-inch) thick, Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha said today at a press conference in New York. Verizon Wireless will sell the device for $299.99 in the U.S. with a two-year agreement, starting next month. It will also be available in Asia, Europe, Latin America and Africa.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Invite Your Friends To Google+ With New, Tweetable Link

Google just made it easier for you to invite friends to its new social network, Google+, by providing a short link you can post on the web or share with others over instant messaging. In order to get the link, says Google product manager Shimrit Ben-Yair, you simply click the “invite friends” button on the right-hand side of the stream – the same place invites were found before.

With the new feature, you have the ability to invite 150 more people to the network.

Smart thinking, Google. Use Twitter to get more sign-ups! I like it.

I remember wasting hours on Twitter last month, handing out invites by manually (and painfully!) copying and pasting email addresses sent to me through @ replies or direct messages into the Google Plus invite form. This is so much easier. I can just tweet out a link and be done with it! I think I’ll do that right now, actually. And it looks like I’m not the only one, if this Twitter search is any indication.

There is one minor problem with the link, though – you have to shorten it yourself if you post to Twitter or you’ll end up with a mess like this. Why didn’t Google provide an automatically shortened link using its own URL shortening service You know, the one it called the “stablest, most secure and fastest” URL shortener on the web? That seems like a missed opportunity indeed.

For More Visit

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Changing Face of Corporate Facebook Landing Pages

As businesses get more involved in using social media, they are starting to redo their landing pages, or places where you enter their ecosystems on Facebook, Twitter et al. It could be a good time to brush up on your Facebook Markup Language and other techniques to not just pretty up the place, but provide solid information as well as calls to action for your visitors.

What can you put on these pages? Lotsa stuff. Anything that you can code up in HTML can appear here, including forms (sign up for our weekly newsletter), lead generation, polls, playing the latest video news item, a link to all the other social media accounts of the company, clickable images, and links. Some of the pages can be very elaborate and a welcome change of pace from the blue and boring standard Facebook layout.

To get started, take a look at this post from Social Media B2B blog. The post lists several criteria on how to judge the effectiveness of these pages, including:

  • Does it have a link to the Like button? This shows the critical mass and community interest.
  • Does it have a call to action to some other place within Facebook? You can link to event calendars, newsletter subscriptions, and other product pages.

  • Does it have a call to action elsewhere that is trackable?For example, to download white papers or marketing collateral.

  • Does it contain links to other social media profiles? This would be a good place to put your directory of corporate Tweeters, for example.
  • Does it have video or some other visually engaging item?Something to catch the eye and keep the visitor around for a few more seconds.

For More Visit

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Help-Wanted Sign Comes With a Frustrating Asterisk

The unemployed need not apply.

That is the message being broadcast by many of the nation’s employers, making it even more difficult for 14 million jobless Americans to get back to work.

A recent review of job vacancy postings on popular sites like, CareerBuilder and Craigslist revealed hundreds that said employers would consider (or at least “strongly prefer”) only people currently employed or just recently laid off.

Unemployed workers have long suspected that the gaping holes on their résumés left them less attractive to employers. But with the country in the worst jobs crisis since the Great Depression, many had hoped employers would be more forgiving.

“I feel like I am being shunned by our entire society,” said Kelly Wiedemer, 45, an information technology operations analyst who said a recruiter had told her that despite her skill set she would be a “hard sell” because she had been out of work for more than six months.

Legal experts say that the practice probably does not violate discrimination laws because unemployment is not a protected status, like age or race. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently held a hearing, though, on whether discriminating against the jobless might be illegal because it disproportionately hurts older people and blacks.

The practice is common enough that New Jersey recently passed a law outlawing job ads that bar unemployed workers from applying. New York and Michigan are considering the idea, and similar legislation has been introduced in Congress. The National Employment Law Project, a nonprofit organization that studies the labor market and helps the unemployed apply for benefits, has been reviewing the issue, and last week issued a report that has nudged more politicians to condemn these ads.

Given that the average duration of unemployment today is nine months — a record high — limiting a search to the “recently employed,” much less the currently employed, disqualifies millions.

The positions advertised with preferences for the already-employed run the gamut. Some are for small businesses, and others for giants, including the commercial University of Phoenix (which, like some other companies, removed the ads after an inquiry by The New York Times) or the fast-food chain Pollo Tropical. They cover jobs at all skill levels, including hotel concierges, restaurant managers, teachers, I.T. specialists, business analysts, sales directors, account executives, orthopedics device salesmen, auditors and air-conditioning technicians.

“It is really a buyer’s market for employers right now,” said Harry J. Holzer, an economist at Georgetown University and the Urban Institute. One consequence is that the long-term unemployed will rack up even more weeks of unemployment, Mr. Holzer said, and will find it harder to make the transition back to work.

Even if Congress passed a measure forbidding companies from making current employment a requirement for job applicants, companies could still simply decide not to hire people who are out of work. Discrimination would be difficult to prove.

After all, there are legitimate reasons that many long-term unemployed workers may not be desirable job candidates. In some cases they may have been let go early in the recession, not just because business had slowed, but because they were incompetent.

Idle workers’ skills may atrophy, particularly in dynamic industries like technology. They may lose touch with their network of contacts, which is important for people in sales. Beaten down by months of rejection and idleness, they may not interview well or easily return to a 9-to-5 schedule.

“We may be seeing what’s called statistical discrimination,” said Robert Shimer, a labor economist at the University of Chicago. “On average, these workers might be less attractive, and employers don’t bother to look more closely to pick out the good ones.”

Employers receive so many applications for each opening that some may use current employment status as an easy filter. In some cases — as with Ms. Wiedemer, of Westminster, Colo. — recruiters merely assume employers do not want jobless workers.

“Clients don’t always tell us ‘we don’t want to see résumés from unemployed workers,’ but we can sense from what people have interested them in the past that they’re probably looking for somebody who’s gainfully employed, who’s closer to the action,” said Dennis Pradarelli, a talent acquisition manager for Marbl, a recruiting firm in Brookfield, Wis. Many of the job ads posted by his firm seek workers who are “currently employed or only recently unemployed.”

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Google Challenge to Facebook will cost more than $200 million

Google’s challenge to Facebook Inc. in social networking, an effort analysts said will cost more than $200 million, probably slowed second-quarter profit growth for the world’s largest Web search engine.

Profit excluding some costs rose to $7.85 a share in the period, Google will report later today, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Profit would have been higher if not for spending on Google+, a service unveiled by new Chief Executive Officer Larry Page last month to compete with Facebook, said Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Partners LP.

“Larry’s here, and he’s here to spend,” said Gillis, who estimates that Google spent about $100 million on the project, half the total, in the second quarter alone. “There are some large opportunities that they’re chasing after.”

Google+, an online tool that lets users create and communicate with groups of friends, is part of Page’s attempt to lure Web users from rivals including Facebook. Higher spending on social networking, mobile software and e-commerce -- areas aimed at lessening Google’s reliance on traditional Internet search -- eats into profitability.

“What investors are thinking about in general right now is return on these investments,” said Schachter, who rates the stock “outperform” and doesn’t own it. “They certainly haven’t shied away from spending money. My view is that this is money that is well spent.”

Sales Boosted By Search

Second-quarter revenue, minus sales passed on to partner sites, likely rose to $6.57 billion in the June period, the average estimate of analysts. Google’s first quarter revenue of $6.54 billion, announced in April, topped analysts’ predictions.

Google, based in Mountain View, California, lost 52 cents to $537.74 at 10:02 a.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The stock fell 9.4 percent this year before today.

While Google’s sales are buoyed by demand for online ads, margins are likely to keep narrowing into next year amid costs for such services as Google Offers, a feature that mirrors Groupon Inc. by providing daily deals to users at local businesses, according to Morgan Stanley.

‘Stiff Competition’

“We are encouraged by early progress of Google Plus and Google Offers, but Google faces stiff competition from incumbents who have first-mover advantage,” Morgan Stanley analysts, who downgraded the company to “equalweight” from “overweight,” wrote last week in a research note. “The payoffs of such endeavors may be longer term.”

Adding to costs, Google increased hiring by 1,900, or 7.9 percent, in the first quarter, part of its plan to boost overall hiring by 6,000 this year. Research and development costs rose 50 percent in the March period while sales and marketing increased by 69 percent.

‘Slicker Products’

The new service has a look and feel similar to Facebook’s, but with a focus on managing contacts around different relationships. Just days after its debut, Google temporarily shut down the invite mechanism for Google+ following “insane demand,” Vic Gundotra, head of social efforts, said on the company’s website.

“This is definitely one of the slicker products that has come out of Google in a long time,” said Sameet Sinha, an analyst at B. Riley & Co. in San Francisco who rates Google a “buy.”

Google+ is still early in its development, with less than a month for users to try out the service, Gillis said.

“It’s way too soon to make a call on Google+,” he said. “It’s a credible alternative to Facebook, but social networking is all about scale.”

Americans are deeply pessimistic about the future as economic concerns rise and White House talks on raising the U.S. debt limit sputter, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday.

The number of Americans who believe the country is on the wrong track rose to 63 percent this month, up from 60 percent in June, with stubbornly high unemployment and prolonged gridlock in Washington dashing hopes of a swift economic recovery.

But voters do not appear to be holding President Barack Obama responsible for the problems so far. Obama's approval rating held relatively steady at 49 percent, down 1 percentage point from June. His approval rating among independents -- a group Obama needs to win re-election -- fell to 39 percent from 44 percent.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Rich Are Now Richer Than Before The 2008 Credit Meltdown

Unemployment is at 9.2%, the ruins of the U.S. housing market are still smoldering after the 2008 bonfire, and Greece, Italy and Portugal are balancing on the razor’s edge of default. But the planet’s rich are getting richer, especially in the growing BRIC economies. In fact, there are more rich people on the planet today than before the credit crisis destroyed Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns and nearly crippled the World’s financial industry.

Not only are there more rich running around the globe; but the rich are richer. The study estimates that financial wealth control by the HNWI population jumped 9.7% over the last year to $42.7 trillion. Meanwhile the U.S. GDP grew 1.9% in the first quarter of 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. I’ll be curious to see how this report will be used in Washington’s current battle over the debt ceiling, and the debate on the millionaire tax. Many might initially point out (as I first did) that Obama’s stimulus package isn’t creating jobs, but for a lucky few, it is creating a ton of wealth.

But while the World’s grown wealthier, the U.S. and European HNWI populations are still not up to the 2007 levels. Most of the growth has come from the red hot economies of China, India and Brazil.

The UK economy is flat, the US is weak and the Greek debt crisis, according to some commentators, is threatening another Lehman Brothers-style meltdown. But a new report shows the world's wealthiest people are getting more prosperous – and more numerous – by the day.

The globe's richest have now recouped the losses they suffered after the 2008 banking crisis. They are richer than ever, and there are more of them – nearly 11 million – than before the recession struck.

In the world of the well-heeled, the rich are referred to as "high net worth individuals" (HNWIs) and defined as people who have more than $1m (£620,000) of free cash.

According to the annual world wealth report by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini, the wealth of HNWIs around the world reached $42.7tn (£26.5tn) in 2010, rising nearly 10% in a year and surpassing the peak of $40.7tn reached in 2007, even as austerity budgets were implemented by many governments in the developed world.

The report also measures a category of "ultra-high net worth individuals" – those with at least $30m rattling around, looking for a home. The number of individuals in this super-rich bracket climbed 10% to a total of 103,000, and the total value of their investments jumped by 11.5% to $15tn, demonstrating that even among the rich, the richest get richer quicker. Altogether they represent less than 1% of the world's HNWIs – but they speak for 36% of HNWI's total wealth.

Age also helps: more than eight out of 10 of the world's wealthiest people are aged over 45. So does being male: women account for just over a quarter of the total – though this is slightly higher than in 2008. The highest proportion of wealthy women is in North America – 37% of HNWIs – while the lowest is in the Middle East, which has 14%.

Generally, HNWIs are most concentrated in the US, Japan and Germany: 53% of the world's most wealthy live in one of those three countries, but it is Asian-Pacific countries where the ranks of the rich are swelling fastest. For the first time last year the region surpassed Europe in terms of HNWI individuals.

This scale of wealth of the richest people in Asia Pacific – fuelled by the fast-growing economies in China and India – is now threatening to overtake North America, where the value of the wealth rose more slowly – 9% – to reach $11.6tn.

The richest people in the Asia-Pacific region have also fared better since the crisis. Their wealth is now up 14.1% since 2007 while individuals in North America and Europe are yet to recoup the losses they suffered during the banking crisis.

Britain is lagging behind in the league of affluence – it has not yet enjoyed a return to pre-crisis levels of wealth as sluggish economic growth holds back prospects. The growth in the number of rich individuals in the UK was among the slowest in the top 10 nations, showing a 1.4% rise to 454,000 and remaining below the 495,000 recorded in 2007.

The report said that while the UK stock market rose almost 30% and GDP grew 1.3% – after contracting by 4.9% in 2009 – the fortunes of the rich were held back by falling house prices and the rise in unemployment. Their prospects might improve next year, however. "Construction spending for the 2012 London Olympics is expected to help propel the economy and the housing market recovery," the report said.

The 1.4% rise in the number of rich people in Britain compares with a 7.2% rise in Germany and 8.3% in the US – where there are 3.1m HNWIs – and the 3.4% rise in France.

India moved into the top 12, with a 20.8% rise to 153,000, for the first time, while Italy, 10th in the table, endured a contraction in the number of wealthy people from 190,000 to 170,000.

The performance of investments made by wealthy individuals in shares and commodities, and their willingness to take more risks, helps drive their wealth, which in turn fuels "passion" purchases of multimillionaire must-haves, ranging from Ferraris to diamonds, art and fine wines. Demand for such luxuries is especially high among the growing number of wealthy individuals in the emerging markets.

The report warns of problems for this year, saying "the path to global recovery will likely be uneven and various risks remain".

It added: "The global effects of the financial crisis receded in 2010 but aftershocks still materialised in many forms, including the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and the growing burden of a gaping fiscal deficit in the US. These types of shocks showed the fragility of the economic recovery and could still pose an obstacle to growth in 2011".

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Google+: The Social Sharing War Is Fully On

Google and Facebook are at war. This is old news. They both want to be the center of the Internet — but there can be only one center. For a while, it looked like things were quickly shifting Facebook’s way after years of dominance by Google. Then Google+ appeared — already the most compelling social experience Google has ever offered.

While it’s still far from clear what the actual impact of G+ will be on the Internet at large, it’s pretty clear already that it’s something Facebook is going to have to take seriously. And they are. Despite Mark Zuckerberg downplaying it, Facebook did just launch a video chat feature a week after Google did in G+. And last summer, Facebook rushed to get the new Groups done in time to beat Circles to the same punch.

But where things are going to be really interesting is on the social sharing front. Facebook has long been in the lead here — and is proud of it. But after just a week, it sure seems like Google+ is seeing some impressive numbers as well (with only a fraction of Google users using it). And a small change Google quietly made yesterday shows just how seriously they’re taking this.

As we noted a couple days ago, it is possible to track the referrals coming in to your site from G+, but it’s not straightforward. Yesterday, Google made it much more straightforward.

When you click on a link now in G+, it redirects it through the domain. Why? Because Google+ uses HTTPS to be more secure, but that strips referrer information that would normally be passed to sites like TechCrunch. So they have to redirect to another non-HTTPS domain to pass that data. Previously, it was simply through a domain (which we were tracking). Now it’s a domain — much easier to track for a casual analytics user.

And sure enough, as of yesterday, is showing up as a referrer to TechCrunch — and yes, a big one despite us not actively using it to send out articles just yet (and again, the limited number of users).

Facebook does a similar redirect to ensure that the pageviews they’re sending others’ way are correctly counted. Others, like Twitter, do not generally do this, which likely makes their sharing stats appear lower than they actually are.

There is real opportunity for Google to leap ahead on the sharing analytics front.

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