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.

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