Thursday, September 30, 2010

Microsoft to Launch Live Essentials 2011 Today (Free)

There have been some significant and useful developer and IT beta releases since the release of Microsoft Windows 7.  Most are upgrades of existing products.

MSFT has released a 'beta' level service pack (Windows 7 SP1 build 7601), numerous tools for IT administrators, a new beta of Microsoft Security Essentials, a beta level upgrade to the free Live Essentials add-on (dubbed Live Essentials 2011) ... and of course, the re-designed and much more compatible Internet Explorer 9 beta.

Live Essentials is a group of programs that include Windows Live Mail, a very versatile e-mail client, Windows Live Writer, Windows Live Family Safety, Windows Live Sync (essentially a replacement for Live Mesh and an easy way to remotely access another desktop), Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Live Messenger and Windows Movie Maker.

For Windows 7 users that haven't yet tried them, they're 100% FREE.

Later today, according to rumors apparently confirmed by Liveside.Net, the latest Live Essentials is already graduating from beta to Final and will, in fact, be called Live Essentials 2011.

Graphic Updated 10 PM ET Sept 30: Live Essentials 2011 is now live here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

60 Minutes To Go Interactive on YouTube

It's one of the longest running and most watched TV shows in television history.

CBS's 60 Minutes has literally spanned generations.

Like other long lasting 'brands', it appears 60 Minutes is looking to attract a  younger (and/or wider) audience with the network's latest experiment.

They've already done Twitter and yes, there's a 60 minutes Facebook page.

Now, at the start of the show's 43rd season (Yes, you read that right), 60 Minutes is trying out some viewer interaction on YouTube.

Announced a short time ago on the YouTube Blog, you can now upload a short video (or comment) to the producers of 60 minutes directly to YouTube.

If CBS does this right, it could be potentially be a lot more interesting than when CNN (beginning with anchor Rick Sanchez) was arguably the first to introduce the multimedia (TV) audience to Twitter ... and other media quickly followed suit.

What would you say to Andy Rooney ? :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

SMX East - This Year, A Must for Search Marketers

This year, SMX East, the search marketing expo put on by Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan and co. returns to New York City on October 4th-6th.

That's less than two weeks from now.

Let me qualify this post.  I have NO connection to SEL or SMX, other than making a very occasional appearance on the social network Sphinn.  Over the years, I have attended more than a few SMX conferences in New York, Boston, Chicago and elsewhere. Most were a win - win, particularly when I was doing 'independent' SEO consulting.

So why the reason for this piece?

A couple of weeks ago, Google literally changed the game.  It was sort of predicted here (Yeah .... I'm a little proud of that :) and in one day, search changed in a big way.

Google Instant, contrary to numerous articles predicating that it will now cost advertisers more for their PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns, in my view, provides a new an exciting opportunity.  An opportunity for SEO and certainly an opportunity for PPC.

Keywords and 'Keyword Phrases' are now more important than ever ..... and Google still represents approximately 65-70 per cent of the searches done on the Internet.

Just do it.

The Google Instant dialog is just beginning among search experts. It's going to be fascinating ... and it's important.

According to the SMX East website (as of this post), there are still discounts available and there's a stellar roster of speakers this year.

I doubt you'll find anyone in the business whose thinking wasn't changed just a little but attending SMX in the past  ... from beginners to experts.

If you can't afford it, go the 'networking' or' 'expo' route.

I'm predicting this will be one of the more important east coast advertising / search conventions in recent years.

The parties aren't bad either :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Week Mark Zuckerberg Becomes a Household Name

A few days before a new movie about web phenom Facebook and it's founder Mark Zuckerberg is set to debut, the social network did a little double damage control.

Numerous publications have portrayed Zuckerberg's 100 million dollar donation to the Newark NJ school system as a preemptive strike against any negative light he may be portrayed in, in the movie.

Next chapter :  On Thursday, Facebook faced their longest outage in 4 years followed quickly by an apology to users.

The social network that rocketed to fame continues that trend unabated despite numerous privacy advocacy groups protesting new 'open' policies and literally forcing the company to change many user options .... more than once.

In the meantime, the 'average Facebook user' might be found checking out their friends' latest status message on their iPhone or Droid X.

This piece is about two simple FACTS.

1) The 'average' user has no clue about the numerous changes to Facebook.  Most could actually care less.  Factually, businesses worldwide continue to embrace Facebook as a significant part of their marketing programs at an incredible pace.

The Facebook express continues to roll and embrace more users ... home, mobile and business,  perhaps eclipsing the unprecedented growth of Google as well as striking a challenge to the search giant's primary income source ... web advertising.  More importantly, unlike other popular advertisers' favorites like Twitter, Facebook is already making money .....

2) Despite the fact that it would be more than difficult to currently define what an 'average Facebook user' is, one thing is certain.  Pretty much everyone that you know knows what Facebook is, and most of them probably have an account.  Considering Facebook's timeline, that alone is HUGE.

As for Zuckerberg, like it or not, this is his big week. 

Ask your buddies (preferably non-techies) who he is.  The reality is that very few people will recognize his name.

Simply because 'the movie' is all about Facebook, this is the week that Mark Zuckerberg will become a household name.

Yes, the 26 year old that was just named to the Forbes 400 wealthiest list this past week above Steve Jobs, joins Jobs, Bill Gates and others in the tech gallery of this generation's most recognized names.

Ask your pals in a couple of weeks if they know who Zuckerberg is.  It's a safe bet they will.  As for Zuckerberg, it's a pretty safe bet he'll be doing a few more interviews than he has in the past.

Want to know more about 'the real' Mark Zuckerberg.  You can follow him on Facebook here.

Links, content updated Sept 24 2010 2:39 AM ET

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Firefox Updates Stable Version to 3.6.10

Mozilla has released an update to the stable version of Firefox 3.6.

While some users are already seeing automatic upgrades as of this post, others are still waiting.

You can expedite the process by simply tapping 'help' at the top of your browser, then 'check for updates' ... and follow the prompts.

Note: This is for the stable version of Firefox, not the Beta and either requires a version of Firefox 3.6 or a complete download here.

Firefox was most recently updated on Sept 7th to version 3.6.9.  Today's update mostly addresses a stability issue effecting a number of users.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Internet Explorer 9 Set to Debut Later Today

After a series of four 'platform previews', Microsoft is expected to release the first fully functional beta version of it's next generation web browser, Internet Explorer 9, later today.

In recent months, both Google's Chrome and Mozilla's Firefox have made serious strides in their beta channels addressing speed, hardware acceleration, security, newer web standards and more.

Chrome now has four versions including an auto-updating 'canary' build.  Mozilla's Firefox 4.0 browser is now at beta 6.

Today, it's Microsoft's turn.

Expected at 10:30 AM PT at a special website launched last week by Microsoft last week, you can check out the new IE 9 here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Google Instant - The Next Chapter of Search

After a week of teasing the media (in classic Google fashion), the company today, did, in fact, have a BIG announcement.

To those that don't follow tech or internet marketing, it may not seem like a big deal ..... yet.

To those that study user habits, buy web advertising or practice SEO, this very well could be considered a HUGE change.

Google has made no secret in the past of their desire to ultimately have their search bar simply give you the best answer.  This has always been a goal.  Enter a question or phrase and get a result, directly from point to point, with relevance always being a top priority.

I've read, throughout the day, other people's thoughts and reactions to today's announcement about Google Instant ....  which is already appearing in many locations already (Screen shot below) and should be live everywhere in just a few days.

(Note: Once Google Instant is actually available to you, the entire results page will change dynamically as you type!)

I found Google's Matt Cutts' take on the product particularly interesting.

Over time, Google has treated the main search page as sacred territory.  There have been very few changes to their 'premier' and deliberately simple entry page.  The last time Google made a 'game changing' move was the implementation of 'Universal Search' or the list of options at the top of the page .... that now fade in.  The 'fade in' is even more recent and apparently was deployed to try and get users to search first, prior to seeing some of Google's other products at the top of the search page.

Unlike changes to other web-based products recently that have set off firestorms of controversy (can you say Facebook? :), this subtle yet powerful change from Google should be welcomed by most.

Although some may not yet see it this way, Google just changed the game again and with an estimated 65 plus per cent of the search market .... and that IS huge.

The coming weeks will tell the story on how Google Instant effects user engagement, PPC, SEO and more.

[ Links, content updated Sept 9, 2010 4 AM ET ]

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Yesterday's Google Logo Morphs Again !

Later today, Google will have an announcement for the media.

Yesterday, the search giant toyed with the press on Twitter and elsewhere but gave no exacting reason for the wild Google 'Doodle' on the main Google search page ..... that bounced colored balls when you moved your mouse.

The subtle campaign was successful (and another great example of media convergence) as hundreds of publications ran stories on the hyper-active logo.

Many speculated that we were about the see a significant change in Google search.  That, of course, would be big news.

The next chapter.

A short time ago, the Google logo (or Doodle as it's affectionately referred to), changed to this:


Well ... not exactly.

Try typing something in the search bar.

Hint #2?  It appears that Google Search is about to come much more interactive.

Hype or productivity?

If Google's experimental launch of Google Scribe by Google Labs yesterday is any indication, this could be getting interesting. Potentially a game changer.

Stay tuned!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Revisiting Free Stuff from Google

Over the past few years, it's a safe bet that Google has probably delivered more free products to users than anyone else.

While Microsoft was the early player in this game, trouncing Netscape by giving away Internet Explorer 'back in the day' ... Google continues to deliver (and update) gobs of cool, productive and interesting products and software.

Recently the company updated the directory of their products (and even added the newer icons being used in Google news and other pages).

I decided to try a few that I didn't already have loaded and revisit a few others.  There's been a lot of progress mostly on the positive side (although I still miss the 'old' Google News).

We all have different tastes but there's a little something for everyone.

I found PC Tools Spyware Doctor (in Google Pack) coexists nicely with Microsoft's (Free) Security Essentials, and nicely exposes those tracking cookies you may be wondering about.

If you didn't read about Google Realtime this past week, you can give that a spin.

The latest version of Picasa is an outright win, and you can spend a day or two addicted to the latest version of Google Earth.

Quick trip to Paris?  About 20 seconds or so :)

So where can you find this stuff (and a LOT more).

The Directory can be found here.