Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tracking Santa .. with Google Earth (and more)

The announcement was made on the Google PR Blog a short time ago ... and then cross-posted to the Official Google Blog.

Google has taken a long-time Internet tradition and enhanced it ... just in time for Christmas.

NORAD has been tracking Santa on the Internet for over a decade. For many, it has become an online tradition. Links to the Official Santa Government Website have been increasing exponentially each year.

Google has just made Santa a little cooler (if that's possible?!), adding a plug in for Google Earth, Santa on your cellphone, and more.

Have some fun with the kids over the next day or two (or become one again yourself?).

Details and links are here (with a little Google Video below).

From our family to yours .... Happy Holidays to all!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Firefox moves to version 3.5.6

A short time ago, Mozilla's Firefox browser moved to version 3.5.6 adding more security and stability updates.

If you use Firefox and haven't been automatically updated, simply tap the 'Help' tab at the top and click 'Check for Updates'.

The latest version has already been posted in over 70 languages and for the Mac OS X, Windows and Linux platforms.

In other Firefox news, Mozilla continues work on Firefox 3.6 (code named Namoroka) with (test) nightly builds, some of which have been pretty impressive, and currently at Beta 6 Preview. (Note: Mozilla has also been busy with a 3.7 Alpha version in their nightly builds .....)

Yesterday, in a stunning development in the never-ending web browser wars, ZDNet and others reported that Google's Chrome Browser had ousted Apple's Safari for the No. 3 position behind Microsoft's Internet Explorer and  Firefox.  Google recently added extensions and other updates to the developer level version of it's relatively new browser offering ... and, of course, you can always give Chrome for the holidays ... :)

Google's Blogger adds Amazon (Updated)

Blogger in Draft has been rolling out features relatively quietly over the past few months including easy embedding of videos, inline translation, and more.

Many bloggers use the build-in  interface to display Google's Adsense ads on their pages (and in their RSS feeds).

Apparently, Google has cut a deal with Amazon, as the Blogger log-in page now offers Amazon as an alternate and / or additional way to monetize a Blogger-hosted blog.  Just enter your Amazon Associates ID and you're set to go.

Amazon introduced one of the very first affiliate programs on the Internet.  Now there are thousands of affiliate programs and networks, not only from individual companies but from 'networks' such as those from Federated Media, Commission Junction, the PepperJam Network and others.

With hundreds of thousands of Blogger-powered blogs now online, this 'shortcut' of sorts, directly to Amazon (IE: Without needing to know code or JavaScript) could be a substantial hit for the online retailer in the coming months.

Whether or not there is some sort of revenue sharing between Google and Amazon was not clear as of this post. 

What is clear is that Google continues to grow Blogger as an alternative to WordPress and other popular blogging platforms.

Update 1 - Dec 16, 2009 10 PM ET:  A Press Release was issued today at 6 PM ET by Google and Amazon (via BusinessWire) and a new joint Google / Amazon Associates page has now been launched as well.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ahearn 1 - Murdoch 0. The Future of Journalism

It was about a year and a half ago that I humbly declared that News Corp and Rupert Murdoch were doing all the right things on the 'Net, going to the extent of calling Murdoch a genius.

At the time, it may very well have been true but statements made throughout this year have changed the tide.

Murdoch has talked about outright blocking Google.  He's also talked a lot, along with a few others on micropayments, or paying for content on demand per article.

Some publications have been doing this for some time alongside News Corp's Wall Street Journal.  Long Island's Newsday and others have fielded the possibility.

Micropayments won't work.  They won't and can't generate the revenue needed to sustain the expenses (and payrolls) of news organizations.

For some reason, everyone's blaming Google.  While Google is increasing it's market share in search and trying a host of news delivery systems, there are numerous other ways to read the news on the Internet, whether it's local (the biggest challenge), regional or international ... and it's been that way since before Google was 'born'.

Enter Reuters' Chris Ahearn.  Like a true visionary, Ahearn is just excited and according to a brief speech at the FTC's Workshop on how the Internet has effected journalism, Ahearn declared the complete opposite of his competitors "I believe and support the value of the link economy".

While ad agencies are having a tough time deciding where and which media are best for clients despite tools such Google's Ad Planner, it's all part of the transition.

While citizen journalism may be difficult to filter, CNN has an assigned desk (for Twitter) ... and just this week Google embraced real-time from a variety of sources.

(Google's move may have been premature.  Not only did it remove some valuable landscape from the much coveted SERPs (Search Engine Relative Positions) but is also going to be VERY difficult to filter for relevant results).

Murdoch declared last week that 'the traditional ad model is dead'.  Assuming that may be true, what about a non-traditional ad model?

Embracing syndication (as Reuters did several years ago).  Embracing re-distribution ... maybe even promoting it, and, embracing the aggregators instead of blaming declining circulation on them.

Ahearn's  speech, as posted yesterday to can be found here.

See what you think.

Good weekend all.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Chanukah (and I couldn't resist ?!)

Just a brief post to my friends around the world for a blessed and Happy Chanukah ...

(Address for the 8 gifts will follow :)

Be Healthy, Happy and Enjoy!

Here's a little (dated but still great) message from Adam Sandler.

I couldn't resist.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

VEVO goes live in the US. Will it be a hit?

It was set to go live (on the Internet) after a huge launch party in New York City last night featuring Bono, Mariah Carey, Lada Gaga and numerous other big name recording artists speaking and performing.

In reality, most visiting the 'next generation music video site' either couldn't reach it, or were redirected to the company blog.

This morning, most that I spoke with briefly here in the US could now access VEVO here .... and it has now been officially indexed by Google as well:

Makes sense.  VEVO is using Google's YouTube technology to deliver music and music videos from a long list of participating labels including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music, Hollywood Records, Walt Disney Records, CBS Interactive Music Group, Big Machine Records, Concord Music Group, Lyric Street Records, ABKCO, Caroline Distribution, Fontana Distribution, INgrooves, IODA, RED and The Orchard, and more.

Videos are also being cross-posted to YouTube, with channels for each artist and the new VEVO logo appearing embedded in the videos. 

No surprise that among the honored guests at the launch part was Google's CEO Eric Schmidt.

Hulu revenge?  Maybe.

It's been an interesting month for music on the web.  Google announced their 'music search' which works extremely well and often delivers results from Lala .... which, it was revealed last week, is being acquired by Apple.

All of this may be a defining turn for an industry that has been badly hurt by illegal downloads and counterfeit media.

The VEVO launch library (first noticed on YouTube late last night) is very limited.  This could be the key to keeping the buzz alive for VEVO.  A local client for slower speed connections might not be a bad idea either.

Regardless, another 'publishing industry' just took a big turn.

Will it be a hit?

We'll see.

Monday, December 7, 2009

FedEx welcomes Google Real Time Search. Tiger Woods .. Not so much.

This is 2009. A year that very simply is redefining the Internet, both for regular and casual users.  A year where the word 'journalist' is changing at hyperspeed, and a year, where a 'ping' can now be heard around the world, in nanoseconds.

Google has made no secret of their need to embrace the latest trend in search. Numerous Google executives had noted the rise in popularity and importance of real-time search over the past few months.

Real-time search was already being delivered to the Internet by Twitter, Friendfeed, and most recently Friendfeed's new parent company, yes Facebook.

As I write this, Google Real-Time Search is already LIVE here in the US.  A visit to Google Trends, and then to the new Hot Topics column and you might see something like this screen shot taken a short time ago:

Clicking on any of the hot topics displays a 'classic' Google search page with a brand new embedded and scrolling real-time display with current, up to the minute results from a variety of sources including Twitter, Friendfeed,, Jaiku, and Facebook ..... while integrating associated news headlines within those results.

Needless to say, there are huge implications for all of the included services as well ...

I would guess that there are a few people at Google watching right now to see if their own news today from the GooglePlex tops 'Hot Topics', and then, of course, to watch the results stream in ....

..... in real-time.

Other views:
Google's Matt Cutts live blogged the presentation on his personal blog this morning here.  The Official Google Blog announcement can be found here.  Kara Swisher's report for WSJ's AllThingsDigital is here and Danny Sullivan wraps things up for Search Engine Land here.

Update: An interesting take on Googling Facebook from ReadWriteWeb's Marshall Kirkpatrick has been posted here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Google - Search in other languages ... easily!

The World Wide Web just got a little 'worldlier' with an announcement from Google a short time ago.

While still somewhat (and admittedly) experimental and needing some fine tuning, Google is rolling out a global translate service for their main search index over the next 24 hours.

Pretty cool stuff.

Example: If you're in Spain, and you don't speak Spanish, Google will now automatically translate your query (at your request) so that you can not only see the 'English' version results (for us Americans) but the Spanish returns for your query, which typically would be different.

If all of this works, it could be one of the most significant announcements Google has made in some time. "Search in 51 languages and display up to 5 at a time".


While it's still possible to access or , or any number of the localized country versions of Google from here in the US, I seriously doubt many do ... and for that matter ... there's a good chance those results are different as well.

We've been using Google Translate here on SEO and Tech Daily since it's introduction (for turn-key insertion in blogs). It's simply a given that it broadens your audience.

Now Google is introducing that technology directly to the Google search page.

A more in-depth explanation of the feature can be found on the Official Google Blog here.

Although a rather subtle start, there are global communications implications to this change and I, for one, am anxious to see how it all works.

Caio ... :)


Update 2 - Dec 3 8:47 PM ET

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Your Facebook is about to change ... again.

Facebook has been making lots of changes and not everyone is happy.

Over the next few weeks, they're doing it again.  This time you should be ready.

Late last night, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg blogged about the upcoming changes. The news traveled like lightning across the Internet.  I even re-tweeted it .... because it's significant.

In these much different (and much faster) times, in less than 10 minutes, Zuckerberg's post was No. 1 on the Technology aggregator TechMeMe and as of this writing, it still is.

If you talk to the average Facebook user (I'm not sure exactly what that is but you should be able to find one ...).  Ask them if they've read the 'Terms of Service'.

Let me make this easy.

Unless they're a journalist, they didn't.

The users I've spoken with like Facebook and/or it use it for a variety of reasons from staying in touch with family to promoting a product or idea, and yes, some just get on and play Farmville... It's an all encompassing platform.

Many have just figured out that to get the latest posts in their  'News Feed' they need to switch the view at the top.  The Friendfeed-like feed (most popular to the top) is now the default.

At least for now.

With Bret Taylor now heading the platform team, I expect that some of that is about to change but people don't like change ....... even though it may be a change for the better.

It's no secret that schools, employers and others may visit your Facebook page.  There have been a LOT of articles aimed at those who need to, or should be, concerned about that.

How many times have you let in a 'Friend' that you don't know.  The permissions are now out the window.  That person can now see you, and, there are actually companies hired to see what you're saying.

Regardless of where you have your permissions set, Facebook is about to change all that.  There were no specifics but my guess is a 'block' feature, maybe even 'delete' is among the group of changes being rolled out soon.

According to Zuckerberg, there are now 350 MILLION Facebook users worldwide.  Pretty incredible.

If you're a college professor, aspiring student, lawyer .... ugh .... brain surgeon, maybe you should think about checking out your permissions .... and your 'friends'?

.... and do it again in a few weeks.

You'll be glad you did.