Think Insights with Google, research tool for marketers

December 19, 2011

*Quick pop quiz…

1. How many hours of video were uploaded to YouTube in 2010?

2. What percentage of smartphone owners, use their device while shopping?

3. What Australian state most frequently searches for the weather forecast?

As a planner, I’m always chasing that one research tool to bring them all together, and while Think Insights with Google attempts to do just that, it does fall short in a few areas. It’s missing the core search functionality that is the cornerstone of Google’s business. After all, the nirvana of a planner research tool would provide just that, a simple way to intelligently search and prioritise, facts, stats and behavioural trends based on a simple question, such as: ‘How many Australian’s use their laptop in the kitchen while cooking?’

On the flip side, this is a good resource if you are looking for general information on search and mobile related topics, particularly for Google brand related products. And, it does include over 100 custom reports, so you can certainly pop it on the list of go-to resources for all things digital.

My personal favourite resources on the site are: Our Mobile Planet tool (though the data is a little shady for the emerging markets such as India and China) and the Research Library finder.

Ultimately, Think Insights with Google is the perfect tool for media planners, and a useful resource for digital strategists too. Despite it’s downfalls it is one of the best free resources that I have found.

@mariagioffre

 

*Answers

1. 13 million hours

2. 70%

3. Victoria


Google made me hungry for an Ice Cream Sandwich

October 19, 2011

Today Google and Samsung finally had their Nexus event where they released the next version of the Nexus phone series as well as the announcement of their new iteration of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich.

So let’s start with the phone: Samsung Galaxy Nexus

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Obviously it will be running ICS and it will have some very impressive specs:

– a huge 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 1280 x 720

– 1.2 Ghz dual-core processor

– 5 Megapixel rear camera with LED flash

– 1.3 Megapixel front facing camera

– 1080p full HD video recording

– 1 GB of RAM

– Wireless N network

– NFC capabilities

– the usual accelerometer, compass, gyro, proximity sensor

– a barometer

 

and to power it all a big 1750mAh battery

It will be released in November, but so far we haven’t heard any carrier announcement or if it even hit AU shores any time soon. No price yet either.

 

So what about Ice Cream Sandwich?

 

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Read the rest of this entry »


A little Google+ experiment

September 9, 2011

A Google+ experiment where you can meet some of Australia’s most provocative characters, just  add them your circles.


The case of the missing O – a Google online puzzle

August 23, 2011

I love puzzles, I have a drawer full of those metal nails that are stuck together and you have to find a way to take them apart, and I love online puzzle games.

So today I came across The Google Puzzle. Not sure how long it has been up, but I only saw it today.

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So I pressed the Get it back button and wasted spend a good hour on solving the 5 puzzles to get it back.

It is a Chrome experiment, written in HTML and it has some really quirky stuff in it.

 

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if you get stuck there is the friendly Hint button – thank god for that one.

so if you are into puzzles, make sure you give it a go

@maniac13


The case of the missing O – a Google online puzzle

August 23, 2011

I love puzzles, I have a drawer full of those metal nails that are stuck together and you have to find a way to take them apart, and I love online puzzle games.

So today I came across The Google Puzzle. Not sure how long it has been up, but I only saw it today.

image

 

So I pressed the Get it back button and wasted spend a good hour on solving the 5 puzzles to get it back.

It is a Chrome experiment, written in HTML and it has some really quirky stuff in it.

 

image

 

if you get stuck there is the friendly Hint button – thank god for that one.

so if you are into puzzles, make sure you give it a go

@maniac13


How Google+ might shape social experience optimisation

July 1, 2011

Sometime around March 2011, Google made a new feature known as +1 available in the search results. Users who wanted to rate various websites for relevance could do so by clicking the +1 button,which would give the website or content additional visibility online. However what was not clear, was what would a flood of +1 ratings do for any particular website ? It was unclear how each person who clicked the +1 could use their influence within various social circles to ensure that “relevant” and “timely” content was shared with the people best suited for it within your social circle.

Enter Google+

google+ dashboard

Google+ allows people to build networks around locations and interests as well as numerous other factors. The question is how will this impact SEO (search engine optimisation) and will social experience optimisation influence search results ?

2011 Overall Ranking Algorithm

2011 Overall Ranking Algorithm

We know from a survey done by one of the leading SEO communities, that social media is one of the many ranking signals for organic search. The survey also revealed that geo location is one of the other factors that influences organic search results. All evidence points towards increased relevance being localised as well as influenced by social signals.

The answer has already been provided by google who recently announced that google+1’s will be visible in your analytics profile, and since we already know that social media is one of the ranking signals for website performance, brands will now need to factor in generating content that resonates with their target audience strongly enough to get them “Social approval”.


Google to the rescue–simple flash to HTML5 conversion

June 29, 2011

OK OK that might have been a not quite true statement (yet), but the google labs have a little tool called swiffy that converts Flash SWF files to HTML5, allowing you to reuse Flash content on devices without a Flash player (such as iPhones and iPads).

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Swiffy currently supports a subset of SWF 8 and ActionScript 2.0, and the output works in all Webkit browsers such as Chrome and Mobile Safari. If possible, exporting your Flash animation as a SWF 5 file might give better results.

check out the 2 different animations here:

SWF

HTML5

Still in the early stages, but definitely promising. Hopefully soon it will support Actionscript 3, slice scaling, Scenes, Filters and advanced text rendering.

@maniac13


Ecotab

May 29, 2011

This is the tablet of the future as it recharges just by touching it! No more running out of battery, looking for the power cable or charger everywhere! this new tablet is also very ecologic as doesn’t need electricity! You just need to press your fingers or hand on the touch screen and it transform the finger interaction into energy!
Can’t wait to have this in market!

20110529-094614.jpg


Google to take over the world – Part 2

May 12, 2011

Googles I/O event is in its second day and personally I was more excited about yesterdays announcements, but Google is not stopping with new and improved ideas.

Today they showed off their Google TV running a new honeycomb UI that will be released later this year.

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You will be able to run your apps and widgets on the screen and there will be a much faster way to get back to your live TV.

The Google TV remote app was always a bit too complicated and Google announced today that the source code for it will be made open source (source code here) so anyone can make their own and improve it. The Anymote protocol code is also available (here) which means you can integrate it into phones and tablets.

More things to come as well as soon as Android 3.1 will hit the TVs – mentions of 3D support and Game Controller support for example.

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The Android Market was another topic for Google today and they announced improvements on discovering apps – the market has grown to over 200000 apps and it is quite hard to find the good ones. Now there are 5 new features that will help you find the next Angry Birds:

New Top app charts – fresh new look and country specific
Editor’s choice section – apps chosen by Google
Top Developers section – a special icon next to the name of the developers that fit the criteria
improved related apps
trending apps – it shows you which apps are growing the fastest

Right now they are only on the web based version of the market, but Google mentioned that it will come soon to the phone and tablet versions of the market.

From June onwards the market will also support larger apps – up to 4GB – and it will give the developers the ability to exclude specific handsets – sorry HTC Magics

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So what was left for Google? Chrome OS

The biggest improvements to Googles OS are that it will support Netflix and Hulu (can you please hurry up and establish yourself in Australia) right out of the box.

There will be new hardware – both Samsung and Acer models were shown off and they will include offline versions of Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs. They will probably hit the market in a few month.

Chrome OS laptops will cost you nothing upfront – instead you will pay a monthly subscription that includes regular software and hardware upgrades.

There was also a teaser that Samsung is going to build a desktop version called Chromebox that will run Chrome OS

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And who would have guessed, but there will be Angry Birds at the Chrome Web Store – it is build in WebGL, but also has Canvas support so it should run in different browsers to Chrome, however it will get exclusive content like chromebombs.

If you have been left out of the Chrome Web store you will be pleased to know that it is now available worldwide.

 

another day of great Google news

 

@maniac13


Google to take over the world

May 11, 2011

Google started as an online search engine that within month make a massive impact and took over the space and we all love googling.

Last night Google had their annual I/O event and the future seems to be all about everything you can imaging. Google will be in your life if you like it or not.

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Android has been the big buzz word for a while now and with 200000 apps in the Android market, 400000 daily Android activations and a lot of manufacturers joining the Android hardware bandwagon, this train is not going to stop.

One of the big negative aspects of Android is its fragmantation and Google announced today that the new version of its OS, called Ice Cream Sandwich, will change all that. Hardware manufacturers had to promise that newly released devices will need to be capable of new instances of the Google OS for at least 18 month of the hardware release. The new OS starting with Ice Cream Sandwich will also run on both handsets and tablets and will be smart enough to adjust itself to the actual device capabilities.

It is the step in the right direction, but personally I don’t it will stop people like HTC and Samsung to take forever to release the new OS because they are customizing theirs so heavily.

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But Android will not be limited to mobile devices anymore.

Google announced the Android Open Accessory API which is based on Arduino, the universal open source hardware.
This means that Android can live in any device you can imagine – fridges, medical equipment, exercise equipment and and and

This API will be available at the end of the year so next year we will be overrun with Android devices.

Google Music was announced today as well and Google is going after Amazon and Apple (even though apple isn’t ready yet) by offering a music locker that seems to be worth using.
It is really targeted at hard core music fans that can upload their nicely sorted and curated music collection to the Google cloud and then listen to it on any Android device they own.

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Then Google announced something new – Home Automation with Android@Home

Their vision is to have little Droid doing all the work for you – Open source libraries will allow developers to create apps that are Android compliant. This way you can dim the lights from your couch, start the washing machine on your way home from work – all you need is a Android@Home receiver.

Another shot at Apple here too as the new libraries incorporate Google tungsten that will allow you to stream your Google Music collection to any speaker in your house – no more Apple Air play

 

This was only Day 1 of the I/O and there is more to come in the next 24 hours. We haven’t heard anything about Google TV or Chrome. Does Google have something bigger still to come?

Only time will tell – Let me know your thoughts on Googles announcements in the comments below.

@maniac13


Google’s Place Search to squeeze returns

November 5, 2010

In the search engine marketing and optimisation sector, it really does seem that change is the only constant.

In June, I wrote about the launch of Google Caffeine and the impact of social search in the marketing mix. Just four months later and Google has added another game-changing feature to their search engine results pages (SERPs), called Place Search.

As its name suggests, Place Search prioritises search results based on proximity of the website to the user’s current location, in an effort to make consumers “feel like a local everywhere [they] go”. It is very similar in concept to Yellow Pages but doesn’t require users to leave the Google homepage.

This is good news for consumers seeking local restaurants, shops, entertainment and the like, but for companies there are new challenges that come with it.

In addition to having its own dedicated category, Place Search also appears in natural results on the main SERP (in the form of business listings with reviews and a map showing result locations) when Google predicts that the user is looking for local information. But it is what that new content is replacing that is of concern.

Companies currently paying for Google AdWords to gain higher visibility on more generic search queries may find that their click-through rates suddenly take a tumble thanks to the new Places map, which is positioned in what was previously a lucrative AdWords position: the top right-hand corner.

Not only does it take a prime position, it maintains that position as the user scrolls down the page, which means significantly less visibility of company-sponsored AdWords.

It would not be far-fetched to expect AdWord costs to increase (due to the increased competition and importance of gaining the top three spots), despite a greater risk of fewer click-throughs and thus a decline in return on investment for those not appearing in the top spots.

In every challenge, there is an opportunity. In Place Search, the opportunity for companies is to raise the visibility of bricks-and-mortar stores to among 60 per cent of Australians who research online with an intent to purchase offline.

To do that, I asked one of our search experts here at Amnesia Razorfish to provide their top five tips on optimising for Place Search:

1. Get listed and be consistent: claim your free listing by providing your company details at www.google.com/places, ensuring that multiple locations each have their own profile containing the location/suburb in the Places title. Choose your categories carefully, and ensure your description is consistent across other directory listings.

2. Enrich the experience: take the opportunity to add additional information such as opening hours and rich media content (photos, YouTube videos, and so on) to your Places page; you want consumers to get a good feel for who you are and what you do.

3. Reviews: customer reviews play an important role in Place Search ranks. Ensure you have the process in place to monitor and respond to user reviews about your business.

4. Sponsored map icons: make your business stand out by investing in a personalised map icon that displays your logo.

5. AdWords ad extensions: link your Google Places listing with AdWords to enable users to see your location from the sponsored ad.

And my recommendation? Make the most of this opportunity while it is still free, as you have to assume Google is not out to destroy its own commercial model.

To that end, I would expect to see related new forms of paid advertising being launched by Google in the weeks and months to come. Given its current focus on location, my guess is that mobile advertising is next on the hit list. Watch this space.

Jennie Bewes, Director of Social Media & New Business, Amnesia Razorfish
As published in The Australian Financial Review, 3 Nov 2010

Blekko – the future of the search engine or just another Google competitor?

November 3, 2010

Blekko is a search engine (in beta at the moment) that claims that it is a better way to search the web by using slashtags. Slashtags search only the sites you want and cut out the spam sites. e.g. if you only want to search for tech related stuff you put /tech after your query

The slashtags are user generated and can be either private or public. There are already hundreds of them, but you can also create your own.

But the CEO explains it a bit better in this video:

blekko: how to slash the web from blekko on Vimeo.

 

Another cool feature is the SEO link that you get with every single result

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It gives you quite a substantial amount of information about your site, like inbound links, hostrank, crawl stats, site pages, you can compare your site to other sites and it tells you about duplicate content

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There is also a SPAM link next to all your search result and you can get rid of searches you don’t want permanently – that search result will be dead to you.

Another interesting feature is the visualizing feature – here you can compare up to 4 different URLs with each other

 

 image

Definitely a great idea and even though there are still some shortcomings blekko will be someone to watch out for. It is going to be big.

check it out: http://blekko.com

and let me know what you think in the comments

 

@maniac13


Google TV has landed

October 13, 2010

Sony anounced today its new range of Internet TVs that are being powered by GoogleTV

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It comes with a keyboard remote that has a querty keypad, a mouse pad and generally reminds me of a Playstation controller.

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Engadget was able to go hands-on already so check out the video below:

http://www.viddler.com/simple/31479d50/

I believe Internet TVs are the future and this seems to be a great step into the right direction.

Sony is hitting the ground running too as the new TVs will be available in the US from this weekend and will cost from USD399 (24”) to USD1399 (46”) – With the Aussie dollar being strong there might be a bargain in here

@maniac13


Google showing off Android 2.2

May 22, 2010

At Google I/O in San Francisco, Google unveiled its new version of the Android operating system, 2.2, dubbed “Froyo.”

One impressive improvement is its speed and Google isn’t shy to show it off and compare it to, let’s say the iPad

In the video after the jump, 2.2 is the phone on the left, 2.1 is the phone on the right. And on the other side of the stage on the other screen is the iPad. All the devices have a 1 Ghz chip, and all are running the same (web-based) app (in which a creature races around a screen).

check out the video after the jump

Read the rest of this entry »


Google Chrome vs Lightning, Sound and flying potato

May 6, 2010

Sounds weird – well it is.

Google is showcasing that its browser can take on some really fast things and compete with them.

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they are using their latest beta of Chrome and check its speed of loading/rendering web pages against a flying potato, sound waves and lightning.

check out the video after the break

Read the rest of this entry »


Send real Google Mail

April 7, 2010

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I saw this on my friend Richard’s blog. Send real google mail using google earth envelopes. I think it was meant as an April fools, but I still love the idea and wanted to share it with you.

@handypearce


The First Ten Years of Search

February 4, 2010

Search just finished its first decade! Our US Search teams have put together a look back over the past 10 years and key milestones which have shaped the search landscape today. It’s amazing how far the industry has come in such a short space of time and how much it has changed. Most notably, back in 2000 Google was the default search engine for Yahoo users and now they’re main competitors!

Click here to see The Decade in Search highlights and below our thoughts from Amnesia, it’s effect on the APAC region and what the future is set to hold – for the moment at least!

Why has Google become so strong?

  • Leading innovation, products and add ons that are simple for consumers to use and make Google the one-stop shop for consuming and sharing online
  • For advertisers they have developed user friendly interfaces, in-depth reporting and free applications such as Analytics and Insights to make sure we can target consumers as effectively as possible on the Google network
  • Both Yahoo and MSN have both lagged behind in innovation which has ultimately held back their advancement in the majority of APAC

Key Changes for the APAC region:

  • Reputation management – the force that is social is an exciting time as online becomes more of an open forum. As search engines start to rank more and more social content the process of reputation management becomes more challenging and also brings up the age old question – is all news good PR?
  • Censorship – hot topic at the moment especially here in Australia. Is the free availability of information set to end? We’ll be keeping a close eye on proceedings and also the effects this may have on advertisers
  • China is the key market for change, with recent heavy news coverage that Google may pull out over a combination of high levels of censorship and hacking linked to the government.
  • Accessibility – the imminent launch of new devices, such as, the iPad and Android phones, will open up the way people can search and the frequency in which they can do it
  • Bing – Microsoft’s new search engine has reportedly been growing, albeit at a small rate. It will be interesting to see locally if consumers in each market will transition once it comes out of Beta and all features are available. Look out Google? Only time will tell!

All in all we are about to enter the next chapter in Search. Especially here in APAC where there are many different types of market, from emerging to mature and everything in between. The key to success is strategy localisation to ensure your advertising is meeting the needs of consumers from very varied backgrounds.


How fast does Google Real Time Search index Twitter? A quick Test.

December 10, 2009

Here’s a real world test on Google’s latest functionality – real time search results. There’s been a lot of hype over Google’s announcement that it now has ‘real time’ functionality. You can read the announcement (here). Below is Google’s promo video on how it works in case you missed it:

The real world test:

How well does it work? In the video below I’m using my Twitter account (@eunmac) to enter a tweet which contain the words GOOGLE, REAL, TIME, SEARCH. I already have a ‘real time search’ window open looking for these words and the theory is that the moment Google has indexed my tweet, it should show on-screen (no need for a refresh). The video is shot using Camtasia, and recorded/plays for as long as it took for the results to show.

Result:
It took Google 52.3 seconds to display my tweet in this instance. Not exactly “real time” but pretty good. Of course this is a one off test and the result should be taken with a pinch of salt. We’ll be evaluating speed in a more quant manner over the next few weeks.

How do I do a real time search in Google?
A couple of people have asked me how you get to the real time search results. Here’s how:
Step 1: Search for something from Google main page.
Step 2: In the Blue bar click [Show Options]
Step 3: Under the LHS menu that appears, click “Latest” under the “Any time” section.

(Alternatively – here’s one I made earlier. Just change the search term to the one you want).

Post by @eunmac


Example of Google real-time search

December 10, 2009

Having just blogged and tweeted about Pepsi changing it’s name to Pecsi, I was delighted to see that Google’s real-time search (soon to be the most over-used phrase in digital) does exactly what it says on the tin. Here’s the proof:

 

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Here’s the official post from Google’s blog. More discussion to follow.

@handypearce


Live Australian Traffic Information Added to Google Maps

September 15, 2009

…or why I won’t be taking William St. tonight.

googletraffic

Lucky commuters in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane can now take a quick look at the traffic in Google Maps before deciding if they should wait for it to clear in the pub over the road or not.

Thanks to Intelematics, traffic data is now shown as an optional overlay in all versions of Google Maps. Green, for good. Yellow for average. Red for nasty.

iPhone users rejoice. That greyed out traffic button under the page curl in the Google Maps app is now alive and ready to serve. Apparantly it works on other mobile versions too.

Other cities (read US cities) have had this for a while so it’s nice to be caught up.

To the pub, now, I reckon.