Google Wave – a new in-browser communication and collaboration tool for email and web

May 29, 2009

Although it hasn’t released out into public hands yet!

Google has just announced Google Wave, a new in-browser communication and collaboration tool that looks to be the next step to evolution of the email.

Created by two of the guys behind Google Maps with a small team in Sydney the concept behind Google Wave is to “unify” communication on the web.

Basically Google Wave is a hybrid of email, web chat, IM, and project management software. It features the ability to replay conversations because it records the entire sequence of communication, character by character. Because of this, discussions are also live in Google Wave: you will see your friends type character-by-character.

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Other Features, Details are:
Google Wave also supports the ability to drag attachments from your desktop into Google Wave. It loads that file and sends it immediately to anyone in the conversation. It’s also embeddable, so you can embed Google Wave conversations on any blog.

it looks very similar to a Gmail, except it’s more focused on your contacts, whose faces you can see in your contacts sidebar on the left. As for conversations, different than anything seen before. You can reply and add your thoughts anywhere within a message. Communication within Google Wave is completely shared. =D

The key is faster line of communication. Attaching documents, like you do in email, is unnecessary in Google Wave. Real-time conversations and collaboration make it an ideal tool for business teams as well. Imagine an entire office having Google Wave open to quickly share and receive files. It combines some of people’s favorite aspects of many different web communication tools.

Now I am so excited & can’t wait for its release!

IC – @PenguinRage

Sources:

Mashable

Google Blog:

Google Wave: Live collaborative editing: (You Tube Video of David Wang)

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About Time: YouTube Setting Up to Try and Make Some Cash…

May 13, 2009

Hulu’s super fast rise to 2nd place in the online video market has forced the Google owned Youtube into coming up with actual strategies to make some money. Funny, I’d have thought it would be common sense that brought this on…

So, a few numbers:
100 Million – Estimated times Susan Boyle’s Britain’s Got Talent video has been watched.
0 – the amount of dollars made from those impressions.

I think those numbers are enough for now…

Google has stepped up actions to try and make some serious money from the worlds number one video site by ‘setting up partnerships with big media companies that would help it generate more advertising dollars from the millions of videos hosted on YouTube.’

Partnerships with Sony Pictures, CBS, Lions Gate and others are set to provide movie trailers, TV shows and music video content to the site in a bid to make it more attractive for advertisers. As it stands marketers are reluctant to advertise due to the unpredictable and often inappropriate content uploaded by Youtube’s users.

As it stands, ads only show up on between 3% – 9% of the sites’ videos. – eMarketer

To catch up with Hulu, Youtube’s gong to need to supply users with a lot of partner content that they’ll actually want to watch. Is this going to have the same repercussions for overseas users as it Hulu does? And if so, how do we get around this?
Surely Youtube’s customer base stretches far and above the USA, yet how to US only partnerships benefit this international userbase?

I have a lot of questions about this, and as we see, so do Google who’re doing anything they can to get out of their massive $471 Million deficit every year.

This handy Businessweek article (which prompted me to write) has some of the answers but also provokes a lot of other questions about the model which has yet to be tried and tested.

 

Read the full article

 

Discuss in the ocmments: Do you have any ideas about how Youtube might make some cash without alienating users?


Find the Date When a Web Page was First Published on the Internet

May 6, 2009

When I look for solutions on Google I often click on a link only to find out that the information is completely outdated.

Today I found this handy “add on” on Lifehacker.

just add the following to the end of the URL of your search results:

&as_qdr=y15

and it will add the publishing date of the article.

For example if you are looking for Amnesia Razorfish you would use:

http://www.google.com.au/search?q=Amnesia+Razorfish&as_qdr=y15

and you would see these results with its publishing dates

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Happy searching!


Top 100 most valuable brands in the World? Why they got it all wrong.

May 6, 2009

Article by Iain McDonald – Founder / Exec Creative Director at Amnesia Razorfish. (@eunmac)

Each year Millward Brown puts out it’s index of the top 100 brands every year (here). I’m going to offer a different opinion (and yes, it’s only my opinion) on why I think it’s a load of old-school corporate phooey which is sending a financially skewed perspective on the value of brand compared to the modern consumer REAL thoughts about brands.

Note: I take the point that not all brands in this list are consumer facing per-se, but when publishing a list of the “Most Valuable Global Brands” I believe the word ‘value’ and ‘brand’ needs to take a deeper dive into broader consumer data and well beyond “highest margins and the most recognisable logo”.

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In my humble opinion the power of a brand should mostly be judged by how well it is able to reach, interact with and influence a consumer, in particular with regards to their decision making process (which has a lot to do with ‘Trust’). It’s a big subject area and worth a lot of $ when you look at the $ad spend invested by these brands. Millward Brown have their ‘formula in a bottle’ to compare brand power but I believe the only place this list belongs is in a Sunday-Financial-Pullout-Section and that it is not indicative of a modern day ‘powerful consumer brand’ particularly in today’s digital world.

As a footnote I should say that my core interest lies in understanding the ever-evolving ‘digital’ consumer, (which of course is now an every day consumer too). I spend most of my day listening, observing (some might say spying), engaging in real conversations as well as looking at a lot of quant data and an array of third party research. I’m of the school of thought that you can define a brand by what consumers actually think and feel about a brand – I do not believe a brand is always what the CMO says the brand is so when I see a list like the one above it makes me squirm slightly. I’ll tell you why in a second.

Firstly I do recommend reading the full PDF of Millward Brown’s Top 100 Brands (here) and come to your own conclusion – hey… you may just love it and agree with their definition of ‘brand power’ 100%. That’s ok by me – I’m just offering another way of looking at things.

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The first problem for me is right here below an excerpt from their report:

“Customer Opinion
The secret ingredient is WPP’s BrandZ
database, based on an annual quantitative
brand equity study in which consumers and
business customers familiar with a category
evaluate brands.
Since BrandZ’s inception over 10 years
ago, more than one million consumers and
business-to-business customers across
31 countries have shared their opinions
about thousands of brands. It is the most
comprehensive, global, and consistent study
of brand equity.”

As you can see the above plays a critical part within the formula below used to calculate the list.

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So why do I have an issue with this? For a start I’m not a big fan of anything that tells me they have “secret ingredients”… especially when I believe the raw data is available elsewhere in digital channels already and in much larger quantities. Secondly I do not believe the final list reflects the actual brand sentiment or evidence that can be seen daily by the interactions consumers have in the digital landscape, which as a source of information offers a lot more qual and quant data than any one study a single company can undertake to produce in a ‘comprehensive study’.

Search Trends – An alternative way to measure Brand Power
When you have enough data, the signal usually rises above the noise. Search trend data (which Google makes available here) gives us some critical insight into ‘real’ Brand Power pull and arguably the biggest source of data available on a brand. In this instance if a brand is unable to PULL its consumers into active search through it’s spend on marketing, comms, PR, CRM, new product innovation etc then there is probably an issue in here that needs to be addressed. I know some will question if search is relevant to all brands, but I would argue that even with ‘low interest categories’ the global data is there. Example: Here’s Wrigley’s in amongst the category mix for Chewing Gum and Bubble Gum over the last 4.5 yrs.

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The argument against the top 100 brand power list:
Let’s take some of these brands in the top 100 and look at search trend data from the last 5+ years in Google as well as the last 12 months. (Note: I’ve chosen unique brand keywords to look to keep the data more ‘pure/clean’ for my examples). Given that the growth of the Internet during this period you would expect to see a brand in good health showing positive results in search and an upwards curve. This is NOT the case with many of the brands listed in Milward Brown’s top 100. In fact IBM (#4 on the list) has seen a steady decline in search traffic, yet it is listed as being 20% more valuable than the previous year. Sure – they are not focussing efforts on the consumer these days, but that to me means they are not as powerful as a global brand as I see it. IBM belongs in a list which talks to corporate, finance, and niche brand power and does not belong at #4 on a list which defines Global Brand Value/Power. To the image below – in general when it comes to consumer facing brands my own opinion is that when search data trends down it usually represents negative brand health.

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In fact many other brands in the list (and yes, I include Porsche in here) are flat-lining which in real terms represents a relative decline given the growing internet usage and penetration occurring. (Please note I’m keeping data simple here and concentrating on Search  – I have actually taken time to look at plenty of Buzz/Social media trends and available traffic data as well and most trending data is in line with search data).

Going Up or Down?
Millward Brown states that Vodafone’s brand value is up 45%, IKEA is DOWN 21% (at #95 in the table) and Tesco is down 1%. (Strange?! IKEA attracts double the search volume of Tesco but is ranked 74 places behind on the list which begs the question: Does Tesco’s financial performance really make it that much more powerful as a brand?). In fact all of these three brands are seeing marginally positive search growth when adjusting for seasonal trends and economic factors so I would suggest a positive brand increase overall for all three.

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I’m the Chairman of IBM what do I do?
Now, I’m sure Millward Brown’s report probably makes a few CEO’s feel a little better about their business (and no doubt helps WPP’s advertising empire too), but personally I cannot agree with these results as a definitive list of modern day brand power. The reality is that the consumer of 10 years ago does not exist anymore. Today’s consumer connects, shares, evaluates in entirely different ways which of course is another blog post for another day. If you are the Chairman of IBM and you’re reading this, then my advice, “It’s time for you to rethink your brand strategy – your consumer has shifted and you as a brand haven’t moved and are certainly not moving with them at the moment” and if you think that the only people you need to impress with your brand is the CTO, CMO, CEO and CFO then I would beg to differ.

So… what are the most powerful brands?
As a start point I believe the most powerful brands are the ones which consumers trust the most, identify with and feel comfortable enough to share with others. Yes of course financial stability is important and plays a big part when it comes to “Trust” which is possibly the single most important word when it comes to Brand Power.

I find it amazing that there was no section in this report on ‘digital brands’ especially when you look at the search data below… now  you start to get an idea of how BIG these new digital brands are in peoples lives. Facebook has actually outpaced Google in search trends by almost 3:1. YouTube is the worlds second biggest search engine, and ranks higher than Google itself in trends.

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On the chart above none of the top 100 brands make a dent on Google, and even Microsoft looks small next to that. I could go on and on… but I’ve probably made my point and this is supposed to be a blog post not a thesis.

My Conclusions:
– The top 100 brands in Millward Brown’s list do not match available trend data on brands from independent sources such as Google, Blogpulse, Alexa etc.
– Digital Brands like Facebook clearly belong in any Power Brand list if sheer volume of interaction plays a part in establishing the power of a modern brand.
– IBM and many other brands on this list that were given positive brand health in 2009 by MB are in fact declining (from a consumer perspective).
– Big brands are still not investing enough in digital as a channel as a proportion of overall marketing spend.
– Traditional agencies still selling too many brands ‘the old way’ – not investing in digital relationships with their customers.
– Reports of this kind should include public sources of data. Why not include search data, twitter mentions, blog posts and semantic data in forming these kind of studies?
– Brand Power should not be based so heavily on financial data. Some of the biggest brands are also the most complained about brands.
– Lack of competition in a category yielding financial success should not be mistaken for positive brand sentiment.

Article by Iain McDonald – Founder / Exec Creative Director at Amnesia Razorfish. (@eunmac) – feel free to drop me a comment!


Google mapping Victorian Bushfires

February 9, 2009

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Official emergency service sites in Victoria were suffering under huge amounts of traffic over the weekend due to the horrific bushfires. If you need information on the fires or want to check on locations you should use the site that Google have set up to track the fires.

Keep traffic clear of the sites that are urgently needed by people in the area affected.

DONATE TO THE RED CROSS BUSHFIRE APPEAL

Our thoughts go out to everyone affected. Stay safe.


Google is Now Hazardous to my Computer

February 1, 2009

Obviously another attempt from Google to improve search results to save my computer from dangerous sites. This incident occured around 2:15am on Saturday and effected all searches.

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How to win a Velociroflcoptersaurus Google Search Battle:

December 10, 2008

18 days ago, the word velociroflcoptersaurus never existed. No, not one single result in Google.

Time of posting there are 79 results (view here) and there is a raging mini battle within the twitter community (#velociroflcoptersaurus) to see who can own the #1 rank in Google. Yes… you are welcome to join in!

Velociroflcoptersaurus
RRRRAAAHHHHHHHhhhhh

The rules are shown below – (as layed downon Happener thanks to @eskimo_sparky)

Prizes:
Bottle of Piper-Heidseck from the Happener team.
Amnesia giving away a working Retro MAC Powerbook 520 (WOW!)

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The winner will be the person that scores the most points.
Points will be awarded according to the results from a Google search for the word “velociroflcoptersaurus” to be performed at 10.30am Tuesday 13th January 2009 (Sydney time).

100 points for Google Rank 1
90 points for Google Rank 2
80 points for Google Rank 3
70 points for Google Rank 4
60 points for Google Rank 5
50 points for Google Rank 6
40 points for Google Rank 7
30 points for Google Rank 8
20 points for Google Rank 9
10 points for Google Rank 10

It’s a bit of Fun….
There’s might be some unofficial prizes… but who cares about that? 

The very first instance of a velociroflcoptersaurus shown below:

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Original Battlers:
@gregory_brine
@likeomg
@eskimo_sparky
@bradyohalloran
@joeobrien

Add yourself in to the comments or just go for it…
Cheers,
@eunmac


Terrorism: Pursue a certificate in Terrorism 100% online. Enrol today.

November 28, 2008

These may be the most offensive Google Ads ever seen. Spotted in two separate incidents next to stories about the Mumbai attacks on the site IBN Live, they’re a typical example of the tactlessness of automated ad targeting systems.

We’ve seen Google ads go wrong before, of course, but do you recall a worse slip-up in recent memory?

We know it’s not Google’s intent to offend, nor their fault that these mismatches happen…and yet we’ve got to ask: surely something can be done to prevent instances like these?

googleadterror3.png by you.

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Google adds themes to Gmail. Ninjas spotted.

November 21, 2008

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Gmail users will have noticed a bit of a change to Gmail in the last couple of days as Google rolls out the latest version of its hugely popular webmail client. The delicate blue border has been replaced with a brighter version, but that’s just the start. Just into your settings and you’re greeted with an extra tab for selecting visual themes.

There’s a lot to pick from but, really, they’re mostly a bit tacky. Standard themes with oceans, trees and clouds are predictably in abundance. The cartoony style of ‘Bus Stop’ and ‘Tea House’ are a bit cute and if  you’re a nostalgic geek and/or no longer wish to have functioning retinas, check out ‘Terminal’ for some eye-searing ascii art goodness.

There’s a ninja theme, but it’s a cartoony ninja theme – not a silent-dealer-of-death-ninja theme, which is a bit disappointing. It’s understandable though, because as we all know, real ninjas are invisible.


Google – “Get rid of the designer”

November 12, 2008

It always worries me when I see something involving the words “create” and “no designer necessary”. Whilst I’m sure Google recognizes a need in making life easier for companies to get their message in front of consumers without the ‘high costs of using designers…I fear a plague of more terrible display ads impending…

http://www.google.com/adwords/displayadbuilder/
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Google Reader Now Auto-Translates

November 12, 2008

Google just made the world a slightly smaller place today. They’ve added a feature to their highly popular Google Reader that will auto-translate any site with a feed to your native tongue. Not only that, it’s very easy to use and it works really well.

Just subscribe to a blog or other feed like normal, then pull down the feed settings menu on the right and choose “Translate into my language.” The text is instantly translated.

Cool!


iGoogle attacked by giant widgets

October 17, 2008

Google’s personalized home page, iGoogle, is getting an update this Friday. Widgets on the page can support a new “canvas view,” which expands the widget to the full iGoogle window.

The new iGoogle also moves user navigation from tabs at the top of the page to a bar down the left side. This enables more pages and elements in the navigation, and I found that it made navigating iGoogle faster, since it provided a de facto table of contents for each page.

Like many of Google’s services, iGoogle is platform-aware. On a mobile phone, like on an iPhone or Android phone, when you log in to iGoogle, you’ll get a view of your page suited to the constraints of the device.

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Mail Goggles

October 9, 2008

The new product has the goal of helping you unsend those crazy drunken emails that sometimes go out late at night and on weekends.

If enabled, Gmail asks to you to complete a few “simple” math problems in a limited period of time before the email goes out.

I am not sure if this will really stop me from sending an angry email, but it might be worth a try.


T-Mobile’s G1 Android – the world’s first Google-powered phone.

September 24, 2008

Well, it’s here.

Haven’t had time to read the avalanche of press about this thing, but I did really enjoy this promo for it.

Methinks T-Mobile is having a bit of fun at Apple’s expense. For what it’s worth I don’t think ‘funnest’ is a real word either.


Unboxing the new Google 3D Mouse

September 11, 2008

Last night we came into possession of what we believe to be a beta-release for a new kind of 3D Mouse from Google. Whilst we can’t disclose exactly who gave this (because they work at Google) it certainly raised a few eyebrows in here when we opened the package. We’ve never seen a mouse like this before and has a couple of really WOW features (check out the last image).

EDIT: Just uploaded a quick video (this was right after we took it out of the box).

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So our second unboxing in a month (*)… unfortunately we missed the opening of this box initially because it was totally unmarked so we didn’t know what was inside until we saw the mouse through the plastic …at which point we got the camera out. The mouse was well packed with inflated pouch to avoid any damage. 

Confirmed: It is green and has see through bits showing the Google logo.     

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Underside: Marked (A) is likely part of the 3D accelerometer. This lets you lift the mouse up an use it pretty much like like a Wii controller (see shot of screen below).

(B) seems to be part of the Wii-like 3D system for when you’re waving it about – yes you can actually see the yellow sensor inside moving as you move your hand.
 
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(C) – Appears to be the Biometric reader (nicely branded) and (D) seems to control all the 3D movements but doubles up as a really comfortable ergonomic gel to prevent RSI.

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Above: The mouse in action – after the mouse drivers install you get this pretty neat affect as you lift the mouse up; the cursor lifts up and becomes huge, casting a shadow on the desktop. We haven’t figured out what the use for this might be yet but it was fun.

We were a bit disappointed that the mouse is not wireless, but seeing there was no battery compartment it probably needs to get power from somewhere.

Incidentally it’s Google’s tenth birthday, and we know they love a good old joke down under 😉 …Happy Birthday Google, and thanks for the mouse – already put to good use.

Birthday wishes, @ Amnesia.


Ooyala. Video Killer or just the worst name in web history?

September 10, 2008

Ooyala. Not the first time we’ve seen a new technology stamped with “built by ex-Google people”, (recently Cuil) but hey we’ll look at anything new when it comes to online video. OK let’s start with the worst bit: What’s with that name? Did they not teach URL strategy at Google? I’ve already forgotten it three times and keep having to look at the top of the page to remind myself. Say it with me… OO YAAAA LA or something like that. Spelling it after a couple of hours at the pub could be very tricky.

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Is an adaptive bitrate the golden bullet?

Rant over, is it any good? Now there’s a stack of features on Oothingy’s site to benefit businesses and advertisers. It works with multiple serving platforms and has great analytics. Yes, that will keep a few people pretty happy as we all like more numbers to crunch, but in the recommendation age, the consumer holds a lot more power over the growth of technology platforms.

Let’s face it… every single successful web empire (eg: Facebook, Google, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr) made it there by putting the consumer first. Yes I get that this is more of a B2B offering, but remember that YouTube really killed it by allowing some groundbreaking comsumer features such as easy affiliation which made it the defacto video player for millions. Does Oojimaflip have anything that will significantly benefit the end user or content creator? OK, yes, there is one thing I did really like: the benefit of adaptive bitrate (meaning the video will fine tune itself to the users internet connection) but this is not something average users will notice if they already have a decent connection. The watermarking feature is handy for those wanting to stop their vids being shamelessly ripped. Bottom line, OOjamadoodah’s video player, appears to be a more bandwidth efficient video player with a rather nice analytics engine, but lacking in advanced social media capabilities. Let’s hope they’ll come up with some more front end features soon because the market is probably ready for someone to take the video player experience to another level.

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“Help – can someone read what the banner says underneath us? We keep forgetting our own name.”

Ooyala means cradle in Telugu, a Southern Indian language. We like the name because it demonstrates what we are doing — cradling a new form of innovation.


Newsflash – World may end on Wednesday. Internet expected to experience problems as a result.

September 10, 2008

Today, the CERN atom-smasher / particle accelerator will open for business. This will probably generate a super black hole and destroy the universe (read more here). We’ve looked into this and calculated that doomsday may also have a devastating effect on the Internet.
 
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Some of our programmers here have raised the flag that if the world is destroyed, this will cause serious problems for most ISPs leading to widespread browser failure. Experts believe that even Google’s new Chrome browser could be affected if the world is sucked into a black hole.

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Is Google worried it’s new Chrome Browser might be destroyed by CERN? Google’s homepage logo today suggests that something sucks.

Note: There is a useful test online to detect problems with CERN:
http://hasthelargehadroncolliderdestroyedtheworldyet.com/

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So, if you’re worried about the fact that you may not only be killed, but you may also be denied some higher than normal traffic to your Facebook page (quite normal when you die) you may want to go to Switzerland and form a protest group in the few days left before the serious tests begin in a month.

But if that sounds like too much trouble, just watch this video. Maybe the view count will go up and someone will notice that the world is about to end and save it:

The Particle Physics Rap. Yes it’s really bad and proof that Physics is still very very uncool.


Face Recognition of Photos in Google Picasa 3

September 3, 2008

This Tuesday Google is set to launch facial recognition in it’s photo managment software according to cnet (here).

Why is this important? Firstly Picasa (here) is still the best photo managment desktop software on the market (and it’s free). I’ve been using it for a few years, have tried all the competitor products and it wins hands down every time. Note: It’s not as social as Flickr – so I use them both.

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Picasa3 will find and sort all the photos of the same person.

Facial recognition: I have about 18,000 digital photos sitting on my drive at home. Picasa handles them all nicely – but sorting, tagging etc is a nightmare. Finding a photo of someone is a manual process – this will hopefully correct that. The idea – tag one photo of a person and Picasa will do the rest. It’s apparently not perfect – but this will be a huge jump for Picasa.

http://picasa.google.com/


Google Street View goes live in Australia

August 5, 2008

Australia has become the third country in the world to be scanned by Google’s fleet of “Googlemobiles” for the Google Street View project.

Literally thousands of kilometres of road have been scanned in order to create thousands street-level panoramas of almost anywhere in the country there’s a road.

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As you can see from the blue areas above, the coverage is staggering. If you had the time (and inclination) you could travel from one end of the country to the other.

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As staggering as it is, however, Google apparantly don’t deem Hargrave St important enough to cover. Maybe the one-way street put it in the too-hard-basket. You’ll just have to wave at us as you head down Liverpool St.

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With so many images in the system, more than are few are going to be “interesting”. For example, Gizmodo were sent the following location on Denigan St in the ACT, where it appears the Googlemobile driver decided to make a pitstop at the Erindale shopping centre.

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Expect some kind of Media Watch-style outcry about the invasion of peoples privacy, but this is information anyone can get by driving down the street. Google have taken the time to blur the faces of anyone captured in the images.

What remains to be seen is the first real commercial application of this technology that will raise it above being just a (very) cool toy.


Understanding Google’s Double Serving Ad Policy

April 30, 2008

From our global search newsletter. http://searchmarketingtrends.com/features/smtrends/17.aspx 

What is Google’s Double Serving Ad Policy?
Google’s Double Serving Ad Policy was designed to monitor the landing pages of affiliates, partners and dealers to ensure that there is a good customer experience and added value from landing page to landing page – even when everyone involved is selling the same basic thing. Google has always been concerned with the best possible user experience, so this policy comes as no surprise. Everything is viewed from the eyes of a searcher that does not understand the relationships between Company A and their partners. If from the searcher’s view there are 5 ads on a page that all appear to be Company A and offer the same basic thing, it does not create the best user experience. In fact, it will likely create confusion.

Read the rest of this entry »