Social Media News Update

Kids are getting out of school, your workmates are going on vacation and you might be planning to travel this summer. How better to keep in touch than by social media?

And to make social media even more useful, Facebook has purchased Instagram for a cool billion. Instagram lets you share photos with your friends, so perhaps they have a key technology that Facebook wants to own. After all, you can already email, Dropbox, message and Tweet photos for your friends, let alone share them on Facebook. A billion dollars for something you can do almost anywhere?

So maybe it’s not more useful for Facebook to do that. But they are making more money off advertisers. And Google continues to work on improving Google + with changes designed to make using the service easier.

Pair, on the other hand, is a social network that only exists for couples. It’s currently valued at $10 million – and again – there is very little that Pair does that you couldn’t do with other social networking services if you just changed a few account settings.

What’s Google To Do?

I’d have to agree that Google needs to clarify its vision and then pursue projects that fit in the vision. What do electric cars have to do with a search engine?

The only way I can explain all this stuff that Google has is that Google’s vision is to get people using Google for everything. The “FaceGoogle” thing didn’t quite work out and we’ll see where “GoogleCoupons” will go, but otherwise most people willingly use most of Google’s products. “Google” is now a verb, after all.

The linked article mentions constricting Google’s focus to Search and Android. That’s probably where the bulk of R&D resources should go, I agree. Unfortunately, I think the company focus used to be on search but is now really all about advertising.

So anything that gets a Google platform in front of people is going to be able to display an ad. To maximize the user’s length of time on Google, transferring between all of the active Google products/apps you can use should be seamless.

Whether it’s Gmail or Blogger or whatever, you should be able to access all your Google stuff from one login. I might be logged into Google, for example, but when I go to YouTube, I have to click to sign in – and then it picks up on the fact that oh yes, I am already signed into Google.

Even if that should get accomplished, the next thing is to put it all in a structure. When you go to Google and sign in, you then have to click “Settings” to find all your Google apps. There is plenty of room on the blank search page to have the apps you use all displayed there, for instance. Even if you don’t like my way of doing things, I’m sure you’d agree that “Settings” is not a synonym for apps or utilities. The interface is clunky and with all the brainpower at Google, SOMEBODY there should be able to streamline the process of actually using Google products. Search can also be configured to take better advantage of app integration.

(Yes, yes – I understand enough about all these programs coming from totally different code bases, languages and databases. It’s not as easy as just saying “hook them all up” but then again, it’s not impossible to do.)

More important than the user interface, the Google apps can be sorted into useful categories of common use – OR – let the user do that instead of just listing everything. Someone will likely think to mention that a Google homepage can already be set up to accommodate everything I am discussing.

But it can’t. There isn’t enough practical screen real estate for what most people would use, let alone power users. A little organization can go a long way to keep people on Google and using Google apps and seeing those ads.

And don’t think you wouldn’t see Google ads in those electric cars, should they ever really take off.

5 Hour Special Update

Edit: As of 12/31/10, the 5 Hour Special below has been discontinued. Thank you to my new clients!

For those of you who need work done, you can contract my services through my Standard Pricing page.

I want to run a 5 Hour Special, starting today.

For $99.00, I will make changes to your website(s) for up to 5 hours of work. Adding links, changing background colors and the like only take minutes, so it’s a good deal and might last you a good part of the year. I’ll keep you updated after every change with the time you have left remaining. (For those hosting on some other server, I will need your logins to access the site’s files.)

I normally would charge $75 an hour but I’d like to help those of you who need changes done but don’t want to pay big money for little changes. This is an opportunity for you to get your site adjusted quickly and cheaply.

This special is only available for a limited time, so contact me today at my email address or by phone at (518) 882-3065. For those who wish to get started right away, here is the handy PayPal button:

Tech News 12-2-10

Welcome to Today’s Tech News…

The European Union is investigating how Google displays its search results to favor its own services over competitors. Google has claimed that it is not doing that purposely but rather that these competitor websites are not up to Google’s web page standards and therefore not ranking well.

A few days ago, the news was all full of the “Yeller” who mistreated random customers to gain better Google rankings. or for more details. Webmaster sites were all discussing how to take advantage of this trend when Google added another factor in its ranking algorithm to eliminate this.

Google is also offering local web advertising. They call it their Boost program.

Here’s a nice selling point article on why you need both a website and social media. It uses a handy turn of phrase “Destination Web and Social Web”

Speaking of Social Media, Twitter is expanding itself to be an official news site.

Then there was an example of how one brand made great use of Social Media.

Also, here’s an article on how some companies have responded to customer outrage they found on Social Media.

And here are some ways businesses can take advantage of Social Media and their Web Site:

We’re just out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and all reports say that shopping was up around 28%, which is great. Another way they measured results from the Holiday Shopping period was by recording the flow of traffic from orbit.

New York State is in court with Amazon over the collection of sales tax from New York residents. It’s always been my understanding that Amazon is based in Seattle, so any taxes would be paid according to Seattle’s rates. Perhaps I am wrong about that.

In another legal wrangle, the FTC wants companies to provide an opt-out for users who don’t want targeted ads.

Among other uses of QR codes, Google is sending out window decals to a business’ Place Page. This article mentions that and other ways to use QR codes.

And to use those QR codes, you need a smart phone. It turns out that women want iPhones and men want Android phones.

That’s a lot of news.

For anyone having trouble with their iPad/iPod/iPhone 4.2.1 Update…

Lots of people are having trouble with the 4.2 update installing. I myself had trouble with errors 9 and 14 where it would basically download the update file, then either give a connection error or a corrupted file error and a frozen iPad.

You can go ask for help at the Apple Store, if you have a current Care Plan. If you don’t (like I don’t) you could spend several hours searching the Apple site for answers. And then the internet at large.

At some point, you might stumble across this iPad update support page on the Apple site. And maybe you can try all that stuff – and maybe one of those parlor tricks will solve your problem.

But say you’re like me and you did all that just to get the same errors and the iPad keeps freezing. It just will not upload the update. Then you can try following these automatic and/or manual updating instructions and downloading the update file.

And if you’re having the same problem as I had, then none of that will work either.

The problem I had was a bad hardware connector between the iPad and the USB cord. The update went through just fine as long as THE USB CORD WAS HELD FIRMLY AGAINST THE iPAD. It took almost 20 minutes for the update file to process, set itself up on the iPad and then double check itself. So be prepared for the numb hand effect.

By the time I had this figured out, things had naturally progressed to the point of having to wipe the iPad clean and then restore it. Warning: the save-first-backup did not save all the Apps. Books and movies had to be re-downloaded as well. It did save the iPhoto images, though.