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Google

  • The secret of creating effective Google ads

    Traditional forms of advertising like TV, radio and print have pushed often irrelevant and unwanted messages out to consumers of media for over five decades -- and been paid a fortune to do so. This ineffective "spray and pray" format of advertising assumes that one in a certain number of people will buy a product or service and that if the message is disseminated far and wide enough, it will eventually lead to sufficient procurement of that product or service. Before the advent of the internet, and Google in particular, the Yellow Pages was heralded as an information searching masterstroke and...

  • Is Google a blessing or a curse for learners?

    Tara Brabazon colonised the stage at the Gartner Symposium's Innovation ITXpo at Cape Town’s International Convention Centre on Monday with a passionate plea for us all to go on a "digital diet". The eccentric, flamboyant Australian academic is the Professor of Media at the University of Brighton in England, and spoke eloquently on “information obesity”, Google, and the problems of web searches in an educational environment. Brabazon began with a food analogy, citing a study that discovered how everybody makes more than 200 food choices per day. Apparently we eat what we see, and we spend an enormous amount...

  • Make cheap phone calls from your Gmail account

    Gmail users have just received a completely new weapon to add to their arsenal of total communication: The ability to make cheap voice calls from your Gmail account to mobile phones and landlines. Before this new development, the ability to communicate using voice required both Gmail users to be logged in and sitting in front of their computers. All that has changed and the folks over at Skype must be shifting nervously in their chairs. In a bid to encourage adoption of this technology, Google have made all calls to the US and Canada free "at least until the...

  • Is the Google-Verizon proposal really a threat to net neutrality?

    The internet has been buzzing lately with talk of the threat to net neutrality posed by the proposal between Verizon and Google, which proposes a framework for regulations to ensure net neutrality, through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Although the policy is only a proposal and is not yet legally binding, it has caused uproar from net neutrality proponents. The criticism has largely been levelled at Google for selling out their cause. Google has long been a staunch advocate of net neutrality and the policy proposal has called into question whether Google’s “Do no evil” motto has finally...

  • Declining search quality: Is Google losing the battle?

    Has Google lost the battle against the companies that game its system of ranking search results? It certainly seems that way from my anecdotal usage. John Byrne, the former BusinessWeek editor seems to feel the same. He recently launched a site that looks at business schools: Poets and Quants. He published a post detailing his frustration at Google's listing of the site, or rather its failure to list the site. C-Change Media Inc.: Google? Where are you? "One of the most fascinating aspects of our debut is what Google has been able to discover, or fail to find, about the site. "...So what...

  • Employees change search rankings, says Google

    According to Richard Waters in an FT.com article (subscription required), "Groups magnify chances of Google hits". The FT articles says: "Companies with a high page rank are in a strong position to move into new markets. By 'pointing' to this new information from their existing sites they can pass on some of their existing search engine aura, guaranteeing them more prominence." The article says that this helps companies such as AOL and Yahoo as they move into the low-cost content business as "they can use their Google page rank to make sure their content floats to the top." The FT quotes Google's...

  • A few tips on understanding the relevance of ad keywords

    So you've spent a fortune on search engine marketing, but you're not getting the results that you had hoped for. You think you’ve covered all your bases and no search entries could possibly escape the broad net you’ve thrown out. Understanding how people search could be the first step to significantly improving your results. The real magic in search engine marketing lies in the user telling the search engine exactly what they are looking for: ‘pizza in Randburg’; ‘cheap flights to Paris’; ‘quality diamond rings’ – these are all things people search for on Google and they are called queries. By...

  • Google Zeitgeist: Zakumi, Vuvuzelas and the infamous Suarez moment

    The vuvuzela has certainly been one of the biggest talking points of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and has since crossed beyond South Africa's borders into other countries. Even celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio have been spotted with their lips around the plastic phenomenon. Google Zeitgeist, a service that provides insight into global, national, past and present search trends, has revealed a few surprising findings about what interests us about this World Cup. For example, some of the findings reveal that the United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates are the top countries searching for places to buy the vuvuzela, Uruguay is...

  • Is Google launching a new rival to Facebook?

    Rumours are flying on the internet that Google is about to go head-to-head with Facebook with a new social network called “Google Me”. If so, then it's a confrontation that has been a long time coming between the two heavyweights of the modern internet. Their rivalry dates back to one of the first big public blows to Google. Back in 2007, the search engine giant was working on a large investment deal to partner with Facebook. But the deal, instead of going to Google, ended up going to Microsoft, who bought 1.6 percent of Facebook with a $240-million investment. Since...

  • Why are Google’s new services failing?

    Google has had a long string of failures. It encourages its engineers to spend 20% of their time developing side projects but when those projects reach launch stage, their take-off is nearly always very disappointing. Take a look at some of Google's failures. Colin Gibbs reporting on GigaOM: Google Lively was a web-based virtual environment that allowed as many as 20 people to sit in a virtual room and chat with each other. The offering debuted in July 2008 only to have Google pull the plug a mere four months later. Google Print Ads was dropped earlier this year after the company's vision of...

  • A few reasons why Google TV won’t succeed

    Google has been pretty busy in the first half of 2010, and one of their new products, dubbed Google TV, is an ambitious play into merging new media with mass media. In the words of the internet giant: “Google TV is a new experience for television that combines the TV that you already know with the freedom and power of the Internet. With Google Chrome built in, you can access all of your favorite websites and easily move between television and the web. But will Google TV succeed? Firstly, almost every feature that you can find in Google TV is already present...

  • Google battles Apple for worldwide OS dominance

    The New York Times reported yesterday that Apple has overtaken Microsoft as the world's most valuable technology company. According to the report, "as of Wednesday, Wall Street valued Apple at $222.12 billion and Microsoft at $219.18 billion". This represents an incredible turnaround for Apple, a company that was floundering a decade ago. But, in the wake of recent well-publicised reports about the speed with which the Android OS is catching on, it would seem that Apple needs to worry more about Google than they do about Microsoft. Leading mobile advertising company, AdMob, indicated that in April Google was...

  • A basic guide to AdWords and search

    The highest proportion of a marketing budget is typically spent on offline media advertising, the interruptions during your favourite TV show, or the print ads in magazines. Most companies still spend up to 98% on advertising that doesn't show them a direct return on investment (ROI). And by that, I mean a direct correlation between marketing budget spent and actual consumers purchasing the specifically advertised product. Offline advertising is a dinosaur in an age driven by analytics and people buying what they are looking for. In South Africa, the amount of people using the internet grew by 15% last year...

  • Google ad share disclosure is as clear as mud

    Google has made a big deal out of disclosing how much money it shares with website publishers hosting its AdSense advertisements. "In the spirit of greater transparency," wrote Neal Mohan, Vice President, Product Management, he revealed that the search giant pays publishers 68% of advertising revenues around content, and 51% for ads related to search. However, some large publishers, such as the New York Times receive a larger share -- some have received 100%. So what does this revenue share percentage represent? As one commenter on the official Adsense blog wrote: I didn't get from the article how they came to that 68%...

  • Google TV – So What?

    I can't get excited by Google TV because no matter how fine the box is, no matter how great the wired and wireless connectivity, or the user interface, at the end of the day it's all about how good is the content and not about how good is the box. Who controls the best content? It's the distributors. It's the major TV and cable channels. Do people rave about how great their TV is? They rave about "Lost," "American Idol," they rave about content first. The geek community is the only community that raves about the specs of a box. That...