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  • Google changes search formula to be more astute

    Google has decided to change its secret search formula in the United States to be more discerning when it comes to which websites are worth recommending and which should sink in the rankings. The move announced late last week was part of an ongoing duel between the search titan and low-quality websites that feature only content copied from elsewhere on the internet or use techniques to trick their way high in results. "Many of the changes we make are so subtle that very few people notice them," Google principal engineer Matt Cutts and Google fellow Amit Singhal said in a blog...

  • Oscars 2.0: The social media experience

    It's now common to watch a big event on TV with either a cellphone or laptop in hand. There is no getting away from the social media experience of such events -- be it among your Twitter following or Facebook friends. The Oscars tapped into the social media frenzy last year. Social media played a major role in generating buzz for the broadcast, according to a report from LA-based social marketing agency Fanscape. According to Fanscape there were more than 100 000 tweets per hour during the actual awards ceremony. That’s nearly 40% more than the 2010 Super Bowl...

  • Supersport fires rugby commentator for ‘improper tweeting’

    Respected rugby pundit and former Western Province prop Andrew "Tank" Lanning has been fired as a Supersport rugby commentator for a series of tweets he sent while attending a commentary workshop on Wednesday. In a statement Supersport explains that "Lanning chose to tweet regarding various confidential matters pertaining to both SuperSport and SA rugby". The tweets contained information about subscriber and viewer numbers of recent rugby games. But Lanning disagrees, claiming the offending tweets contained comments about rugby management and the way players are managed during a World Cup year. He believes that the broadcaster "completely over-reacted". Lanning claims the...

  • Social media in China: The same, but different

    Much has been written of late about the Chinese government’s efforts to control and censor the internet. The government’s censorship of websites is an important issue, but it is not the top priority of the country’s 420-million internet users (netizens). Their top priority? Connecting with other Chinese online. The internet has opened access to information for ordinary Chinese citizens in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago. Coming from a world where information was pre-filtered by editors at state-run media, China’s internet is freewheeling by comparison. Quick Glance Chinese internet users are actively engaging in social media—especially home-grown social...

  • The 9 most engaging Facebook Pages

    What do the game of poker, a dead pop icon, a woman who travels in a large egg, and a little boy with a large head and English accent have in common? They all top the Facebook Page leader board in terms of "Likes". It takes less than a second to like a Page, but do you go back to read, comment, share and participate? I took a look at the engagement and content scores of these Pages using SocialBakers.com and personally visited the Pages to see how the top Facebook pages engage with their users. ...

  • Google Zeitgeist reveals where Oscar interest really lies

    It's the moment we've all been waiting for - glitz, glam, tears and gold statues. Get your box of popcorn ready and read on as Google reveals what internet users worldwide have been searching for ahead of the prestigious Academy Awards ceremony this Sunday. Darren Aronofsy's psychological drama Black Swan comes out tops as the most popular search amongst 'Best Picture' nominees, according to Google Zeitgeist, a tool that provides insights into web search trends. The thriller is followed by the Coen brothers' True Grit, The Fighter, The Social Network and The Kings Speech. Natalie Portman, who won the Golden...

  • Internet on your TV: What’s all the fuss about?

    South African mobile operators Vodacom and MTN have just launched competing products that allow you to surf the internet from your TV. Vodacom’s Webbox costs R749 and allows users to browse the web, SMS and send emails using the simple keyboard and interface. MTN’s InternetOnTV costs R999 but includes more features, like a built-in phone, a high-speed modem and a computer mouse. Both services let you connect by inserting a prepaid SIM card into your device – you browse the web by buying "airtime" that converts to internet data. So, why are these products so revolutionary? Quite simply, connecting to...

  • Slicing and dicing with Google’s ‘Recipe View’

    Google recently added 'Recipe View' to its search menu as a way for people to easily find instructions for whipping up dishes in the kitchen. "My parents follow the art of cooking by intuition, where the right amount of each spice is measured out by gut feel, but that's never worked very well for me," Google product manager Kavi Goel said while introducing Recipe View, on Thursday. "As a math geek and computer engineer, I prefer to work with concrete numbers and instructions, including when cooking." Recipe View allows you to narrow your search results to show only recipes. This new view...

  • 2011 Budget Speech: Tracking the online conversation

    South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan delivered his 2011 Budget Speech on Wednesday afternoon. BrandsEye, an Online Reputation Management service tracked the online conversation surrounding the speech to come up with a balanced appraisal of volumes and trending topics. It found that 97% of the conversation came from consumers – showing significant engagement by ordinary people in their personal capacity. Considering that there was no celebrity-inspired stunt driving online conversation as was the case with President Jacob Zuma’s 2011 State of the Nation Address, this is a considerable amount of unadulterated online conversation for a single event measured over two...

  • Google’s US$2.7-million fund is open for the taking

    Internet search giant Google has awarded US$2.7-million to media watchdog, the International Press Institute (IPI) as part of a new project to support digital news in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. The cash injection will back the IPI News Innovation Contest, which is set to provide grants to non-profit and for-profit organisations "working on digital, including mobile, open-source technology created by journalists and/or for journalists and distributed in the public interest.” Ahead of the announcement Luke Mckend, a Google executive for Africa, spoke to memeburn in an exclusive interview. He affirmed the creation of local content will be...

  • Africa is the fastest growing Facebook continent

    Africa may not have the numbers of Facebook users that more developed continents do, but the continent is rising fast. According to Facebook-analysis site, Socialbakers.com, the number of users on the continent grew by over 27% in the last three months, and by over 50% in the last six months. Reasons for the rapid growth in Facebook use are not given but the deepening penetration of mobile devices, a growth in disposable income and the unprecedented political upheavals in the the north of the continent are all possible reasons that have contributed to this rise. The uprising in Egypt...

  • Palestinian PM reaches out to the youth via Facebook

    Activists across the Middle East are using Facebook to bring down regimes, but Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad is using the site to seek input on his new government. Using his Facebook page, where he provides his slant on political developments and news, Fayyad is asking Palestinians to describe what they want from a new government, and who they want to see in the cabinet. Fayyad and his ministers quit last week as part of a planned reshuffle that saw Fayyad immediately reappointed and tasked by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas with forming a new government. He has pledged to consult widely within...

  • Vicus: The story of a YouTube & social media quest

    On Tuesday morning, Memeburn broke the news that we had tracked down the original YouTube viral video featuring Vicus. The events that took place in the days that followed our original post have since given us insight into the competitive world of online talent search, and what viral really means in a developing country like South Africa. The earliest copy of Vicus' video on YouTube was uploaded by Caldwell Caster in May 2010, but it was only subsequent copies of Caldwell's video that went viral. In total there were four copies of Vicus' video on YouTube and the most popular...

  • Mobile marketing and mCommerce is where the money is moving

    Quality mobile marketing research has evolved well over the past two years, allowing individuals and companies to take advantage of the mobile space at an unprecedented rate. There is now a standard definition also offered by the Mobile Marketing Association. It is "a set of practices that enables organizations and businesses to communicate and engage with their audience in an interactive and relevant manner through any mobile device or network". While half a billion people accessed mobile internet worldwide in 2009, usage is projected to double within five years. It’s a simple truth that mobile is overtaking the PC...

  • Gears of War 3 finally gets a release date

    Get your calendar out, get a pen, and mark the 20th September 2011 as the day when Gears of War 3, this year’s biggest blockbuster title, launches worldwide. Gears of War 3 is the glorious conclusion to one of the most memorable sagas in video games’ history and this is a date you certainly don’t want to miss. The story takes place eighteen months after the events of Gears of War 2 and the loss of the human stronghold of Jacinto. Marcus, Baird, Dom and company continue their fight to save human civilization, as they battle the Locust and...