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Yesterday the Official Google Blog rather quietly announced the availability of Google Calendar Sync; a program for synchronizing Google Calendar with Microsoft Outlook. Now this is something that many of us have been eagerly waiting a long time for so I have to say the rather itty-bitty post is a bit uncharacteristic… perhaps I missed the first unveiling or something?

Anyway, this update now brings Google Calendar to a new level where user adoption will increase because it now can coordinate with Outlook; the most popular email client in use today. Here is Google’s complete tutorial for setting up Google Calendar Sync.

Ahh yes, yet again Google has found a way to wiggle its way a little further into our daily lives. Read more…

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Sunday, February 24th, 2008

YouTube Offline

It appears that YouTube is having some serious problems because it has been unreachable for over an hour now. I checked with a fellow Twitterer and there is no question this is a widespread outtage.

What I find the most odd… Is there isn’t even a error page provided by Google which is highly irregular and does not bode well.

I hope you are all having a great weekend. Tomorrow I am off to Santa Clara for SMX West… I hope to see some of you there. If you want to hookup drop me a note: Ross at StepForth and that dot com thing.

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Friday, February 22nd, 2008

Today's Social Media Linkforth

Virtual gifts may be nice but Facebook is putting actual goodies behind the way to spread cheer on their social platform in the UK. A UK company is behind the application to allow easy purchasing and sharing of Mars related products on Facebook. Once being sent a real chocolate bar on Facebook you can redeem it at local UK grocers.

Business Week explains why Social Media is a great business and market research tool. Social media is essential for advertising and building your on-line presence. New technologies gather and analyse data on products and services from throughout the blogosphere, news media sources, and on-line communities. They stress the importance of monitoring your online presence and the influence of social networks. They point to Google’s “growing ability to incorporate blog posts within Web search” to show the influence of social media content on the web.

Here are ten tools that should help any company keep track of whats going on within the social media world in relation to their business. These tools help you find out who’s saying what about you and your company.

Google is cashing in on video popularity as it is testing adding video to their search results page. Google is trying to draw your eye towards video images and provide interactive advertising to their search results.

Ever wondered how social media helps already established individuals build their image. NBA all-star Steve Nash is trying his hand at LiveVideo.com, a social networking and video sharing site. It fun to watch celebs like Steve Nash and Will Ferrel build their audience through social media channels.

Over the past few days there seems to be a lot of action with Google and Mobile search. As the advancement in mobile technology continues, the major search engines are finding their place in this infant marketplace to seek out as many advertiser dollars as possible.

Google Searches Abundant on iPhones
On Wednesday, Google reported that it has seen more mobile searches by users using Apple iPhones by 50 times that of any other mobile handset, according to the Financial Times. This shows that the increasing use of mobile search will prove to be a significant source of revenue for Google and others involved in mobile search into the future, but the statistic had Google second guessing.

“‘We thought it was a mistake and made our engineers check the logs again,’ Vic Gundotra, head of Google’s mobile operations told the Financial Times at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.”

Gundotra went on to note that the number of mobile searches could outnumber that of fixed internet searches “within the next several years” if other manufactures improve the ease of web access as Apple has. Read more…

The policy at Google may not be changing regarding how they treat Display URL’s within AdWords accounts, but they are cracking down on those abusing the system. Effective April 1st of this year the display URL policy will be strictly enforced.

While the policy is relatively simple, some advertisers have found ways to abuse the system and in the light of some advertiser complaints, Google has decided to put its foot down in the act of fairness.

Barry Schwartz over at Search Engine Land has written on this in more detail and has given a few examples of acceptable and unacceptable Display URL’s, but in short, if your Display URL’s coincide with your landing page, you should have nothing to worry about.

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Monday, February 11th, 2008

Today's Social Media Linkforth

Things I found interesting while on the web today…..

Google local search has been integrated into the top of their results pages, for geographic specific searches, for some time now. However, Google recently made an adjustment expanding the number of results displayed in the OneBox / Universal Search results.

Previously when a local based search, such as “Seattle Hotels” was performed, Google would return the top 3 results, followed by the regular top 10 organic listings. With this update, now the top 10 Local results are returned to the searcher.

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Friday, February 8th, 2008

Google Introduces Social Graph API

Last week Google introduced the Google Social Graph API, a new application programming interface to allow wed developers to make better use of relationship data for social networking sites.

The new API will have a number of practical applications, with one possibility being the integration of a button to allow users to easily add friends.

Yesterday Danny Sullivan published an article over at Search Engine Land discussing Google Universal Search. In his article he discusses how Universal Search has evolved in the short time since it debuted last year.

Today Universal Search results are displayed based mostly on relevance and blended in with the natural search results. While it is very common for news, images, and other vertical search results to be displayed at the top of the page, more and more cases are being found with these being injected, or blended, right into the midst of things (for example in the #4 or #5 position, based entirely on relevance).

Universal Search does not only display results based on Google news, but also looks at videos, images, maps, and other search relevant results from Google’s various vertical search listings.

Danny goes into significant detail in outlining various examples including screen shots, showing how Local, Image, News, and Video results are blended into the normal results pages. While today we are seeing many of these verticals blended in, Video search is the most consistent. This is no surprise given that Video is appearing everywhere these days, and accounts for a large part of total internet uses (an estimated 3 billion video’s were watched in November on Google properties alone).

If you are interested in how Universal search has, and will continue to evolve over at Google, be sure to catch Danny’s Article, Google Universal Search: 2008 Edition.

As an accredited Yahoo Ambassador, I am accustomed to working with the Yahoo Search Marketing PPC system (YSM). Although YSM can be an effective means of paid advertising, its Panama system still has a ways to go and I want to share with you several of the challenges in setting up a geo-targeted campaign.

Opening an account with an address in the US or Canada, restricts you to advertising only in those markets. If you’d like to geo-target other areas of the globe, you have to use this site: Yahoo International Accounts Read more…

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