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According to the FCC has approved a proposal by Google to utilize unused television airwaves for wireless internet access. Approved by a vote of 5-0 yesterday, this will ultimately allow for free Wi-Fi web access, especially in rural areas.

Any devices built to access the free wireless web will be required to utilize anti-interference technology, and makers of such devices will need to obtain FCC certification for each product. Read more…

ICANN has recently approved a proposal to expand the availability of top level domains to virtually unlimited levels – at least if your pockets are deep enough.

On Monday the Wall Street Journal reported that businesses, or even individuals with money to burn will be able to apply for top level domain names using just about anything they want as the suffix.

What this means is, rather than the usual .com, or .ca extensions, companies could purchase the rights to brand name extensions such as “.google”, or “.ebay”, or if I was given a hefty raise and felt the need, I could spend a half million dollars and register “www.scott.vanachte”, (although I am not sure what I would do with such a pricey piece of online real estate).

Don’t get too excited however, according to ICANN it could be upwards of two years before the new domains are released, and with these vanity domains going for as much as a half million dollars, we are likely to only see them used by the big corporations until prices come down.

Google Docs logoIf you’ve been swayed away from your Microsoft Office products and are now a frequent user of Google Docs you may be interested to know that a select few users will now have offline access to their Google Docs files, as Google begins rolling out their offline editing access.

On Monday Google announced in the Official Google Docs Blog the upcoming functionality to their software. The big push came with requiring the ability to work on your documents when on an airplane, commuting to work, or when your home internet access goes down. Read more…

Over the past couple years it has been impossible to avoid the buzz about images and their increasing role in search; such as universal search which is becoming commonplace among the major search engines. But universal search is only the most prevalent news and only the baby-steps of a new format of search that is about to take over the Internet. Do I have your interest piqued? I will now lay the foundation of my statement to hopefully get you as excited as I am about this unstoppable search evolution.

Evidence 1) Photosynth
If you have any technology mavens as friends it is likely you saw this incredible video presented by Microsoft at the TED conference last year discussing Photosynth. To quote Microsoft Lab’s Photosynth home page this software

takes a large collection of photos of a place or an object, analyzes them for similarities, and then displays the photos in a reconstructed three-dimensional space, showing you how each one relates to the next. In our collections, you can access gigabytes of photos in seconds, view a scene from nearly any angle, find similar photos with a single click, and zoom in to make the smallest detail as big as your monitor.” Read more…

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…

Expect QDOS (taken from ‘kudos’) to be on the lips of many over the next year. QDOS is a method to monitor and measure your own Internet popularity and, in the longer run, help you secure your online persona from identity theft.

Currently running in Beta in the UK, QDOS is planning to launch in North America in this first quarter of 2008. So how does QDOS calculate Internet status?

Read more…

Have you ever come across a blog, forum, or other interactive site where you only wanted to post a single comment and then move on, only to be forced into registering and providing all your info, and finally saying, forget it?

Yahoo would like to put an end to this through the use of OpenID according to a TimesOnline report Thursday. OpenID is a system that allows internet users the ability to use a single login across multiple websites.

OpenID has been around for a while now and currently has more than 130 million subscribers, but to date, none of the biggest web properties have embraced its services.

“Raj Mata, director of memberships at Yahoo!, said: “This is another step forward for the open web. It is a hassle for users to have to log in to different sites. Often you have to register an account with a site – which you won’t remember – just to post a comment. We think this reduces the barrier to entry.”

While I for one can see the massive benefits of a single log in system giving access to all your favorite sites, I can also see the potential security nightmare. It doesn’t take a programmer or security expert to know that a system like this is probably not without its holes, especially if used on a wide scale.

“The whole thing is fantastically dangerous until you can introduce cryptographic methods which ensure that the whole procedure is not phishable,” Ben Laurie, an independent security expert, said.

While Yahoo noted that all relevant security issues have been addressed with the latest version of the OpenID protocol, time will tell if the initiative will be a success.

Monday, January 21st, 2008

Google Increases Video Share

According to a recent CNN Money report published Thursday, more than 75% of American web users viewed at least one video online with an overall average time spent of 3.25 hours per person.

Google, during November, held on to a 31.3% market share when it comes to video services including YouTube and Google Video, which is a 2% increase over stats for the month of October.

With a total of 9.5 billion videos viewed back in November, and nearly 3 billion of these on Google properties, it is a wonder why Google has not yet capitalized on the money making opportunities these massively popular sites provide. While a variety of ideas have been put out there such as pop-ups & pre and post roll ads, very little has been done to date.

I suppose it is just a matter of time and as video popularity continues to grow on the web, ads will become an unavoidable reality, so we may as well enjoy it as is, while it lasts.

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Successful Online Sales Approaches

Andy Beal’s Marketing Pilgrim has a great article today by Janet Meiners that discussed a couple of winning sales approaches that are definitely worth sharing:

  1. An offline social shopping experience at Bloomingdales that was chosen by Time Magazine as one of 2007’s best inventions. Created by IconNicholson this innovative concept highlights the use of text messaging, shared video, and virtually trying on clothes to aid shopping in the real world. This concept is extremely very interesting and I imagine there are ways to apply this concept to many different offline marketplaces. If you think of a way to adapt it to yours please keep me (ross at stepforth dot com) informed; I would love to see how it turns out for you.
  2. The article also noted some recent research from SellPoint that suggests audio/video tours of products can increase time spent on site and ultimately translate into more sales. SellPoint happens to sell services offering audio/video tours so I would take this info with a grain of salt, however, as a consumer I have to admit I am a huge proponent of these types of interactive product tours so I feel this data is worth passing on.

So there you are… just a couple of notes I thought I would share before I account for a couple of great seminars I attended at PubCon Las Vegas last week. Have an excellent evening!

Friday, November 30th, 2007

Google GDrive

If you have been looking for online storage to either back up your computer, or simply need some supplemental space for your large collection of photos or digital music, Google’s new GDrive service may be of use to you.

Google GDrive... for Real?!?

The talk of Google GDrive has been around for a while now, but could it actually be on its way finally? Tuesday morning the Wall Street Journal published an article on the future Google service. Read more…