Supporting Scottish Ballet

Perfect Storm is proud to continue to sponsor dancer Vassilissa Levtonova. Storm ID and Perfect Storm have had a relationship with Scottish Ballet for 2 years, with PS delivering in-kind digital marketing projects. Storm ID created the site at:

Vassilissa Levtonova, sponsored by Perfect Storm

Shooting new ICS Bebo campaign today

Holly from Perfect Storm and Steven from ICS have been in Bournemouth today with Bebo shooting a brand new campaign due to launch next week. It’s all top secret, but will be a fully integrated online campaign. Watch this space for further info. Here are some of Holly’s pics taken over the course of the day….

Perfect Storm Bebo Campaign Shoot

Perfect Storm Bebo Campaign Shoot

Perfect Storm Bebo Shoot in Bournemouth

Perfect Storm Bebo Shoot in Bournemouth

ICS Student on Bebo shoot

Google Caffiene – Matt Cutts Explains

Google Caffeine has now been open to the public for a number of months now, with Google allowing users to test the new developments to the search engine and provide feedback.

For those that don’t know “Google Caffeine” as it has become known is the next-generation architecture for Google’s web search. In the biggest Google upgrade since the early 2000’s the new change to the algorithm will increase indexing speed, accuracy, and overall comprehensiveness. Perhaps more significantly is that although the algorithm will change the look and feel of Google will remain the same. Regular users probably won’t notice significant changes, but comparisons sites have been created for users to understand how the algorithm could potential evaluate pages.

Initial feedback has been positive, however, one the fundamental question remains, will the new changes to the algorithm have an impact on rankings? At a recent SEO event in the USA, Matt Cutts at Google, caught with WebProNews to answer those remaining concerns about the algorithm upgrade;

Google Fast Flip – Google Flips News on Its Head

Google today announced at the TechCrunch 50 event a new Google Lab project called “Fast Flip”. The new project is specifically related to news and how Google displays news results.

Google Fast Flip offers users the ability to search on specific topics; most searched news and featured recommendations. The new interface is exampled below;

Google Fast Flip - News User Interface

Although initially the images are small, once clicked on the images can zoom in and full articles can be read. Google Fast Flip also offers the ability to click through to the content source URL. Google Fast Flip is significantly changing the user face of news and how we source news content, by offering a fast accurate scrolling or flipping function, users have many news topics and stories available to them without the constant clicking through one story, going back and clicking through another.

Once again Google is demonstrating the importance of visuals when designing or creating web pages; website that have appealing visuals with their news stories will benefit most from Google Fast Flip. The user interaction is also captured by Google Fast Flip, users can now rate the content, and the “like” function commonly associated with Facebook is now available as well as the ability to distribute virally. Google Fast Flip will also begin to develop and learn your user profile and behaviours and will return results based how you have previously searched.

This idea of Google Fast Flip could potentially cause outrage with many news publishers due to the Fast Flip offering considerably more content that Google News. However, Google Fast Flip is an opt-in service, so only the content provided by publishers that agree to the service will be found in searches. Google have been smart in terms of luring in publishers, they will offer a shared revenue concept from adverts shown running alongside their content on search pages. Already Google have established high profile partners, including, Business Week, BBC and New York Times, and this list is continue to grow.

Google has also embraced the world of mobile technology by offering an optimised mobile version of “Google Fast Flip”. The unique display structure of news, the ability to interact with users and the ability for viral distribution make Google Fast Flip a revolutionary concept for news. If successful and embraced by users, this project could change how other News Channels structure their news and indeed how news publishers product online content.

Bing Visual Search

Visual search will now become a feature of the Microsoft Bing Search Engine. Using the Microsoft Silverlight browser-based media player, Bing Visual Search will change the way it currently presents the images of results.

The unveiling of Bing Visual Search will give users the options of images, but will also allow you to scroll through them and refine your search by eliminating them. In order for Bing Visual Search to successfully run on the Bing search engine users must first download and install the Microsoft Silverlight player.
The ideal of Visual Search is not new, with Bing and Google currently using the process, however, the difference with Microsoft Visual Search is how the images are presented to the users. Below is a video demonstration on how Microsoft Bing Visual Search will look.

Microsoft Bing is now embracing that visuals are a core element is users search behaviours. Microsoft has decided to focus on core groups such as travel and shopping, and have targeted specific domains. Microsoft Bing Visual Search is only now in its Beta stage, with no official date of when it will become available. However, inside word from Microsoft is clear that this is only the beginning in a new wave of new developments from Microsoft as they look to break the online dominance of Google.

Google News – New Search Suggestions Function

Just over a year ago Google added the search suggestion function to the main Google search engine. Google Suggestions communicates with Google and comes back with the suggestions on your chosen subject.

Google suggestions can be more effective if have a Google Account and have Web History enabled, suggestions are drawn from searches you’ve done, searches done by users all over the world, sites in our search index, and ads in our advertising network. Below is how the function looks when searching;

Google Main Search Engine Search Suggestions Function

Google add search suggestions to search function

The purpose of the search suggestion function is to give this user alternative options to their original search requirements. Following the success of this function with the main search engine, Google have now introduced the same function to Google News; below is how the function appears on the Google News UK;

Google News Search Suggestions Function

google news search suggestion function

Google News Suggestions are now offering users suggestions that are actually tailored to news-like queries. This is providing the user with a greater options of search choices and highlight keywords or stories associated to a particular subject.

Gmail Down – The answer to Gmails downtime.

In the wake of the recent disruption to Twitter, Gmail today experienced a similar fate, with the service going down. Unlike Twitter, Gmail is a key source of communication and a primary email source for millions of users globally. For those Gmail users today has been a day of disruption with users unable to access any of Gmails functions.

So what happened?

A complete shut down of Gmail services should be avoidable as Google have thousands of mail servers that replicate emails and distribute workload from any servers that have encountered any issues. They also have request servers that route requests for email to the appropriate server. However, the issue today was Google were performing routine maintenance on the regular email servers, causing an overload to the request servers, causing a complete shutdown. Google underestimated the load these changes would place on the routers when it took a relatively small number of servers offline for upgrades.

The official Google Blog indicated;

“about 12:30 pm Pacific a few of the request routers became overloaded and in effect told the rest of the system “stop sending us traffic, we’re too slow!”. This transferred the load onto the remaining request routers, causing a few more of them to also become overloaded, and within minutes nearly all of the request routers were overloaded. As a result, people couldn’t access Gmail via the web interface because their requests couldn’t be routed to a Gmail server. IMAP/POP access and mail processing continued to work normally because these requests don’t use the same routers.”

The shut down caused an online panic,with twitter recorded 20,000 “Gmail Down” results in only the first few minutes of the discovery.

Back to normal, for now?

Full service has now resumed and Google has now increased its request router capacity well beyond peak demand. Although 2 hours of downtime is not the end of the world, it does highlight that Gmail could have potential flaws and with its user base expanding, could more underestimations cause a repeat of today. Google are now under pressure to ensure that such events do not happen again.