Posts Tagged ‘ Google ’

Google to withdraw from China?

Google has announced that it may cease operating its site due to a highly sophisticated cyber attack originating in the country. Google

The attack on Google was directed towards the Gmail accounts of known Chinese Human Rights Activists.   Perpetrators were only able to access limited information including, initiation of the account and email subject matters, no email content was accessed.  This co-ordinated attack also led to the discovery of other phishing scams and malware being placed on the users of Gmail accounts in US, China and Europe, which again targeted “advocates of human rights in China” has been subject to severe censorship enforced by the Chinese Government, working closely with censorship officials; Google has established a strong position within the Chinese search engine market; however this move will have major Google shareholders concerned, with substantial revenues at stake.

So how will this impact Google and other search engines?

The Search Engine Market in China is worth around $1 billion dollars, with Google predicted to make $600 million 2010. currently sits number 2 in China behind Chinese search engine Baidu, which forms the closest relationship with Chinese Government around areas of censorship.

The Chinese search engine market is competitive and is subject to strict censorship laws; however the financial gains if successful are substantial. The decision from the world’s biggest search engine to withdraw will inevitably cause other search engines to revaluate their position.   This is a bold move by Google; however, will they follow through? Or is an attempt to get the Chinese Government to form a stronger alliance with the world’s number 1 search engine. Watch this space……

Julie Ferguson, Organic Search

The importance of online driving offline

Online is obviously one of the most important channels of our lifetime and it is a channel in which I have worked for just about most of my career. Online is fab – it is completely transparent – you know who is doing what, when, and how much it costs. That’s why I love it – all of it! Every single online channel is just exiciting and interesting – if we do it this way, will our audience respond? Let’s change it and see if they respond more. How did we generate best response the last time? What did we learn? It’s a constant test and learn ethos that we apply to everything.

Recent stats from IAB tell us that just about every channel is on the decline, apart from online (and mobile):
* Online adspend in H1 2009 reached £1,752.1m
* Spending on internet advertising grew by 4.6% (on a like for like basis) when compared with H1 2008
* Online’s share has grown to 23.5% for H1 2009, 18.7% for H1 2007
This make online the UK’s single biggest advertising medium.

So, we know online is an ever expanding treasure trove of ways to interact and generate business, but what about offline?
For some of our clients, online also plays a big role in generating offline actions – such as brochure requests (though online download is preferred, some just like to flick through a brochure with a nice cuppa), call back requests etc.

We track all offline actions that are generated from online. How do we do this? Clients that have call centre teams also usually have access to many inbound telephone numbers to which campaign codes can be attributed. Now this has been the case for years and the first major client I implemented this additional tracking for was way back in 2003. Nowadays it’s just as important.

PPC, online ad placement, emails – can all have dynamic numbers associated. What that means is this – say you are in Google and you search for a specific product, you then are presented with a list of paid and natural results. If we are doing our job correctly, we should see some ‘double hitting’ – i.e. good PPC listing and a good SEO listing. So, you click on the paid listing (PPC), you click through to our client site and find out more about the product you were interested in.

It’s a bit of an investment for you so rather than sign up online at this point, you’d like to chat about the options available. You look around the site and see at the top of the page a local call or a freephone number. Great, I’ll give them a call you say. So when you make that call, the number is logged on the reporting system as being generated from Google. When the lead or hopefully sale is made, it is attributed to Google PPC spend and overall cost per sale from search spend. If you had clicked through from Bing, Yahoo, a site we were running content and ads on, an email, voucher code – wherever you happened to come to the site from – likelihood is, we’d have applied a dynamic number to it. So when you click, the number changes so we know where you came from online, even if the sale or action is completed offline. Easy to set up and the data we get from it is vital to the refinement of the ongoing activity.
We have also found that reducing PPC spend or other activity, can really impact on leads and sales being generated offline. So even if there is a seasonal trend expected where online sales dip, don’t just pull back on spend, as this can really effect offline activity too if you are clever enough to have it tied to your online activity in the first place that is!

If you are interested in any of what I’ve said, get in touch or indeed let me know your thoughts. Thanks for reading!

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.

“Going Google” – Google on the Offensive

Google have hit back at Microsoft with the new announcement of “Going Google”. This is the latest twist in the ongoing battle for computing domination between Google and Microsoft. “Going Goggle” is a new promotional campaign from Google targeting business users to switch from Microsoft Office to Google Online Apps.

Google announced the new campaign on their official blog and have targeted specific functions of Microsoft that cannot compete with Google Apps, functions such as cloud computing. With the launch Microsoft’s own version of a cloud app a long way off, Google have reacted in a bid to lure MS business users to Google Apps.

Google online apps currently command over 1.5 worldwide business users, although this is minuscule in comparison to Microsoft’s large business user base. Google hopes to be able to encourage users to switch over with targeted promotional campaigns across offline and online channels.

“Going Google Campaign”

Each day “Going Google” will launch billboard messages across highways in San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Boston, each message will be different displaying the Google Apps messages; this is expected to run over a 4 week period. As well as offline, viral online campaigns are also key with the Google Blog offering the users the opportunity to “tweet their story”, the tweet already carries an auto-populated #gonegoogle hashtag. This is just one of the various activities Google are promoting, with even the offer of free “Google Goodies” when business users complete the switch over or spread the word.

Google are so serious about their new campaign that they are now launching “Going Google” website, where business employees can access fliers and emails to spread the word and encourage employers to initiate the switch over.

“Going Google” – Success or Failure”

Google are using opinion to drive the “Going Google” campaign and this is to their advantage as they are once again creating an online stir. Google are simply highlighting all the functions that businesses want from their applications; low cost, efficiency and accessibility. With this, they are aggressively targeting the flaws of Microsoft products and enforcing the strengths of the Google Products.

At this stage it’s difficult to estimate what the success of the campaign will be, but it is clear that Google will continue to promote and battle for online supremacy. Already in full swing the Google PR machine will continue to rage on with new and innovate campaigns targeting the flaws of Microsoft and I can see this one raging on until Google has in fact convinced the worlds business users to “Go Google”.


Microsoft Web Based Applications hits back at Google

With the recent announcement of Google Chrome OS, Microsoft has hit back by announcing a free web-based version of its Office Software.

Office 2010 will include versions of Word, Excel PowerPoint and OneNote when Microsoft releases it next year. Similar to Google Docs, Office 2010 will be a direct competitor to the dominance of Google in web based applications. The announcement from Microsoft is underpinning the importance of web based applications to the future direction of the tech giant. With Bing, Microsoft’s version of a search engine already in full effect, the web is now a burning priority for Microsoft.

With over a half billion customers worldwide, Microsoft have an audience that is ready to listen, but will these applications fulfill the online needs of the users? The vision behind the Office web based applications is functionality and quality, Microsoft will not sacrifice on these ethics and the web based applications will carry the same high standard as the static Office Software.

So will there be Implications for Microsoft?
Well, Office 2010 will be available to over 400 million customers who are already embracing the Windows Live application; they will have access to Office Web Applications with no additional cost. This could lead to revenue loses, with Microsoft potentially set to lose around $4 billion from the free Web Based Applications.

Although there will be losses in revenue, for Microsoft the most important factor will be that users continue to use the Microsoft products. Office is essential to Microsoft and this is a new avenue for users to access Office Applications. Microsoft has woken up to the threat of Google and with the threat of the “cloud” to Microsoft’s course business it has chosen to embrace it rather ignore it. Already Microsoft hope to have the Office Web Based Applications online with testers at the end of 2009, with the final version ready for the first half of 2010.

Microsoft v Google, the tech war continues
Both tech giants have made announcements in the last 7 days that reinforces that both intend cross into each others turf as both strive for online domination.

The world expected an announcement from Microsoft in response to the Google Chrome OS, however suggestions have been made the Google’s announcement was actually to beat Microsoft to the punch. Microsoft had already scheduled an announcement for the web based Office applications this week.
These announcements are just another example of the tit-for-tat exchanges from Google and Microsoft, as both try to out do one another. Both the Microsoft Office Web Based Applications and Google Chrome OS announcements are examples of how both intend to cross into each others core business interests.

How will it end? The proof will be in the products; until the world has had a chance to experience the programs the outcome won’t be clear and the debate on who will come out on top, Google or Microsoft, will rage on.

Google Chrome OS Announced

Google’s dominance of the internet took another twist this week with the announcement that Google is to introduce its own operating system, introducing Google Chrome OS.

So what does this mean for traditional operating systems?

Well Google Chrome OS will actually work in a similar way to Google Chrome Browser, speed, simplicity and security will be the main features.  Chrome OS has been designed for users that predominately spend their time on the web one of the most fundamental changes will be that users won’t have to source security, malware or virus updates as this will happen automatically.  Google’s intention is clear they have designed an operating system that will be fast, and will enhance the user experience on the web.

Google’s goals in creating an OS are certainly responding to the increasingly web-based activities and pursuits of the average computer user. Websites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and BBC iPlayer are increasingly capturing larger proportions of the time a user spends on his or her machine. Resultantly, a web-based machine could appeal to a large number of users. After all, as Google points out, many of the existing operating systems were built before the era of the web.

In addition, Chrome OS’ open-source platform could play a part in lowering barriers to entry by encouraging people to play a more active part in the web. That’s because, not only are netbooks lighter and more portable than desktop computers and larger laptops, but Chrome-based netbooks are likely to be significantly cheaper than those loaded with pricey Windows. In the UK in particular, this could play a role in helping low-income households and those resistant to taking up broadband to get online in the government’s Digital Britain pledge for 100 per cent broadband penetration by 2012.

So what now?

The announcement of the Chrome OS has given Microsoft reason to fear the expansion of Google, but how much of a threat will it actually be to Windows?  At this early stage it’s difficult to say, with the first developments of Chrome OS a long way off.    But what is certain Google Chrome OS has created a stir and the debate of its threat to Microsoft will rage on.

The Google world domination machine moves forth

Google have announced a new service in conjunction with IBM that will collect data about an individual from various health related sources such as heart monitors and medical reports. Don’t worry it is user defined so your personal health issues are not being sniggered at by Google!

For more info check out the article below from Mashable: