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Search engine utilization continues to grow as consumers become more and more internet savvy. Of the over 15 billion internet searches that were performed in the United States throughout the month of May, 60% of them were performed on Google. Yahoo and Bing were the next two most popular search engines and have gained some ground over the past year. Perhaps the biggest upset to the traditional search engine, however, was the increase in utilization of Amazon.com which saw 14% more searches than in the previous month.
Amazon.com, which started as an online book seller, has now expanded its product selection to include everything from books to movies to electronics. As Americans increase their use of search engines to shop for products and services, search engine optimization is becoming an increasingly important part of companies’ business plans. Over 90% of retailers that operate with an online presence utilize search engine optimization techniques to improve their visibility on search engines. The ability to easily “shop around” for cheaper deals combined with no lines and a wide array of consumer reviews and readily available product descriptions has made internet shopping for certain products a smart solution for many consumers. Retail organizations have responded and search engine optimization has continued to increase in importance for these companies.
Google is stopping the use of its Street View cars for a while
Google maps is famous for its map images and reliable directions on the web, but how they have been gathering information may just surprise you and has spurred some civil legal action and debate in the United States and abroad recently.
The issue has to do with Google’s interception of unsecured wireless networks. If you have ever sat in your car or even in your own home and jumped on someone else’s broadband connection wirelessly, then apparently you are not breaking the law since the connection is not encrypted or made secure. Google has done this extensively since 2007 with the aim to improve its map data. The problem is that is has also picked up and collected private, personal information along the way and United States senators have been challenging the company on this issue.
Recently authorities in Germany, France and Spain have ordered Google to hand over the private data it has collected. In the United States there are pending civil litigations against the company regarding this security breach. Google claims that the data, once picked up wirelessly, is fragmented. They have, however; decided to stop using Street View cars in collecting information until these issues can be resolved.
Microsoft Expression Studio
Microsoft Expression Studio 4, a program which includes tools for web developers and designers to create web user interfaces, will now include Search Engine Optimization capabilities. Expression Web is now addressing how its users get greater visibility on search engines such as Google and Bing. The Web team responsible for the design of the SEO program has created an application which will assist web developers by making suggestions for changes that may enhance search engine optimization results.
Expression Web will also feature a compatibility tester for web browsers called SuperPreview along with a prototyping ability called SketchFlow. Three versions of Expression Studio 4 are available: Ultimate, Encoder Pro, and Design. Expression Studio 4 Ultimate is targeted to professional web designers and firms.
Although its assistance with SEO capabilities will be helpful to many web developers, the program will not support the VP8 video codec that is currently promoted by Google. Microsoft has stated their reason for not supporting this codec is due to lower quality, whereas their goal is to deliver high quality video at a lower bit rate. Google is promoting the VP8 codec as key factor in open media format. Microsoft’s refusal to support the VP8 codec with this program could make some difficulties for web developers who are supporters of Google’s move for a single web video format.
Google Buzz users can now enable Google Maps
If you are a fan of Google Maps then you are going to love this. Google just announced on Monday, June 7, that it has added the maps feature to its popular Google Buzz service, which gives users instant access and easy sharing capabilities.
The new addition is a feature that is optional and needs to be enabled within a user’s Google account under the service settings then by clicking on the Labs tab. Google Maps has become a competitive tool in the online world, and now it can be added directly to a Google Buzz e-mail. Once it is enabled, the map will automatically be generated based on any U.S. address information and is fully interactive. In the future Google plans to expand this new capability to worldwide addresses.
More than ever Google Maps is become the most popular because of it’s easy to use format, satellite images, and accuracy. For example, GM just announced that it will be utilizing Google Maps now in its OnStar service beginning with the Chevy Volt, which is an electric high-tech vehicle. And of course iPhone, Android, and Blackberry customers already have easy access to the application.
What does this all mean for Google Buzz users? It brings easy of use, quicker directions and maps and faster communication. This is just one more enhancement that Google will continue to bring to Buzz fans.
Small to medium sized business often have trouble maintaining good search engine rankings due to their lack of Search Engine Optimization expertise. Due of budgetary contraints, it may not make sense for these organizations to hire an SEO consultant or company to assist on a regular basis. However, due to the extreme importance placed upon web presence and the need for search engines to direct consumers to a company’s website, these businesses often struggle to find the best way to attract internet traffic.
Search engines, like Google and Bing, need to be able to find a company’s website to guide potential customers to it. They do this by scanning for content in the site, so picking and choosing good keywords and placing them strategically throughout one’s content is very important. Deciding which keywords or tags to use and how to use them in your company’s website can be confusing. This is why a program like WordPress can be so effective. WordPress is not only easy to install, support, and learn; it is very search engine friendly. Another plus for a small business is that the program allows them to customize their site, add pages, and make changes very easily. All these features make WordPress a great program for small businesses to build their websites and increase their rankings.
Google users will soon be able to personalize their search with photos
Say goodbye to the minimalist look of Google’s clean, white browser page and hello to a new photo look created by none other than you. Internet users will soon be able to drag and drop their own collection straight from their desktop or programs like Picasa right into the Google browser page to create a personalized page.
Social networks like Myspace already have customizing features that users are accustomed to, and so this is a natural move for Google to stay current with the latest Web 2.0 trends. Currently Microsoft’s Bing does not have a drag and drop feature, but does contain some great images on its newly re-made site.
The new feature will be available to Internet surfers within the next couple of days. A link on the bottom left hand corner of the Google browser page will soon be available and make the search engine more fun and interactive.
There are several Picasa sample images found on the Google blog page, googleblog. The pictures fill up the entire screen and create a whole new dimension to the once blank screen. And if you still enjoy the minimalist view you can choose to not have any photos plugged into your Google browser page.
Already Google is the top search engine over Yahoo and Bing. Now that users can customize their page this will surely help keep it in top place.
Google Wave is an exciting new real time productivity app
This is an exciting time for Google as it expands its horizons and reaches out into more and more technical arenas. Now the company has yet another new and exciting app that has just launched into Beta release called Google Wave.
The idea behind Wave is to create a real-time experience with platforms such as blogs and e-mails. In fact, each character that the user types can be seen on-screen as it happens. This has never been done before and company is very excited about it, but recognizes that the new app is still in its infancy and will need to catch up to speed.
Right now Google Wave works best with small groups and allows the administrator to control access to the discussions. The advantage of this program is that participants can join in on discussions at any time and those ideas are recorded just like in Google Docs. This is a great solution for those who need to conduct a conference or press conference, like the upcoming Facebook Privacy press conference. Facebook has decided to jump on the Wave and utilize Google’s new service.
Since the app was launched to the public a few days ago, users have had lukewarm reviews of it. Right now Google Buzz seems to be the top performer, however; Google expects its new Google Wave addition to rise to the occasion and become a part of improving productivity, which so far they have excelled at over Microsoft.
Google is taking another tremendous leap toward its apparent aim of becoming the central portal to not only the internet, but all of sedentary life.
Futurists have long predicted the melding of television with the internet, the world’s number one time suck and its No. 2 (which is which varies depending on who you ask). Others have tried it, but so far no one I know has an internet TV, and especially not one that fully combines the two in a way that fulfills the potential as foretold by tech soothsayers. It’s still inevitable.
I lived more than half my life without the internet, and I wouldn’t dream of it now. Today’s kids already get most of their video entertainment from the internet, and television isn’t about get e-victimized like newspapers.
It’s just a matter of who would do it, when and how. Well who else would it be but Google? And when is a better time to start than now? And how else but by making some smart partnerships with the technological experts that could bring it all together?
Google, Logitech, Intel and Sony have come together to make TVs “smart” (think: evolution of cell phones). This wave of the future is set to come out in the fall in U.S. Best Buy stores. The rest of the world will have to wait. No price has been set. There is no timeline for when Google will take over the world.
Google Buzz API integrates with twelve social apps
Google Buzz is growing up and maturing into a more compatible, multi-platform tool like Facebook and Twitter with the addition the Google Buzz API. Now Buzz users can go outside of Gmail and tap into applications like Tweetdeck, Seesmic and Boxee.
The announcement came today and is refreshing for current Gmail account holders who have not completely embraced Google Buzz being a part of their e-mail. It is expected that with the connection with other social network apps that there will be more of a Buzz community emerging, especially since the new version will now be compatible with Facebook and Twitter.
Video sharing will be a major plus for those familiar with Boxee, which will now be integrated with Google Buzz API. And Seesmic will now be using Buzz with its newly updated apps, its redesigned Desktop and with Android.
Because this is a brand new API, Google has created a Buzz API issue tracker to report any bugs and a developer’s forum. The company plans to continue to add to Google Buzz API in the hopes of making it a universally compatible social network platform.
There are currently twelve apps that are now integrated with Google Buzz listed on the website. A developer’s manual has also been issued so that Buzz users can quickly get up to speed with the new API technology.
GM & Google might have a new professional relationship: Chevy Volt
Google is already known as one of the most powerful internet search technology corporations. General Motors, also known more commonly as GM, is ranked as the largest US automaker. Seems pretty safe to say if the two came together for a creation, it would be pretty big in the automotive world. Well, that just might be the case very shortly. Though it is yet to be confirmed, these two power companies might just have a plan to upgrade technology in cars in a way that makes keyless entry look like a kindergartners’ toy.
It is reported by Motor Trend that GM is currently in talks with the search master in interest of using their Android operating system in its vehicles. If the he said, she said is indeed true, it is expected that a test run will first be placed in the upcoming Chevrolet Volt. For all those who love their Android phones or other smartphones, the app alone will probably have you heading to your local dealership once placed on the lot. With some naming it the “Volt app”, it is said that Google and GM will have a smartphone app that allows you to see where your cars battery life is at, monitor it’s charging status, unlock your car and (simply, of course) start your car.
It is reported by Motor Trend that GM is currently in talks with the search master in interest of using their Android operating system in its vehicles
The perks of the car sans Google? This electric vehicle (uses electricity as its primary power source and gasoline as its secondary source) has many benefits, mainly energy diversification, reduced oil consumption, and reduced emissions. The Chevy Volt is said to travel up to 40 miles on one battery charge. Not to mention a daily charging of the Volt will only cost you roughly 80 cents and consume less electric energy annually than your own refrigerator. The once a day charge rate is about 80 cents. It is also reported to get 230 miles/gallon on city fuel economy and come with a flex fuel powered engine generator. It’s not so bad on the eyes, either.
If successful, this power duo will likely beat out the popularity of the Microsoft/Ford SYNC currently found in their Blue Oval products. The Volt was unveiled by GM last summer, with an expected release in sales end of this year (price yet to be determined).