Megan Marrs's blog

Facebook Announces New Skype-Powered Video Chat

Facebook and Skype, Together at Last Yesterday Facebook unveiled its “awesome” new video chat, powered by Skype. Skype-managed video chat has been in the rumor mill for quite some time, and now we finally get to see it in person! Redesigned Chat Grouped with the new video chat comes a redesigned Facebook chat system featuring a sidebar for the friends you chat with most.

Group Chat Facebook chat also now allows for group chats, allowing users to easily communicate with multiple friends at once. Facebook Video Chat vs. Google Hangouts Facebook’s new video chat feature arrives on the tailwinds of Google+ with its own Hangouts feature.  How do they compare? Well, Hangouts allows video chatting with up to 10 people, while Facebook keeps it to one on one.  Zuc... > Read more

July 07, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 2

Facebook Blocks Friend Exporter Tool

Facebook is seeking to block Facebook Friend Exporter, a Google Chrome extension that does exactly what its name implies. The Facebook Friend Exporter allows users to easily extract their friends list along with emails, phone numbers, and other friend data. The tool allows the data to be saved into a text file or imported easily to Gmail.

While the extension is currently out of commission, creator Mohamed Mansour hopes to build a new version that uses an alternative design to combat the Facebook restrictions.The Cat-And-Mouse GameRoad blocks were first implemented when Facebook began showing email addresses as graphics rather than normal text that can easily be found and processed by data scraping tools. Mansour bypassed this by obtaining the email addresses through Facebook’s mobile site... > Read more

July 05, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 0

Google Realtime Search Disappears As Contract With Twitter Ends

Google Realtime Search is on hiatus since the company's contract with Twitter, enabling access to the full feed of public updates, expired on July 2, 2011.While the unique Twitter feed has been suspended, Google notes that the publicly available information on Twitter is still available and searchable on the Google search engine.

Google plans on relaunching its real-time search with access to content from various sources including Google+ information, although the date for this relaunch has not yet been set.Hopefully it will come soon, because with the suspension on Google Realtime, there is no way to find tweets further back than a few days, as Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land notes:Twitter has largely outsourced the service of Twitter search longer than a few days to Google, a deliber... > Read more

July 05, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 0

Yet More Google Updates: Makeovers, Mobile Sites & Chocolate Milk, Oh My!

Don't You Forget About MeIn the aftermath of all the Google+ excitement, I’d like to call attention to some other Google updates that deserve our notice.You may have thought that Google+ was enough to tide you over, but remarkably Google has been dishing out additional updates without pause.Google Products Get a Face LiftYou’ve probably already noticed the new Google homepage’s cleaner, more sophisticated look.

You’ll be seeing this sleek redesign applied to a number of Google products, as Google aims to deliver an experience “founded on three key design principles: focus, elasticity and effortlessness.” How oddly vague.As Google notes, a shot of Botox from time to time never hurts…unless you have a negative reaction. Taking a look at Google’s original homepage in 1997, we ... > Read more

July 01, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 0

Google+ | Google’s New Social Platform Revealed

Google+ Has Arrived!Google’s new super-secret social project is finally being rolled out…to a select few, for now at least.But wait to you hear what Google + has got under its hood; more than just a pretty face (and it is quite attractive, thank goodness), the new social project tries to address the gaps and missing pieces in the current social network paradigm.

Vic Gundotra, one of the key players in Google +’s creation, explains:“We believe online sharing is broken. And even awkward…We think connecting with other people is a basic human need. We do it all the time in real life, but our online tools are rigid. They force us into buckets — or into being completely public…Real life sharing is nuanced and rich. It has been hard to get that into software.”Google + has done its... > Read more

June 30, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 2

Facebook Pages Now Customizable Based on Klout Score

Don’t be surprised if you start hearing people ask about your “klout”; no, it’s not a new brand of Greek yogurt or a bizarre cloud and drought weather phenomenon, it’s a measure of your social influence. Klout is a startup that measures users’ influence through social media platforms.

 Your Klout score is generated through a complex ranking algorithm that takes note of your retweets, number of comments on your links and other measures of your social influence. Involver + Klout = Customized Fan Page What has people talking recently is that Klout has partnered up with the social marketing platform Involver, and together they have some big ideas for Facebook fan pages. Brands can now create a Klout widget on their fan page which measures visitors’... > Read more

June 22, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 0

Another Round of Google Updates: City Sites, Descriptive Terms & URL Testing

There is never a lack of Google additions and updates in the webiverse, and with several happening in recent days, it’s worth taking an in-depth look at the latest concoctions Google is brewing up.Getting Started With Google City SitesGoogle has started creating new city sites, which act as a central portal showing a variety of information in one central location.

The city pages show places, offers, events, business owner resources, and community blogs.The layout of these pages is fun and aesthetically pleasing. As a person who relies heavily on resources like Trip Advisor to tell me what to check out when visiting a new city, I’m looking forward to testing out the new city pages.For now city pages is only available for Austin (TX), Portland (OR), Madison (WI), and San Diego (CA).Check... > Read more

June 14, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 2

Sometimes Even the Weiners Are Losers: Learning the Pitfalls of Social Media the Hard Way

After a week of denial, yesterday Representative Anthony Weiner finally admitted to posting a lewd photo of his manly parts on Twitter. Following the commotion on May 27 when the photo in question was first discovered, Weiner made a loser mistake: he lied. Not entirely surprising, since realizing you’ve accidentally sent a photo of your personal bits into cyberspace while holding a spot in Congress would be enough to have anyone gathering up excuses.

The Tweet Not Meant to Be Seen Weiner, meaning to tweet the photo directly to a friendly follower, accidentally broadcasted the pic live—a reply-all disaster of gargantuan proportions. Weiner, realizing his error, tried to remove the post, but of course it was already too late and the drama spread like Nutella on toast. Desperately... > Read more

June 08, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Twitter   |   Comments: 0

Button Battles: Google & Twitter Release New Social Buttons

Get ready for your site to have more buttons than an 80’s denim jacket.In the ongoing battle over social media, buttons seem to be a popular ammunition tool, attracting users like, well, a shiny button.It may be no coincidence then that today both Google and Twitter are releasing updated or new buttons that can be embedded in websites.

Google +1 Button Now Available for WebsitesWhen Google +1 was first released, the +1 button was designated solely for the search results page. In case you need a quick reminder, the +1 button allows users to recommend certain search results. +1 is Google’s next step in an attempt to beef up their social media influence (especially after Buzz’s relative flop).You can check out our post when +1 was first released for more info, and our review of Goog... > Read more

June 01, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 3

Google Correlate: Google Trends in Reverse

Google has just released a nifty new addition to Google Labs. Today we welcome Google Correlate.Google Correlate – The Opposite of TrendsWhile Google Trends and Google Insights allow you to enter a search term and see the search trends, Google notes that:Researchers told us they want to enter the trend of some real world activity and see which search terms best match that trend.

In other words, they wanted a system that was like Google Trends but in reverse.Google Correlate is the response, allowing you to upload your own data series and get back a list of search terms that correspond with the real world trend.Taking Google Correlate for a Test DriveUpon first learning about Google Correlate, I was a little more than confused; science has never been my strong suit. But the Google Correla... > Read more

May 25, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 2

Ramifications of a Lackluster Rapture: Google Trends and the Social Media Response

Saturday has come and gone, and the continuously impending apocalypse has been put off once again. No people levitating into the sky, no fiery asteroids hurtling towards earth, just a volcano in Iceland letting off some steam. Even the volcano’s biggest threat was that it might possibly disrupt flights in Scotland.

Very terrifying. By now we should be well accustomed to being disappointed about end time prophecies. With Y2K still fresh in many minds, hopefully we’ve developed a healthy enough dose of skepticism to be critical of such predictions.  Human history has been littered with apocalyptic predictions. Can you guess how many have come true? The World is Ending … Again But I suppose you can’t really place too much blame on people like Harold Camping, who... > Read more

May 23, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 0

B(r)ing Along Your Friends: Bing 'Friend Effect' Adds Facebook Data to Search

Recently Bing started bringing what they call the “Friend Effect” to search, giving users the option of searching the web with integrated Facebook data. You’ll never be alone again, as your Facebook fellows will be right alongside you recommending pages and pointing out hot deals to you.

This seems somewhat odd considering that only a week ago Facebook was attacking Google guerrilla-warfare style for trying to use Facebook data in their own social search ideas. Facebook is wheeling and dealing like a true mob boss. Despite Facebook’s continuously spinning needle on the moral compass, it’s hard for me to be too critical, because after checking out the new Bing, I really like what I see. Bing is using Facebook data in some really awesome new ways. Let’s ta... > Read more

May 18, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 0

Facebook vs. Google: Battle of the Online Giants

Godzilla vs. Mothra, Freddy vs. Jason, Alien vs. Predator, and now this summer, coming to a theater near you: Facebook vs. Google.It’s no secret that social is the new currency across the internet, but Facebook’s recent attack on Google shows just how precious and coveted such social data is.Facebook Hires PR Firm to Bad-Mouth GoogleOver the past few days, there has been a lot of speculation concerning what mysterious entity hired the private PR firm Burson-Marsteller to encourage mudslinging against Google by pitching anti-Google stories to newspapers.

 Dan Lyons at the Daily Beast reports that they discovered it was none other than Facebook – and they found out just by asking.A Facebook spokesman admitted that the company hired Burson for two reasons:First, because it believes ... > Read more

May 13, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 0

Congrats to Microsoft, Proud New Owner of Skype

Today, Microsoft officially announced its acquisition of Skype, dishing out a hefty $8.5 billion for the popular video conferencing service. The Skype deal will be Microsoft’s most expensive acquisition in its 36-year history. As a company that traditionally avoids pricey purchases, Microsoft must have some big plans for Skype.

A Quick Skype Background CheckSkype was created by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis in 2003. Offering free video conferencing and calls between Skype users via computer and certain cell phones, Skype quickly became popular with international callers. Interestingly, Zennstrom and Friis are also the inventors of the infamous Kazaa music sharing program, a big name in the muddied waters of music piracy (Kazaa also became well known for being riddled with viruses).Skyp... > Read more

May 10, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 1

Google's New Toys: Google Releases Site Speed, Business Photos, Search Globe

It seems we’re always talking about Google. Whether we consider it a friend or foe, it’s difficult to deny that much of SEO news revolves around every breath Google takes. And it’s true, you don’t hear folks saying “I don’t know, let's Yahoo it.” In keeping with its nonstop release schedule, Google recently announced several new features.

  Google Analytics Tracks Page Load Times Google is like an inspirational high-school teacher. He sees the potential in you that you have not yet discovered, and he’s always setting the benchmark higher and pushing you further. Google wants you to be the best you can be – for yourself, and for your users. That’s why with Google Analytics you now have the ability to track your page’s loa... > Read more

May 09, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 2

Osama Bin Laden's Death as Told by Social Media and Search Engines

While Twitter, Facebook, and media outlets around the world were ablaze with news of Osama Bin Laden’s death on the night of May 1st, I was fast asleep in bed. It seems I’m always sleeping through important events, having snoozed through the Royal Wedding as well. I don’t wake up at 5 am for anything, and while old ladies in fancy hats are always good for a laugh, I’ve gotten more of my share of darling William and Catherine through the continuous stream of replay coverage.

So naturally it wasn’t until I groggily sat down at the computer with my coffee the next morning that I had any idea of the massive NYC partying I had missed out on. And like many others, I got the startling news via Facebook.Twitter Sets Aflame With an Abbotta-BANG!Osama Bin Laden’s death has once again exem... > Read more

May 04, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 2

Facebook Family Additions: The New Send Button & Social Deals

Facebook develops new features and alters its layout and settings (and privacy policies) frequently, and the social giant recently introduced two new additions in its continued mission to take over the word.Facebook’s new Send button allows users to share items with select people rather than everyone in their friend network.

Maybe you found a great bar in which to throw your friend’s surprise party – but you certainly don’t want the birthday girl to find out. With the Send button, you can quickly and easily share and send the URL to specific friends, groups, and email addresses.Cynthia Boris at Marketing Pilgrim has a clever idea about how the Send button could be implemented as a marketing strategy:"As a marketer, I’d take this one step further and use that Send button for some ... > Read more

April 27, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Social Media   |   Comments: 0

Google's Instant Preview Now Includes Ads!

Yesterday Google announced that their Instant Preview feature will now apply to ads. That means you’ll now be seeing that nifty little magnifying glass appear next to ads as well as organic search results. Clicking the Instant Preview magnifying glass brings up a window that lets users preview the ad landing page.

In the image below, you can see that my Google search for “flowers” brought up a few ads. Clicking the magnifying glass next to my 2nd ad, I got to see a preview page and was able to confirm that the ad would, in fact, lead me to a site with an abundance of beautiful flowers to sell (just seeing them all nearly makes me sneeze). Instant Preview allows users to preview the ads they are about to click on to ensure that the content of the landing page matches what... > Read more

April 27, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 1

Be Your Own Lewis & Clark with Google's Map Maker

In Google’s continuing efforts to get more social, Google’s Map Maker tool made its introduction into the United States yesterday. Map Maker allows users to add and update maps with their own insights. This can mean a number of different things, such as moving place markers to more appropriate spots, pointing out certain parks and playgrounds, building a more detailed map of a college campus, or even marking the bike lanes in your town.

Essentially, it makes Google Maps into a Wiki.Google’s Lat Long blog notes that since the release of Map Maker, the percentage of the world’s population that has detailed online maps of their neighborhoods has jumped from 15% to 30%. Users have mapped road networks, bike lanes, schools, and even entire cities that were not documented ... > Read more

April 20, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 1

Friday Roundup: Panda Bears Down Internationally

This week Google’s Panda update went global, shutting out spam sites worldwide. Sistrix posted a nice little chart listing the “losers” of the new updates. Sites like suite101.com and associatedcontent.com suffer just as much now as they did in the US, but there were some surprises;  eHow, which most expected to suffer from the US Panda update, was actually deemed one of the “winners” originally, but with the global changes, eHow is now losing the numbers we expected it to.

    There is some speculation that this might be a result of Google implementing data from users who manually blocked certain sites. Ever since Google released a block link directly in search results, it’s been expected that this data will end up affe... > Read more

April 15, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Online Marketing Blog Roundup   |   Comments: 2

Search Gets Social (Again) with Google's +1 Button

Stemming from Facebook’s popular “Like” button, the search engine colossus Google is joining the social fray once again. Google’s new “+1” feature has just been introduced, and it’s quite exciting. Starting today, a small percentage of Googlers will see a +1 button next to search listings.

 If you aren’t seeing it and just can’t wait to try this new feature out for yourself, head over to Google Experiment and click “Join this experiment.” With Google’s new tool, when you click the +1 button next to a search result, it will light up, basking in the glory of your approval.  Now, when you or a friend search a similar topic, they can see that you recommended certain results. And if your buddy recommende... > Read more

March 30, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Google   |   Comments: 3

The Untapped Potential of Mobile Gaming Marketing

Cynthia Boris wrote a nice little article recently about the gamification of the mobile market that has really got me thinking.At WordStream, we've seen how a good mobile marketing strategy can reach stellar results - it’s no surprise that a lot of successful marketing campaigns integrate an element of fun or user interaction.

While this recent Skittles ad isn’t a game per se, it definitely invites a unique interaction for the viewer.Gaming marketing campaigns have potential to reach a HUGE user base. Especially with the increasing attention to mobile games, people are spending large amounts of time playing games. After all, Angry Birds alone has reached more than 50 million downloads!Mobile games are a real untapped market for online marketers. They have a potential to reach a large a... > Read more

March 30, 2011     |   Written by: Megan Marrs   |   Posted In: Marketing Strategy   |   Comments: 0
 
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