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February 6 2009

Google Knows Your Exact Location

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Do you often wonder what your friends are up to or maybe the exact location of your husband/wife when they claim to be “working late”?   With the recent launch of Google Latitude, technology is getting closer.

Google Latitude is a new feature in the Google Maps application that allows you to keep tabs on your friends and family by knowing their exact location and status at all times.   Latitude is an opt-in-only feature. No one will be able to see your location, or vice versa unless both parties agree to participate.  To avoid appearing creepy, Google incorporated easy-to-change privacy settings so that locations can be automatically detected, manually entered or completely hidden from other people. If you choose to opt in, you always have the option to sign off or opt out of Latitude altogether. Once opted into Latitude, you can share, set, hide, or even display only a city-level location with certain friends. You can also choose allow your location to automatically update every several minutes while you are on the move. 

Depending on your mobile specifications, Latitude either uses GPS satellites,  cell-tower locations, or WiFi to determine your physical location.  It currently works on Google’s G1, most Blackberry’s, and some other smart phones.  According to Google, the iPhone, iPod Touch, and many Sony Ericsson devices will support Latitude soon.  People who have compatible mobile devices must either upgrade their current version of Google Maps, and/or install Google maps for the first time in order to use Latitude.  
Along with their locations, friends can also share other information on Latitude by uploading a status message and/or a personal photo, which appears as a tiny representative icon on a map (see image below).  Changes to one’s status or picture will be reflected in the map, as well as in Google Talk. The technology also allows users to communicate with participating friends via: text messages, instant messages, or phone.

 

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If you don’t have a compatible phone mentioned above, or don’t carry your phone to the office, Google Latitude will work on your PC as well.  You can share your location manually with the iGoogle gadget, or use your computer’s WiFi location. 

Even though it isn’t the first of its kind, Google Latitude appears to be relatively accurate and user friendly at first glance.  If you choose to opt in, keep in mind that the results are not 100% accurate, and Google is working hard to constantly improve the application.

January 16 2009

Internet Leading News Source

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As the presidential inauguration approaches and the economy starts to rebuild itself, most people I know are reading top news stories on a daily basis. It comes as no surprise that in recent studies, it appears news readers are dropping print media and relying more on digital forms of gathering news.  The Internet has now surpassed all media except television as a news source, according to consumers surveyed in December 2008 by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.  Last month, 40% of survey respondents said they rely on the Internet as their main news source, which is up 16% from 2007.

 

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As you can see from the chart above, television is still the main source for national and international news.  If the rest of the world is anything like me, I expect the Internet to surpass television in the near future as the leading news source.  When you compare the delivery of the two, television sources feed you the news that they want you to hear.  Internet allows you the choice of reading the headlines and viewpoints that are most important to you.

So how does this relate to you and your internet marketing campaigns?  Don’t forget to include contextual advertising in your 2009 online marketing plan.  Whether you plan to incorporate text, images, or video- online news sources are a excellent avenues to reach your audience. The Google content network is a great place to test some of these ad types on select news sites such as NY Times, Washington Journal, US News, Forbes, etc. If you would like to learn more about Google’s content network, please read Sonya Wood’s most recent blog post.

December 19 2008

Google Gadget Ads

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Online display advertising has been around for years.  It’s been particularly popular with companies who have had a large advertising budget, and who want to increase their branding message in relevant online channels.  As more advertisers moved to the internet, banner ads continued to grow in popularity. The online space soon became very monotonous and cluttered. Every ad started to look similar, and the average visitor wasn’t able to remember one ad from the other. Static images were not enough anymore.

Next, Rich media came into the picture a few years ago.  With companies such as PointRoll, advertisers were still able to promote their brand through online messaging and images, but it was done with engagement being top of mind.  Rich media formats allow people to interact with the ad.  You have probably heard of roll over ads, video ads, expandable ads, etc.  These are all forms of rich media and have become increasingly popular with advertisers across various industries.

Google has now taken it a step further with gadget ads. Gadget ads enable advertisers to engage an audience better than ever before.  Many people within the industry think of gadget ads as mini versions of websites. Gadget ads are designed to offer useful applications to their audience such as: data feeds, images, audio, video, maps, Flash, HTML, or JavaScript in a single ad creative.  Gadget ads can also be shared and posted anywhere. Below are a couple of examples that Google recently featured.

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Gadget ads run on the Google content network and are priced by CPM or CPC based on their auction model. Through the content network, the advertiser can serve the gadget ad on thousands of sites, with no serving or hosting feeds. The advertiser can also target their audience by site, category, demographic, geographic location, etc.  Google also allows the advertiser to extend their campaign on iGoogle while allowing for free inclusion of the gadget in the iGoogle directory.  According to Google, developers can build gadget ads in less than one hour using Google’s tutorial. Currently, Gadget ads are enabled for a limited number of AdWords advertisers who have created content-rich ads in the past. They expect to offer Gadget Ads to other advertisers in the future as the beta progresses.  Stay tuned!

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