Tag Archives: Google

Associated’s Sunday tabloid could be based on the Mail Online website

Media Week had the story last week that DMGT’s Associated Newspapers was working on a Sunday tabloid to step in to the vacuum left by the closure of the News of the World.

Rumours now emerge that this red top newspaper could be based on the Daily Mail’s s hugely popular, celebrity centric, Mail Online website, which bears only a passing resemblance to its print sister. Read more on Associated’s Sunday tabloid could be based on the Mail Online website…

Google still wants to buy Twitter

Interesting post on Techcrunch about why Google launched Google Buzz: to give it leverage as it still wants to buy Twitter.

Cast your mind back to last spring when the rumours were kicking around that Google wanted to own Twitter. It didn’t happen and nothing came of the story.

A year down the line and Techcrunch argues buying Twitter and owning a large slice of the real time market is still at the fore of Google’s agenda. That is what the blog post says Buzz is about. Google has launched it in the hope that it will gain traction, strengthen its hand and bring Twitter back to the table allowing it to snap it up for a few dollars less than it might have paid otherwise. 

Read more on Google still wants to buy Twitter…

Yahoo chases social media with Twitter deal

Yahoo! is making a bid for social media relevance by getting closer to Twitter. The troubled search firm says it plans to go further than Google or Bing and do more than add Twitter to search results.

I have no idea if this will pan out for Yahoo. But what is clear is that Twitter is an integral part of Yahoo’s plan to turn itself into a social media hub so that anyone with a Yahoo! ID can update multiple social networks simultaneously. There is talk of deals with MySpace and LinkedIn as well. They are throwing it all in.

There are clear parallels with Google and its efforts to socialise itself with Google Buzz (while we are on Buzz why did Google choose that name when Yahoo already has Yahoo Buzz?). Both search firms want the search traffic, but they want more than that: they want the social media engagement as well. They want to put themselves at the centre of your (yes you) social media universe.

Bryan Lamkin, senior vice president, consumer products group, Yahoo! couldn’t be any clearer about this:

“We’re turning the key to the online social universe — you will find the most personally relevant experiences through Yahoo. We’re also simplifying people’s lives by bringing their social worlds — and the world — together for easy access.”

Yahoo! has already tied with Facebook and the Twitter deal, which will see Yahoo! pay undisclosed millions to the microblogging firm, should be done by December.

So what exactly Yahoo! planning with its 140 character deal? Well in the press release announcing the deal Yahoo says the partnership it says it includes three primary elements:

1) People will be able to access their personal Twitter feeds across Yahoo!’s many products and properties, including the homepage, Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Sports, and others, letting them check in more easily on what’s happening with the people and things they care about while on Yahoo!.

2) People will be able to update their Twitter status and share content from Yahoo! in their Twitter stream, so they can easily share their Yahoo! experiences with their friends and followers on Twitter.

3) Yahoo! Search and Yahoo! media properties like News, Finance, Entertainment, and Sports will include real-time public Twitter updates across a variety of topics. Yahoo! Search users will immediately see real-time Twitter results today; go to Yahoo! and try it out.

One question that crops up is this: what does this mean for Twitter money making plans? Sure it is getting cash for its data, but Yahoo!, Bing and Google are doing these deals because they think they can monetize it around their advertising.

Yahoo is clear in its release about this issue. It says that it will use the Twitter integration to “drive deeper user engagement, and create new and compelling opportunities for developers, advertisers, and publishers”.

See all about money. Twitter is working on an own ad platform of its own and Anamitra Banerji, head of monetization at Twitter, has told the US IAB that “he is concerned that some of the external Twitter ad platforms may be doing damage to the Twitter experience”. Yeah, that and future revenues.

There is a weird schizophrenic thing going on at Twitter. It needs to make money as it grows and burns cash and it is doing that with these partnerships, but clearly there is a concern within Twitter itself of how these deals might “damage” its own efforts to generate cash.

There is an awful lot riding on Twitter. It’s own hopes of expansion and also those of rivals. For Yahoo! this socialisation feels like a chance to regain relevance. Although as someone who never uses it I’m really not sure how that is going to pan out.

Read more on Yahoo chases social media with Twitter deal…

Google not a challenger to Twitter or Facebook (says Google)

Here’s a confession. I haven’t looked at Google Buzz for like a week. Then I read this story about Google saying that Buzz is absolutely not a rival to Twitter or Facebook. Got it?

In an interview with eWeek Bradley Horowitz, vice president of product management for Google, says that Buzz is not just about what he called “status-casting” or “just checking in”. He said it was meant for a place of “meaningful interactions around meaningful topics within Buzz”.

I could see that happening. But to be honest I haven’t yet. Finding the time is a real issue. It is increasingly THE social media issue as Buzz competes for our time. I mean if I Buzzed this right now I might not get around to tweeting it?. I would forget, move on, and more to the point get distracted. Also I want to share it with as many people as possible and not just my email contacts (my mum and sister have no interest).

Horowitz argues that he is hearing again and again that those meaningful interactions he mentions (“that kind of value proposition”) are “unique to Buzz”.

“In the realm of positive feedback, I think that people are finding that the conversational mode of buzz is very, very powerful and the quality of audience is also great.”

Really? Well, if you say so, but for most of us that remains to be seen, but what Horowitz is clear about in the interview is that Buzz is not designed as a Facebook or Twitter killer but rather Buzz is filling a niche for something that is not already in the market and creating a “unique” space.

“[Buzz is] absolutely not [a Facebook or Twitter killer]. This is creating a new category of communication. It’s filling a niche, which is not currently met in the market. I think something unique is happening on Buzz that will continue to evolve. It’s hard to create a trend line or extrapolate too much from six days of use, but certainly conversation and the conversational web is a place where Buzz has excelled. I think it is unique and offers a compelling, interesting experience.”

Horowitz also gave a few stats and said that Buzz was attracting around 200 posts per minute from users posting content from their mobile phones. Good numbers indeed.

Google Buzz seems to have ridden out the privacy row, but I wonder how much people will be talking about it in a month or two months time, you know, when the buzz has died down.

Read more on Google not a challenger to Twitter or Facebook (says Google)…

Twitter traffic leaps putting paid to growth critics

He wasn’t making it up at all. Last month Twitter co-founder Evan Williams hit back at claims of falling usage and this week the stats are in the Twitter’s traffic has taken a leap.

Williams made his comments after a bunch of posts suggested a falloff, but since that things have only looked up for Twitter. He said Twitter’s growth was going to pick up and he wasn’t wrong, according to new ComScore traffic figures.

ComScore data shows that the number of unique visitors to Twitter jumped by around 9% between December and January to 21.79 million, which is an all time high.

Read more on Twitter traffic leaps putting paid to growth critics…

Google to add social media to Gmail to rival Facebook

Google is reported to be set to add social media bells and whistles to Gmail in an effort to take on Facebook and Twitter.

Google will add status updates to Gmail as well as photo galleries and other sharing options, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

All Google has at the moment is its Orkut social networking site that is big in India and Brazil according to Wikipedia. Being big in India and Brazil is clearly useful as they are big, but considering we never hear about Orkut it can’t be that useful.

I wonder if what it is doing is enough. Sure it is a start, but it has a lot ground to catch up. I also wonder how much space people have in their lives. Do people want to share in multiple places? Well look at Yahoo! It made similar such moves allowing users to of Yahoo Mail to make status updates and clearly on its own that is not enough. As no on I can think of suddenly started raving about Yahoo!.

Sure Google owns technology like YouTube and Picasa but working against it is that too many people use Hotmail, Yahoo Mail or other rivals. Email has become like your bank account and the idea of moving is something most of us don’t contemplate.

I personally think Gmail is the best thing in email. I prefer it to Microsoft Outlook for work. That could be because of the clunking servers we have and the miniscule amounts of space allocated that is designed to make life difficult (yes IT overlords I am talking to you).

That said I use Facebook most days at work (for work; honest) and on the move on my phone. It is more immersive.

I’m not sure I have the time to do more social networking stuff. I mean if you throw in Twitter and blogging then I am just about done. I need the rest of the time to have a life.

The Wall Street Journal says that Google could announce the new Gmail features as soon as this week.

“Currently, Gmail has a chat bar that can display a short ‘away message’ for each user’s contacts,” WSJ reported. “But the new interface will have an area that users can click through to see updates from more friends in a stream — a format popularized by Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc., [Google sources] said.”

The move follows new design updates from Facebook last week to make life easier for its 400 million plus members. Apparently Gmail has around 176 million unique visitors. Many of those will doubtless have Facebook accounts as well.

We also heard last week that Facebook was chasing Google as a place where people read news. It is now fourth placed behind Google, MSN and Yahoo!.

Facebook has already over taken Google News and Google Reader. The changes it made to its design recently touch on email as Facebook chases Google on that front as well.

The spill over is putting the two head to head in an increasing number of areas and Google clearly feels the need to respond.

Read more on Google to add social media to Gmail to rival Facebook…

Is that it for rivals as Google launches URL shortening service?

Google has announced it is launching a URL shortening service called errrm “the Google URL Shortener”. Catchy as the name is, it could spell doom for rivals such as TinyURL and Bit.ly.

Read more on Is that it for rivals as Google launches URL shortening service?…

Google makes happy with newspaper publishers (some anyway)

The New York Times has been saying what a great relationship it has with Google as the search giant launches its alternate way to view the news, to see it as a “living story”.

The “living story” project is interesting and all that, and much fun I had looking at the timelines and wealth of content that it is serving up in its testbed with The News York Times and The Washington Post, but I’m slightly under whelmed.

Isn’t it just another way that people can spend time looking at news for free on oh yeah Google? Not sure what the New York Times gets out of it other than more of the same (traffic).

Still Janet Robinson, president and CEO of The New York Times Company and Jim Follo, Vice-President and CFO are happy. They were talking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference earlier this week and were sharing the love with Google.

“We have a very significant relationship with Google, and a very good relationship with them. A distinctly successful one, unlike some of our competitors’ relationships,” Follo said.

I hope Rupert Murdoch was listening to that? Probably not. No doubt he was off penning another one of his desk banging Wall Street Journal leaders. Is it me or is he at any moment going to start shouting “Rosebud”? No surprise really if your own paper does give Google Eric Schimdt an Op Ed slot to “blame you”.

“With dwindling revenue and diminished resources, frustrated newspaper executives are looking for someone to blame. Much of their anger is currently directed at Google, whom many executives view as getting all the benefit from the business relationship without giving much in return. The facts, I believe, suggest otherwise,” Schimdt wrote.

While Schmidt has been taking part in a spot of reverse blame storming one Josh Cohen, Google News’ senior business project manager, has been telling people that Google News has a great relationship with News Corp (although apparently he hasn’t heard from Murdoch in, you know, like “person”).

“I certainly haven’t heard specifically from Rupert Murdoch-he’s above my pay grade,” Cohen told the New York Observer.

Cohen added that the News Corp and Google row was mostly a media concoction that “makes for a good story”. He forgot to add “free” story.

Meanwhile The New York Times has been taking its good old time getting to grips with its paid content strategy, which is a subject the NY Observer said they dodged at the UBS shindig.

Follo said that the decision wouldn’t be “dragged out very much longer”. An implicit acknowledgement that it has been “dragged out” thus far.

Robinson added that the NY Times had to achieve a “frictionless” reader experience. That sounds good although I’m sure what it means or how they will pull it off. It was going to announce a decision “within week” five weeks ago. Nothing yet. I’m guessing friction is the cause.

You have to wonder if this is this what Murdoch’s Times is going for in London? Frictionless, I mean. PaidContent revealed a few details of what kind of pay wall we can expect when the paper relaunches online next year.

It sounds like everything will be put behind it. Some observers have wondered if there’s more to Times Online’s strategy than meets the eye; perhaps only parts of the site, for particular audiences, will be chargeable… but no, it sounds more like one big wall.

News International’s strategy and product development director Dominic Young told the site that Times Online wants “to innovate…it may be a commercial necessity … we want to find more compelling ways of getting our journalism across. We’re doing so now, in preparation for what’s to come. We will differentiate our product.”

“Pay wall sounds like this prison … undoubtedly, there’s a lot of shades of grey—payment isn’t a barrier to buying things – but the price has got to be right.. you need to create contrast in the market,” Young said.

Read more on Google makes happy with newspaper publishers (some anyway)…

Two consider following News Corp – does Google have a problem?

Google insists it is not worried about News Corporation pulling its content, but as two more news groups start talking about doing the same the move towards paid content or pay walls means for certain that others will follow suit. And that could change things

Media News Group and A.H. Belo have added their names to that of News Corp which revealed earlier this week it was talking to Microsoft about an exclusive search deal with Bing.

It is probably important to stress here that MediaNews and A.H. Belo aren’t necessarily going to do exactly what News Corp is. The Dallas Morning News publisher Belo says it is looking at introducing subscriptions on its newspaper websites and would remove that content, but look to keep other news available to Google.

Neither are talking about a unilateral pullout, but it is a strong indication of what will happen next. More publishers will follow. For those that implement pay walls it makes sense to hide some content.

Google will tell you that it is not concerned at publishers removing their content. Well it has billions of dollars and its business is about more than search (although that is the cornerstone of it).

In a statement, a Google spokesperson said Google News consistently sends news sites about 100,000 clicks a minute, but that no one’s forced to be indexed. “Publishers put their content on the web because they want it to be found, so very few choose not to include their material in Google News and web search,” the statement said. “But if they tell us not to include it, we don’t.”

Google has so much more going on these days, but this could clearly give rivals an upper hand and make search the battle ground it should be.

If say the New York Times and Tribune Inc, to name two in the US, follow suit and say they are talking to Microsoft as well what does Google do then? Surely it makes sense for the search giant to offer up some cash? Frankly, it seems rude not to.

Google as much as we all love it (go Gmail) is when it comes to content like the guest who turns up at your party and hoovers all the food and booze and brings nothing. Obviously Google was invited, but some quid pro quo wouldn’t go a miss.

Read more on Two consider following News Corp – does Google have a problem?…

Murdoch serious about split from Google as talks held with Microsoft

Looks like Rupert Murdoch wasn’t simple sabre ratting (as fun as that is) about splitting from Google. It is being reported this morning that News Corporation is in talks with Microsoft about a possible split with the search giant.

According to a report in the Financial Times the plan would involve News Corp being paid to “de-index” its news websites from Google.

Getting in bed with Microsoft makes perfect sense. Microsoft hates Google (and its plans for applications and an operating system) as much as it hates Apple and it would set up a real search engine battle between Google and Bing. Until now it doesn’t feel like we have much of a fight although ComScore says Bing is gaining ground. In October it accounted for 9.9% per cent of searches in the US in October up from 8.4% per cent at its launch.

Still it feels more like a one party state – if more fun than your average Stalinist party get together.

The paper says that although talks are at an early stage Microsoft has approached other big online publishers, but mentions no names.

Newspaper publishers would like nothing more to stop Google acting like a parasite on their businesses. As well as News Corp, which owns The Times, The Sun and The Wall Street Journal, other publishers including Guardian News & Media have also raised concerns over Google.

The FT says that one publisher said Microsoft’s plan “puts enormous value on content if search engines are prepared to pay us to index with them” and added that the move was “all about Microsoft hurting Google’s margins”.

The talks with Microsoft come as News Corp delays plans until early next year to erect a pay wall around its content.

Although we do know as of last week from James Harding, the editor of The Times, that the paper would launch a subscription service for online access early next year making it likely that the paper would be the first News Corp title to implement a system of paid content.

Rupert Murdoch, of course, recently hit out at Google in an interview he gave to Sky News Australia where he questioned the value it brings to newspapers.

“No[ it's not a two way street with Google sending traffic] What’s the point of someone coming occasionally who likes a headline they see on Google? Sure we go out and say we have so many millions of visitors. The fact is that there is not enough advertising in the world to go around to make all the websites profitable. We’d rather have fewer people coming to our websites but paying. They don’t suddenly become loyal readers of our websites.”

Read more on Murdoch serious about split from Google as talks held with Microsoft…

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