Google branding

I have to say I am very impressed the way Google keeps modifying its branding.

This past week it was Wallace and Gromit’s 20th birthday and google had a team party image of them. It has also been Sesame Street’s 40th birthday and the rest of the week has seen images of different sesame characters on google’s home page. My favourite is the one with Elmo as below.

Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?

Sesame Street was set up in 1969 by the Children’s Television Workshop (CTW) aimed to help all kids especially those that were from poor neighbourhoods to learn and prepare for school. The use of television for educational purposes had not been a proven tool before this time and Sesame street was ahead of its time promoting values we take for granted now. Some of these values were that everyone is created equal, accepting people from different racial backgrounds and not making assumptions based on gender. The show integrated muppets and people from different racial groups.

According to reuters to celebrate its 40th anniversary, Michelle Obama will appear on Sesame Street on November 10th. This will probably be the episode shown in the US and will be aired in the UK after.

Sesame's Count loves counting Cookie monster says share

SEO explained

I have been trying to explain to non seo gurus why people should engage in seo and felt I needed to clear up the “myths and fasle information” that people have been told. Then I saw last Friday, that Patricia Robies wrote on econsultancy blog about “The six inconvenient truths about SEO” and what an interesting read it was. Here are the six points she mentioned with my comments added.

1. Time – SEO takes time.
It can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months for the results of your seo efforts to take fruit. You should be patient, do not give up.

2. SEO is not fair.
Patricia mentioned that paid links may work and your competitors might be winning by using them in disregard of Google’s ‘rules’. Don’t worry about this though, just focus on your site and use white hat seo techniques.

3. Top SERPs aren’t always possible.
I agree with Patricia on this point. Even though you perserve and put in a lot of time optimisng your site, you may not be able to get the top SERPs for particular keywords. There may be a lot of competition, too much in your field and for your budget.

4.SEO is not all about process.
Some people are natural born seo gurus and some are not. Those that have the talent are able to get to the top of the SERPs. I agree with Patricia in some ways, however, I do feel if someone is passionate about seo and trains and works on a vast number of websites, their experience will help them become the seo expert delivering sought after results.

5. SEO isn’t a standalone marketing strategy.
I strongly agree with Patricia. I have mentioned before than seo is BAU . SEO should be part of the company’s marketing strategy. It should be implemented with paid search, display, email and offline marketing.

6. The last mile counts more than the first 99.
Once you have reached top SERPs, don’t sit back and wait. Now that you are ranking within the top ten of google, you have to convert those users.

To find out more about the six inconvenient truths about seo please visit the econsultancy website.

iPhone on Orange date announced….

The big wait is over….

iPhone on Orange will be available on November 10th.

Unfortunately for those who were waiting for a cheaper contract will be disappointed. Orange have avoided a price war with Apple and the tariffs are roughly the same.

Orange customers can choose between an 18 and 24 month contract, or if you are feeling rich, you can always get the iPhone on pay as you go from 343 pounds.

iPhone 3GS

Mobile search news

2009 is the year of mobile search.
Google have developed their offering of mobile search over the past year which covered some key milestones.

– In April they launched Product Search for Android and iPhone
– In July they launched Product Search for other web enabled phones. Product search allows users to read product ratings and reviews while you are shopping helping you to get the best deals.
– In June Google launched a new version of iGoogle for Android and iPhone devices making more of desktop iGoogle gadgets available on the mobile.
– August saw Image Search results optimised for feature phones.
– In September they launched the mobile version of Fast Flip for Android and iPhone, allowing users to scan news articles quickly.
– In October they launched Search Options for Android, iPhone and Palm WebOS phones, allowing users to further refine search results to get the information they are after.

To find more about mobile search visit google’s blog.

I will be adding more shortly.

Mobile analytics

We have all heard of google analytics – tracking the number of visitors coming to your webiste, but now Google have launched a the new feature – mobile tracking to their analytics pacakages. This means you can track the visitors to your site who are viewing it through a mobile browser, whether that is low end handsets or the smartphones,

How does it work I hear you cry…. Well you need to add a server side code snippet to your mobile website. Google says this will be available over the next few weeks and they will support PHP, Perl, JSP and ASPX sites.

Google are always one step ahead of the game and they have added iPhone / Android app-specific features so that they can track how users engage with apps. And for those who access the apps on Android devices, Google can also see if usage of the app was a result from an ad campaign.

Read more about this post on mobile crunch

Blackberry Storm 2 on Vodafone

Vodafone will be releasing the new BlackBerry Storm 2 available from tomorrow (26 October) and will come on a two year contract for 35 pounds per month. Vodafone will be the first mobile operator in the UK to sell the BlackBerry Storm 2. This handset follows on from the BlackBerry Storm which was the first touch screen launched by (Research in Motion)

Blackberry Storm2

RIM are hoping to offer some stiff competition against the Apple dominance of the smart phone market. The first BlackBerry Storm released last November, although was successful, there were some issues which the BlackBerry Storm 2 has addresses.

The touchscreen which had many complaints, has been upgraded. SurePress technology has been used to allow for better typing accuracy as well as a more natural feel for the touchscreen. Previously users had to click the entire screen to confirm a touch input, which compared with the iPhone was a major drawback.

The BlackBerry Storm 2 has a 3.2MP camera and 2GB of on-board storage. It has 3.5G connection and Wi-Fi, something the previous model was missing. It has a 3.25-inch HVGA touchscreen, as well as full integration with Windows Media Player and iTunes thanks to BlackBerry Media Sync.

Some argue that BlackBerry remains the best mobile email device on the market. I will let you decide, there is now a lot of competition in the smartphone market – Motorola Dext was released earlier this month and Palm Pre last week exclusively on O2. It will be interesting to see how these handsets compete against one another in market that seemed to be dominated by Apple for the past two years.

I don’t proclaim to know everything about the Blackberry Storm 2, so please feel free to have a look at what other people are saying like geek , techradar and the guardian and the telegraph

Palm Pre in the UK

One of the most anticipated phones, the Palm Pre, only available on O2, finally launched on Friday October 16th. In a statement yesterday, the company said it sold more Palm Pre handsets on Friday than the number of regular handsets they sell on an average day.

For those that have missed the hype about the Palm pre, I will give a few points as to why this phone has created so much stir:
– For one thing it is smaller than the iPhone with a tiny keyword aswell as the touchscreen.
– You can have more than one application running at the same time which is not the same as the iPhone.
– There will be an app store for the Palm Pre but you can still load other apps and buy them over the air from the Palm app store.
– It is the first device to run on Palm’s new Web OS operating system and as it smaller than the iPhone it is not as clunky and easily fits into your pocket

What is also new with this phone is that you can charge the handset by placing it on an electromagnetic induction pad instead of plugging it in a cable.

Palm Pre is only available on O2 on contracts from 30 pounds a month plus 90pounds for the phone. Those on 24 month contracts can get the phone for free.

It seems awfully convenient that at a time when O2’s exclusivity for the iPhone has come to an end, they bring out the Palm Pre. It will be interesting to see how the smart phone market reacts to such a new handset. Feel free to comment for those that have bought one.

Have a look at this interview on the BBC with the CEO of O2 and the CEO of Palm

New mobile phones hitting the market

It has been a busy week in the mobile market this past week.

3 announced a new social networking handset called INQ Mini 3G that went on sale Thursday, October 8th. It is aimed at the younger market who spend a lot of time on the social networks and has a built in Twitter application, shortcuts to facebook and skype. The handset comes with a choice of 8 different colours some say they look like “candy” phones. The mobile is small at just 2.2 inches with a 320 x 240 display and 2 mp camera. It can sync with iTune or Windows Media Player through a third-party application

INQ mobile phones

It has free skype to skype calls and msn and is available on 3’s £15 Internet Texter plan and on the Mix and Match tariffs. And for those Pay as you go customers, you can pick it up for £59.99. The photo above also shows the INQ Chat 3G which has a QWERTY keyboard, 3.2 mp camera and built in GPS which is out later this year.

T-mobile also announced last week they will be offering the BlackBerry Bold2 as well as Nokia’s new flagship the N900 and another Nseries handset. T Mobile will also get the Motoroal CLUQ and the Samsung Behold 2, increasing its range of smartphones.

Will update more soon, but in the meantime, have a read of the following:

Source: INQ,mobilenews, Tech digest, Guardian, Gsmarena

Orange pockets the difference

Orange have teamed up with ASDA to sell mobile phones in its stores. The first ASDA to trial the Orange concessions will be in Eastlands, Manchester earlier this month. There are 100,000 customers a week, so the 7 full time Orange staff in the ASDA store will be very busy. If this concession is successful, it will be rolled out to 30 other ASDA superstores. It may even be rolled out to the smaller ASDA stores.

October is an exciting time for Orange as this month they also opened their first ever multimedia store last week. The store opened in Midsummer Arcade in Milton Keynes and is aimed at encouraging more engagement between customers and mobile multimedia technology. The opening came at the same time as the launch of the Motorola’s DEXT mobile. The store has all the multimedia technology you would expect. There is a 70-inch cinema-style screen and seating for product demonstrations, workshops and film previews.

I wonder if Orange are trying to compete with Apple in the space for the most coolest and interactive mobile/app stores. If the reviews of the store are anything to go by, they are certainly making headway in this area.

Vodafone making headway in social media

Ok so this post is a little late, but better late than never. Vodafone announced a new service last month to connect all social network contacts called Vodafone 360. Vodafone are reinventing themselves as a software and social networking provider. Seem familiar to Nokia and its Ovi product? Vodafone 360 includes a cloud-based address book, full-track music downloads, app store (called Vodafone Apps shop which will launch with 1,000 mobile applications) picture geo-tagging, and integration with social communities such as Facebook and Twitter.

This service is available on a wide range of handsets and to make this launch even more special (or more marketable) Vodafone will have two new exclusive 360 handsets developed by Samsung that syncs automatically with the PC. The H1 followed by the M1. There will also be four Nokia Symbian smartphones pre-loaded with Vodafone 360 but these have yet to be announced.

The famous tag line “make the most out of now” will be replaced with “power to you” as Vodafone sets to rebrand itself as a communications specialist. (words from Vittorio Colao CEO of Vodafone). The new mobile internet service is expected to launch by Christmas in 8 different European countries.

As you are well aware of since the explosion of the mobile apps, all mobile operators have been jumping on the bandwagon and Vodafone is no exception. For those aware of mobile sync and back up, Vodafone bought Zyb last year for £28.5m. Zyb was a small mobile start-up that had developed software that lets mobile phone users share information and messages between their contacs in their address book. This was the start of Vodafone 360.

One year later and the 360 internet service has developed further to include gathering all customer’s friends, communities, entertainment and personal favourites such as music, games, photos and video in to one single place. It brings together all contacts from the user’s mobile phone, social networks and their gmail, hotmail and any other internet account. What is great about this service is that it is automatically backed up and synchronised, regularly and wirelessly, between the mobile and PC and yes the mac as well.

Some interesting articles: