Category Archives: Google Chrome

Chromecraft? Build With Chrome!

I’ve always said that Minecraft is like digital LEGO® that you can save and share with friends. Sure Minecraft is increasingly fun to play and actually ‘collect’ the bricks, but at it’s core it’s a lot like LEGO®.

The problem with Minecraft is that we don’t all share the same map. Some servers try to accommodate everyone, but I don’t think there’s any way that a single map could support everyone playing on it. This means that you could build something incredible, like Castle Black from Game of Thrones, that nobody ever comes across. Bummer.

Enter the new Build With Chrome website from Google and LEGO®! That’s right! My favourite browser mixed with my favourite game!

Right now the ‘world map’ is limited to Australia and New Zealand, but each tile of the map becomes ‘owned’ by the first person to build on it, so they will have to make the map bigger soon!

I gave it a go and started to get used to the controls pretty quick, but really found some polish lacking, at least on my work PC which isn’t rigged up for 3D graphics.
Build with Lego

What’s this got to do with SEO opportunities? Well web presence is all about putting your company on-line, and when the whole world map is available to build on, you can guess what’s going to be built on our square? :)

Already this morning there’s a land rush and the tiles are all getting claimed. So if you wanted to plant your flag in Australia, you better hurry up before all the shrimp are gone from the BBQ.

Heck you can just sit back and watch as people’s published ‘builds’ are approved and start popping up on the map. Really neat work from Google!

As the name suggests, it’s a lot of HTML5 web content that’s been designed to work well with Chrome. So far I’ve tried it on Opera and Firefox with errors both times, leaving me to suggest that ‘buildwithchrome.com’ is a ‘chrome only’ site for now. :)

Other news..

Yep it’s been a bit slow on our blog lately, but there’s lots of buzz from Google IO, and the latest services like Google Now that we’ll be talking about very soon!

I’ve also been working behind the scenes on the programming posts so if you enjoyed our last one there’s more to come and they all touch on SEO implementation so there will be something for everyone.

Chrome on iOS: Your move Apple

We know that Apple has been making a break from Google, I even blogged about it last week in my ‘Apple: On the Charge!‘ post discussing the switch away from Google Maps and Google Search.

Now, almost as if they were holding back a sucker punch, Google has released a version of Chrome for iOS. This means that you can stay logged into Chrome on almost any device you can connect to the internet with, and that’s some pretty big bragging rights!
 

Google logo with d20 dice
If this was DnD Google just landed a 19 on a d20 attack roll and with Google’s attack bonus Apple is going to either get a critical head shot or get lucky with a dodge roll.

 
Here’s the video Google put out to tease us (this is also a great round up of the Chrome profile option):

 
Now don’t get too excited.. Even with a video demonstration from Google, word is that the App isn’t available yet and common opinion is that Apple is going to stall or veto the option to use Chrome on iOS.

Keep in mind that the browser demo is using the Safari Webkit engine, not Google’s modified engine or rendering improvements. You won’t get flash support from this, and you also won’t be able to make this your default browser even if Apple allows it, which is still dicey. ;)

We’ve been a bit light on the blog this week due to end of month madness but we’ll be back to regular soon, and just in case we don’t manage a Friday post, Happy Canada Day!
A Canadian mountie holding a domokun and a flag

It’s all coming up Google?

When it’s my turn to tackle the SEO news for our blog I first look specifically at ‘technology’ news headlines for relevance, and then I usually filter it out a bit to nail a topic that our readers can relate to/find useful.

Today’s news feed looks like I just went to Google’s news blog and did a copy/pasta, yet in reality Google WAS the news this morning.

Here’s the list of headlines:

    • Google places is gone and now merged with Google+ Local
    • Google Plus places now features Zagat review information (Kyle mentioned this in yesterday’s blog post)
    • Facebook drops Google chrome as a recommended browser (and then removes the whole page)
    • Google’s new ChromeOS Chromebox is available for purchase
    • Google’s not yet available ’5-core’ Nexus 7 tablet makes a sneaky appearance a few days early on a benchmarking website
    • And a new Google World of Wonders video from Japan:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u58wgeS-jC4

Google+ Places

First impression?

“Pretty cool, and very personalized information about locations in my area.”

Right off the bat it told me where Dave likes to eat..

Which was funny because he’s recommending a restaurant that’s famous for either utterly ruining every aspect of the dinning experience or totally nailing it.

Google Plus Places
Dave must be lucky. ;)

So like anything on-line:
Zagat reviews aren’t perfect.
Everyone has an opinion.
People have unique interests.

At least this is Google, so we know that it’s trying as hard as it can to learn and suggest things to ‘me’ based on personalization.

So if the first visit doesn’t introduce you to your new favourite restaurant/pub/coffee shop, I wouldn’t write it off, just try it again later.

Stock isn’t the only thing dropping over at Facebook

This image has been popping up in Google/Technology news all morning:
Facebook Unsupported Browsers

Since Chrome and Safari both share the ‘webkit’ engine, there’s almost zero possibility that Facebook is dropping support for Chrome.

In fact I would say this is more about making Opera stand out vs. dropping support for Chrome. Especially since the FB developer page used to recommend Chrome!

Given that FB pulled this link down completely, I’m going to venture a guess that this was even possibly a mistake.

Chromebox for Sale

The Chromebox is a cute little SFF (small form factor) PC from Samsung with the ChromeOS preloaded and ready to go.
Google Chromebox
You can pick one up today for $329.. However if you don’t want some extra hardware, or wait for something to ship, you can download and install ChromeOS on an old laptop, or inside a virtual PC, to give it a try and see what’s good/bad about it before investing.

Thanks for going open source Google, we love you, again. ;)

Google Nexus 7 Tablet?

June is on my calendar for a ton of reasons, one of which is that it’s ’6 months’ from the date that Google said they were planning to launch a tablet ‘in six months’. :)

Asus is apparently the manufacturer, so the tablet will be sturdy.
NVidia’s ’5 core’ Tegra 3 Processor will be doing the thinking, so it will be fast and power smart.
NVidia also supplied the ULP GeForce graphics processor, so 3d graphics/games are supported.

Beyond those stats we’re really guessing based on this leaked info:
The unit that popped up on the benchmarks was running Android 4.1 JRN51B, at 1280×768 resolution, had 1GB of RAM installed, and 16GB of local storage.

So for now this is just a huge teaser and we’ll have to wait for a more official announcement.

Last day for Beanstalk Minecraft Map Submissions!

LAST DAY TO ENTER!

 

If you didn’t already know, we’ve been running a Minecraft Map Contest for the last two months and this is the final day for entries!

Yahoo Axis – What the Flock?

I had a friend working on the Flock browser team right until it lost momentum and became clear that it was too much, too soon…

Amy's Winehouse - Too soon?

Here we go again with a new ‘all-in-one’ web browser concept, this time from a very big name?

**Update: Turns out that the leaks were really just rumors. This hype mill is a ‘googol‘ times more intense than it should be considering this is ‘just a plugin’ (unless you count Apple devices).

 

Paul Rudd doing the Double Take
Yahoo..? New?!?

Microsoft owns Yahoo right? So if Yahoo is releasing a new browser + a suite of browser plugins for people who refuse to switch browsers, what’s going on?

Well apparently giving people the option to ‘choose’ MSN/Bing/Yahoo wasn’t working out so well. Now you can run a browser or a plugin that removes that annoying hassle of choosing who’s search services you are using.

Y’know how Firefox and Chrome allow you to sign-in to your browser letting you seamlessly move from one location to the next? Yeah Axis is going to break ground and re-invent the web by also doing that same thing.

Y’know how Google is showing you previews of the sites you’re considering visiting within the search results? Yep Axis will finally let you do that, again.

Is this even a new browser or just IE9 with some ‘fluff’ and Yahoo branding? Tonight we will get a chance to try it hands-on and find out, but for now we have a few videos we can watch over on Yahoo Video.

One of the points my Economics teacher used to hammer home is to view each promotion as the promoter relating to their target audience.

If you have a good product with a smart client base, you can sell your product by focusing on real traits and strengths. Just demonstrate the product and avoid all pointless elements that distract the consumer from your product information.

Enjoy those videos and the clever/unique symbolism that hasn’t been copied too many times since Apple used it in 1984. :)

Does this mean Bing/Yahoo rankings will be important?

Who ever said they weren’t important? Okay, well expert opinions aside, you should never burn the Bing bridge, especially not with cell phones that default to Bing and new versions of Windows that also default to Bing.

It’s never wise to put all your eggs in one basket, and this is true of search engine placement/rankings as well as eggs.

Even if Yahoo Axis only manages a week of public attention, that’s one week of people around the planet searching Bing for a change.

If you rank really well on Google, we’re not going to suggest you intentionally tank your rankings for a short-term gain on Bing. The cost of recovering from such a move would probably be far more than simply paying for some pay-per-click coverage via Microsoft’s AdCenter.

There’s already folks worried about ‘Yahoo’ impressions vs. Bing impressions and the following advice has been posted in the AdCenter help forum:

1) You are currently bidding on broad match only, add phrase and exact match to your bidding structure.
2) Look at keywords with low quality score and optimize for those specifically.
3) Install the MAI tool and check on expected traffic for adCenter, you can also see what average bids are for specific positions.

Only 7 Days Left!

7 DAYS LEFT!

 

Talk about old news? I mentioned this just 2 days ago?!

We still have 7 days left in our Beanstalk Minecraft Map Competition! Check it out and even if you’re not entering, please let others know it’s coming to a close and we need all submissions by the 31st!

Salespeople are evil, even at Google

If you use a Google product or service to call someone instead of sending them some GMail, that conversation isn’t relevant to Google, at least not yet.

I can just picture the sales team at Google are sitting around thinking about how knowing their users, via analysis of email/search/etc.., drives their product, and how people using their services via video/audio are escaping that analysis.

And yet, doesn’t Google own the most sophisticated voice analysis system on the planet? Wouldn’t it be really easy to compress audio/video data, upload it to a Google server, and process it for relevance?

 
Let’s say you kept the NKOTB concert a complete secret because it’s your anniversary gift to your wife, and Google realizes you’re at the concert by the audio in the background of a phone call + your general location? If that means that Google now includes ‘Download NKOTB live at xyz concert’ adverts in your ad stream for a few days following, wouldn’t that be great?

Well those salespeople managed to convince someone at Google it’d be wise to at the very least patent such a method so that in the coming years they aren’t licensing it from their competition. Seems smart right?

Not with all the FUD – (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) that is lingering on-line, no sir, this is war with the tin-foil beanie brigade.

 
Even Google Trends shows us how trust is at an all time low:
trust 
trust - Google Trends

I love the regional breakdown on that search…

 
First of all, patenting a technology doesn’t guarantee it will happen; How long have we had flying car patents and still nothing feasible?

Secondly, what are the odds Google is going to force nervous users to flee to competing products by snooping on conversations without consent?

And finally, in several key locations around the planet, it’s technically illegal to record someone without their consent. Since a cell phone could pick-up a background conversation, it would be legal suicide to try and implement ‘eavesdropping’ technology without a boatload of safeguards, warnings, and disclaimers.

Nerds are Still Cool However..

We’ll need to talk about this more ‘in depth’ at a later stage in it’s development, but Google’s Knowledge Graph is very exciting.

Have a look at the Knowledge Graph video released yesterday by Google:

 
I’m sure Bing and competing search engines will just claim Google is evil and trying to keep you on their pages by giving you the answers you need instantly, but if that’s their idea of evil then slap on the horns and poke me with a trident. :)

No Browser Bans on Windows 8 ARM Edition

We could have ‘spun’ the information that it’s very unlikely we’ll see competing browsers in ARM edition of Windows 8, explaining that the difficulties make it the same as a ‘ban’…

…But we respect the fact that all (3?) of our readers come here for the truth on these topics, and only dirty laundry needs a spin cycle.

Where else is FireFox ‘banned’?

ChromeOS ? Yep!

iOS ? Yessir!

So why would Firefox/Mozilla come out today and only complain there’s a ‘ban’ on Firefox for Windows 8 ARM Edition?

Well from what I can tell, they never did, and the ‘b-word’ was all ‘spin’ by a very annoying technology news site that keeps amazing us with bad headlines and horribly inaccurate publications.

The TRUTH is that it will be VERY hard for any company to get approval for a browser running in Windows 8 ARM Edition because it’s not just ‘another version’ of Windows, it’s a Mobile OS with very clear goals that make it unique.

First of all is memory handling and battery use. By now we should all understand that you can’t deploy programs coded for x86 operating systems and expect them to sip carefully on resources like batteries and memory without some major changes.

Since ARM is aimed at ‘portable’ we can also expect people to seek more privacy and security on these devices. Allowing any-old-app onto the OS won’t happen. You’ve had to have a certificate to publish your apps on Microsoft’s mobile operating systems since the very first days of Windows Mobile, and that will not change any time soon.

If Microsoft wants to protect the quality and end user experience of their mobile products, locking down risky third party software clearly is one of the best ways for them to do it.

This is in no way a ‘ban’ on applications, and Microsoft admits that they are willing to help developers reach a quality standard that will permit them to publish to this new mobile platform.

On the plus side, I was tossing out some rather negative feelings about Microsoft’s investments in technical news sites, and this latest fumble leaves me with some doubts as to who’s invested in whom. Either that or this oft mentioned news source is chock full of people who not only don’t know what’s going on but they don’t even know the hand that feeds them? Crazy.

First Self Driving Car is Licensed

It’s official, if you see a car drive by with nobody inside, the license plate has a red infinity logo, and you’re in Vegas, that really happened, you’re not just in bat country.

011011110110111001100101

 
Google can now legally send it’s self driving cars out solo, with nobody inside.

I had to say that to myself to fully appreciate how impressive this moment is in history.

Sure this puts a twist on Driving Miss Daisy 2 – Drive Harder, but overall I’m very excited about the countless ways this will improve our lives, save gasoline, time, money, and most of all, lives.

Driving Miss Daisy 2
Hopefully Mr.Freeman won’t mind?

 

Why Buy Facebook Stock?

Lets say you had money that isn’t already invested in proven winners like Google, HTC, Intel, etc.., and you wanted to invest in something a bit different, and for some reason wanted to gamble on something as fickle as social media (remember MySpace?).

Personally, even with that list of caveats, I wouldn’t be looking at buying FB stocks, and Reddit’s co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, agrees.

In an interview that is circulating the web like mad, Mr.Ohanian explains why he wouldn’t invest anything in Facebook, citing their support of CISPA as a primary reason. While I agree that the CISPA support is horrible, my list of concerns is a bit longer.

For my needs I’d want to pick a business with a clear path forward, not one with heavy investments from Microsoft, yet promote’s the competition’s browser :

Use Chrome on FB
This is taken from the Power Editor tool in FB

 
I also wouldn’t invest in a company that’s decided it’s crucial to place privacy so far behind promotion.

These ‘login to view this story’ roadblocks are a bane of FB and recent studies back up my own findings: people will not login to FB to read something. It’s much easier to highlight the title and right-click it for a Google search and that’s what users are doing.

When you stop listening to your users, and usher them to the competition, you really can’t be shocked when people don’t struggle to get their wallets out for a chance to buy some stock.

Search Engine Experiment in Spam Surfing

If you took a very heavily spam-influenced search engine like Bing for example and removed the first 1 million results for a query, how good would the result be?

How about doing the same thing to the best filtered search engines available?

Well someone got curious and made the million short search engine.

What this new service does is remove a specific # of search results and show you the remainder.

I became immediately curious about a few things:

  • Where are they getting their crawl data from?
  • What are they doing to searches where there’s only a few hundred results?
  • Where is the revenue stream? I see no ads?

Given the lack of advertising I was expecting them to be pulling search data from another site?

There’s no way they are pulling from Bing/Yahoo, there are 14+ sites paying for better spots than we’ve earned on Bing for our terms..

And while the top 10 list looks a bit like DuckDuckGo, we’re seemingly banned from their rankings, and not at #6 at all. It’s funny when you look at their anti-spam approach and then look at the #1 site for ‘seo services’ on DDG. It’s like a time machine back to the days of keyword link spam. Even more ironic is that we conform to DDGs definition of a good SEO:

“The ones who do in fact make web sites suck less, and apply some common sense to the problem, will make improvements in the search ranking if the site is badly done to start with. Things like meta data, semantical document structure, descriptive urls, and whole heap of other factors can affect your rankings significantly.

The ones who want to subscribe you to massive link farms, cloaked gateway pages, and other black hat type techniques are not worth it, and can hurt your rankings in the end.
Just remember, if it sounds too good to be true, is probably is. There are some good ones, and also a lot selling snake oil.”

We know the data isn’t from Google either, we have the #1 seat for ‘seo services’ on Google and maintain that position regularly.

So what’s going on?! This is the same company that gave us the ‘Find People on Plus‘ tool and clearly they know how to monetize a property?

My guess is that they are blending results from multiple search engines, and likely caching a lot of the data so it’d be very hard to tell who’s done the heavy lifting for them?

All that aside, it’s rare to see a search engine that blatantly gives you numbered SERPs and for now MillionShort is, on the left side-bar, showing numbered positions for keywords. That’s sort of handy I guess. :)

You can also change how many results to remove, so if your search is landing you in the spam bucket, then try removing less results. If your search always sucks, and the sites you want to see in the results are on the right, you’ve apparently found a search phrase that isn’t spammed! Congrats!

Weak one: Google Drive

Well my enthusiasm for Google Drive just flew out the window on my second week using it.

UPDATE: Turns out the disk was full and Google Drive has no feedback at all. Thanks FireFox for telling me WHY the download failed. Oh man.

Week One with Google Drive

Well Google Drive has been making a lot of headlines about ownership of files, depth of file privacy, virus scanning, archive support, etc.. etc..

One item I have not seen anyone mention is the installer/login system that Google Drive is using.

As an SEO who has to be able to test a multitude of browser versions, I’ve managed to work myself into a neat situation where each time IE is called upon to render something I get a warning message about the version I have installed.

The warning message is great because it lets me know when an application is cheating and using IE for displaying information vs. using default system calls built into windows. The most common application I see doing this is VMWare’s ESX console which has a very graphical summary of the virtual devices.

So imagine my amusement yesterday when installing Google Drive and seeing this:

Google Drive using IE
“O RLY?”

Ownership of Files

A certain technical news source (rhymes with SEENET) that’s famous for publishing outright false information, misleading articles, and brainless technical pieces, one-up’d itself yesterday by trying to scare people away from Google Drive by publishing a hard hitting new post about Google Drive an it’s terms of service.

Picard Face Palm

In order to make the story work however, they had to omit the first sentence of the section they were complaining about. Anything less wouldn’t make the post seem worth writing, much-less reading. After considerable hate from readers they actually had the nerve to ‘tack on’ the honest truth, at the very bottom of the post, instead of removing it entirely due to it being completely worthless.

The bottom line with Google and privacy is that NOBODY would use them if they abused your trust so you can rest assured that Google is doing everything they can to keep your files safe. The clauses in the TOS that state Google has rights to your files is clearly there so they can more accurately provide services that interest you.

If you take a lot of high resolution photos of animals, Google knows you work with animals. If you upload videos of cars on a race track, Google can guess you like race cars. Etc..

I’d much rather have my screen space wasted with info about the next WRC event than see a bunch of adverts for a local dog grooming outfit (I don’t hate animals, but I also don’t have pets).

File Privacy

Lots of folks are wondering how private the files are in a Google Drive.

The truth is that unless you’ve changed something from the defaults, every file uploaded is private to you. You can share files and folders with a few clicks, and there’s multiple options for how files are shared (read-only, contribute, full control), but it’s up to you to manually allow sharing.

One fellow even claimed that Google Drive was modifying the JPG files uploaded from his digital camera!?

I tested this on my own this morning with a 5.8MB .JPG @ 3968 x 2976 resolution. Yes, indeed, if I choose to view or preview the image Google isn’t going to waste my time viewing a 6MB .JPG, and instead it renders a much smaller preview to get the image on my screen quickly.

However if I choose to download the image I get the exact same file I uploaded with no changes whatsoever, EXIF data included!

Archive Support

So far I’ve had no problems with .RAR and .ZIP archives in Google Drive, and I have the option of opening the archives which means downloading individual files inside an archive is very easy. I’ve only tested Google Drive with Windows and Ubuntu so far, but as expected it’s making things very easy to share between the machines and the OSes.

.7z (7ZIP) support is not enabled yet, but at the moment the format isn’t very widely used so I doubt many users will mind the fact that you have to download the whole archive vs. opening it on-line. Obviously anti-virus scanning isn’t available on archives that aren’t supported.

Protected archives are also supported in that you can browse the unencrypted contents, but Google Drive doesn’t make any attempts to get passwords out of you, which should help with all the tin-foil-beanie types.

Limitations of Use

This one is yet to be determined. Google clearly won’t allow you to upload a 4.7GB DVD and then share it public with no limits, that would be amazingly poor insight from a company that takes great efforts to plan each move.

How much ‘sharing’ you can get away with seems to be an unanswered question at the moment, but given the lazy pirates around the globe I’m sure someone’s going to put this to the test immediately.

Another rumour floating around is that the largest single file you can store on Google Drive is 10GB. While that’s a MASSIVE file allowance for a single file, it still seems odd that such a cap would exist since you would have to be a paid user at that point. Since the cost of trying the commercial version is very low I’m going to give it a whirl and see what I find.

More to come!

Beanstalk Minecraft Map Contest!

I haven’t been flogging this very much, which is bad form given my profession, but we still have a glorious brand new Android tablet with Minecraft PE installed to give away!

How do you win this approx ~$300 prize? You play a video game, and you have fun creating a map that will be displayed and recognized by fellow gamers on our website. Yeah, life is rough eh?

Our initial contest winner of the $50 prize, Faragilus from the Ukraine, got his prize this week and we will be featuring his work with the rest of the winners at the end of the contest.

For more information please look at the original post here: Beanstalk Minecraft 1.2 Contest

PPS: I know this is a REALLY long post today but I had to toss in a Google Chrome video that really is neat. While Microsoft is spending time and money trying mock it’s competition, Google’s having fun with demonstrating it’s products and how they help people on-line connect in real life.

Google IO is a sellout

I know we’ve been anti-Google the last few weeks, but Google’s upcoming IO conference really did sell-out, in 20 mins no less!
GoogleIO 2012 Sold Out
With only 5,500 seats the 20 minute sell-out wasn’t too shocking, but the $2,000 EBay auction for a Google IO ticket took me by surprise. I tried to go find it for a confirmation picture but it was already nuked. Even at the full price of $900 a pop, the scalping price was over double! Heck educational admission ticket prices are only $300 each!?

If you’re wondering ‘what the heck is Google IO?’ that could be our fault, because our post about it last year, Ooh Shiny! ChromeOS & ChromeBook, was totally about the new ChromeBook and not the conference.. Oh man!

Each year Google hosts it’s Input/Output conference to not only share a vision of what’s ahead for Google, but also to get some feedback from the developers and users that work with Google’s solutions.

As is the case each year the team of nerds over at Google have put together a ‘chrome experiment‘ for anyone with a Google account.

The splash page for the Google IO event experiment teases us with the following:

“Brush up on your geometry, dust off your protractor, and architect a machine only you could have dreamt of. Join developers tackling our latest Chrome Experiment for a chance to have your machine featured at Google I/O.”

… yet the site seems a wee bit too popular at the moment, refusing to proceed into the actual site no matter how many times your click it. I’ll have to keep trying but right now it looks like I’ll have to come back and update after lunch.

If you REALLY wanted to click something to fiddle with in your browser, and it has to work right this second, well try Browser Quest from Mozilla Labs! While the game is currently still up and running I expect it will completely flat-line as it reaches peak popularity. I am running around as DobbieBobkins if you get in.

Browser Quest is an HTML5 site, with everything using the latest web-tech available. Don’t let those 8-bit graphics fool you, this is a modern technical demonstration. I’ve seen the game work with the latest versions of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Opera, just fine, though Opera was loading like dirt because of some broken plugins.

Speaking of coming back to things. I keep saying that we will have more on the Beanstalk Minecraft map contest, including some videos to inspire folks with ideas.. Sadly I am SO out of date with video capture that it boggles the mind.

Apparently my problem with recording is missing codecs, so I installed the FFdshow package which supposedly contains the right codecs to maintain the correct color space and gamma values in my source videos. If that sounded like Spanish, in a nutshell I’m fixing some dark video issues. :)

Here’s my last upload fresh off the preview screen, and it’s STILL TOO DARK?

http://vimeo.com/39291926

So, for now, today’s post is more of a bookmark, with some Google IO teasing, to be visited again after lunch when things are less popular. ;)