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Google Changes Property Links – Removes Video

For those of who who haven’t yet noticed, Google has changed the way they display the links to their other properties and search functions. As opposed to the typical row of links across the top of the page, Google has replaced this row with an “Apps” button to the right beside the Sign In link.  For comparison, here’s a links to the archives and what it looked like just a few hours ago – Google homepage on archives.org.

The page currently looks like

Google homepage on search.Which, when you hover over the Apps link to the right becomes.

Google homepage on hover.The push here it is clearly to provide a clear path to their most popular search function but one might notice (maybe) that on the homepage the option to search videos outside of YouTube has been removed (though it does appear to be currently available on the internal search options).  I suppose I can’t begrudge them, it’s their site and they have the right to point people to their other properties but do you remember the days when Google was a search engine?  Wasn’t that neat?

SEO news blog post by @ 4:48 pm on October 2, 2013

Categories:Google

 

Much Ado About (not provided)

Our motto is (not provided).

Our motto is (not provided).

As many of our readers may already know, earlier this week Google changed the way their URL functions in such a way that for those who monitor their analytics (which should be all of you), you’ll now only see (not provided) where once you would have seen your keyword. This move was met with disappointment and more than a bit of annoyance on the part of SEOs and website owners. The reason (so they say) is to protect the privacy of their users. The logic is, if keyword data passes then it can be picked up in the log files of the site being visited along with data such as the IP address that would allow the user to be pinpointed with some degree of accuracy. So, to make sure that the owner of the custom t-shirt site I visited last week can’t figure out it was me that searched “custom t-shirts canada” that data is now kept from the receiving site. Now, here’s the annoyance – to say that it’s a case of protecting privacy would work UNTIL we realize that the same can’t be said for paid traffic. If you purchase traffic though AdWords, the data is tracked. Now of course it has to be or we’d all just be paying for AdWords and trusting that we were getting the traffic we paid for and that the bids made sense but the hypocrisy is pretty obvious – why is a user that clicks on an organic result then more deserving of privacy than those who click on a paid result? They’re not obviously, and we’re not being told the truth BUT that’s not really the discussion to be had is it? The fact of the matter is, it’s Google and they can do what they want with their own website. I believe I should get to do with my site what I want (within the confines of the law of course) and so I won’t take that away from others. So what is the real discussion …

What Do We Do Now?

While we’re all spending time arguing about the hypocrisy and crying foul, the fact of the matter is that it is what it is and now we have to figure out what to do.  We no longer have keyword data from Google.  There are two routes forward, the short term patch and the long term changes.

Short Term

In the short term we can use Advanced Segments to at least get a good idea about what keywords are producing what effect.  Essentially we can use them to filter traffic that follows patters similar to what specific keywords or keyword groups behaved like.  This tends to only work well with large traffic groupings so unless you get huge traffic for single phrases that behave uniquely – you’ll probably have to group your traffic together.  Branded vs non-branded for example.  I’m not going to get into how this is gone here in this blog post simply because I wrote a lengthy piece on it for Search Engine Watch back when (not provided) was first becoming an issue.  You can read about it at http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2143123/How-to-Understand-Your-Google-Not-Provided-Traffic.

This will only work for a while however.  You’ll see new traffic coming in and won’t know how it’s behavior impacts the results.  Essentially – this will give you a decent idea until your traffic sources change, your site changes, or time passes.  So what do we do …

Long Term

In the long run we have no option but to make massive adjustments to the way we look at our sites.  We can no longer determine which keywords perform the best and try to caft the user experience for them.  Instead we have to look at our search traffic in a big bucket.  Or do we?

While this may be true for some traffic, we can still segment but the landing page (which will give you a good idea of the phrases) as well as look at groups of pages (all in a  single directory for example).  I know for example that this change comes right when we ourselves are redesigning our website and in light of this I will be changing the way our directory structure and page naming system work to allow for better grouping of landing pages by common URL elements.  I imagine I won’t be the last to consider this factor when building or redeveloping a website.

What will need to change is our reliance on specific pieces of data.  I know I like to see that phrase A produced X result and work to improve that.  We’ll not have to look at larger groupings of data.  A downside to this (and Google will have to address this or we as SEOs will) is that it’s going to be a lot easier to mask bad practices as specific phrase data won’t be available.  I know for example that in an audit I was part of, we found bot traffic in part based on common phrase elements.  Today we wouldn’t be able to do this and the violations would continue.

We’re All Still Learning

Through the next couple months we’ll all be adjusting our reporting practices to facilitate this change.  I know that some innovative techniques will likely be developed to report as accurately as possible what traffic is doing what.  I know I’ll be staying on top if it and we’ll keep you posted here in our blog and on our Facebook page.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:48 am on September 26, 2013

Categories:Analytics,Google,Google

 

 

Liquid Galaxy: Science Fiction Becomes Fact

Google Earth is definitely one of the most fascinating playthings in the company’s toybox; it was impressive when it launched in 2001 (under the name ‘Keyhole Earthviewer’) and it remains impressive to this day. I remember logging on as a teenager at home and finding the Eiffel Tower in Paris; back then, the only option was a top-down view, and I was disappointed when I tried to change the angles so I could “stand” next to France’s most iconic building. But Google Earth has taken care of that problem; thanks to Street View being integrated into the program, you can zoom into practically anywhere on Earth and roam the streets, exploring cities you’ve never seen from the comfort of your desk.

That’s not all; Google Earth has added data to allow users to zoom in under the oceans, see the Lunar Lander on the surface of the Moon, and even view high-resolution images of Martian terrain scooped from the Mars Orbiter and Exploration Rovers. Google Earth users can even view historical images, traveling back in time to view what certain areas looked like many years ago. You can explore the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland and the Prado Museum in Madrid.

NGC_4414_(NASA-med)But one of Google Earth’s most incredible features is the one you probably won’t have heard of; it’s an open-source DIY-capable piece of code that takes one step closer to bringing science fiction tech to life. It’s called Liquid Galaxy, and its description—an ‘immersive Google Earth’—doesn’t do nearly enough justice to the possibilities it can create. You won’t find Liquid Galaxy as a major Google release; its official project page is full of technobabble and source code modifications from engineers all over the world. Part of the beauty of the product is that it can be whatever you want it to be. But when it comes down to it, Liquid Galaxy is a design concept that allows you to project Google Earth onto several screens at once, creating a unified surround view of the world. It was originally developed by some Google employees as an independent project; they wanted to recreate the experience of seeing their geo-product imagery in a more seamless way. Using a few extra Linux workstations, they built a big gazebo-style case that housed eight 55-inch LCD screens, and used a cluster of computers to project Google Earth seamlessly and simultaneously—a combination of the Holodeck and a huge flight simulator.

Liquid Galaxy presents an endless amount of potential for teaching everything from geography to climate change and urban planning; after taking Liquid Galaxy on the road and being met with overwhelming praise, in 2010 Google made their configuration, codes, and schematics public so that anyone could rig up their own version. This makes Liquid Galaxy a fasciatingly unique Google product; while it’s been available to the public for three years, very few people have had firsthand experience with one. Georgia State University has a 48-screen display wall using four Windows 7 machines; NASA has one at the Johnson Space Center. Some can be controlled using Xbox Kinect; others use head tracking software. Liquid Galaxy has been used to run the virtual reality game Second Life, allowing players to truly feel as if they’re stepping into Linden Labs’ simulated universe. One civilian user has even rigged a five-screen Liquid Galaxy to run a Quake 3 mod.

If you’re computer-savvy and itching for a new project, you can find the Liquid Galaxy project here. The site contains how-tos, a guide for where to buy pre-built componenets, and encourages users to post their new enhancements, any defects they find, and what they’ve built with the technology. Liquid Galaxy’s open source means that the possibilities really are endless; with a few high-quality computers and a creative imagination you could end up making your wildest science fiction dreams come true.

SEO news blog post by @ 9:35 am on September 9, 2013


 

SEO concerns for Mobile Websites

You want to serve your clients needs regardless of what device they visit your site with, but how do you do it easily without upsetting your SEO?

Lets look at the various options for tackling Mobile sites and what each means in terms of SEO:

Responsive Design :
 
Visual demonstration of responsive web design

  • Responsive design is growing in popularity, especially as communications technology evolves, and bandwidth/memory use is less of a concern.
  • This method also gives us a single URL to work with which helps to keep the sitemap/structure as simple as possible without redirection nightmares.
  • On top of that, Googlebot won’t need to visit multiple URLs to index your content updates.
  • Less to crawl means Googlebot will have a better chance to index more of your pages/get deeper inside your site.
“Why is/was there a concern about mobile page size?”

Low-end mobiles, like a Nokia C6 from 4+ years ago (which was still an offering from major telcos last year), typically require that total page data be less than 1mb in order for the phone to handle the memory needs of rendering/displaying the site.

If you go over that memory limit/tipping point you risk causing the browser to crash with an error that the device memory has been exceeded. Re-loading the browser drops you on the device’s default home-page with all your history lost. I think we could all agree that this is not a good remote experience for potential clients.

Higher-end devices are still victims of their real-world connectivity. Most 3rd generation devices can hit really nice peak speeds, but rarely get into a physical location where those speeds are consistent for a reasonable length of time.

Therefore, even with the latest gee-wiz handsets, your ratio of successfully delivering your entire page to mobile users will be impacted by the amount of data you require them to fetch.

In a responsive web design scenario the main HTML content is typically sent along with CSS markup that caters to the layout/screen limitations of a mobile web browser. While this can mean omission of image data and other resources, many sites simply attempt to ‘resize’ and ‘rearrange’ the content leading to very similar bandwidth/memory needs for mobile sites using responsive design approaches.

The SEO concern with responsive designs is that since the written HTML content is included in the mobile styling it’s very crucial that external search engines/crawlers understand that the mobile styled content is not cloaking or other black-hat techniques. Google does a great job of detecting this and we discuss how a bit later on with some links to Google’s own pages on the topic.

Mobile Pages :

Visual demonstration of mobile web page design

 
If you’ve ever visited ‘mobile.site.com’ or something like that, you’ve already seen what mobile versions of a site can look like. Typically these versions skip reformatting the main site content and they get right down to the business of catering to the unique needs of mobile visitors.

Not only can it be a LOT easier to build a mobile version of your site/pages, you can expect these versions to have more features and be more compatible with a wider range of devices.

Tools like jQuery Mobile will have you making pages in a jiffy and uses modern techniques/HTML5. It’s so easy you could even make a demo image purely for the sake of a blog post! ;)

This also frees up your main site design so you can make changes without worrying what impact it has on mobile.

“What about my content?”

Excellent question!

Mobile versions of sites with lots of useful content (AKA: great websites) can feel like a major hurdle to tackle, but in most cases there’s some awesome solutions to making your content work with mobile versions.

The last thing you’d want to do is block content from mobile visitors, and Google’s ranking algorithm updates in June/2013 agree.

Even something as simple as a faulty redirect where your mobile site is serving up:
mobile.site.com/
..when the visitor requested:
www.site.com/articles/how_to_rank.html

.. is a really bad situation, and in Google’s own words:

“If the content doesn’t exist in a smartphone-friendly format, showing the desktop content is better than redirecting to an irrelevant page.”

 
You might think the solution to ‘light content’ or ‘duplicate content’ in mobile versions is to block crawlers from indexing the mobile versions of a page, but you’d be a bit off the mark because you actually want to make sure crawlers know you have mobile versions to evaluate and rank.

In fact if you hop on over to Google Analytics, you will see that Google is tracking how well your site is doing for mobile, desktop, and tablet visitors:
Example of Google Analytics for a site with mobile SEO issues.

(Nearly double the bounce rate for Mobile? Low page counts/duration as well!?)

 
Google Analytics will show you even more details, so if you want to know how well you do on Android vs. BlackBerry, they can tell you.

“How do the crawlers/search engines sort it out?”

A canonical URL is always a good idea, but using a canonical between a mobile page and the desktop version just makes sense.

A canonical can cancel out any fears of showing duplicate content and help the crawlers understand the relationship between your URLs with just one line of markup.

On the flip-side a rel=”alternate” link in the desktop version of the page will help ensure the connection between them is understood completely.

The following is straight from the Google Developers help docs:

On the desktop page, add:

<link rel="alternate" media="only screen and (max-width: 640px)" href="http://m.example.com/page-1" >

and on the mobile page, the required annotation should be:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.example.com/page-1" >

This rel=”canonical” tag on the mobile URL pointing to the desktop page is required.

Even with responsive design, Googlebot is pretty smart, and if you aren’t blocking access to resources intended for a mobile browser, Google can/should detect responsive design from the content itself.

Google’s own help pages confirm this and provide the following example of responsive CSS markup:

    @media only screen and (max-width: 640px) {...}

In this example they are showing us a CSS rule that applies when the screen max-width is 640px; A clear sign that the rules would apply to a mobile device vs. desktop.

Google Webmaster Central takes the information even further, providing tips and examples for implementing responsive design.

Ever wondered how to control what happens when a mobile device rotates and the screen width changes? Click the link above. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 3:51 pm on August 16, 2013


 

Twitter’s New Anti-Abuse Policies and the Dark Side of Social Media

I won’t lie when I say that one of the best parts of my job is managing social media accounts; it can be legitimately fun, but it’s also a very important illustration of how the Internet affects customer/business interactions. My experience mostly comes from being a voracious and active social media user in my private life; I enjoy a following of 400+ people on Twitter, and I have seen what the network is capable of: live-blogging the Vancouver Olympic opening ceremonies, catching cheating politicians in the act, and spreading the word of everything from hot TV shows to full-blown revolutions. While some might resist it, social media is vital for modern reputation management and customer service; the web has democratized marketing in a very drastic way, making it nearly impossible for a company to cover up substantial issues with their products or service. When you do a great job, you might get the occasional positive mention; when you mess up, your customers will definitely air their grievances. And as a social media user myself, I can vouch for the fact that the public has come to respect businesses that address these issues honestly when they’re contacted about them.

Unfortunately, this democratization has lead to some inevitable abuses of the system. In some cases it’s a rival company posting fake reviews in an attempt to discredit the competition; in others, a company (or person) may be the subject of a vicious complaint that goes viral online. Part of online reputation management is being able to mitigate these issues, whether by reporting abuse to site moderators or addressing complaints head-on.

I say all of this because some business owners on desktop and Android platforms may see a new feature on Twitter in the coming weeks: an in-tweet ‘Report Abuse’ button. Currently, users who wish to flag threats must visit the online help center and go through several extra steps to report abuse; the new button will make the process far quicker, and (hopefully) hasten the removal of hate speech. Twitter’s announcement wasn’t just a routine update; it was spurred largely by a British woman named Caroline Criado-Perez, and the flood of horrific rape, violence, and bomb threats she received over the weekend. These weren’t mere trolls; the abuse got so serious that at least one man was arrested on Sunday as a result. What did Criado-Perez do to warrant hundreds of 140-character threats of violence? She campaigned—successfully—for the British government to put author Jane Austen’s face on the new £10 banknote. The threats were also sent to a female Member of Parliament who tweeted her support for the campaign.

If it seems absurd, that’s because it is; this wasn’t a case of radical politics or controversial opinion, but a fairly tame move to represent more British women on currency. The horrifying result was a stark reminder of the abusive power of social media, especially against women and other marginalized groups in society. But even if you’re not an active participant in social issues online, it’s intimidating to realize just how quickly the anonymous web can turn against you. While some have applauded Twitter for finally taking a decisive action to make their website safer for all users, the decision has also drawn criticism from people who have seen how ‘Report Abuse’ functions on other websites have actually been used against legitimate accounts as a form of abuse in and of itself; a group of trolls flagging an account they disagree with can result in that account being suspended by the website, even when the owner hasn’t actually violated any rules.

Of course, the gender politics and personal vendettas of social media are quite a bit more intense than what we do as SEOs to help clients. In terms of reputation management online, the Report Abuse button will likely be a helpful way to ensure that a company doesn’t suffer from malicious treatment. However, it also may be far too easy to report a dissatisfied (and vocal) customer out of sheer frustration. Online reputation is a fickle beast; a few damning reviews can take down an entire small business, and the damage can be very difficult to control—it’s easy to feel helpless when it seems like nothing you do can push down a few dissatisfied customers in favor of the happy ones. Business owners on Twitter should still make it a priority to engage with unhappy customers on a personal level, rather than just report an account because of a particularly bad review—even if it makes the problem temporarily disappear, the Internet is not kind to those types of tactics.

The Criado-Perez debacle over the weekend has shown Twitter’s dark side, particularly when it comes to misogyny and online gender violence. The effect of the new reporting feature remains to be seen in that regard. While smaller businesses on social media may not engage in that debate, it’s a prudent reminder that the web’s anonymity can cause a lot of malicious action in the name of free speech. Reputation management isn’t going to get easier as a result of Twitter’s changes; it will still require a human touch and an honest connection, because that’s what garners respect in the social media sphere. But hopefully this small corner of the web will be a little safer for everyone who uses it, giving people more courage to speak their minds without fear of retaliatory attempts to forcibly silence them.

SEO news blog post by @ 3:14 pm on August 6, 2013


 

Google+ Cover

Today we’ve got just a very quick blog post for you to let everyone know of a couple changes to Google+. Now you may be saying, “Google+? Why should I care?” I’ll leave that debate you your own mind save to say, if Google asks you to drink some Kool-Aid, just hope it’s a flavor you like. It’s become very clear over the past couple year that not only is Google not going to let Google+ go the way of Google Wave or the litany of other failed tests, they’re making moves to insure that it thrives or at the very least becomes the control mechanism for your other activities to a point where it doesn’t matter if you use Google+ … you’re information is being stored there regardless.

But today I’m not discussing the benefits of Google+ specifically, just covering a few key updates. So let’s get to that.

Changes To Google+

As of the morning Google has announces that they’re rolling out some changes to how your profile functions/appears.  They are:

  • The size of cover photos has increased to 2120px by 1192px.  To me this doesn’t make a ton of sense as it pushes the actual information down the page requiring more scrolling on all but the largest monitors but I can see applications of it for photographers and designers.  While I may not entirely believe this max resolution is ideal, I highly recommend toying with different images and this definitely provides a wide-range of options.
  • A tab for reviews.  They’ve added a tab when users can see all the reviews you’ve done.  You may want to scan through your reviews and make sure they match the image you want to send publicly.  One might argue you should be doing this all along but I know I looked as soon as the announcement came.
  • Editing your info get’s easier.  They’ve made the interface for editing your information a bit clearer and easy to use.

They did note that things are rolling out gradually so if you don’t see it yet, check back soon.  This writer doesn’t expect it to be a long rollout as it’s a Google+ change and they don’t want people to check, see they can’t play around, and forget to come back.

SEO news blog post by @ 7:56 am on March 6, 2013

Categories:Google,Google+

 

Marissa Mayer Got It Right

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!

When Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer sent out her controversial memo on February 22nd telling remote employees that they had to begin working from the office it was met with strong criticism from a large portion of the tech public. Her employees are reportedly “very upset” and even Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson weighed in on the Virgin blog insinuating that Marissa doesn’t trust her staff and that this move is a step backwards. Even J.J. Colao, CEO of oDesk, voiced in on Forbes making points from the reduced cost of remote employees to the advantages in the war for talent. They’re both wrong.

It’s Nice To Be A Founder

It’s great to be able to give your employees flexibility, and kudos to Richard for doing so, but that requires knowing your employees and them having a clear understanding of who’s in charge. In some organizations it works and one of the key ingredients for that success is right in Sir Branson’s title: Founder. He built his company from a single store. He hired people he trusted who in turn, hired people they trusted and so-forth. Marissa didn’t have this perk.

When she took over the CEO role at Yahoo! in July of 2012 she took charge of a company that had seen five CEO’s in three years, share prices at $15.65, down from the $31 Microsoft had offered in 2008 and declining market share. Something was and still is very wrong at Yahoo! It seem that Ms. Mayer didn’t have the luxury of controlling who was under her employ as Sir Branson did and, as she’s known to do, needed to make quick and decisive changes. This is what she was hired for.

Understanding Bias

Bias is an understandable trait in humans, we all have it. When Mr. Colao wrote of his concerns about the change at Yahoo! I have no doubt he was speaking in earnest, at least from his perspective. What’s important to remember however is that he, like you and I, is biased by self-interest. He’s the CEO of oDesk. oDesk is a company built on connecting people with remote contractors to fill specific roles.

Essentially, Mr. Colao has an entire company built on connecting remote workers with jobs and thus, is inherently biased against the policy enacted by Yahoo! It’s an understandable bias but we must take his opinion on the subject with a grain of salt.

Yahoo! Is Broken

I touched on it above but a point that very much needs to be understood is that Yahoo! is broken. With a variety of properties that don’t generate revenue, search that’s powered by a smaller and newer engine (Bing), a deal with Microsoft that’s reportedly not generating the revenue it needs to, and a litany of other concerns, big changes need to be made. To that end, she’s selling off properties, looking into partnering with Google over Microsoft and yes, changing the corporate culture. Good call.

Let’s put ourselves in her shoes for a moment, from just the perspective we’re focused on here and that’s corporate culture and the ability to work from home. Let’s imagine that we just took over a company and in that company were a range of skills and talent but you knew none of them. Let’s imagine that said company is far too large to know each person individually and let’s go even further and imagine that we are virtually certain that some of our staff members are amazing while others are costing money and producing little in return. What do you do?

Let’s imagine that we’re trying to completely reinvent what our company is, draw it out of the ashes like the overused proverbial phoenix, and to do so we need to know, without question, that everyone under our employ is intelligent, working hard, and dedicated to the massive task at hand. And let’s assume we don’t just want to lay off another 2,000 people. What do you do?

You Go Back To Basics

Massive layoffs aren’t good for business. Running at a loss is even worse. What Ms. Mayer is doing here is, in fact, the epitome of capitalism and that is to go back to its core principle: Darwinism works. The weak will perish.

If you don’t know who’s productive and who isn’t at an organization and you’re the CEO, it’s your duty to find out. The employees who have the most problems with it will be those who don’t want to be watched, who don’t want their work monitored. Essentially, the first to leave will be the weakest. Try to tell me that the employees at Yahoo! don’t need to collaborate and work in teams and I’ll chuckle. And tell me that it doesn’t create a more cohesive unit to collaborate together, in the same space where simply walking down a hall or turning your chair doesn’t get answers faster and I’ll reply by asking why you even bother to go to a pub with friends or gather for a family reunion. If the same interactions, connections and cohesiveness can be formed remotely, why do we even leave the house? Why not grab a few beers, turn on Skype and save yourself having to leave a tip? Because team units and communications aren’t as successful remotely, that’s why. And Marissa knows this.

Let’s Call A Spade A Spade

The key argument made against this move seems to be that it stifles creativity. No, it doesn’t.

The spoiled belief in the tech realm that we’re straight out of “A Beautiful Mind” and need our genius to be pampered, on a comfy couch – but not Yahoo!’s comfy couch, only the one we bought will do, is just ludicrous. Let’s be honest, we are not that special. I know, I’m part of the tech community, and I’m CEO of my company; but when I need to get stuff done, I go to the office. Why? Because the people I need to work with are there, when I need to ask a question the answer is just a few steps away and because an office offers fewer distractions than a house. My house is filled with the fun distractions I like, my office is not.

And let’s also remember that Yahoo! is not some fortress of despair. They have massage, food, fitness centers, hair salons and even a games room. Need some R&R? It’s there. They just want to know when you’re on R&R and when you’re working. Is this some crazy new idea in business? Is it really unreasonable for an employer to want to know when the people they pay are working and when they’re playing on company time? Personally, I think not.

You Can’t Argue With Success

But in the end sometimes you just have to trust your leader. Let’s just consider this, since she took over last year Yahoo! share prices have gone from $15.65 to $20.76. Can she be trusted to make solid decisions even if they’re not fully understood? Yes.

Let’s also consider that Marissa Mayer needs to stamp on this company an undisputed “I am the boss” and this initiative does that like few others could. She is changing the lives of her employees and adjusting how and where they work. If there was a debate about her strength and influence as CEO, there is none now. She will do what she feels is the right decision, she will do it unilaterally, and she will do it with authority. The weak will hate it and complain, the strong may not love it but will feel a firm hand at the helm and while they may resent that they have to drive to their office, they will do so with the security of knowing that they have an office to go to.

SEO news blog post by @ 3:44 pm on March 1, 2013

Categories:Yahoo!

 

Google Chrome can point out ‘Noisy’ tabs..

Have you ever had a bunch of tabs open, decided to turn on your speakers/put on your headphones, only to find out that there’s something unexpected making sounds but you don’t know what?

[iframe width="550" height="413" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/IWCvwwD6cto?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen][/iframe]
Most annoying demonstration possible..

 
Viola! When you play HTML5 audio in a tab the browser animates the favicon to indicate this. (No, this doesn’t mean Chrome supports animated favicons yet, that’s still not working.)

Now I cheated and used a ‘canary build’ of Chrome to accomplish this, but really, other than working on cleaner animations/UI, this is a ‘must have’ option for all browsers!

I also took the time to show that it’s not ‘visualizing’ the audio in the tab (that would suck up too much CPU resources) but merely drawing on the favicon to indicate that the tab was recently attempting to play audio.

The new build of Chrome apparently also has an icon to indicate when a tab is recording, but I didn’t have any easy examples for demonstrating that option.

One of the things I stumbled on in the process of making this post was too note-worthy to not include in this post.

The ‘canary build’ of Chrome doesn’t use your default Chrome profile, and it can run side-by-side with your currently installed ‘stable’ version of Chrome with no cross-talk.

This meant that I was plopped into the YouTube TV/Movies when I went looking for a video to play, and I stumbled on this bargain:

Red Dawn in 480p for $20 CDN

Clearly YouTube needs to work out some pricing errors because I could get a blu-ray of Red Dawn for $20 brand new, and they go for $8 used online. Seeing that the HD version is $5 more really leaves me wondering how the error was made..

Patrick Swayze

Is it possible there’s a Patrick Swayze fan on the YouTube Movies team?

“Nobody put’s Red Dawn in the discount corner!”

UPDATE: Apparently someone DOES read this, and apparently I am not keeping up on movie releases. This is the 2012 ‘Red Dawn’, a REMAKE of the 1984 original, where the reds are North Koreans, and the plot involves an EMP attack that makes a ground invasion a ‘teeny tiny’ bit more plausible.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:27 pm on February 26, 2013


 

That escalated quickly: Google Glass prices, dates, and a spec leak?

I’ve talked about Google Glass already, Finnish them! (Google Glasses and WiFi Liabillity), Google Chronos?, Google develops ARGs for Pirates, many times..

In those articles we were mostly looking at patents and prototypes.

Now we have WIRED.COM and arstechnica.com both spewing out specs based on more patents and some developer info…

A bone conduction listening device.
Hello? Can you ear me?
  • 802.11 b/g 2.4 GHz WLAN
  • Bluetooth ver 4.0 low-energy radio
  • “Bone Conduction” audio playback
  • a $1,500 (£962) price tag
  • developer shipments in early 2013
  • a projected 2014 launch date

Breaking this down, we learn a fair bit from each fact we can establish.

802.11 b/g support means that N mode WiFi won’t likely be supported, and the best guess would be the it’s getting dropped due to power consumption. Additionally, there’s a rumor that the primary data connection for the Google Glass will be a tethered cell phone acting as a ‘modem’ of sorts to expand the Google Glass’s communications range without bulking it up.

The 4.0 version of the Bluetooth radio stack is an exceptionally good match for a device running off of batteries, that sits on your head. This version of the Bluetooth stack supports BLE – Bluetooth Low Energy mode operations that allow a device like Google glass to sip on power and still remain connected to other devices.

If Google Glass had an option to support class 1 (100mW transmissions) networks it would supply you with a range of up to 328′ or 100 meters. If you were a household cleaner you could leave your phone in a central location, put on your Google glasses, and record your cleaning efforts directly to your phone or relay it to a remote server. By doing this you could safe guard yourself against damage claims and other issues presented by the homeowners.

In fact you could also be listening to some music, without blocking your ability to hear other sounds, like a knock at the door, or someone coming home. This is because the Google glass does not block incoming sounds/cover your ears.

The ‘bone conduction‘ audio drivers on the Google Glass send audio vibrations via your skull bones to your inner ear which then ‘hears’ the vibrations as sound.

This means that if you are driving, biking, walking, etc., you can expect the Google Glass audio feedback to be less of an obstruction/safety risk than typical in-ear or over-ear style systems.

Picture wearing these as a lawyer, and someone is attempting to hold you to words you’ve never even said. You could jump to the date/time the original discussion occurred and play it back verbatim, clearing up any mistakes/poor recollection that might otherwise cause endless headaches.

The trick in this case, since a lawyer/doctor, couldn’t ethically record video to an insecure/public location like a ‘Google Hangout’, would be for Google to either offer some sort of private video storage/search/retrieval service (I hear they have some experience with video?), that has the sufficient security clearances to avoid any concerns about storage.

The $1,500.00 price tag is for the Developer’s build of the device, currently being called the ‘Explorer Edition’, that will be shipping this year. In fact Google has said “early this year” as the date, so “sooner than later” is a fine guesstimate.

The signup for the Explorer Edition was actually quite the event, while the attendees were sitting in the conference center Google dropped some ‘Glass’ equipped sky-divers onto the site from an overhead balloon. The video from their Glass units was then streamed inside the event for a bit of a surreal effect.

At the end of the conference the developers willing to pay the $1,500.00 price tag were given a specially etched slate of glass with the serial # of the unit they will be shipping to you later.

A glass brick with a serial number etched into it.
Ooooh my precious.. So shiny..

SEO news blog post by @ 10:44 am on February 7, 2013


 

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