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Yahoo New Homepage – More Personalized

yahoo-logo

Yahoo has recently updated their home with a brand new design and has included some social & personalization features to spice things up a little bit.

yahoo-new-home

Well personally, I don’t feel that the changes that yahoo made will give them much boost, in terms of getting new users to use their search engine. Probably some of the features may be useful to people who likes to have a ‘start page’ on their browser and are already using Yahoo as their default page.

However for someone like me, who never goes to the Yahoo homepage won’t really feel any difference. What is Yahoo anyway? Is it a search engine? Well to me yahoo just looks like a tabloid, which is cluttered with articles, links and ads. And 8 out of 10 times, those featured articles on the home page are mostly celebrity gossips. If Yahoo really wants to improve their business on search and online advertising, they need to really find out their core objective and purpose of existence and focus on the important areas rather than tapping into everything.

Yahoo is not small by any means, Yahoo is still the world’s most visited website. However they for some reason can’t capitalize on that and slowly slipping away from the real game.

What New in Yahoo’s Homepage?

Nothing ground breaking or earth shattering! It now lets users to add their favorite sites to the left side of the page. This includes popular social media applications such as Facebook and Twitter. Once the new search page is up and running, a user’s favorite applications will also show up on the search page itself. You can also add in your own favorite sites on that list. Once you click on any of the links, it sort of opens the page under a frame within the yahoo page along with a huge banner ad. (Well, I’m not sure whether users would appreciate the ad on that position).

Yahoo now shows the top 10 most searched queries on their home page, which is pretty cool. I guess showing that information on the home page would tempt people to find out more about those topics via Yahoo search.

And thats pretty much it! They have tried to strip down some of the unnecessary stuffs, and made the home page a bit lighter and more organized. However, to me it still looks like an online tabloid and not a “Search Engine”. I don’t think adding these features will actually encourage people to search at yahoo.

I think people will start using Yahoo Search more, if http://search.yahoo.com was their homepage. I have always been a fan of Yahoo Search as they were always the 2nd best in Search after Google. In fact in many cases, when Google failed to give what I was looking for, Yahoo saved me! Now that Bing.com is here, Yahoo’s chances in Search is almost gone – unless they agree to merge with Microsoft. (Personally I think it would be the best thing to do for both the companies).

See the Yahoo Design in Action

Yahoo is slowly rolling out the new design in different regions/countries all over the world. It is already live in US, and most parts of Asia (Malaysia, Singapore — at least) are now seeing a notification on their Yahoo page that sort of asks you to try the new design by clicking on a link. You can try it now by visiting: http://m.www.yahoo.com/

Bonus: Yahoo Easter Egg

Yahoo has still kept their hidden Easter egg on their new home page. Try clicking on the “!” exclamation mark on their logo and see what happens! [You will need to keep your speakers/headphones on…]


Twi.tt Lets you Share Almost Everything on Twitter

twi.tt - Share documents, pictures, video, audio, poll on Twitter

Sometimes I feel that there are just way too many applications and services surrounding twitter, but hay – if they are cool and useful I love to plug them and share it with everyone.

Today I stumbled upon Twi.tt – A new web service that lets you SHARE almost anything on twitter.

Share Stuffs on Twitter using Twi.tt

As you can see, by anything I mean absolutely ‘everything’ from pictures, videos, audio, poll and even documents! There is no sign up necessary, if you have a twitter account then you should be able to login with your twitter credentials and use their service.

The best thing about this service is, they allow multiple ways for you to give them the content that you wish to share. For instance, for image sharing they allow you to upload an image directly from your computer, from a web url, from your webcam (coming soon) & also via email (coming soon). Similarly for Audio, you can upload it as an audio file or record directly from your microphone (coming soon).

The only thing that I feel is missing from their service is the basic url shortening. Twi.tt is a great domain, so adding a url shortening service with stats (like bit.ly and su.pr) would be a great addition.

On their settings page they mentions that soon users will be able to send their media files from any email client & mobile phone that supports email.

So try Twi.tt and let me know if you like it!


Shopping with Firefox Can Save You Money

shopping-discount-using-firefox

I know you probably think that the title is kind of crazy – how can a browser making online shopping cheaper? Well apparently if you are using Firefox, you are likely to get better online deals than shopping with other browsers like Internet Explorer. Why? Well, because of the release of a brand new Firefox add on called – Vouchers.Im. This nifty addon makes your Firefox smart enough to inform you about many discount voucher codes which you can be use in the shops that you visit!

With currently over 1,000 active voucher codes of hundreds of best known brands and less famous niche online shops, there is no doubt anyone using Firefox with the add-on installed will have much better chance to discover great deals and discounts than a typical IE user.

Vouchers are pretty much everywhere on the web. There are hundreds of sites out there that keeps track of these vouchers and also archives them regularly into categories. However, when you are shopping and you need something urgently – You often get into a situation where you don’t have the time to look for all these vouchers. Because searching for vouchers in Google or any other search engine is a real pain – It returns a lot of low quality sites that either has very old vouchers (which have already expired) or vouchers that are invalid. Those sites just somehow rank on certain terms and they pray and hope that you would mistakenly click some of their ads when searching for these vouches.

There are certainly many legit and good websites out there that provides discount vouchers and keep them regularly updated, but come on – do you think you even remember to use a voucher until you are just at the check out page of a online retail store? I guess not!

With the help of this cool add-on, you can just forget about ever even thinking of searching for a voucher code. Whenever someone with the add-on installed visits a web site which can be recognized among those issuing voucher codes, Firefox will automatically show user an unobtrusive sliding window, much like a “download is finished” slider, containing all the information about available discounts. It will then place a little green voucher icon on the status bar for the users to click on to receive further details and to obtain a voucher code.

Vouchers.Im Add-on takes seconds to install and is only 30 kilobytes in size, which helps keep browser tidy without much extra overhead. As soon as the add-on becomes active, users can be assured of an advantage to enjoy discounts they otherwise could have easily missed.

Btw, if you are a non-firefox user then you can just type Vouchers.Im in your browser and still get a pretty decent voucher search engine that will make it a lot easy for you to search for voucher codes rather than you having to search them via general search engines like Google or Bing. With regular daily updates, the website of Vouchers.im offers probably the best selection of every available voucher code from almost every store including Argos, Tesco, House of Fraser, Littlewoods and numerous less known brands like Passion8.

So what are you waiting for? Get the Vouchers.Im Firefox Addon and start saving money on your online shopping today!


BingTweets – Real Time Twitter + Bing Search

Bing along with Federated Media has developed quite a nifty service called BingTweets, which basically allows you to keep an eye on the twitter trending topic in a more detailed and real-time manner. Twitter trending topic by itself is not exactly very useful as it doesn’t really give you a context of what is happening. Moreover even though twitter’s built in search is ‘real-time’ but users always need to click a ‘button’ when new results are added.

bingtweets

BingTweets does a really good job of bring real-time conversations about the trending topics and at the same time bringing up the web search of that particular query on the same screen. Thus users will get a context of what these trending topics are and at the same time get more real insights on some of these topics. Because the fact is 140 characters isn’t enough to convey a full news to someone, however if people starts talking about “X” and it becomes a trending topic, then clicking on that will not only show you the conversation that is happening about X but at the same time give us some real insights from the Bing search results for that particular query.

One of the neat thing about BingTweets is, it pulls in trends from Twitter and automatically filters into categories such as “Popular Now,” “People,” “Places” and “Products” enabling easier navigation of the ever changing trends on the Web. You can also fire off a search on any topic of your choosing to see the related search results from Bing and Twitter discussion.

Whitney Burk, Director of Bing Search writes:

…when Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince comes out tomorrow, you may want to scan the official reviews, local theater listing, AND the latest Tweets on the movie to help you decide whether to rush to see it. With BingTweets, you can cover all that ground in one place.

So check out BingTweets and let me know if you find it any useful!

Read what other says about BingTweet:

Federated Media Teams With Bing For BingTweets. It’s Exactly What It Sounds Like – Techcrunch.

BingTweets: Bing + Twitter Search Results Side-by-Side – Mashable

BingTweets Integrates Twitter and Bing Search, Literally – Search Engine Journal


IE8 Vomiting Commercial goes Viral

ie-8

Yesterday I was listening to my favorite Tech Podcast – TWIT (This Week in Tech) and Veronica Belmont of Tekzilla was one of the guest on that show along with Tom Merritt and few others.

Anyway Veronica was talking about a Internet Explorer 8 advertisement, where a lady vomits over and over again after watching an awful video(probably something like 2 girl and a cup) from her husband’s browser history. This ad was was basically made to promote the IE8 “Browser for the Better” campaign.

Anyway but it seems like that the vomiting scene was so gross that Microsoft received several complaints about the video and eventually took it down. However that really didn’t stop people from spreading it on the social video sharing sites like – Youtube.

Visible Measures, a reputed video measurement firm reports that, even after the O.M.G.I.G.P (Oh My God, I’m Gonna Puke) ad was taken off by Microsoft, that video, just one part of the much larger campaign, accounted for 57% of the entire campaign’s video views!

Yeah I agree that the video is pretty gross, but Visible Measures suggests that this may have been Microsoft’s plan from the beginning.

They writes:

We’re left to wonder whether or not this was part of the plan all along: publish a controversial though on-message ad, create some heated dialogue, apologize for offending customers, take it down, and drive big viewership numbers … from online video audiences copying and reposting the spot. Might this be the best result for Microsoft in the end?

Watch the video at your own risk:


News Aggregator from USA Today

news deck - Headline Aggregator from Usa Today

Techcrunch today reports that The USA Today has launched a site called “NewsDeck” that sort of aggregates the top news stories from their site and nicely puts them in different categories/Sub-section. Currently the site features stories on 8 different topics, including News, Trave, Money, Life, Sports and many more.

Each of the section on the page works like a widget that allows you to auto scroll down with your mouse for more headlines. The widget cards can also be flipped by clicking on a ‘flip’ icon on top of each widget to view headlines between the USA Today’s top stories and most popular stories. USA Today says they are looking to test products like this on the web to see what users really need from a news site when it comes to finding headlines and top stories from a news site. NYtimes has a similar service called Article Skimmer, that lets you quickly skim through their stories.

Personally I don’t know whether these sort of services are that useful for the general public. Honestly, If you have a good RSS reader like feedly and you have subscribed to USAToday & NYtimes via RSS, you actually get even a far better reading experience in one single place.

But do try Newsdeck, it does look pretty cool.


Government Intervention in Search Won’t Save Your Business

google-evil

Techcrunch (one of my personal favorite tech blog), posted an article today about Search Marketing. The title (“The Time Has Come To Regulate Search Engine Marketing And SEO”) really caught my attention, but later I realized that the article is not from the usual in-house Techcrunch editors but from an “Anonymous” writer, who is the supposedly a well known executive of one of the largest sites on the Internet. Techcrunch writes: “The author wants to remain anonymous – because of the backlash he would receive from the SEO industry and possibly Google itself…” [Yeah you bet..]

Anyway so whats the deal? The author goes on and rants about how “search ranking” is not fair in general. He writes –

Through an uncontrolled set of factors search engines determine which listings appear at the top and bottom of any individual query. In addition, consumer behavior dictates the top three results on any search page are all that matter. If you happen to own an online business, unless you exist within those top three, the amount of individual traffic you will obtain from organic listings is very, very low.

Its funny that even though search has been there for over 10 years, many people still don’t get search! The author says that unless you are in the top three of an individual keyword you get very low traffic — I just find this statement completely ridicules. What he is trying to imply here is, if you sell cars and you don’t rank in the top 3 for the key phrase “car”, you are done!

But if any of you have done Organic or Paid search for a while then you would probably agree with me that ranking for the phrase “cars” might not give you the best ROI, when compared to ranking for some other terms related to cars. Search is no longer a ‘keyword game’ like it used to be in the early days. Many people still live in 90s and looks at search as a Yellow page or Web directory (which it is certainly not!).

A Search engine is not a place where people comes and just throws in a generic word and find a bunch of address to buy stuff. Yes, that was search when Yahoo was “Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web” and Google did not even existed. But now search involves more than just a bunch of keywords. Search engine is a place where people does their online research. It is like a huge digital library of anything and everything on the web. Search was never intended for ‘advertising’, but Google sort of found a way to make search more useful by showing relevant ads (of products/services) that you search for. The model became successful and thats why Google is in its current position and has so much money that they could really afford to continuously evolve search by making it better and doing new things with it. If they couldn’t make any money out of search then this industry wouldn’t have come this far!

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Do more with Twitter Favorites using Favstar.fm

favstar. fm - Twitter Favorites

Twitter always had a functionality to mark a tweet as “favorite”. However, I personally never even bothered to use it that often because it just didn’t have any good use. I only used it more like a “tweet bookmark” tool to save certain tweets which I wanted to come back to later.

But it looks like that Favstar.fm is going to change the way Tweet Favorite is being used. Favstar is looking at twitter favorites more like a social vote. So basically their main home page currently shows tweets that has been voted (a.k.a favorite’ed) a certain number of times. If you sign in via your Twittter login information, favstar also gives you a whole range of functionality, including the ability to follow people from directly from Favstar.fm and see what tweets your friends are favoriting. Also, by signing in it is very easy to see who is favoriting your tweets which in my opinion is an excellent insight for any twitter user.

favstar-twitter

Apparently there is another service called Favard that does something similar.

(via Techcrunch)


4 Tools for Finding Photos on Twitter

If you love images then you would appreciate some of the tools that I’m going to cover here that lets you search and view images from twitter. There are plenty of tools out there that lets you search twitter for text and hashtags. But twitter is now a huge source of pictures as well and sadly there aren’t that many tools out there that lets you search for images on twitter.

After a little digging i found four Twitter Image Search engines that does a really good job of indexing and displaying all the photos on twitter. But before I go any further I must warn you that the content that you will see on these photo search engines are all ‘user generated content’ and not moderated by anybody. Thus, you might come across pictures that are potentially dangerous for you and your children.

1. Twipho – Twitter Photo Search

twitter-image-search-twipho

Twipho is a relatively new twitter photo search engine developed by Mark Goddard. It has a very simple and straight forward interface that lets you search for pictures on twitter. Simply pop in your search query into the box at the top of the page and wait for your results. No need to press any buttons or hit the enter key. Twipho starts piling up images within seconds of you typing something on the search box. You can also change various search parameters such as image host selections. Twipho also gives you the ability to send images to your friends using email, retweet the images you like the most and view full size images as well as quick thumbnails. Take a look at their results page:

twitpho-results - Twitter image search engine

2. Picfog – Realtime Twitter Image Search

Pic Fog - Real Time Twitter Image Search Engine

Picfog is a real time twitter image search engine, which keeps on popping images on the screen in real time as they get tweeted on twitter. Every second 5-10 new pictures gets added and shown in real time on the home screen. It has also a search box where you can specify keywords to make it only show pictures related to that word/phrase. If you move your mouse over in any of the images it shows you the complete tweet along with any message/text that was included originally. Picfog also gives you the ability to follow that particular user or Re-tweet the image to your own followers. Here is a screen shot of how the home screen looks like:

Pic Fog Screen shoot - Twitter Picture Search Engine

3. Twicsy – Top Twitter Pics of Past Hour

twicsy - Top Twitter Pictures of Past Hour

Twicsy is a twitter picture search engine that particularly shows you the top twitter images of the past 1 hour. They also have options to show you top pictures of – 2 hours, 4 hours, 12 hours, day and week. Basically they keep count of how many times a picture gets re-tweeted to determine the popularity of an image. Twicsy lets you see who has re-tweeted the images and also lets you do the same. Here is a screen shot of how their homepage looks like:

Twicsy Image Search Engine

4. Twitcaps – Real-time Pictures From Twitter

twitcaps - twitter image search

Twitcaps is yet another real-time image search engine for twitter. Twitcaps allows you to search, browse and capture the latest images posted to Twitter via any of the popular Twitter image services (Twitpic, yFrog, Twitgoo, etc). From the Twitcaps interface, you may capture an image for later use, re-tweet the image on your own Twitter feed, or share the image on any number of social linking services. The feature of letting user “capture a picture” is something that I haven’t found in the other twitter image search engines. Basically capture in this context means that – while browsing images on Twitcaps, if you come across a picture that you really like, you can capture the image and save it under your own twitpic service. This means that if the user who originally posted their image should later decide to delete that image, then you will STILL have your copy of that image available to your Twitter account on both Twitcaps and Twitpic.com. This way, you can feel safe in re-tweeting the image or posting the image to any number of social linking services. Because you now control the image, you can be confident that the image will not disappear and the link to that image will never go away (until you delete it from Twitpic.com).

Twitcaps also has some advanced image filtering options. You may filter image by image host (e.g. Twitpic, flickr etc.) or you can also filter by language. Twitcaps also has a built in translation functionality that will help you to translate tweets on the fly. Here is a screen shoot of their home page:

twitcaps - real time twitter picture search

So did I miss any other cool twitter image search engine? Let me know via comments!

Here are some of the other reviews of these four Twitter Image Search Engines:

TwiPho Your Ultimate Twitter Image Search – Blogging Tips

TwiPho – twitter image search with a nice UI! – Twi5.com

PicFog Displays the Strength of Real-Time Image Search – Mashable

PicFog: Search For Images Shared On Twitter – MakeUseOf.com

Twicsy Is A Killer And Kind Of Creepy Way To Search Pictures Shared On Twitter – Techcrunch

Twicsy.com – Search Pictures Shared On Twitter – KillerStartups

Twitcaps – see what photos are being shared on Twitter – DownloadSquad

TwitCaps: Watch the World in Images, Real-Time! – Tnerd


Official Google Twitter Accounts

google-twitter

Everyone loves twitter and it seems like Google as a company is not an exception on this case. Earlier today Google posted a list of all their official twitter accounts.

Karen Wickre who is from Google’s Blog & Twitter Team writes:

Like lots of you, we’ve been drawn into Twitter this year. After all, we’re all about frequent updates ourselves, and there’s lots happening around here that we want to share with you. Of course, we enjoy watching, and contributing to, the tweetstream (we hope you find our tweets useful, too). Because there are many programs and initiatives across the company, we’ve got a number of active accounts. Here’s a list of the current ones. We’ll update this list from time to time.

Here is a screen shot of the list since it was last updated:

Official Google Twitter Accounts

I initially counted a total of 44 twitter accounts on that list, but according to Techcrunch, Google may have missed one of their own account from the region list. So that makes the total account 45!

Its really great to see that a company of Google’s size is open to change and adapting new (3rd party services). I mean just think about it, they are one of the biggest media company out there, why should they even care about monitoring and contributing to the twitter space?

Twitter has millions of users now, and its growing at a rapid rate. I think its really important for the companies to realize the importance of establishing a relationship with their customers. Undoubtedly twitter really makes this process very easy. Hopefully we will see more and more companies using twitter effectively in the near future.


Feedly – RSS Reader Review

Read Me First: I was initially writing this post to do a review of my favorite RSS Reader – Feedly. But I sort of ended up explaining the whole concept of RSS which took out nearly half of this article. If you already know what RSS is you can skip the first portion of the article and jump right to my RSS reader review of Feedly. However, if you are not an active user of RSS, I’d urge you to read what I have to say about RSS.

Background of RSS

OK, now let me start this post with a simple question – How do you normally browse the web for the latest news? Do you like to go to specific websites individually (e.g. Techcrunch, Mashable, CNN) or do you go to some of the news aggregator sites like Google News, Techmeme, Yahoo News? Or Maybe you prefer the news to come to you via sources like Twitter, Friendfeed and RSS.

Well traditionally most non tech-savvy people browse the web in a very old fashioned way. They fire up their browser, enter the URL, click enter and they are on! And they do this everytime they are hungry for new information/news. Well visiting websites manually to check for news does serve the purpose and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However as the web has evolved in the last couple of years and more and more information is cluttering up the web – it has brought in a new problem, which is “information overload”.

There are now so many web sites on the web today that you can’t even remember their names straight without scratching your head. And relying on the main stream media like (CNN, BBC, ABC), too much doesn’t always bring you the right news at the right time.

Ask yourself, when and how did you hear about the Iran election issues first or say the tragic death of the king of Pop – Michael Jackson? Most likely your answer would be either from friends, social media or from the blogosphere. Because on both occasion the main stream media was kind of late to cover the story. But I don’t really blame them; Due to their corporate ‘red-tapes’ they have less flexibility when it comes to bringing on the news at the right time. This is the reason why, many people (like myself) keep ourselves attached to the blogosphere quite a bit.

Anyway going back to the original topic – How do you keep track of all these big/small websites that are out there? Like for instance, I am interested in Technology, Gadgets, Search & a few other things. In order to keep tabs on my industry I need to keep an eye on about 100 different blogs/websites. So everyday early in the morning, if I can quickly scan over all the stories/posts that these blogs has published then I’d pretty much get an idea of whats happening on my industry. And because web is not like the old media, morning is not the only time I’m checking for news. A new story may pile up every 10 minutes depending on what you are interested in. If i were to check all these 100 different sites everyday even once at a time and go through all their stories then I probably won’t be able to do any other job because even thinking of opening 100 websites from my bookmarks really scares the hell out of me!

This is exactly where RSS comes in pretty handly. RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication is basically a technology that sort of makes it very easy for you to ‘digitally subscribe’ to a website or a blog. It works exactly like a newspaper/magazine subscription. For example – if you like a particular magazine a lot (e.g. Readers Digest), you may just buy it at a book shop every month physically (just like browsing a website manually for news), or you can be smart and just subscribe to it! So the benefit of subscribing is – you don’t need to ‘remember’ when to go and get the new issue and you will always get it at your convenience (they usually ship the magazine to you).

The concept of RSS is exactly the same. You sort of pick the sites/blogs that you like and mostly visit at all times. You know for sure that you’ll keep on coming back to these sites everyday to check if there is anything new on there. But do you know that most of these websites offers something called “RSS” that actually lets you to subscribe to that website for FREE? Yes, thats right! And every time they have a new article or information the news gets delivered to something called a “RSS Reader”.

rss-feeds - RSS Reader Review

RSS Reader is like one-way email program. It has the ability to receive things, but it can’t send anything out. So basically using your RSS Reader, you are going to subscribe to your favorite blogs/websites that you visit frequently. Your RSS Reader then keeps track of all those websites for you and automatically displays all the latest news all in one single place. So you don’t need to go to 100 different websites, but you can just open one program (Your RSS Reader) and get all the updates there!

Now RSS Readers doesn’t necessarily has to be a software that you need to install on your computer. There are also many web based, and simple browser based RSS readers that just works fine, in fact great! Personally I’m a huge fan of Google Reader, which is google’s web based RSS reader. But there are also other desktop RSS reader that you can install on your computer and have access to all your feeds (your subscriptions). My favorite RSS reader for desktop probably would be – FeedDemon . But anyway I sort of dedicated this post to my current and most favorite RSS reader – Feedly!

Feedly – RSS Reader Review

Feedly is basically a Firefox addon that you can install in your Firefox browser to read and manage your feeds. It basically uses your Google Reader, in conjunction with Twitter & Friend Feed and gives you the most amazing feed reading experience that you have ever experienced anywhere else.

Feedly-RSS-Review

Feedly takes your boring RSS reader and gives it a very shiny magazine like look. It has several different viewing options that you can choose form – Magazine, Overview, Summery, Picture grid etc. – each having their own advantages. The main problem with most of the RSS readers that I have used is, if you don’t check it for few days, hundreds of stories gets jammed up and you tend to miss out the important ones. But with Feedly and its social integration with twitter, friendfeed & Google Reader – it is more intelligent to understand what is hot and what is not. Based on your previous reading pattern, it sorts of guesses your favourite feeds that you can’t get enough of. It also has easy ways of reading the full stories on screen or even quickly scan through the title and a brief summery of hundreds of stories all on one single page.

The best part about Feedly is the way it organizes and displays your feed. Reading your feeds inside feedly is genuinely pleasing and takes very little effort compared to any other web-based or desktop based RSS reader that are out there.

feedly-screenshot

Other than handling feeds, it also lets you to integrate your twitter and friendfeed account inside feedly so that you can keep track of what is happening in the social media. When you are browsing a page or searching for something on a search engine like Google, it looks at your keyword and pulls up the recent stories about those topics from your feeds and nicely overlays a list of stories at the bottom of your screen.

Feedly does so many things, that as I’m writing a review on my favorite RSS reader, I just can’t think of words that will convince you enough to try this awesome free firefox addon. So if you use RSS and have firefox on your computer, I’d really urge you to give Feedly a try! You will love it! In case you have never used RSS before, don’t panic! I have already sort of explained the whole concept of RSS at the beginning of the post which, I believe is sufficient for you to get started with RSS. So try feedly and see how it goes!

By the way, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog via RSS for more great resources. Let me make it very easy for you, click on the huge button below to subscribe –

Subscribe to Saad's Blog

So have you tried feedly yet? Share your experience!


Microsoft Office 2010, The Movie

microsoft-office-2010 I never really understood the way Microsoft handles their PR. They spent millions on advertising when they launched Bing (Microsoft’s Search Engine), and now it looks like they are out with yet another promo video, but this time for Microsoft Office 2010!

By reading some of the comments about this video, it felt like everyone hates the idea of Microsoft spending so much money on advertising which they could perhaps use to do other things (Hint: Make their product pricing more flexible and not sky high?)

But Anyway, I must say that the video is really amazing. Microsoft gave the job to YouTuber Dennis Liu of Traffik Film Works.

Watch the video and I bet you will be amazed too-

After seeing the trailer, I kinda wish if they could actually try making the movie. It would be so damn funny!


Google Maps Directions Widget for Your Site

If you are advertising online which complements your offline business, its very important for you to make sure that your customers to how to reach your store/office.

It can be a real pain sometimes to write out and update multiple sets of directions from the North, South, East or West. And it also gets very confusing for the customer as they are only looking for directions from their own specific location and they may not even know from which way they are coming from to your location.

Luckily, with their new Google Maps directions gadget, you no longer need to worry about all these anymore. With a simple click of a button, you can now have a widget like the one below:

Simply enter your location at the top box (try palo alto) and Google maps will automatically display a map and give direction based on your location that you have entered. Here is a screen shot:

google maps direction widget

Not convinced? Just take a look at how Stanford university is using the Google Maps Direction Widget on their website to give visitors the direction to their visitor center.

Source: Inside Adwords Blog


Google Updates Location Based Search Results

If you like traveling and rely heavily on a search engine like Google for your travel related research then you would probably appreciate Google’s recent efforts in location based search.

For over two years, google is displaying maps of location via Google Universal search directly in the search results page when a user is searching for location based keywords. (e.g. New York, Melbourne).

But now Google has taken this one step further and started displaying pictures alongside the map which gives users a sense of what the place is like in real.

I searched for Kuala Lumpur (the capital of Malaysia) and I was presented with a map of Kuala Lumpur alongside some of the pictures from the city. Clicking on the image took me directly to the google maps page and sort of graphically placed each of the pictures on the map.

Kuala Lumpur - Google location based search

Kuala Lumpur Google Maps

Bing Cries Out Loud at Google

Little Background: Bing was down for over 36 hours which is why Google sort of indexed their “Error” page for one of their domains – Bing Travel. Many days has passed, but it seems like Google hasn’t updated the search snippet. Matt Cutts replied in Techcruch with a screen shot saying the problem has been fixed — But apparently the issue is something else. Read on…

bing-tweet

This morning when I was reading this story on Techcrunch, I initially thought of blogging about it, but as i scrolled down I saw Matt Cutts’s responses in the story where he pretty much cleared the air stating that this was just a fluke and certainly not intentional (well these were not his exact words, but I think I sort of made it up). But anyway that’s not the point. The point is he actually showed everyone a screen shot (http://www.mattcutts.com/images/bing-travel-snippet.png) where the problem seemed fixed:

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Based on Matt’s screen shot I did a search for “bing travel” in Google and found the snippet to be back to normal. I noticed that the last date of cache was indeed 9th July, just like what Matt said. But many people were still complaining that they can’t see the ‘updated snippet’ and at that time I thought that this may be a DC issue (Google has many data centers and they take time to propagate).

However after 6 hours or so, I noticed that Andy Beal is covering the story in Marketing Pilgrim. So I became a bit curious and tried the search again this time only with the key phrase “bing and to my surprise I got the same old snippet –

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Then I looked up the cache of both pages and it seems like Google has two version of Bing Travel page indexed –

Version 1: http://www.bing.com/travel
Last Cache Date: 4th July

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Version 2: http://www.bing.com/travel/ [This one basically has a forwarding slash at the end of the URL]
Last Cache Date: 9th July

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Hopefully this is temporary and both Google and Bing looks into it rather than playing the blame game.