As the manager of a small business or an entrepreneur just starting out, you should always be on the lookout for anything that can improve your productivity, time management, organization, and ultimately make day to day tasks easier to manage.
It can be hard enough trying to run things in the office without also having to worry about your online presence. But like it or not, today’s business needs an online presence in order to ultimately succeed, or at least remain competitive.
The rainforests of the Amazon can be an inherently dangerous place, with everything from poison dart frogs to flesh eating fish. The Earth itself can be a dangerous place, more so in some locations than others, though it can be argued that only the types of dangers change. With that said, who wouldn't want to explore this pristine, and disappearing, area of the world?
Google Maps Street View can take you on that dream vacation and it's doing so in style -- a zip line to be precise. But this time you don't have all those dangers to worry about.
It's fair to say that of all of the social networks there are to choose from, Google+ is one that has failed to set the world on fire. Facebook may annoy users from time to time but it dominates the social web, and Twitter has carved out a healthy niche for itself as well. But Google is, uncharacteristically, unwilling to give up on Google+ just yet.
In what seems to be an attempt to breathe new life into a flagging product line, Vice President of Google, Bradley Horowitz is taking control. Interestingly he is not looking after Google+ as a whole, just a couple of its branches. Announcing the news, he said that the recent rumors surrounding Google+ splitting up are true.
The change in Google's narrative over the past few months has been very interesting to watch. The recent "Peak Google" proclamations remind me of Facebook's post-IPO narrative in 2012. Conventional wisdom back then was that Facebook's decline was imminent as mobile was not a meaningful part of their revenue. Of course, Facebook's app install ads and other mobile initiatives disproved that narrative in short order.
Some observers even make it seem as though Google's growth has seen a major slowdown in 2014. Interestingly, both Google's revenue and operating profit growth accelerated in 2014. This isn't to say that mobile does not pose a challenge to Google. It does, but it is important to understand exactly what those challenges are and the way forward. By looking at Google's financial reports, their biggest challenge is a decline in operating margins. This has been triggered by increase in search advertising on mobile, which delivers lower CPCs. While consumers used search on PCs for more involved research on products/services, the interaction window for mobile search is shorter. Lower ad engagement led to fewer bids on keywords and consequently, lower CPCs and margins.
Three days ago Google announced that any Blogger blog found to contain nudity or explicit content would be converted into a private blog that only the owner could see.
Unsurprisingly, this move wasn't well received by the Blogger community, and today Google has backtracked.
Not everything has to be monetized. In business, the goal is profits, true, but that is not the sole reason for existence. The money is earned by the hard work of employees, and relationships built with customers. If you have no customers, you have no profits -- never forget that. If a company takes advantage of customer trust and the overall relationship, the customers may become fatigued to the practices.
This brings us to Google. It is a company that is near and dear to our hearts. The world is a better place because of the search giant and its offerings. With that said, the company and its founders have become wealthy thanks to its customers. Those customers give Google access to their lives in exchange for free Gmail, Maps and more -- it is a contract between both parties. Today, Google crosses a line, creating fatigue by inserting ads into Play Store search results. It is a straw on our collective backs.
Android has successfully secured its place as the most used mobile operating system. With this in mind it should come as little surprise that more and more people are bringing Android devices into the workplace -- and for IT departments this can be something of a security nightmare. Today Google announces Android for Work with the aim of grabbing the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) market and making Android more secure and manageable in the workplace.
What does this mean? Work profiles are being introduced to keep business apps and data separate from each other, so employees can use a single device to manage their personal work life. For both employer and employee this brings a number of advantages.
Advertisements make the world go around. I understand they can sometimes be unpopular on the web, but using ad-blocking software is counter-productive, as it can harm the site that you are visiting. True, some ads can be intrusive and inappropriate (depending on the site), but they can be good too, as they educate you on new products. If there were no ads on TV, the radio or the Internet, how would you learn about new products on the market? Sometimes I don't even fast-forward on my Tivo, so I can learn about new products.
Today, Google announces that Adwords will be automatically converting Adobe Flash-based advertisements to HTML5. This will increase visibility of the ads, especially on mobile platforms where Flash is very rarely used nowadays.
Paying developers and users for discovering security vulnerabilities has become rather commonplace. You know what? Good. Why shouldn't the "average Joe" have the opportunity to earn some cheddar in exchange for making software more secure? It's a win / win proposition.
Every year, Google announces the annual Pwnium event, in which people have one day to show off a Chrome browser or Chrome OS exploit and get money. The problem? Limiting this activity to one day per year limits the opportunity. In other words, why not pay people all year long for discovering exploits? Well, Google is doing exactly that; Pwnium V will last forever and offer unlimited money rewards. Ready to get rich?
Communication is huge money. We take it for granted, as there is quite the glut of available chat solutions online. By controlling communication, you can track and control a user's behavior. A good example is Hangouts. Google makes an app that can run on Windows, but it requires the Chrome browser. As a result, Hangouts users may choose Chrome over other browsers. A consumer in the market for a smartphone may skip Windows Phone, as Google doesn't support the platform. Don't get me started on Apple; Facetime keeps users locked into Mac and iOS too.
Today, Microsoft announces in an email to users that both Google and Facebook Chat support are being removed from Outlook.com. Google Chat is not a surprise, as the search-giant is sun-setting that service in favor of the more restrictive Hangouts; Microsoft does not have a choice. Facebook Chat, however, is a shock.
Chrome Experiments is now entering its sixth year and is home to hundreds of coding experiments that help to make the Internet a more fun and enjoyable place. Ten hundred in fact. To celebrate reaching the milestone of 1,000 experiments, Google is not only launching a new experiment that shows off all of the rest, but also rolling out a redesign.
Last year, I disputed ridiculous assertions, based on widely misquoted NPD data, that 2014 would be "year of the Chromebook". It wasn't. But that designation does belong to 2015—at least in the United States. Measures: Number of new models; adoption by K-12 schools; and overall sales, which are surprisingly strong. Read carefully the next paragraph.
Through U.S. commercial channels and retail, Chromebooks accounted for 14 percent of laptop sales last year, according to NPD, which released data at my request. That's up from 8 percent in 2013. Commercial channels, largely to educational institutions, accounted for about two-thirds of 2014 Chromebook sold. Year over year, sales soared by 85 percent, and the trajectory continues to climb.
Google has finally begun to seed out Android Lollipop, the latest update to its mobile operating system, to Android One handsets in India. In a post on Google+, the Android maker notes that all of the three Android One handsets in the country -- Karbonn Sparkle V, Micromax Canvas A1, and Spice Dream UNO -- should be able to snag the update any time now. The update is rolling out in a gradual way so it may take a while before it hits your handset, the company notes.
Announced at the Google I/O event last year, Android One is an initiative by the Mountain View-based company wherein it makes cheap-Android smartphones with reasonably decent hardware specification for consumers living in emerging markets, starting with India. Priced at $100, the handset doesn’t require carrier’s approval and push to receive the new software release, as it directly gleans it from Google.
Blogger users risk having their blogs removed from public listings if they feature graphic nudity or explicit content. Starting on March 23, any Blogger blog found to contain offending pictures or videos will be converted into a private blog that can only be seen by the owner and those, erm, explicitly invited to see it.
Google emphasizes that no content will be deleted from blogs created before March 23, 2015, but is encouraging blog owners to take action. It's a different story for any blog set up after this date.
A San Francisco judge has dismissed a class action against Google's alleged monopolizing of searches on Android devices. Gary Feitelson and Daniel McKee brought a case against Google saying that the search giant was being anticompetitive by forging agreements with handset makers that made Google search the default search engine.
The company faces similar charges in Russia where the country's leading search engine, Yandex, has made a similar complaint to the Federal Antimonopoly Service. In Europe Google has just agreed to regular audits to ensure it complies with Data Protection Authority measures in Italy, and Friday's ruling in its favor in the Northern District of California will come as some welcome good news.